Monday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ennio Morricone, Oscar-winning Italian film composer, dies aged 91

    “Where to even begin with iconic composer Ennio Morricone? He could make an average movie into a must see, a good movie into art, and a great movie into legend. He hasn’t been off my stereo my entire life. What a legacy of work he leaves behind. RIP.”

    RIP

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  2. Teve says:

    @frosty3737

    Under Kennedy we went to the moon. Under Trump we can’t even go to Europe.

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  3. Scott says:

    With so much happening here, we forget we have so many of our youth around the world:

    San Antonio native killed in Afghanistan

    A San Antonio soldier serving in Afghanistan was killed last week in a rollover accident.

    The Army reported over the weekend that Spc. Vincent Sebastian Ibarria, 21, was serving with a 10th Mountain Division combat team in Farah, a town 15 hours west of Kabul, at the time he died.

    He was the ninth U.S. soldier to die in Afghanistan this year and the second from San Antonio. The Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, a site that tracks fatalities and other data in both theaters of war, reported that he was the 2,450th U.S. service member to die in Afghanistan since combat operations began there in 2001.

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  4. sam says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    The theme from Once Upon a Time in the West, perhaps the most beautiful piece of music ever written for the movies.

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  5. PJ says:

    @Teve:

    @frosty3737

    Under Kennedy we went to the moon. Under Trump we can’t even go to Europe.

    Seems to be a good thing. There were warnings.

    ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS – EXCEPT EUROPA.
    ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE.

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  6. grumpy realist says:

    Example of what happens when you stock your re-election campaign with grifters: they tell you what you want to hear, which may or may not be reality.

    If the Republican Party really wants to rescue itself, it will surround Trump with people who keep reassuring him that Everything Is Fine and that he is on track to a blow-out election–then have a bunch of The People In White Coats available. They don’t even have to tell him that he has lost–just gently lead him out of the White House and into a padded cell.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sam: A favorite movie of mine, from the opening scene of waiting for the train, to it’s last of watering the rail workers. Robards, Bronson, Fonda, and of course who could forget Claudia Cardinale.

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  8. Teve says:

    @grumpy realist: dude was warning Ronna McDaniel that things were not going well for the Republicans statewide in Nevada for 2020, and he wrote that before the pandemic really took off.

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  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    Tiny will be bringing his small hands and maskless face to Portsmouth Saturday for an outdoor rally at the airport. Just checked the weather, showers and thunderstorms are predicted throughout the day.

    A recipe for another tiny rally.

    @Jen:

    For some reason, I had the impression you lived up in the Lincoln, North Woodstock area. So with CSK, we’re country neighbors!

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  10. Teve says:

    Trump is now attacking Bubba Wallace for not apologizing to NASCAR. “GOP 2020: In Case You Somehow Missed the Last 60 Years, It’s Racism”

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  11. Kathy says:

    So, I finally saw Ep. IX, The Rise of Skywalker again.

    I won’t say it sucks, but I’ll say it does disappoint. Leave alone pulling back a dead villain to torment our intrepid heroes, though that’s bad. What’s worse is the villain is a MacGuffin. He’s there only to 1) reward fans who wanted Rey’s heritage to be related to existing characters, 2) to give Kylo Ren a plausible road to redemption, and 3) to cackle maniacally while doing terrible things, because the story wasn’t pulpish enough.

    anyway, if anyone wants a better SW fix, I highly recommend the animated series “Rebels.” It’s about a Rebellion cell operating largely in a planet called Lothal, in the years leading up to Ep. IV

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  12. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kathy: Yes, Rebels is excellent. I’ve started watching it again during the stay-at-home. The final season of Clone Wars also was released this year. Also very good.

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  13. CSK says:

    Trump is very upset with the way Fox is reporting his polls, so he wants everyone to dump Fox on the weekends in favor of OANN and Newsmax.

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  14. Scott says:

    @Kathy: Watched a really decent movie on Netflix last night called Fast Color. Kind of a dystopian, sci-fi ish, near future where it has stopped raining for eight years. But the movie is really about a family (grandmother, mother, daughter) relationship. Very few special effects. I think that low budget films are great because the producers/directors/artists have to think through the stories and not get distracted by all the special effects and post production work.

    I recommend it.

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  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:
    The problem with Star Wars is the shallowness of its world-building. New producers keep chewing over the same things, the same characters, the same threats.

    I roll my eyes when I read people talking about the great world-building. Nope. Slapping prosthetics on extras and designing space craft models is not world-building. By relying on a deus ex machina, the Force, SW subverts any attempt at creating real consequences and thus real jeopardy or emotion. Star Wars is forever blowing up entire planets and no one gives a damn because SW can’t be bothered with character building, it’s always ‘on to the next light saber duel.’

