Saturday’s 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. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. de stijl says:

    What is a movie that you hate and everybody else in the world seems to love?

    For me, Topgun.

    I saw it at a theater with my friend, Lisa, and she was super pumped. She had a hard celebrity crush on Cruise. I sat there and very quickly realized the main character, the protagonist was a type I actively hate: the cock-sure arrogant asshole.

    I’m supposed to root for this guy? That’s not gonna happen.

    I know a lot of folks adore this movie and the Maverick character which befuddles me greatly. I fucking hated him and everything about him on a deep fundamental level.

    The aerial cinematography was great, especially at that time. Tom Skerrit and Anthony Edwards were fine. Val Kilmer was a hoot. The love interest thing made no God damn sense at all and the written inclusion of that character was just fucking bizarre. That character and her presence made no fucking sense besides cliche movie love story angle.

    I also actively despise all of the Rambo movies after the first one which I think is is pretty good.

    What is yours?

  2. clarkontheweekend says:

    This is probably an odd opening post from an infrequent poster, but here goes. I’m in a difficult position with a work colleague who I’m pretty sure is in an at least emotionally abusive marriage, if not worse. We’ve got to be really close and are now great work friends. Haven’t really been in this situation before. Any of you sage and reasoned commentators have any experience with this and thoughts/opinions on well, how to approach and maybe deal with the situation? She says things like “he’s been a bear lately” and “I’ve been walking on eggshells with him” and so the rest flags are flashing. So really, I’m just looking for some help or guidance on what to do or not do.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @clarkontheweekend: I’ve been there, it’s tough not knowing the right thing to do.

    In my experience most folks just want a welcome ear to speak to. Don’t tell her what you think of any particular thing she might mention in anything but the most anodyne of ways, such as “That must be hard for you.” If she specifically asks you for your opinion, first ask if she really wants you to answer.

    Most people in these situations just want a sounding board, they don’t want someone telling them that how they are dealing with the shit is all wrong. Even when they ask, a lot of times they don’t really want your honest opinion, they want an echo.

  4. Stormy Dragon says:

    @de stijl:


    It’s like trying to look like some deep philosophical art film, but there’s really no point to it.

  5. de stijl says:


    Do what @OzarkHillbilly recommends, basically. He is wise.

    The only add I might have is that you may want to bring up professional help / therapy.

    Man, it is tough to bring up and do it subtly. Hackles will get raised. It is a thing to think about.

    A guy I know was in a tough patch. He was stuck. And his manner of coping by drinking heavily was making things worse. I brought up possibly seeking professional help and he got very angry and the conversation ended badly.

    Two weeks later he went to rehab voluntarily. Later, when he was doing his 12 Steps thing he called me up and thanked me.

    Something along the lines of “I know a lot of people feel better after talking things like this through with a therapist.” Worth a thought, anyway.

    If she is sharing those thoughts and reactions she is looking for feedback, guidance, help.

    Best wishes to you and her.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The truth about Andrew Tate: ‘His home is less Hollywood hideaway, more rundown meat factory’

    A longish but interesting read about a truly loathsome individual. Fair warning, don’t read if you want to avoid the somewhat graphic descriptions of misogynistic behavior and abuse.

  7. Jen says:

    @clarkontheweekend: Please be careful. It’s hard to thread the needle between being a supportive friend and becoming too emotionally involved. If her spouse is abusive, the last thing you need is to become (or even be perceived as) romantically entangled. Listen, be supportive, and follow Ozark’s advice.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The discovery of stone tools dating back nearly 3m years has raised questions about which hominin species was behind the ancient technology.

    The artifacts, found at a site in Kenya, are thought to be the oldest known example of a specific set of stone tools used for butchery and pounding plant material. The emergence of the so-called Oldowan toolkit is viewed as a milestone in human evolution and was assumed to be an innovation of our ancestors.

    However, the latest excavation revealed a pair of massive molars belonging to Paranthropus, a muscular-jawed hominin on a side branch of our evolutionary tree, alongside the tools.

    “The assumption among researchers has long been that only the genus Homo, to which humans belong, was capable of making stone tools,” said Prof Rick Potts, of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, a senior author of the study. “But finding Paranthropus alongside these stone tools opens up a fascinating whodunnit.”

