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Thursday, August 01, 2019

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

The Eilish home sits on a leafy block in L.A.’s Highland Park, a gentrifying neighborhood where discount party suppliers and muffler shops sit alongside cafes and fancy pet stores. The two-bedroom bungalow is cramped and homey, with overflowing bookshelves and, currently, five occupants: Eilish’s mom; Eilish’s dad; their rescue cat, Misha; their rescue dog, Pepper; and the biggest, most exciting new pop star of 2019.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: August 01, 2019 at 12:25 PM | 270 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: movies, music, off-topic, television, whatever else belongs under the rubric of 'popular culture'

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   201. chisoxcollector Posted: August 08, 2019 at 10:01 PM (#5869722)
I have photos of the posters from National Treasure, Anaconda, Eraser, and a Bollywood flick staring Shah Rukh Khan, the name of which I don't remember. No access to them on this laptop, but might be able to scare them up later if anyone would like to see them.

If it isn’t too much trouble, I’d love to see them. I collect limited edition alternative movie posters, so stuff like this is right up my alley.

   202. chisoxcollector Posted: August 08, 2019 at 10:09 PM (#5869724)
Love seeing some anime talk. It sounds like VoD and I have similar taste in anime. Your Name is probably my favorite non-Ghibli anime, and top 3 or 4 overall. I also love 5 Centimeters Per Second, Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and Wolf Children. And Mirai was pretty good, but disappointing relative to my expectations.

Just to touch on the other films mentioned, I think Paprika and especially Perfect Blue are both excellent. I still need to see The Garden of Words. It’s at the top of my watchlist, along with Millenium Actress.

The funny thing is that, other than Studio Ghibli films, I tend not to connect with the most famous anime, whether it be television or films. For example, Akira and Ghost in the Shell are both okay, but would fall in the bottom half in my ranking of the anime films I’ve seen.

As for Studio Ghibli, my favorites are My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Grave of the Fireflies. I also really like Porco Rosso.
   203. Davo Posted: August 08, 2019 at 10:46 PM (#5869740)
I love that the Wachowskis twice cast the very Australian actor Kirk Gurry in two of their movies (Speed Racer and Jupiter Ascending), and cast him as a relative of the very non-Australian main characters in both movies, but then let him use his very Australian accent in both movies anyway, correctly determining that that #### doesn’t actually matter in the slightest.
   204. Davo Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:58 AM (#5869755)
Movie news:

Disney has confirmed that big changes are coming to the Fox film division, including word that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is inheriting Fox’s comic book heroes like the X-Men franchise.

Disney is also axing the majority of the existing Fox film development slate and refocusing output, after the studio posted a $170 million operating loss in Disney’s fiscal third quarter.
   205. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:08 AM (#5869756)
It’s at the top of my watchlist, along with Millenium Actress.


If you have any inclination to see "Millennium Actress" in a theater, there's a newly remastered version playing special engagements for one night in the next few days - the subtitled version on August 13, and the dubbed version on August 19. You can see if it's playing in a theater near you at this link.

   206. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 09, 2019 at 07:55 AM (#5869760)
Man, lots of anime to add to the list. Although movies are tough for me to do. Most of the ones in 202 I haven't even heard.

I think Paprika is the best anime film I've ever seen. The staggering visual impact of the animation and an all-time sci-fi narrative are pretty hard to top.

In the complete opposite direction, Princess Mononoke is probably my favorite anime film. It's beautiful and brimming with sadness and the way Japanese folklore is blended in with natural and Japanese history is, for me, a bottomless well of wonder. Also, my wife gave the movie to me when we were dating and made me a big green bong (she blew glass at the time) which I immediately named the Forest Spirit. Still have it, 12 years later.

Ghost in the Shell is also a favorite of mine. But, as is pretty obvious right now, anime is typically a sci-fi/fantasy outlet for me. So I tend to miss the stuff that doesn't neatly slide into that category. Summer Wars and the Girl Who Leapt Through time certainly look like they would be a good fit for me, gotta see if I can track that down.

I have no desire to see Grave of Fireflies. No interest in doing that to myself.

The Wind Rises, which is not the type of story that I would typically be drawn to, rises in my esteem every time I watch it.