    No one wrote a foundational book, so the world-building is entirely inside the movies, there’s no structure, no depth. I know some super fans are angry that SW simply ignores the hundreds of spin-off books, and they have a point. That’s where a lot of the world-building takes place.

    SW also sucks at character. Leia was a hairdo and a gold lamé bikini. Solo is a rebellious bad boy. And? Right, there is no ‘and.’ Luke is, what, exactly? What actually motivates Luke? What’s he about? The one great character they had was Vader and they fucked that up.

    But the core mistake IMO, was The Force. Quasi-mystical sci fi. Science and gibberish seldom work together, especially in movies. (How many times have people tried to shoot Dune?) Pick a side: secular or mystical, choosing both is trouble. An all-purpose escape hatch from plot difficulties is convenient but it makes for weak plotting and destroys jeopardy.

    There is a rumor going around that the entire sequel trilogy will be removed from canon and stuck in an alternate timeline so they can reboot the whole rickety mess.

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  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: You’re much kinder than I am. I don’t care whether the cell is padded or not. They can even give him a “rough ride” as far as I’m concerned. Maybe the team that drove Freddie Gray to the station will handle it (but I wouldn’t think that they’d want the death of a white man on their conscience).

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  17. Kathy says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    The one episode I loved, even through it’s logical flaws, was when Ezra cracks the secret of the Jedi temple ahead of the Empire. The iconography outside was just amazing.

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  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: @Jim Brown 32: On the subject of movies, I stumbled across Atlas Shrugged, Parts Uno and Due a couple of days ago. I was in Korea when it was *released* (???), so I knew I’d never see it. The reviews were right–as implausible as it sounds, it’s even worse than the book. But in a “guilty pleasures” sort of way.

    I don’t usually watch movies at home as I don’t care to dedicate the time necessary to watch something that’s 100+ minutes long in a sitting. Atlas doesn’t warrant that kind of concentration, though, so it doesn’t trouble me to break it up into irregular chunks.

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  19. Kingdaddy says:

    I thought I was done completely with Star Wars. It started as a fun homage to the serials and other pulpish fare, and ended as a boring, brain-dead cash grab.

    And then I watched the Mandalorian, and had a great time with it. Took me back to where I was with the original couple of movies, just really well-done popcorn theater. I was actually looking forward to each new episode. In contrast, I braced myself for each of the last three movies.

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  20. Kingdaddy says:

    Here’s something that needs to change: when health care professionals have bad news, they should just say it clearly and directly. I’ve had doctors dance around bad news — not about me, but people close to me — and now, over a terrible weekend, I had a vet do the same dance around bad news about our dog. Just out with it. Better to be blunt than to leave me wondering what the situation really is, or forcing me to ask what it is, or trying to figure out whether there’s some way to save the day.

    The worst personal example was, instead of telling us that someone had cancer, we suddenly had an oncologist show up when that someone was hospitalized. Suddenly, we’re discussing chemotherapy.

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  21. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I call it the Mr. Burns Force 🙂

    Why? In one commentary track on a Simpsons DVD (remember those?), Groening mentions Burns is as weak or as strong as the plot/situation/gag demands. It’s the same in the movies: the limits of The Force are what the plot needs: no more, no less.

    I’ve read some books, and the world-building and depth of the characters is far more interesting.

    But, IMO, the great big flaw in the new trilogy, was the lack of a unifying plot throughout. It feels like Abrams did his move, then Johnson did his movie and moved the plot in a different direction, then Abrams finished his movie and ignored 99% of Johnson’s in doing so.

    Next time get the screenplays done before shooting, and give it to one director. I wonder if Patty Jenkins would be interested.

    About Luke, and this applies to Rey, he’s a reflexive saint. He can only do good. He’s inimical to temptation to do wrong or evil.

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  22. Jen says:

    @Kingdaddy: First and foremost, I’m sorry to hear you’ve had bad news about your dog.

    I have a feeling I know where some of the dancing around comes from with vets though. Veterinarians truly love animals, and far too many of them have been asked to put down healthy or saveable animals. (I was horrified once to hear someone explain they’d put their dog down when he simply could no longer jump up on the bed. Pain medication for arthritis is fairly inexpensive, that dog could have had years more with them.) There’s also not really knowing how people will take news–giving bad news straightforward might work for you, but send someone else into hysterics.

    Veterinarians have very high occupational suicide rates, and I’ll admit that makes me inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt in a wide range of circumstances.

    Again, so sorry about your dog.

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  23. Kathy says:

    Big thought of the day:

    The very rich, whether individuals or corporations, are like hoarders where money is concerned.

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  24. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..Trump is very upset with the way Fox is reporting his polls, so he wants everyone to dump Fox on the weekends in favor of OANN and Newsmax.

