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Everything posted by Anaximander

  1. One of the biggest drivers in medical costs in our country is an unfriendly regulatory environment that causes doctors and hospitals to spend way to much time, energy, and money jumping through bureaucratic hoops. I have worked in the hospital environment before, and I am currently trying to get back in. Most of the actual effects of our regulations is turning the medical profession into a fear based environment where a lot of resources go into self-protective choices. Reforming the bureaucracy associated with the medical profession to the minimum necessary would go a long ways toward improving services and reducing costs. Another driver in medical costs is the availability of insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare. All of these options increase costs to medical providers by increasing the amount of paper work that is needed to do medicine. In addition, they also function as invisible moneys that have a real affect on the supply and demand curves even though they are effectively fake money. This pushes the value of medical services to the point that they cannot be obtained without outside resources like insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare. You want to decrease the cost of medical services you have to decrease the effects of invisible money.
  2. I have connections who have been to Cuba and who are from Cuba; so, I have a lot of first hand accounts of what life on the inside is like. Cubans who live and work in the tourist friendly areas have it pretty good, but Cubans who live in areas outside of the tourist zones not so much. They struggle for basic survival, they live in constant fear of the secret police, and they lack even the most basic of human rights.
  3. Anyone who thinks that Castro wasn't that bad or that Cuba is a great country, should spend more time hanging out with Cubans. I know a few. They tend to be great people, but they also live unnecessarily hard lives as a result of the Cuban regime. They often live without the rights and necessities that even our poorest people take for granted.
  4. Bloomberg's ads were invasive and annoying and probably did him more harm than good.
  5. Regardless of whether or not we are talking about the Republicans or the Democrats, there is a divide between party leadership and the rank and file party members. Trump's initial advantage was his appeal to the disaffected party members within the Republican Party, Independents, and even some Democrats, and by doing so, he managed to beat both the Democrats and the Republicans leaderships. Bernie speaks well to the disaffected within the Democrat Party and the party leadership feel their positions threatened. That being said, I think the Democrat's best option to win disaffected voters away from Trump was actually Tulsi Gabbard, but she spoke the party line even less than does Bernie; so, she was attacked grievously by both the party leadership and the MSM.
  6. I totally forgot the Ray Harryhausen movies. I also remember having a grade school teacher read the Chronicles of Narnia and Pilgrim's Progress during story time. Obviously, this was before those with certain political and philosophical views started raising a ruckus about such readings.
  7. I have yet to read Lord of the Rings. I liked Arthurian legend and Greek mythology were my earliest connections with fantasy, and I've read the Myth, Xanth, Dancing God, Mallorean, and Belgariad. I am also greatly inspired by Robin Hood and the Three Musketeers. Truth is, I am far more of a science fiction guy and that is where most of my fiction reading goes. Almost forgot the Adept series which had both science fiction and fantasy elements.
  8. Yeah, I've been guilty of doing everything I complain about and try to not to be too much of a jerk about stuff like that when running and playing games. I just chalk it up as a different genre of fantasy.
  9. I probably would have liked The Knight's Tale better if I knew what to expect going into it. It's kind of like when you are expecting Sprite and getting water or water but getting Sprite.
  10. Related to Hermit's statement on religion, I think that his argument can be broadened to differences in station in general. I might not hold serving people in especially low regard or the well-to-do in high regard. I judge people equally regardless of station, but I was raised that way, but that is not how I would have been raised in medieval Europe where everyone was expected to live according to their station whether they liked it or not. So, I find it jarring when I see a character talking smack to noblemen in general conversation without having their heads summarily removed. Admittedly, enforcing those kind of standards with modern players presents its own issues beyond mere story writing.
