Wednesday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open 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

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    How’s about dem Braves?

    eta whoops, my bad

  2. Mu Yixiao says:
  3. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Slow day in the open forum…

  4. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’m waiting on the imminent demolition of an obelisk in DC before commenting today 🙂

    2
  5. Neil J Hudelson says:

    I’m confused by 50% of the comments in this forum already. Time to go get some coffee.

  6. KM says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Hey, the coffee’s still brewing!! I’ll be witty on my third cup, I swear!

  7. CSK says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:
    I believe Kathy is waiting for someone to blow up the Washington Monument. Ozark may be speaking of the Atlanta Braves.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Quentin Tarantino says he wants to make a comedy

    Tarantino was speaking at the Rome film festival where he was given a lifetime achievement award, and in remarks reported by Variety, the director discussed future projects, which include a book of film criticism and a TV series and added: “First, I want to make a comedy.”

    He then went on to describe a scenario he was working on “but not like my next movie … something else that I’m thinking about doing”. Tarantino said it involved a “spaghetti western”. “It’s going to be really fun. Because I want to shoot it in the spaghetti western style where everybody’s speaking a different language … The Mexican bandido is an Italian; the hero is an American; the bad sheriff is a German; the Mexican saloon girl is Israeli. And everybody is speaking a different language. And you [the actors] just know: OK, when he’s finished talking then I can talk.”

    That would be his 10th and final (?) film.

  9. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    A multi-lingual spaghetti western. Gee, I can’t wait. Maybe he can call it Once Upon a Time in the Tower of Babel.

    3
  10. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    While I’m not aware of Tarantino issuing an ongoing series of threats to retire (I think his chatter around that started after Once Upon a Time), I’m still treating any such proclamations the same way I treat a KISS farewell tour.

    I just don’t ever see Tarantino giving up film making.

  11. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: 😀 😛 😀 😛

    1
  12. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I would dispute the notion that Tarantino has ever done a film that wasn’t, at some level, a comedy.

    6
  13. Kingdaddy says:

    I was thinking about applying to Yale Law School, but now, I’m not so sure.

  14. Kathy says:

    Dune is supposed to come to streaming this week.

    I saw the movie in the 80s, and I think something may have happened in the second half of the story, then again it might not have. Lots of people whispered very loudly in their heads, too. I think Patrick Stewart was in it.

    Well, I tried to read the book shortly after. I couldn’t manage that. The book has a glossary of terms which are marked in the text. The need to interrupt the narrative to check on the meaning of these terms kept me from concentrating on it. I made some more false starts, then eventually loaned the book to someone else. I don’t think they read it, either. I’m sure I never got it back.

    I’ve since read a synopsis of the plot. It’s ok, I guess, but nowhere near ok enough to explain why the novel got a cult following, many sequels, and has remained popular for over fifty years. So I assume the draw must be either the characters or the world building, or both.

    So I’ll give this next attempt at making a movie a chance.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Neil J Hudelson: He first said it in 2016. As I just said to someone else, after his 10th I expect he’ll find he has an 11th in him, and a 12th, and a…

    Creativity is not a spigot one can just turn off, tho the well can run dry.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Same here, they’ve all made me laugh at more than a few points, but obviously he doesn’t exactly agree.

  17. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: Have you seen the SYFY miniseries from 2000? I thought it was pretty good at the time, though I think it probably looks dated today.

    I’ve seen just a few clips from the 1984 movie, and it looked Battlefield Earth bad.

    I also had a failed attempt at reading the books.

  18. Grommit Gunn says:

    @Kingdaddy: An example of one of the many reasons I choose to remain ‘just’ a faculty member. My College can not pay me enough to deal with Administration headaches.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Dune is pure genius. The sequels not so much, tho the 2nd and 3rd were worth reading..

    5
  20. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I’ve heard about the miniseries but have not seen it.

  21. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    I’ve since read a synopsis of the plot. It’s ok, I guess, but nowhere near ok enough to explain why the novel got a cult following, many sequels, and has remained popular for over fifty years.

    There are a few things that factor into it’s popularity and longevity–timing being one of them, of course.

    Dune came out at a time when “serious” SF was just starting to take hold, but hadn’t quite reached the level held by “real” literature. Dune was one of the leaders in making that leap.

    Secondly, while the characters are all significant, they’re not individually important. The story is. And that story is an allegory of western interference in the middle east–historically and contemporarily. The 60s were a time when we started questioning western imperialism–and that’s a topic that’s still with us. The manipulation and unalterable future make it a chess game with nobody at the helm.

    Finally, the world-building is massive. Herbert drops you in the middle of an empire and makes you figure it out–just like Paul has to do on Arakis and with the Fremen. Part of what makes it interesting is feeling the understanding unfold as you progress–over thousands of years, through 6 books.

    The prequels by his son, however, are a dry slog of trying to explain everything–when it should just be left as “that’s just the way it is”.

    (And yes, Patrick Stewart is in the original–and has a glorious scene of going into battle carrying a pug).

    3
  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, and that is saying something.

