Wednesday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. de stijl says:

    This morning I awoke at 3:40. It’s progress to a degree.

    I aim to consistently sleep until somewhere between 6 and 8am. Anywhere in that range I would take that.

    I got very bad news last night. Someone called me three times in a row from an unknown number.

    Later I got a text.

    From a dude I know. A good hearted guy to be sure, but an agent of pure chaos with no conception of boundaries at all. Raging alcoholic and weed guy. Loki in the flesh.

    He had moved to Omaha or KC last year because his dad got fed up and sold his house out from under him. Man, I was so relieved.

    The text and calls were from a local area code. It could be a hold-over from when he initially got that phone. Also it could mean he is back in town – back in town would be very bad. It was a new number for him with a local area code, I am so fucked.

    An agent and vector of pure chaos. If he is back in town he is eventually going to force me into a thing where I have to ban him from my life and forbid all contact.

    I hate conflict. I super-suck at it. I am exceptionally bad at it.

  2. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl:

    Give me this dude’s number. I can show him a thing or two about chaos.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kurtz: Pretty sure de stijl is not into you giving this guy lessons.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Texas governor vetoes bill protecting dogs from abuse

    The Republican governor, Greg Abbott, vetoed a bill on Friday that would have made unlawful restraint of a dog a criminal offense, sending animal rights activists and legislators on both sides of the aisle into a fray and spurring the hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs.

    And here you thought he couldn’t sink any lower.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A married couple from Connecticut hosted a second wedding ceremony when the groom, who has a type of dementia, proposed to his wife again after forgetting they were already married.

    Despite struggling to remember his marriage due to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Peter Marshall, 56, has never forgotten the love he has for Lisa, 54, his wife of 12 years, whom he has recently mostly regarded as his favorite caregiver given his deteriorating memory.

    “It’s been devastating, but I’ve done my best to stay positive and focus on one day at a time,” Lisa Marshall told the Washington Post. “My mantra has always been to have no regrets.”

    While watching a wedding scene on TV last year, Peter asked Lisa to marry him, not remembering the wedding proposal the next day, and forgetting that he and Lisa were already married.

    “I said, ‘Do what?’ And he pointed to the TV, to the scene of this wedding and I said, ‘Do you want to get married?’ He said yes and had this huge grin on his face,” said Lisa Marshall, according to NBC New York. “He doesn’t know that I’m his wife. I’m just his favorite person.”
    On 26 April, the couple renewed their vows in front of family and close friends. The wedding was officiated by dementia specialist Adrianna DeVivo, a licensed wedding officiant who had helped Lisa create a care plan for her husband.

    “There wasn’t a dry eye, and I was over the moon,” Lisa said to NBC New York. “I hadn’t seen Peter that happy in a long time.”
    “One day at a time,” she said. “I don’t know who I am to him now, but I know that he definitely loves me and feels safe. When the bus brings him back home each day, we’ll sit on the porch for an hour and hold hands.”

    She added, tearfully: “[At the wedding], he leaned in and he whispered in my ear, ‘Thank you for staying.’”

  6. de stijl says:


    Thank you for the offer. I really do appreciate it. If I could out-source conflict resolution I would seriously consider that.

    Books and shit keep telling me that facing up to your worst fears is somehow a good thing and helps you grow as a person.

    I know I hate conflict. I know I suck at it. Sinking effort and time into something I hate and am bad at seems if not counter-productive (it might yield some positive benefits, sure), but my strong proclivity is to avoid conflict rather than being more capable at it.

    Jay is a good-hearted guy. Jay is also often a total shit-heel with no concept of appropriate boundaries. A total line-stepper thru and thru.

    I befriended him because it was obvious he really needed a friend. Bad call on my part. Super bad and really stupid.

    I have to handle this on my own. I am so fucked.

  7. Kurtz says:


    I’m always willing to help

  8. de stijl says:


    I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That’s my dream. That’s my nightmare.

  9. DrDaveT says:


    For me, he brings to mind a line from the immortal Peter O’Toole as Alan Swann in My Favorite Year

    My word, what a wonderful movie. Thanks for the reminder.

    “1954 — a year when a Buick looked like a Buick.”

    “This is for ladies only!”
    “So is this, madam, but I must occasionally run some water through it.”

  10. de stijl says:


    I’m not crying. It’s allergies.

  11. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    I thought someone was slicing onions.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:
  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: @CSK: I know, Alzheimers got my father.

  14. becca says:

    @DrDaveT: Seems there’s a glitch in the matrix this morning, Doc.

  15. DrDaveT says:


    Seems there’s a glitch in the matrix this morning, Doc.

    Indeed. The correct back-link should have been this one. Too late to edit the original now, even if I had an edit option.

  16. de stijl says:


    The likelihood that I go down the Alzheimer’s path is weighted hard towards given my mother and her mother. Not gonna happen. I will cut that path off by any means necessary. Abruptly. On my time.

    I don’t know anything about my dad’s family medical history. Anything at all, really. He was supposedly Hollywood handsome and quite charming. This comes from an unreliable source. He was Swedish and I have his surname. It means beautiful waterfall, which is pretty cool.

  17. Mimai says:


    A while back, you recommended peaberry coffee. Well, a new coffee roasting company opened in my area. And not only are they good people with a good mission, but they also offer single origin Tanzanian Peaberry coffee. Rich chocolatey with a hint of citrus. Delicious!

    Thank you for the rec….I probably wouldn’t have bought this otherwise.

  18. de stijl says:


    The concept that boys should not cry once they hit adolescence is stupid and has bad consequences down the road.

  19. de stijl says:


    I really like it when a recommendation changes someone’s life path even slightly to the better.

    Thank you very much for sharing that.

  20. Scott says:

    @de stijl: Yeah, if I had to name just one medical worry, it is dementia. My mother had it, my grandmother had it and there are several others in that genetic line that had it. My 23 and Me report says I have 2 genetic variants associated with late-onset dementia. 50% chance by age 85. On the positive side, I am motivated to have all the family ducks lined up so they are not dependent on me remembering where things are.

  21. de stijl says:


    Alzheimer’s and dementia sucks hard. Someone you are intimately familiar with struggles to remember your name and who you are.

    I was not closely bonded to my mother, but after some very frustrating conversations with her I just sat and cried for a bit. She was not my favorite person, but no one should go out that way. It is horrible and terrifying to witness.

  22. Kathy says:

    Another movie I watched while on vacation was The Princess Bride.

    It was ok, but I can’t fathom the deep affection and cult-like following some people bestow on it. It’s funny enough, in an absurd kind of way, but not uproariously funny. I also don’t think you need to have seen it to get the various memes and references related to it, like “You keep suing that word, etc..”

    The trivia available on the X-ray feature on Prime Video, states Reiner found the Billy Cristal scenes so funny, he had to leave the set. It was a funny sequence, and Cristal is good, but not that funny. But then, the things that make someone dissolve in laughter vary between people.

    Last, the titular princess is a classic do-little damsel in distress, completely dependent on the male heroes for her continued survival. There was a moment that looked hopeful, when she jumps off the ship she was kidnapped to and swims for shore, but that was the only one.