  11. What I want most out of a setting is internal consistency. Basically, the physics and metaphysics of the universe should be true and the same throughout the entire story. If the physics and metaphysics are thrown together haphazardly or changes from scene to scene without an internal explanation, that throws me off. Regarding the use of anachronisms in storytelling, I am mixed and it strongly depends on how it is used. There are many great and engrossing works of literature and cinema that are chock full of anachronisms. Some times, the anachronisms are intended. Sometimes, they are not. Either way, the stories still maintain immersion throughout. Regarding the use of anachronistic language in literature and anachronistic fashion sense in cinema, a story writer has to write and dress his stories in order to maintain the attention of the intended audience. I've had literature classes in college, and I read at a high level, but sometimes, even the references from an American novel from only a century ago can be unapproachable without good annotation while the original English used by Chaucer might as well be a foreign language to most readers. You have to write in a language and vocabulary sense of the intended audience. Take the mesmer issue as an example. I know what the word implies. It has an oldish sound. And, the fact that the word would not exist in the period in which it was used is not off-putting to me. A similar problem can be had of fashion sense. Some of the fashion sense of our ancestors would be shocking to us today if we weren't expecting it and could distract a potential audience from the actual story; so, you might get the clothes and hairstyles close to what the audience would it expect them to be even if it is not accurate to what they are supposed to be. For example, if you want a certain character to considered attractive by an audience, you will want the looking attractive based on the biases of the audience and not to the biases of the people that lived in the time and place that the story is set. What does throw me off is an excessive use of slang and pop culture references, especially as I get older and stay up with slang and pop culture less and less. Okay, they work in comedy when I actually understand the reference. Two examples where the use of slang and pop culture references are the Naked Gun movies and The Knight's Tale. In regards regards Naked Gun, I loved the movies when they came. The humor is right up my alley. I saw the trilogy on sale at Walmart for real cheap; so, I bought them. I still enjoyed a lot of the humor, but I really had to think back to get a lot of the pop culture jokes. I'm over 50. I was still a young man when the movie came out and was still active in staying up with pop culture. I wonder if some guy in his 20s now would even have a chance at getting many of the jokes. Then there's The Knight's Tale, I wanted to like this movie and I genuinely tried, but ultimately, I didn't. The anachronisms and cultural references were just too jarring for me. First, I was starting to lose my interest in pop culture; so, the pop culture was not endearing to me, and it's use of anachronism was so haphazard that it left me feeling like it didn't know what kind of movie it wanted to be, and that's a shame, because I kind of liked the actual story.
  12. My idea for Star Trek is to place it some where between the original series and the movies while adding in nuggets from what I like best of the later series and from some of my own ideas. I'd keep the design of the original uniforms and phasers. Older ships would like the ships from the series. New ships would look like the ones from the movies. Klingons would be divided into two subspecies, one with the ridges and one without, and they would still be an enemy species. I would add some of the races from TNG and DS9, and I would make Federation society and economics into something I consider more realistic. (I'm sorry. I just can't buy into some of the political and philosophical views espoused by Roddenberry long enough to maintain a whole campaign.)
  13. The biggest problem with the hyperdrive maneuver is that that is not how hyperdrive is supposed to work in Star Wars. In Star Wars, hyperdrive sends you into an alternate dimension with different time-space physics. So the time in which a Star Wars ships maintains a high velocity is very short. For that matter, it isn't supposed to work within the gravity well of a planet either without instantly obliterating the offender. The singled kamikaze attack taking out a super star destroyer is stupid, but hubris is the greatest weakness of the Empire; so, it's not outside of reason. I've not read much material outside of the main movies; so, I have no idea how to respond to the Force lightning issue, but ultimately, not what can be done with Force lightning. It's what Palpatine can do with Force lightning. At no point in any of the movies or the Clone Wars series, does Palpatine show the capacity to knock out entire fleets with Force lightning. Admittedly, he might have been holding back as part of his grand plan or could have used the time out of lime light to build up his power, but if so, there should be an explanation as to why he did not exhibit that level of power before.
  14. I admit I haven't in the Crisis TV shows. I've cut the cable a long time ago, and I am not going to pay for umpteen millions streaming subscriptions to watch show for which I am not even the main target audience, but I remember the comic books series. I grew up reading DC comics in the 70s, and I love the multiple universes where alternate of well known characters could co-exist. I even use it for my super hero campaign. I read the Crisis books, and my feelings were mixed in regards to results. First of all there was the killing off of favorite characters without the prospect that they were at least still alive in an alternate reality. Then, there was the unintended consequences of creating plot holes and continuity errors that were as bad or worse than the ones they were trying get rid of. Finally, they through away a lot interesting story potential by draconicly trying to make all characters comport to the current favored reality. Frankly, I think it would have been interesting to see characters from different universes struggle as they cope with the confusing of adapting to the new universe. Worst of all, I was one of the few fans at the time that actually liked the existence of multiple universes even if it did get a little confusing from time to time, but that goes back to no longer being apart of the main demographic that comic books publishers are aiming for. That being said, I did like many of the changes. I was also into a system called DC Heroes at the time, and in my head canon, the core DC universe at the time was just one of multiple universes where a Crisis like event occurred, and there was an infinite number of universes that remained completely unaffected by it.