    The site in western Kenya, Nyayanga, also yielded the oldest evidence of hominins consuming very large animals, with at least three individual hippos unearthed. Two of the incomplete skeletons included bones that showed signs of butchery. There were also antelope bones that showed evidence of flesh being sliced away or being crushed to extract bone marrow. The animals may have been scavenged rather than hunted.

    It was not until the last paragraph that somebody mentions the first thing I thought of:

    However, Spoor added that it was not possible to discount the alternative explanation that the teeth belonged to a victim rather than the hunter. “We eat pork cheeks and those Paranthropus creatures had very big chewing muscles,” he said. “I’m sure they were very tasty.”


  9. CSK says:

    Does your friend have any visible physical injuries?

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Speaking as one who is not a big fan of horror movies, I never thought of Se7en as being anything more than a horror movie, even a pretty good one.

  11. Scott says:

    @Jen: That was the first thing I thought of. Emotional entanglement is the the greatest danger to both of you. Having empathy and compassion and being a good friend in need is one thing but that can be a landmine for you and one you need to be on the lookout for.

  12. Jen says:

    @Scott: Well, I’ve seen this dynamic play out a few times. In one case, it ended up breaking up two marriages, kids involved, etc. Obviously, the one marriage was already in trouble, but the partner on the other side was completely blindsided. Very messy, lots of hard feelings remain years later.

  13. charon says:

    I bailed on “Titanic” early on, totally bored.

    I bailed halfway through “The Hurt Locker,” just getting too repetitious, getting bored.

  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I don’t watch movies enough to actively love or hate any. I think short attention span is to blame, but dunno fer shur.

  15. charon says:

    @de stijl:

    I also actively despise all of the Rambo movies after the first one which I think is is pretty good.

    The Rambo movies are part of a whole genre that I disregard, just not into that whole type of movie or TV series.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @de stijl: My immediate reaction was “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. I’ve never watched it or wanted to watch it, because in my head it is the story of an asshole who takes advantage of his friends and anyone else he comes across, and leaves them to deal with the consequences. But when I started to respond to your query, I realized that I had formed that opinion when it first came out, probably from he preview and descriptions, and it might not be right, or I might have a different outlook than I did back then.

  17. charon says:


    There are fairly recent Anasazi remains in the American southwest that show obvious cannabilism, including defecating on the remains. So cannabilism would not necessarily indicate who the eaters were.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: In my opinion you can skip it. It’s not a bad movie but neither is it a good movie, just a boring one.

  19. Stormy Dragon says:

    @de stijl:

    It’s also nearly impossible for me to take Top Gun seriously after having seen Hot Shots!

  20. CSK says:

    My candidate for most boring and utterly pointless movie would be Mike’s Murder. Appallingly bad.

  21. charon says:

    Mike’s Murder

    I am not familiar with that. I thought the ask was well-known, widely acclaimed movies that turned out not worth watching.

  22. charon says:

    The Star Wars movies are widely popular, but I have concluded each and every one is total dreck, all of them.

    My taste in SF runs more towards “Moon” or Battlestar Galactica.

  23. charon says:

    Thinking of SF, Dune is another I bailed on early.

  24. Scott says:

    @de stijl: It has been 50 years now and I haven’t seen these two movies since then but I remember actively hating two 70s movies: Looking for Mr Goodbar and Coming Home. It may have just been the 70s which is my most disliked decade.

  25. Scott says:

    @charon: As a fan of the books, I totally despised David Lynch’s Dune (1984). Of course, it wasn’t popular and critically acclaimed either so I wasn’t alone.

  26. Slugger says:

    This is a statement from the Governor of Alaska about the thingie shot down recently:
    My question is whether there is any way to tell if this statement was generated by ChatGPT or not?

  27. Scott says:


    As such, decisions need to be made quickly to preserve the territorial integrity of Alaska and the United States. This incident is further evidence that the military capability of Alaska is robust. An important discussion should ensue about improving those capabilities, including icebreakers, Army, Air Force and Navy capabilities.

    Send us some more money!

  28. CSK says:

    Well, you’re right, but it was the worst crap I’ve ever seen. And some real talent was involved. Some critics raved about it as a real noir masterpiece.

  29. de stijl says:

    Almost every Woody Allen movie until I smartened up and stopped going. I’m fairly sure the last Woody Allen movie I saw was Hannah And Her Sisters.

    That decision saved me time and agita.

