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Monday, April 01, 2019

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (April 2019)

Guess how many songs in the Top 10 biggest tracks in the U.S. last year were written by a solo songwriter? Zero. The year before that? Zero.

In 2016, just one solo-written song made the year-end Top 10: “Stressed Out,” by 21 Pilots, written by Tyler Joseph. In 2015, there was also just one solo-written track (Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen”), while in 2014 there were two, including “Counting Stars,” by One Republic (written by Ryan Tedder), and the biggest song of that year, “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams.

This is a snapshot of an overwhelming trend in the music industry over the past decade: the near-complete decline of the solo singer-songwriter pop hit, and the near-complete dominance of songs written by committee.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: April 01, 2019 at 08:38 PM | 688 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: movies, music, off-topic, television, whatever else belongs under the rubric of 'popular culture'

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   601. BrianBrianson Posted: April 29, 2019 at 10:24 PM (#5836584)
So, I was in the UK over the weekend, and Netflix there has the sitcom Upstart Crow. I rather enjoyed it, even though it's the most lowbrow sitcom you could possibly imagine that stars David Mitchell as William Shakespeare.
   602. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 29, 2019 at 11:19 PM (#5836599)
Totally derailing this thread ... top 5 (if you were, say, Chuck Yeager who fought and flew and was, clearly, a flier's flyer) WWII planes you'd want to have a chance, in your life, to experience flying (n.b. there are waaaaaaay more than 5 that could be on my list):

Corsair (Baa Baa Black Sheep was one of the few English language shows that played on Malaysian television when I was growing up in KL ... I think I've seen every episode 15 times.
Mustang (Just the sexiest ####### piston engined fighter ever made ... once the English put a ####### Merlin in it ...)
Zero (back in the day ... could fly for a day and dance like a ballerina around drunks ... ####### Saburo Sakai)
Spitfire (do I need to?)
Lightning (twin engines, long range and a nose filled with death, more of ALL of that, please)


I swore to myself that I wasn't going to post here anymore, but this is too much in my wheelhouse to pass up. Just for clarity, I'm not actually a pilot, but my father was an engineer who helped to design several major aircraft types, so the subject is close to my heart...

Certainly the Spitfire (#1 on my list, and given the choice it would be a Mk.VIII) and Zero would have to be on any such list of WW2 top five I'd like to fly. Speaking for myself I'd add...

de Havilland Mosquito - Fast, agile, probably the twin from the era I'd most want to fly
Hawker Hurricane - If I could fly the Spitfire, I'd want to fly the Hurricane also, to be able to compare them
Macchi C.205 - The Ferrari of WW2 fighters, a beautiful Italian design equal to anything the Allies or other Axis nations had at the time of its introduction

I'm not sure I'd want to fly an F4U Corsair. Eric Brown, who was twice the test pilot that Chuck Yeager was, has some scathing comments about it, saying, "...to my mind, the Corsair achieved such a level of distinction despite itself, but then I was never to be numbered among its more ardent admirers; those that apparently assessed the Corsair solely on the basis of its more glamorous attributes and disregarded the penalties that those invoked."

From his book "Wings of the Navy":

"All in all, I was most anxious to discover for myself if the Corsair was the deck landing dog that it was reputed to be. It was!

"In the deck landing configuration with approach power, the Corsair could demonstrate a very nasty incipient torque stall with dangerously little warning, the starboard wing usually dropping sharply. With the large flaps fully extended the descent rate was rapid, and a simulated deck landing at 80 knots gave very poor view and sluggish aileron and elevator control. A curved approach was very necessary if the pilot was to have any chance of seeing the carrier, let alone the batman! When the throttle was cut, the nose dropped so that the aircraft bounced on its mainwheels, and once the tailwheel made contact, the aircraft proved very unstable directionally, despite the tailwheel lock, swinging either to port or starboard, and this swing had to be checked immediately with the brakes. On one approach, I tried a balked landing, and discovered that the sudden opening of the throttle at 80 knots also produced the previously mentioned torque stall, but this time the port wing dropped. I needed no more convincing of the wisdom of the US Navy in witholding the Corsair from shipboard operation! Oh, yes, the Corsair could be landed on a deck with undue difficulty by an experienced pilot in ideal conditions, but with pilots of average capability, really pitching decks and marginal weather conditions, attrition simply had to be of serious proportions."

Brown later recounts flying a post-war version, the AU-1, and states, "It was the handling of the AU-1 that served to heighten my distaste for the Corsair, however, for if its ancestor had proffered some unendearing characteristics, they had been multiplied in the descendant."
   603. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: April 29, 2019 at 11:38 PM (#5836603)
The Mosquito is a a great choice ... what a weird plane ... and it features in ...

Have you ever read any of Len Deighton's WWII stuff?

"Bomber"* (about the night bombing campaign over Germany) or "Goodbye, Mickey Mouse" (about American escorts for the daylight raids)?

*Just looked this up on Wiki: "Deighton's 1970 Second World War historical novel Bomber was about an RAF Bomber Command raid over Germany. It was the first novel to be written on a word processor, the IBM MT/ST.[18] Anthony Burgess cited it as one of the 99 best novels in English since 1939 and Motörhead frontman, Lemmy, dedicated the band's third album Bomber to Len Deighton"

Now I'm going to listen to some Motörhead, thanks Len ... and Lemmy!
   604. PreservedFish Posted: April 29, 2019 at 11:49 PM (#5836604)
I avoided this thread all day because I suspected there'd be spoilers, which I think is fine. Enough people have HBO and watch it as it premieres that I think this should be a safe space for spoilers. And otherwise there'd be no way to organize discussion.