    @Kathy: I read the first book as a teenager, and liked it a lot. Make of that as you will. The sequels became ridiculous and tedious, even to my teenage viewpoint.

  23. Gustopher says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    I was thinking about applying to Yale Law School, but now, I’m not so sure.

    discussed a few days ago.

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/yale-cant-take-a-joke/

    1
  24. Kathy says:

    I’ve been interrupting my reading on biology to get some info on both COVID and vaccines from a podcast whose host does understand science.

    The bottom line is levels of antibodies do fall off in time, but faster than they do for other vaccines.

    The problem with this is these studies have been carried out only on the Pfizer vaccine thus far. Therefore it’s unclear whether the drop is due to the mRNA technology, or to something inherent in SARS-CoV-2 specifically or coronaviruses in general.

    The upside is that T cell levels appear to remain constant, and memory B cells do seem to be produced. In fact, ti’s likely upon a third dose of Pfizer, the new surge of antibodies comes from memory B cells.

    This all translates into very good protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death, for most people. It’s more problematic fro those with risk factors like age, diabetes, on immunosuppressant drugs, etc.

    It may also mean that to better contain spread of SARS-CoV-2, a third dose should be given to everyone, and perhaps booster shots will be needed every six months after that. Later, when the pandemic finally ends, annual shots might be enough, or might not even be necessary.

    What’s crystal clear is the pandemic remains largely due to insufficient mitigation and prevention measures, including low rates of vaccination.

  25. inhumans99 says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The poor dear, I am glad she is finally in Heaven and does not have to remain a perpetual victim of the monster (actually, more like the sociopath) that was her husband. The article says she had a learning disability, but does not clarify what triggered this intense desire for her husband to try multiple times to kill his wife (searching the web for more ways to kill her by a snake bite while she is in the hospital for a failed attempt to kill her by snake bite is just…is just yikes!!).

    By the standards of someone living in India he certainly seemed well-off in life considering the dowry he received for marrying his wife struck me as quite generous. I also noticed that the article points out how rare it is for a typical Indian male to get the book thrown at them in India for crimes against their wife/family members, but this guy was evil and deserved the prison sentence he received and then some.

    Also, fascinating to learn that one of the most lethal animals on the planet is pretty chill unless you go out of your way to agitate them. I do remember that the Crocodile Hunter (Steve Irwin) was shown on TV doing things like agitating spitting cobras to get them to react, kind-of a dick move on Irwin’s part but he needed to spice things up otherwise just putting a camera on a snake chilling under a rock does not make for the most exciting viewing experience if you were watching his show.

    Also interesting, is that they were able to re-enact the crime and the results pretty much matched 100% of what happened to his wife the night she was bit and poisoned.

    At least we have one less sociopath roaming the earth and now behind bars.

    2
  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:

    The book has a glossary of terms which are marked in the text. The need to interrupt the narrative to check on the meaning of these terms kept me from concentrating on it.

    You were not meant to check a glossary, you were meant to deduce the meaning of words from context. That is intentional on Frank Herbert’s part, and is actually a vital part of coming to grips with DUNE. It’s the mystery, the confusion, finding your way through it, seeing the corners of the world-building. Penetrating the mystery, understanding all the quasi-religious stuff, is what helps make readers into fans. It forces you to play a more active role as a reader. Read it like you’re reading poetry. When you read, ‘the candle burns at both ends, it will not last the night,’ you don’t go to Amazon to see whether candles that burn at both ends are actually available.

    None of that is meant to suggest you’d necessarily like it in the end, but an e-book with links in the text is not what Herbert had in mind when he was writing it. Incidentally, I’ve been on the trail of books that could be written specifically for the enhancements that technology offers, but conflicting platforms and annoying limitations of same, not to mention copyright issues, still make it impossible.

    3
  27. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds: My dad couldn’t get into A Song of Ice and Fire when he tried reading it, and he told me that on the fourth or so page he encountered the term “poxy-bitch.” He asked me what that word meant, and I told him I had no idea, and I didn’t even remember encountering it while reading the text. Maybe I understood it in context and just forgot, or maybe I glossed over it. Experienced readers of speculative fiction do this all the time, because we’re so used to running across unfamiliar terminology which the author is expected to make understandable through context. In fact, I think it’s generally frowned upon in the sf community to include glossaries (it’s not supposed to be a homework assignment, or like reading Chaucer), even though Herbert apparently got away with it.

    1
  28. Kingdaddy says:

    @Gustopher: Missed that, since I was moving.

    1
  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kylopod:
    I would suspect Herbert’s editor forced the glossary on him. It’s one thing when stuck at the end, it’s a very different experience having it in hypertext.

    My daughter and I cooked up something we called ‘frebook’ at the time, like 10 years ago. The idea was to create a digital book platform that would allow the author to incorporate maps, music, photos, video clips, etc… Not really very hard to do in the abstract, but Kindle dominates and defines the market and they apparently aren’t interested in making those tools available.

    Besides, even with the tech solved you run into copyright, which is a nightmare and would require any book that wanted to drop in some music or a clip to spend a fortune and waste months.

