Tuesday’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. Scott says:

    In case anyone is following the details in the Ukrainian conflict:

    As of 3 Oct, 2100 ET

    Ukrainian forces have made substantial gains around Lyman and in northern Kherson Oblast over the last 24 hours. The Russian units defeated on these fronts were previously considered to be among Russia’s premier conventional fighting forces.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin may use the appointment of Lieutenant-General Roman Berdnikov to the command of the Western Military District to redirect blame for recent or future Russian military failures in Kharkiv Oblast.

    Russian officials released the director of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, whom they had illegally detained, and are likely continuing to undermine Ukrainian control of the plant.

    Ukrainian forces made advances on the Oskil River-Kreminna line towards the Luhansk oblast border.

    Ukrainian forces advanced in northern Kherson Oblast.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin is introducing punitive measures to target the Russian bureaucratic institutions responsible for the execution of partial mobilization.

    Russian officials acknowledged that the Kremlin intends to invade, occupy, and illegally annex additional Ukrainian territory in the south and east and may alter the claimed borders of its occupied territories.

    The Russian State Duma approved the Kremlin’s illegal accession treaties on October 3 and laid out the administrative timeline for integrating illegally annexed Ukrainian territory into the Russian Federation.

    2
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Daily Beast published claims from a woman who says Walker paid for her abortion when they were dating. The woman, who was not named, claimed the allegation was supported by a receipt showing a $575 payment for the procedure, along with a get-well card, purportedly from Walker. According to The Daily Beast, her bank deposit records show the image of a $700 personal check, purportedly from Walker, dated five days after the abortion receipt. The woman claimed in The Daily Beast report that Walker encouraged her to end the pregnancy, saying that the time wasn’t right for a baby.

    In a statement, Walker said he would file a lawsuit against the news outlet. “This is a flat-out lie and I deny this in the strongest terms possible,” he wrote.

    Translation: “I did it.”

    On Monday night, Walker appeared on Fox News where he was asked if he recalled sending a $700 check to a girlfriend.

    “Well, I sent money to a lot of people,” he said. “I give money to people all the time because I’m always helping people. I believe in being generous. God has blessed me. I want to bless others.”

    Translation: “Yes.”

    8
  3. Scott says:

    Apparently, America’s most overrated imported oligarch has opened his mouth and stepped in it.

    Ukrainian officials and allies rail against Elon Musk tweet

    Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, shot back at Elon Musk on Monday after the billionaire SpaceX and Tesla CEO tweeted out a poll proposing that Ukraine cede some of its territory and hold new elections in areas annexed by Russia in order to achieve peace.

    Responses from Ukrainian officials and supporters were swift and unsparing.

    “Which @elonmusk do you like more?” Zelenskyy tweeted, including a poll that had options for “One who supports Ukraine” and “One who supports Russia.” As of Monday afternoon, 89.5 percent of the nearly 400,000 people who responded to the poll selected the former.

    My favorite:

    Zelenskyy wasn’t the only one to call Musk out online. Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Melnyk was quick to reply, tweeting, “Fuck off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk.”

    7
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Groooooannnn…

    He set out to squash rivals’ dreams and he succeeded. Retired commercial farmer Scott Andrusz spent sleepless nights tending to a giant gourd in his field and finally came up with a new US record – a plump pumpkin weighing in at 2,554 pounds.

    The latest record holder for heaviest pumpkin grown in the US tended his prize pie filling in upstate New York and pureed the previous record holder, a grower in New Hampshire whose 2,528 monster set the national standard in 2018, but in the end wasn’t a patch on Andrusz’s.

    The 63-year-old in Clarence, near Buffalo, had hoped to grow the heaviest pumpkin in New York state but ended up a national champion.

    “Give it all the best stuff you can think of to give it, all the fertilizer, kelp, worm castings, chicken refuse,” Andrusz told Gothamist. “And a ton of water. Every time she’s thirsty you gotta go give her a drink.”

    1
  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “She say anything about me?”

    – donald F’n trump, inqiring about Ghislaine Maxwell.

    1
  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: I wonder how many responded to the muskrat by proposing he surrender 10% of his wealth to Twitter shareholders.

    3
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The clarion call of justice is sounding across America once again, thanks to the tireless efforts of its finest purveyor of made-up news.