I also found the episode disappointing. Every reason has been listed by people before me. I don't care too much about the shoddy military tactics, what bothers me is how conventional the storyline has become. One of the central attractions of the show was how unpredictable it was, how characters didn't follow familiar arcs, how anyone could die at any time. That's been gone for a while, and it's a shame, but the difference in this episode, where every character was surrounded by enemies multiple times, seemed really pronounced.

Not that I'll stop watching or anything.
   605. PreservedFish Posted: April 29, 2019 at 11:50 PM (#5836606)
That...does not sound appealing.


Why not? Foie gras and maple syrup are literally two great tastes that taste great together.
   606. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:00 AM (#5836607)
but the difference in this episode ... seemed really pronounced.


Hasn't that been the unfortunate truth since they moved beyond the books?

Motörhead for you all ...

one day, one day, they'll go for the Sun
together they'll slide on an eternal run
wasted forever on speed, bikes and booze
they're traveling as brothers, all born to lose ...
   607. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:13 AM (#5836610)
Hasn't that been the unfortunate truth since they moved beyond the books?

Yes.

Looking at one of the recaps, I see that five characters with whom I was fairly familiar died. Four of them had a heroic death, fighting against all odds, rushing headlong into battle, usually explicitly to save others. The fifth chose to die just because it, like, seemed appropriate or something.

I know we have a lot invested in these many many characters, but do you think we'll get one senseless death? One embarrassing death? One pathetic death? Or are we going to have like 25 more of these heroic, inspirational moments?
   608. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:20 AM (#5836612)
I know we have a lot invested in these many many characters, but do you think we'll get one senseless death? One embarrassing death? One pathetic death? Or are we going to have like 25 more of these heroic, inspirational moments?


Necessary
   609. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:25 AM (#5836613)
One pathetic death?


It would be kind of nice, like Woody Harrelson in "A Thin Red Line" ... "Oops, I just dropped my live hand grenade ... oh, ####!"

BOOM.
   610. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:40 AM (#5836615)
Necessary


I hope this is accurate, but it seems to me that the showrunners are shaping the end of this epic with an absolutely conventional mindset.
   611. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:52 AM (#5836616)
Have you ever read any of Len Deighton's WWII stuff?

"Bomber"* (about the night bombing campaign over Germany)



Yes, I've read that one, and "Fighter" his non-fiction book on the Battle of Britain. The latter is OK, but has been superceded by other books on the subject since it came out in 1977. On the BoB, I really liked James Holland's "The Battle of Britain: Five Months That Changed History; May-October 1940", which was published in 2012.
   612. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:52 AM (#5836617)
I'm not sure I'd want to fly an F4U Corsair. Eric Brown, who was twice the test pilot that Chuck Yeager was, has some scathing comments about it, saying, "...to my mind, the Corsair achieved such a level of distinction despite itself, but then I was never to be numbered among its more ardent admirers; those that apparently assessed the Corsair solely on the basis of its more glamorous attributes and disregarded the penalties that those invoked."


I'd love to *fly* a Corsair, but I'm also pretty sure trying to land it on a carrier deck would not rank nearly as high on the list.

Different things. The F4U was a murdering death machine (fast, rugged, well armored and well armed) ... it was *also* a giant PITA to land on a carrier.

I'm sure the Navy hated it as much as the Marines loved it ...
   613. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:02 AM (#5836619)
Yes, I've read that one, and "Fighter" his non-fiction book on the Battle of Britain. The latter is OK, but has been superceded by other books on the subject since it came out in 1977. On the BoB, I really liked James Holland's "The Battle of Britain: Five Months That Changed History; May-October 1940", which was published in 2012.


Yeah, "Fighter" has been surpassed, but I think it was quite good for the time, I'll make a point to check out your Holland rec.

"Bomber" though, I think very much stands the pass of time. You want to know what it's like to be blown apart in a Lancaster bomber or burned alive by British pyrotechnics? This is your book. Both sides? You're there. It isn't a bedtime story for your daughter (I'd recommend something more uplifting, like "The Plague Dogs"), but it's as close as you (we) will ever come to pissing yourself in those dark, night skies ...
   614. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: April 30, 2019 at 06:53 AM (#5836627)
My grandfather was a navigator on a Lancaster, so I may need to check that out - thanks for the recommendation. Not exactly the same topic, but I did just finish 'Fate is the Hunter' yesterday. Wonderfully written.
   615. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 07:44 AM (#5836630)
Why not? Foie gras and maple syrup are literally two great tastes that taste great together.

Well, I mean, I love maple syrup. We even made some for a few years from our trees when I was but a wee lad. But... it's a standard thing for me, so I don't find the modern cuisine obsession of Picard's SUPER personally appealing.

As far as foie gras, I've eaten meat all my life, but like everyone I have my arbitrary lines and I can't really deal with that particular origin process.

YMMV for both, but if it wasn't clear, the lack of appeal is certainly subjective.
   616. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 30, 2019 at 08:30 AM (#5836638)
Upstart Crow


From Blackadder writer Ben Elton. I've liked the handful of episodes I've seen.

I always thought Blackadder could have done well with a series of specials set in the colonies - America, Australia, India.
   617. manchestermets Posted: April 30, 2019 at 08:35 AM (#5836639)
I enjoy Upstart Crow, and one of the things I like is that it's clearly set in the fictional London of Blackadder II. It would be no surprise at all if Edmund wandered in at some point.
   618. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 08:43 AM (#5836642)
I certainly do not think of maple syrup as an exotic ingredient. We have a sugar shack on our road. It's more the application in the fancy setting that's unusual/exciting, the unapologetic celebration of it in the hands of a creative, talented chef. I mean, this is just one restaurant that some people will visit just once in their lives. I can go maple syrup crazy one night in my life.