  23. de stijl says:


    I hear you.

    A solid movie, but I never got why it became a cult favorite. A few decently quotable lines I guess.

    Not to diss anyone who loves it, btw. Just not my speed for an all-time great movie in my book.

  24. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: @de stijl: I’m not much in the mood to get into a debate over whether a movie is excellent or merely good. Talk about angels on the head of a pin. I feel like mentioning, though, that this film grew on me over the course of several years and repeat viewings. I would not have thought it would become a favorite film the first time I saw it (I was only 11, and in some ways it’s a film that benefits from a grownup’s perspective, but I’ve spoken with adults who went through a similar process with this film). It was a film whose charms snuck up on me, which is something that hasn’t often happened to me with movies (My Cousin Vinny was another example).

  25. Kathy says:

    I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. The big space news, after the Chinese space station, is that Bezos is heading to space with his brother and someone with too much money.

    For the record, this involves Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket and capsule, named after Alan Shepard*. Fittingly, it’s capable only of suborbital jaunts, like Shepard’s, lasting only a few minutes. Therefore the petition to let Bezos leave Earth but not come back is nonsense. There is no way to keep that capsule out of Earth. It only climbs very high very fast, then it drops back down.

    To stay off Earth, he’d have to rent, borrow, or buy a rocket from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, for example. At that, Musk has not joined Bezos and Branson in saying or insinuating he’ll take a trip to space. Musk is an a*hole, no question, but at least he’s not running a vanity space company. He’s actually achieved something useful.

  26. Jen says:

    @Kathy: I think that at least half of what makes a film a cult classic is being surprised–having far lower expectations for a film and then having the film exceed them. So, after years of hearing how delightful and hilarious a movie is, you likely had higher expectations for it.

    Not too long ago, Mandy Patinkin was on “Wait, wait, don’t tell me” and talked about how the movie didn’t do that well at the box office. I also wonder if one has to be in the right mood to watch it and find it funny. I’ve had that experience before–remembering that a movie was HILARIOUS only to watch it again and think “why did I find that so funny before, it’s mildly amusing at best.”

  27. Sleeping Dog says:

    A good thing that TFG didn’t have a G. Gordon Liddy.

  28. Kylopod says:

    It’s also worth mentioning that the book, by William Goldman, was great. I’m not saying you have to read it to appreciate the film–each has to stand on its own merits, and I believe the movie does, though part of the reason for that is that Goldman wrote the screenplay and he was a seasoned screenwriter to begin with (in some ways he’s more famous for screenplays than novels).

  29. Kathy says:


    I don’t think I had any expectations for this movie, beyond the much quoted “you keep using that word,” and “you killed my father” lines.

    When I watched Men In Black 3, my reaction was “stop ruining the franchise.” It then kept coming up on cable when I had it on for background noise, and now the movie’s grown on me to the point I can think it’s ok.

    One movie I saw reluctantly and certain I’d hate it, was the first Back To The Future. It completely upset my expectations.

  30. George says:


    Individual taste varies. I think its a great movie — some of that might have been from first seeing it with friends when I was young — while movies many people think are excellent (such as Citizen Kane or Vertigo) I think were decent and no doubt intellectually important but nothing I’d particularly want to watch again.

    Variation in taste is the reason there is such a wide variety of music, art, sports, books, and yes, movies — different people have different tastes. I’d argue that’s a good thing, everyone preferring the same thing would make for a very limited world. I always find it somewhat reassuring when I hear about others enjoying things I find boring, like say Hip-Hop music or movies like “Titanic” or wine connoisseurs — the range in human interests gives me hope for the future.

  31. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Some of our neighbors willingly voted for Trump on purpose.

    I cannot imagine why. But they did. Willingly.

  32. DrDaveT says:


    Tanzanian Peaberry coffee. Rich chocolatey with a hint of citrus. Delicious!

    Thank you for the rec…

    You’re most welcome! Glad you liked it; chacun à son goût and all that. That citrusy note is the part I remember most — it doesn’t sound like something I’d want in coffee, but it is.

  33. de stijl says:


    I do not trust anyone who does not love Raising Arizona.

  34. Kathy says:


    Story wise, Kane is just an ok movie. But it’s a great filmmaker’s movie. It’s at the pinacle of the directorial and cinematographic arts. For full details, get the DVD with Roger Ebert’s commentary and play it with that track. He mentions the deep focus, the illumination, the many shots that show ceilings, the many visual effects employed, etc.

    The acting is first rate, too.

    I do think it’s one of the best movies ever, but I’ve seen it only three times despite having the DVD on hand.

  35. Kylopod says:


    I don’t think I had any expectations for this movie, beyond the much quoted “you keep using that word,” and “you killed my father” lines.

    But that in itself shows how super-saturated our culture is by the movie. When I first saw it back in 1988 on VHS at the age of 11, I was a blank slate–and so were many other people, including adults at the time.

    In contrast, I remember the first time I saw Casablanca, after years of exposure to all the quotes, memes, and parodies. I still wound up loving the film, but I always wonder what it was like to watch it without all those preconceptions. I sometimes feel blessed to have been a blank slate for the over-memed celebrated films from my generation, from TPB to Pulp Fiction to The Big Lebowski.

    Another thing I’d point out is that TPB still remains a fairly unique film–there isn’t any other quite like it, and that throws some people off. The blend of fairy tale and sword and sorcery tropes with the kind of low-key, tongue-in-cheek humor, where you’re never quite sure if it’s intended as a parody or straight; even its approach to fantasy is unusual (it doesn’t really feature any “magic” in the usual sense, unless you consider volcanic swamps populated by ferocious capybaras or herbal remedies that revive the dead to count). And it’s hard for me to think of any later films influenced by TPB (maybe Shrek, very distantly).

  36. de stijl says:

    Any drama that hinges upon a childhood fixation on a thing loses cred, imo.

    Perhaps as a symbol or totem of some larger thing, I would get that. But a sled as a loaded vessel thought up by a writer does not work properly. Possibly as a symbol for fun and excitement and experiencing that you can go faster than your legs allow.

    Rosebud is not believable as a totem.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love that movie. But as a central conceit it is too simple, a writerly bit of euphoria when he thought to make a symbol of regret.

  37. MarkedMan says:


    But then, the things that make someone dissolve in laughter vary between people.

    Humor, except for slapstick, is heavily dependent on culture. I’m not just talking about national boundaries here, or even between regions within a country, I’m talking about the differences between life experiences, education, family situation, etc. It’s why the major Hollywood movies (as opposed to American films, which only slightly overlap) are either slapstick comedies or action. They are the only two universals.

    I once watched the Steve Martin/Daryll Hannah film Roxanne in Suva, Fiji when it was a new release. The audience was divided up pretty evenly between Fijian Indians, Native Fijians* , and ex-pats. I had already seen the movie in the US and so paid closer attention to the audience than normal and it was fascinating. The Native Fijians didn’t laugh at virtually any of the wordplay, despite most of them being fluent in English. The Fijian Indians laughed at some, but not others and I couldn’t figure out the dividing line. The Native Fijians laughed at the big romantic kiss, which I didn’t understand at the time but later realized it was an embarrassed laugh because PDA’s are a huge no-no in the culture. But everyone laughed at the slapstick.