  30. gVOR08 says:

    @charon: I enjoyed the original Star Wars and was OK with the next two. After that, nothing original, stupid plots, bad acting, and over the top CGI. They forgot George Lucas’ own rule that the effects are there to sell the story. Of course for that to work you have to have a story.

    Also the director’s cut of the original movie. In Airplane one of the running gags is that every time they do an exterior shot of the 707 they do a prop driven B-17 or something sound effect. In the director’s cut the Millennium Falcon sounds like a 707.

  31. de stijl says:


    Ferris Bueller was a crappy friend, and extremely self-absorbed.

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @Slugger: They don’t want to say it was a balloon, just a “car sized” unidentified cylindrical thingee drifting at 40,000 ft. If it’s not a balloon I hope we haven’t started a war against ET.

  33. gVOR08 says:

    I reminded myself of an irritant in the news. Nobody mentions that we used to, still do for all I know, send U-2s and then SR-71s into unfriendly foreign airspace. And we expected them to try to shoot them down. We were kinda rubbing their faces in not being able to shoot them down.

  34. charon says:


    A common problem with sequels is they get to be rehashes of the same ideas, so it’s hard to hold interest (for me anyway) of more of the same. I have actually sat through the first six Star Wars because they are such a cultural phenomenon I wanted to know what people are talking about.

  35. CSK says:

    One great exception to the sequels-are-never-as-good-as-the-original rule is The Godfather Part II.

    As for Star Wars, I’ve seen two. Men adore them. Women? Meh.

  36. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Scott: All Lynch’s movies are an acquired taste. I enjoy them for the sets, props, costuming and make-up.

  37. charon says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    A really wide range. I found Eraserhead unwatchable, a lot of the other stuff pretty meh. But I really liked Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive a lot.

  38. steve says:

    Deifinitely Titanic. Thought it was stupid.


  39. Kathy says:


    I think the SR-71 has been retired.

    The U2 may still be in use, but the Soviets figured out how to shoot them down by 1960.

    This incident, BTW, ended the XB-70 Valkyrie high altitude bomber. Also one of the most peculiar looking aircraft. for one thing, the nose landing gear is nowhere near the nose.

  40. Scott says:

    I’m just glad I don’t live in Florida.

    Two articles:

    THE VILLAGES VENDETTA: How a Grassroots Revolt in the Iconic Retirement Community Ended With a 72-Year-Old Political Prisoner.

    It is long but full of details:

    THE TROUBLE BEGAN in 2019 when residents of The Villages were suddenly hit with a 25 percent hike in their property taxes. In the master-planned retirement community of 130,000 across Sumter, Lake, and Marion counties in central Florida, many are on fixed incomes. The math they had done in plotting out their golden years had not accounted for a massive jump in taxes.

    If the new taxes were intended to cover new amenities or upgrades for the Villagers, perhaps a hike would be worth the sacrifice. But the money was instead destined to subsidize further sprawl south of The Villages, ultimately benefitting the entity known locally either as “the developer” or “the family,” which could then escape paying the fees associated with the impact of their development.

    Florida lawmakers greenlight DeSantis takeover of Disney’s special tax district

    Florida lawmakers granted Gov. Ron DeSantis new power over Disney on Friday during a special session aimed at fixing problems with some of the rising Republican leader’s most controversial signature initiatives.

    Legislators approved a bill that creates a new special tax district entirely composed of DeSantis appointees to oversee the land on which Disney’s amusement parks operate in Florida — effectively giving the governor influence over operations ranging from tax collection and garbage pickup to construction and planning.

    This is guaranteed to be a cluster… I wonder how many of Disney’s employees are going to be laid off to go work for the state.

  41. Modulo Myself says:


    Even Lynch bailed. The director is credited as Alan Smithee. That said, it’s not that bad of a movie–just clunky and slightly campy. It’s way closer to Lair of the White Worm than the original material….

    I thought the non-Cronenberg Crash was awful, but I hate that type of thing. I do know that in the last years of video stores there was an underground delight in clerks ‘accidentally’ switching the two films so the family eager for Oscar material ended up with a slightly different movie.

  42. Modulo Myself says:

    I’m seeing a lot of claims about the East Palestine airborne toxic event that could be social media misinformation or could be true. If true, there’s a serious Bhopal-like event going on.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Slugger: I would suggest that framing paragraph 3 with “Alaska is truly on the front lines” is something that ChatGPT would not be as likely to do. Beyond that, there may be more concrete information in the statement than one might typically think to give the AI, but I can also see how one might wonder about the statement having been generated by an AI of some sort.*

    FTR, the AI feature on the reply link OtB uses completed 2 or three of the lines I just wrote.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: “Men adore them.”