I also have been to L'Express and liked it a lot. High quality French food, and one of the most popular restaurants in the city forever. Totally worth a stop.
   619. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 08:48 AM (#5836644)
It's more the application in the fancy setting that's unusual/exciting, the unapologetic celebration of it in the hands of a creative, talented chef. I mean, this is just one restaurant that some people will visit just once in their lives. I can go maple syrup crazy one night in my life.

Fair enough. I'm probably being unreasonably contrary. Maybe it was the foie gras.
   620. BrianBrianson Posted: April 30, 2019 at 08:54 AM (#5836645)
Yeah, of course, being from Ontario, maple syrup is a regular part of my diet. To the point where I've been gifted maple syrup people who made it themselves, including my mom, who tapped the trees around the school where she worked.

Foie gras - I'm not convinced the perceived cruelty is a good reflection of the actual cruelty (or in general, that the farms aren't idyllic really makes them worse than the alternative where the animal doesn't get to exist at all). But I certainly understand why once you've tried it, you can come to the conclusion you never want to eat anything without it ever again.
   621. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 30, 2019 at 08:54 AM (#5836647)
Certainly the Spitfire (#1 on my list, and given the choice it would be a Mk.VIII) and Zero would have to be on any such list of WW2 top five I'd like to fly. Speaking for myself I'd add...

You'd want to fly the Zero, but you wouldn't want to fight in it. Lack of an armored cockpit and self-sealing fuel tanks are deal breakers.

It's sort of the opposite of the Sherman tank issue. The Sherman was weak on paper (gun, armor) by 1944, but it was extremely fightable. Reliable. Good ergonomics. Great optics. Easy to bail when hit, so Sherman crews had high survival rates, despite the tank not being that survivable.

The T-34 (before the T-34-85) was the exact opposite. Great on paper (thick armor, big gun, fast, great cross-country performance), scary reputation, but actually an awful, awful tank. Two man turret. Awful ergonomics. Vulnerable ammo storage that made it a walking time bomb, despite thick armor. Bad optics. Poor reliability. No radios. People who've studied actual combat effectiveness conclude that the Pzkfpw III with the 50 mm gun was the far superior tank during 1941-1942.

When you dig into it, it's amazing all the small things that go into making a weapons system effective.
   622. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 09:01 AM (#5836650)
I don't have a problem with abstaining from foie (or meat generally). I've read many defenses of the procedure, but generally by people that are predisposed to be favorable because it's so damn delicious.

But anyway, it's the combination that is intriguing. Foie gras is a rare and expensive ingredient associated with fine dainty French dining. Maple syrup is rather the opposite, it's not cheap, but it's a warm, comforting, homey and very North American ingredient. But this restaurant was (at least for a while) a unique place where both ingredients were both compatible and hilariously abundant. The whole feeling of the restaurant is celebratory, over-the-top. It's fun to live like that every once in a while. And it's a combination that is uniquely Quebecois ... I mean if I asked you where on earth you could find good French food and good maple syrup on the same table, the answer will be Quebec. If you're not looking for this kind of creative authenticity when you're traveling, you're missing out.

Foie Gras Poutine was a really exciting dish when it debuted. Now it kind of seems like a predictable extravagance, but I'm sure it still tastes good.
   623. Greg Pope Posted: April 30, 2019 at 09:34 AM (#5836659)
I hope this is accurate, but it seems to me that the showrunners are shaping the end of this epic with an absolutely conventional mindset.

I think that they may kill off a major character or two at the end, but probably because Martin's ending demands it. The show writers clearly have more of a conventional mindset than Martin, so after leaving the books they haven't killed anyone major off. It's been pretty standard stuff for a while. Secondary characters dying heroic deaths. Primary heroes with plot armor and not paying the price for mistakes. I mean, seriously, how could Sam have survived the battle?

Still a great show, but just not quite living up to the standards set by the books/first 5 seasons.
   624. Chokeland Bill Posted: April 30, 2019 at 10:06 AM (#5836673)
Hasn't that been the unfortunate truth since they moved beyond the books?


I see this comment all the time, but I really don't think it's entirely true. Season 6 was the first truly post-book season, and was one of the stronger seasons of the show. It dipped a bit in episodes 6-8, but those other seven episodes are really strong, with "Winds of Winter" probably being the best episode in the series.

When people talk about how good the books are, they are really just talking about the first three. Four and five are padded to an unreasonable degree and really just kind of suck. Too many new plotlines that don't really connect in with the rest and will take a good amount of time before they do so. The show's adaptation of that material resulted in the first bad season, but I actually prefer the show's way of doing things. The Sansa plot sucked, but it results in the Stark comeback getting started much quicker than it will in the books. The Dornish material sucked, but quickly getting rid of them, as well as most of the Greyjoy and non-Dany Essos material really saves a ton of time wasted on characters we aren't invested in. Does anyone really miss Quentyn Martell? The show invented most of the Hardhome material, and it resulted in the best episode of the season.