    *Fijian Indians are Fijians descended mostly from people of Indian descent brought in by the British to work the sugar plantations. Native Fijians are people who were predominantly descended from aboriginal Fijians despite the fact that most of the Fijian Indians were like7th or 8th generation and were certainly Native in the legal sense

  38. Kathy says:


    I thought the funniest line in Casablanca was, in context, “Your winnings, sir.” The line that gets quoted is the preceding “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

    BTW, Biden joke of the day:

    Biden: Hey, Trump. I heard you saw Hamlet last night. What did you think?
    Trump: I don’t get the fuss. It’s just a bunch of quotes thrown together.

  39. MakredMan says:

    @Kylopod: Not to mention that, as a parent, it was a movie that you could watch with kids of any age and actually enjoy yourself. Had the “Barney” and “Thomas the Tank Engine” movies beat all to heck.

  40. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: Oh, the agonies of telling someone this or that 20-30 year old movie is incredible, only to rewatch it and find it unmitigated dreck. After the new “True Grit” came out, I rewatched the old one. Oh. My. God. So bad. And I once convinced my tween age kids to watch “The Highlander”, absolutely certain they would think it beyond cool. We didn’t even last 15 minutes.

  41. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Don’t trust my take.

    I really like and enjoy Dude, Where’s My Car wholeheartedly.

    Dude, it is sweet.

  42. de stijl says:


    Not to ding you, but even I knew The Highlander was garbage. Sean Connery was fairly bad-ass.

    Totally forgiveable if you were 8 to 14 at the first time you saw it. It is pitched towards an adolescent boy’s understanding of fantasy.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Making America Great Again! Kentucky: 4 million people, 5 last names. 🙁

  44. gVOR08 says:


    Trump: I don’t get the fuss. It’s just a bunch of quotes thrown together.

    Does anyone think Trump would recognize a single line of Hamlet?

  45. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @de stijl:

    I was once very, very conflict-adverse, to the point that I wasn’t getting to places I wanted to go in life. I worked hard at it, facing fears and all that, and it was great, and I encourage you to continue working at facing conflicts head on. But a warning. What’s that phrase, there’s no zealot like a convert? Once I really started facing conflict head on, it became invigorating. Then I wanted to address all conflict, no matter how minor, immediately as it occurred, with great zeal.

    It turns out, that can be just as problematic.

  46. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08: A while back–several years before his presidency–there was an article about Trump’s taste in movies, and one of his favorites is in fact Citizen Kane. Now, I know what some of you are thinking–he’s just saying that because he thinks it makes himself sound smart. I’m not so sure. He also said he loved Goldfinger. His choice of films had a common theme: he expressed an admiration for antiheroes and villains, like Charles Foster Kane and Auric Goldfinger. Not fascination–admiration.

  47. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: Yeah. Now and again I see “True Grit” in the TV schedule and think I’ll want to watch it. Then I check and see it’s the old John Wayne version and forget about it.

  48. Neil J Hudelson says:


    I absolutely love Citizen Kane, and after seeing it in college I became a huge fan of Orson Welles in general. I mean, I know a lot of people love Welles, but as per yesterday’s thread, my cinematic preferences run more towards Fast and Furious or the Farrely brothers. Someone up thread mentioned that sometimes what makes a cult classic is going in with low expectations and being pleasantly surprised. My whole life I had heard that Citizen Kane was a technically great film, but kinda plodding and boring. That and rosebud being the sled was all you needed to know.

    But then a class forced me to watch it, and wow! That mirror scene! Kane’s political run! The declaration of principles. I was riveted, and still am on every rewatch.

    Yesterday, Kylopod sketched out the difference between an actor and a star. Watching Welles, especially in the ‘principles’ scene, was the first time I think I understood that some people just have that je ne sais quois that elevates them above just “actor.”

    Welles’s abrupt appearance in Third Man does it for me every time. As does whatever the hell this is.

  49. de stijl says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:

    That is solid feedback. Thank you.

    I know it is a huge issue for me that I prefer to be more adept at, but avoidance, perhaps my oldest and deepest “friend” is dead set against.

    I was tongue in cheek downgrading skills I do possess. I can do it. I really dislike the process, though.

    I successfully negotiated boundaries with my mother rather late into our adult relationship. It helped that I really did not like her very much and she lived a thousand miles from me.

    She left me her entire estate. At the end, I believe I was the only person who talked with her regularly.

    It is behavior I have seen. It is behavior I can do. It will be very unpleasant.

    If I can ghost him, I will. If not, I will bite the bullet. Eventually.

    Dude banged on my bedroom window middle of the night once because he got dissed at a bar and wanted a hug. Serious boundary issues. My bedroom is at the back of the house. Seriously uncool behavior!

  50. George says:


    I can understand that, experts in a field will appreciate technical aspects of a work that lay people will be indifferent too. Most of us are lay people for most things (even within our fields — I’m an engineer and physicist, but still only expert on a tiny subset of either).

    In the case of Princess Bride, for myself the biggest draw is the friendship between Indigo and Fezzik, and then their interaction with Westley — I suspect that’s true for many of its fans. Though the humour simply works for me as well (and humour stubbornly resists analysis).

  51. Neil J Hudelson says:

    Curses! I flew too close to the sun, and included three links in a comment.

    Moderators, please spring me from moderation, lest no one on this thread be privy to my thoughts on Orson Welles and Citizen Kane.

    T’would be a tragedy.

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: For another take–and offering that if you tie art of any sort to a chair and beat it with a rubber hose, it will agree to whatever you want–the opening scene and the final scene frame the story of a powerful and corrupt man who, in a final burst of lucidity, realizes that while he did gain the whole world, he also lost his soul–the innocent child enjoying the winter on his sled.

    Or as Carly Simon put it in the famous Heinz Ketchup ad, “stay right here, cause these are the good old days.”

  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: “The Native Fijians didn’t laugh at virtually any of the wordplay, despite most of them being fluent in English.”

    Being fluent in English =/= being fluent in idiom. Then again, I saw Roxanne and don’t recall any particularly clever wordplay. A genuinely mediocre movie. Also ruined whatever impression that I had about Daryl Hannah being attractive/sexy/whatever or being a particularly skilled actor.

  54. de stijl says:


    I really like your theory about exceeding incoming expectations.

    Not sure it explains the whole phenomena, but it covers and explains a big bit of the whole.

  55. CSK says:


    Was it this article?

    There’s a link to Trump’s 2002 interview with Errol Morris about Kane.

  56. Kylopod says:


    In the case of Princess Bride, for myself the biggest draw is the friendship between Indigo and Fezzik, and then their interaction with Westley — I suspect that’s true for many of its fans. Though the humour simply works for me as well (and humour stubbornly resists analysis).

