Friday, May 21, 2010

Nostalgic Thoughts

Intensive writing about my past has turned me nostalgic again, Munchy Mart is not helpful by providing my favorite snack food from the good old days.

Rant: I don't like Munchy in particular, their sandwiches are soggy, their pies are cracking open after sitting in the warming drawer for days and you will need compressed air from the chemistry lab to effectively blow on it. Oh and every time I have fits of vanilla coke withdrawal, they happen to run out of stock. Coincidence? I think not. I boycotted them for an entire year from last April, and then I stopped because I realised that they did not need my business to stay afloat, and I am not deriving any benefit from them either thriving or closing down.

I must have been distracted, let's go back to the food itself.

Potato Twists said to be of "Vegetable Flavor", but it does not taste like any vegetable known to men unless MSG grows on trees. It is not sweet or sour nor savory or bitter, but drifting in some intermediate state that intrigues you to have another handful to figure out if this tastes like anything that occurs in nature.

I have had it for a long time until I moved here, and in my visits to the old country in recent years it had largely disappeared from the shelves. Nutrition information is not mandatory in the old country, and I am surprised to read that each 30g serving contains 8g of fat. Hmmmmm this will be my last pack in a long time. /Munch
It has been a rather stormy day here and this sight is unfortunately ubiquitous. Seeing abandoned umbrellas makes my stomach cringe and eyes blur. Umbrellas are the most intimate accessories man ever invented; they are diminutive servants folded away when not needed, and answer your call for shelter from precipitation without any hesitation. Umbrellas are people's friends as much as canine animals are, and they ought to be treated with dignity whether in health or sickness, plenty or poverty. Trashing them after your wanton abuse by using them as improvised sails or speedbreaks, is, crimes against human civilisation on the same level of selling your wife.

Sentiments aside, what is wrong with the world? Sure these umbrellas are broken, but they can always be fixed with a couple of bolts and/or rivets. In case the frame is beyond repair, other parts will surely have some uses, and I can never squeeze them into the bin without exhausting the options.

Notwithstanding my usual anti-Green stance, I actually do care about the environment. I enjoy and appreciate the offerings of the consumerist world, yet I nearly always partake with a strong underlying guilt. I have always what I can to help, yet I am determined that any actions is to be guided by science towards the long term benefits of humanity. I am not a redneck, I am plainly reactionary to certain hippie tree-hugger types who gave rational environmentalist a bad name. To quote Patrick Moore, the one who co-founded and left with regrets what is now known as Greenpeace:

"...I later learned that the environmental movement is not always guided by science. As we celebrate Earth Day today, this is a good lesson to keep in mind.
At first, many of the causes we championed, such as opposition to nuclear testing and protection of whales, stemmed from our scientific knowledge of nuclear physics and marine biology. But after six years as one of five directors of Greenpeace International, I observed that none of my fellow directors had any formal science education. They were either political activists or environmental entrepreneurs. Ultimately, a trend toward abandoning scientific objectivity in favor of political agendas forced me to leave Greenpeace in 1986.
The breaking point was a Greenpeace decision to support a world-wide ban on chlorine. Science shows that adding chlorine to drinking water was the biggest advance in the history of public health, virtually eradicating water-borne diseases such as cholera. And the majority of our pharmaceuticals are based on chlorine chemistry. Simply put, chlorine is essential for our health.
My former colleagues ignored science and supported the ban, forcing my departure. Despite science concluding no known health risks – and ample benefits – from chlorine in drinking water, Greenpeace and other environmental groups have opposed its use for more than 20 years.
Opposition to the use of chemicals such as chlorine is part of a broader hostility to the use of industrial chemicals. Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, “Silent Spring,” had a significant impact on many pioneers of the green movement. The book raised concerns, many rooted in science, about the risks and negative environmental impact associated with the overuse of chemicals. But the initial healthy skepticism hardened into a mindset that treats virtually all industrial use of chemicals with suspicion.
Sadly, Greenpeace has evolved into an organization of extremism and politically motivated agendas.......This fear campaign merely distracts the public from real environmental threats.
We all have a responsibility to be environmental stewards. But that stewardship requires that science, not political agendas, drive our public policy."
So, please, people, give your torn, hurt and unloved umbrellas to me, I am planning to build an orphanage for canopies.


Live performance by Issei Fubi Sepia in, uh, Trafalgar Square right in front of Nelson's column on December 18, 1984, for the FNS show one week ahead of Christmas. (Update: The video appears to have been axed by YouTube. If anyone is still interested in the song, follow the PV link below. I might re-upload it one day)

Sepia definitely belongs to the 80s, gaining popularity from an unknown kerbside artists' group on the pedestrian streets of Shibuya, to a national phenomenon. The group did not last long as a whole and had been pretty much forgotten except this song. (Original music video here, somehow it reminds me of Village People) Digging Youtube archives is much easier than trying to research any topic on nico, I always come up with one or two gems like this in every attempt. Anyway, perfectly awkwardly exotic video to end the post. SOIYA!

P.S. Just translated the last stanza of the lyrics out of boredom, duh, totally missed the poetic subtlety but at least people will understand the 25%.

波が続く様に 時の刻みも又続く
So time carries on like tide
風も吹き止まぬ 時の刻みも打ち止まぬ
As long as the wind is blowing, the clock will keep ticking
やれこれと返す 事のべの中で
Rise and fall, over and over again in this world
何が生きていく 証なんだろか
For what remains, is proof of the way things were