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Topics - Griffith

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Shootin' the Breeze / LAKERS!
« on: June 15, 2009, 04:22:42 AM »

Taking a break from rioting. :griffnotevil:

Vagabond / Painting with water
« on: June 11, 2009, 07:51:06 PM »
This thread, originally the Inn's Gallery by Th3Branded0ne (see next post), has been created, or recreated, for a two purposes; first, to officially announce the brand new Vagabond Inn drawing board!

That's right, now there's a place to virtually draw with water, or just the water tool, anytime you please. Walter just implemented it tonight so it's still a work in progress, but also did us the honor of making the first entry, so I think we're off to a great start. Anyway, check it out, register, and draw away!

If you're still here, the main purpose of this thread is to create a Vagabond section equivalent to the Creation Station, for people to showcase their artistic talent as it relates to Vagabond, Musashi, eastern culture, or anything really if you feel like putting it here. Drawings, paintings, sculptures, carvings, photoshops, 3D models, recolors, music, whatever you can think of, anything goes! I'm even thinking of showcasing some artwork by Inoue himself, just to get it out there. As a matter of fact, what better way to begin than with a piece by the master himself:

I picked this one first because I think it's a nice blend of his of watercolor painting and beautiful ink work, a contrast highlighted in his two Vagabond artbooks, and companion pieces, Water and Sumi, with each focusing on one of these distinctive styles. You can see more of the artbooks here, and learn more about them here.

Now, since nobody should have to follow that up short of Kentarou Miura, I'll go ahead and bite the bullet with the first fan submission, an appropriately humble recolor of Musashi from volume 22, episode 191:

Musashi, fittingly, focusing on his "art."

Just some basic photoshop filter effects and sepia tone, oldschool recolor style.

Anyway, I hope you'll feel inspired by Inoue's artwork to create and contribute something of your own, or at least comment on the works others submit with praise or constructive feedback when appropriate.

Thank you, and looking forward to what we can do!

Vagabond / Vagabond: Volume 30
« on: May 22, 2009, 05:55:09 AM »
Coming out the 28th.

Love the cover.


(Thanks Uriel)

News & Not News / Swine flu spreads sickness, death, alarm.
« on: April 25, 2009, 04:44:56 AM »

MEXICO CITY – A unique strain of swine flu is the suspected killer of dozens of people in Mexico, where authorities closed schools, museums, libraries and theaters in the capital on Friday to try to contain an outbreak that has spurred concerns of a global flu epidemic.

The worrisome new virus — which combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before — also sickened at least eight people in Texas and California, though there have been no deaths in the U.S.

"We are very, very concerned," World Health Organization spokesman Thomas Abraham said. "We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human ... It's all hands on deck at the moment."

Epidemiologists are particularly concerned because the only fatalities so far were in young people and adults.

The eight U.S. victims recovered from symptoms that were like those of the regular flu, mostly fever, cough and sore throat, though some also experienced vomiting and diarrhea.

U.S. health officials announced an outbreak notice to travelers, urging caution and frequent handwashing, but stopping short of telling Americans to avoid Mexico.

Mexico's Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova said 68 people have died of flu and the new swine flu strain had been confirmed in 20 of those deaths. At least 1,004 people nationwide were sick from the suspected flu, he said.

The geographical spread of the outbreaks also concerned the WHO — while 13 of the 20 deaths were in Mexico City, the rest were spread across Mexico — four in central San Luis Potosi, two up near the U.S. border in Baja California, and one in southern Oaxaca state.

Scientists have long been concerned that a new flu virus could launch a worldwide pandemic of a killer disease. A new virus could evolve when different flu viruses infect a pig, a person or a bird, mingling their genetic material. The resulting hybrid could spread quickly because people would have no natural defenses against it.

U.S. health officials said the outbreak is not yet a reason for alarm in the United States. The five people sickened in California and three in Texas have all recovered.

It's unclear how the eight, who became ill between late March and mid-April, contracted the virus because none were in contact with pigs, which is how people usually catch swine flu. And only a few were in contact with each other.

CDC officials described the virus as having a unique combination of gene segments not seen before in people or pigs. The bug contains human virus, avian virus from North America and pig viruses from North America, Europe and Asia. It may be completely new, or it may have been around for a while and was only detected now through improved testing and surveillance, CDC officials said.

The most notorious flu pandemic is thought to have killed at least 40 million people worldwide in 1918-19. Two other, less deadly flu pandemics struck in 1957 and 1968.

There's too much interesting info to quote it all, but you should really read the articles, anyway (all sorts of cool stuff about bird, pig, and human DNA viruses mixing into super viruses). Basically it's in Mexico, Texas, California (San Diego) and possibly even Queens New York, and is particularly nasty. It's also likely incubating anywhere at this point considering all the travel in and out of Mexico City. So far anywhere from 20 to 68 deaths by this particular flu, over a 1000 sick in Mexico, and 8 confirmed cases in the U.S (all recovered). That's 20 to 68 deaths because, according to the yahoo article, of the 68 people to die of flu only 20 have been confirmed to be from this strain (by name, you wouldn't think YaHoO! would be the less sensational news source =). Anyway, health officials are understandably concerned, as many are already on the lookout for potential pandemic viruses, but being very vague about how exactly worried they are and we should be, as they seem to struggling between warning people of possible serious danger here and not overreacting and starting a panic if it turns out to be not as bad as it looks like it could be. Bottom line, might be very serious, or might just be another flu story.

In any case, take care, everyone.

Those inducted were Jeff Beck, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Metallica, Run-D.M.C., Bobby Womack, but that doesn't tell the story. This thing has been getting bigger and cooler over the years (if anyone remembers the awesome jam video of My Guitar Gently Weeps in honor of George Harrison, with Prince playing lead hot dog), and this year seemed more grandiose than ever. I'm going to focus on the Metallica side of things, that's where the main performing side of the show was anyway. Run DMC went in the same night, with Eminem of all people on hand to induct them. Unfortunately, Run DMC didn't perform, in continued honor of the late Jam-Master Jay.

Metallica, after being inducted (by Flea) and giving their speeches (including Ray Burton representing the late Cliff Burton), plays a two song set with both Robert Trujillo and former bassist Jason Newsted on bass!


This still blows me away, considering the history of this band. Anyway, there's practically something for everybody here, because then that line up jams on Train Kept 'a Rolling with fellow inductee Jeff Beck, featuring Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, Ron Wood and Flea! Wow.

That's just ridiculous, if you're not at least a casual fan of someone in there, you probably don't like rock music. Anyway, I find it interesting that these HOF ceremonies keep getting bigger and better covered for media. It's a great opportunity to see musicians get together and play that usually wouldn't, and this was much cooler than any mainstream award show I've seen recently. Also, Kudos to Joe Perry for aging well. =)

News & Not News / News & Not News Megathread
« on: March 31, 2009, 05:32:22 PM »
Like the youtube thread, only for news & not news stories you don't really want to start a thread over, like this:

Sick Sea Turtle Swims Right to Hospital Doorstep

A sick sea turtle swims to the doorstep of the only place in the world that is licensed solely to treat turtles


A sick sea turtle made a special trip to the doctor, swimming across the keys to find the Turtle Hospital.
Stop reading if you've heard this one.

