Weird Robots And The Japanese Soul

What is it with the Japanese and robots, anyway?  They not only seem to be obsessed by them, they act on their obsessions in very weird ways.

Consider the Youtube clip below.  It shows a “female” Japanese robot known as HRP-4C, pictured at left, singing an annoying song as several young Japanese women frolic around her doing dances from the ’60s.  The robot herself looks like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz from the waist down, like a high-end blow-up doll from the neck up, is wearing what appears to be a yellow shower curtain, and has enormous “man hands” a la Seinfeld.  The robot looks like she could palm a medicine ball or crush an elephant’s skull with those mitts!  To top it off, the robot has a whiny voice and is about as fluid in her dance moves as the robot from Lost in SpaceDanger, Will Robinson!

Somewhere, in some dark, kinky corner of the Japanese soul, there may be an explanation for why a Japanese company would apparently spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop a half-Tin Man, half-humanoid robot with grossly oversized hands and then program it to sing a crappy pop song involving choreography that is a few cuts below Glee — and for that matter an explanation for why a Japanese audience would sit and watch the resulting production.  Let’s just hope we never actually figure out what that explanation is.

Breaking In The New Ohio Union

Ohio State recently tore down the Ohio Union that existed when I attended the school in ’70s and built a brand new, high tech replacement.  I haven’t been there, but Richard has and says its very nicely done — even if the scarlet and gray decor might be a bit overdone.  Earlier this week marked the opening of the new Union with a “flash mob” memorialized forever on YouTube.  Given that UJ and Brittany are big Glee fans, I thought they might enjoy it:

Audition Tape

My niece, Brittany, loves the TV show Glee and prepared her own audition tape for the show, which is posted on Youtube.  In the past, she has said that the Webnerhouse blog is boring, so maybe posting her audition video is a way to jazz it up.

Good luck, Brittany!  Let’s hope you hear from the producers!

Gleeful About Glee


A couple of weeks ago we had a staff meeting at Nationwide and prior to our meeting almost everyone in the room was discussing a new show on Fox called Glee. Most of our staff are in their thirties, forties or fifties and it kinda surprised me that people of this age bracket would be watching what I thought was a show for teenage girls.

Based on the discussion Glee sounded like an entertaining show so I asked my niece Brittany if I could borrow her Season 1 DVD package that she got for Christmas to see for myself what the show was all about. Brittany reluctantly obliged saying “Uncle Jim you need to get it back to me as soon as you can cause it is so good and I can’t go more than a few days without watching it”.

So I embarked on a Glee marathon watching fourteen hours of the show in a period of four days and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The premise of the show is Will Schuester the Spanish teacher becomes director of the Glee Club which has become basically non-existent and hopes to restore it to its former glory days. Mr Schu is confronted by Sue Sylvester (she’s my favorite character because without her the show would have no point) who is the coach of the cheerleading squad and she wants Glee Club to fail because if Glee succeeds her cheerleading squad will have to share school funding with them.

As this article points out the show has a diverse cast, with several white characters, an Asian American, a black, a gay, a paraplegic and a student of Jewish descent. Glee is an uplifting series with some interesting story lines, in fact one of my favorite episodes was one where Mr Schu had each of the Glee members ride around in wheelchairs during school hours so they would better understand the hurdles that Arty (my niece Amy’s favorite character), the paraplegic has to overcome on a daily basis.

The show often features hit music from the past. Here’s a clip of one of the songs Quinn the head cheerleader and her friends did in their try out for Mr Schu.

Glee probably isn’t for everyone, but I liked it and I know my nieces love it.