    The Onion, the long-running satirical publication, has filed a very real legal document with the US supreme court, urging it to take on a case centered on the right to parody. And in order to make a serious legal point, the filing does what the Onion does best, offering a big helping of total nonsense.

    Claiming global Onion readership of 4.3 trillion, the filing describes the publication as “the single most powerful and influential organization in human history”. It’s the source of 350,000 jobs at its offices and “manual labor camps”, and it “owns and operates the majority of the world’s transoceanic shipping lanes, stands on the nation’s leading edge on matters of deforestation and strip mining, and proudly conducts tests on millions of animals daily”.

    With such power, why does the Onion feel the need to weigh in on a mundane court case? “To protect its continued ability to create fiction that may ultimately merge into reality,” the filing asserts. “The Onion’s writers also have a self-serving interest in preventing political authorities from imprisoning humorists. This brief is submitted in the interest of at least mitigating their future punishment.”

    The outlet is concerned about the outcome of a case it describes in a headline: “Ohio Police Officers Arrest, Prosecute Man Who Made Fun of Them on Facebook”. It sounds like an Onion headline, the filing points out, but it’s not.

    In 2016, Anthony Novak was arrested for making a Facebook page that parodied the local police page. He was charged with disrupting a public service but was acquitted. The next year, he sued the department, arguing it was retaliating against him for using his right to free speech, as Cleveland.com reported.

    In May, a US appeals court backed the police in the case, a finding Novak’s lawyer said “sets dangerous precedent undermining free speech”. Last week, Novak appealed against the case to the supreme court, leading to the Onion’s filing – what’s known as an amicus brief, a filing by an outside party seeking to influence the court.

    In one of its less amusing sections, the brief argues that the appeals court ruling “imperils an ancient form of discourse. The court’s decision suggests that parodists are in the clear only if they pop the balloon in advance by warning their audience that their parody is not true. But some forms of comedy don’t work unless the comedian is able to tell the joke with a straight face.”

    3
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Donald Trump has sued cable TV network CNN, claiming defamation and seeking punitive damages of $475m, according to a Florida court filing on Monday.

    The US cable news station has accurately referred to the former US president “with a series of ever-more scandalous, false, and defamatory labels of ‘racist,’ ‘Russian lackey,’ ‘insurrectionist,’ and ultimately ‘Hitler’,” Trump’s lawyers claimed. The lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.

    OK, OK… I slightly reworded that 2nd paragraph to more accurately reflect reality. Sue me.

    Almost forgot:

    “Beyond simply highlighting any negative information about the plaintiff and ignoring all positive information about him, CNN has sought to use its massive influence, purportedly as a ‘trusted’ news source, to defame the plaintiff in the minds of its viewers and readers for the purpose of defeating him politically,” the filing states.

    What positive info about him?

    3
  9. Kathy says:

    @Scott:

    I get to dig out an oldie:

    Elon, better to stay silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    1
  10. Jay L Gischer says:

    You know, I read that Elon Musk tweet as a joke. A satire. A parody. You know, ironic. Which is doubly fun given we have the other item about the Onion and a lawsuit before the Supreme Court.

    1
  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Scott:

    I did like the comment from the Russian’s that are charged with defining the borders of their ‘new’ provinces, that they couldn’t because the borders were fluid.

    2
  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    Unbelievable. Amazon is going ahead with Season 2 of The Rings of Power. Same cast, same incompetent writers.

    ROP is so bad I can’t even hate watch it, and my bar isn’t set that high – I can hate watch Blue Bloods. ROP isn’t the fun kind of bad, it’s stupid bad, and worst of all, boring bad, and together with some awful casting decisions, the result is insufferable.

    I used to screen and hire the ghostwriters we used for some of the Animorphs books. They were generally newbies, not experienced pros so I wasn’t looking for Faulkner. But based on their work so far, I would not have hired these clowns to ghost a 140 page middle grade book off a fucking outline.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that opposition has hardened Amazon’s position. Mustn’t let YouTubers push us around, they’re all racists and misogynists. And many are exactly that: racists and misogynists. Which does not alter the fact that this show is amateur hour, a clown car full of lousy, untalented writers demonstrating anew with each episode that JRR Tolkien was the real deal and they are heedless vandals, IP looters.