Why did the sea turtle cross the Florida Keys? To go to the doctor.

A loggerhead sea turtle nearly swam to the door step of the Florida Keys Turtle Hospital, the only licensed veterinary facility in the world that solely treats sea turtles.

The 73-pound reptile was suffering from a bacterial infection and somehow knew exactly where to go for help -- no Yellow Pages needed.

Staff members at the hospital actually waited several hours before treating the turtle because they thought it may have just been lost when it showed up at the dock of the treatment center.

But the turtle stuck around, probably unaware of the Turtle Hospital's "no walk-ins" policy.

Eventually, he was treated with meds and now has a new home in a blue tank until he's all better.

No doubt, the hospital will get plenty of referrals from their new patient when he is back with his friends -- Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael.

Oh, Todd.

Video Games / OnLive - The future of gaming... now?
« on: March 25, 2009, 06:03:54 PM »

Quote from: Yahoo! Games
New tech could make consoles obsolete
OnLive promises on-demand, streaming games

By Mike Smith

What if you could stream top-end games to your TV, just like a Youtube video that you can control? You'd never need to buy a console again.

That's the future envisaged by Palo Alto startup OnLive, which plans to launch a groundbreaking gaming service this winter. OnLive will supply players with a small set-top box, not much bigger than a Nintendo DS, which will plug into your TV and your home broadband connection. From there, you can start playing games just like those on the Xbox 360, PS3 or PC -- but with no install time, no waiting for downloads, and no need for big, noisy, expensive consoles cluttering up your living room. OnLive's service can be continually upgraded, too, so you'll never be stuck with obsolete hardware again.

Skeptical? So were we, until we actually sat down and played with an OnLive box last week. Even a blisteringly fast racer like Burnout Paradise was totally playable over the service, and top-spec shooter Crysis: Warhead -- which normally requires an expensive gaming PC -- ran excellently too. It's all rolled together with a slick interface that requires just a few button-presses to get playing.

OnLive also includes some features you might associate more with your DVR than with a gaming console, including a Replay feature that lets you save the last ten seconds of your gameplay, and send it to your friends.

PC gamers aren't left out, either: OnLive's service can be accessed with a browser plugin from either Mac or PC platforms, works identically to the TV version, and has hardware requirements so low you'll be able, the company boasts, to play the most advanced of games on a $300 netbook.

OnLive has already signed deals with an impressive range of partners -- including EA, Take-Two, and Ubisoft -- and promises to have an up-to-the-minute selection of games when the service launches. Along with Burnout and Crysis, we spotted Grand Theft Auto IV, LEGO Batman, and Mirror's Edge among the games on offer, although the lineup will likely change before the service launches.

There's a catch, though. Being an online, streaming service, OnLive is only going to be as good as your Internet connection. High-definition resolutions will require a higher-end broadband connection, and if your service is prone to drop out unexpectedly, you're probably going to wind up frustrated. Even if it works, all that streaming video's going to add up over the months, and heavy users might find themselves the receipient of some unwelcome attention from their ISPs. Modem users, needless to say, need not apply.

OnLive won't talk price, other than to say that they'll be competitive with subscription services like Xbox Live. The box itself is simple and cheap to make, they told us, and it's easy to imagine it being thrown in with subscriptions -- rather like a cable or satellite TV set-top box. Games will most likely be available to rent or buy, and with free demos that don't need to be downloaded.

It's funny, because just yesterday my father and I were casually discussing the future of gaming and how eventually there won't be consoles or individual hardware systems as we know them, but it will all run by proxy directly to your TV/computer online, just like... On Demand! Looks like the future was the next day. =)

Vagabond Information Desk / Viz Glossary
« on: March 04, 2009, 07:11:39 AM »
This reference was compiled from information provided in the back of Viz Media's editions of Vagabond and from Viz's, now defunct, Vagabond website. As far as we know, this information isn't compiled altogether like this anywhere else, even in Viz Media's official Vagabond section. Therefore, the Vagabond Inn is happy to provide this information in its entirety here, broken down into six sections:

I. About the Author

II. About Vagabond and Miyamoto Musashi

III. Characters

IV. Glossary and Extraneous Background Information

V. Awards

VI. What the critics are saying about Vagabond

I. About the Author

Vagabond was created by author and artist Takehiko Inoue, born in Kagoshima prefecture in 1967. His first major success--the hugely popular 31-volume long basketball manga Slam Dunk--sold over 100 million copies worldwide and catapulted him into the top ranks of Japanese manga artists. Since its release, every tankoban (Japanese graphic novel) of Vagabond has been on the top ten best seller's lists in Japan with over 22 million volumes in print. Critically acclaimed, Inoue received the 2000 Media Arts Award for manga from the Japanese Ministry of Culture as well as the 2000 Kodansha Award for best manga for his work on Vagabond. In 2002, Vagabond received the prestigious Tezuka Award for best manga, and in 2003, Inoue was nominated for a 2003 Eisner award for best writer/artist. While Vagabond continues its epic run in Japan, Inoue is simultaneously pushing the bounds of manga narrative with Real—a heavy-hitting manga about wheelchair basketball. To date Vagabond has sold over 40 million copies throughout the world. In addition to his numerous manga titles, Inoue also created the character designs for the PlayStation basketball game, One on One.

"I'm creating this character for the modern reader." -Inoue Takehiko on Miyamoto Musashi

II. About Vagabond and Miyamoto Musashi

Takehiko Inoue’s Vagabond, based on Eiji Yoshikawa’s novel Musashi, is a fictional account of the life of Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645). The historical figure Miyamoto Musashi, author of the philosophical strategy guide A Book of Five Rings, was a master of the sword and was revered as a “sword-saint.” He founded the Ninten Ichi style of sword fighting, which is typified by fighting with both long and short swords simultaneously—holding the long sword with the right hand and the short sword with the left. Musashi was also a master of the “gentler arts”—he was a master sumi-e (black in drawings), metalworking, and woodcarving. The films that comprise The Samurai Trilogy, directed by Hiroshi Inagaki and starring Toshiro Mifune, were also based on Yoshikawa’s Musashi. Inspired by the huge success of Vagabond in Japan, in 2003 NHK produced the historical period drama Musashi. Also based on Yoshikawa’s novel, this drama stars kabuki actor Shinnosuke Ichikawa as Musashi and TV star Ryoko Yonekura as Otsu.

Vagabond has been printed to read from right to left in its original Japanese format—presenting Takehiko Inoue’s dynamic artwork the way it was meant to be seen!

