Mario USA

This video popped up in my recommendeds last night.

Damn, sexy Peach!

But really what I wanted to draw attention to is Mario 2. Well, what we know as Super Mario Bros. 2.

If you’re not in the know, there was this Nintendo game called Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic. Maybe it looks a little familiar to you?

Back in the late 80s, Nintendo wanted to put out a Mario Bros. sequel to international markets, but determined that the real Mario Bros. 2 was a too difficult and too similar to the original (this game would later come to be know over here as The Lost Levels).

So instead, they took Doki Doki Panic and basically reskinned it as a Mario game. Viola!

But wait – Shy Guy, Birdo…these have become time-honored staples of the franchise. Surely they had them in Japan, right? Right!

The reskinned Mario Doki Doki Panic was released in Japan as Mario USA.

U-S-A! U-S-A!

I knew about the Doki Doki reskin, but never knew about the Japanese release/naming of the game. Until I saw this video…

Neato.

-Bushi

bushi

The Bad Sleep Well

It’s been a while! Happy 2021 and all that. Not a whole lot of reading or writing being done these days; fatherhood and entrepreneurship take a lot.

Also I don’t like this stupid new WordPress interface. I’ve fallen out of the habit of writing these posts. I got a flat tire! I didn’t have change for cab fare! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! IT WASN’T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!

I have been doing *a bit* of gaming and watching when I can scrape together some globules of time. Maybe I’ll post again soon about the gaming component.

Lucky dog that I am, I’ve been gifted a few old J films over the past couple birthdays and Christmases, and I just recently got around to viewing one of Kurosawa’s lesser known works – The Bad Sleep Well (悪い奴ほどよく眠る). I won’t give any plot summary here, in case you want to check it out for yourself, but suffice it to say this isn’t Kurosawa’s usual take on feudal or post-war Japan. This one takes aim at the country’s corporate culture, corruption, greed, and the nature and banality of evil.

A few thoughts with a little bit of spoileriness:

  • Great visuals and camerawork, as is typical for Kurosawa. In Kagemusha, he made brilliant work of color. Here, he keeps up with his expert employ of light and shadow.
  • While his character ultimately falls a little flat due to the writing, Mifune is great, as always. The guy was the archetypal samurai, but he sure had range.
  • Takashi Shimura as a bad guy!
  • A lot of well done scenes; the setup in the first act starts off a bit confusing, but comes together brilliantly.
  • If you read any reviews of this film, you’ll almost inevitably find that the reviewer was disappointed with the ending. I can’t disagree. It wasn’t completely unexpected; in fact it was Shakespearean and quite J. But unsatisfying.

-Bushi

bushi

DS9 and Fatherhood Feels

It’s not a unique phenomenon – to experience old things differently after initiation to parenthood. Nor is it new to me – I’m pretty sure I’ve commented about this on Twitter at some point over the past couple of years, if not on the blog. But man, it’s a hell of a thing, to be so moved by something like a campy scifi  TV show.

I recently started watching through Star Trek: Deep Space Nine again, for maybe the third time. Every few years I get the urge to watch through one of the old series, and being that I’ve already done Voyager and TNG over the past couple of years, it was time.

DS9 occupies a weird space in Star Trek for me. Many fans claim it as their favorite series, often citing the dark Dominion storyline as particularly appealing. For me it falls behind Voyager (I know, I’m a weirdo) and TNG somewhere, but I still quite enjoy it. The writers and cast did a commendable job in striking a balance between the old Star Trek camp (as seen in the fillery Ferengi Adventures episodes) and a more modern-toned grittiness.

Maybe DS9 isn’t higher up on my favorites list because while I liked individual characters, the cast as a whole just never really did it for me for whatever reason. Still, in my rewatch I’m gaining a new appreciation for some of DS9’s denizens. In particular, as you may have guessed, I’m finding a lot to like about Ben Sisko and his son, Jake. Or more specifically, their relationship.

Sure, DS9 isn’t the first Star Trek to prominently feature a father-son, or even parent-child relationship. And it wasn’t the first to do it well. TNG had a rather well crafted one, as a matter of fact. Data and Lal only got one episode, though, unfortunately.

datalal

(Boom – suck it, Wesley!)