    Yahoo News:..Trump Rage-Quits Fox News After Network Shows Him Trailing Joe Biden In Polls

    From the comment thread:
    Alex…8 minutes ago
    Libtard hogwash! Trump was the second man on the moon. He climbed Mt. Everest in his underwear and jumped over the side without a parachute. He fought Germans in Iraq, where he piloted a submarine through enemy lines in order to rescue hostages taken by the Vietcong. But the media won’t tell you that!

    (Nothing but the truth.)

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  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kingdaddy:
    The Mandalorian worked because it created a character and set him on the fringes of the movie world. But I’ll predict right now that the second season will disappoint.

    @Kathy:
    A lot of people blame Kathleen Kennedy, the Lucas exec. The accusation is that she brought in a bunch of women determined to shift SW from a male action fantasy to a more female-friendly direction. Of course a lot of them just hate women.

    And can we all stop pretending JJ Abrams is some creative God? He’s not a world-builder, he makes great pilots and then the wheels come off. See: LOST. See: WESTWORLD. See his STAR TREK reboots – the first worked, the sequels did not. He’s all pitch, no follow-through.

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  26. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    This reminds me of a piece Rick Wilson wrote for the Daily Beast on Trump’s physical condition: “BREAKING from Trump’s ‘Doctors’: Most Remarkable Physical Specimen of All Time.” It’s hilarious.

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  27. inhumans99 says:

    So it looks like President Trump’s attempt to pivot and try to exploit frustrations folks have over certain statues being torn down, or try to get them riled up that Mt. Rushmore is next (along with his doubling down on demonizing protesters/anyone who is not white) this past weekend is a bust (just realized I made a pun…not intended).

    Politico has a story up that the Democrats smell blood in the water. Granted, now a million folks will come out to say that Democrats should not count their chickens before they hatch but we are now officially less than 4 months away from the election and the clock is still ticking, so I do not feel it is a trap putting up such an article that is designed to lure liberals into a false sense of victory before the fact.

    Rather, these articles should continue to act as a wake up call to the GOP that someone needs to talk to President Trump and have him change focus from talking about race and statues to talking about helping states economically recover from Covid, helping to provide guidance on school re-openings, etc.. Technically, there is still time to get things back on track but every day lost just makes things more difficult for the GOP.

    The Iran facility sabotage and slightly good unemployment numbers from the past week or so would have been something the GOP could have easily latched onto in the past and helped them control the news cycle but instead these stories are overshadowed by his declaring an EO to arrest folks who vandalize statues and his continued racial fear mongering. Yikes, McConnell has to be a bit nervous that Trump really is dragging down the rest of the Senate if he does not change the subject.

    Finally, the moment Twitter started policing twitter (by providing fact check footnotes to certain tweets) and not letting conservatives get away with spewing any nonsense (such as the latest political conspiracy du jour) the Conservative influencers became snowflakes and decided to try and use another site to try and influence their base and well, again…see the article at Politico regarding Parler, as that is not working out so well for the GOP (can you say echo chamber chamber chamber).

    To reiterate, should liberals/Democrats get complacent at this news…no, absolutely not, but it is becoming like pointing out water is wet saying the Trump campaign is unhealthy at this point in time. Any money advantage the Trump campaign has is of limited value if ultimately people just no longer want to vote for your candidate (I would say Bloomberg learned this lesson well, hundreds of millions burned up to generate commercials that left him in the dust when people actually voted in the Primary contests).

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  28. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    And can we all stop pretending JJ Abrams is some creative God? He’s not a world-builder, he makes great pilots and then the wheels come off. See: LOST. See: WESTWORLD. See his STAR TREK reboots – the first worked, the sequels did not. He’s all pitch, no follow-through.

    I thought JJ Abrams was an idiot for the last decade, for one simple reason. He puts fake lens flare in shit, sometimes to the point that you can’t see what’s actually happening in the scene. Lens flare is an artifact that always takes me out of a movie or a show, because I’m suddenly reminded that there’s a lens here and I’m not just looking at the scene. But then to go out of your way to use computer graphics to make big obvious constant bright flashy lens flares in something like Star Trek? What the fuck is wrong with you, you idiot?

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  29. Teve says:

    @inhumans99: The horserace journalists are not happy that the race isn’t close and they will create narratives to make it so. I wouldn’t be surprised if bored journalists latch on to something to But Her Emails him about.

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  30. Kingdaddy says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I share your opinion of J.J. Abrams. He tries to remake content, either directly (Star Trek, Star Wars) and indirectly (for example, Alias was a riff on Mission Impossible, Cloverfield was a Godzilla movie, etc.). He doesn’t have an original mind, so he doesn’t know what to do with these re-creations, once he gets them started. One decent Star Trek movie, and then garbage. Lots of intriguing moments on Lost that went nowhere. He’s an overgrown kid who says, “Wouldn’t it be neat if…?” then doesn’t know where to go from there.