  15. I admit I liked the early 80s than I did the late 80s. By the late 80s, my tastes were leaning away from pop culture and pop music to more retro styles. I was listening to a lot of late 60s and 70s stuff before they were called classic rock, and I also listened to a lot golden oldies which comprised 50s and early 60s. It was also when my interests starting to expand to include blues, jazz, and classical. I will catch myself enjoying late 80s pop and old school hip hop out of sense of nostalgia even though I did not like those musical styles at the time. By the way, have I ever mentioned that I am huge music lover?
  16. Popular Movies: Wargames Fast Times at Ridgemont High E.T. Raiders of the Lost Ark Excalibur Clash of the Titans Bladerunner Popular Bands and Musicians: Cyndi Lauper Madonna Prince Flock of Seagulls Men at Work U2 The Scorpions Ratt Cars Iron Maiden It was also when I had discovered roleplaying games for the first time even though finding games to actually play in was difficult in my hometown.
  17. I had a full head of hair and killer abs back then, and I still love music and a lot of the movies.
  18. The versatility of the Star Wars universe is a big reason why I like over the Star Trek universe for roleplaying purposes. It also has a lot to do with why I like the idea of super hero roleplaying games.
  19. I'm kind of a natural mimic. I will sometimes take on the speech patterns of people I am talking to without meaning to. One of my best friends was originally from Minnesota. If I'd been spending much time hanging out with him, people would start thinking I was a Yankee. I was talking to an Australian once. Before long, I was matching his accent. I hope he didn't think I was mocking him. I once worked in a factory where the majority of Hispanic mixed between Mexicans and South Americans. After a while, I started sounding like I was a mix of Mexican and South American. Apparently, in my attempts to speak Spanish, I was told that I sounded like a Mexican by a Mexican, but that's all reflex. I have no idea how well I do accents when I doing them deliberately. I don't want to get wrong an have anyone thinking I was mocking after all.
  20. I've used this as my avatar in a lot of places. I don't know if anyone else has caught the connection, but you are the first person to mention anything about it. Kudos!
  21. Hard to say since I haven't seen the show, so, any symbolic speculation would be difficult unless they writing the Romulans to represent the Protestant versus Catholic tension that occurs within Ireland, but I haven't heard much on the news about any recent tensions along that route; so, I can't imagine it being enough apart the cultural imagination to feature in TV show. The fact that TV show and movies use different accents or belonging to certain cultural groups to symbolically represent certain ideas is kind of a problem. Most villains are given either German or British accents. A southern or midwestern accent is either backwards and folksy or smart and evil. Native American are always shown as being ecologically concerned and in touch with the Old Ways that strangely coincides with western New Age ideas, and so on. Whether intentional or not, I think it leads to a lot leads bad ideas in regard to what different cultures should be like. I'm Oklahoman. I'm part Indian, part white, and had a black godfather. I have a high IQ, and I am well read. I sound like a hick, but I think at the masters degree level. Yes, I am politically and socially conservative, but I am not an ignorant goose stepper about it; yet, if Hollywood were to portray me, I'd probably come out looking like a hateful racist who's not even smart enough to tie his own shoes. I suppose this is where I should admit that I like to use accents when I roleplay, but I try to be respectful about. Not all of my British are snobs, not all of my Germans are Nazis, and so on. I hope I do my accents well enough and respectfully enough that real speakers of those accents take it with good humor should they actually hear me.
  22. I've been with WEG Star Wars for years, and even though I have recently started playing the FFG Star Wars, I still kept my WEG.
  23. I'll have to take your word on that.
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