When most Japanese comics are published in English, a mirror image of the original artwork is printed in order to accommodate the left to right reading orientation of English. For this reason, errors in continuity occasionally occur and characters who were originally right-handed suddenly become left-handed. In order to present manga in its purist form, Vagabond is being printed to read from right to left. This way, kimono are worn with the left side over the right and the samurai’s long and short swords are carried on the left side, the way they were traditionally worn.

To properly enjoy Vagabond, start from the other end of this comic and read from right to left.

A note on names:
The names presented in the context of this manga are presented in the traditional Japanese order—surname followed by first name. “Miyamoto” is Miyamoto Musashi’s last name and “Musashi” is his first name. The name of the creator of Vagabond, however, has been presented first name first, last name second. “Takehiko” is the author’s first name and “Inoue” is his last name.

III. Characters

One of the only young survivors of the Battle of Sekighara, Takezo is a lone warrior determined to survive and sharpen his skills as a samurai by challenging master swordsmen throughout Japan to find the height of his strength. A wild loner since his youth, Takezo must fight both mental and physical battles as he comes to terms with his reputation as a wild beast and his desire to survive, while fighting off those determined to kill him. Takezo eventually changes his name and outlook on life as he continues his quest to become a master swordsman under the name Miyamoto Musashi.

Takezo's friend and fellow warrior, Matahachi struggles with his image in Takezo's shadow, both on the battlefield and in the hearts of those around him. Engaged to Otsu before the war, Matahachi abandons both his family and his promises when he falls in love with Oko and decides to remain with her, rather than returning home.

A Zen monk, who acts as a guide to Takezo as he transforms into Miyamoto Musashi, this character is based on the real-life Takuan Soho (1573-1645). A monk of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, by the time Takuan was 37, he was appointed abbot of the leading temple of the Rinzai sect, Daitokuji. Takuan was an important figure whose acute and brutally honest advice was sought by influential and powerful figures including Go Mizuno and Tokugawa lemitsu. His correspondence to Yagyu Munenori, discussing Zen and swordsmanship entitled The Unfettered Mind, has become an influential treatise in both the areas of philosophy and martial arts. The pickled daikon radish, takuan, also bears his name.

An orphan engaged to Matahachi, Otsu is left to mourn his absence when he takes up with another woman. A kind, gentle woman, Otsu must fight the advances of other suitors and define her loyalties to Takezo, while shaping her new future without Matahachi.

Matahachi's mother, Granny has a strong work ethic that reflects her determination to wait for her son's return. Convinced that her son is still alive and was dragged to war by Takezo, Granny will do anything to anyone to preserve her son's honor, even if it means destroying Takezo in the process.

After finding Takezo and Matahachi on the battlefield, Akemi and her mother tend to their wounds. Longing for her father, who was killed by a local gang leader, Akemi and her mother make their living by robbing dead soldiers after battle and selling anything they can find.

Akemi's mother, Oko has struggled to raise her daughter and protect her home since the death of her husband. Drawn to Takezo, Oko instead attracts the affection of Matahachi, causing him to abandon his fiancÈe and family in order to stay with and protect her from local gangs that are attracted to both her beauty and the riches she finds on battlefields.

IV. Glossary and Extraneous Background Information

A Brief Historical Overview - The Sengoku Period and the Battle of Sekigahara
The Sengoku (warring states) period (1482-1558) in Japan was a time of chaos and conflict. Central authorities, in the form of the imperial court and the shogunate, had grown increasingly weak and land was effectively rules autonomously by numerous daimyo (domainal lords). Looking to expand their spheres of control, the daimyo were constantly at war with each other. One daimyo in particular, Oda Nobunaga, set out on a mission to unify Japan by means of conquest. Incredibly successful, by the time of his assassination in 1582, he managed to control approximately one-third of Japan. One of Nobunaga’s chief generals, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, became Nobunaga’s successor to carry on the quest for unification. Through a process of conquest and conciliation, Hideyoshi succeeded in creating an orderly federation amongst the daimyo, and by 1590, order was restored to Japan under Hideyoshi’s rule. Hideyoshi’s death in 1598, however, presented the question of succession. Most of the daimyo from the domains in the west remained loyal to the Toyotomi Clan and its 5-year-old heir, Toyotomi Hideyori. Tokugawa Ieyasu, however, leading the major daimyo from central and eastern Japan, challenged the Toyatomi clan’s leadership. The two sides clashed at the Battle of Sekigahara (1600) in Mino (located in present day Gifu Prefecture) where the Tokugawa claimed an overwhelming victory. From that point on, the Tokugawa clan would effectively rule Japan for the next 250 years. The political stability that resulted put mass numbers of samurai out of work. Masterless samurai, known as ronin, were forced to wander the land and seek out employment. This, the beginning of the Edo period (1600-1868), set the stage for many of the period dramas and chambara sword-fighting films that have popularized the image of the samurai to a Western audience.

The Battle Sekigahara (1600)
The decisive battle in which Tokugawa Ieyasu effectively took control of Japan from the Toyotomi Clan. Most of the daimyo of the west sided with the Toyotomi Clan. In the opening of Vagabond, we find Takezo and Matahatchi as young survivers on the losing side of the Battle of Sekigahara…

Located in the northern part of present-day Fukui Prefecture.

Name of the era from 1558 to 1569.

Located in modern day Kumamoto Prefecture.

Hon’ami Koetsu (1558-1636)
Famed artist and calligrapher who co-founded an influential arts movement called the Rinpa School. Koetsu was involved in numerous fields including tea ceremony, potter, and calligraphy. In addition, Koetsu succeeded the line of his family’s ancestral business of sword polishing and appraisals.

Hozoin Spear Technique
Created by the Buddhist monk Kakuzenbo Hoin In’ei (1521-1607) of Hozoin Temple, which was a sub-temple of Kokufuji Temple in Nara. This spear technique is typified by quick dexterous movements rather than the use of brute force.

Ikeda Terumasa (1564-1613)
One of the great daimyo of the Sengoku period (1482-1558), Ikeda Terumasa sided with Ieyasu at the Battle of Sekigahara after which he was awarded with Himeji Castle and the Harima domain (located in modern day Hyogo Prefecture).

Ito Ittosai (Dates unknown)
Founder of the Itto-ryu school, one of the largest schools of sword fighting. Before establishing his own style, Ittosai is said to have studied a variant of the Chujo-ryo style of sword fighting under Kanemaki Jisai’s instruction.

Located in present day Ishikawa Prefecture.

Kami’izumi Ise no Kami Hidetsuna (1508-1577(?))
The son of Kami-izumi Ise no Kami Hidetsugu, the lord of Kami’izumi Castle in present-day Gunma Prefecture. Hidetsuna founded the Shinkage-ryu Style of sword fighting, and was such and accomplished swordsman and military strategist that he was once recruited by the famed Takeda Shingen. Hidetsuna, however, declined the post, stating that he preferred to travel throughout the land so that he might perfect his swordsmanship. Many notable figures studied under Hidetsuna, including the esteemed Yagyu Munenori of and Hozoin In’ei.