I think the real drop-off in quality in seasons 7 and 8 comes from two things working in concert: 1. Dany ending season 6 with too many allies and 2. the decision to do shorter seasons. With less time to do things and a pressing need to level the playing field to preserve drama, characters started to act like idiots. Real time couldn't be spent on the Lannisters counterplanning against Dany, so instead of tension behind whose plan will work, we're just left with Tyrion looking outmaneuvered, the Tyrells looking weak, and the Dornish removed entirely (no real loss there). With only one episode available to dedicate to the "convince Cersei" plot, we get a stupid plan that ends in a complete abandonment of time and space. There aren't enough minutes available to set up a believable conflict or resolution between Arya and Sansa, so we just get a few scenes of them acting like irrational idiots and then suddenly they are back on the same side due to off-screen/edited realizations.

Maybe the books will end up better, but it's been almost 20 years since the last good one. Instead we'll probably just get a different kind of mess, overly padded rather than overly condensed.
   625. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 10:22 AM (#5836681)
As long as we're talking restaurants, here is where we ate in Charleston:

Husk - lunch (Couldn't get a dinner table)
Nico - Oysters & Seafood
MILLERS ALL DAY - lunch
Kwei Fei
Bertha's Kitchen - lunch
FIG
ACME Low Country Kitchen - lunch
Chez Nous
Magnolia's - Easter brunch

EVERYTHING was very good, but the bright, shining, depressed-to-be-leaving stars were Kwei Fei and Chez Nous. Just amazing.
   626. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 10:51 AM (#5836698)
I think the show has shifted from character-driven to plot-driven. Characters used to be complex, and make mistakes, and often suffer consequences. That's sort of in the past now, there are mostly good characters and evil characters, and there are mostly just two teams, and the action is written in service of some eventual plot goal, not in fidelity to the characters themselves. It's possible that Season 6 was the point where the shift was decisive, and for a little while, it was exciting. All this stuff had been set up so patiently, and it was thrilling to see it finally getting into motion. But now it's become clear how much of the central appeal of the show was lost in that shift.

I acknowledge that what we want - a climax that is both true to the characters, feels authentic to the world, but still is ####### exciting - is asking for a lot. It would be difficult to name other works that have achieved this. That GRRM left the story sprawling in so many directions made this even more challenging for the HBO team.
   627. manchestermets Posted: April 30, 2019 at 10:57 AM (#5836700)
When people talk about how good the books are, they are really just talking about the first three. Four and five are padded to an unreasonable degree and really just kind of suck.


While I totally accept that the criticism of padding is justified, I actually really like A Feast For Crows - I find all the worldbuilding in the Riverlands interesting. It's obvious though, that an even slightly faithful adaptation would have made for a rotten TV show.

The fact that I like it a lot more than A Dance With Dragons is also fairly telling of where the series has got to by that point, given that it's an entry in a series of books that doesn't feature either of the two protagonists of the series. That's something of a tell that he's getting bogged down in the world at the expense of advancing the plot.
   628. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 30, 2019 at 10:58 AM (#5836701)
Listening to the new Mountain Goats record. It's pretty good and there's a song called "Doc Gooden".
   629. jmurph Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:01 AM (#5836704)
Listening to the new Mountain Goats record. It's pretty good and there's a song called "Doc Gooden".

This comment feels a littttttttttttttle too close to On Topic: Baseball to me, watch it Shooty.
   630. Nasty Nate Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:06 AM (#5836707)
When people talk about how good the books are, they are really just talking about the first three. Four and five are padded to an unreasonable degree and really just kind of suck. Too many new plotlines that don't really connect in with the rest and will take a good amount of time before they do so.

I just finished my second reading, and while I do agree with you, I liked the 4th and 5th books much more the second time through - especially once I just accepted that they weren't trying to be like Storm of Swords.
   631. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:08 AM (#5836709)
This comment feels a littttttttttttttle too close to On Topic: Baseball to me, watch it Shooty.

But I didn't post a spoiler!
   632. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:10 AM (#5836711)
Why not? Foie gras and maple syrup are literally two great tastes that taste great together.
A little late in responding, but...

Of course YMWV, but for me, a restaurant where everything is ultra-rich and sweet is not somewhere I would want to go. I just don't really see what's so great about foie gras specifically (aside from ethical concerns) because I don't buy into the "mushy texture makes things more luxurious and therefore better!" dogma. What can I say, I don't mind chewing.

But more generally, a restaurant where every dish has the same flavor profile just seems boring, and if you're going to go with one profile, super rich/sweet is about my least favorite (again, YMWV). I don't perceive much nuance or complexity in that particular profile, just a bulldozer of excess. Some people get off on that, but I'm not one of them. Not interested in rich/sweet desserts, and certainly not for main savory courses. Acid, salt, spice, fresh produce...those are the flavors I want for my dinner.
   633. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5836717)
I made a promise somewhere around season two that I would only start the books when the series was over. We'll see if I follow through and how it goes.
   634. BrianBrianson Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5836719)
I'm not a huge fan of mushy textures - when I make jello, I add a lot of bonus gelatine.

What's so great about Foie Gras is the taste.
   635. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:37 AM (#5836722)
Now I'm listening to Morrissey's new album of 70's California rock covers and...it's good! I'm listening in anticipation of seeing him in concert Friday and I'm surprised by how good this album is. I thought it would be forgettable at best, like those Motown or blues cover albums aging white rockers like to fart out when they are completely out of ideas.
   636. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:40 AM (#5836723)
Now I'm listening to Morrissey's new album of 70's California rock covers and...it's good!

Better than Weezer's, I hope.


As long as we're talking records, have any of you music weirdos found or become attached to archival label NUMERO? I've loved everything I've bought from them.
   637. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:46 AM (#5836727)
Better than Weezer's, I hope.