    3
  13. Mister Bluster says:

    The coal miner’s daughter has died.
    Loretta Lynn
    1932-2022
    RIP

    6
  14. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’ll preface by saying I don’t give a damn one way or another, But I’m curious, because Amazon is promoting the hell out of it here. I get almost daily emails with WHAT’S NEW ON AMAZON PRIME! containing just a link to this show. It appears first in the TV app. And there are many ads for it plastered here and there in the city.

    I did hear it cost Amazon a lot of money. Naturally they won’t give it up. It’s hard to write off however many millions have been spent, when a few more hundreds of millions will surely turn things around. Sunk costs, or something.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:
  16. inhumans99 says:

    I have no dog in this fight/discussion, but MR, if Amazon bothers to release the amount of folks who have watched enough minutes of an ep to qualify as a viewer, I bet the number is pretty darn high. The show is not going anywhere soon, so it is was very smart of you to walk away when you did. It would just continue to drive you nuts watching a show that has you wanting to strangle the writers of the show.

    Kathy, I googled and Amazon dropped at least 750 million for the rights, and spent about 500 million(!) on the first season. They could still cut their losses and terminate the show like WB/Discovery did by straight up writing off Batgirl and Scoob 2, which were pretty much in the can and over 120 million had already been spent on both films, but Amazon would end up eating at least 3 times that amount by walking away and no longer producing a Lord Of The Ring show.

    Not to mention that Discovery claims they were able to take a full tax write-off for both films as long as they put the losses on their books before a deadline had passed fresh into their takeover of Warners/HBO.

    Over 350 million is a lot for a company to eat in costs, even a company the size of Amazon. I feel that they probably go forward with a second season and then they put out a statement that explains why they are not going forward with a third season. That will have some folks on-line gasping that they spent so much on the show, and how shocking it is not getting a third season, but the reality is that anyone who was paying attention will not be surprised at all that they use the end of the second season as an off-ramp.

  17. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Well, yes. After all, “Let’s reward the aggressor and leave the victim open to further aggression” makes sense only as satire.

    BTW, St. Elon mentions “Russia” has owned Crimea since 1783. Fine. But before then it was variously a possession, in whole or in part of the Ottoman and Mongol empires. Also an independent state, and even a collection of Greek colonies.

    That’s the problem with regression. One can argue neither Mongolia nor Turkey can claim it, as both the Ottoman and Mongol empires are extinct. That’s fair. But so is the Russian Empire that took Crimea from the Ottomans.

    Political maps are bound to chane in time. Usually they change through war and conquest. The point now is not to let that happen. Sometimes countries consolidate or split up peacefully, or with minimal violence. That might be the best we can hope for. But nothing gives Russia, nor anyone else, the right to take territory by force.

    2
  18. Kathy says:

    @inhumans99:

    Kathy, I googled and Amazon dropped at least 750 million for the rights, and spent about 500 million(!) on the first season.

    I’m beginning to hate the complications of modern streaming TV…

    As I understand these things, a streaming show is a hit if it 1) gets new subscribers, 2) keeps existing subscribers, or 3) both.

    So, if the Rings show bring in millions of people, and then they hang around for a second season because they hope the show will improve, or even because bad as it is they want to know what happens next, it doesn’t seem to matter whether the show is any good or not.

    And the sunk cost thing also applies to viewers. If you paid for Prime Video, or HBO Max, or Netflix, you want to stream something from each as long as your subscription lasts. Otherwise you’re just wasting money.

    I pay monthly subscriptions. If I find I’ve nothing left to watch, or even urgently left to watch, on a given service, I cancel it before the next payment is due.

    Take Apple. I got it for Foundation and Severance. I found “For All Mankind,” but it didn’t draw me in enough to keep the subscription; I can take it up again when a second season of Severance or Foundation come out. I was also just about to drop Prime Video when I started The Expanse. That one seems long enough to keep me another month.

    1
  19. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I didn’t make it through one episode. Near the end of ep 1 (SPOILERS), there’s a scene of a dozen elves standing stock still on a boat as they approach a giant light vagina in the sky. As they are about to enter the illuminated levitating noo-noo, Galadriel looks around and throws herself off the boat.