Swords created by swordsmiths specifically authorized by Emperor Gotoba in the early 13th century. The tangs of these exceptional quality swords were inscribed with the imperial city chrysanthemum crest together with the characters for the numeral one.

Kitabatake Tomonori (1528-1576)
Ruler of Ise, which is located in the Mie Prefecture. Tomonori is also said to have been a master of the Kashima Shinto Ryu.

Approximately 5.1 U.S. bushels or 180.39 liters. Samurai were paid their stipends in bushels of rice. One koku was a standard measure representing the approximate amount of rice necessary to feed one man for a year.

Located in the northeastern part of Kyoto, Konpukuji Temple is small temple of the Rinzai School of Zen Buddhism.

Kyoto Shoshidai
An administrative appointment which served to govern the populace of Kyoto and to keep a watch on the daimyo in the west.

Muso Gonnosuke (dates unknown)
Founder of the Shinto Muso-ryu school of martial arts, which mainly utilized the wooden staff. Gonnosuke is said to have been one of the many to lose to Musashi in a duel. According to some accounts he defeated Musashi in a rematch.

Located in modern day Nagoya and its surrounding area.

Located in Eastern Kyoto, Rengeoin Temple, a part of the Tendai School of Buddhism, is more commonly referred to as Sanjusangendo. The main hall of Rengeoin features an amazing display of 1,001 Kannon Buddhist statues.

Also known as Mimasaka. The historical name for the area that is now the northern region of modern-day Okayama Prefecture.

Sangen’in Temple
One of the main subtemples of Daitokuji Temple in Kyoto.

Sasaki Kojiro (dates unknown)
The legendary archrival of Miyamoto Musashi, Kojiro is believed to have studied the Chujo-ryu style of swordsmanship under the instruction of either Toda Seigen or Kanemaki Jisai. Kojiro was renowned for his Tsubame-gaeshi, or “swallow cut” technique which was inspired by the movement of a swallow in flight.

Shinmen Takezo
Miyamoto Musashi’s boyhood name.

A zen term used to describe a disciple and his master in perfect sync when the time is right for the disciple to awaken to enlightenment.

Takuan Soho (1573-1645)
A monk of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, by the time Takuan was 37, he was appointed abbot of the leading temple of the Rinzai sect, Daitokuji. Takuan was an important figure whose acute and brutally honest advice was sought by influential and powerful figures such as Emperor Go Mizuno and the shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu. His correspondence to Yagyu Munenori discussing Zen and swordsmanship entitled The Unfettered Mind has become an influential treatise in both the areas of philosophy and martial arts. The pickled daikon radish, takuan, also bears his name.

Tsukahara Bokuden (1489-1571)
Founder of the Kashima Shinto Ryu style of sword fighting. Bokuden was from the city of Kashima in modern day Ibarki Prefecture and is famous for his sword training pilgrimages, which took him on travels throughout Japan.

Ukita Hidele (1573-1655)
Daimyo of Bizen and Mimasaka (located in modern day Okayama Prefecture). One of the leading generals that fought for the Toyotomi Clan at the Batlle of Sekigahara.

The Yagyu Clan
Yagyu Muneyoshi Sekishusai (1527-1606) was the founder of the Yagyu-Shinkage school of sword fighting. His son Yagyu Munenori (1571-1646) was one of Tokugawa’s key generals at the Battle of Sekigahara. Munenori was appointed the official fencing instructor of the Tokugawa Clan, and in 1632 the Yagyu were appointed the ometsuke—responsible for the survielence of the daimyo. Although the Yagyu can has been depicted in Kazuo Koike’s Lone Wolf and Cub as the plotters of the downfall of Itto Ogami, the general Japanese popular culture take on the Yagyu Clan is more positive. Specifically, Munenori’s son, Yagyu Jubei (1607-1650), is viewed as a wandering hero protecting the people from evildoers.

The Yoshioka Clan
Yoshioka Kempo (dates unknown) was a distinguished warrior from the Sengoku period (1482-1558) and founder of the renowned Yoshioka school of sword fighting. Yoshioka Kempo mastered the Kyohachi style of swordsmanship and then modified it to form the Yoshioka style. In the context of Inoue’s Vagabond, as well as Yoshikawa’s Musashi, Yoshioka Seijuro and Denshichiro are Kempo’s sons, who are historically thought to have dueled with Miyamoto Musashi on numerous occasions.

V. Awards

Winner of the 2000 Media Arts Festival Award from the Japanese Ministry of Culture

Recipient of the 2000 Kodansha Award for Best Manga

Winner of the 2002 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Award

Nominated for a 2003 Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist

VI. What the critics are saying about Vagabond

This beautifully drawn series has incredible action, a hint of romance, and a strong core of Japanese history…this book now has the possibility of taking off like a rocket with the American audience.
--Troy Brownfield, Shotgun Reviews

A fierce tone of action is set with stunning visuals and adept characterization. Inoue is obviously a skilled storyteller, and [the] first two issues only make me want more. That's definitely something American comics could learn from.
--Troy Brownfield, Shotgun Reviews

Inoue's art style is wonderfully smooth and expressive. Forget all the obvious things that Inoue does so well, like facial expressions and easy-to-follow battle scenes; it's stuff like this that shows Inoue's mastery of his craft. I was entranced within pages of reading Vagabond; Inoue's adaptation of Yoshikawa's Musashi pulls you right into the story and doesn't let you go.
--Greg McElhatton,

Inoue’s artwork is flat-out gorgeous, whether it’s in the brief color sections or in black and white. There is a stunning amount of detail in the backgrounds and in the character designs, and it’s clear that there has been a lot of research into the costumes, weapons, and settings of the era.
--Randy Lander,

Inoue's art in this book is remarkably detailed and realistic, while still maintaining that uniquely manga tone.
--Don MacPherson,

It is a masterwork in story and art. In no time you are drawn into the characters, first by the skillful art and then by the story. I found Takehiko's art most appealing and his storytelling ability superb. If you are already a fan of the comics from Viz this will be a must buy. If you have not tried any, this would be a good first venture. I think you will want to stay for the long run.
--David LeBlanc, Comic Book Net Electronic Magazine

If you’re interested in Japanese culture, this is a must-buy for you. The story is fast-paced; the artwork is a feast for the eyes…This is one of the best works of historical fiction I’ve ever read....
--Patrick King,

...this reads like an Akira Kurosawa film captured on the printed page. Takehiko Inoue’s fine line art, much more detailed for the norm for Japanese manga, is a real treat, while the storyline captivates.
--Cliff Biggers, Comics Buyer’s Guide

Takehiko Inoue’s vibrant postmodern spin on the (samurai) genre is topnotch in every respect.
--S.A. Bennett, Comics Buyer’s Guide

What makes Vagabond stand out, and makes this something more than just a retelling of Musashi’s life is Inoue’s feel for the characters, breathing life into figures who lived in a world so long ago and so far away.
--Matt Brady, Newsarama

Inoue masterfully portrays the brutality of Vagabond’s setting and the interactions of the characters…Inoue can surprise and even shock the reader with the turns his story and their lives can take. Combined with the often breathtaking art, this makes for an extremely satisfying comics experience.
--Tony Isabella, Comics Buyer’s Guide

I think this manga has something for everyone. A MUST READ!