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  31. Teve says:

    @inhumans99: read the big New Yorker piece from March about Brad Parscale. When executives at Facebook wanted to factcheck political ads and remove ones that were dishonest propaganda, Trump campaign officials embedded at FB shot it down, arguing that if you removed dishonest propaganda, that would be biased against conservatives.

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  32. Mister Bluster says:

    @Michael Reynolds:..all pitch, no follow-through…

    I’m still waiting for The Graduate Part II, A Masters Degree in Chemistry.

    Thank You Anne Bancroft
    RIP

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  33. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Science and gibberish seldom work together, especially in movies.”

    Oddly, I’d say the one place where the combination does work is in the Marvel universe. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby managed to cram together mystical, religious and science fiction concepts in such a way they felt like one piece.

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  34. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Charles Webb actually did write a sequel, called Home School, published in 2007, but it was a critical and commercial flop.

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  35. wr says:

    @Kathy: “It feels like Abrams did his move, then Johnson did his movie and moved the plot in a different direction, then Abrams finished his movie and ignored 99% of Johnson’s in doing so.”

    And the crazy thing is that JJ was in charge of the whole damn series. And yet when he hired Johnson, he apparently didn’t care at all how Johnson would follow up his movie. And then when he came back in for number three, he acted like the second one barely existed. This is nothing short of malpractice…

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  36. Teve says:

    Charlie Daniels yesterday, in the hours before he died, tweeted about abortion, Benghazi, and supporting the police.

    Every day I think more and more about just shutting politics out of my life completely.

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  37. senyordave says:

    @Teve: “Benghazi forever”, that can be his epitaph. Seriously, I can’t imagine one of my final thoughts in my time on earth would be a RWNJ meme, or anything to do with politics. I guess he was a true wingnut to the very end.

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  38. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Daniels was a major booster of Trump. Apparently he had a blog (I’ve not read it) in which he excoriated Schiff and Pelosi. And he wrote articles for right-wing websites.

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  39. de stijl says:

    I do like Daisy Ridley. She’s pretty awesome.

    I am old enough to have seen the first movie in a theater. I was a callow teen and even then I was “pretty, but blah”.

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  40. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    When I had enough money to retire early with a lifestyle I wanted, I retired.

    Chasing the next and more money is not my thing.

    Do not want a big house or expensive stuff. Cars are transport. Houses are burdens. I have passions, but it’s cheap stuff – books, games, movies, shows, monkeying with my Vespa.

    Keeping up with the Joneses is so much bullshit in my book. I don’t care about the Joneses at all or what they think of me. It is an alien concept.

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  41. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    The future is plastics.

    Mean Girls proved that.

    (Mean Girls is totally fetch.)

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  42. de stijl says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    Not knowing is worse than knowing on core life and health stuff.

    People who obscure and sugarcoat are not helping. Actively hindering.

    Tell me plain is the correct course.

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  43. Teve says:

    The Trump campaign this weekend sent out a bunch of emails, with a picture of a Jesus statue, saying WE WILL PROTECT THIS.

    The Jesus statue in the picture was the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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  44. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    A doctor could be sued for malpractice for sugarcoating and obscuring.
    My experience has been opposite that: doctors I’ve dealt with on my own behalf and that of others tend to emphasize worst-case scenarios.

    @Kingdaddy:
    I’m very sorry about your dog.

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  45. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    I saw that. I can’t stop laughing.

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  46. de stijl says:

    @Teve:

    Lens flare in gaming can be super egregious.

    Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

    I will accept that walking east in the early morning means that you have the sun in your eyes.

    Mimicking lens flare is stupid.

    An artifact of poorly shot movies where it was initially not intended and undesirable. Cameras have lens hoods for a reason.

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  47. de stijl says:

    @CSK:

    We would invade Brazil?

    For a statue?

    In Trump world that sounds cromulent.

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  48. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Teve:
    @CSK:
    @de stijl:

    Javanka probably gave him a coloring book* with the statue in it and he grabbed his phone.

    *one of those activities to slow the onset of dementia.

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  49. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Did anyone observe the irony between the Trump Rally @Rushmore and using the Neil Diamond song “Coming to America” in that rally?
    For those unfamiliar, the song celebrates the welcoming of immigrants to America.

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  50. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    The people behind the ad probably never bothered to check the location of the statue, knowing it would make no difference to Cult45. Half of Cult45 probably thinks–to the very limited extent they think about such matters–that it’s in Mississippi or Alabama anyway.

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  51. Kathy says:

    @wr:

    This is nothing short of malpractice…

    And even worse than I thought they’d done things. about the only coherent part of the narrative was which character from the origina trilogy dies when. Han in the first movie, Luke in the second, and Leia in the third. Other than that, it felt more like the old BBS game where one person started a story, and different people kept it going in subsequent posts. The result sometimes was funny, more often tedious.