  30. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Years ago a friend of mine blew his entire advance paying for permissions to quote a few song lyrics in his novel.

  31. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: Thank you. I thought I was the only one who found Dune boring. I’m old. Why I’m so old I read Dune when it was new. I managed to slog through it. I don’t remember much of it. It was, more than anything else, very long. I do remember it talked about ecology a lot, although IIRC it was called “planetology” and didn’t really make any sense. And it centered on psychedelic drugs, which was also trendy in the 60s. And some sympathy for Palestinians was beginning. But it was impossible to get past giant worms that burrowed at high speed through sand. As bad as graboids, but at least Tremors didn’t pretend to be serious. That, and a long list of cardboard cutout characters. I do realize a lot of people I respect think it’s a great book. Different strokes, I guess.

    I was a big sci-fi fan in my youth, so I guess I’ll watch the movie sometime. But not soon.

    1
  32. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Herbert drops you in the middle of an empire and makes you figure it out–

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You were not meant to check a glossary, you were meant to deduce the meaning of words from context.

    These kinds of things are common in science fiction. Few books come with a glossary, though (another one that did was A Clockwork Orange). Usually I’ve little trouble, provided that the writing is clear.

    Also, I rarely read poetry.

  33. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    I wouldn’t call it boring, since I really didn’t read it. The 1980s movie was confusing, and I found the constant inner whispering to be most annoying.

    Most of all, I went to see the movie expecting to be impressed, and I left it wondering what, if anything, really took place during that time. Then I tried to read the book to make sense of it, and found it rather impenetrable.

    So I kind of need to see or read a version of ti that makes sense to figure out what the big deal is.

  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    I’ve had good luck – a punk band called Agent Orange said sure, whatever – and I’ve had assholes ask for ten grand or, almost as bad, dick around for literally a year. I gave up. The system is a mess. I’m a big fan of copyright for obvious reasons, but the system does not need to be this clunky and impossible to navigate.

  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    I have a question for the assembled cognoscenti: why don’t we just buy all the coal we produce and bury it? The US coal market runs somewhere around 40 billion dollars a year. Why don’t we outlaw any future increase in production while simply buying the coal and sticking it somewhere? We could pretend it was a strategic reserve. Miners keep their jobs, mining companies keep their profits, the air gets cleaner, the climate is marginally improved, and 40 billion is nothing to a nation with a 21 trillion dollar economy.

    4
  36. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I recall several similar things proposed, or even hyped, before e-books took off. I mean back in the late 90s or early 2000s, when some prototype e-readers were out there and no one much cared.

    I’ve read some fiction books with maps in them, and sometimes it’s useful to refer back to them while reading. I’ve read more non–fiction books which could use maps, graphs, tables, etc.

    Mike Duncan described many battles in the History of Rome podcast, and sometimes uploaded diagrams of them to the podcast’s website. granted, incorporating visual material in an audio format is not necessarily a good idea. Many people listen to such audio while engaged in other activities.

    The advantages I see to e-books (and audiobooks) are that 1) you can get the book right away when purchasing it, instead of waiting for delivery (and no shipping charges), and 2) you can easily carry a large collection of books at all times in your phone, and read any of them at any time anywhere.

    1
  37. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Portability is to me the real advantage of e-books. The less I have to lug around when I’m traveling the happier I am.

    1
  38. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: The other advantage to e-books is controlling the font size. I’m old enough that my eyes are shitty enough that I can’t read most of my print books.

    A competing drawback is that there just isn’t that sense of physicality — there might be a number at the bottom of the screen that says you are 57% of the way through the book, but you don’t feel that 57% in your hands as you’re reading along, and I definitely need that feedback to keep motivated on a lot of marginal books.

  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy: @Gustopher:
    The big surprise has been that kids are not early adopters of e-books. They like a physical object.

  40. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I know this one: What is “because that would be SOCIALISM!!!”?

    It would be cheaper to just subsidize the workers for a few years, while they train or look for other work or reach a point where they can retire, and pay off the mine owners to stop mining coal.

    Unless there’s some use for coal other than burning it. Someone told me once it’s possible to make gasoline out of coal. But that would defeat the purpose.

  41. @Kathy: I was the kind of nerdy kid that loved a book with a glossary, or genealogies, maps, etc.

    In regards to Dune, I read it in High School and loved it. I think I read all 5 of the original sequels, but really barely remember them. I re-read the original novel sometime in the last ten years and still enjoyed it, but Children of Dune bored me this go ’round.

  42. @Gustopher:

    The other advantage to e-books

    To me, the main advantage of my Kindle is that it is far easier to read in bed while going to sleep (and if I doze off while reading, it doesn’t fall and wake me up).

    1
  43. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:
    @Michael Reynolds:

    I haven’t gotten many e-books, largely because I find audiobooks, and podcasts, more convenient given my current schedule.

    Once or twice I’ve been caught by surprise upon reaching the end of an e-book. Though usually the development of the story should make clear where the ending is.