I hold out hope that one day someone is going to start making animes out of Murakami books. I guess that's not how it works in Japan, but I would the ever living hell out of a well done A Wild Sheep Chase or The Wind Up Bird Chronicle.
   207. chisoxcollector Posted: August 09, 2019 at 09:15 AM (#5869772)
If you have any inclination to see "Millennium Actress" in a theater, there's a newly remastered version playing special engagements for one night in the next few days - the subtitled version on August 13, and the dubbed version on August 19. You can see if it's playing in a theater near you at this link.

Dude, you rock! Sadly I won’t be available on the 13th to see the subtitled version, but the city I’ll be in on the 19th has a theater playing the dubbed version. I just bought my ticket! Now I just have to change my flight, as my current flight lands too late to see it.

With anime, I greatly prefer to watch the subtitled Japanese version, but am willing to watch an English dubbed version. Whereas with live action, I wouldn’t watch a dubbed film under almost any circumstances. The last dubbed film I watched was Rumble in the Bronx in theaters with my dad. I was young and didn’t know any better back then!

I’m really glad to hear that Millenium Actress has been remastered recently. Hopefully that means they’ll finally release it on Blu-Ray. They only recently released Perfect Blue on Blu-Ray.
   208. Davo Posted: August 09, 2019 at 11:12 AM (#5869812)
@DDale
Trump: "You talk about racist: Hollywood is racist, what they're doing with the kind of movies they're putting out. It's actually very dangerous for our country." He didn't provide examples.

Big if true.
   209. Hysterical & Useless Posted: August 09, 2019 at 12:58 PM (#5869853)
In other news, I am currently watching "Shetland," which is basically a murder mystery show set in (on?) the Shetland Islands. It's pretty enjoyable, although occasionally it does wobble into cliché territory.


Lovely country, but with a murder rate that high I'd think everyone would have "relocation" at the top of their to-do lists.

My favorite was the episode with Gemma Chan, my god what a beautiful woman.
   210. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: August 09, 2019 at 01:08 PM (#5869860)
@DDale
Trump: "You talk about racist: Hollywood is racist, what they're doing with the kind of movies they're putting out. It's actually very dangerous for our country." He didn't provide examples.

Big if true.


i literally LOLed
   211. Davo Posted: August 09, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5869870)
Our church’s annual carnival/concert/festival is this weekend.

Last year’s concert headliner was a Christian rock group, which, duh. Mm

This year they went in a slightly different direction. This year’s headliner is... a Grateful Dead tribute band named “Dark Star Orchestra.”

Bold strategy, let’s see it if works!

(There is literally nothing I hate more than jam bands. I am sorry.)
   212. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2019 at 01:46 PM (#5869877)
My wife and I watch Shetland together. It's a perfectly cromulent crime show that the UK seems to do well.
   213. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 01:54 PM (#5869882)
Last year’s concert headliner was a Christian rock group, which, duh. Mm

You're not making Christianity better, you're just making rock and roll worse!
   214. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:28 PM (#5869956)
This year’s headliner is... a Grateful Dead tribute band named “Dark Star Orchestra.”

I saw these guys almost 20 years ago. If I recall, they play entire actual Dead concerts - like, they'll play the entire 3 hour night of July 24, 1973, as close to note-for-note as they can make it. I actually kind of like the Dead for their unique acid-Americana blend, although the interminable spacey jams are not my thing, and the fans can be intolerable.
   215. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:44 PM (#5869966)
Megan Ellison is the daughter of Oracle Corporation billionaire Larry Ellison.

I worked for Oracle for a while, and had multiple encounters with Larry Ellison.

He's a complete lunatic.
   216. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:51 PM (#5869967)
Lovely country, but with a murder rate that high I'd think everyone would have "relocation" at the top of their to-do lists.

My favorite was the episode with Gemma Chan, my god what a beautiful woman.

That was a great episode, and yes, she's stunning. She was also in an episode of Doctor Who, and obviously she was gorgeous there too.
   217. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 09, 2019 at 05:04 PM (#5869971)
Dude, you rock! Sadly I won’t be available on the 13th to see the subtitled version, but the city I’ll be in on the 19th has a theater playing the dubbed version. I just bought my ticket! Now I just have to change my flight, as my current flight lands too late to see it.

With anime, I greatly prefer to watch the subtitled Japanese version, but am willing to watch an English dubbed version. Whereas with live action, I wouldn’t watch a dubbed film under almost any circumstances. The last dubbed film I watched was Rumble in the Bronx in theaters with my dad. I was young and didn’t know any better back then!