    From my dim memories of first seeing it at age 11, I did indeed have the experience that the point when Vizzini’s gang kidnaps Buttercup is the moment when the film truly starts to take off–prior to that it had been pretty banal. But of course that was to some extent by design, and telegraphed by the kid’s reactions.

    Some years back I did an in-depth analysis of one of my favorite scenes from the film, the Battle of Wits:

    Almost everyone finds the scene amusing and clever, but it has subtleties that are easy to miss. They concern the following questions: What in the name of MLTs is Vizzini doing in this scene? How did he arrive at the choice he finally makes? And how come he’s so confident in that choice when it’s so spectacularly wrong?

    Consider his opening argument, which makes more sense than anything else he says: a clever man would be tempted to put the poison in his own goblet, except that Westley would have anticipated Vizzini would think so, and therefore he’d put it in Vizzini’s goblet instead. (Game theory deals with reasoning such as this, where you try to anticipate not only what your opponent will think, but how much he will anticipate your anticipations. Many games have this dynamic, where it’s a race to determine who will do the most determining. Various webpages and books have examined the role of game theory in this scene.)

    He eventually sticks with his initial conclusion (that the poison is in his own cup), but not before rambling for an entire minute about Australia and giants and Spaniards, going back and forth on which glass he thinks was poisoned. What he’s trying to do, I suspect, is gauge Westley’s reactions. Since Westley already knows the poison’s location, he will (Vizzini assumes) fear for his life if he thinks Vizzini is guessing correctly. (That’s why Vizzini secretly switches the goblets–he figures Westley will forfeit the game rather than voluntarily commit suicide if he realizes Vizzini has won.) Vizzini’s strategy, therefore, is to keep changing his answer until Westley’s body language betrays the correct one. As Westley observes, “You’re trying to trick me into giving away something.” In light of Vizzini’s sureness when he finally makes his choice, we presume he does manage to detect something in Westley’s behavior at crucial moments–nervousness maybe.

    Westley indeed is nervous, but for a different reason than Vizzini assumes. He’s worried Vizzini will stumble upon his actual secret, that he has poisoned both goblets. Vizzini almost seems to be approaching the truth as he rambles about how he “clearly” can’t choose this glass and “clearly” can’t choose the other one either. He even says at one point, “You could have put the poison in your own goblet, trusting on your strength to save you.” His own rhetoric contains the solution to the puzzle, yet somehow he never notices. He’s just bluffing (a recurring theme in The Princess Bride).

    He possesses the classic fatal flaw of overconfidence, or hubris. He may in fact be smart enough to figure out what Westley is up to. Immunity-building was a practice known to the Ancient Greeks, whom Vizzini references earlier in the scene when he declares that Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates were “morons.” The problem isn’t so much that Vizzini is less smart than he imagines as that he discounts other people’s intelligence. Truly wise people accept the wisdom of others. Thinking everyone in the world but oneself to be an idiot is folly, not wisdom.

    Essential to any game is sizing up one’s opponent, and Vizzini seriously underestimates Westley every time the word “Inconceivable!” escapes his lips. He never learns his lesson even as Westley continues to do everything he thought wasn’t possible, including defeating a master swordsman and a giant. He reasons that a man who can defeat those “morons” still cannot hold a candle to his perfect mind. As he explains to Westley, “I can’t compete with you physically, and you’re no match for my brains.” It doesn’t seem to occur to him that Westley used brains, not brawn, to defeat Inigo and Fezzik. Since he maintains such a low opinion of Westley in spite of all available evidence, he fails to consider there might be a trick up the man’s sleeve.

    Ironically, his lack of appreciation for other people’s minds deprives him of a powerful tool he could use against his enemies. What makes Westley so formidable an opponent is not just that he’s versatile and quick-thinking, but that he uses people’s natures against them. That’s how he handles all his adversaries throughout the movie: he takes immediate advantage of Inigo’s honor, Fezzik’s sportsmanship, Vizzini’s pride, the palace guards’ credulity, and Prince Humperdinck’s cowardice. In contrast, Vizzini is all tactic and no psychology.

  57. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    That is a good take. I can accept that.

    I need to re-watch. It has been decades.

    I still assert that Rosebud is a writerly conceit too limp to carry the intent. A dodge, if you will allow. A too easy symbol.

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: It probably is to limp of a conceit. On the other hand, when you have to come up with some sort of worldview/explanation/critique, it’s good to know that getting out the ol’ rubber hose will yield a solution. 😀

  59. DrDaveT says:


    Not to mention that, as a parent, it was a movie that you could watch with kids of any age and actually enjoy yourself.

    I saw Jean Shepard’s A Christmas Story (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”) in the theater when it first came out. It was an awesome experience, because the house was an eclectic mix of families with young kids, packs of teenagers, bikers, grandmothers, nerds, jocks, everything but furloughed convicts — and they all just loved it.

  60. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    I had a similar experience when I went to Charleston and Sullivan’s Island (for the first time) several years ago. All my life I’d been reading southern writers rhapsodize about how exquisitely, supernally beautiful both places were, so I was looking forward to seeing them. Well, all I can say is that I must have far higher standards of celestial fabulousness than do southern writers, because what I saw was an okay city and a beach resort that looked like any other overcrowded beach resort on the eastern seaboard.

    Let me quote Dom deLuise in History of ther World, Part One: “Nice. Not thrilling, but nice.”

  61. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    In 1982 (possibly 83), for a Halloween party I went as Mad Max and my gf went as Pris from Blade Runner. My first foray into cos-play.

    I hit mine pretty hard. I had a can of dog food. Half of a pair of football shoulder pads affixed to my right shoulder spray painted black.

    Sarah as Pris seriously nailed hers. She was smokin hot. Absolutely nailed the make-up.

  62. Mister Bluster says:

    Supreme Court sides with teen in speech case over Snapchat outburst
    The justices’ 8-1 decision found that the First Amendment imposes broad limits on public schools’ ability to regulate off-campus speech delivered via social media.

  63. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    the opening scene and the final scene frame the story of a powerful and corrupt man who, in a final burst of lucidity, realizes that while he did gain the whole world, he also lost his soul–

    How’d you figure he gained the whole world? Kane lost his political career, he lost his friends, had two disastrous marriages, and is all alone upon death. He had a lot of money and many possessions.

    My take is he realizes he lost the world and his soul, and has nothing but wealth to show for it.

  64. wr says:

    @DrDaveT: “My word, what a wonderful movie”

    Written, I’m proud to say, by my good friend and former boss, Norman Steinberg.

  65. de stijl says:


    Jen’s theory, not mine. I’m just admiring it.

  66. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    Oh, I know. I give Jen full credit for articulating it. It’s an experience I’ve often had outside of viewing movies. As Peggy Lee sang, “Is that all there is?”

  67. DrDaveT says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Also ruined whatever impression that I had about Daryl Hannah being attractive/sexy/whatever

    I remember seeing the movie Legal Eagles and being weirded out that the filmmakers thought it obvious that Daryl Hannah was much sexier and more attractive than Debra Winger…

    I had an even stronger reaction along those lines in The Truth About Cats and Dogs, in which Janeane Garofolo was more attractive to me than Uma Thurman, which completely screws up the Cyrano plot.