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  52. CSK says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:
    I didn’t watch the rally, but that’s hilarious.

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  53. grumpy realist says:

    How bizarre.

    I suppose no one has the guts to inform Trump that it was members from the tribe who brought the original lawsuit to void the Washington Redskins trademark?

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  54. Sleeping Dog says:

    Great, yesterday it was brain eating amoeba and today reports that the bubonic plague is back.

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  55. Liberal Capitalist says:

    With the sci-fi talk, this seems worth a share:

    https://player.vimeo.com/video/435520174

    This caught my attention on twitter. A blend of Blade Runner’s opening with the footage of fireworks in LA yesterday.

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  56. Sleeping Dog says:

    Florida woman brings Immuno-compromised child to a covid party, child dies 2 weeks later.

    This would be child abuse anywhere else, but sure about Florida.

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  57. de stijl says:

    @CSK:

    I have driven in the southern US. There are a butt load of Christ statues on public land.

    Most are not nearly as well realized as pieces as the Rio statue.

    The ones in Missouri as intended as warnings to non-believers as much as celebrating Jesus.

    If on private land I would not object.

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  58. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    And don’t forget murder hornets and, of course, the coronavirus. 2020 has been swell, hasn’t it?

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  59. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    Well, then, that just proves my point. Cult45 probably does think the Rio statue is somewhere in Missouri.

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  60. de stijl says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Blade Runner was the first movie I went to opening day because it was opening day.

    Had to see it.

    The Thing came out on the very same day.

    Two seminal movies out the same day and they both bombed at the box office then and revered now.

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  61. de stijl says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    I like your style.

    That you saw it and recommended it.

    That was very cool.

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  62. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl:..Not knowing is worse than knowing on core life and health stuff.

    Back when I was in High School (Class of 1966) the older sister of one of my female friends had suffered a head injury in a car accident when she was in her early/mid teens. I had not yet met my friend or her family when this accident occured.
    As a result of the injury my classmate told me that her sister had what she called “a steel plate” in her head.
    In their infinite wisdom the girls parents and sister (my classmate) and I have to assume the physician never told her about the “steel plate”. She was just told that she survived a successful surgery.
    Though I did not notice until I learned about the situation it became apparent that there was something amiss about the older sisters behavior. Her emotional development was not quite at a level of a woman in her early 20’s. She herself would at times ask her family if there was something wrong with her.
    While I knew the family she married and had one child. My friend her sister would tell me that the new husband was asking questions about his wife’s well being.
    I lost touch with the family over the years but I have wondered how this could come about.
    I would think that ethically the doctor would have been obliged to explain the situation to the patient. But this would have been late 50’s early 60’s and I don’t know how old the girl was at the time.

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  63. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    There’s a lot of great entertainment in the Star Wars universe.

    It’s just not in the prequels or sequels.

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  64. de stijl says:

    @CSK:

    Missouri is pretty flat topographically. No real way to confuse Cristo Redentor with St. Joe, Mo.

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  65. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Re: Abrams. I don’t think Abrams would view your comments as put downs. In fact, I’m pretty sure he would agree that his goal is to create the team and the pilots and then let the machine run itself so he can go on to do other stuff. He put together Lost from someone else’s pitch (although he changed it fairly dramatically), put the team together, directed the pilot, and then walked away and started something new. On IMDB he’s got 10 projects as a producer just for 2021 and already has 6 for 2022. ‘JJ Abrams’ is basically a very large production company right now.

    As a director he only has 15 total credits and 6 of them are for TV shows (the 2 part pilot for Lost, a two parter for Felicity, 5 episodes of Alias – but two of those are uncredited because it was some fill in work, an episode of The Office, the pilot for Undercovers and an episode of Kimmel.) 2 more of them are for video games and 1 is for a TV movie. He’s just not that prolific as a director.

    As a writer he has more, but even Felicity only has him penning 17 episodes. Alias has 13 while Lost just 5. A lot of video games and Lost add-ons (mini-series, the wrap-up web episode which explained a lot of the mysteries, etc)

    To me, it’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t see himself as a writer or director and that his natural bent is as a producer.

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  66. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    Then they’ll go to Plan B: Ignore it. What they always do when they can’t spin something.

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  67. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @CSK:
    I couldn’t bring myself to watch the actual verbal diarrhea portion of the program. The song was played for the crowd during the fireworks display. Still, ironic!

    BTW, I’ve been in the “stands” at Rushmore many times, and it assuredly cannot seat (on backless benches) 7500. Those that were seated on folding chairs on the patio above the amphitheater stage had no ability to see what was going on on the stage. I’d guess less than 2000 actually “saw” the presidential arm waving.