    With audiobooks, I look at the total time remaining. This kind of gives me a sense of how much book there is to left to read.

    1
  44. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Neal Stephenson, et al, did something like this when he was writing “The Mongoliad”. I liked it at the time.

    One reason I enjoy Stephenson is that the most outlandish things in his books often turn out to be true. Who would have thought that St. Francis of Assisi would have left his little bird friends to sail across pirate infested seas and journey through war torn lands in order to negotiate a peace during one of the Crusades?

    2
  45. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I don’t know if outlawing increases in coal production is legal, but I’m fairly certain it’s not practical in our capitalist-worshipping society. Maybe in another 20 or 30 years when the Manchin’s and other dinosaurs of the world have died off.

    Switching gears, graphics, video and music are orders of magnitude harder on battery life than e-ink, which is what has kept them off dedicated e-readers. I believe you can get apps on tablets that can handle what you’re talking about, but they aren’t nearly as elegantly simple as the Kindle is for just…reading.

    2
  46. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    My daughter and I cooked up something we called ‘frebook’ at the time, like 10 years ago. The idea was to create a digital book platform that would allow the author to incorporate maps, music, photos, video clips, etc… Not really very hard to do in the abstract, but Kindle dominates and defines the market and they apparently aren’t interested in making those tools available.

    e-book as a replacement for paper is a marginally compelling offering — it improves a few things, makes a few other things worse, overall, not as revolutionary as it could be for the book itself (for the delivery mechanism, and availability of the back catalog, and things never being out of print once they are available… sure, but for the actual book? Nah).

    There really hasn’t been anything that has actually made use of the possibilities of the platform and done anything interesting with the notion of the book itself.

    The second time I worked for Amazon, it was specifically to do something in this area — but it didn’t really pan out once we got to a minimum viable product. Not sure how much is covered under NDA (we released something, but future plans, next steps etc), but we built something that we weren’t sure was going to be a good idea, got a minimum viable product, saw how it was being used and said “eh, still not sure it’s a good idea” and it has (to the best of my knowledge) just languished with no one working on the next steps. (Is that a failure? Not quite, if your goal was to explore and see if this was a good idea)

    So, they are doing stuff, but they haven’t found the right stuff to do.

    At this point, I suspect we are waiting for a new book-like product to be released as an app — something with a captivating story, multiple forms of content, social interaction, and perhaps even gameplay that will change what people know they can do.

    1
  47. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    A magazine I subscribe to has been pushing it’s readers to the digital version for years, with little success. Mostly because the digital version sucks and offers no benefits over paper. In this case the digital version is either a .pdf of the paper copy or one of the flip book aps, which again is basically the paper version. I guess if you have a monitor that can display an 11×17 window, it works OK, but it’s cumbersome to read in the easy chair and tough to read on your phone, tablet or even a large laptop.

    In truth, the easiest and most legible way to display text content is the way blogs and newspapers are formatted. Offer links to associated info and put the images and video in line.

    1
  48. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kylopod:

    I’ve seen just a few clips from the 1984 movie, and it looked Battlefield Earth bad.

    The 1984 version of Dune is very camp, but that is different then being bad. It certainly doesn’t deserve to be compared to Battlefield Earth.

  49. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The big surprise has been that kids are not early adopters of e-books. They like a physical object.

    I’m one of the people still buying physical CDs, DVDs, etc. I love the CONCEPT of digital native versions of media, but I don’t like the execution of my media library being tied up in some corporation’s business model and the moment my library ceases to be sufficiently profitable, they flip a switch and I lose everything in my collection.

    2
  50. Jen says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    they flip a switch and I lose everything in my collection.

    This (sort of) happened to me. I digitized a bunch of my CDs, saved the files to Apple so I could listen to the music on my Nano. Since the Nano was small, it didn’t have room for all of my music so I’d rotate tunes. Then, Apple dumped all of the non-Apple-purchase files.

    I *think* I copied the files, but to this day cannot figure out where I might have saved them, and it’s entirely possible it was to a less-used laptop which I got rid of in a move or major cleaning project.

  51. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The 1984 version of Dune is very camp, but that is different then being bad. It certainly doesn’t deserve to be compared to Battlefield Earth.

    It may not be as bad, but c’mon, look at this scene and tell me there isn’t just a tiny smidgen of Travolta Psychlo?

  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @Kathy:

    A funny thing I never realized about myself till just this moment. I am a very visual person and whenever I am reading history or even just the news, I quite often dig up a map to refer to because it helps me to visualize the place and the context. But when I am reading fiction, especially about a fictional place, I hardly ever look at the maps because too often they contradict the one in my head that I have constructed from the written words, and the differences between the 2 causes a disconnect between me and the story.

    2
  53. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Coal is still very useful for iron and steel production.
    (Had one steel guy say to me “virtually indispensable”; dunno, I’m not an industrial metallurgist)

    That and heritage railways are about the only acceptable uses for it that I can think of.