  68. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I’m thinking back a couple of decades or more here, but I remember that whenever Steve Martin’s Cyrano character had been insulted and was going to thrash his agitators he would begin by trotting out a lot of insults that involved idioms, or puns or wordplay. I may have this wrong. In any case, there were definitely language related bits that only the ex-pats laughed at.

  69. de stijl says:


    As Stein said about Oakland, “There is no there there.”

    Which is totally undeserved now. Oakland rocks hard. Yes, they have the world’s shittiest baseball park now that the Metrodome was imploded, but great bars and venues.

    For a punk rock fiend, Oakland is fucking prime territory.

    I had a three week stint there.

  70. Kingdaddy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: What an infuriating drain on public services.

  71. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I have followed this case. Good resolution.

    Who was the 1 against and what is his (I know it was a dude – likely Alito) dissenting argument?

  72. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl:..dissenting argument?

    Here is the decision. I have not yet read most of it.
    Scroll down to see the Thomas dissent.

  73. Kathy says:


    In the case of Kane, much of the appreciation for the movie comes from movie critics. They do notice such technical aspects along with most everything else.

  74. MarkedMan says:

    I follow the WaPo’s pandemic charts pretty obsessively. There are a number of states that still have a high death rate and it is increasing. For instance, Georgia has the highest death rate in the nation and it increased 10% over the past week. New Mexico is third highest and it increased 100% (!) over the past week. Idaho is 4th and had a 50% increase.

    If you live in a Republican controlled state and have the option to move out, you should do it if you value your health. Can you imagine you or a loved one growing old in these states? When you are increasingly dependent on say, the regulation of the nursing home industry?

  75. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @de stijl:

    It was Thomas.

    A few years ago our office started a game. When a ruling came out that was 8-1, we would place bets as to whether the dissenter was Alito or Thomas. The game lasted just a few months. 90% of the time it was Thomas.

  76. Jen says:

    A pedestrian bridge has collapsed onto DC-295.

    Can we pass this damn infrastructure bill, please?

  77. Neil J Hudelson says:

    The video of General Milley’s comments today is worth a watch:

  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I grew up in a society where money is what we use to keep score. “Person with the most toys at the end of the life wins,” and all that. YMMV

  79. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Oh you’re not wrong, they just didn’t create the same reaction for me that they did for others. I was really underwhelmed by the movie. Even the 30 minute cartoon version of Cyrano featuring Mr. Magoo is better than Roxanne was.

  80. Mister Bluster says:

    It was likely the fall of 1957 when I was in the fourth grade at the Bay Road School in Webster NY at the age of nine that my obsession began. The Vickerman twins, Jack and Dick, had returned from a road trip to California with their sister and parents to vacation at the new Disneyland amusement park. They brought back 8mm color home movies and we all got to see them riding the rides when the films were shown to all the kids at school. Ever since then my goal was to get to Anaheim.
    I finally made it 26 years later. I was not disappointed.
    My brother had been living in Southern California since 1976 so my girlfriend at the time (old what’s her name) and I had a place to stay. The day we visited the park was right before Christmas and there were clouds and a little rain. No one was there.
    At every attraction we walked right by the signs that said “from this point you have a 30 minute wait”.
    When we got to Space Mountain the signs also said “If you have a heart condition do not get on this ride.” I had no idea what it was and when I asked my brother he just said “You’ll see.”
    My brother and his wife had brought along her 5 year old son who when we approached Space Mountain started crying and screaming “I don’t want to go on this ride! NO!” Turns out he had been on it before. He was too young to be left alone in the park and mom wanted to take the ride so they dragged him into the ride screaming and kicking. I still didn’t have a clue.
    I guess I finally figured it out as the ride started and entered total darkness.
    It was a roller coaster! Yikes! Hang on!
    The kid was screaming the whole time!
    I loved it! Never had the chance to ride Space Mountain again.
    Disneyland Forever!

  81. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I think we all grew up in that society.

    As to Roxanne, I remember it because it’s one of a handful of movies I’ve walked out of. I didn’t recall Daryl Hannah was in it.

  82. Kathy says:

    I find this interesting. Not for the overly optimistic comments on possible inhabited worlds, but in the perspective change “how does the Earth/Solar System look like from far away.”

    Here’s a tidbit: from Mars, you can discern the Moon with the naked eye. Not all the time, but when it’s to the sides of the planet.

    Of course, it looks just like a pinpoint of light, same as other stars and planets look unaided.

  83. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I can’t conceive of anyone, no matter how old, being disappointed by Disneyland, or Disney World, on their first visit.

    Subsequent visits are another matter.

  84. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:

    Yay! My comment has been sprung!

  85. Kylopod says:


    I can’t conceive of anyone, no matter how old, being disappointed by Disneyland, or Disney World, on their first visit.

    You’re talking to one. When my parents brought me to Epcot Center–my first venture into Disney World–when I was 15, I found it to be the most boring letdown I’d ever experienced. We had to spend hours on line to get onto super-slow rides that were basically just disguised “educational” tours.

    One part I do remember enjoying was Body Wars, a virtual ride. Wikipedia calls it a “motion simulator.” It’s the type of thing where you sit in a small theater and there’s a movie screen, but the theater moves to simulate the feeling of being on a ride, hurtling through space. Whatever you call it, I’ve always enjoyed this type of ride, and Body Wars was the first one I was ever on. But it stands out as being one of the only parts of Epcot where I wasn’t bored stiff.

  86. Mister Bluster says:

    Security-software entrepreneur McAfee reportedly found dead in Barcelona jail cell
    Antivirus software tycoon John McAfee died by an apparent suicide in a Spanish jail cell Wednesday evening — hours after reports surfaced that he would be extradited to face federal charges in the U.S., according to local media.

  87. Mimai says:


    First, let me be clear, I am in no way trying to minimize the ongoing devastation of COVID. It truly boggles the mind.

    I am merely noting that % change has a lot of problems as a measure. In the case of NM (100% change), their 7 day average for June has been <10 deaths. By comparison, GA (10% change) has averaged quite a lot more for June, peaking at 51 deaths a week ago.

    So comparing the % change gives the impression that NM is a relative disaster (recently and in total). In fact, NM is looking pretty good recently, and NM and GA are pretty close on total deaths per 1000 overall.

    I'm sure you know all of this, so please don't interpret it as a dig against you. Rather, this type of stats stuff drives me nuts in my professional life, so I couldn't resist pointing it out here.

  88. MarkedMan says:

    @Mimai: It’s a legitimate point. I’m struggling to find a way to capture the reality that virtually all COVID deaths are now amongst the unvaccinated, and Republican political leaders are actively trying to sabotage vaccination programs. The way we measure is simply not designed to suss that out. Someone, somewhere should be trying something like tying death rate to voting district level but that’s difficult, since the sickest patients are often transported from the rural or far-suburban hospitals to the major city based institutions. In Maryland, for example, the patient who died a horrible COVID death could have lived next door to Johns Hopkins in B’more or could have been a medivac from Howard County, aka Trump-town.