Great - I'm glad I posted that!

I too prefer to watch the subtitled Japanese version when I watch anime. Even if I don't speak the language, the nuances and inflections in the voices often give hints about the tone that the anime creators intended.
   218. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: August 09, 2019 at 05:34 PM (#5869979)
[quote[I saw these guys almost 20 years ago. If I recall, they play entire actual Dead concerts - like, they'll play the entire 3 hour night of July 24, 1973, as close to note-for-note as they can make it. I actually kind of like the Dead for their unique acid-Americana blend, although the interminable spacey jams are not my thing, and the fans can be intolerable.

a) this is what DSO does, not my bag but ...

b) I can't stand the the Dead, but I do like live JGB



   219. Davo Posted: August 09, 2019 at 08:53 PM (#5870037)
matt groening makes an... unsettling appearance in the epstein docs


In response to this news, I vow to never again watch another new episode of The Simpsons. In fact, I won’t watch ANY episodes that aired after the event on Epstein’s jet, which happened in the middle of Season 9, or whenever that stupid Armin Tamzarian thing happened
   220. Davo Posted: August 09, 2019 at 09:19 PM (#5870046)
@realDonaldTrump
Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level, and with great Anger and Hate! They like to call themselves “Elite,” but they are not Elite. In fact, it is often the people that they so strongly oppose that are actually the Elite. The movie coming out is made in order....

@realDonaldTrump
....to inflame and cause chaos. They create their own violence, and then try to blame others. They are the true Racists, and are very bad for our Country!

What movie is he talking about????
   221. JJ1986 Posted: August 09, 2019 at 09:22 PM (#5870047)
Dora
   222. Davo Posted: August 09, 2019 at 09:32 PM (#5870048)
What I Learned After Watching Eyes Wide Shut 100 Times
...As his fate hangs in the balance, the woman he met earlier intervenes, crying out, “Take me instead!”

Later, her body turns up in the morgue. Dr. Harford suspects that she was murdered as punishment for trying to help him, but he doesn’t go to the police. Instead, he allows himself to be lulled into a state of complacency by one of the men who was at the party, a master-of-the-universe type played by Sydney Pollack. Pollack reads Dr. Harford perfectly, accusing him of “jerking himself off” to the thought of the woman sacrificing her life for his. The truth, he insists, isn’t nearly so romantic. “She was a junkie! She OD’d!” As Pollack circles the room, tapping a pool cue in a faint echo of the ritual at the masked ball, he urges the doctor to let it go. The men at the party were “not just ordinary people,” he warns. “If I told you their names […] I don’t think you’d sleep so well.” Harford doesn’t press him for those names or any other details. He doesn’t want to know. Although Harford spent the day leading up to this conversation retracing his steps, desperate for answers, Pollock easily convinces him to give up and go home. That’s how power triumphs — Pollack offers the smallest crumbs of an explanation, drawing him into the conspiracy while offering no real answers, and Harford accepts the bargain.
   223. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: August 09, 2019 at 09:40 PM (#5870050)
What I Learned After Watching Eyes Wide Shut 100 Times


I'd wasted my life?
   224. Howie Menckel Posted: August 09, 2019 at 09:41 PM (#5870051)
220

has to be "The Hunt"

I know nothing about movies - or nothing, really - but right-wing media is seizing upon this Universal movie due out next month as being liberal elites killing "deplorables" as a game.

I'll never see this, or most movies - not my thing. I can't speak to the accuracy of the claims, mainly because I don't really care, but also because we kind of got out of that bailiwick. but since you asked, I think that's it.
   225. Davo Posted: August 09, 2019 at 09:42 PM (#5870052)
224- Ah, thanks.
   226. Lassus Posted: August 09, 2019 at 10:58 PM (#5870073)
I'm pretty sure the point is the hunted people end up winning. The deplorables will win - that's the point.