These covers sound like really good Morrissey/Smiths songs, so...yes, better than Weezer. These are more covers like Johnny Cash's American Recording covers than Weezer's.
   638. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:49 AM (#5836728)
As long as we're talking records, have any of you music weirdos found or become attached to archival label NUMERO? I've loved everything I've bought from them.

I haven't but it looks interesting. When I go to record stores this is the kind of stuff I'm looking for so I will definitely check their stuff out.
   639. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:50 AM (#5836729)
But more generally, a restaurant where every dish has the same flavor profile just seems boring, and if you're going to go with one profile, super rich/sweet is about my least favorite (again, YMWV). I don't perceive much nuance or complexity in that particular profile, just a bulldozer of excess.


Well, of course not every dish has the same exact flavor profile or ingredients (they have an eel tank!), but they do have a thing that they're known for. "Bulldozer of excess" is accurate. I'm not a sweets guy, but I do love rich & savory..

Your preferences are A-OK by me, but if the two of us were in Montreal, I'd hope that you'd rather join me at this one lauded place that is highly identified with the local food scene, even if it doesn't immediately seem like your favorite thing. As opposed to, say, some random Thai place that might be kind of good.
   640. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5836730)
Thanks for the NUMERO tip. The Cult Cargo line is right up my alley, and now I'm listening to Belizean "R&B, calypso, disco, funk, reggae, bruckdown, soul, folk."
   641. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:58 AM (#5836732)
The production values of the design and notes is a big plus, too.
   642. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:59 AM (#5836734)
Well, of course not every dish has the same exact flavor profile or ingredients (they have an eel tank!)
Hey you're the one who said they put foie gras and maple syrup on everything! I could get behind a subtle maple glaze on eel, that would probably work pretty well.

Your preferences are A-OK by me, but if the two of us were in Montreal, I'd hope that you'd rather join me at this one lauded place that is highly identified with the local food scene, even if it doesn't immediately seem like your favorite thing. As opposed to, say, some random Thai place that might be kind of good.
Of course I'd give it a try under those circumstances. I was just speaking in the abstract. The point of going to Montreal is to see what Montreal is all about (within reason). You can find random Thai places that might be kind of good anywhere.
   643. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:06 PM (#5836736)
I love that Belize Boil Up album! Never thought that would get mentioned here.
   644. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:08 PM (#5836737)
So I just looked up in my diary (yeah I keep a diary) what I ate when I went to Au Pied de Cochon. This was maybe 6 years ago, in the company of other people in the meat/restaurant business, so we went hog wild:

They have, maybe, the richest food on the continent, and the menu has "foie gras" and "pork" sections in addition to appetizers and entrees. We ordered enough food that the waiter not only tried to discourage us but actually seems slightly disgusted with us. We had, among other things: a charcuterie plate, ox tongue with tarragon, duck carpaccio, pot a feu (a huge heavy platter with maybe 7 types of boiled meat, including a whole quail), foie gras pate, veal kidneys with mushrooms, foie gras topped poutine, and finally the duck in a can ... The duck in a can was, in fact, totally delicious. It's a breast and foie gras with rich saucy cabbage, all cooked simply by boiling the can, which is then opened tableside. We ordered in 3-4 different rounds - we asked for the kidney and poutine after dessert menus had been brought - further impressing and disgusting our waiter, and eventually disgusting ourselves. But it was a great meal, lots of attractive badass food. Speaking to other Montreal people in the following days, it appears that they think PDC is old news, that's it's a gimmick or something ... understandable, but very much worth the meal. And it was fun. We had calvados and shared a maple milkshake to finish the meal.

Immediately after that meal we walked to L'Express for a drink and I noted that we all watched a woman, dining solo, quickly polish off a tremendous plate of beef tartare. I've been to Quebec half a dozen times but each time I'm surprised at how French it feels.
   645. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:16 PM (#5836740)
Wait, I thought that restaurant was out in the middle of nowhere north of Quebec City. Is that the same guy, but a similar place you could actually walk to in Montreal?


a tremendous plate of beef tartare

Jules' favorite dish from France. (Well, one of them.) We had some at Nico, above, as well as L'Express years prior.
   646. BrianBrianson Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:16 PM (#5836741)
The point of going to Montreal is to see what Montreal is all about (within reason).


Is that your way of saying you're not going to Club Supersexe ?
   647. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:17 PM (#5836742)
The "sugar shack" offshoot is in the middle of nowhere. Haven't been there. The more famous central restaurant is just in Montreal.
   648. Zonk Didn't But He'd Do It Again Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:30 PM (#5836749)
I would mostly cosign 624... I might quibble a bit on the quality of S7 -- story-telling, yeah... started getting a little silly/lazy/depending how you want to term it. What salvaged S7 for me was 1)There were some truly epic displays of cinematography and 2)Lots of wonderful fan service of characters reuniting and new pairings.

On 1) - I'm not even talking about the action sequences (though they were great), but even scenes like Dany landing at Dragonstone I thought were really well done. Even when the plotlines were lacking or eye-rolling, you could count just a spectacular rendering whether it was a big action sequence, CGI-overload (most dragon scenes), or weighty moments for the characters.

   649. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5836751)
Is that your way of saying you're not going to Club Supersexe ?
Ding ding.

I gotta say, PF, your description of the restaurant makes me even more skeptical. I see the word "gimmicky" used, and that resonates with me.
   650. BrianBrianson Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:15 PM (#5836772)
You're gonna miss a lot of what Montréal is all about. Hopefully you'll at least get Bon Cop/Bad Cop to watch on the plane (or are you driving? I forget).
   651. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:34 PM (#5836777)
I gotta say, PF, your description of the restaurant makes me even more skeptical. I see the word "gimmicky" used, and that resonates with me.