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  68. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Science and gibberish seldom work together, especially in movies.

    Except in comedies. All Hail “Buckaroo Bonzai”!

    I’d bet dollars to nickels that the Mr. Smith character in the Matrix was modeled on Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo.

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  69. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I went with Christie fall and winter of senior year. It was not going to be a serious thing.

    I broke up with her. The first time I had to break things off because I wanted to. That was supremely difficult but I did it.

    I went with Mary to prom. Had a pretty great time.

    Next day I heard that Christie who had went with Joe D was hurt bad because Joe went into a light pole at 60 mph drunk off his ass.

    Christie went from hospital to basically institutionalized.

    She sent me a letter a year later. She said she loved me. It was in script about kindergarten level.

    My god, that broke my heart.

    She is quite likely still in the same building she was sent to when she was 18 years old.

    She went from prom to Joe’s car to hospital to invalid center and never left.

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  70. Monala says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Simply awful. Her daughter survived cancer at age 2, 15 years ago. At that point, I imagine her mom was still listening to doctors, rather than conspiracy theorists.

    I see she also gave her the hydroxychloroquine and zpak mix, but before her daughter was hospitalized. How’d she manage to get a hold of them, I wonder? Did a doctor prescribe them?

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  71. de stijl says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The ganglia twitch!

    My god, I loved BB. Perfect Tommy. Pretty Penny. John Bigbootie.

    It was nonsense and perfectly beautiful.

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  72. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Leia was a hairdo and a gold lamé bikini.

    Leia was so much more than just set dressing. She’s probably the most complex character in the series, with her hair changing several times, along with her being utterly practical despite her upper class background, and her ability to keep focused on the bigger picture. And that’s just in the first three movies.

    The story of those three movies is that the boys get into situations, and Leia solves them. Escape into a trash compactor, point out that the Empire is following them, reasonable attempt at rescuing Han*, strangling Jabba, etc.

    Han is pretty much defined in the first movie and never changes.

    Luke is a bit better, as he has an arc of boy-wants-adventure-and-gets-it, boy-gets-smacked-to-shit, boy-doesn’t-lose-his-hope-or-idealism-and-connects-with-his-absentee-father. He grows up across the first three movies.

    Beyond that though, you’re mostly right. The world-building is weak — and told only from the perspective of a few people which ends up neglecting questions like “Why did nothing change on Tattoine between the Republic and then Imperial Occupation?”. And the economics of space travel is baffling. And planets are so sparsely populated. And why are humans always on top? And despite having so little established, the sequel trilogy manages to break something with each movie.

    The one interesting bit of world building was Midichlorians, which were dropped pretty much as soon as they were introduced. Bacterial infection leads to super-powers, and wrecks havoc upon the galaxy’s politics as a few individuals destroy everything. The sequel trilogy should have been about searching for a cure to Midiclorians.

    But the core mistake IMO, was The Force. Quasi-mystical sci fi. Science and gibberish seldom work together, especially in movies. (How many times have people tried to shoot Dune?) Pick a side: secular or mystical, choosing both is trouble. An all-purpose escape hatch from plot difficulties is convenient but it makes for weak plotting and destroys jeopardy.

    If the mystical-force is well defined, it can work. It just becomes science at that point. And it was defined in original trilogy — not explicitly, but it’s usage was limited, and ultimately well-constrained. The prequels opened it up a bit, but given that the original was about rediscovering a lost-mystical-force, it made sense that well-trained people in their prime would do it better, and everything was still in that set of powers. The sequels shat all over constraints.

    There is a rumor going around that the entire sequel trilogy will be removed from canon and stuck in an alternate timeline so they can reboot the whole rickety mess.

    Oh, sure, alternate timelines is exactly what Star Wars needs. That won’t make things worse. Sigh.

    They should just pick a different part of the story, loosely sketched out in the no-longer-canon EU, and focus on that for a bit.
    —-
    *: The only way to make sense of the start of ROTJ is to assume that none of our heroes spoke ahead of time and there were three separate plans — whatever Lando was doing, Leia and Chewy’s plan to sneak in a rescue him, and Luke doing whatever he was doing.

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  73. Gustopher says:

    @sam: The soundtrack for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford has been wandering in and out of my heavy rotation on Spotify for years. I think it might be the only score that has really stood up for me without the movie.

    But, for today I shall try Once Upon A Time In The West.

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  74. de stijl says:

    In the the the late 80’s my friend and roommate Jon was dating a women whose last name kinda sounded like Bootay.

    Of course Bobcat and I referred to her as Jenny BigBootie.

    She heard and was super pissed. We had to explain over several encounters that it was that her last name rhymed with Bootay.

    We liked and respected her and were not criticizing her booty. She did have a pretty fine booty, in fact.

    When Buckaroo Bonzai fandom goes too far.