    1
  54. dazedandconfused says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I strongly suspect Herbert got that method from reading TE Lawrence’s Seven Pillars. Lawrence utterly rejected the standard Arabic/English transliteration books and wrote Arabic names any which way he felt like at the time, and this forces the reader to really pay attention. Clearly he drew other aspects from that book too.

    I believe Dune is the result of mixing Seven Pillars, Moby Dick, childhood trauma from exposure to Catholic nun teachers, and psilocybin.

    1
  55. Kathy says:

    Nearly two years ago I got a Kindle Oasis from my employer. I posted about it here.

    Ultimately I sold it to a coworker. I just found no use for it.

  56. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I’m the same way. When I read fiction, a movie of the novel or story plays simultaneously in my head. I can see the people and the events.

    I’ve mentioned this before, I think, but all the rhapsodic description of Charleston, S.C. by southern writers (like the logorrhea-afflicted Pat Conroy) led me to visualize the place as paradise. When I finally visited it…meh. Okay, but far from the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen.

  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Just got notification that I am scheduled for a Right Shoulder Arthroscopy, Rotator Cuff Repair, Limited Debridement, Excision Right Distal Clavicle, Bicep Tenodesis Arthrex with…

    I haven’t had that much fun since the hogs ate Grandma.

    3
  58. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Well, shit. That sound like fun, not. Sorry to learn this, but if it’s necessary…

    “Bicep Tenodesis Arthrex” sounds like a newly-discovered dinosaur.

    1
  59. Mu Yixiao says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    You have my sympathies. I go in next week to find out what the options are for my own shoulder. From talking to the GP and Sports Doc, “becoming a cyborg” is not off the table.

  60. Mu Yixiao says:
  61. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: @Mu Yixiao: This is my 3rd shoulder surgery in the last 7 or 8 years. I was able to avoid the worst the first 2 times, but the Doc has told me I can’t get out of them this time around. If I live long enough, cyborg is in my future.

    1
  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I was assigned to read Dune as part of a class on science fiction literature co taught by a physics professor and a member of the Christian Missions major faculty (long story–TL/DR version is that it was an ego trip offering for the two profs involved). I resorted to my time honored system of reading the short (at least as I recall) first part to find what meta-story I was in (which I took to be “”hidden/undiscovered messiah” [I was taking the class at an evangelical university of the first order] + Siegfreid–minus the rings) and then skipped through the book to get to the end with a broad (though weak) sense of the action culminating in reading the last 2 0r 3 chapters to get some sense of the denouement. It’s not a satisfying way to read a book, but this wasn’t a satisfying book to me, either.

    The only thing worse was seeing the movie (on television as I recall, not buying a ticket for THAT turkey). I hope this movie is better.

    2
  63. CSK says:

    According to Mother Jones, Joe Manchin has told some of his senate colleagues that he’s considering leaving the Democratic party and becoming an Independent.

    We’ll see.

    2
  64. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You clearly live in an intellectual county I’ve never visited–and probably wouldn’t be welcome in–but I’d like to believe that the book was pure genius, I know my professors did. (This was the only class I took from either of them, or wanted to as far as that goes. And I wouldn’t have taken the class had I known either of them better. This class was the reason there need to be course guidebooks.)

    1
  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Hardly in that category for me. On the other hand, I watch Republic, Universal, and Columbia serials from the 30s and 40s for a guilty pleasure. I’m about to start the Dick Tracy 2-reelers from the late 30s on. Tubi has several.

    1
  66. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Good luck with your surgery.

  67. Barry says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Just got notification that I am scheduled for a Right Shoulder Arthroscopy, Rotator Cuff Repair, Limited Debridement, Excision Right Distal Clavicle, Bicep Tenodesis Arthrex with…”

    Buy, rent or borrow one of those power recliners.
    You want one which can go from fully recumbent to almost standing.
    That way, you won’t have to get in and out of bed with an extremely painful and strapped up arm.

    A friend borrowed mine for her rotator cuff surgery, ands extremely glad that she did!

    1
  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @inhumans99: It’s also possible that this guy “got the book thrown at him” because of the relative wealth difference between the family of the wife and his own. His dad was in no position to leverage the legal system for him.

  69. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    That’s the method I used to get through Theatre Criticism class.

    Read Act I, skip to Act III (or just the last scene or two). Hit bits in the middle if there’s time.

    Join the discussion early when talking about character establishment and setting–with occasional mentions of “But… that changes by the end”. Stay mostly quiet in the middle–or just ask questions. Rejoin when discussing the end. 🙂

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  70. Michael Reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I’m a nut for maps. Even if I don’t include them in the book, a map helps me ground a story. It forces you to stay faithful to the limits of the geography.

    Many long years ago we wrote a YA series called Boyfriends/Girlfriends (we don’t pick the titles) later repackaged as Making Out (we really don’t pick the titles) and in the series bible we had maps of the semi-fictional island (based on Peaks Island) and the city (based on Portland, Maine). One of the characters was blind and counted steps so we had step counts to various locations. Also ferry schedules and in some cases floorplans of the characters’ homes. None of that went into the book, but the discipline those things provide is invaluable.