An excellent manga, presented with noticeable care… If you’re a fan of Japanese history, you need this in your library. It’s that good.
--Patrick King,

…Inoue’s skills as a comics creator makes Vagabond outstanding. This is really one of the best comics currently being produced. I buy every book as soon as it’s published and once you take a look yourself, you’ll do the same.
--Greg McElhatton,

Vagabond is a must for fans.
--Scott Green, Ain't It Cool News

Some of the most beautiful pen-and-ink work in any comic being published now.
--Adi Tantimedh, ArtBomb

Viz is giving readers a lot of bang for their comic buck with this one. Inoue's heavy, dark style...emphasizes the realism of the story, and the weight and realness of the characters. Nor does he ever lose control of it. His attention to detail is extraordinary.
--Dani Fletcher,

Flawless artistic storytelling.
--Kai-Ming Cha, Publishers Weekly

More than just flesh-splitting battle scenes and mandala-like sequences of spiritual introspection, Vagabond seems to contain the entire world and span the entire human condition.
--Jason Thomson, Manga: The Complete Guide

Vagabond has its own unique look and feel that distinctively separates it from the pack...this is the author's best work to date.
--Tokyo Drifter,

© 1998-2009 I.T. Planning, Inc.
© 2002-2009 Viz Media, LLC.

Vagabond / Forum News & Updates
« on: February 18, 2009, 03:45:16 AM »
The Vagabond Inn is being revamped, here's your chance to take part and have a little ownership over it. First of all, what do you like and what don't you? Do the different sections serve any purpose other then to hide posts, or does it actually make you think, "I should post about characters in the Water Board, good idea." So far, past signs point to "no". =) My big thing here is whether to keep the child boards or just go for a simplified single board where everything goes and it's all right on front street where it can grab your attention, with current or important topics being held up with stickies. At the moment, this idea is appealing to me, and I'm already beginning to experiment, so let me know what you think or if there's some factors I'm not considering.

Any other thoughts, suggestions, ideas, or posts would be appreciated as well. The posts are the life, and this is all an effort to jump start the Inn and get it to a place where it's engines are revving a little higher. I'm basically giving permission to spam this board to spurn discussion no matter how unfamiliar you are with Vagabond, you need only be curious and have an opinion. Tell your friends. =)

Vagabond / Vagabond retouches, mistakes, typos, or wacky images...
« on: February 17, 2009, 11:19:10 PM »
When episodes of Vagabond are compiled into a volume, new pages are sometimes added, but also, old pages and panels are touched up or redone altogether. The results vary, it can be very subjective, and can change the entire feeling of a scene, which is why I think Inoue does it, more than anything to do with the quality of the art itself. Anyway, I've got mixed feelings on the practice, and before I get to the latest in volume 28, and particularly Matahatchi, here's a prominent past example for me, from volume 22:

The context of this scene is that Denshichiro asks Musashi how his brother Seijuro fought and Musashi basically insults him and says that he was much stronger then Den, who is set to Duel Musashi in a few days. This is Den's reaction, first the original, then the retouch in the volume:

This REALLY jumped out at me when I saw it in the volume, and I didn't like it. I feel like it was meant to strengthen Den or at least make his reaction more neutral, but I feel like it robbed some of the natural emotion from the scene (Den having lost his brother and having it thrown two-fold in his face). I don't know, I've come around a bit on it since then, the emotion is there, but it's more subtle, and it's not like Den should look like he's going to start crying in front of Musashi.

In this scene, Matahatchi is revealed minus his "sophisticated urban style" facial hair and 'do:

What a nice looking boy. I really liked this panel. Then, in the volume...

Holy shit, what happened? Should he look uglier then he even used to without the facial hair, especially since it's supposed to represent his getting better? At first I thought this was another character! Didn't even look like Matahatchi to me, and quite honestly, it's the most I've felt sorry for him. I feel like his redemption has already taken a step back with this change, like Inoue is saying, "Not so fast!" Anyway, really bugged me, it's actually why I started this thread, as it was nice to see his more innocent looking face again, but now that's been replaced with a mongoloid...

In case you can't tell, I feel like it went from a solid B to a D-, but even in the process of making this thread, I'm starting to come around on the new more dynamic image... still, as with the Den example, I liked the old one to begin with, so it's a tough pill to swallow.

We'll end on a high note, at least from an art/retouch standpoint. Musashi has just been informed that due to his injuries he can live by the sword no longer. In close up behind him appears a smiling spirit of Ueda, who gave him the fateful wound, and then below that appears this panel.

And in the volume:

I like this change. I didn't even notice that the second Ueda ghost was missing until I thought about it, I think because of the angles and vibe of the new panel make his presence, or that feeling, even stronger (part of that may because I've already seen the other of course). And aside from doing that better, it just works on so many other levels the other one didn't touch. Bravo, Inoue.

Please give me your feedback on these agree or disagree, or any other panels, retouches, or new pages you have thoughts on.


Interesting subject in general on future Cuban/American relations, but the slant of the story is will fugitives from each country now be more extraditable, as some U.S. fugitives in Cuba worry. Here's my favorite part:

"It's not a good time to raise my name up there," said Charlie Hill, who was accused in the slaying of a New Mexico state trooper and hijacked a plane to Cuba in 1971. "Things are going good. I don't want to be in the limelight."

Well, it's a good thing the FBI can't read this article you gave a quote for, Charlie Hill, fugitive hiding in Cuba for the specific crimes of slaying a New Mexico state trooper and hijacking! :ganishka:

Shootin' the Breeze / What does this mean?
« on: January 09, 2009, 10:46:06 PM »


Man in Santa suit kills 8, self on Christmas Eve     
Dec 26 01:14 AM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer    
      COVINA, Calif. (AP) - Stinging from an acrimonious divorce, a man plotting revenge against his ex-wife dressed up like Santa, went to his former in-laws' Christmas Eve party and slaughtered at least eight people before killing himself hours later.

Bruce Pardo's ex-wife and her parents were believed to be among the dead. Investigators planned to return to the scene Friday and sift through the ashes of the home, which Pardo set ablaze using a bizarre homemade device that sprayed flammable liquid.

Pardo, 45, had no criminal record and no history of violence, according to police, but he was angry following last week's settlement of his divorce after a marriage that lasted barely a year.

