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"Perfect" 10s

by CWS

October 3, 2019

If you had to rate every game you've ever played on a scale from 1 to 10, how many would you actually rate a full 10 out of 10? And which ones would they be?

Mind you, this does not mean the games in question have to be without any flaws whatsoever. Only that their strengths, in your view, so outweighed their weaknesses that they might as well have been flawless, or that you felt truly raised the bar for their entire genre. Games that you can play for hours, days, weeks or even months on end, and never grow tired of or lose your appreciation for.

Anyway, here are mine.

  • Batman: Arkham City (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
  • Bioshock (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
  • Borderlands 2 (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Playstation, Xbox 360)
  • Final Fantasy IV (Super NES, Game Boy Advance, DS)
  • Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360)
  • Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360)
  • Gunstar Heroes (Genesis, Xbox 360)
  • Halo 3 (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
  • Halo: Reach (Xbox 360)
  • The Legend of Zelda III: A Link to the Past (Super NES)
  • Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360)
  • Metal Gear Solid (Playstation)
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (Playstation 2)
  • Metroid 3: Super Metroid (Super NES)
  • Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium (Genesis, Playstation 2, Xbox 360)
  • Shining Force (Genesis, Playstation 2, Game Boy Advance, Xbox 360)
  • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (Xbox)
  • Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty (PC)
  • The Walking Dead (Xbox 360, Xbox One)

Is War with Iran inevitable?

by snowman1989

September 18, 2019

We've all heard about the Saudi oil fields being hit by drones and the Trump administration is blaming Iran. The Saudis are also blaming Iran. I'm more inclined to believe it was the Houthis in Yemen, though, seeing as Saudi Arabia has been invading their country and committing genocide against their nation for several years now. A strike on Saudi oil facilities is logical, as it would slow their war effort and hit their bottom line.

I don't see Iran benefitting from a brazen attack like this, which would invite an attack from the US, which has been practically begging for an excuse to invade since Trump took power. Make no mistake, I don't like the regime in Tehran. AT ALL. But if the US decides to invade Iran on false pretenses, we'll be looking at the biggest conflict since WWII, and millions will die. You can expect Israel and Saudi Arabia to join you as they're equally eager to see Iran destroyed, but don't count on anyone else. The sentiment I've picked up indicates the rest of the world is fed up with America right now.

I hope it doesn't come to war. But the way things are going, war seems inevitable.

The cinematic continuity of...GODZILLA

by CWS

September 5, 2019

So as I'm sure you've all noticed by now, I'm a recently-revived Godzilla fanboy. I've loved the character since as far back as I can remember; indeed, in my early childhood, my two favorite things in the world were Star Wars and Godzilla. It's something I've returned to in recent years, first out of sheer nostalgia, then in anticipation of the most recent movies, and finally, in the hope of sharing this particular joy with a younger generation.

But as there have been more than 30 movies over the past 65 years, the history and film continuity of the world's favorite nuclear-powered dinosaur has naturally become pretty complicated, if not downright convoluted. Luckily for anyone reading this, I've taken the burden of research upon myself (you're welcome :P ), and what better way to sort it all out than with a forum post?
...I mean...I guess I could also make a spreadsheet, but I have this forum so I might as well use it!


GODZILLA
74911395_p0.jpg
From left: Gojira (1954), Showa Godzilla (1955-1975), Heisei Godzilla (1984-1991), Heisei Godzilla (1991-1994), Zilla (1998), Millennium Godzilla (1999-2004), Legendary Godzilla (2014), Shin Godzilla (2016), Animated Godzilla (2017-2018), Legendary Godzilla (2019)
Artwork by ULTRA-TAF, who has generously granted me permission to use their work. ありがとう!


The most basic thing to understand is that Toho Co., Ltd.'s first 28 kaiju (monster) movies are divided into several distinct eras, which are referred to as the Showa period (1954-1975), the Heisei period (1984-1995), the Millennium period (1999-2004), and now, the Reiwa period (2016-). Each period is more or less a single and separate continuity, but they all claim the original 1954 Gojira as their starting point. In addition, the 1998 Roland Emmerich film, Polygon's recent anime trilogy, and Legendary Pictures' current and ongoing "MonsterVerse" franchise are each a separate and self-contained continuity.