  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: A poxy bitch is a woman who has a less than salutary personality in the eye of the beholder and is covered with small pox scars. The newspaper reporter (???) in All the King’s Men is a good example to some people. (Although I can’t recall whether the actual term was used in that book. I do remember someone referring to her a “poxy” though.)

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  72. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I wonder if perhaps it’s a matter of 1960s science fiction. I read Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land (1961). It was a hard slog, and difficult to make sense of. Ditto A Clockwork Orange (1962).

    My concern with the new movie is the director, Denis Villeneuve. I found his sequel to Blade Runner sloooooooooooooooooooooow and obscure at times. Too many establishing shots and mood shots. I must have paused the streaming a couple of dozen times.

    I saw Arrival, which also felt slow (just not that slow), and was far clearer in depicting what was going on.

    It depends, then, what kind of pace he uses in Dune, and how clear he intends to be.

    I guess we’ll see.

  73. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    When I was writing D&D Scenarios, I would use maps of shopping malls as stand-ins for small cities. Absolutely essential in keeping things straight.

    I’m a big maps person, and love when they’re included in books.

  74. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Yeah. I specifically bought a Kindle because I was starting to travel some after retiring and didn’t like packing books. (Also because I had a several hundred dollar balance at Amazon and almost never shopped there.)

  75. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: Not sure what happened to you but my iTunes collection still has all the non-Apple stuff I uploaded over the years. I do pay an extra small fee for it, though.

  76. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: I liked Stranger in a Strange Land when I read it some 30 years ago, and it may be the one example in this whole discussion that made up a word that actually entered the English language: grok.

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  77. Kathy says:

    So, Joe Manchin failed to find any republican senators willing to support voting rights legislation.

    We need a word that means the exact opposite of surprise.

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  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: That may be more of an effect of having their teachers screaming “get off your phone” at them too much. (I always say “remember to not let your phone interfere with getting your work done” followed by an apology noting that I have district approved lines I’m required to say. On the other hand, 25 middle schoolers all engaged with texting their friend is superior to smaller numbers taunting a classmate–and I don’t care whether the administration agrees or not. Mostly though, my–apparently cool–grandfather vibe carries a lot of water on the phone issue.)

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  79. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: You must read at a relatively even (and normal) pace. For me, it’s always disappointing as the time to finish slowly goes up from 3 to 10 to 27 hours as I read the first chapter or two.

  80. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    It’s possible I’d like it more if I read it now. I think I was 15 on the first go round. In any case, grok is the opposite of what I experienced reading it.

    I don’t remember much about it now, but wasn’t there cannibalism at the end?

  81. flat earth luddite says:

    @Gustopher:
    @Kathy:
    @CSK:

    I was given an e-reader when I was doing chemo. It was a lifesaver, as otherwise I was toting several books (a major side effect for me on spa days was short-attention-span-theater). Downside was when I fell asleep I usually dropped it on the floor. Fortunately Kobo makes a really sturdy reader.

    During the time of Covid, it came in really handy because my local library was pretty closed down, except for e-books.

  82. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “The big surprise has been that kids are not early adopters of e-books. They like a physical object.”

    My “showrunner” house was 4,000 square feet. When we sold it after fifteen years, there were still 40 or so boxes of books in the basement we had moved there and never unpacked because we didn’t have space for them. I had to carry each box up out of the basement and then down 28 stairs to the street so I could put them in my carry and take them to donate to the library.

    Until that point I had been (obviously) a die-hard book acquirer. Since then I have had no desire to ever purchase or even handle a physical book again. I love reading on the Kindle, I love having my library with me wherever I go — no more getting stuck on a long plane ride with a book you discover you hate ten minutes in — and no more boxes…

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  83. flat earth luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I coulda sworn we saw this down here in Puddle-town sometime, but then again, that’s what I usually get for swearing.

    Yes, Dune The Movie sucked hard, and was greatly improved with a nap in the middle third, but it doesn’t hold a candle to that horror named “Ice Pirates” now does it?

  84. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Having given away thousands of books and being the owner of several hundred vinyls and CDs still, I find myself growing less attached to all of it as I grow older. Perhaps you will, too, later in life. The fact that my Kindle “library” will someday disappear into the mists of obsolescence is only surpassed by the unlikelihood that I would reread any of them. (Perhaps this feature triggered my previous emptying of my bookshelves. Who can say?)

  85. wr says:

    @wr: Well, I don’t actually read on a Kindle. I use the Kindle platform on a 12 inch iPad pro…

  86. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    It’s possible I’d like it more if I read it now. I think I was 15 on the first go round.

    I’ve had the opposite feeling: I loved it as a teenager, I’m not sure I would now.

  87. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Since I can’t imagine a Dune movie worth watching, I’ll probably never know unless I read a review–or you do one here.

  88. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    So, Joe Manchin failed to find any republican senators willing to support voting rights legislation.

    So he’s threatening to bolt to a party that rejects the work he does.

    According to Mediaite, he called the Mother Jones report “Bullshit spelled with a B-U-L-L, capital B!”.