    But your larger point stands. There are days that go by nowadays even in MD, a medium sized state where we have 0, 1 or 2 deaths on any given day, and then 7 or 8 in another. Contrast this to pre-vaccine times when we had as many as 250 a day. So yes, when the rate is low the percent changes can be high. I should have recognized that.

  89. Mister Bluster says:

    The woman I married and divorced is not the same girlfriend mentioned above in the Space Mountain item.
    My former wife adopted her daughter when the girl was a teenager. Ruby was a refugee of the Vietnam war. Her mother was a hooker and her daddy was a GI Joe. She was born in a whore house in Saigon and lived there til she was 5 years old. She was evacuated to Guam in 1975 when Saigon fell. My ex was living in Guam at the time where she was a probation officer. Ruby was her client. That’s how they met. Eventually my ex left Guam and returned to the States.
    By the time I met my ex Ruby was an adult and had four kids of her own.
    In the summer of ’96 Ruby and her husband along with their 3 daughters and an infant son plus two girl cousins ages (infant to 12 years old) flew from Guam to Hawaii to Los Angeles to Houston to Orlando to visit relatives. My ex and I drove from Southern Illinois to Florida to meet them. We spent two days at Disney World.
    A good time was had by all.

  90. Mu Yixiao says:

    Drive by comment:

    There’s a huge difference between “did I like the movie” and “was the movie good”*.

    Goethe–the father of theatrical criticism–came up with three (arguably) objective questions to determine whether a work of art is “good”.

    1) What was the artist trying to do?
    2) How well did they do it?
    3) Was it worth the doing?

    I absolutely hate cubism. But I understand that–based on Goethe–that it’s great art (this is bolstered by the connection to science, literature, and culture at the time).

    By these criteria, UltraViolet is a good movie. Because it’s purpose was to be a “pretty”, mindless action movie that gave the viewers a fun ride. It did that very well, and it both entertained the audience and made money. Three check marks.

    When we talk about “quality art”, everyone forgets that Shakespeare wrote his period’s version of action flicks and rom-coms.

    Michael Reynolds wrote formulaic kid-fic–and millions of kids enjoyed it. Goethe approves.

    * The same holds true for any work of art–or anything that has a subjective component.

  91. Stormy Dragon says:


    Vizzini’s other key flaw is he’s too focused on the game and ignores the meta-game. The whole poisoned goblet thing was Wesley’s idea, and as presented, he chose a situation where he has a 50% chance of dying and the decisions that will potentially lead to his death are entirely out of his control. A clever man would never want to be in such a situation to begin with, so then the question becomes why did Wesley choose this particular game? Does he have some reason to believe the actual situation is not precisely as it is being presented?

  92. Stormy Dragon says:


    You’re talking to one. When my parents brought me to Epcot Center–my first venture into Disney World–when I was 15, I found it to be the most boring letdown I’d ever experienced. We had to spend hours on line to get onto super-slow rides that were basically just disguised “educational” tours.

    On the other hand, EPCOT was my favorite part of Disney World as a kid (yes, I was a weird kid) and there recent abandonment of the educational mission for the park (e.g. Universe of Energy being replaced with a Guardians of the Galaxy rollercoaster) feels almost like a desecration to me.

  93. Mimai says:


    The way we measure is simply not designed to suss that out. Someone, somewhere should be trying something like tying death rate to voting district level but that’s difficult, since the sickest patients are often transported from the rural or far-suburban hospitals to the major city based institutions.

    Very much agree. I know that some are trying. In my own sandbox, I have colleagues who’ve been doing yeoman’s work on this at the state level. But the infrastructure was already in place to support this work, which is very difficult (eg, linking health data across systems, zip codes, etc).

    This system is supported by the uni, state, and a foundation, so it’s a clear outlier. There’s a lot of variability across (and within) states when it comes to such capacities, so at the end of the day we will have a clearer but still biased understanding of the relationships you note.

    In the meantime, it’s frustrating as hell to have bits and pieces. Frustrating and dangerous. Our human brains are quite skilled at making mischief out of bits and pieces.

  94. Mimai says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    When I think of EPCOT, I immediately think of “drinking around the world.”

    Fun in theory. Sometimes in practice. Just not during the months of June – Sept.

  95. Stormy Dragon says:

    Rosebud is a classic McGuffin:

    It doesn’t actually matter to the story what Rosebud is (and indeed the characters never actually find out). It’s just an arbitrary reason for them to be going around talking to everyone Kane ever knew so that we have an excuse to see his entire life in flashback.

  96. Michael Cain says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:

    I would have bet on Thomas in your office game. Just on the basis of the number of times his dissent is that he wouldn’t have granted standing.

  97. Stormy Dragon says:


    A pedestrian bridge has collapsed onto DC-29

    Did it spontaneously collapse, or did it get hit by the truck in the photos? Because it in the photos it doesn’t look like it fell straight down, it looks like it was pushed sideways off the abutment.

  98. DrDaveT says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Even the 30 minute cartoon version of Cyrano featuring Mr. Magoo is better than Roxanne was.

    OK, I’ll admit it — I loved Roxanne. I thought it was hilarious, and full of nice little touches (like the store called All Things Dead). Of course, I haven’t seen it since it first came out, so my memory might be a bit nostalgia-tinged…

  99. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Goethe–the father of theatrical criticism–came up with three (arguably) objective questions to determine whether a work of art is “good”.

    I always like Rex Stout’s version, in the words of his character Nero Wolfe, speaking to a room full of authors:
    “First, I remark that with your books two of you have given me pleasure, three of you have informed me, and one of you has stimulated my mental processes.”

  100. DrDaveT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Did it spontaneously collapse, or did it get hit by the truck in the photos?

    Local news is saying the collapse was the result of a multi-vehicle collision, and that the structure had passed inspection within the past week. Old and ugly, but still functional.

  101. Kathy says:


    Sorry, I can’t help you. I loved EPCOT the times I visited in the late 80s and early 90s. Even if some of the rides were, frankly, corporate propaganda.

    It did lose a lot of its charm by the time I revisited in 2006. It’s a problem to have a futuristic theme when technology keeps outpacing the visions you try to present, and when some of those visions are never realized.

    It’s the type of thing where you sit in a small theater and there’s a movie screen, but the theater moves to simulate the feeling of being on a ride, hurtling through space.

    I loved Body Wars, and other rides like it. Star Tours was right next door at the Disney/MGM studios park. The last I experienced was the Star Trek ride in the Vegas Hilton, just before it was closed down.

    There’s very little actual movement. Much of the feeling that you’re taking a steep bank, climbing, speeding forward, is accomplished by visual cues from the screen. The movement is just enough to affect the inner ear.

  102. Kathy says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:

    I wonder if The Third Man is streaming somewhere. That’s one movie I should really see again (other than the Pinky and The Brain version, The Third Mouse).

  103. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: I guess I am not in the circle of trust then. Raising Arizona is… was… mildly amusing to me. Good, but no where near The Big Lebowski or Oh Brother Where Art Thou territory. A number of my friends agree with you.