    For me anyway, “adore” is too strong a word, but I did like the space opera qualities of the first 3 that reminded me of old cliffhanger-style serializations that I watch whenever I manage to find one. Tubi recently had a late 30s (?) Captain Marvel” serialization and a war-era Batman reedit (into one full-length movie) that I watched recently. Dreck, but fun dreck. 🙂

  45. Kurtz says:

    I do know that in the last years of video stores there was an underground delight in clerks ‘accidentally’ switching the two films so the family eager for Oscar material ended up with a slightly different movie.

    Oh, wow. IIRC it doesn’t take long to get to the salacious material, either.

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Still all things being equal, the forward landing gear is in a more logical place than more forward would be. It’s position does support the plane at the point of forward weight, and with what appears to be a Concorde-like swinging/tilting nose, you’d hardly want the forward landing gear much further forward.

  47. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I had a professorial colleague once who was so obsessed with SW that he sent out a questionnaire to everyone in the department–everyone in the college, for all I know–interrogating us on the deep philosophical significance of the movie, what it meant to us, how it changed our lives, blah blah blah.

    All the women who received it glanced at it and tossed it into the trash. It was just a movie, ffs, not a life-changing event.

  48. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @clarkontheweekend: Ask her if she feels safe at home first and foremost. If not encourage her to seek the appropriate assistance. It never gets better once it’s physical abuse. Otherwise, what others have mentioned–just listen. You have limited tools to directly help–and its very easy to undermine your friends goals if you get out of your lane.

  49. Pete S says:

    @de stijl:

    Interesting question. Either Ghost or Roadhouse, same general era, both times left thinking “well that’s 16 bucks and 2 hours I will never get back”.

  50. anjin-san says:

    I’m skipping movies I hate and instead recommending a movie that I love that very few people seem to have seen, the 1947 film noir classic “Out of the Past”, starring Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum.

  51. Kathy says:


    Oh, no. Not just a movie. It’s a franchise.

  52. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: Star Wars, for all its many flaws, does have one of the most relatable characters in all of fiction.

    I’m talking, of course, about R5-D4.

    R5-D4 is the red robot that Luke and Uncle Owen were going to buy, who travelled 10 feet and then stopped and had a minor explosion because he had a bad motivator. I also have a bad motivator. I think a lot of us do.

    Presented with the likelihood of working for a couple of red necks, on a moisture farm in the middle of nowhere, I would also explode.

    Eminently relatable.

  53. CSK says:

    I know, I know. And if people enjoy the movies, that’s fine with me. But revering and obsessing about them?????

  54. Scott says:

    Trump team turns over additional classified records and laptop to federal prosecutors

    The Trump attorneys discovered pages with classified markings in December, while searching through boxes at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence. The lawyers subsequently handed the materials over to the Justice Department.

    A Trump aide had previously copied those same pages onto a thumb drive and laptop, not realizing they were classified, sources said. The laptop, which belonged to an aide, who works for Save America PAC, and the thumb drive were also given to investigators in January.

    Copied those same pages onto a thumb drive? You mean scan and save to a thumbdrive? How do you scan “pages with classified markings” and not realize they were classified materials?

    And OBTW, I’m pretty sure the laptop and thumb drive was hooked into the internet at some point. When I worked for the Air Force, we were not even allowed to use thumb drives because we could not verify the origin of the software on them. This is actually worse than finding paper documents in a box.

  55. CSK says:

    I don’t recall that character. As I said, I only saw 2 of the franchise, and the second one because I had no choice.

  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: It may have just been the 70s which is my most disliked decade.

    If you remember them, you weren’t there. 😉

  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Well, we are definitely way behind in icebreakers. Russian has something like 32* and we have something like 2*.

    *numbers pulled out of my ass but I remember there being a shocking difference between the 2 #s.

  58. MarkedMan says:

    @anjin-san: Oh, if we are going in that direction, I’ve got a ton! How about “Zero Effect” with Ben Stiller, Bill Pullman and Kim Dickens? Easily the most true to the original Sherlock Holmes movie I’ve seen despite the fact that it never mentions Holmes, is set in modern times, and has comedic elements.

