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AvatarComments by blake*

On “Do It Yourself Pizza

Right! You can fire up the pizza oven and you can order it and the pizza will be delivered while you're just about to slide the homemade one in. Heh. (Varies by location, obviously.)

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Making pizza is fun. You can do all the weird stuff, and you can do cauliflower crusts if you're into the low-carb thing.

But one of my favorite pizzas was a thing called a "Poor Boy": Crust with a little bit of cheese baked in, with marinara for dipping.

The crust experience cannot be brushed off...

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Pizza ovens traditionally take up a fair amount of space, heat up the house a whole bunch, and are perceived as single-use appliances. I'm thinking of getting an outdoor one, though.

On “Browser History

^ yeah, pretty much all of this, except I don't use Google much any more.

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I may be the only one who remembers this but at one point Google (I'm pretty sure it was Google, but I suppose it might have been another search engine) actually HAD a "don't show me this crap" button on a result. So if you wanted to block out Vice or Cosmo or Wikipedia or whatever, you could do that.

I'm sure that was not yanked for the purpose of providing service to their users.

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Yeah, I think allowing people to consciously refine choices would be a lot better. That's where my thoughts have gone. Advertisers would tend to end up on the bottom, though, which I'm sure Google doesn't want. But they used to put your results on the left, and ads on the right, and I think the two things tended to be distinct in terms of activity, versus their new strategy of pretending they're playing the search straight so they can manipulate you.

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Yeah, SEO is probably the main culprit but if Google had any interest they could "pessimize" as well. SEO techniques are pretty canned.

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No, that hits another level of problems I have, but didn't want to dig into.

And I hate the "Not many results included your search terms and we know you want a LOT of results, even if they're not remotely related to what you want, 'cause they're popular and you want to be popular too, right?"

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It's a very tempting project which I have mostly avoided tackling.

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And honestly the other search engines aren't much better. I think the algorithms are not working but they're driving commerce so there's no incentive to change them.

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Inability to find what I want.

I mean, that's the simplicity of it. I could speculate that what I'm given is curated to drive traffic and sales rather than provide me with the information I seek, but when you come down to it, the reason I switched from Altavista to Google is that Google was better at finding what I wanted. This is less and less true.

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Is it just me or do all the search engines suck now?

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Yeah, I used Netscape, then Opera, then Firefox, then Brave. I don't use FF any more, but after a break I'm back to using Opera. IE has always sucked and Edge seems to suck, too, which is kind of an interesting trick. I use Safari on the Mac but it's dubious.

On “Tulsi Gabbard Has a Sad

Anyone who thinks the "standards" created weren't reverse-engineered to produce the desired results is a goof.

The only reason Trump's in office right now is that the GOP didn't take him seriously enough to eliminate him beforehand.

The problem, for the Dems, is that they run heavily on "fairness" and they (successfully) attack the Reps on that nebulous front all the time. Let 'em hang by it.

Apropos of nothing, Tulsi's cute and she can sing. Actually, that probably severely turns off part of the base. Heh.

On “Put Away Childish Things

I'm not sure if that post about the deleted comment is going through twice or not. Well, I apologize to any adults who might have to clean up my mess.

I've already written 2,000+ worse in response to the spin-off post Kristin wrote to this, so I'll keep it brief here:

1. One of the worst thing adults to do kids is to convince them growing up offers no benefits.

2. There is no difference, objectively, between work and play. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine what that says about why we create subjective differences.

3. I don't object to a lot of the modern kid culture per se, I do object to its blandness. I'll take a goofy, fun, even "gritty", Asian action flick over most any recent American one.

4. I agree "adult" culture has been reduced to boring sexual things, and further object to its blandness which is possibly worse than the kids stuff, because it's dictated by a very small number of approved narratives. You know who makes great movie for grown-ups? Israelis. I don't think that's a coincidence. (I highly recommend this year's "The Other Story", but recent years have given us classics like "Fill The Void", "The Women's Balcony" and "Ushpizin".)

Kidlit from 60-70 years ago or more is far more sophisticated in terms of writing and raising the big questions than modern adult tales, hands down.

And now I'll shut up.

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lol...I have no idea what this ban was about, but I love the Editor's note.

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lol...I have no idea what this ban was about, but I love the Editor's note.

On “Gillette: The Best a Meme Can Get

And now Gillette has flipped back.

I presume this changes no one's mind about anything.

On “Men Who Help

Yeah, the fleeting amusement of engaging with spammers is not worth the necessary showering afterwards.

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Ha! It's gone but apparently you got an Illuminati comment! I wrote a (not very) funny thing 10 years ago about joining the Illuminati and I just let the I-spam acculumate as a (not very funny) gag. 402 comments! (And I'm sure only because I haven't checked on that blog in years.)

I always wonder if those things actually hook people.

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Thirsty. I mean, literally thirsty. I had written a couple dozen stories and the number of times being thirsty came up was astonishing to me, in retrospect. I had no idea I was writing this as a common theme, and I had written two stories where it was THE central plot point.

I live in the desert, is my only explanation.

As for Wonder Woman, I haven't read a lot of her stories—an interaction with Kristin usually means another book order from Amazon, I find—but she did have her Steve Trevor. And I will be shocked to find if a great many of her stories (say, around 40%, especially after her introduction) do NOT involve being helped. Because—at least until recently—ALL superheroes get help from others.

People joke about Robin, The Boy Hostage, but he's saved Batman's bacon on more than one occasion. Lois & Jimmy Olson have saved Superman. Steve Trevor has helped out Wonder Woman, I'm absolutely positive. And not just the sidekicks but random people. The help was usually not on a superheroic level although it often was, as through some transmogrification, Lois Lane became a robot, Jimmy Olson turned into The (legally distinct not-quite) Hulk, etc.

Why? Because everybody but The Villains were helpful in the Golden Age of comic books. There were very few villains relative to the general population, and there weren't even a lot of cowards. A very common trope is the comic book equivalent of the guy in Tiananmen Square, where somebody stands up to a villain who can crush him.

And if we ask Why? again, the answers are simple: A good story needs a not invincible hero, and comic books in particular used to be about Good Values. Everyone needs help, everyone can help, everyone SHOULD help.

The weird perversion of the past 50 years is to convince women (and men) that they are the "only one". It's a miserable existence and a lie.

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.

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