    It’s been a while so if I get the opportunity I will watch it again. Maybe this time I will find it hilarious.

  104. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My family shares a somewhat warped sense of humor. For many years, my parents tested my brothers’ (and my) potential romantic interests by showing them Hopscotch and seeing how much they loved it.

  105. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    A collision caused a pedestrian bridge to collapse onto DC-295 in Northeast Washington, D.C., Wednesday, leaving at least five people injured and trapping a truck that leaked gallons of diesel fuel into drains, officials say.


  106. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: I’ve never seen Hopscotch. Looks like a great cast. I’m gonna have to look for it.

    I never got a chance to screen my sons’ romantic interests. They kept them far away from me. Which was probably wise on their part.

  107. dazedandconfused says:


    On the chance you haven’t already, you may enjoy Little Big Man

  108. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    A clever man would never want to be in such a situation to begin with, so then the question becomes why did Wesley choose this particular game? Does he have some reason to believe the actual situation is not precisely as it is being presented?

    The dialogue seems to imply both of them are familiar with this game:

    WESTLEY: I challenge you to a battle of wits.

    VIZZINI: For the Princess?


    VIZZINI: To the death?


    VIZZINI: I accept.

    WESTLEY: Good. Then pour the wine.

    Notice he doesn’t say something like “For this game, we’ll need some of that wine.” He simply says, “Pour the wine.” It sounds like this kind of guess-where-the-poison-is battle is something a lot of people (or at least a lot of bandits) do in this society, and they do it often enough that it’s seen as relatively normal and unremarkable.

    Even if you were to take the game at absolute face value according to how Westley presents it, it’s got one obvious, glaring flaw right off the bat: one of the participants knows the poison’s location, and is therefore likely to forfeit the game if the other person chooses correctly. Maybe the thieves in this society are expected to uphold some kind of Samurai-like honor code where they will voluntarily commit suicide if they lose this sort of match, but clearly Vizzini doubts it, which is why he attempts to secretly switch the goblets. In any case, the game might make a little more sense if Vizzini were allowed at the start to put the cups behind his back and decide on their positions–in effect making the test double-blind where neither of them will be sure of the poison’s location until they drink. Of course, that would automatically destroy Vizzini’s strategy of trying to read Westley’s body language to determine the poison’s location. But that just goes to show how he hurts himself through his unwillingness to prepare himself for other people’s tricks because he refuses to believe they’d be clever enough to try any.

  109. Kylopod says:


    It’s a problem to have a futuristic theme when technology keeps outpacing the visions you try to present, and when some of those visions are never realized.

    In 1988 we went to another tourist spot in Florida called “Xanadu: House of the Future.” One of the things I remember most about it was a voice-recognition system named Godfrey. It was not, shall we say, as reliable as today’s Siri or Alexa. The tour guide had to say “Godfrey” to activate it, but it didn’t respond to his voice until several tries. He had to get the exact tone and timbre or it ignored him. It was a little like this skit.

    In 1995, we were driving in Florida and we passed by Xanadu only to discover it had been shut down.

  110. Stormy Dragon says:


    Except that immediately after the section of dialogue you quote, Wesley goes on to explain all the rules to the game at depth to Vizinni, which undermines the theory that he expects Vizinni to know of this game already.

  111. Teve says:


    Matt Gaetz is so juvenile he sent a Venmo payment to HIMSELF

  112. Teve says:

    This reminds me of something I was discussing with a guy this afternoon, that the biggest incompetent loser in the NBA can still school you and two of your friends’ asses in a 1-on-3 pick-up game. Maybe he’s the worst player in the NBA and he washed out after 18 months and scored 3.2 points per game, that still means he was better than approximately 8 billion of you motherfuckers.

  113. Mister Bluster says:

    The DVD of Citizen Kane that I have includes the narration by Ebert. It also includes a narration by Peter Bogdanovich. There is also a second disc titled The Battle Over Citizen Kane: American Experience PBS
    Somewhere in all that there is an alternate explanation for the use of the term Rosebud.

  114. Jen says:

    @Stormy Dragon: There wasn’t any detail when I posted that earlier, but you are correct–it does appear that the bridge was struck by at least one vehicle prior to the collapse.

    Which raises an entirely different set of questions, which are also infrastructure-related.

  115. Jen says:

    @DrDaveT: I loved Hopscotch.

    @Teve: Gaetz is an @ss. I very briefly watched the exchange between him and Joint Chiefs of Staff Milley today, and what General Milley said was important, intelligent, and vital to understanding why they are teaching critical race theory at USMA. Gaetz just sat there shaking his head like he felt sorry for the General for being so sadly woke. Or something.

    Makes my blood boil.

  116. CSK says:

    I can guarantee Gaetz wasn’t even listening.

  117. Jax says:

    @Jen: Just looking at Gaetz, Greene, Gym Jordan or Ted Cruz makes my blood boil. Oh, and tfg, all of his kids, Hannity, Carlson and Alex Jones, as well. Did I miss anyone? Oh yeah, McConnell.

  118. Kathy says:


    I’d sooner seat through a concerto of nails-on-blackboard and orchestra, twice, than listen to two minutes of trump.

  119. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: I saw it so long ago that is all I remember of it. 🙁

  120. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Did I miss anyone?

    Let’s see… Hawley, Scott, Rubio, Grassley, Cornyn, MTG, Boebert, Gosar, Gohmert, Cawley, Crenshaw, Graham, Shelby, Tuberville, Hyde-Smith, Ernst, McCarthy, Blunt, Smith, DeSantis, Abbot, Paxton, Parson, ….

    My brain hurts just thinking of them.

  121. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Gosar really pisses me off cuz he has family around here that I know, like, and respect, and he is the absolute opposite of everything good that they stand for.

  122. CSK says:

    Trump claims that the only reason Kamala Harris is going to the border is that he announced that he, Trump, will be visiting the border.

    The guy’s a walking denotative definition of the word “solipsist.” He goes far beyond narcissism, even of the pathological variety.

  123. Jax says:

    @CSK: The only thing that makes me happy in the post-Trump era is knowing that EVERY SINGLE DAY, the fact that he lost the election and social media burns holes into what used to be his soul. A guy that stuck on himself, it’s going to eat at him, nag at him, make him angry every single second….and we all know that kind of anger mixed with hamberder’s ain’t healthy. 😛

  124. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    My friend Jen one night was complaining about her romantic life and lack thereof.

    Bob chimed in and tried to buck her up.

    “You’re like Space Mountain. Guys are afraid to get on you. You’re the E ticket ride. Besides, guys are bastards.”

    It was such a goofy and specific comparison it cracked me up hard. I remember it today and that was at least 35 years ago.

    Bob was right. Jen was and still is a super awesome woman.

    She eventually hooked up with a good dude she is still married to.

    Remember the “baggie” in right field at the Metrodome? Jen’s job was to design the graphics and oversee the application and walk thru the installation with the field crew. She did a lot of Ford F-150s. She is extremely competent.

    Everytime I would watch Twins games and camera went to right field I would think “My friend Jen did that. That is very cool!”