    I thought “Clever girl” and turned off the TV.

    1
  20. Jax says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Hahahahaha….giant light vagina in the sky….I almost spit my coffee on my screen! Thanks, that was my laugh for the day! 😛 😛 😛

    4
  21. grumpy realist says:

    P.C. Hodgell has just come out with the next Kencyrath book, for any of you who follow Jame and her adventures.

  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    There have been many, many such scenes. Just jaw-dropping stupidity. The writers are utterly clueless and don’t have the cops to save themselves. Amazon should have fired the show-runners, sidelined Galadriel and jumped to a whole new story line. Not that they have a story.

  23. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Perhaps this show is not for you.

    It’s entirely possible that there is a different audience who keeps tuning in — perhaps people who want something pretty and non-challenging in the background while they are doing household chores, or people who are suffering from brain fog due to long covid or repeated concussions — and Amazon has found and tapped into that audience. It could be that this show is targeted to the people who are failing the organic chemistry class mentioned in Dr. Joyner’s thread, the ones who no longer seem to know how to study or concentrate.

    Or, someone at Amazon might be trying to pry money out of the company and is getting generous kickbacks from the fletchers and other prop people.

    Anyway, I don’t get why some people are so bothered that the (perhaps boring and awful) show continues to exist. Even if somehow someone is a fan of the appendices of LOTR, every fandom has to suffer the bad adaptation — it builds character.

    Look, somehow Transformers movies keep getting made, and are popular enough to make a profit. Surely that is a greater crime.

    (And a tedious adaptation of LOTR supporting material just seems tonally authentic, honestly)

    3
  24. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher: I think the show’s OK. I don’t care for Galadriel, but the rest is bearable.

    My wife (who, I must emphasize, does not suffer from brain fog, multiple blows to the head, or lack of ability to study) loves it. She can wind deep down into the weeds of LOTR lore, but still forgives RoP its deviations from pure canon. And for some reason she likes Galadriel, even though I point out every time that the actress is a foot shorter than she should be, etc.

    As the butchered Latin goes: de gustibus non est disputandum. People like what they like for whatever reasons they like it. I mean, there are people out there who love eggplant.

    2
  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    I have a personal interest because some of my IP is in the hands of Hollywood hacks who are going to destroy it. Imagine you’ve painted a painting. Took you six months. For years people have been loving your painting, writing you tear-stained letters about how you saved their life.

    And then some fucking hack grabs a roller, dips it in some eggshell white latex and begins defacing your painting. See, they aren’t just destroying something of yours, they’re destroying something that is deeply meaningful to a whole lot of people.

    So, when I see talentless twats pissing all over JRR Tolkien and people who love Tolkien, and turning something potentially great into something insufferable, it bothers me. Remember when the Taliban destroyed the buddhas? I don’t think we should just laugh off destruction of art, whether by religious fanatics or by hubristic billionaires with no apparent sense of story.

  26. Sleeping Dog says:
  27. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I see your point clearly, and it’s a good one, but unlike a defaced one-of-a-kind painting, JRRT’s book itself will continue to exist unadulterated and unharmed.

    2
  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    But the images and thus memories in people’s heads will change. I imagined visuals from LOTR the books, but they’ve all been replaced by Peter Jackson’s frankly superior images.

    When I tell people I’m trying to protect fans of Animorphs and Gone they roll their eyes, but that is probably 70% of my motivation. Those readers matter to me, they changed my life and I feel an obligation to them. I’m 68, my wife has two books #1 and #5 on the Indie list of middle grade and her latest opened at #1 on the NYT list. I just had a spa installed which instantly altered every daily goal which is now to wait for nightfall and jump in. IOW I have nothing I need and nothing to prove. I am involved in pushing Gone for TV because I don’t want Hollywood hacks to embarrass Gone people they way they embarrassed Animorphs people with that shitty TV adaptation.

    The remaining 30% of motivation is curiosity, the challenge, some greed and it’d be a nice last act for my memoirs. But that 30% wouldn’t get me to sit through a single meeting.

  29. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: There are many, many different interpretations of Superman, which all exist simultaneously, and can be enjoyed.

