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Lord Liaden

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Everything posted by Lord Liaden

  1. It’s Hard Not To Laugh At These Ridiculous Headstones
  2. One of the comments summed up my reaction to that trailer: "Eight-Legged Freaks: Ant Edition."
  3. TBH I don't watch the CW super shows much anymore aside from the series crossover events. That's when they seem to loosen the purse strings enough to give us actual superheroic action, against the kind of larger-than-life menaces superheroes were designed to fight. The soap opera and jokes are still there, but at least they don't drown out everything else. And with all the characters to balance no one of them has time to wallow in existential angst.
  4. Canadians go to the polls Monday. The race is tied – and still boring. A clear little primer on the dynamics of the upcoming Canadian federal election, from an American perspective.
  5. If any picture ever justified the nickname, "iron horse," it's this one. Only ones that are attached, so I'll pass.
  6. The ratio of cost to benefit has a big effect on the evaluation of practicality. If we keep doing what we're currently doing to this planet that ratio is going to shift.
  7. Using dollars as the primary measure of benefit and responsibility also carries its own risks. Some factors that should be considered aren't so easily quantified. Take for example, Donald Trump's defense for why he's sending American troops to bolster Saudi Arabia's security at the same time he's pulling troops out of Syria: "The Saudis are paying us." Besides putting the lie to Trump's stated motivation for bring troops home, this effectively makes the American military for sale, and redefines American military service as a potentially mercenary venture.
  8. Well, part of the problem with the "vote" or "poll" or "referendum" or whatever you want to call it (under any label it was expressly defined as not legally binding) is that the pro-Brexit campaign led by Boris Johnson emphasized misinformation (to put it politely) about the United Kingdom's financial relationship with the European Union, the consequences to the country of separating from the Union, and the ease with which that could be achieved. There was also a sharp division in pro- and anti-Brexit voting between England, with the majority of the UK's population, and its other semi-autonomous regions, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, if public opinion needs to be respected, what are we to make of polls between the Brexit referendum and today, which has shown a pronounced bout of "buyer's remorse" shifting public support against Brexit? Should that be ignored because it isn't part of a formal referendum?
  9. Whatever Carl Sagan's qualities as a scientist -- which I'm not qualified to assess -- he was an exceptional teacher. Sagan had a rare gift to communicate the profoundest concepts in a way any reasonably intelligent person could understand, and in an entertaining fashion. His passion and joy for science shone through his every word and expression, and was remarkably infectious.
  10. All of Irwin Allen's shows seemed to go the same way: good initial concept, a first season with interesting characterizations and solid scripts, then increasingly silly and cheesy. It was as if Allen and his writers just couldn't take their own shows seriously.
  11. I'm always concerned when the issue of "efficiency" of private sector versus public sector is raised. I'm concerned because those two sectors have different priorities and different accountability. The priority of the public sector is to serve its citizens, and the success with which they do so is judged by those citizens through the electoral process. The priority of the private sector is to make a profit for those who own parts of a business or company, and it is to those people that they answer. When I've seen governments unload responsibility for public services, such as transportation or utilities, to the private sector, what invariably follows is either a rise in the cost of those services to citizens living where their delivery is more costly, or the curtailment of those services to those areas altogether whether or not the communities affected depend on them. The private sector's "efficiency" is derived not primarily through working harder or smarter, but -- and I realize this wording is harsh -- exploiting their less profitable customers to a greater degree, or else abandoning them. About the only way that I've seen this pattern offset is for governments to provide tax breaks or subsidies to either their affected citizens or to the companies providing the services. So in the end the government is still using tax dollars to deliver those services, albeit indirectly, and with much less control of spending priorities.
  12. Oldest great movie I've ever seen? Metropolis by Fritz Lang, an icon of expressionist art in film making. A simplistic moralistic story, and expressionist acting would be considered hopelessly over the top by most movie viewers today; but Lang's visual imagery and camera work are ground-breaking and impactful in a way that's never been matched since.
  13. To this day I'd pay good money for a spray-can of Bat-shark-repellant. That stuff really seemed to work.
  14. Hero isn't the fashionable flavor among the self-proclaimed new wave of gamers, but it has name recognition and proven longevity. It's unlikely it will ever return to its past popularity, but gamer taste will swing back sooner or later.
  15. The Day the Earth Stood Still -- not the Keanu Reeves remake 😣, but the classic 1951 original directed by the great Robert Wise. A spaceship carrying an alien emissary arrives in Washington D.C. to give humanity a warning, but will only speak to representatives of the whole world. The humans attack and try to imprison him, but the alien escapes and goes undercover among them to try to understand their mistrust and fear. The first Hollywood film to treat aliens as benevolent rather than invaders, this movie was ahead of its time in its themes and imagery, as it uses the classic sci-fi device of an alien outsider's perspective to comment on humanity. The excellent cast is led by Michael Rennie's outstanding performance as the relatable, charismatic but subtly "alien" alien, and Patricia Neal as an exceptionally strong woman character for that era in Hollywood. Besides the acting and Robert Wise's haunting black-and-white imagery, the film is highlighted by Robert Herrmann's eerie theremin-based score. It also introduced one of the genre's iconic robots, and gave us one of the most famous lines in sci-fi history: "Klaatu barada nikto."
  16. It's just a variation on dealing with people chained to trees.
  17. Can't do that one, I'm afraid. I've offered it for free on this website for years. But I do have another CU-based concept I've been tinkering with for a few months, in a similar vein. It's a question of whether I can lay it out in whatever time frame Jason sets.
  18. Then you should check out the other YouTube music videos produced by the Merkins starring Jason, Michael Myers, Leatherface, Ghostface, and Freddy Krueger, as well as all of them together in the boy-band called, "The Slashstreet Boys." 😈
  19. Allen Thomas took an interesting approach to incorporating Elves into The Valdorian Age, Hero Games's source book for a sword-and-sorcery style campaign. Following the time line of the official Hero Universe, VA was the first age of widespread civilization after the cataclysmic destruction of the Turakian Age. Some Elves survived that disaster, although the fight for survival left them hard, ruthless, and ultimately, cruel and evil. Having retained much of their magic and technology, and making alliance with a nest of dragons who also survived, they set out to conquer and "civilize" the remaining primitive Men; but in practice enslaved and exploited them for their benefit and amusement. Essentially, Thomas turned J.R.R. Tolkien's Elves into Michael Moorcock's Melniboneans.
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