Perhaps one of the main reasons I appreciate and am more affected by the Siskos than the Crushers, aside from superior acting, is the father-son part. It’s naturally easier for me to put myself in Sisko’s shoes, being a father to a son myself. It could also just be that Benjamin and Jake are more likable as characters than Beverly or Wesley. Whether or not that’s a function of acting or writing, I’m not sure. Though as an aside, it is amusing to see Avery Brooks play such a down-to-earth, normal seeming guy in Ben Sisko when Brooks is such a nut in real life.

Now Crusher may be a good mother, but I guess I never really felt that sold on her relationship with her son.

With Sisko, by contrast, it’s immediately clear what a good and devoted father he is. He’s affectionate, patient, and interested. Ben and Jake talk, and they spend quality time together.

Incidentally, I was also struck by a Brometheus tweet the other day:

It resonated with me because I ask myself sometimes if I’m doing enough with my son. When I get home in the evening, tired from a long day of work behind me and more work ahead of me after he goes to bed, am I taking the lazy way out when I just sit on the couch and watch him playing with his trains? Am I going to regret it someday, that I wasn’t more engaged? I’d rather not find out. I need to redouble my efforts.

But back to DS9.

Of course it’s only a fiction, but I think it speaks to reality. You can see that Sisko did things right in how devoted Jake is to him. Of course as Jake ages, both father and son change. Eventually he makes a best friend and no longer orbits Dad. He becomes interested in girls. He develops a passion for writing. Ben has to learn to let go, but he supports his son through each of these steps, actively. And they still take trips and do activities together as time permits.

It’s a hell of a thing. I think The Visitor is probably the closest a TV show has made me come to crying. It’s just a TV show! I’m not choking up – you are!

siskos

At any rate, I am feeling man feels and gah!

-Bushi

bushi

Muh Switch! or “Pandemic ‘Profiteering’ and ‘Price-Gouging'”

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – these are strange and difficult times. With the pandemic raging and quarantine protocols widely in effect, there’s been discovery and revelation. It turns out that although cheap stuff is good, having large swaths of your supply chain based in an authoritarian, petri dish of a country isn’t so much.

But I’m not going to rag on Communism right now. Instead I just wanted to share my frustration and concern with what I’ve seen here in the good old US of A. I already ranted about this on Twitter, so I’ll try not to retread too much.

I understand the anxiety of people who can’t find toilet paper at their local grocery store, then pop onto Amazon or eBay and are horrified to see something like this:

tp

“Price gouging!” they exclaim as they mash the “report seller” link.

We live in relatively soft, cushy times here. Now I’m not saying I’d like to wipe my butt with leaves and grass or the pages of old Daniel Steele books, but if I had to I could. And yet, toilet paper is considered an essential good. Ok, fine. It is what it is. There are no real comparable alternatives to toilet paper on the market (unless you count those flushable moist wipes, maybe?).

Hopefully someone’s working on those three seashells.

seashells

But you know what’s not an essential? A Nintendo Switch. Your favorite brand of pasta sauce. The complete series DVD set of Lost. Dumbbells.

And yet…

switch

To be fair, I think most news outlets I’ve read have been pretty straight about what “price-gouging” actually is. It’s the unfair price inflation of “essential goods and services.”

Part of the problem here is that words are hard. Especially subjective words like “essential.” It doesn’t help when the government gets to decide what “essential” means.

You really start to see the confusion and outrage on social media and in places like Facebook buying/selling groups. I can kinda get it – a mom or dad who’s confined at home thinks “It is essential for me to be able to entertain my kids who have been trapped at home for weeks and who I am stuck with 24-7 since I am now working from home. It’s bullshit that the video game system they want is selling for 2x the retail price!”

And I get it. It sucks. I really want to buy a Ring Fit Adventure, which was originally retailing for $80. But it’s been sold out everywhere for a while now, unless you want to pay up on Amazon or eBay and fork over $300.

Me, personally, I think “Gee, that sucks. Wish I had got one when they were available for cheaper. Guess I’ll wait and see if supply ever catches up with demand.”

But a disheartening amount of people seem to be thinking “This should be illegal. This must be illegal! Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Here’s the thing about reselling and resellers – while there are some unscrupulous folk and some shady ways of going about their business, by and large they perform a valuable service. You may not want to pay $500 for a Switch, but someone does and they are willing and able to pay. They may not want to leave their house, or maybe they live in a small town with few places to buy video games and consoles. And if you have $500, you at least have the opportunity to buy one online, too.

And how much money is that scummy price gouger making? He’s charging $500! He’s making hundreds off of poor parents!