Have none of these dumbfuckers seen a movie in their entire lives?
   227. Davo Posted: August 10, 2019 at 01:28 PM (#5870167)
Today might be a good day for viewing #101 of EYES WIDE SHUT...
   228. Davo Posted: August 10, 2019 at 02:59 PM (#5870184)
   229. JJ1986 Posted: August 10, 2019 at 04:38 PM (#5870192)
These people think that Donald Sutherland is the hero in The Hunger Games (I think that's the right reference.)
   230. jmurph Posted: August 12, 2019 at 10:09 AM (#5870490)
What I Learned After Watching Eyes Wide Shut 100 Times

This is a good piece. I don't like the movie at all (but I'm also not generally a Kubrick fan so it is what it is), but this is an interesting read.
   231. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 12, 2019 at 11:03 AM (#5870521)
Quite a few movies since last week, including Split (well-made, but did not engage me emotionally at all), Paterson (a gentle glide with some lovely cinematography) and, um, Lawrence of Arabia, which I had never seen before. I also finished my Neon Genesis Evangelion watch and squeezed in a few hours of learning to play Northgard, which had a pleasant Settlers vibe while also being rather more challenging and a little less charming, but the puzzle element created by the challenge helped make up for it.

I've just found out that one of the movie theatres near me in Dusseldorf shows the 'National Theatre Live' productions, so am hoping to fill the void left by moving 250 miles or so away from the West End.
   232. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: August 12, 2019 at 03:21 PM (#5870650)
Finally saw Endgame. Still processing it, so I'll post thoughts in a couple of days.

Finished Shetland, so now I'm watching Blake's 7, a British sf show I've been meaning to watch for decades. It feels a lot like classic Doctor Who, only where the main character is accused of being a pedophile and all the males are wondering why the one female character didn't #### the guard for better treatment.
   233. jmurph Posted: August 15, 2019 at 09:55 AM (#5871608)
Ahhh, I now see why the Pop Culture thread is dead, there are two other pop culture threads happening elsewhere (well, if San Francisco crime/parking/neighborhood/restaurant talk counts as Pop Culture)!
   234. Scott Lange Posted: August 15, 2019 at 05:33 PM (#5871762)
Wake up, Pop Culture thread!

Anybody seen anything good lately? We just finished The Detectorists, an absolutely lovely 19-episode BBC show on Hulu. It's extremely funny, and wonderfully soothing - the perfect thing to wind an evening down with in these anxious times.

Los Espookys, a 6-episode HBO show, is a bit uneven but has some delightfully surreal characters, moments, and ideas. Fred Armisen's scenes are mostly separate from everybody else's, and they aren't nearly as inventive - you can pretty much just fast forward through them.

I had to drop out of Orange Is the New Black for the last couple seasons, but this final season is back to what it was before, and it's not hard to figure out what's going on.

And the incredibly-well-reviewed movie The Farewell was indeed pretty good. It's a dramedy about a family dealing with the matriarch's fatal cancer diagnosis, and it gives a lot of secondary and tertiary characters their due.
   235. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 15, 2019 at 08:50 PM (#5871819)
A few weeks ago I saw the movie Stuber. It wasn't great, but it was funny and worth watching.
   236. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: August 16, 2019 at 08:17 AM (#5871904)
We just finished The Detectorists, an absolutely lovely 19-episode BBC show on Hulu. It's extremely funny, and wonderfully soothing - the perfect thing to wind an evening down with in these anxious times.
I watched the series after Adam Mars-Jones said in a TLS end-of-year thing that the third series was the best pastoral comedy made in England since As You Like It. I love Thomas Hardy's Under the Greenwood Tree, but I'm convinced Mars-Jones is right. One thing that's fun is that it hews to all of the conventions of pastoral comedy (I suppose that, at least in a vague way, Here Be Spoilers) -- at the end there's a big party with the whole cast of characters; there are enemies who become friends; there's a marriage (or at least an engagement); there's a bit of something that borders on, but doesn't quite cross into, magic realism; and it ends in song, in that the outro is a version of Johnny Flynn's theme music with different lyrics. It's all done so well. Series one was great, series two was fine but a bit lessened, then series 3 was wonderful, with a perfect final episode. I just love that show to death.
   237. jmurph Posted: August 16, 2019 at 09:05 AM (#5871908)
I started watching season 1 of Lodge 49 on AMC, which is really good so far. It's odd and I have no idea where it's going but I like it. Season 2 just stared, I think. I'm planning to dive into the just concluded season of Handmaid's Tale some time soon.

I have been busy reading, though! Just finished Normal People by Sally Rooney. It's excellent, I highly recommend it.

   238. Hot Wheeling American Posted: August 16, 2019 at 09:46 AM (#5871914)
A few weeks ago I saw the movie Stuber. It wasn't great, but it was funny and worth watching.