    I dunno. It’s kind of like Israel’s nuclear weapons: they always deny having them, and there isn’t a chance in the world they’re hoping anyone believes them.

  89. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: That could be. Early on in your Puddletown experience, I still bought tickets to see movies. I don’t recall either way.

    These days, I still buy tickets to watch movies, but they’re airline tickets, so I don’t know what movies I’m watching ahead of time.

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  90. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: “but it doesn’t hold a candle to that horror named “Ice Pirates” now does it?”

    Certainly not. But I watched “Ice Pirates” for the same reason that I watched Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer reboot “The Man From Uncle.” A dreadful movie–I loved every minute of it!

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  91. CSK says:

    Ted Cruz has introduced a bill to send undocumented migrants to Cad Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Cambridge, Ma.

    4
  92. Kathy says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    I like the idea of e-books, but I can’t find the need for en e-book reader when there’s a Kindle, Scribd, and Kobo app on my phone.

    The Oasis I got also played audiobooks. But, again, there’s an Audible, Scribd, and several podcast apps on my phone.

    Maybe if I’d gotten one pre-2013 when I first got a tablet and then smart phones.

    @Kylopod:

    I don’t think he’d do well in the GQP. Maybe for a bit, sure. I mean, if he joined the GQP now, he’d hand them the majority, depose Schummer and enthrone Mitch. But he won’t be able to make the party take him seriously or dance to his tune they way he can with the Democrats. And if the GQP picks up a seat next year, he’d lose all his charm.

  93. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Maybe not a review, but I’ll post my thoughts about it (spoiler free). I do know, ahead of time, the movie won’t cover the entirety of the first book, but about half. If there’s no commercial success, there won’t be a sequel and we’ll never know how it ends!

    IMO, one book that deserves to be made into a limited series (which I understand is what streaming services call their miniseries) is Asimov’s “The Gods Themselves.” I can easily see 9 episodes, one hour each, 3 per part of the book. Or maybe 10, doing a fourth one for the second part (by far the most interesting).

  94. MarkedMan says:

    Progressives need to stop whining and win more seats for their party. How about if they ran on platforms that didn’t lose one or two seats for everyone they gain.

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  95. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kathy:

    I’d like someone taking on The Silmarillion, it’s wonderful collection of short stories, but the Tolkien family will not release it. I thought they had but the family only released the parts of the story to Amazon which were mentioned in the Lord Of The Rings, which is pretty much just Numenor.

    It’s a good contrast to what Herbert did with Dune, btw. Herbert got trapped in making his fantasy world more intricate to the point where there was little else to it, it fairly well climbed up it’s own asshole. The Tolkiens, on the other hand, expanded their world as needed for hero’s journeys. They never lost sight of what makes a great narrative.

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  96. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: I agree he wouldn’t do well in the GOP, and he has to know that the history of politicians switching parties mid-office and maintaining their careers is mixed at best. But that doesn’t automatically mean he won’t do it; politicians make foolish and self-destructive decisions all the time. And he might figure it’s his only chance at reelection in 2024–and I’m not convinced he’d be wrong about that.

    All in all, I don’t think he’ll do it, but I absolutely believe he wants the threat hovering over the Dem leadership.

  97. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Incidentally, I’ve been on the trail of books that could be written specifically for the enhancements that technology offers, but conflicting platforms and annoying limitations of same, not to mention copyright issues, still make it impossible.

    The closest thing I’ve yet seen is the combination of the audiobook and website for Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, which remains one of my favorite books of all time. Of course, it might as well have been written specifically for me — a book whose plot hinges on the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and the philosophy of mathematical foundations…!?

  98. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    The 1980s movie was confusing

    It was also intensely annoying to people who liked the book, since it changed so many fundamental things. Sort of like the movie of Starship Troopers, in that regard.

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  99. Kathy says:

    The FDA has authorized booster shots of Moderna and J&J, as well as mix and match (heterologous) vaccination.

    Authorization for children 5 to 11 for COVID vaccines should come within the next two weeks. That will really get the antivaxxers going, as though childhood vaccinations were a new thing. Come, most of us got the big majority of our vaccines when we were children.

    Strap in tight and mask up. This trump pandemic is nowhere close to being over.

    On a personal note, it will be mid December when I reach 6 months post full vaccination. I’ll wait til then to see what the Mexican government does about booster shots. If nothing happens, which is possible, I’ll look into a quick January trip to San Diego* (or La Jolla) for a booster. By then I expect I’ll know whether a Moderna half dose outperforms a Pfizer full dose.

    *Because the cross border express will be open, and flying to Tijuana is cheaper. I also assume vaccination rates in southern California are higher than in Texas.

  100. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I found the repetitive inner dialogue of the protagonist very annoying. It’s possibly what I recall most about the movie.

    Starship Troopers left out much of the philosophy, and totally wasted the visual potential of the mobile infantry battle suits as Heinlein imagined them.