    Even if you just go with tv/movie versions, there are a lot and all very different but going back to the same core (except for Zach Snyder’s interpretation).

    If LOTR is as classic and wonderful as people claim it is, it can survive this, and there will be another adaptation down the line closer to your interpretation. (Like Jesus!)

    Or, LOTR was good at its time, very dated, and barely speaks to anyone anymore as it was about WW I. That’s another possibility. Sometimes things run their course and are only maintained in broad, superficial outlines (like Jesus!).

    Yes, the linguists will always love LOTR, while lamenting gender roles or whatever.

    2
  30. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I still think that your dedicated readers’ mental images of what you create will be what they retain, despite any intervening tv or movie adaptations. That’s almost always the case. The rare exception is The Godfather and The Godfather II, in which dreck was turned into art. Lousy book, outstanding films.

    2
  31. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I see he didn’t say how long the offer was good for, or what else will make him change his mind.

    I’m guessing he wither found some money under the couch cushions, he’s looking for some complicated tax write off, or is delaying the lawsuit against him.

  32. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I think of IP a bit like trademarks. Bad products tend to ruin both. It’s happened to Vidal Sassoon. Pierre Cardin, and many others.

  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    Got nothing to do with gender roles, it’s just shit writing. I would be encouraged by your suggestion that this IP (admittedly a mess) might be adapted again with better use made of the available material, except for the fact that Bezos would be asking an impossible amount for rights he’s squandered. Maybe he’ll accept the beating, realize he has many other billions, and sell them for a dollar to someone who does great work.

    @CSK:
    I read The Godfather while I was in jail. Also, came back at age 16 from three months in Europe holding Childhood’s End. And I read Crime and Punishment on arrival at SF State from which fine institution I’d soon drop out and follow a very different path which, in time, led to The Godfather. All rather too on the nose. Also time is a flat circle.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: She probably said that his schlong is tiny and shaped like a mushroom. 😉

    1
  35. dazedandconfused says:

    Rings of Power is insufferable. The writers and directors don’t love the story, they don’t love the vision, they don’t love the characters, they are simply checking the boxes they learned in Film Making 101. I suspect most are very young and inexperienced.

    I suspect the advent of so many people trying to make so much for so many streaming services has led to a general dilution of the talent pool, and from top to bottom. The money people seem to think dumping money on a project guarantees quality.

    1
  36. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Amazon also only has rights to a portion of the vast LOTR timeline* — the next adaptation could well be done with a different chunk, without infringing.

    And, if this show is as forgettable as you say it is, even people who only encounter Tolkien through adaptations will likely remember the primary movies with Elijah Wood (Frodo? Bilbo?), just as everyone ignores the Hobbit trilogy, or the animated movies (with Brother Theodore as the voice of Gollum!)

    In fact, thinking of the number of adaptations there have been, it’s more likely that someone will come back in a few years and try again. It’s proven that it can be a success.


    *: This may be the problem with the show… boring source material.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @inhumans99: I look at the question a little differently. It’s a niche audience product for which MR isn’t part of the niche. Nonetheless, he clings to the notion that he is the final authority on what should be permitted to air on a private, by subscription, niche pseudo network.

    It’s very much the same thing as when I watched “Picard” and realized that I never again, ever, needed to watch another Star Dreck program while others were declaring it brilliant. Taste is what it is. No one is the final authority except magic sky daddy.

    2
  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: “If you paid for Prime Video, or HBO Max, or Netflix, you want to stream something from each as long as your subscription lasts. Otherwise you’re just wasting money.”

    Which constitutes the reason for not subscribing unless I can see that the service has at least $10 worth of stuff that I ALREADY want to watch. Anything else is just an advanced case of FOMO or po’ folk version of conspicuous consumption. (I subscribe to put me above the others who can’t afford to unless it’s valuable to them.)

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mikey: “there are people out there who love eggplant.”

    Spoken by someone who, clearly, has never had my eggplant parmigiana. 😉

    5
  40. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Right, that’s why I keep dropping Netflix (it’s also the most expensive service).

    A few weeks ago I was thinking about dropping Paramount+, and then the new season of Lower Decks came out. Disney+ keeps coming up with new Marvel and Star Wars shows, too. And besides they have lots of animated Avengers shows as well. On HBO Max there’s Stargirl, Rick and Morty, and tons of DC content (mostly animated too).