Love Batista and like Kumail, but didn't get around to seeing this (though it would have been perfect for the AMC A-List). Is it true that the title comes from the fact that the main character is named Stu and he drives an Uber? It's so dumb, but I think about it every time I see my Uber app.
   239. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 16, 2019 at 11:09 AM (#5871940)
I finished season 1 of Succession in the end - thanks to those in this thread who recommended it. I definitely became more absorbed by the plot, and a very high percentage of the main and secondary characters are very well painted. Interested to see where season 2 goes. I do hope they do something to change the music, though, as I'm not a big fan of the title music, and so many episodes just seem to use it indiscriminately to undercut moments. I think I understand why it's done that way, but it feels oddly draining.
   240. Hysterical & Useless Posted: August 16, 2019 at 01:55 PM (#5871982)
Just finished Normal People by Sally Rooney. It's excellent, I highly recommend it.

I'd put holds on the e-book version of that at 3 different libraries; one came through, I read it, then a second came through so I read it again. Much of it I found incredibly sad (being an incorrigibly sentimental chap), but the second time through I convinced myself that the ending is at least marginally hopeful (if Connell ever gets his #### together).

During the same time I was reading Susan Choi's Trust Exercise. The first 3rd of that book was easily the saddest thing I've ever read (which may be why Normal People felt less sad on the second reading). Won't say more in order to avoid spoilers just in case anybody else hasn't read yet.

I will say that it's interesting to me that in much of the recent fiction I've been reading the young (often teenage) characters have lots and lots of sex...while at the same time I'm reading non-fiction articles claiming that young people nowadays are having much less sex. I admit I'm envious of these characters who seem to view ####### as no bigger a deal than a good-night kiss, but I surely hope kids nowadays have better luck than I did as a young 'un.
   241. jmurph Posted: August 16, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5871988)
I'd put holds on the e-book version of that at 3 different libraries; one came through, I read it, then a second came through so I read it again. Much of it I found incredibly sad (being an incorrigibly sentimental chap), but the second time through I convinced myself that the ending is at least marginally hopeful (if Connell ever gets his #### together).

Oh it crushed me throughout, too, but yeah, I also found enough hope here and there to not be totally crushed when it ended.
   242. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 18, 2019 at 09:22 PM (#5872427)
Is it true that the title comes from the fact that the main character is named Stu and he drives an Uber?


Yes. And the movie clearly knows exactly how dumb it is.
   243. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: August 19, 2019 at 05:12 PM (#5872694)
I had to drop out of Orange Is the New Black for the last couple seasons, but this final season is back to what it was before, and it's not hard to figure out what's going on.


I like this show, but the timeline bugs me. Piper is supposedly on something like an 18-month sentence that started in 2013, but the characters continually reference things that are up-to-the-minute.

I watched "Widows" last night, and thought it did a very good job of showing different sides of most of the characters. Gillian Flynn ("Gone Girl") co-wrote the script.
   244. Baldrick Posted: August 19, 2019 at 06:51 PM (#5872716)
I like this show, but the timeline bugs me. Piper is supposedly on something like an 18-month sentence that started in 2013, but the characters continually reference things that are up-to-the-minute.

I stopped watching a while ago, but didn't her sentence get extended significantly due to her actions on the show?
   245. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: August 19, 2019 at 09:57 PM (#5872753)
Honestly I don’t even know at this point. I do enjoy the show, but with a few exceptions the characters are more memorable than the actual goings-on. I found it I’m unable to “binge” in the normal definition of the word. It takes me weeks or months to work through a season of a show.
   246. manchestermets Posted: August 20, 2019 at 09:17 AM (#5872808)
now I'm watching Blake's 7, a British sf show I've been meaning to watch for decades. It feels a lot like classic Doctor Who


You may well be aware, but it shared a lot of the same personnel - David Maloney, the producer was the director of many popular Doctor Who stories in the 60s and 70s and a lot of the directors have experience on Doctor Who. The first series of Blake's 7 is all written by Dalek creator Terry Nation, but from the second series onwards the writing duties are spread around, and again, a number of the regular Doctor Who writers of the time such as Robert Holmes and Chris Boucher write some of the best episodes. I totally agree about sharing the feel of Doctor Who - in the very first episode in particular it would be entirely in keeping with the aesthetic if the Tardis just materialised somewhere.
   247. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 20, 2019 at 10:57 AM (#5872850)
For anyone who enjoyed The Trip and would like more gentle British rural landscapes while middle-aged men giggle and banter, Gone Fishing with Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer has its charms. Both are career UK comedians of the absurdist/anarchic type - as opposed to Brydon and Coogan, who I would put more in the satirist/deadpan bracket - and both recently had major heart surgery. So the series appears to be the two of them pottering around incredibly scenic rivers and lakes, occasionally falling over or attempting comedy catchphrases, while also touching on their fears of death, aging, and people they've lost.