It's also worth noting that Toho was running with the concept of all their films sharing a single continuity over half a century before the introduction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Gojira and the Showa Period: 1954-1975
The Showa era, and Godzilla's story, began in 1954 with Ishiro Honda's grim and somber original movie, which is by far the darkest and most serious film in the entire franchise. But as the character of Godzilla became more and more popular, particularly with children, the tone of the movies quickly became much more light-hearted and whimsical. Thus, what began as a bleak commentary on nuclear proliferation turned into an excuse for men in rubber dinosaur costumes to beat the crap out of each other and destroy miniature cities, because...well, let's be honest with ourselves: why wouldn't you do that? :lol: These are the movies I remember from my early childhood, and with the exception of the very first film, nearly all of them, particularly from 1962 forward, were aimed at a young audience. And make no mistake...I may be a Goji fan, but some of these movies are laughably awful, with All Monsters Attack, Hedorah, and Megalon being the most cringe-inducing, in my opinion. And while the rest are still campy as hell, most of them are at least entertaining, often in their own tongue-in-cheek way.

Showa Series:
  • Gojira, AKA Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954)
  • Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
  • Rodan (1957)
  • Mothra (1961)
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
  • Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
  • Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
  • Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
  • Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, AKA Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
  • Son of Godzilla (1967)
  • Destroy All Monsters (1968)
  • All Monsters Attack (1969)
  • Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
  • Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
  • Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
  • Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)

Heisei Period: 1984-1995
After a nine year hiatus, the Heisei era began with 1984's Return of Godzilla, also known as Godzilla 1985. This series is much more serious and has a much tighter continuity than the Showa films, with recurring characters throughout and the plot of each movie picking up directly from where the previous one left off. To say nothing of having much higher production values across the board than the Showa films, thanks to advances in technology and special effects. That's not to say that there aren't still moments of extreme cheese (the American cyborg from the future in King Ghidorah...), especially looking back on them from 2019. Still, I think the Heisei series is arguably the best of Toho's live-action kaiju movies.

Heisei Series:
  • The Return of Godzilla, AKA Godzilla 1985 (1984)
  • Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)
  • Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
  • Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992)
  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)
  • Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994)
  • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)

TriStar's Godzilla: 1998
In 1998, following his success with Independence Day, director Roland Emmerich and TriStar Pictures attempted to launch a Hollywood franchise with a heavily redesigned, CGI version of Godzilla. And, well...they failed. Very, very badly. In fact, the movie was such a ridiculous farce that Toho employees reportedly walked out of screenings. Although it was ultimately a financial success worldwide, the box office numbers and critical reception were far below TriStar's expectations, and plans for future sequels were abandoned. Interestingly, however, Toho still owns the likeness of this version of Godzilla, and has, in fact, subsequently used it in other movies and media. But they refer to it, rather derisively, as simply "Zilla". The implication of that is exactly what it looks like.

TriStar Godzilla:
  • Godzilla (1998)

Millennium Period: 1999-2004
If it accomplished nothing else, the TriStar debacle spurred Toho to end their post-Heisei hiatus and begin the Millennium series, if for no other reason than to restore the Big G's dignity. The Millennium era is somewhat odd as it really is not a series in terms of plot or continuity, but rather is largely a group of standalone and unconnected movies. The exceptions to this being Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Tokyo S.O.S., which are directly linked to each other, but the rest...not so much. There isn't really a consistent tone or theme to them, either, other than having much better special effects than their predecessors. Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah particularly sticks out in this respect, and from all of Toho's other movies for that matter, as it drastically rewrites the origins, histories and fundamental nature of all three characters. The two Mechagodzilla movies, on the other hand, heavily reference a number of Showa-period movies, but in terms of their overall tone, they feel more like they'd fit in with the Heisei era. Lastly, Final Wars, which was released almost exactly 50 years after the original Gojira and was the last "rubber suit" Godzilla movie Toho would ever make, is as gleefully and unapologetically campy as any of the Showa films, only with a much bigger budget.