Well…about that. Let’s assume the sellers is some dude who went to Target or GameStop when there were Switches to be had, and bought up 10 consoles.

First off, the guy just dropped $3,000 + sales tax. So assuming a 6% sales tax, let’s say he just spent $3,180 on 10 Switches.  So there’s the initial capital that he had to save and plunk down.

Let’s say he is able to sell a Switch for $500 on eBay. $500 – $318 = $182. He’s also going to be paying eBay a 10% fee and Paypal a 3% fee. So now we’re at $500 – $318 – $50 – $15 = $117. And that’s not even accounting for shipping, which will knock off a few more bucks.

By charging $500, a reseller is making a profit of about $117 by selling a Switch on eBay. Amazon charges higher fees, so it would be less than that if they sold through Amazon. Selling all 10, he’s looking at about $1170 profit, then.

That’s not too shabby, and it’s a flip I would make. And yet, the guy’s not making a killing. A big part of the equation here is that most buyers don’t think about (or care about) the cost to the seller.

EBay and Amazon could help alleviate the situation somewhat by temporarily reducing seller fees, allowing some savings to be passed onto the end customers. But they don’t.

There’s also the risk involved. Buyers are rightly concerned about shady online sellers trying to scam them out of their cash. But it works both ways. There are buyers out there who will claim an item was received damaged or defective or that the box was empty, and the platforms tend to side with the customers in such disputes. Thankfully cases like these aren’t terribly common, but they do happen. Especially with high-value items like electronics. That’s a risk that a seller has to bear. They get scammed out of one Switch and all of a sudden they’re down $300 – almost 1/3 of the total profit they were expecting out of this batch.

Some people seem to think it’s unfair for them to pay above retail, or at least much above retail. So how much is okay? $350 for a Switch? Then the reseller would be making $350 – $318 – $35 – $10.50 = $4.50. Ah yes, solid work for $4 (let’s pretend USPS will mail that package for free).

But wait, if not for the resellers, I’d be able to get a Switch at Walmart! Possibly, but probably not. Sure, there were resellers who were able to drive around and snatch a bunch up. But right now demand for Switches is sky-high. This is not an artificially inflated demand. Nintendo just hasn’t been able to make enough.

If no one were willing to pay $500 for a Switch, prices would start to come down. Rather than sit and wait, some (re)sellers would gradually lower prices until they found a price point at which buyers would buy. And other sellers would follow suit……..

switches

The point I’m trying to make is that there are a lot of people out there right now who support capitalism on paper, but not when push comes to shove. I think they don’t understand or care what “essential” means when it comes to price-gouging, they don’t know or care what “fair” means when it comes to either price-gouging or profiteering, and/or they don’t understand the basic economics of supply and demand.

-Bushi

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I am sowing

Sheesh – soon I’m going to have to rename this place the Gita Bushi blog.

Just wanted to pop in to throw up another “I live!” post. The fact is, I don’t have much time for myself these days…which means I don’t have much time or material to share here or at Bushi SFF.

I’m still paranoid about being outed and flogged for my impolitic opinions and beliefs and trolleries, so there’s not a ton I can reveal right now, except to say that after my pickle empire necessarily crumbled to ruins, I started up another small business. It’s been a lot of hard work, and being an entrepreneur in addition to being a husband, father, and working a full time job leaves little time for amusements.

But we’re building a foundation, and I hope the venture will grow into a family business over time. We’ve been at it since about February/March, and have a few thousand buckaroos that we didn’t have before.

My guilty pleasure these days is a little Dota Underlords in the fragmented moments between toil and dream and…toilet. I’ll end on that TMI note.

-Bushi

bushi

Counting Digital Blessings

I’ve been ruminating on some things lately. Having a kid has made me more contemplative of life in general, I think, but I’ve also been considering my job and where things are going with my life. Not in a bad way, mind you, but we’re not as financially well-off as we’d like. Who is, right? But compared to many of my peers, my path has kind of meandered and I feel like I’ve traded some interesting life experiences for economic prosperity. And now I’m trying to make up for it, in a way.

At any rate, I have a lot to be thankful for. I think as a Christian this is especially important to remember, but everyone regardless of creed would do well to count their blessings from time to time.

Alex of Amatopia got me thinking the other day, about the Internet in particular. It’s something he’s been talking about recently, and on Twitter he asked whether people felt the Internet were a net good or bad in their lives.