  59. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Legislators approved a bill that creates a new special tax district entirely composed of DeSantis appointees to oversee the land on which Disney’s amusement parks operate in Florida — effectively giving the governor influence over operations ranging from tax collection and garbage pickup to construction and planning.

    In other words, Communism without the “good” parts.

  60. CSK says:

    Five U-2s got shot down by SAMs. Remember Francis Gary Powers???

  61. Stormy Dragon says:


    I’m interested to see what Disney’s response is. The previous special taxing district law required the approval of the residents of the new district to be created, and without that, this would seem to create huge bill of attainder and fifth amendment issues.

    I’m sure lots of other states would love the power to single out particular enterprises and say “you’re suddenly in a new ‘special taxing district’ which can arbitrarily make you responsible for $1 billion in debt”

  62. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The attorney general for the state of Texas, Ken Paxton, has agreed to apologize and pay $3.3m in taxpayer money to four former staffers who accused him of corruption in 2020, igniting an ongoing FBI investigation of the three-term Republican.

    Under terms of a preliminary lawsuit settlement filed on Friday, Paxton made no admission of wrongdoing to accusations of bribery and abuse of office, which he has denied for years and called politically motivated.

    But Paxton did commit to making a remarkable public apology toward some of his formerly trusted advisers whom he fired or forced out after they reported him to the FBI. He called them “rogue employees” after they accused Paxton of misusing his office to help one of his campaign contributors, who also employed a woman with whom the attorney general acknowledged having an extramarital affair.

    Both sides signed a mediated agreement that was filed in the Texas supreme court and will be followed by a longer, formalized settlement.

    “Attorney general Ken Paxton accepts that plaintiffs acted in a manner that they thought was right and apologizes for referring to them as ‘rogue employees’,” the final settlement must state, according to court records.

    I can’t wait for this corrupt pos to go to prison.

  63. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: He won’t. He was just re-elected. He is corrupt, adulterous, and an indicted felon. The indictment for securities fraud has not yet gone to trial after seven years. He’s been reelected twice since then. But he is a darling of the evangelicals.

    We are screwed as a nation.

  64. Matt says:

    @de stijl: I had all the same issues as you combined with the film’s disregard for reality in general. There’s no way a fight between a fifth gen and a F-14 would go down like that. I did get a kick out of him splitting the throttles because you can do that in real life in that version of the F14 (assuming the engine doesn’t die due to airflow issues). You can actually pull the same maneuver in DCS and some other high end sims. I wouldn’t want to try that in real life though as the airframe and engines are too temperamental to make it safe. But hey at least they were trying to be creative within the bounds of reality for the first time…

    The rest of the air to air stuff was absolutely not grounded in anything resembling reality. The SR-72 darkstar stuff was stupid and the plane itself is entirely impractical. I still occasionally run into people who think that it’s a real plane despite all the obvious issues with the “design”. Even if they fixed all the obvious problems and got it flying the thing wouldn’t have enough fuel for more than 20 minutes of flying due to lack of internal space. It is a cool looking design though.

    I could write a whole essay on what I hated about Top gun 2 but I don’t think anyone really cares so I’ll just end it here.

  65. Matt says:

    @Matt: I was referring to Top Gun 2. I haven’t seen Top Gun 1 since I was a kid in the 80s. Even then I was turned off by the excessive machismo and contrived plot.

  66. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..Francis Gary Powers

    A tragic figure.
    Not like I was a student of international affairs in May of 1960. I was 12 years old in the 6th grade. I do remember news of the event. Not sure if I had a grasp of being shot out of the sky at 70,000 feet. I know I was surprised that the pilot survived.
    Apparently US Officials were too.
    They concocted a story about the U-2 being on a “weather mission” and the plane had “strayed off course”. (Didn’t I hear somehing like this recently?)
    When it was revealed that Powers was alive and in a Soviet jail and some of the planes spy equipment was intact the US Government had to admit what was going on.
    Powers was returned to the United States in February 1962 the result of a prisoner exchange.
    In August of 1977 he was piloting a helicopter for a Los Angeles TV station when it apparently ran out of fuel and crashed killing him and a TV cameraman.

  67. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Yep. I think Powers was traded for Rudolph Abel, though I only found that out later in life. I was a kid too at the time the incident took place. But I remember hearing about it.