Millennium Series:
  • Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999)
  • Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)
  • Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
  • Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)
  • Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)
  • Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

Legendary Godzilla (AKA "MonsterVerse"): 2014-Present
In 2014, 10 years after Toho's last movie and just in time for the 60th anniversary of the original 1954 film, Legendary Pictures and Monsters director Gareth Edwards made another attempt at bringing Godzilla to Hollywood...and this time, they got it right. Like the '98 TriStar version, this Godzilla is rendered entirely in CGI, but his overall design was deliberately kept much closer to Toho's original, iconic rubber-suit creation. More importantly, unlike TriStar, Legendary Pictures has treated Godzilla with a level of awe and respect that borders on reverence, as the character truly deserves. The success of the films have allowed them to craft an ongoing shared continuity (nicknamed the "MonsterVerse") for these and future movies, in the vein of the MCU...or, for that matter, in the model of the original Toho movies, before them. As you're probably aware, I've been a huge fan of these movies thus far, in spite of their questionable inclusion of a certain giant ape. And while I've had a lot of difficulty determining exactly what their reception has been like among Japanese audiences, I do know that Toho themselves are extremely happy with Legendary's take on Godzilla.

Legendary Godzilla:
  • Godzilla (2014)
  • Kong: Skull Island (2017)
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
  • Godzilla vs. Kong (2020)

Reiwa Period: 2016-Present
I wasn't aware of this until recently, but apparently we've now entered the Reiwa era, by Japanese reckoning. However, it really isn't accurate to call this a "series" because all of the recent movies have their own continuities which are completely separate from the others. So, that's how I'm going to list them, at least for now. This may change when Toho starts churning out kaiju movies again, as they're planning to do starting in 2021.

Shin Godzilla: 2016
Inspired by Legendary Godzilla's 2014 debut, in 2016 Toho released a new movie of their own, their first since Final Wars, 12 years earlier. Originally called Godzilla: Resurgence, the international title was ultimately shortened to Shin Godzilla (literally, "New Godzilla"), a somewhat baffling decision since it has no meaning in English. Of much greater significance than the movie's title, however, was the fact that it was written and directed by Hideaki Anno...that's right, the same Hideaki Anno who created, wrote and directed Evangelion. (And boy, does it show, which can make for a pretty surreal viewing experience if you're a big enough EVA fan.) Even though it's a complete top-to-bottom reboot in every way, it's probably closer in tone and feel to the original Gojira than any other subsequent Godzilla movie, but updated for the Digital Age. The design of Godzilla himself was quite an extreme departure from all other previous iterations, however, as he actively mutated through three different bizarre and increasingly horrific CG-rendered forms over the course of the film. For the record, this was actually a really good movie. It met with near-universal acclaim among Japanese audiences and critics, received no fewer than ten nominations in the Japanese Academy Awards, and actually won both Picture of the Year and Director of the Year for 2016, which was a first for the entire franchise. However, Anno's "Shin-Goji" design proved to be a bit too radical, and Toho has stated that they have no further plans for this particular version of him.

Shin Godzilla
  • Shin Godzilla (2016)

Godzilla Anime: 2017-2018
Next, Toho and Polygon Pictures released three feature-length, animated theatrical movies over the following two years. Set in a distant future timeline, the story followed a desperate population of human refugees who return to a devastated Earth which has been ruled by Godzilla for 20,000 years. Although another extreme departure from the series' past, in many ways, this proved to be an outstanding trilogy of films in their own right, and were frankly much more compelling and memorable than I had expected them to be. I must also confess to having originally been somewhat wary of these movies due to Godzilla's design, which makes him look very plant-like, but this is actually not the case; he's simply covered in 20,000 years' worth of overgrowth and vegetation.

Godzilla Anime:
  • Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (2017)
  • Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle (2018)
  • Godzilla: The Planet Eater (2018)

Ewan McGregor finally CONFIRMED to return as Obi-Wan Kenobi

by CWS

August 15, 2019

Comicbook.com has reported that Ewan McGregor has signed a contract to reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in an upcoming live-action series for Disney+.