Mortimer's an interesting bloke, in that he seemed to be pretty much always second fiddle to Vic Reeves in the public imagination, and has one of those Wikipedia entries that makes you do a bit of a double-take. (Father was a biscuit salesman who died in a car crash when Mortimer was 7; the same age at which he . . . burned down the family house with a firework?) But mainly you get to see some of the cinematography that the BBC's so good at, applied to some of the greenest of the UK's countryside, which seems to almost permanently be in the magic hour if you trust the editing.
   248. Lassus Posted: August 20, 2019 at 11:25 AM (#5872864)
My wife bought a metal detector solely from watching "The Detectorists".

In other news, I finally started Stephenson's "The Fall" and am 1/3rd of the way through. I am a bit surprised at how it's gone so far, which I consider a good thing.

I've been winding my way through Dark Matter and am still annoyed (second half of season 2) it's not better.
   249. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 20, 2019 at 01:04 PM (#5872900)
...some of the greenest of the UK's countryside, which seems to almost permanently be in the magic hour if you trust the editing.


The most recent time I visited England, after a long absence, was during the month of May, and the thing that struck me was not only how green the countryside was, but that the vividness of that green was overwhelming. It really did look different, much deeper, and had a different aura about it than any scenery I'd seen before. It seemed somehow turned up to 11. I'm sure there is some logical scientific explanation, but I don't know what it is.
   250. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 20, 2019 at 03:09 PM (#5872945)
Ground-up leprechaun as fertiliser, imported especially from across the Irish Sea. The true history of the Troubles finally exposed.
   251. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 20, 2019 at 03:22 PM (#5872949)
It seemed somehow turned up to 11. I'm sure there is some logical scientific explanation, but I don't know what it is.
Well, the logical explanation is that it goes to 11. It's one brighter.
   252. Hysterical & Useless Posted: August 20, 2019 at 03:57 PM (#5872961)
Green plants tend to like to be watered on a regular basis. Britain and Ireland do get rained on frequently. [Consistency is important; better a little bit every day than nothing for 2 weeks and then a deluge.] They also tend to prefer temperatures within a fairly narrow range. Britain and Ireland rarely get the sort of high temperatures (ie 90 F and above) that are common in most of the US, and if the wintertime temperature goes even a degree or 2 below freezing, the newscasters will describe it as "bitterly cold." Pretty much ideal conditions for most temperate zone plants.

I know nothing about the science of optics, but I seem to have read (or imagined) that colors appear more intense at higher latitudes, due to the something something of the something or other.
   253. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: August 20, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5872971)
Also the British countryside, especially the English countryside, is the most human-mediated large rural landscape in the world. Well, "sheep-mediated" might be more accurate. Either way, it means that the landscape is dominated by turf grasses much more than most of the world. Turf grasses are on the whole greener than woody plants and the like, and because of the mild, wet climate those turf grasses can be very green for a huge percentage of the year.

I was really struck by it while walking in the Cotswolds during a very wet spring some time ago. Extremely righ green fields, the bright yellow fields of rapeseed, and bluebells all over the wooded hills. We walked through endless fields full of sheep, with their pairs of twin lambs usually sitting entwined with each other. It was absurdly bucolic.
   254. Howie Menckel Posted: August 20, 2019 at 04:34 PM (#5872973)
How friendly is your state?

1. Minnesota
2. Tennessee
3. South Carolina
4. Texas
5. Wyoming

46. New Jersey
47. Massachusetts
48. Delaware
49. Arkansas
50. New York
   255. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 20, 2019 at 05:08 PM (#5872980)
I was really struck by it while walking in the Cotswolds during a very wet spring some time ago. Extremely righ green fields, the bright yellow fields of rapeseed, and bluebells all over the wooded hills. We walked through endless fields full of sheep, with their pairs of twin lambs usually sitting entwined with each other. It was absurdly bucolic.