Yeah, I understand. To me, it didn't exactly read as gimmicky - and the execution was good - but it's definitely over the top.
   652. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5836782)
Hopefully you'll at least get Bon Cop/Bad Cop to watch on the plane (or are you driving? I forget).
No immediate plans to go to Montreal, but it's high on the list of cities I want to visit next for a long weekend.
   653. bunyon Posted: April 30, 2019 at 02:13 PM (#5836792)
I made a promise somewhere around season two that I would only start the books when the series was over. We'll see if I follow through and how it goes.

I have people I respect and whose taste in books I have relied on in the past who love the first books in the series. However, starting them after the TV series started, I thought book 1 was horrible. It sprawls and pads and meanders and I don't actually like the writing. I admit it could just be because I already have this universe in my head. I sort of wish I hadn't started the show so I could read the books and, perhaps, get what my friends got from them.

Has anyone else read the books after, first, seeing the show and enjoyed them? If so, perhaps it's just me.
   654. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 30, 2019 at 02:15 PM (#5836797)
I have people I respect and whose taste in books I have relied on in the past who love the first books in the series. However, starting them after the TV series started, I thought book 1 was horrible. It sprawls and pads and meanders and I don't actually like the writing. I admit it could just be because I already have this universe in my head. I sort of wish I hadn't started the show so I could read the books and, perhaps, get what my friends got from them.

I had this exact same experience.
   655. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 02:27 PM (#5836806)
Will not touch the books unless they actually get finished.
   656. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 30, 2019 at 02:31 PM (#5836807)
I think watching GoT fans waiting for that last book has become a mildly pleasing pastime. If the filty lucre of a mega tv show couldn't inspire Martin to get to work, I don't think it's going to happen.
   657. Master of the Horse Posted: April 30, 2019 at 03:06 PM (#5836820)
Something that is completely overrated in Montreal is the butcher shop/deli shop, Schwartz's. Utterly and completely lame. No idea who decided that place knows pastrami. ####### joke
   658. flournoy Posted: April 30, 2019 at 03:34 PM (#5836828)
Has anyone else read the books after, first, seeing the show and enjoyed them? If so, perhaps it's just me.


I'm sure it's not just you, but I've enjoyed the books. (And I enjoy the show too, bah humbug to the naysayers here.)

I like the show more than the books (perhaps it would be the other way around if I had read the books first), but there is a lot of world-building context in the books that you can't get from the show. For the most part I disagree with the people who bemoan how certain storylines were "ruined" by the show producers.

Regarding the future of the books, my best guess is that The Winds of Winter will finally make it to shelves sometime in the next three years, and that A Dream of Spring never will, unless it gets finished by someone else.
   659. Nasty Nate Posted: April 30, 2019 at 03:55 PM (#5836837)
Has anyone else read the books after, first, seeing the show and enjoyed them?
I watched the first 2 seasons of the show and then read all the books. It went well for me that way.
   660. Hysterical & Useless Posted: April 30, 2019 at 03:56 PM (#5836838)
Message for Lassus: you have been emailed via the site. By me.

You have been warned.
   661. jmurph Posted: April 30, 2019 at 04:11 PM (#5836842)
Message for Lassus: you have been emailed via the site. By me.

You have been warned.

The way you've phrased this, it really sounds like you've sent him something scandalous.
   662. Baldrick Posted: April 30, 2019 at 04:20 PM (#5836845)
Regarding the future of the books, my best guess is that The Winds of Winter will finally make it to shelves sometime in the next three years, and that A Dream of Spring never will, unless it gets finished by someone else.

Brandon Sanderson will probably have it done within 18 months of GRRM's death.
   663. Howie Menckel Posted: April 30, 2019 at 04:23 PM (#5836846)
Yankees Game of Thrones Night is May 17. I imagine local hospitals will bring in extra staff!
   664. Hysterical & Useless Posted: April 30, 2019 at 04:23 PM (#5836847)
The way you've phrased this, it really sounds like you've sent him something scandalous.


Heh heh heh
   665. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 04:24 PM (#5836848)
If Martin really wants to badly troll the world, he'll know he's about to go, and put in his will that one and ONLY one man is allowed to finish the books: Patrick Rothfuss.

(I contend that Rothfuss's rate is absolutely worse than Martin's.)
   666. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 04:38 PM (#5836853)
H&U - responded via gmail -
   667. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 04:44 PM (#5836856)
Calling back to PF and GoT - I think the longing for surprise and the unexpected was rather specifically answered in the climax of the battle everyone hated. I'm not sure how it's not, actually.
   668. manchestermets Posted: April 30, 2019 at 04:46 PM (#5836859)
Thank you for the restaurant tips - I have booked at the CN Tower and L'Express. Lassus, thanks for the Montreal Symphony tip - sadly, I'm not arriving in Montreal until the 13th and the only thing on while I'm there is a Rachmaninoff piano concerto and, well, meh - I'm not a huge classical music fan and I mostly like loud brass stuff. Pity, I'd have likely gone to see The Planets had I been there at the right time.

No love for Ottawa then?
   669. Hysterical & Useless Posted: April 30, 2019 at 04:49 PM (#5836861)
responded via gmail -


Thanks!
   670. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 04:55 PM (#5836864)
No love for Ottawa then?

