Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Runaway Horses

Having finished book one - Spring Snow - in Yukio Mishima's tetralogy,The Sea of Fertility, I began reading book 2, Runaway Horses. I was most definitely impressed with the first novel.

The only problem I have with the second novel is the book within the book - so called The League of the Divine Wind by Tsunanori Yamao. This booklet - more rightly called a pamphlet, is an important element in the overall novel, but the pamphlet seems to drag on.

All else considered, the 2nd novel is very good. I'm 70% in and am looking forward to book number 3.

As a side note, one of the characters - Prince Harunori Toin - at one point decides to listen to a recording of Western music to put him in a better frame of mind. He listens to Richard Strauss' Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Op. 28) which he soon discovers is not having the affect he thought it would have. Being unfamiliar with the work, I looked for a recording YouTube. Strauss has never been one of my favorites and I can see why Prince Harunori Toin would regret listening to this work.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Yukio Mishima - or Getting From Point A to Point B

I'm very often surprised whenever I examine the path I've taken to reach point B from point A. One case in point is how I've come to read the novel I have currently on my Kindle.

A few days ago, I was watching a collection of films starring (or featuring) James Cagney. One such film was the 1931 comedy, The Millionaire in which Cagney had a brief appearance. I was unfamiliar with most of the actors in the film, and curiosity lead me to search the Internet for information about them. One of the stars of the film was Canadian-American actor, David Manners who played John Harker in the 1931 horror classic Dracula, which starred Bela Lugosi in the title role.

Learning that Manners was in Dracula led me to hunt for that film on the Internet. It had been ages since I've watched this classic movie, and luckily I was able to locate it at vimeo.com.

In 1999, Lugosi's Dracula was released for home video, with an updated soundtrack composed by Philip Glass and performed by the Kronos Quartet. I was so impressed by Glass' composition that I had to search for more work by the composer.

One of the works composed by Glass that I found on Spotify, was the film score for Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters - a film based on the life and work of Japanese writer Yukio Mishima. Of course, now I had to learn more about Yukio Mishima.

According to Wikipedia, Mishima is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. His tetralogy of novels, The Sea of Fertility is considered his masterpiece.

Twelve works written by Mishima are available as mobi files at archive.org. My first choice was to download all four novels from the tetralogy. After beginning the first novel, Spring Snow, I returned to archive.org to download the entire Mishima collection.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

A Change in My Exercise Routine

For four months prior to our moving into our new house, I worked out at a gym in Dumaguete after dropping off my son at school.

After moving into the house, I decided to drop the gym in favor of doing my workout at home. One reason for the change was the additional room for working out at the house compared to the apartment. The second reason for the change was a desire to save the money spent on gym membership.

With the change in location came a change in the exercise routine. I wanted to change the number of workout days to four instead of six. This was to entail expanding the time spent working out each morning.

Since moving into the house, my routine has consisted of chest, shoulder and triceps two days a week (usually Monday and Friday) and upper and lower back, biceps and forearms on two days (Usually Tuesday and Saturday. I've found, however that this routine was too much. The work load was so heavy that I was often tempted to skip days.

Rather than lose days working out and becoming disorganized in my routine, I've decided to make another change in the routine. Starting today,the days will be broken down as follows:

Day one - chest and triceps
Day two - upper/lower back
Day three -shoulders
Day four - biceps and forearms.

I believe this will be a good maintenance plan for me, balancing resistance training and adequate rest.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Few Thoughts on Bernie's Green New Deal

U.S. Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders recently released his plan for fighting climate change, which he - like A.O.C.,  is calling The Green New Deal. The plan can be found on the candidate's website.

I'm not going to argue whether anthropogenic global warming is real or a hoax. For the sake of this post, I'm going to assume that the climate of our planet is changing for the worse, and mankind is the chief culprit. I want simply to look at Sanders plan and see if it is at all feasible and if he is capable of achieving the goals he has put forth.

