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On “Sunday Morning! Balzac’s Wild Ass’s Skin

In "Name of the Rose", Eco does a catalogue of medieval creatures on the frieze under an archway which I think fits the "curiosity shop" trope even though...well, it's obviously not a shop.

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I rather enjoyed this book, which is the only one of Balzac's I have read.

At 1831, it's also the earliest incident I have read of "The Curiosity Shop", which struck me as funny because I read two other books within months that also used the trope.

On “Defenders Of The Gold Bikini 2: The Fempire Doesn’t Strike Back

My kids'll sometimes ask me if the SW movies are any good and I'll say, "Yeah, there's about 1 1/2 good movies there." Heh.

I didn't know that there was any question whether Padme died of a broken heart. I thought the movie was really clear. It wasn't well supported from a character standpoint, but that's a separate issue.

A topic like "domestic abuse" or rape is tricky to introduce into a kid's movie. But it could've been done well, I think, if Lucas had stolen from the right well: Othello. Instead of being a whiny worm, Anakin should've been very successful in the Republic. Maybe kicked out of the Jedi order (hardly matters) and a very successful general, meanwhile studying the dark arts on the side.

And as he's getting more and more powerful, Palpatine is whispering in his ear that Padme and Obiwan have a thing going on. All the while he's pulling strings to set Anakin and the Jedi against each other.

The movies could've been more internally consistent this way, too. The Republic and Jedi Order already on their last legs—remember, they're basically forgotten a mere 20 years later which is nothing in galactic time for something that maintained order for anywhere from 1-20 thousand years.

Yeah, the real crime of the prequels is the missed opportunities.

On “Jane Wick

In Zhang Yimou's "Shadow" (in my top 5 movies of 2019) the key to defeating the master comes when the general's wife suggests a yin to his yang. The actual battle is fought by women–with umbrellas!

Underrated gem!

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Certainly true, at least within certain constraints. There's that classic line from "Some Like It Hot" where Marilyn Monroe tells Jack Lemmon he's lucky because he's flat-chested, the clothes all look better on him...

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Yep, and they wouldn't target the cheesy (sorry) "sensitive spots" on a man but the structural weak points. Knees and feet, e.g., eyes.

In a lot of cases, they would prefer to pretend helplessness and strike when their assailant's guard was down. For a man, that would be "dirty". (I'd do it, though. =))

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You have to go back probably 45 years to find unfit women, that late '60s/early '70s cocaine-skinny type. Remember the late '70s was the beginning of aerobics, and the women of the '80s were much buffer than before. (Think Linda Hamilton, Jamie Lee Curtis, sex romps like "Hardbodies", etc.)

Actually, prior to the '60s, women were pretty fit as well, but they were expected to hide that. Or more accurately, the aesthetic was a layer of fat over the muscle. (Think Marilyn Monroe or any of the dancers of the day.)

I think the more recent aesthetic of very low body fat ages women faster.

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Yeah, kinda fun is that often in movies when they use stuntwomen, they're so much bulkier than the actresses, it's comical. I remember "My Alibi" (way back in the '80s) when Paulina Porizkova was supposed to be a carnival gal. Uh huh. When it came time for her to climb the rope (just using her arms, mind you) they couldn't find anyone CLOSE to her body type who was able to do so.

It's almost as bad as when Shatner climbs El Capitan in "Star Trek 5". Good lord.

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Semi-counterpoint: When I was training, my dojo had many girls/women, and when fighting them, they were oftimes fierce, clever, skilled and tough. Years later, I heard that they all complained about me hitting too hard. I was 5' 11", 145#—couldn't put on weight to save my life—and pulling my punches so much that I actually had trouble punching full strength when I needed to.

And I realized, also years later, that while I respected them, I was never *scared* by them. I never got the same frisson, shall we say, when facing down a big or even average-sized dude.

I think "Fallon Fox" resolves a whole bunch of disputes, frankly.

On “Saturday Morning Gaming: No Man’s Sky’s Evolution

I always liked Molyneux, but if anyone showed up the weakness of gaming journalism, it was him. (And decades before "gamergate".) Everybody rolled over for "Black & White", even me. But as a player I can be as generous as I want to be. B&W got the reviews similar to Microsoft's: "Yeah, it's buggy and will cause you pain, but you pretty much have to use it."

Still love "Dungeon Keeper" though.

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If 2016 assumptions about how awful Trump was were correct, Clinton would've been 50 points ahead in the polls...