    Of course her new nickname became Space Mountain. I miss those days when we were young and stupid.

  125. de stijl says:

    One movie I tout a lot to folks who seem like are in that groove is The Raid.

    Talk about exceeding expectations!

    A movie outta Indonesia directed by a Welshman. If you are looking for a satisfying emotional arc, not the movie you are looking for.

    If you like super kinetic films like John Wick or Atomic Blond check it out. I would be surprised if you walk away going “meh”.

    It is extremely kick-ass.

  126. Kurtz says:


    I almost guarantee Gaetz has some idea what CRT actually is. His knowledge may be shallow, but he can easily sport whether someone knows what it is.

    For me, this makes him worse than someone like Gohmert. Because Gaetz is actively disingenuous.

  127. de stijl says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I used to argue that TV wrestling is the closest analog today to Shakespearean comedies.

    Identifiable bad guy and good guy. Your heel and your face. With the inevitable face-heel turn baked in.

    My friend Jon had a French gf. A prickly pear to be sure. Smart, interesting, gorgeous, but not the easiest of companions. I spoke basic French. I was her ambassador and agent.

    I took it upon myself to troll her with stupid Americana.

    She claimed to be utterly bored by ‘rasslin’ when they a had a WWF event in town, but I saw her laugh many times.

    She quite enjoyed monster trucks. “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! We’re turning the floor of the Metrodome into a giant mud pit!” They did. It was glorious.

    She absolutely hated camping. Quite vocally too. The drive out to the Black Hills annoyed the crap out of her. She was a person whose kvetchiness comes as comic rather than annoying. To me, at least. Perhaps, not to everybody.

    The look she gave me when I presented her with cheese in an aerosol can was priceless. That look would wither the stoutest paladin. Ouch!

    When I stuck out my tongue and hit the nozzle she nearly puked.

    I didn’t just troll her by any means, although that was very amusing. We got to be pretty tight. She improved my French a lot. We navigated her getting a job. She was an ER nurse in France, fully educated and accredited. Initially, they wanted her to get an American degree. Rank stupidity. She eventually got hired on at HCMC downtown, thanks to a very helpful immigration lawyer.

  128. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl:

    You’re the only person here, excluding @HarvardLaw92, @Jax, and @JohnSF, I love interacting with who I can reasonably think will be awake in the middle of the night my time. The other three seem to have somewhat narrow windows of posting.

    I’ve finally been really digging into CKIII. The results have been…not great. One of my rulers died in a cell after I foolishly joined a war for the sole purpose of being a good ally.

    That same ruler spent a lot of time trying to seduce the wife of a rival and the 10% chance of failing came to be after the target screamed when he climbed through her window in the middle of the night. Then, he finally developed a soulmate relationship with another ruler’s wife only to die in a prison three months after fathering a bastard child.

    My adventures as King Philippe of France have only been slightly better.

  129. de stijl says:


    I hear you. O Brother, Where Art Thou is a very well written and constructed movie. Clooney was magnificent. Nelson and Turturro nailed their bits.

    I walked away warm but not hot on the whole endeavor. A very well crafted thing that did not hit my sweet spot directly.

    No worries on circle of trust. You are definitely included. There is a carve out for people that demonstrate good behavior and intent over time. You pass that bar easily.

    Although the lack of unapologetic love for Raising Arizona is fairly troubling.

  130. de stijl says:


    One thing to know about CK3 is that the game rewards you probably too well for alliances and penalizes for actually following through on it in defense of an ally.

    Iirc, you get penalized on influence if you decline an ally’s request for assistance.

    I fairly routinely click on “Yes, I will contribute” and then do essentially nothing. I send a token force of cheap levies because I role-play as a reliable ally even though the game does not harshly punish you for being unreliable. Properly, it should. I think the game is way too generous on that dynamic.

    I have been exploring new Stellaris content (well, new to me, at least). I am not fully on-board with the the new diplomacy / envoy/ spying mechanic. I get it. It makes sense. How else could I know my neighbors’ military or economic strength unless I had dudes embedded?

    The mechanic is cool, granted, but the execution is not entirely well thought through.

    I absolutely adore CK3, especially when my spouse gifts me with a dog. That I get to name and train.

  131. de stijl says:

    Sorry! Most of that comment was not helpful.

    Early game CK3 is very challenging. Would you mind sharing where you started and if you started as a lowly count?

    You are poor and weak at the start. Myself, I turtle up until I have the resources and men to make a serious move. Get the next county over. Your kid or grandkid might be strong enough to take the duchy. The kingdom is generations away.

    Games program us into thinking action is good. CK3 often rewards inaction. My first play thru had me getting stomped hard by Sweden because I got uppity.

    Also, always play towards type and traits with your PC. Playing against gets you stressed, ill, and soon dead. Learned that lesson the hard way.

    Nail your succession. Very important. Count X can die tomorrow very easy and quick.

    Your spare kids are currency. Arrange betrothals wisely.

    Pay attention to your knights and commanders.

    Crikey! There are so many things to keep your eye on. It is that in particular that makes the game so intriguing.

  132. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl:

    The one who died in prison was Navarre IIRC. I’ve done several with Phillipe.

    TBH, I am just trying a bunch of different ways to open games to get a better idea of the systems.

    I think my favorite thing about the game is that none of my attempts have felt like failures. They have been entertaining across the board.

    Turtling seems to be the best option early on. I started a game as a powerful ruler in the Middle East at one point…and abandoned it without unpausing because there was so much going on, I knew it was going to be too much to handle until I have a better grasp of the systems.

  133. de stijl says:


    Maybe think about starting smaller. As a random Count in the back-end of nowhere.

    I always ignore the built start scenarios. Never played them. I have never played a start where I was relatively powerful.

    I feel as if I were offering advice as to how I play rather than to what you experience and do. So sorry if it comes off weird and frustrating.

    I start small with one county, turtle up, gain resources, send my spy master next door within the same duchy to manufacture a claim on their county. Invest in infrastructure. Get some hire mercenary money if push comes to shove.

    I have never played those starting scenarios so my advice might not work. I cannot know.

  134. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl:

    It’s not a scenario. At least I don’t think it is. I selected from the choose all rulers.

    I’ve chosen that one because it was the very first one I choose on my first run when it first released. I put it down for a while. When I came back I looked around, but…

    I stuck with it, because it provides a nice sort of balance–He is a kid, so he’s young. He’s not at war with anyone. There is one extra powerful vassal who will be left out of the council, but I can choose to grant him vassals to keep him of my back. Or of course, plot to murder him.

    It just seemed like a good choice to learn the systems. I’ve not been frustrated at all. As I said, it’s been incredibly entertaining so far.

    This is my first Paradox title that I got at launch. So I’m excited to see all the changes that occur over the next few years rather than experiencing something like EU IV years after the original base game is nearly unrecognizable.

  135. DrDaveT says:


    I’ve never seen Hopscotch. Looks like a great cast.

    Well, except for Matthau’s son 🙂

    The chemistry between Matthau and Jackson is just superb. The first scene in the film that has both of them in it is one of my favorite comedy scenes of all time.