Now I’m not sure such a thing can be determined, quite frankly. Would the world be better off without electricity? If Nixon hadn’t won the presidency, or if he hadn’t been found out in the Watergate scandal? Would my life be better if I had pursued a different career, or if I had Mexican food for lunch yesterday instead of a sandwich?

And of course if we’re being intellectually honest about this, “good” and “bad” and “better” should be recognized as distinct from more or less convenient.

Do I lead a “better” life because I can do a Google search to access something approaching the sum of humanity’s knowledge in seconds? It’s certainly helpful. But does it make me a better man? Does it bring me closer to God?

I honestly don’t know. As I said to Alex on Twitter and as he notes in the above-linked blog post, the Internet is a tool to be used for both good and evil. Most applications are probably morally benign or banal.

But I’ve been thinking about how it’s improved my life, and decided to list some of the ways. If nothing else, sometimes these thoughts need to be forced out and formed to word. It’s too easy to yield to anger and despair and bitterness in this world. So sometimes I need to count my blessings:

1. My Family

This one is pretty straightforward. I met my wife through online dating. If not for the Internet, I wouldn’t have met her, and my son wouldn’t exist.

2. Communication

The Internet has been a real boon in my life for keeping in touch with the people who are important to me. After college, I lived in Japan for several years. Because of the Internet, I was able to keep in touch with my family and friends. I recorded videos of my life there to share with them online. I frequently talked and played games with Kaiju. Hell, I’m talking to him online right now as I write this.

My wife and son have been in Thailand for the past three months visiting her family, and I’m so grateful that I can use FaceTime to see them almost every day.

And through this blog, I get to interact with you fine people!

3. Companionship

I can’t say that anyone I’ve met online, aside from my wife, has become one of my best friends, but I’ve made some good ones and otherwise forged some solid connections. Back in the Age of the Message Board, I befriended a few people who I still correspond with now and then. We’ve exchanged baby shower gifts, for Pete’s sake.

Nathan (Gita Bushi) is a good example of someone I’m grateful to have met online, as are a number of other people from the blasted landscape called Twitter. I’ve met some people who share my tastes in fiction and are of like mind in theological matters, and it’s been a blessing to know them.

4. Exploded Marketplaces

You no longer have to go to the library or the bookstore to get books (though they can still be fun places to visit). You can buy books online for mere dollars and have them arrive at your doorstep within days. You can download e-books online, in some places for free! Throughout much of history, literacy was a privilege many common people missed out on, and books were treasures. In this respect, we truly possess an embarrassment of riches through the Internet.

The big publishers’ and retailers’ ability to gatekeep has been significantly diminished, now that anyone can put out their own book on Amazon or another online platform. There’s a lot more out there, for good or ill!

Don’t even get me started on video games! The rise of Steam was a real gain for gamers. There’s a lot of crap out there, sure, but there have been a ton of excellent independently published video games now, and consumers are no longer at the mercy of AAA studios and their myriad loot box variations.

And of course there’s media. I’m grateful I can hop around the Internet gleaning news and information from a ton of online sources rather than having to rely on a handful of TV networks and newspapers to tell me what they think I need to know.

5.  Opportunity

Sliding into this from the last item, I’ve been afforded many opportunities in my life because of the Internet. I worked for a stretch as a contractor for a small publishing company, and I did all my work remotely from home. After returning from Japan, I also did a few jobs translating from Japanese to English, done online.

(Update): And geez, how could I forget – I’m a published SFF author because I was able to submit a story online to Cirsova magazine!

And several months ago my wife and I started a family business that’s run primarily online (still not ready to go into the particulars at this point). We are actively improving our lives and working to better our family’s well-being because of the opportunities provided by online marketplaces.

I should add that almost all of the jobs I’ve had since college were advertised online and were applied to online. Of course not all of us have to worry about this (I think many jobs are still gotten through connections), but can you imagine having to go back to searching the newspapers for job ads?

The Internet has definitely had some negative impact on my life, as well, but I’m not going to dwell on that right now. For the time being, I’m grateful.

-Bushi

bushi

Hustling…and Zombies

I know, I know – I kind of dropped off the face of the earth. Posts have been sparse here for a while now, but I haven’t even been writing over at SFF Central.