Comicbook.com wrote:

Ewan McGregor Confirmed to Return as Obi-Wan Kenobi for Disney+ Series

By Jenna Anderson - August 15, 2019 08:26 pm EDT

The Star Wars franchise hasn't seen the last of Obi-Wan Kenobi. On Thursday, Deadline confirmed that Ewan McGregor is set to reprise his role in a currently-untitled series for the Disney+ streaming service. The Hollywood Reporter's Borys Kit reports that the series could span six or eight episodes. Fans had already begun to speculate that McGregor would be returning to the franchise, after a report from Cinelinx claimed he had signed a contract to do so.

This comes after years of rumors and speculation have hinted at Lucasfilm further exploring Obi-Wan's story in some form or fashion. An Obi-Wan movie was believed to be put into development in May of 2018, with Stephen Daldry being brought on to potentially direct. Months later, McGregor himself squashed that reporting, hinting that there were "no plans" for it to happen at that time.

“I would totally do it, of course,” the actor shared in a television appearance in August of 2018. “There’s no plans as such to do it, as far as I know... There must be a good story to tell as they’re doing spin-offs – there’s likely to be a good Obi-Wan between me and Alec Guinness."

This new Obi-Wan series would be the third Star Wars project to be officially made for Disney+, which is set to launch on November 12th. The franchise's first live-action television series, The Mandalorian, will be premiere with Disney+'s launch. The Mandalorian is showrun by Jon Favreau, with a cast that includes Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, and Carl Weathers. A second series, which would be a prequel for Rogue One's Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), is also in the works. Stephen Schiff will serve as that series' showrunner.

While some have clamored for a film spinoff of Obi-Wan's adventures, it sounds like a Disney+ series could explore that part of the Star Wars canon in a new way.

"Almost every movie the studio makes is a $100 million-plus movie, and we're not looking to make movies at that level for the service," Disney CEO Bob Iger said this past January. "We're looking to invest significantly in television series on a per-episode business, and we're looking to make movies that are higher-budget, but nothing like that."

"We wouldn't make a Star Wars movie for this platform," Iger continued. "When everybody goes out on the weekend and you have a movie that opens up to $200 million, there's a buzz that creates that enhances value. We like that. And eventually, the movies we're making are going to [end up on] the service."
Well...thoughts?

This is something that's been on my personal wish list for years, and is (at least potentially) the best Star Wars news I've heard in "a long time...a long time."

Stranger Things

by CWS

August 2, 2019

So, I'm at least three years late to this particular party. My younger brother suggested some time ago that I start watching it, and now I wish I'd started sooner. My mom would have loved it.

For the one or two of you who might not be familiar with the series, here's my setup pitch. :P

Stranger Things


The series opens in October of 1983, in the small rural town of Hawkins, Indiana. A town where generations have grown up in close proximity, and everybody knows everybody else.

In this town live four young boys whose shared interests have both united them with each other, and made them social outcasts. Completely unrepentant nerds, they call themselves "the party". They love Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and horror movies, and spend most of their spare time in the basement of one boy's house, playing D&D.

That particular boy has an older sister who is dating the most popular guy in school. Another of the boys has an older brother who is a friendless, introspective loner. Their struggling single mother is played by Winona Ryder.

The town's chief of police is a haunted man who drinks and uses drugs to cope with a devastating personal loss.

There is also a young girl who has been raised in a top secret government laboratory on the outskirts of town, where she has been trained from birth to develop her potent psychokinetic abilities as a secret weapon for a Cold War in which knowledge and insight are the most valuable assets. She has no name, only a number.

An experiment at this same facility has accidentally opened a door to a parallel dimension inhabited by Lovecraftian, parasitic horrors, and it is about to unleash hell upon the world.

That's basically where the first episode starts.

What I say next will sound rather elitist, though it's not intended to be, it's a simple statement of fact. But in order to fully appreciate this show, your formative years really need to have been in the early '80s. There are countless small details and references that are aimed directly at this very specific demographic, because we're the only ones who would have any reason to notice them.

It's funny. I was telling my brother recently that when I was a kid, I remember being perpetually annoyed by the way everyone was always going on about the '60s. But now, I find that '80s nostalgia has a surprisingly strong and very specific appeal for me.