  68. Jax says:

    I also need some advice from the commentariat. I’ve told you all before that my youngest daughter’s dad is a paranoid schizophrenic. Well, he’s apparently run out of meds, and he’s spiraling pretty bad. Like, gonna hurt someone else or get killed himself. And he’s posting the spiral publicly on Facebook.

    As I fear that I’m one of the people he may hurt, should I get involved, obviously, I can’t get personally involved. I do want to get him some help, but I don’t know how, as Utah law requires anyone requesting a mental health hold or evaluation be adult immediate family.

    This is the link to his public profile on Facebook. I recommend scrolling down to the beginning, and working your way up.

    Mimai, you’re in the mental health profession, do you have any tips for what I can do to help him from afar? I can’t stand the guy, but dang, I don’t want him dead, either. I’ve already spoken to his family, they are unwilling to do anything. His Mom is in denial that anything is wrong with him, and his Dad literally does not care after all the times Brian has stolen from him.

  69. Mister Bluster says:

    Dateline: Today Saturday February 11, 2023
    US jet shoots down ‘unidentified object’ over northern Canada, Trudeau says
    CNN-Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday that an “unidentified object” had been shot down over Canadian airspace on his orders.
    “I ordered the take down of an unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace. @NORADCommand shot down the object over the Yukon. Canadian and U.S. aircraft were scrambled, and a U.S. F-22 successfully fired at the object,” Trudeau said on Twitter.

  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: That’s where I’m different from other potential faculty members. I would have written back telling him what a hoot it was to see movies that remind me of my childhood watching re-edits of Spy Smasher, Rocketman, and Commander Cody. That was the best part of all three of those mindless brain candy movies.

    (And if he doesn’t like answers like that one, he shouldn’t ask that kind of question. But yeah, the farce force was a feature of evangelical thinking after the first two SW movies, too. 🙁 And other people I knew were making the connections between, SW, Close Encounters and Von Danekin’s Chariots of the Gods. It was a hard time to take evangelicalism seriously. It warped my views to an extent I’m only now beginning to understand.)

  71. Monala says:

    @de stijl: Ferris Bueller. I saw it as a teenager, and felt the same way about him as you do about Tom Cruise’s character.

  72. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: R5-D4 only appears for maybe 30 seconds in the original movie, so I can see forgetting him.

    And his story does also show some of the aspects of Star Wars story telling that people find heavy-handed. Rather than a motivation, he literally has a motivator component, that is apparently defective and explodes. We aren’t presented with the droid’s interior monologue, and he doesn’t go through any psychological growth. His actions and any exterior events are determined by the plot more than by his character.

    On the other hand, in a world where characters are defined in broad strokes and where events spiral out of control because of a mysterious “force” (later weirdly retconned to be an infection of microorganisms*), R5-D4 decides that the only reasonable course of action is to peace out, and wait a few decades to show up in the background of a spin-off tv series, just to point out that he is fine. He represents the Everyman, who will never change the world and is more than ok with that.

    It might seem like I am reading too much into it, but his entire original scene didn’t need to be there. Remove him from the story, and Luke and his Uncle just buy R2-D2 and C-3PO, and the story unfolds exactly the same. His character is inserted into the story apparently just to look around and say “fuck this shit, I’m outta here.”

    *: I remain convinced that after several wars that killed billions if not trillions of people in a generation, all caused by people with so many midichlorians that they can do amazing things at the cost of being trivially tempted towards atrocities, that the correct course for the Star Wars galaxy is a race for a cure and then a massive vaccination campaign.

  73. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jax:..Utah law requires anyone requesting a mental health hold or evaluation be adult immediate family.

    I have not yet read the FB link you provided. I believe you when you talk about the downward spiral.
    My mother was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic when I was 8 years old well before medications were developed to manage this vile disease. My father had to go to court have her committed to State Hospitals in the ’50s and ’60s several times.
    The Utah law is deficient.
    I can only hope you can find someone related to him to assist in this situation.
    My thoughts are with you.

  74. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Conservatives are only opposed to regulation to the extent that they’re not deciding what is being regulated. If they’re deciding, all regulations are exactly as they should be–forever and ever.

  75. Jax says:

    @Mister Bluster: Thanks. I really don’t know what to do.

  76. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: I have no advice. I’m sorry this is happening to him, and to you, as well as to everyone remotely connected to him in any way. He definitely seems dangerous.

    This might be a case where the adage “help yourself so you can help others” means keeping your head down so it doesn’t blow up on you or your kids. I don’t know whether that’s advice or a rationalization to do nothing.