Been meaning to go for years, never have. You can recommend something when you're done!


a Rachmaninoff piano concerto and, well, meh

Well, I AM a huge classical music fan, and I approve this message.
   671. bunyon Posted: April 30, 2019 at 05:03 PM (#5836866)
If Martin really wants to badly troll the world, he'll know he's about to go, and put in his will that one and ONLY one man is allowed to finish the books: Patrick Rothfuss.

(I contend that Rothfuss's rate is absolutely worse than Martin's.)


This is hilarious. I have a teenage nephew who loves those books who I can torment by telling him he won't live to see them finished. It's torment because he's scared silly I'm right.
   672. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: April 30, 2019 at 05:11 PM (#5836870)
If Martin really wants to badly troll the world, he'll know he's about to go, and put in his will that one and ONLY one man is allowed to finish the books: Patrick Rothfuss.

(I contend that Rothfuss's rate is absolutely worse than Martin's.)


Unfortunately, he's already trolled the world by stating no one will be allowed to finish anything he doesn't ...
   673. flournoy Posted: April 30, 2019 at 05:30 PM (#5836877)
Spoiler warning

I think the longing for surprise and the unexpected was rather specifically answered in the climax of the battle everyone hated. I'm not sure how it's not, actually.


I assume this is in reference to Arya killing the Night King. It caught me off guard in a great way, and I've since realized that all of the groundwork for it has been there.

Before watching the episode, I knew that Arya wouldn't die (at least not yet), since she clearly still had a major role to play, but I didn't realize what it was. If she had simply died in a gutter in Kings Landing at the end of Season One, how easy would it have been to reconfigure the story to write her character out? Make the Hound and Gendry meet up with the Brotherhood somewhere on the road, have the Freys eventually get wiped out by White Walkers or something else terrible, and otherwise remove Arya's scenes entirely. Until The Long Night, you'd have wound up with essentially the exact same story. So why did they dedicate an entire storyline to Arya, spanning the whole length of the show, almost totally removed from any other storyline? Clearly, because it was all leading somewhere significant.

In retrospect, it should have been obvious in Season Seven when Beric suggested to Jon that they circumvent the war by assassinating the Night King. Jon dismissed the idea, since he doesn't have those types of skills. Perhaps we should have refocused our attention to the trained assassin who had just been given a Valyrian Steel dagger by her nearly-omniscient brother. Killing the Night King was never going to be the result of some sort of duel - it had to be a stealth mission. Think back through the whole show, even back to Season One, and think about all the times that someone's searching for Arya, or the times that she sneaks away from others. (At first she's usually only somewhat successful, and gets better as the show progresses.) How about Jon and Arya's reunion? (Under the same weirwood tree, no less.) "How did you sneak up on me?" "How did you survive a knife through the heart?" "I didn't." You and the Night King have more in common than you know, Jon. This always had to be Arya's purpose.



As far as any complaints about how quickly the (presumable) chief antagonist of the show was dispatched... well, I felt the same way at first. But I don't anymore. We got everything we needed out of the Night King and his minions. Their motivation, their history, their effect on the realms of men. And the sudden, surprising death is in keeping with so many of the sudden, surprising deaths that made the show so great in the first place. I wanted more out of Ned Stark, too, but his head got chopped off all the same, and the story was better for it.
   674. Chokeland Bill Posted: April 30, 2019 at 05:34 PM (#5836879)
Rothfuss is way behind Martin in pace at this point. I would also contend that he already had quality drop off from book 1 to 2, while Martin got better from 1 to 3 (plus a lengthy career before book 1 even came out).

It really makes the Sandersons and Eriksons of the world stand out by contrast.

Wheel of Time is getting a series from Amazon, which will be an interesting exercise in how ruthless a show can be at cutting material.
   675. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: April 30, 2019 at 06:46 PM (#5836899)
My movie-watching is getting pretty impossible to track during this first week with MiniDavo 2, as I’ve watched about half of five different movies so far.

I was just changing my kid when I realized I’d fallen asleep before we finished Bridget Jones's Baby the night before, so I hollered to my wife “Hey, so who WAS the father after all???”
   676. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: April 30, 2019 at 06:47 PM (#5836901)
(Guys, I’ll spoil it: it was Colin Firth.)
   677. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 07:11 PM (#5836906)
As far as any complaints about how quickly the (presumable) chief antagonist of the show was dispatched... well, I felt the same way at first. But I don't anymore. We got everything we needed out of the Night King and his minions. Their motivation, their history, their effect on the realms of men. And the sudden, surprising death is in keeping with so many of the sudden, surprising deaths that made the show so great in the first place. I wanted more out of Ned Stark, too, but his head got chopped off all the same, and the story was better for it.

This deserves to be repeated. I may post it elsewhere, but I promise I'll credit random dude on BTF and not myself. But it's a great - and accurate, IMO - take.
   678. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 07:23 PM (#5836910)
I would also contend that he already had quality drop off from book 1 to 2

Huh. I admit not sensing this, but it HAS BEEN AWHILE.

Did you read "The Slow Regard of Silent Things"?
   679. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 07:46 PM (#5836918)
I think the longing for surprise and the unexpected was rather specifically answered in the climax of the battle everyone hated. I'm not sure how it's not, actually.


So, I realize I was being sloppy with the word "unexpected" last night.

There are two types of "unexpected." There's unexpected within the world of the film, and unexpected with regard to our expectations as viewers.