"It was not an amicable divorce," police Lt. Pat Buchanan said.

Pardo chose to exact his revenge at the annual Christmas party his former in-laws held at their two-story home on a cul-de-sac in a quiet Covina neighborhood 25 miles east of Los Angeles.

"Christmases were that special time of the year, it meant so much to them," Rosa Ordaz, a family friend of the victims, told KCBS-TV.

In past years, a neighbor dressed as Santa Claus and entertained guests. But the neighbor had moved away and there was no Santa—until Pardo arrived around 11:30 p.m.

The massacre began when an 8-year-old girl answered Pardo's knock at the door. Pardo, carrying what appeared to be a large present, pulled out a handgun and shot her in the face, then began shooting indiscriminately as about 25 partygoers tried to flee, police said at a news conference.

A 16-year-old girl was shot in the back, and a 20-year-old woman broke her ankle when she escaped by jumping from a second-story window. Those two, and the 8-year-old, remained hospitalized Christmas Day. All were expected to recover.

The gift-wrapped box Pardo was carrying actually contained a pressurized homemade device he used to spray a liquid that quickly sent the house up in flames. Police said Pardo had recently worked is the aerospace industry.

David Salgado, a neighbor, said he saw the 8-year-old victim being escorted to an ambulance by four SWAT team members as flames up to 40 feet high consumed the house.

"It was really ugly," Salgado said.

Another neighbor, Jan Gregory, said she saw a teenage boy flee the home, screaming, "`They shot my family.'"

When the fire was extinguished early Thursday, officers found three charred bodies in the living room area.

"They were met with a scene that was just indescribable," police Chief Kim Raney said. Investigators found five more bodies amid the ashes later in the day and planned to return Friday to continue looking.

None of the dead or missing has been identified. Authorities were unable to immediately determine whether the victims were killed by the flames or the gunfire.

Following the shootings, Pardo quickly got out of the Santa suit and drove off, witnesses told police. He went to his brother's home about 25 miles away in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles. No one was home, so Pardo let himself in, police said.

Police were called to the home early Thursday, and officers found Pardo dead of a single bullet to the head. Two handguns were found at the scene, and two more were discovered in the wreckage of his former in-laws' house.

Investigators seeking further information about Pardo's motives have begun searching his home in the suburban Los Angeles community of Montrose.

Pardo's next-door neighbor, who did not want her name published to protect her privacy, said he moved in more than a year ago with a woman and a child. She said they kept mostly to themselves and the woman later moved out with the child.

Pardo was often seen walking a dog around the neighborhood and working on his lawn, the neighbor said.

He also served regularly as an usher at evening Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Montrose, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Jan Detanna, the head usher at the church, was stunned when told about the violence.

"I'm just—this is shocking," Detanna told the Times. "He was the nicest guy you could imagine. Always a pleasure to talk to, always a big smile."

Bong Garcia, another of Pardo's next-door neighbors, told the Times he saw Pardo between 9 and 10 p.m. Christmas Eve and spoke briefly to him. Pardo told him he was on his way to a Christmas party, Garcia said.

That about sums it up, but here's an extended article:

I saw this early yesterday morning before it really developed, under the catchy headline 'Santa' shooter kills 4, I skimmed it as it was sketchy on the details, basically that the guy had a gun, shot and killed 4 people, wounded others, the house burned down but it didn't say how or equate it directly to him, and he killed himself. Then later I saw the body count in the headline had gone up to 6, then only a few minutes later to 8... so I read the updated story, and WOW, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Berserk Miscellaneous / The Devils
« on: December 10, 2008, 06:29:56 AM »

This is long overdue, I remember my father first showed me this movie on a crappy old tape after I told him about some scenes from the Conviction Arc. Turned out they reminded him of this, one of his favorite films, a situation bizarrely similar to Flesh + Blood, which he was also a fan of long before I'd ever heard of it, or Berserk for that matter. Anyway, the point, besides that my father is some sort of weird proto-Berserk fan, is that this is another movie Berserk fans should see. While I can't say if Miura himself has seen it or not, I'd certainly like to know; because, what is for certain, is that they definitely draw on a lot of the same sources, and there's plenty of superficial similarities to certain portions of Berserk. It's also just really compelling in it's own right, and has something more in common with Berserk than Flesh + Blood in that they share powerfully twisted perspective at times. It's not Berserk the movie by any means, but sometimes it feels like it.

Unfortunately, unlike Flesh + Blood, it isn't getting a nice re-release to DVD, and finding a decent copy in any format can be difficult. It is however, currently on youtube:

Creation Station / The Girls of 2009 Calendar
« on: November 15, 2008, 04:18:32 AM »
Pretty self-explanatory, it's time for to have a calendar, but it needs YOU to make one! Obviously, there's 12 openings, so just post or PM me a picture of yourself, preferably high quality, doing something Berserk or related; such as reading a volume or posing in front of a computer with the site up or something. Be as creative as you like, and everyone else please be considerate and respectful.

Miss January - Grail
Miss February - Puella
Miss March - Kimchan
Miss April - Russian Rainbow
Miss May - Tara
Miss June - TriFrog
Miss July - Venus
Miss August - Kika
Miss September - Aravis
Miss October - Lithrael
Miss November - OnyxMagnolia
Miss December - Milishka

Special thanks to Aria.

Update: IT'S OVER! Thank you to all the lovely ladies of course, all the guys who submitted their lovely lady, and Aazealh and everyone that provided me with important dates and info, even if it was just a birthday. Thanks to all of, I hope everyone prints it, uses it, and enjoys it!


FAQ: The format is supposed to be 1 page per month, picture, dates, and all, 13 pages total including cover. If that's not how it looks to you, set your margins (File/Page Setup) to as close to 0 as they can go. And if it's still messed up, you can resize pictures or the calendar cells to fit the pages however you want by grabbing them in the lower right hand corner.

-Photos resized for smaller overall file size, virtually no visual change.
-Rhombaad's birthday changed from March 28th to May 28th.
-July photo cropped/resized.
-August photo resized.
-September photo cropped/resized.
-March photo updated.

Shootin' the Breeze / Japanese readers offered $thousands$...
« on: October 12, 2008, 08:19:51 PM »
...of posts! :troll: :ganishka:

That's right, it's another pathetic Vagabond translation thread! HOLD ON, before you hit back or close the window, hear me out, I'm looking for anybody, ANYBODY, who can read Japanese to translate current Vagabond chapters. I don't care if it's a novice that just wants practice or someone fluent in Japanese and English that can do it on the fly without really caring. I don't care if it's not perfect, just a rough draft idea of what's being said is enough.


Scientists: Virginia shark's pup a 'virgin birth'

By STEVE SZKOTAK, Associated Press Writer Fri Oct 10, 2:32 PM ET

RICHMOND, Va. - Scientists have confirmed the second case of a "virgin birth" in a shark. In a study reported Friday in the Journal of Fish Biology, scientists said DNA testing proved that a pup carried by a female Atlantic blacktip shark in the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center contained no genetic material from a male.