The plan is quite long. At over 13,000 words, the plan prints out to 20 pages. Addressing every point in the document for this blog post would be almost as difficult as Bernie Sanders getting his plan accomplished. I will only address a few points.

Reaching 100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and complete decarbonization by 2050 at latest :

Wikipedia defines renewable energy as energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. I'm not quite sure how electricity can be produced using rain, tides and waves.

As one article from spectrum.ieee.org explains -To Get Wind Power You Need Oil 

"Wind turbines are the most visible symbols of the quest for renewable electricity generation. And yet, although they exploit the wind, which is as free and as green as energy can be, the machines themselves are pure embodiments of fossil fuels."

Solar powered electricity looks inviting to many, but along with the advantages, there are disadvantages: 

"Transportation and installation of solar systems have been associated with the emission of greenhouse gases. There are also some toxic materials and hazardous products used during the manufacturing process of solar photovoltaic systems, which can indirectly affect the environment."

There are several upsides to using geo-thermal compared to fossil fuels, but geo-thermal sources aren't available everywhere where electricity is needed. As someone who lives on an island where geo-thermal is the primary source of electricity, I can say the price of electricity isn't cheap.

Ending unemployment by creating 20 million jobs needed to solve the climate crisis:

Not quite sure how this number was attained. Does it factor in the number of jobs that will be eliminated by killing the fossil fuel industry?

Directly invest an historic $16.3 trillion public investment toward these efforts:

Not sure where this $16,300,000,000,000 will come from.

A just transition for workers:

"This plan will prioritize the fossil fuel workers who have powered our economy for more than a century and who have too often been neglected by corporations and politicians. We will guarantee five years of a worker’s current salary, housing assistance, job training, health care, pension support, and priority job placement for any displaced worker, as well as early retirement support for those who choose it or can no longer work."

I suspect this will work as well as Joseph Stalin's Five Year Plans.

As president, Bernie will: Fully electrify and decarbonize our transportation sector.

  Does he really believe he can replace every diesel and internal combustion powered vehicle with ones powered by electricity? Even allowing for his plan to provide grants and trade-in programs for people to obtain electrical vehicles, nothing short of outlawing gas powered automobiles, as well as gasoline itself, will prevent people who want conventional cars from buying one.

Progressives, such as the writer of an article at belatina.com support the idea that - ".......if elected as President, Sanders would immediately forgo Congressional approval and declare a national emergency using his executive powers from the White House, a move that would allow his administration to act quickly in implementing sweeping changes to our energy system."

Those on the Left are completely aware that Sanders must employ dictatorial powers and probably martial law to fully implement his Green New Deal. Without such powers, Sanders will find his plan even more difficult to pass than Trump's plan to build a wall.

Poor Man's Mocha Java

After publishing my last post [This Blog at Nearly Thirteen Years ] I make a slight change with one of the gadgets on this page; basically, an update on my most popular posts.

With this arrangement, a post from August, 2014 [My New Beverage of Choice.] pops up near the top. In that post, I wrote of my having developed a taste for hot green tea with sugar and calamansi. Over the years, I've not been drinking quite as much green tea as I was when that post was written, but coincidentally, I've been drinking more green tea w/calamansi the past few days, after a neighbor gave us quite a lot of calamansi from their tree.

I went back and read what I had written five years ago. My method of making the beverage today is slightly different from 2014. I put in the juice of several of the fruits - with sugar - prior to my adding the hot water and tea bag.

The five years in Sibulan has brought about another change in my beverage(s) of choice. Before moving here, I would not touch instant coffee, nor would I add anything to the brewed coffee other than sugar occasionally. Now, it's instant coffee, brown sugar and loads of Coffee-Mate. For a breakfast treat, my first coffee of the day also has Bear Brand Choco Milk Powder as a major ingredient.

Still, even with my switching back to coffee from green tea, I haven't noticed any ghosts. nor have I been hearing strange voices as described by the BBC in 2009.