    Of course at that same time I was dating Meka Leka Hi Meka Hiney Ho aka Michela. She was also unimpressed with our shenanigans.

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  75. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    If the mystical-force is well defined, it can work. It just becomes science at that point. And it was defined in original trilogy — not explicitly, but it’s usage was limited, and ultimately well-constrained. The prequels opened it up a bit, but given that the original was about rediscovering a lost-mystical-force, it made sense that well-trained people in their prime would do it better, and everything was still in that set of powers. The sequels shat all over constraints.

    Call it Deus ex Machina creep, with the Deus aspect taking over more and more each time.

    BTW, in a Zahn novel, I think “part one of The Hand of Thrawn,” Luke considers options in a skirmish, and concludes he can do pretty much anything he wants to the hostile ship. When he does, he sees a vision of Palpatine laughing. the novel concludes that using too much of the powers in The Force was a path to the Dark Side or something.

    Contrast this with Jean Cabellos in the Babylon 5 Technomage trilogy. One character, Elric, considers the power of the ancient races in the galaxy. About the Vorlons, he says something like “They use their power so seldom, it may was well be legendary.”

    But then another character, Galen, goes and experiences the Deus creep first-hand.

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  76. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Monala:

    Getting drugs is pretty easy as there is always some scumbag MD who will prescribe something for off-label use. After all, look how easy it was to get Oxycontin. Doesn’t surprise me that in the Q anon world there are grifters looking to take advantage of the rubes.

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  77. grumpy realist says:

    Ummm…..

    Probably so that even if there is another (successful) appeal the book will be out there in a zillion hands and there’ll be no way to claw them back. *cackle*

    ReplyReply
  78. sam says:

    La Golondrina, the Mexican song of farewell, from Sam Pekinpah’s The Wild Bunch.

    ReplyReply
  79. Kingdaddy says:

    @de stijl: “Laugh while you can, monkey boy!”

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  80. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Man, Simon and Schuster couldn’t buy this kind of publicity.

    As a practical matter, the book may be in some stores ahead of July 14. The “official publication date” is a convenience for reviewers. In actual fact, most books can be purchased before their pub dates.

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  81. de stijl says:

    One of my few credible vocal impressions is of Palpatine.

    Not just the voice but the certainty that you are the good guy who is forced to make hard moral decisions even though you are demonstrably evil.

    It amuses me greatly there is a thing called Wookiepedia.

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  82. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    “Laugh while you can, monkey boy!”

    You know… when I read “monkey-boy” the first thing that popped into my mind was The Librarian: Quest for the Spear”

    Sonya Walger was great in that. She had a cheshire cat smile.

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  83. de stijl says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    Everytime I see Clancy Brown in something I rejoice. Rawhide!

    Also, there is a character actor no one ever recognizes name of Jeff Goldblum who played New Jersey who needs more attention. He is very distinctive. You would think the internet would be hip to that guy .

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  84. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @de stijl:

    …but the certainty that you are the good guy who is forced to make hard moral decisions even though you are demonstrably evil.

    So, you’re saying’ you do a Trump impression?

    … enough free association today. ok see you bubye

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  85. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    And the economics of space travel is baffling.

    In the books, games, and animated series, we see freighters that are gigantic affairs, carrying a tonnage that would bankrupt the Earth a hundred times over if we tried to send such mass into orbit, and there are many thousands of ships like that.

    IMO, the speed of light limit on spatial displacement is how the universe keeps our minds from blowing up in the face of, literally, astronomical numbers.

    And why are humans always on top?

    In the Timothy Zahn original Thrawn Trilogy, there’s an implicit Imperial doctrine of Human Supremacy, which is explicitly referred to here and there (Thrawn is not human).

    But mostly it’s a matter of economics. If you think back to the very first movie back in 1977, not the special edition, both the Rebel alliance and the empire are all-human outfits* plus some droids and one Wookiee. Evidently it was cheaper not to spend money on makeup for actors.

    Come to think of it, I don’t think we saw any aliens among the Rebels in the second movie, either. By the third, return of the Jedi, there are many, including Lando’s co-pilot and Admiral Ackbar.

    *And almost entirely all-male, too. Leia being the exception.

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  86. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    It is cheaper to glue prosthetics on humans than to make and maneuver puppets.

    As to the wypipo sausage party, it was 1977 Hollywood.

    There is a disturbing lack of non-junk in deep space listening endeavors. Per the Drake Equation there should be many or some civilizations discernable.

    This may seem cynical, but my bet is that species capable of radio communication stop a century or two after because they have nuked themselves to death.

    We are listening not only over distance but time.

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  87. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: Star Wars was great when it wasn’t taking itself seriously. *sigh*.

