Before returning Four Queens to the library, I had a quick look at Nancy Goldstone’s speculation of what would have happened if Saint Louis of France had struck up a deal with the Mongols, fellow enemies of the muslim empire:
Louis was no match for the descendants of Genghis Khan…Given the history of Mongol behaviour, of which there was substantial precedent, the alliance would have been broken as soon as the Muslim forces were subdued. Louis, Charles [of Anjou], and Robert [of Artois] would have been beheaded with ruthless efficiency, Marguerite [queen of France] and Beatrice [Countess of Provence] would have been sold into slavery, and the course of European history would have been changed forever.
Closet Zombie Fans
Monday April 11th 2011, 9:44 am
Filed under: Zombie
Whenever I read World War Z in public, people I had no idea were zombie fans speak up. “Good book” or “I didn’t know you were into zombies too.” I always say the latter back to them – I had no idea.
In the last two weeks or so, I am delighted to have made a few more zombie fan friends:
- A work-study student at my job came out as a zombie fan. I think she wants to be a lawyer so this was a nice surprise.
- At my work-study placement, many of the staff read and watch zombie genre stuff. One of the staff member’s daughters is even making her own live action zombie short using her friends from school. The fourteen-year-old was inspired by The Walking Dead TV series. I passed on my duplicate copy of The Zombie Survival Guide.
- At a Yelp party (a whole new community of people I didn’t know about), Fat Chuck Norris and his coworker quizzed me on the best zombie hideout in the Lower Mainland. I hadn’t thought of this place and I am not telling you about it. But Fat Chuck Norris, his coworker and I made a deal that they sticks to their hideout location and I put dibs on a branch of this hideout closer to my house.
A Last Look at Japan’s Troubles
Monday April 04th 2011, 5:32 pm
Filed under: Japan
…for a while at least. I have noticed that there is less and less about Japan in the foreign media. While I am still looking up stories, I probably won’t have a chance to update for a while. Here are the stories that focus on the people involved in the disasters. (And Ban is the dog rescued after three weeks on his roof. As everyone knows, Ban is now reunited with his owner.)
About the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant:
- An unnamed 31-year-old contractor tells about how events unfolded at the plant when the earthquake struck.
- The BBC reports that Kazuhiko Kokubo, 24, and Yoshiki Terashima, 21, were two workers who died at the plant.
- Some refugees were going from shelter to shelter as the evacuation expanded, according to the Mainichi newspaper.
- An 84-year-old geisha Tsuyako Ito (stage name Chikano Fujima) was planning to celebrate her retirement at 88 with a final party, but lost her kimonos and shamisen, along with her house, in the tsunami. She’s still confident she will be ready for the party.
- Another senior, 83-year-old Tami Akanuma recounts how she escaped with her shih tzu, Babu.
- Some more incredible footage of the tsunami from the BBC.
- City PR official Masakazu Sasaki lost his wife and three daughters, in this very sad article.
- Sake maker Yasuhiko Konno is missing eleven workers and his prize-winning sake brewery is destroyed.
- Here’s a Japan Times article on the massive clean-up, looking at Miyagi specifically.
- This Asahi story is a little grisly, but shows how the search for the missing started (it’s a few weeks old now).
- This other Asahi article looks at one town that was isolated and without food after the disaster. Students were washing canned food they scavenged for something to eat.
- Town official Jinichi Sasaki, after closing a floodgate, had so many near-death experiences on the day of the tsunami that he will hopefully win a lottery soon to make up for what he went through.
- Unfortunately, this other Japan Times article points out that there has been looting. City official Yoshihisa Sasaki says “The city…has heard reports of looting of smashed cars and properties and of fraudsters posing as bank officials offering to help distressed locals ‘manage their funds and lost credit cards.’” Plus “around ¥40 million was reportedly stolen from a bank in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture.” There have also been stabbings and a rape.
- A sad story about 9-year-old Toshihito Aisawa who couldn’t find his family: he escaped from the car his family raced to outrun the tsunami. A few days later, he at least found some relatives including a cousin who was with him in the car when the tsunami hit.
- Yet one of the best stories comes from Miyagi, where super-cool Hideaki Akaiwa put on his scuba gear, jumped into the waters and swam to save his wife. After rescuers couldn’t find his mother later, he again donned his wet suit and plunged into the water to go rescue her next. Then he went out to look for more people.
There’s also some news on cultural properties in Japan and how they have been affected.