My parents have retired to a house in the southern parts of the Cotswolds (I was born and raised in Cheltenham). It has much to recommend it, if you exclude most of the things that appeal to many people between the ages of 12 and 35.
   256. Baldrick Posted: August 21, 2019 at 12:33 PM (#5873190)
The big national political science conference is over Labor Day weekend. I'm on a panel about Harry Potter (my paper is on the politics of redemption in the context of Snape). Will report back!
   257. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 22, 2019 at 04:25 AM (#5873369)
I had a Dusseldorf->Hamburg->Dusseldorf trip yesterday, so almost 9 hours on trains in total. For the first time I tried buying and downloading a movie from iTunes for the journey rather than taking my hard drive with local copies, and was pleasantly surprised - on my MacBook Air, battery usage was extremely efficient and picture quality pretty good too. I generally like to buy physical copies of media, so that's one more Luddite tendency I might start to weaken. (The movie was Avengers: Endgame, about which I continue to have mixed feelings.)
   258. Lassus Posted: August 22, 2019 at 07:53 AM (#5873372)
My feelings are only SLIGHTLY mixed. I think they nailed the landing at a 9.85. The final battle should have definitely been longer and involved strategies that failed, respites, and desperate corrections that succeeded. I suppose that would change the narrative arc, however. And Marvel's image.
   259. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 22, 2019 at 08:22 AM (#5873374)
I'm wary of the fact that these threads sometimes get a little tetchy when the MCU becomes a dominant topic, so in brief: I settle more in the 7 range as a conclusion. For me, something breaks about the pacing around the half-way point, and never quite recovers completely, but I do like some of the plotting choices, the attempt to re-create the MCU's lighter tones in the mid-section, not to mention that the fan-service, as ever, is a lot more hits than misses. It's not the MCU's best work for me, though, and I suppose I was hoping that this phase had one more set of surprises for me before it wrapped up.
   260. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 22, 2019 at 08:34 AM (#5873375)
I'll always believe they missed a huge opportunity during that fan service "females assemble" splash page shot from the Endgame battle. They had Captain Marvel, then Scarlet Witch, then Valkyrie, then Okoye, then Iron Pepper, then Nebula and Wasp and so on, taking their Grrrl Power positions.

At the end of the shot, they should have held for a "one Mississippi" pause. And then had the Guardians' Drax slide into frame, and strike a identical badass "glare at the horizon" pose alongside the ladies.
   261. Lassus Posted: August 22, 2019 at 09:01 AM (#5873382)
something breaks about the pacing around the half-way point

The neutering of the Hulk.
   262. Lassus Posted: August 22, 2019 at 09:03 AM (#5873383)
In non-MCU news, immediately following my previous posting about Stephenson's "The Fall", I began to like it less for some specific reasons. The second act, to get all filmy, was not something I was into. I don't necessarily see any of that changing for the third act, but as you're all hanging on my every word, I'll be finishing it this afternoon and try and write a spoiler-free review.
   263. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 22, 2019 at 09:10 AM (#5873388)
The neutering of the Hulk.

You wouldn't like him when he's angsty.
   264. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 22, 2019 at 09:11 AM (#5873389)
something breaks about the pacing around the half-way point

The neutering of the Hulk.


Oh, not for me, I found that a positive, plus you get some 2012 Hulk anyway. It's a combination of Renner's Barton being a deeply uninteresting character to me (his 'My Life as a Weapon' arc in the comics is far more compelling), the New Jersey detour being clever on paper but fairly dull in execution, and the Vormire events being a retread of the previous movie that plays out very predictably. Things perk up afterwards, but I really wish they'd found a colorful, inventive setting for the final battle rather than a generic rubble-strewn brown and grey wasteland that looks an awful lot like a boring set with no actual fesatures that was easy to greenscreen. Something the MCU had generally done a great job avoiding in earlier movies. "I know, let's drain the color from the movie and have them fight on some rocks and shattered tree stumps!" seems a very grimdark DC approach to your grand finale.
   265. Lassus Posted: August 22, 2019 at 09:14 AM (#5873390)
9.85 might be high, true. I had various issues with the film - the Hulk thing being possibly the largest - that seemed more nitpicky and subjective than objectively critical.