    I do note, however, that he is accusing someone of stealing his guns, so it sounds like someone is trying to take care of him at least enough to minimize the potential damage. And likely putting themselves in harm’s way in the process.

    Be careful, monitor his feed, and if he mentions you in any way grab the kids and run.

  77. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: I’m wondering what would happen if he went to the police in full crisis mode, to try to get the police to arrest the guy who stole his guns. He’s likely to be encountering the police soon anyway, and that might be the best possible encounter. Least worst.

    Part of me fears the police would get his guns back though.

    And I have no idea how you could put the idea in his head without making yourself a target of his delusions and rage.

  78. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: He’s a convicted felon, he’s not allowed to legally own firearms.

    And what’s really weird about that whole gun and the ex girlfriend and the cars happened pre-Covid. His sense of space and time is all fucked up, that ex girlfriend currently has a restraining order on him, he spent most of Covid in jail for repeated violations of the restraining order. He got out about a year ago and actually seemed to be holding down a job and doing relatively well. Now he’s running around the streets of SLC, videoing random people he thinks are trying to kill him.

  79. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Fuck… Speaking as one who has been there, done that… I suspect you have no better options than I did. Can’t say about your legal options because WY and UT laws are certainly different.

    My problem was not just my ex, but her violent, drunk, drug addled husband and her unwillingness to kick the pos out of her life (he was the money) (and had the local court connections). That being said, do 2 things right from the gitgo: Get a restraining order and get a good lawyer. (I couldn’t afford a good lawyer). And dig in for the long haul.

    I suspect you will get lots of death threats, 95-99% of which will be bullshit, but report them to the proper authorities anyway. Record them too. My proudest moment was when their lawyer stated in court that he couldn’t believe his client, a scion of the community with family ties going back 150 years would threaten my elderly parents, and I replied, “If you want I can go home and get the recordings of the voice mails.”

    Yeah… the stupid mf’er left voice mails threatening my parents, and his lawyer stfu.

    I’m sorry you are going thru this, it is hell. If you ever need to talk to somebody who has been there, ask James or Steven for my email. I have no magic to make it all go away, but I have been there and done that. I can listen. I hope you don’t have to wait until your ex finally goes to prison as mine did.

    ETA: As to this,

    As I fear that I’m one of the people he may hurt, should I get involved, obviously, I can’t get personally involved.

    I got personally involved. I had to. I was the only thing standing between them and my sons. I got a restraining order between him and my sons, but never between him and me. Why? Because I wanted him to come after me and not my sons. He never did.

    FTR: In order to assert my right to see my sons, my lawyer told me I had to go to their house every Wednesday and every other Friday and confront the violent pos (or not if they chose to be elsewhere). Many times I knocked on an unanswered door. Many more times I confronted the pos knowing he was armed (I was too) and hoping he was not completely insane.

    It sucks. I’ve been there but again, I have no magic bullet, just a ready ear.

  80. Sleeping Dog says:


    Does your county have a crisis counseling hotline? If they do start there. If they don’t, I’d suggest calling the nearest hospital that has an in patient psych unit and asking for advice and solicit help for him. The county Sheriffs office should also be able to assist.

    Try and do this in the background so you don’t become larger in his delusions, then keep your head down. Might be a good time for a few days in Cheyenne.

  81. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It’s just a matter of time before he pisses off the wrong gangbanger at a gas station. Or he looks threatening enough to a cop that they shoot him.

    I have a restraining order filed and ready, but it doesn’t take effect until he shows up HERE, and they can serve him with it. Wyoming law requires that once he’s served, he has a couple days to show up in court and argue against why the restraining order isn’t needed. I can’t file it and have it take effect anywhere until then.

  82. Jax says:

    @Sleeping Dog: He’s in Salt Lake, so Utah laws apply. I don’t have any personal contact with him, I have him blocked on Facebook because otherwise he blows up my phone with Facebook Messenger calls and threats because his daughter won’t talk to him. The only way I can see his public profile is snooping through my Mom’s Facebook.

  83. Jay L Gischer says:

    You know, I am married to one, fathered another, and know a couple more women who are very nuts about Star Wars. The formula “men like SW, but not women” would never have occurred to me. It seems, um, complete bollocks.

    My wife saw the first one (Episode 4) in the theater when she was 11. Her brother took her, and made her read the novel first. She still adores it.