    I remember dragging both my father and one of his friends from the Manhattan Project to watch the original and they had an absolute blast, chortling and identifying all the WWI and WWII movie tropes for me. They especially liked the arial dogfights.

    I also remember my aikido instructor ranting about the horrible stances taken by the actors in Revenge of the Sith. (He taught kendo in his spare time.)

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  88. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    This may seem cynical, but my bet is that species capable of radio communication stop a century or two after because they have nuked themselves to death.

    More like fatalistic.

    Another option, which is becoming more obvious every day, is that intelligent species develop technologies and high standards of living which drive them to exhaust their resources, which then may drive them to nuclear wars in desperation.

    It’s impossible to draw generalizations form one example, naturally. But through the half billion or so years of multicellular life on Earth, intelligence occurs only in the last fraction of a million years. So it seems like a rather improbable development.

    Multicellular life itself, especially chordates, comprise only about a fifth or a fourth of the time life has existed. That wouldn’t seem to be a high probability development either.

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  89. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    The Drake equation incorporates sentience and the likelihood it arises.

    Obviously that is a very rough estimate.

    That we cannot find any signal is disconcerting.

    Sentience may be self-limiting because soon after someone figures out how to easily destroy a planet someone does.

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  90. de stijl says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Palpatine would eat a guy like Trump for breakfast and have forgotten him by lunch.

    ReplyReply
  91. de stijl says:

    There is a reason we possess a nuclear stockpile that would kill all of us many times over.

    It isn’t rational self interest. It is much more basic. Those guys could kill us so we have to have the capability to kill them more.

    Mutual Assured Destruction was seen as a calming element in West vs. Soviet Union diplomacy. Utter madness. Pun intended.

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  92. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “There is a rumor going around that the entire sequel trilogy will be removed from canon and stuck in an alternate timeline so they can reboot the whole rickety mess.”

    It’s not a rumor, it’s a demand from a bunch of moron fans. Studios don’t care about “canon” or any of this other fan bullshit.

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  93. Mister Bluster says:

    Huntsman loses GOP primary in Utah
    Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox has defeated former Gov. Jon Huntsman for the GOP nomination for governor, ending Huntsman’s comeback bid in the Republican primary.
    The Associated Press declared Cox the winner on Monday, nearly a week after last Tuesday’s primary. Cox leads Huntsman in the vote count, 36 percent to 35 percent. Former state House Speaker Greg Hughes was third, with 21 percent.

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  94. An Interested Party says:

    I guess all this Star Wars bashing settles the question of Star Trek vs. Star Wars…

    The horserace journalists are not happy that the race isn’t close and they will create narratives to make it so.

    This is particularly obvious on sites like politico.com…you can tell how desperate they are to try to make up a horserace where one no longer exists…

    …arguing that if you removed dishonest propaganda, that would be biased against conservatives.

    That needs to be put on a bumper sticker and plastered everywhere…when it comes to today’s politics, truer words have never been spoken…

    The Trump campaign this weekend sent out a bunch of emails, with a picture of a Jesus statue, saying WE WILL PROTECT THIS.

    The Jesus statue in the picture was the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    Well, Bolsonaro is the president of Brazil…tin-pot dictators of a feather…

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  95. de stijl says:

    @wr:

    Superfans are often toxic.

    Star Wars brings out the worst elements of utter entitlement.

    It’s a story. It does not belong to you.

    ReplyReply
  96. Teve says:

    White House is now Reppin Manifest Destiny. linky

    “Americans are the people who pursued our Manifest Destiny across the ocean, into the uncharted wilderness, over the tallest mountains, and then into the skies and even into the stars.”

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  97. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    Americans are the people who pursued our Manifest Destiny across the ocean, into the uncharted wilderness, over the tallest mountains, and then into the skies and even into the stars

    …in search of lebensraum?

    This has to be deliberate 5th-columnist sabotage from inside the White House. Nobody could accidentally echo so many taboo historical phrases.

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  98. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: probably Stephen Miller. He knows he better make hay while the sun shines.

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  99. de stijl says:

    @DrDaveT:

    People pooh-poohed me when I advanced the argument that there are White Power folks in the White House feeding Trump their garbage to retweet because he is too lazy and ignorant to know better. Rhymes with Stephen Miller; likely not him directly but one of his plants.

    Tulsa on Juneteenth. The Villages “White Power” retweet. (Just imagine if Obama had tweeted the equivalent of that!) This Manifest Destiny whistle.

    There is a fox in the hen house. Feeding addled Trump shit to get grr angry about so he angry grampa retweets it.

    Rhymes with Stephen Miller.

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  100. de stijl says:

    @Teve:

    Dude! You stole my shit.

    A h/t at the least.

    ReplyReply
  101. de stijl says:

    @Teve:

    Btw, the catchphrase is “Rhymes with Stephen Miller”

    ReplyReply

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