Truth be told, my wife and I started up a business a couple months ago and that’s where the majority of my time has been going when I’m not at my full-time gig or rearing the bushi kid. No, we’re not exactly growing and selling premium pickles. I’m not willing to say much more about it right now, though. The super tolerant crowd is always ready to destroy your life for your wrong opinions and I’m not overeager to expose my family to that.

have scraped together a few moments here and there – on lunch breaks and stolen chunks of sleep time – to play Plants vs Zombies: Heroes. I’m sure the superhero bubble is poised to burst at any time now, but I love me a good collectible card game. PvZ Heroes has a lot going for it – it’s got enough variety of cards and strategy to make things interesting and frequently different, but it’s simple enough to learn and play quickly. Matches are usually only a few minutes long and so far it doesn’t feel unfair in the same way that these kinds of games too easily can.

Of course it’s taken certain elements from Hearthstone – you get an allowance of spend-it-or-lose-it sun or brains (aka mana) at an increasing rate each turn. But there are enough differences from Hearth to make it its own unique thing. You manage lanes, you get periodic super powers unique to each hero, and zombies and plants have different turn dynamics.

Oh and there’s also PvP. I love that wood tier is actually a real starting placement here and not just a put-down.

I’ve also been crawling through Jack Vance’s The Last Castle in small increments. I can sometimes find 15-20 minutes before heading to work in the morning, but if the baby wakes up early then all bets are off.

At any rate, I’m still alive.

-Bushi

bushi

Big Mother

Julia sank wearily down into the deep cushions of the staff lounge couch. The TV was on, set to some new reality show where politicians cooked meals for celebrities, but Julia hardly noticed. She was still processing.

A grueling, 36 hour labor. Normally a C-section would have been in order, but the patient refused to be cut. And at the end of it all…

Her eyes flicked up to the door. She could still hear the baby crying, though she knew it was just in her head. The Repose Room was soundproof.

Shaking her head as if to expel such thoughts, she looked down at the coffee table. The various sections of Today’s USA were scattered across its surface. The top-most, “Health and Living,” prominently displayed an article titled “New Healthcare Law Protects the Most Vulnerable.” Her eyes scanned the text; apparently it was a story about how the newly expanded universal healthcare system would greatly improve the lives of underpaid journalists.

Julia heaved a heavy sigh and buried her face in her hands. She had known that remaining in perinatal medicine would eventually test who she was. She just hadn’t expected it to happen so soon. Not here. Not at St. Agnes.

But they had allowed it to happen. Jennifer and the doctor spoke for a few minutes, in private, with the patient. And then the baby was wheeled out to the Repose Room.

Julia imagined her own daughter lying in the darkness, alone, left to expire. It was too much. The shock and confusion were gone, replaced by anger and determination.

She pulled herself up and hurried out of the staff room.

Kathy was leaning against the wall next to the Repose Room and nursing a cup of coffee while fiddling with her phone. The healthcare liaison looked up at Julia’s approach and smiled plastically.

“Hi, Julie. Are you okay?”

“No. Nothing about this is okay.”

Kathy reached for Julia’s arm, halting her entrance. She lowered her voice to a hush.

“Look, I know this is difficult. But we have to respect the mother’s choice.”

Julia shook off the restraining hand and entered the room. It was complete dark inside. The baby was no longer crying, but Julia could hear a soft whimpering. She paused as the door closed behind her and Kathy’s surprised exclamation was cut off.

She reached for her phone and unlocked the screen, using the light to look around the bare room. A sink and cabinet fixture was set against the wall – the same one found in nearly every modern examination room. In the corner opposite her stood the bassinet, mounted atop a sterile, steel cart. The baby lay swaddled inside.

As she stepped toward the infant, the door opened behind her and in stepped Kathy, accompanied by Jennifer, the shift supervisor.

“Julie, what are you doing? You shouldn’t be in here,” the senior nurse admonished softly, frowning. She reached into a pocket and drew out her own phone to further illuminate the dark room. Her other arm cradled a clipboard – clearly she had been interrupted while doing important paperwork.

“This isn’t right, Jen. We can’t do this.”

Jennifer’s face softened. It was Kathy who replied.

“It was Mrs. Peters’ decision after speaking with Dr. Danton. Even Mr. Peters agreed. It’s her right. Come on now, everything is going to be all right. Let’s just…leave it alone.”

“Not it, Kathy. Her. You want to let her die!” Julia had difficulty controlling her voice now, and the baby started to whimper loudly.

“It’s not up to me,” Kathy answered. “And it’s not up to you. The infant simply isn’t viable.”

“What the hell do you mean she isn’t viable? She’s laying there right now, breathing on her own. Alive.”