The first documented case of asexual reproduction, or parthenogenesis, among sharks involved a pup born to a hammerhead at an Omaha, Neb., zoo.

"This first case was no fluke," Demian Chapman, a shark scientist and lead author of the second study, said in a statement. "It is quite possible that this is something female sharks of many species can do on occasion."

The aquarium sharks that reproduced without mates each carried only one pup, while some shark species can produce litters numbering in the dozen or more. The scientists cautioned that the rare asexual births should not be viewed as a possible solution to declining global shark populations.

"It is very unlikely that a small number of female survivors could build their numbers up very quickly by undergoing virgin birth," Chapman said.

The medical mystery began 16 months ago after the death of the Atlantic blacktip shark named Tidbit at the Virginia Beach aquarium. No male blacktip sharks were present during her eight years at the aquarium.

In May 2007, the 5-foot, 94-pound shark died of stress-related complications related to her unknown pregnancy after undergoing a yearly checkup. The 10-inch shark pup was found during a necropsy of Tidbit, surprising aquarium officials. They initially thought the embryonic pup was either a product of a virgin birth or a cross between the blacktip and a male of another shark species — which has never been documented, Chapman said.

Tidbit's pup was nearly full term, and likely would have been quickly eaten by "really big sand tiger sharks" that were in the tank, Chapman said in a telephone interview from Florida.

That is what happened to the tiny hammerhead pup in the Omaha case.

"By the time they could realize what they were looking at, something munched the baby," he said of aquarium workers. The remains of the pup were used for the DNA testing.

Virgin birth has been proven in some bony fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds, and has been suspected among sharks in the wild. The scientists who studied the Virginia and Nebraska sharks said the newly formed pups acquired one set of chromosomes when the mother's chromosomes split during egg development, then united anew.

Absent the chromosomes present in the male sperm, the offspring of an asexual conception have reduced genetic diversity and, the scientists said, may be at a disadvantage for surviving in the wild. A pup, for instance, can be more susceptible to congenital disorders and diseases.

The scientists said their findings offer "intriguing questions" about how frequently automictic parthenogenesis occurs in the wild.

"It is possible that parthenogenesis could become more common in these sharks if population densities become so low that females have trouble finding mates," said Mahmood Shivji, one of the scientists and director of the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

The DNA fingerprinting techniques used by the scientists are identical to those used in human paternity testing.

Chapman, who is with the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook, was assisted in the study by Beth Firchau of the Virginia Aquarium.

Chapman and Shivji were on the team that made the first discovery of virgin birth involving the Nebraska shark.

Site & Forum News / Appearance
« on: September 30, 2008, 07:34:20 PM »
Once upon a time, many years ago, a ceremony of great destruction took place, as a result of the tragic consequences and my culpability, I sacrificed myself to save a friend... after that, I took on a new identity, I was Griffith, no more. But now, thanks to the powers of resident board sorcerer and mad scientist; Aazealh, I have been reincarnated, the past merging with the present, forming something old yet new. For a time, I wasn't, but now, once again, I am.


P.S. I'm back. :griff:

News & Not News / Man attacks police officer with deadly gas
« on: September 25, 2008, 07:58:01 PM »

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia man who police said passed gas and fanned it toward a patrolman has been charged with battery on a police officer.

Jose A. Cruz, 34, of Clarksburg, was pulled over early Tuesday for driving without headlights, police said. According to the criminal complaint, Cruz smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and failed three field sobriety tests before he was handcuffed and taken to a police station for a breathalyzer test.

As Patrolman T.E. Parsons prepared the machine, Cruz scooted his chair toward Parsons, lifted his leg and "passed gas loudly," the complaint said.

Cruz, according to complaint, then fanned the gas toward the officer.

"The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons," the complaint alleged.

He was also charged with driving under the influence, driving without headlights and two counts of obstruction.

Cruz acknowledged passing gas, but said he didn't move his chair toward the officer nor aim gas at the patrolman. He said he had an upset stomach at the time, but police denied his request to go to the bathroom when he first arrived at the station.

"I couldn't hold it no more," he said.

He also denied being drunk and uncooperative as the police complaint alleged. He added he was upset at being prepared for a breathalyzer test while having an asthma attack. The police statement said he later resisted being secured for a trip to a hospital that he requested for asthma treatment.

Cruz said the officers thought the gas incident was funny when it happened and laughed about it with him.

"This is ridiculous," he said. "I could be facing time."

This is ridiculous, I hope it gets tossed out of court.

Shootin' the Breeze / Things that scared you as a kid
« on: September 25, 2008, 01:54:32 AM »
Hi everyone!

Since it’s so nigh to that Halloween time I figured we should post about things that use to scare the crap out of us as kids.
  My evil basement.

When I was a little kid [somewhere around 7 to 9] I would refuse to go into my basement. Walking across the doorway would send a shiver down my spine.  The place was haunted by the most evil monsters known to man from Frankenstein to a werewolf.  On occasion my mom would send me down there on important missions to get something from the basement fridge. Walking down there would be one of the scariest things I ever had to do at that age, monster screams coming from every direction, evil monster eyes following you around. Hell the place looked like Buffalo Bill's basement [excluding bathtubs full of person]! Eventually I learned the monsters down there were even more scared of my German shepherd, Christy, who once battled the wolf man [jacket], killing him in self defense! Eventually we started using that wretched basement for other things and it became less spooky throughout the years until it was no longer scary.
 So what spooked you as a youth?

Saw this over on Something Awful. Basically something I've always thought was true is true.

On MSNBC’s Hardball last night, host Chris Matthews asked former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan if he saw “FOX television as a tool” to get the White House’s “message out” while he was in the Bush administration. “Certainly there were commentators and other, pundits at FOX News, that were useful to the White House,” replied McClellan, adding that they were given “talking points.”

Making a distinction between journalists like Brit Hume and commentators like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, McClellan admitted that “certainly” the White House used Fox News talking heads as “spokespeople” with “a script”:

    MATTHEWS: So, you wouldn’t use Brit Hume to sell stuff for them, but you’d use some of the nighttime guys?

    MCCLELLAN: Yeah, I would separate that out, and certainly I, you know, they’ll say, that’s because they agree with those views in the White House.

    MATTHEWS: Well, they didn’t need a script though, did they?

    MCCLELLAN: No, well, probably not.

McClellan later told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann that “it was done frequently, especially on high-profile issues” and that Fox often gave the White House “its desired results.” Current Press Secretary Dana Perino would only tell Olbermann, “I’m not aware of that.” Watch it:

Fox News’s close relationship to the Bush administration should come as no surprise to anyone, considering Fox’s Neil Cavuto once ran a segment asking if George W. Bush was “the best President.” But, as Olbermann notes, it “is one of those things you assumed to be true all along, yet you are shocked when the hard confirmation actually shows up on your door.”