    I’ll have to take up Netflix when I’m done with The Expanse to get part 4 of Disenchantment. Though I’m also thinking to wait for part 5 and binge on both…

  41. JohnSF says:

    @Gustopher:

    …barely speaks to anyone anymore as it was about WW I

    Highly arguable.
    And in any case, there’ve been plenty of film and TV actually set in WW1.
    And earlier, com to that.
    When and why the cut-off?

    A sudden dramatic social/psychological change in the past 20 years?
    Maybe; maybe not.

  42. JohnSF says:

    Anyhoo, if they were going to do a Tolkienverse story IMO The Tale of Aldarion and Erendis is the obvious one to go for.
    Seafaring, marriage breakdown, the pains of mortality, the problems of relations with the men of Middle Earth, sheep, wayward daughters, Sauron sneaking around the margins, etc etc.

    At least with that, you don’t have to mangle the character histories so you get Gil-Galad ordering his grand-aunt to get on a boat, without hubbie Celeborn sticking a sword in Gil’s snoot and asking:
    “Would you care to re-phrase that, youngster?”

    1
  43. JohnSF says:

    @Mikey:
    You have no love for moussaka?
    Avaunt, ye heathen!

    4
  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mikey: I mean, there are people out there who love eggplant.

    Slowly raises hand from the Group W bench…

    2
  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: My first eggplant parmigiana was made for me by a neighbor who was a sometime prostitute and a full time drug addict and a very sweet person. Dawg, it was heavenly. I make one every year and toast to her memory.

    I ran across her many years later working as a manager at a pizza joint. It was good to see that she had been able to clean up her life. I thought about saying hello to her, but was afraid I would just be an embarrassing reminder of the “bad old days.”

    1
  46. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    The court earlier had denied his motion to delay the trial, so if he tries to weasel out of the deal again, after offering to complete it, I’d expect that that would be viewed with prejudice by the court. Also, observers expect the deal to be completed in days as all the due diligence has been completed.

    Why Musk changed his mind, who knows? I’m sure something will come out, even if it is only informed speculation.

  47. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Maybe the God-Emperor of Mars has different notions.

    What I do know is if he let’s Benito back in, I’ll cancel my account and urge everyone to do the same. I’ll also support any group which tries to keep the orange pest off by any means.

    2
  48. Kathy says:

    @Mikey:

    I mean, there are people out there who love eggplant.

    Good point.

    Though I’ll let you in on a secret. I tell people I don’t like it, but truth is I’ve never even tried it. It just looks so unappetizing I find it repellent.

    1
  49. KM says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Why Musk changed his mind, who knows?

    Because people have been mocking him for days now for his stupid comments about Hurricane Ian and Ukraine. I’m betting his fee-fees were hurt when he happened to be talking to the lawyers and they informed him that if he was Lord of Twitter, he could ban the haters. Thus he changed his mind and the deal’s back on, baby!….. at least until his attention flits elsewhere and he’s remembers he’s stuck with the bill.

  50. JohnSF says:

    Meanwhile, back in the Old World:
    Khamenei:
    Vova, what you callin’ for this time of day?
    And where’s that payment for the drones.
    In dollars, remember.
    Credit Suisse account.

    Putin:
    Khamenei, baby! How’s things?
    Drones, yeah; cheques in the post, promise ya!
    You’re having little hijaby trouble, I hear? LOL.
    But nothing the goons can’t sort, eh?
    Anyway, got you’re votes at the UN for the annexing, right? Right!
    See ya’ in Samarkand, baby!

    Kahameneai to aide:
    Screw this clown.
    Get me Xi on fastdial.

    Iran has declared that it does not recognize the so-called “referendums” organized by Russia in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, reports the spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Nasser Kanaani

    6
  51. JohnSF says:

    @Gustopher:

    “And a tedious adaptation of LOTR supporting material just seems tonally authentic, honestly”

    IMUHO the appendix bit “Tale of Aragorn and Arwen” should have been an afterword; arguably one of the key bits of the whole story.
    (It was the only appendix bit JRRT insisted be retained in the one volume editions)

  52. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Gustopher:

    or the animated movies (with Brother Theodore as the voice of Gollum!)