Jennifer cut in. “What Kathy means is the baby can’t survive on her own, without state resources. You know that. She’d have to be put up, and that’s expensive. And there will be no legal parents to put up climate credits…I don’t like it any more than you do, but there’s nothing we can do.”

“For God’s sake, she’s perfectly healthy, Jen!” Julia was practically shouting.

Kathy answered “It’s an unfortunate rarity, but post-birth abor-”

“Don’t call it that,” Julia snapped. “We’re letting a healthy baby die. And for what? Why? Why are they doing this?”

Jennifer and Kathy exchanged an uncomfortable glance and the former answered “Her eyes.”

“What? What about her eyes?” Julia asked.

“The Peters ordered blue eyes, but the baby’s are brown. It’s not what they paid for. Mrs. Peters said that she always wanted a daughter with blue eyes and blond hair, like a doll. She said that…that having to raise a botched child would be too traumatic for her,” Jennifer muttered.

Julia shook her head in disbelief. They were all silent for a moment.

“I’m taking her,” she said finally.

Jennifer’s eyes widened in surprise. Kathy looked scandalized.

“You can’t do that, Julie. It’s illegal!” the liaison exclaimed.

“Think about this,” cautioned the supervisor. “They’ll fire you. Hell, you’ll probably go to jail.”

“I don’t care,” replied Julia. “I can’t do nothing.”

Kathy glared angrily at her, looked meaningfully at Jennifer, and then exited the Repose Room quickly.

“All right,” said Jennifer. “But you’d better hurry. No doubt Kathy has gone for security.” Jennifer, too, stepped out.

Julia switched off her phone and flicked on the room’s fluorescent light. The baby girl squinted and began once again to cry.

 

-Bushi

bushi

 

 

My favorite Liam Neeson deaths

 

I can’t remember what thought process lead to this, but I was going to attempt a list of all the movies in which Liam Neeson dies.

It’s been done already, though. Of course it has.

liam neeson

So instead, here are my favorite Neeson deaths, of the ones I’ve seen:

1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Voiced by Liam Neeson, I’m not totally sure if Aslan’s death counts here, since there wasn’t really much (any?) voice work during the scene in question. However, it was probably the most affecting death on the list. Because Aslan is a good lion.

 

2. Krull: He was almost a no-name character here, but after having seen Krull so many times now, I can more deeply appreciate Kegan’s sacrifice.

Good start, Liam, to the years of deaths to follow.

 

3. Gangs of New York: Not everyone likes this movie, but I find it quite entertaining. What’s not to like about brutal hand-to-hand gang warfare in the streets of early New York? We don’t get to know Priest Vallon very well, but he’s painted as a good leader, a beloved father, and I guess a decent man (as decent as these street warriors can be?). Good death, Liam.

 

4. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace: Maybe not a great movie, maybe not a great performance, but when I was younger watching this, Qui Gon’s death was the highlight of the film. Not that I was glad he died, but it was exciting.

 

5. Batman Begins: I remember this being a pretty good movie, but honestly neither the film nor the Neeson death here were that memorable for me. But there are worse ways to go than in a runaway train crash, right?

 

6. Excalibur: Off-screen, so not really sure how much this counts. But Gawain was kind of a dick, so serves him right. Awesome flick, for what it’s worth.

 

7. Schindler’s List: Another off-screen, just mentioned at the end of the film, I believe. Good movie, though.

-Bushi

bushi

 

 

Christmas Music

Merry Christmas (Eve), everyone!

Every year, right around Thanksgiving, radio stations start saturating the airwaves with Christmas music. Some people eat it up. Others get sick of it before Christmas Day even rolls around.

Over the years I’ve vacillated, and have landed somewhere around mild forbearance and occasional flickers of enjoyment. Some Christmas music just feels so vapid and asinine to me these days, though, that I have trouble recapturing anything near the pleasure felt in youth. Have you ever really listened to “Santa Baby?”

It’s become quite a cliched complaint – “Christmas has become too commercial.” It’s also become too secular. How many Christmas movies and songs these days completely leave out Christ? Many? Most?

Ironically, in voicing this observation it’s all too easy to sound the Grinch. I do think about this stuff a lot more now that I’m a dad, though. It’s not like I’m going to gatekeep everything my kids are exposed to, but I can certainly exert my influence. In fact I’d say it’s a parental duty.

Anyway, I’m not going to dwell on the bad right now. Instead, I’d like to share some renditions of a few of my favorite Christmas songs.

-Bushi

bushi