Not only is Fox the network the White House turned to when Vice President Dick Cheney had to explain how he shot his friend in the face, but the network has also produced sympathetic documentaries on both Cheney and President Bush.

Here's the link to whatever on youtube;

News & Not News / State controlled names.
« on: July 24, 2008, 10:07:43 PM »

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A family court judge in New Zealand has had enough with parents giving their children bizarre names here, and did something about it.

Just ask Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. He had her renamed.

Judge Rob Murfitt made the 9-year-old girl a ward of the court so that her name could be changed, he said in a ruling made public Thursday. The girl was involved in a custody battle, he said.

The new name was not made public to protect the girl's privacy.

"The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child's parents have shown in choosing this name," he wrote. "It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily."

The girl had been so embarrassed at the name that she had never told her closest friends what it was. She told people to call her "K" instead, the girl's lawyer, Colleen MacLeod, told the court.

In his ruling, Murfitt cited a list of the unfortunate names.

Registration officials blocked some names, including Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit, he said. But others were allowed, including Number 16 Bus Shelter "and tragically, Violence," he said.

New Zealand law does not allow names that would cause offense to a reasonable person, among other conditions, said Brian Clarke, the registrar general of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Clarke said officials usually talked to parents who proposed unusual names to convince them about the potential for embarrassment.

New Zealand gets so much good pub these days I had no idea it was such a fascist shithole. =)

News & Not News / Lost Dog & Little Girl reunited... 5 years later.
« on: July 15, 2008, 06:31:48 PM »


When her beagle, Rocco, squeezed himself under the backyard gate and disappeared into the streets of Queens, 5-year-old Natalie Villacis refused to believe - as her parents reluctantly told her - that she would never see the puppy again.

That was in 2003.

Last weekend, Rocco came home - after being found in Georgia.

The prodigal pooch turned up in a shelter 850 miles away in Hinesville, and by a combination of chance and chip - the one embedded in his back - was reunited with Natalie, now 11, and her family.

"When my mom told me they found Rocco, I cried hysterically - just like I did when they told me he was lost," Natalie told The Post. "I felt like I was in a dream, like my head was spinning."

Someone dropped Rocco off as a stray at the Liberty County Animal Control in Hinseville on July 5, supervisor Randy Durrence said.

After scanning the pooch's identity microchip, one of thousands routinely implanted in the skin of many pets today, Durrence traced Rocco to Queens.

Rocco's disappearance had been traumatic for both Natalie and her parents. In the days after he vanished, the weeping child and her father, Jorge, plastered their neighborhood with signs in search of the dog. But it soon became clear Rocco would not return.

Even after the family later brought a poodle mix named Bonita into the home, Natalie said she never stopped wondering "what happened to Rocco, where he went, and if someone good found him.

"Every time I would see a dog on the street, I would say to my mom, 'Maybe Rocco will come back,' " Natalie said. "She would say that he probably isn't going to come back. I would say, 'I know, but maybe he will.' "

She even refused to part with his favorite toy, a stuffed cat.

"At night, I would wish, 'Please Rocco, come home.' And now that wish came true," she said.

When Natalie's parents, Jorge and Cristina, listened to the voice mail Durrence left for the family, they thought he or the computer must have made a mistake.

"We didn't think it could possibly be him - Natalie never stopped thinking about him, but we thought he was gone for good," Jorge said.

Jorge flew down to Georgia, and though he didn't quite recognize Rocco, was pleased to see that aside from a scratch on his ear, he was in perfect health.

"We have reunited families with their dogs before but never after so many years - this is unheard of," Durrence said.

Durrence said he could not imagine how a dog could make this journey but speculated that since the town is home to Fort Stewart and the Army's Third Infantry Division, "perhaps it was someone in the military."

Natalie said she was nervous about Rocco's return, in part because she was unsure how Bonita, the poodle mix the family got in 2004, would react.

"I don't think he recognized me, but I told him I loved him as much as always," she said. "Rocco seemed a little confused, but happy. He looked at me like, 'I don't know who you are, but I love you, too.' "

One of the first things she did was give Rocco his toy back.

Bonita has not decided if there is room for a beagle in the house, she said, "but at least she hasn't tried to bite him. Rocco doesn't mind. He's as calm as pie."

Embracing Rocco, Natalie asked her mother, "Where do you think he has been all this time?"

"I don't know," her mother told her. "But if he could tell us, I'm sure he has more than enough material for a novel."

Well, that's about the sweetest story you'll ever read in the news, and what really makes the article is that the girl is so articulate, oh, and just awesome, "Rocco doesn't mind. He's calm as pie." =)

Video Games / Mega Man Megathread
« on: July 14, 2008, 03:35:06 PM »


This is a dream come true; for years I've been saying that Capcom should have just kept making Mega Man games exactly like the original six classics, but people said I was crazy, stupid, they laughed...

Well who's laughing now!? :ganishka:

All they need to do now is go back and "demake"(?) Mega Man 7 and 8 in true Mega Man form. BTW, should we start the petition of outraged gamers who think this game looks TOO MUCH like the original? Just check the comments under the video. =)

News & Not News / Toddlers who dislike spicy food 'racist'
« on: July 08, 2008, 01:19:15 AM »,-say-report.html

Toddlers who turn their noses up at spicy food from overseas could be branded racists by a Government-sponsored agency.

The National Children's Bureau, which receives £12 million a year, mainly from Government funded organisations, has issued guidance to play leaders and nursery teachers advising them to be alert for racist incidents among youngsters in their care.

This could include a child of as young as three who says "yuk" in response to being served unfamiliar foreign food.

The guidance by the NCB is designed to draw attention to potentially-racist attitudes in youngsters from a young age.

It alerts playgroup leaders that even babies can not be ignored in the drive to root out prejudice as they can "recognise different people in their lives".

The 366-page guide for staff in charge of pre-school children, called Young Children and Racial Justice, warns: "Racist incidents among children in early years settings tend to be around name-calling, casual thoughtless comments and peer group relationships."

It advises nursery teachers to be on the alert for childish abuse such as: "blackie", "Pakis", "those people" or "they smell".

The guide goes on to warn that children might also "react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying 'yuk'".

Staff are told: "No racist incident should be ignored. When there is a clear racist incident, it is necessary to be specific in condemning the action."

Warning that failing to pick children up on their racist attitudes could instil prejudice, the NCB adds that if children "reveal negative attitudes, the lack of censure may indicate to the child that there is nothing unacceptable about such attitudes".

Nurseries are encouraged to report as many incidents as possible to their local council. The guide added: "Some people think that if a large number of racist incidents are reported, this will reflect badly on the institution. In fact, the opposite is the case."

I don't think I was a big spicy food fan as a kid. I must be a grand master of the klan.

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