    I love the Rankin/Bass version of The Hobbit, fite me!

    2
  53. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Why Musk changed his mind, who knows? I’m sure something will come out, even if it is only informed speculation.

    He didn’t change his mind, he was always against Ukraine:

    https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1503276966874595330

    1
  54. JohnSF says:

    Meanwhile, in Russia:

    Families of the mobilised on Sakhalin will receive 5kg of fish.

    Well, so long and thanks…

    3
  55. Mikey says:

    @JohnSF: Moussaka is the exception, I actually like it.

    Also sicilian caponata.

    But nothing else with eggplant. Not even parmigiana, don’t tell my Italian grandma.

    1
  56. MarkedMan says:

    All of this LoTR: RoP talk reminds me that my twenty-something children see Episodes 1-3 of the Star Wars nonology as obviously superior to Episodes 4-6, which came first and I saw as a teenager. I can’t imagine why they feel that way but I don’t think they were wrong because, hey, they like what they like and good for them.

    And despite the fact that I agree that the writing on RoP is lazy and formulaic, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if their is a vast army of teens and pre-teens hanging on every word. If so, I’m also glad they found something they like.

    2
  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mikey: Not even parmigiana, don’t tell my Italian grandma.

    Heretic! Kill the heretic!!!

    😉 😉 😉

    3
  58. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    I well remember my utter shock when my 20 year old nephew said The Phantom Menace was the best Star Wars film. I mean…good GOD.

    Wrote him out of the will after that.

    1
  59. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The discussion is about his acquisition of twitter.

  60. Beth says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I tell my kids all the time that they don’t have to justify what they like. You like what you like, other people might not understand, but it’s not your job to justify it.

    Having to justify why I liked things was just another wonderful form of abuse that got heaped on me.

    As far as RoP, I don’t really care. It’s an otherwise inoffensive hour killed and the elf is so so so glowery hot. I have a thing for glowering men. That being said, my absolute favorite part of RoP is M. Reynolds hate reviews. Please, please, please don’t stop.

    3
  61. Jax says:

    @Beth: The only upside is the glowering elf, and Nori. I kinda like the grouchy dwarf and his wife, too. 😛

    1
  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth:

    That being said, my absolute favorite part of RoP is M. Reynolds hate reviews. Please, please, please don’t stop.

    They give me a chuckle, too. Not that I read them; I scroll down after I read 3 or 4 words, but just seeing him bloviate all that rage using all those pixels gives me a chuckle. Billions of dead pixels. Perishing in screeds that matter not one iota.* Heh, heh, heh.

    *Yes, I am a sick SOB. You’re not the first persond who’s ever noticed it. (I really wish I could feel sorrow for the pixels drafted for this suicide mission, but as the Super Chicken theme song noted they “knew the job was dangerous when they took it.”)

    2
  63. Mister Bluster says:

    “The Polls are Open”
    That’s what I had to declare standing on the sidewalk outside the polling place on Cortland Ave. in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco when I was a poll worker on election day in November of 1974. The only time that I have been a poll worker.
    Here in Illinois the polls have been open since last Thursday at county clerk’s offices throughout the state for early voting. The last day to register to vote is October 23.
    I received a notice in August or September from the Jackson County Clerk’s office that I could sign up to have ballots mailed to me for all future elections. That would have been great for me for the many election days that I was out of town working over 35 years. Back then I had to mail in a request for an absentee ballot and state truthfully that I would be out of the county on election day and then mail in the ballot after I had voted.
    Now I live 1/2 mile from my polling place so it will be easy to get there on Tuesday, November 8.

    2
  64. Gustopher says:

    @JohnSF: Tolkien was drawing a lot upon (his experiences? Stories?) of WW I, and was writing something that tore down some of the heroic warrior myths that were prevalent at the time. It’s a key part of what makes it borderline enjoyable — the characters are deeply flawed, and in the end they succeed because of multiple characters doing the wrong thing at the same time (Frodo (Bilbo?) is going to keep the ring, but then Gollum fights him for it, bites off his finger, and falls with the ring into lava)

    But those myths are fairly thoroughly torn down by 2022, so I don’t know how much that resonates as new and interesting, rather than just background and expected.