  84. gVOR08 says:

    A charge against Trump for Jan 6 may turn on criminal intent, which turns on whether he believed he lost the election. This afternoon WAPO posted a story saying the Trump campaign paid a research firm 600K to study the election in six states looking for any irregularities or evidence of fraud. The campaign said nothing about the research firm’s results because they found nothing significant to support Trump’s claims. And they so reported a week before 1/6.

  85. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    I have a restraining order filed and ready, but it doesn’t take effect until he shows up HERE, and they can serve him with it.

    Still, if he decides to not show up so he can’t be served, the TRO is still doing its job. That’s not a bad way to win and beats what amounts to a tie in the TRO game. Having him stay away is what matters here. How… not so much.

  86. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: Years ago, the CEO of the company I worked for hired a consulting firm to find out why we were hemorrhaging middle management people. The company interviewed the most recent 40 or 50 resignations and reported that all but one revealed that they had left for a job paying more money and the remaining one had decided to go into the same business as a sole operator/proprietor. The CEO fired the company for making a report that was obviously false.

    Trump is easily as stupid as our CEO was, so the fact of what the campaign did or what the research firm discovered may not have any strong bearing on what Trump chose to believe for criminal intent purposes. 🙁

  87. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Yeah. I didn’t want to take the chance of serving him with it when I knew where he lived, because I’m not sure he actually remembers where I live. It’s been 15 years since he’s been to the ranch. I’d like to keep it where he probably can’t remember how to get to my house as long as possible.

  88. Gustopher says:


    I enjoyed the original Star Wars and was OK with the next two. After that, nothing original, stupid plots, bad acting, and over the top CGI. They forgot George Lucas’ own rule that the effects are there to sell the story. Of course for that to work you have to have a story.

    There’s a fan edit of the prequels that makes them each a 45 minute silent movie, and they are excellent. It strips away the awful dialog (there are dialog cards, but not that many), removes massive amounts of cruft and filler, eliminates weird racially insensitive accents (it is silent!), purges the failed humor, makes the CGI look jerky like little stop motion models, and lets you focus on the story, of which there’s about 45 minutes of per movie.

    It’s not a particularly deep story, but it’s there. It’s just buried in a lot of … well … crap.

    And, of course, the vehicles are really cool in every version and every movie, except the sequels (the incremental changes from original trilogy designs were uninspired and overly conservative). They aren’t always practical, but they are always cool.

  89. al Ameda says:


    Deifinitely Titanic. Thought it was stupid.

    I’m with you on this.
    I actually tried, I gave it about 45 minutes, and tried to keep watching only because Kate Winslet was so good looking. But I gave up. I knew how this was going down anyway, so I think I missed nothing. I do not get the hype at all.

  90. wr says:

    @CSK: “My candidate for most boring and utterly pointless movie would be Mike’s Murder. Appallingly bad.”

    To be fair, that was a movie that was famously butchered by its studio — the original narrative jumped around in time, the studio made it linear, and that’s generally an impossible thing to pull off. That said, they wouldn’t have done all this if they hadn’t hated the original cut.

    By the way, back in my LA days, I knew the guy who played Mike. He’d been a struggling actor for years, finally got his big break in what was going to be an important movie… and then nothing. He was working as a carpenter or handyman when I knew him, and he finally gave up and moved out of California…

    Great Joe Jackson score, though.

  91. wr says:

    @Modulo Myself: “Even Lynch bailed. The director is credited as Alan Smithee. ”

    If you’re talking about Dune, Lynch’s name is on the original theatrical release. Later it was re-edited into a much longer version for TV, and that’s the one Lynch took his name off, since it no longer represented his intentions.

  92. CSK says:

    My principal objection was to the way the Debra Winger chracter was obsessed with solving the murder of a guy she barely knew. As remember saying to my companion as we left the theater: “Why did she care?” The people leaving with us said: “We were wondering the same thing.”

    I think Mark Keyloun (Mike) moved to Washington state in 1991 to work in IT.

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Oh, sure. I’ve no doubt they liked/loved it. But were they obsessed (speaking of obsession) with it the way so many men are?

  93. wr says:

    @CSK: “I think Mark Keyloun (Mike) moved to Washington state in 1991 to work in IT.”

    That sounds about right. He and his wife were friends with the very toxic woman I was seeing in 89 and 90…