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  101. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Kill the heretic! Kill the heretic! 🙂

  102. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I am way beyond luck. 35 years of framing and hanging has left my shoulders in a state of complete decrepitude. (the first time I tore it, I tightened a screw. I am not f’n kidding. The first 56 screws were OK. The 57th? KaPOW!!! Sounded like a gunshot.

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  103. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Barry: My step daughter and her husband have such a couch. My wife has been in negotiations with them for their couch to replace our old broke down pos. I’ll tell her what you said.

  104. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I have a question for the assembled cognoscenti: why don’t we just buy all the coal we produce and bury it? The US coal market runs somewhere around 40 billion dollars a year.

    It’s an interesting proposal.

    Even before COVID, US production of coal was less than 800M short tons per year. At the current price of $50 per short ton, that is (as you note) less than $40B. The problem is that while $40B is tiny compared to the overall budget, it would be large relative to any single non-defense expenditure in the budget — especially if you restrict attention to discretionary spending. $40B is larger than the entire Department of Energy budget. The only ongoing discretionary non-defense program I could find that’s bigger is food stamps. (There are much larger mandatory programs, but that’s a very different political situation.)

    Don’t forget to also take credit for the jobs that would be created to do the actual burying… Though come to think of it that would add considerably to the price tag.

    There’s a Heinlein novel* in which Our Hero is bemused to find himself in a future where Detroit manufactures lots of cars that are then immediately demolished without ever being used. He points out that it’s wasteful to make something just so you can destroy it, and his boss looks at him pityingly and asks if he really wants to wreck the economy…

    *I think it was The Door Into Summer

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  105. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: but the discipline those things provide is invaluable.

    Yep. I was orienteering before orienteering was a thing. I was also drawing cave maps (and surveying caves) for at least 20 years. Caves are hard to draw, they are 3D places, and I loved creating those maps. I like to think that a thousand years from now, future geologists will be looking at my maps. Probably not, but it’s possible.

  106. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    I read Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land (1961). It was a hard slog, and difficult to make sense of.

    It is much easier to make sense of, though less polished, in the “original uncut” version that was published after Heinlein’s death. It’s nearly twice as long, and the absence of final editing is noticeable, but there’s a lot of content that fills in big gaps.

  107. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I’m pretty sure I got a hernia going to the bathroom. What can you do?

    Still, I hope everything goes well and the insurance comes through.

  108. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kylopod:

    All English words are “made up a word that actually entered the English language”. It’s not like the Table Alphabeticall descended from the heavens in a ray of light in 1604.

  109. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I haven’t had that much fun since the hogs ate Grandma.

    The hogs also had a good time, I bet.

  110. Mu Yixiao says:

    One quick comment before I reply to stuff above, and then go watch a few more episodes of Night Court (I haven’t laughed so hard in years!)

    I just finished a live-stream for my newspaper–a sit-down with the owner of the local meat market/sausage company (in business since 1939). After it finished and he left, I was walking around turning off lights and putting stuff away and I suddenly smelled smoke….

    It took me several seconds to realize it was him–from the smoked meats he’s surrounded by all day. 😀

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  111. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    All English words are “made up a word that actually entered the English language”.

    Of course, but only a small minority of words have come directly from a work of fiction, even fewer from a 20th-century novel.

  112. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    I have a library in my house (it’s not as elaborate as it will hopefully become, but it’s there). I lost scores of books to floods. Twice.

    I will read stuff digitally, but I love books. There’s a line I wrote in a story a long time ago: “The value of a book is counted in the number of hands that leave their mark on it”. I have textbooks from the 1800s, engineering books from the turn of the 20th century, a Tom Swift that may be a first-edtion, and old favorites that are held together with tape.

    I have books that can be handed down to later generations (should I ever be blessed with them) that–in and of themselves–have a history and a story.

    Nobody will ever have a cherished kindle download.

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  113. Mu Yixiao says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    but it doesn’t hold a candle to that horror named “Ice Pirates” now does it?

    That movie is totally not in my movie library. Nope. Not at all. Toooootaally not there. Honest. Fer realz.

  114. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    I found the repetitive inner dialogue of the protagonist very annoying. It’s possibly what I recall most about the movie.

    Those were taken almost verbatim from the book.

    As someone who grew up with noir mysteries–which include inner dialogue narrations–I wasn’t bothered by it.

  115. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: hows about they didn’t have to compete for seats drawn 60/40 in favor of GOP.

  116. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: He’s obviously thinking of “Cad Cay,” but that’s not anywhere near Massachusetts. IIRC, it’s down on the Yucatan Peninsula, near Cancun, I think.

  117. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I see I was right. 😉 (And for the killing the heretic part, you’ll have to get in line like the others. Luddite tells me it’s pretty long now.)

  118. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    And they’ll all be aiming at thee and me! At least it’ll be a quick end (unless my kin are involved, that’d be a circular squad and they’d likely miss us cleanly)

  119. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @CSK: Why not Cancun? I’m sure Ted is motivated by the best interests of the undocumented migrants.

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  120. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: @SC_Birdflyte:

    I don’t think Cruz understands that Cape Cod is a bunch of towns.

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