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T-Bone could not be reached for comment.

On “Saturday Morning Gaming: God of War

As awesome as the first three GoWs sound, this new one sounds awful. We are not allowed to have fun any more.

('course, I'm still playing HoMM3.)

On “If Shakespeare Had a Mom

I think I get it, but I also think the scare quotes are vital to the use of the word "selfish" here. (And I'm sure you know this better than I.) Often when a woman is told she's being "selfish", the intended message is "you didn't do what I wanted you to do" or "you are not fully self-abnegating".

I could make an argument that art is inherently UNselfish but that's a whole 'nother can o' worms.

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Yeah, I sorta think the "selfishness" thing is more of an excuse for bad behavior. People are always using art to excuse bad behavior. (Genuinely bad behavior, not mere disagreement.)

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I'm glad you wrote this because I've been thinking a lot lately about how (when Western Civilization is working) women are lauded precisely because they give up their bodies and lives for the care of others. A whole lot of energy has been devoted (since well before I was born) to convincing women that this sacrifice was both too much (arguably) and trivial—think of "only a housewife/mother/homemaker", which is a sentiment that is practically the default these days.

It's an issue for me now because my middle daughter is 18, and she wants that life. She's also an amazing artist and working hard to improve her skills. My hope is she'll be able excel at both.

The thing is: Mom is irreplaceable. Dad is important, for sure—we've seen plenty of damage from absentee dads. But they are a distant second to Mom. (See iahp.org for more info on that.)

But there is this insanity that emerges where everyone else suddenly becomes helpless if Mom isn't available 24-7. And one of the things she has to do is make everyone a.little more self-sufficient. Children will squawk, but it's vital for them growing up.

Husbands are a different problem. I've seen husbands get positively wounded because their wife takes 90 minutes out of a week to play basketball. But everybody needs a chance to switch up their games, and every husband knows that he himself takes breaks from whatever his "job" is to do something else—and it makes him better at that job. Wives and mothers are no different: If they can step away for a moment, they come back happier and more focused. It's not even subtle.

It's so obvious only a human could miss seeing it.

On “Saturday Morning Gaming: Slay The Spire

It might be a good idea to pick something like that up. I still play like I'm a teenager with nothing else to do, which means I don't really play. Heh.

On “Saturday Morning Gaming: Sometimes There Are Happy Endings In Real Life Too

Reading the manuals was a HUGE part of the experience after about...IDK, 1979, and before the '90s. I still have a bunch of 'em. Some of them were REALLY thick and had massive backstories. In the early '80s, there wasn't room for the story of an RPG so you'd get a book and be told to "read paragraph 79".

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I did a little VII but I realize (on repeatedly playing I, II & III =)) that the thing I like about them is the epic feel. And I feel like, starting with V, the POV is very tight on the hero. I didn't play them much, but I never feel the same sense of scope.

You're not the only one who liked IV, though! I know a guy...

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I did. I...well, I didn't *hate* it, exactly—unlike Heroes IV, which was the most crushing disappointment in my gaming history—but I think I actually played it a bit and...it's fine. It doesn't feel like HOMM to me, though, it feels like a modern episode of "The Simpsons": The people who made it liked the original very much, but don't really understand it. (My son and I played a fair amount of King's Bounty at the same time, which was pretty good. I think that's because it was it's own thing and not a wannabe HOMM.)

I have VI and VII as well but I'm also not a big fan of Uplay.

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I heard great things about Star Control, which came out in 1990, and Star Control II but I didn't see it at the time.

But! Back in 1986 there was a singleplayer space RPG called StarFlight where you started out with a blank-slate ship and bought various upgrades as you did little missions around the galaxy. There were seven or so alien races with a WIDE variety of threat level between them, and there was a mechanic by which you landed on planets and mined them for various items.

To me, the thing that his game accomplished that few others do, is that the story was a mystery of a very intimidating and alien race which I think communicated only in binary, but the arc of the story made it so that by the end, the very mechanic you had been relying on took on a moral and ethical dimension.

Well, worth checking out.

(I don't play much these days. Mostly Broforce with my youngest or Heroes of Might and Magic III when I'm alone.)

On “Heroes and Villains

It was deliberate. And John Carpenter DGAF if people complained, hence "Halloween III: Season of the Witch".

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I suppose art, like traumatic events, doesn't necessarily make us who we are.

But I also suppose it informs who we become.

As an artist, one can do better. As an audience, too.

*Comment archive for non-registered commenters assembled by email address as provided.