EDIT: All fair criticisms - except for your disagreement with me on the hulk. :-D
   266. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 22, 2019 at 10:57 AM (#5873414)
Also the British countryside, especially the English countryside, is the most human-mediated large rural landscape in the world. Well, "sheep-mediated" might be more accurate. Either way, it means that the landscape is dominated by turf grasses much more than most of the world. Turf grasses are on the whole greener than woody plants and the like, and because of the mild, wet climate those turf grasses can be very green for a huge percentage of the year.
But...these go to 11.
   267. Lassus Posted: August 22, 2019 at 10:26 PM (#5873645)
My up-to-the-minute Neal Stephenson novel ranking:

1. Anathem - This was my idea of a perfect novel. Loved the setting, loved the characters, loved the themes, loved the maths, love the ending. He puts out anything that equals this in the future I'll be totally thrilled.

2. Baroque Cycle - This is kind of a cheat and generally subjective because I love epics, so the length is really a feature for me and not a bug. The economic lesson hump of the 1st book is a massive negative, but the rewards equal the task IMO. I do not think he needs an editor. FYI, for those who weren't aware, he wrote this one out by hand.

3. Snow Crash - Game-changer

4. Zodiac - This is an incredibly fun guerilla eco-warrior book, written by a young writer who was really enjoying himself. I was surprised how much I liked it.

5. Cryptonomicon - I remember really liking this, and my policy of basically re-reading nothing, ever, sort of hurts this ranking, as it might do better upon going through again. I'd imagine, however, that it might also end up a lot more dated than his other works.

6. Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (co-authored) - This was fun and thoughtful. Not pure Stephenson for someone likes me who really loves and lives for his prose stylings, but enough to be very satisfying. Had its minor issues.

7. Reamde - Stylistic, pointless page-turner. Probably liked it more than a lot of people did. I'm not a gamer, so I think those who are have a better grasp on this book.

8. The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer - Good, but nanotech annoys me. This review is more subjective than quality-driven. I should really probably re-read.

9. Seveneves - 1st half was very good but incredibly bleak. Payoff for living through that was unrealized in an amazingly promising 2nd half premise that went totally nowhere, and the deux ex machinas were really really annoying. Everyone goes on about Stephenson's endings, this was the only one I felt hit that nerve with a hammer.

10. The Fall, or Dodge in Hell - I must very, very sadly report that this book was not good. Without giving away too much, the meatspace portions of his downloaded-at-death concept novel were more interesting than his circuitry-consciousness portions; and as the book went on, it was more and more of the latter and less of the former which made the book it was MORE dull and disappointing as it went on. It wasn't an ending proiblem, as the bad parts started after 1/3rd of the book had passed. The only reason it's above the group-written Mongoliad is because of the first third of the book. Barely.

11. The Mongoliad (crowd-authored) - Read the 1st one, which bored me, and reminded me of the endless CLANG clusterfuck.

The Big U, Interface, The Cobweb - In my library, unread.
   268. Lassus Posted: August 25, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5874276)
Is anyone watching season 2 of Mindhunter? It's incredibly designed and acted and written, yet i'm still finding it less compelling than last season due mostly I think to the amount of time spent on the personal lives of the characters, which is really not why I'm watching the show. I mean, I think even 25% less time with that would make a big difference. Especially with the fictional Bill Tench's family situation, which I found out is NOT based on anything close to reality and just seems rather contrived.
   269. Swoboda is freedom Posted: August 26, 2019 at 09:18 AM (#5874387)
Is anyone watching season 2 of Mindhunter? It's incredibly designed and acted and written, yet i'm still finding it less compelling than last season due mostly I think to the amount of time spent on the personal lives of the characters, which is really not why I'm watching the show. I mean, I think even 25% less time with that would make a big difference. Especially with the fictional Bill Tench's family situation, which I found out is NOT based on anything close to reality and just seems rather contrived.

Agreed. I think it might be interesting to show how the demands of the job can strain a family, but the idea of the son being involved in the same sort of crime is a little far fetched. They could have made him autistic, or just troubled, or Tench having marital troubles.
   270. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 01, 2019 at 04:45 AM (#5876071)
I have to say that I'm a bit surprised by tricot signing with a major label after so many years on their own indie imprint, but here's "Overflow", their first single under their new deal with avex/cutting edge. And it's absolutely fantastic, quirky as always. but with a great chorus. And the video is wonderful, too. Both tricot and Regal Lily have new releases arriving on September 25, so I've sent in my pre-order to my usual Japanese CD store...
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