The major critical moments of early Thrones seasons were highly unexpected mostly in the latter sense. But within the world of Thrones, they were not really unexpected. Ned Stark getting his head chopped off was principally a shock because we identified him as the hero of a television show, and he was the most recognizable actor, and as such was assumed to be an immortal figure. That he was murdered by a sadistic tyrant who we knew didn't like him - not a surprise.

So this week and the death of the Night King. What happened was highly unexpected in the world of the show, clearly. Nobody (except the red witch) saw that coming. But with regard to our expectations as viewers, I'd call it semi-unexpected. As the Night King raised his hand to grab his sword, I was about 80% sure that there would be a miraculous intervention. And there was. So to me, the event was not unexpected, and it was disappointing, because the Thrones I feel in love with tended to subvert these action movie expectations.

But the details were unexpected. Arya was not exactly a shocker, but not something we would have predicted before the show began. I like her character, I like her story, and I liked that she got the death blow.

The way she delivered the blow, though - coming out of nowhere, with an improbable leap and an insane blood curdling scream - was a conventional cheap thrill. I think I would have preferred it if we saw her use her skills - remember, she can change faces? And expertly maneuver in pure darkness? - if we saw her approaching, and the tension built, and we saw the whole thing develop. I think it would have felt more authentic and satisfying, even if less immediately thrilling.
   680. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: April 30, 2019 at 08:11 PM (#5836929)
Anyway, so far since the baby was born on Friday I have half-watched or watched-half of

Bridget Jones's Baby
Resident Evil: Retribution
A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding
The final 7 Harry Potter movies
The most recent Game of Thrones episode

She met me pick one of them!
   681. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 08:35 PM (#5836942)
The way she delivered the blow, though - coming out of nowhere, with an improbable leap and an insane blood curdling scream - was a conventional cheap thrill. I think I would have preferred it if we saw her use her skills - remember, she can change faces? And expertly maneuver in pure darkness? - if we saw her approaching, and the tension built, and we saw the whole thing develop. I think it would have felt more authentic and satisfying, even if less immediately thrilling.
I agree with this. I think they got EPIC too far up their butts and simply couldn't help themselves. I DO think this season is rallying from the last one in character development, but I also think the showrunners were DYING for this thing to be over and it affected some of the more subtle bits they could get into.

But, in fairness, I think a hand-to-hand or face-change with a supernatural being would have seemed rather unnatural and also a disappointment. Again, somehow they decided that a whisp of hair vs. shadowy movement was the way to go, and I agree that was questionable.
   682. BrianBrianson Posted: April 30, 2019 at 09:15 PM (#5836956)
No love for Ottawa then?


Sorry. Apart from skating on the Canal ... uhm, the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau is nice?
   683. Greg Pope Posted: April 30, 2019 at 10:20 PM (#5836986)
The way she delivered the blow, though - coming out of nowhere, with an improbable leap and an insane blood curdling scream - was a conventional cheap thrill. I think I would have preferred it if we saw her use her skills - remember, she can change faces? And expertly maneuver in pure darkness? - if we saw her approaching, and the tension built, and we saw the whole thing develop. I think it would have felt more authentic and satisfying, even if less immediately thrilling.

I only saw it once, but I don’t recall a scream. The night king caught her by the throat and then she made a noise, from what I remember. More of a desperation yell that she failed. But the fact that we didn’t see the approach seems to me to play perfectly into her character. That’s the point that she’s completely silent.
   684. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2019 at 10:32 PM (#5836997)
I only saw it once, but I don’t recall a scream.

Yeah, as she was about to land the blow.
   685. Baldrick Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:35 PM (#5837026)
Wheel of Time is getting a series from Amazon, which will be an interesting exercise in how ruthless a show can be at cutting material.

Just do the first book TBH.

Alternatively, do the first three book and selected bits from the final (Sanderson) three, and only include whatever else from the intervening eight that's absolutely essential to tie them together.
   686. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: May 01, 2019 at 12:00 AM (#5837031)
@TheLoveBel0w
Watch this 1999 Ray Charles interview where he's asked about white artists outselling Black artists with their own sound in the 50s and 60s.

His response when the topic of Elvis Presley comes up is must-see TV...

Thought you guys might get a kick out of this.
   687. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: May 01, 2019 at 01:16 AM (#5837039)
Why You Couldn’t See a Damn Thing on This Week’s Game of Thrones
The trend toward darker television has been going on for a while, and not just on HBO. As several prestige-TV cinematographers explained to Slate back in 2016, the switch to digital filming and post-production made it easier and faster to work in low light than it had been on film. Simultaneously, the switch from cathode-ray tubes to high definition televisions made that same low-light cinematography look worse than it ever had before, especially on lower-end models. Meanwhile, cable companies switched to digital distribution, applying their own video compression to the already-compressed signals they got from networks. Streaming services like HBO Now do the same thing in order to fit HDTV signals into as little internet bandwidth as possible. Every time lossy video compression is applied to the video, the image quality drops. And guess what kind of scenes current video compression techniques do the worst job with? It’s a perfect storm: Every recent advance in television technology seems to have been designed specifically to make “The Long Night” difficult to make out.
   688. Lassus Posted: May 01, 2019 at 06:16 AM (#5837046)
Alternatively, do the first three book and selected bits from the final (Sanderson) three, and only include whatever else from the intervening eight that's absolutely essential to tie them together.

This sounds a lot more wearying than actually just reading the books.


Why You Couldn’t See a Damn Thing on This Week’s Game of Thrones

I know this was a massive, constant, wide complaint; but I re-watched yesterday, and I could see people in the dark, and people behind people in the dark, and expressions in the dark. I really don't get it.
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