Happy Independence Day 2019!

by CWS

July 5, 2019

I'm late again. :oops:

In my defense, I was dog-sitting my aunt's new puppy during the big fireworks show. She actually did great!

Edit: I'd intended to include this topical link to compensate for my own lack of rambling verbosity, but I forgot to. So...better two days late than never, I guess?

Es Es El

by The Phiend

June 18, 2019

In the interests of keeping up with the times, our site is now running over HTTPS instead of HTTP. So passwords are secure in transit, etc.

Now, this might mean that you'll need to log in again, if you've been using the "Log me on automatically each visit" feature. But I just double-checked and our forgotten password feature is working correctly, so that shouldn't be a severe issue.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

by CWS

June 18, 2019

I'm sure everyone is aware by now, but just for posterity, here's the trailer that was revealed at E3.

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It does look pretty cool...but there's one aspect of this I can't help but laugh at.

This game started out as an early tech demo...for the PS3. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Popular Vote vs. Electoral College

by CWS

May 28, 2019

The question of whether the US should abolish our Electoral College system is a topic which has come up a number of times, and with particularly renewed fervor of late since our two most recent Republican presidents have won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote.

This is something I am adamantly opposed to for a variety of reasons, and author and legal scholar Tara Ross has presented a very comprehensive list of them, which was posted at PragerU. While I am most definitely not a fan of Dennis Prager, that's irrelevant to the subject at hand.
Tara Ross wrote:

The Popular Vote vs. the Electoral College

In every presidential election, only one question matters: which candidate will get the 270 votes needed to win the Electoral College?

Our Founders so deeply feared a tyranny of the majority that they rejected the idea of a direct vote for President. That's why they created the Electoral College. For more than two centuries it has encouraged coalition building, given a voice to both big and small states, and discouraged voter fraud.

Unfortunately, there is now a well-financed, below-the-radar effort to do away with the Electoral College. It is called National Popular Vote or NPV, and it wants to do exactly what the Founders rejected: award the job of President to the person who gets the most votes nationally.

Even if you agree with this goal, it's hard to agree with their method. Rather than amend the Constitution, which they have no chance of doing, NPV plans an end run around it.

Here's what NPV does: it asks states to sign a contract to give their presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote instead of the winner of the state's popular vote.

What does that mean in practice? It means that if NPV had been in place in 2004, for example, when George W. Bush won the national vote, California's electoral votes would have gone to Bush, even though John Kerry won that state by 1.2 million votes!

Can you imagine strongly Democratic California calmly awarding its electors to a Republican?

Another problem with NPV's plan is that it robs states of their sovereignty. A key benefit of the Electoral College system is that it decentralizes control over the election. Currently, a presidential election is really 51 separate elections: one in each state and one in D.C.

These 51 separate processes exist, side-by-side, in harmony. They do not -- and cannot -- interfere with each other.

California's election code applies only to California and determines that state's electors. So a vote cast in Texas can never change the identity of a California elector.

NPV would disrupt this careful balance. It would force all voters into one national election pool. Thus, a vote cast in Texas will always affect the outcome in California. And the existence of a different election code in Texas always has the potential to unfairly affect a voter in California.

Why?

Because state election codes can differ drastically. States have different rules about early voting, registering to vote, and qualifying for the ballot. They have different policies regarding felon voting. They have different triggers for recounts.

Each and every one of these differences is an opportunity for someone, somewhere to file a lawsuit claiming unfair treatment.

Why should a voter in New York get more or less time to early vote than a voter in Florida? Why should a hanging chad count in Florida, but not in Ohio? The list of possible complaints is endless.

And think of the opportunities for voter fraud if NPV is passed! Currently, an attempt to steal a presidential election requires phony ballots to appear or real ballots to disappear in the right state or combination of states, something that is very hard to anticipate. But with NPV, voter fraud anywhere can change the election results -- no need to figure out which states you must swing; just add or subtract the votes you need -- or don't want -- wherever you can most easily get away with it.

And finally, if NPV is adopted, and winning is only about getting the most votes, a candidate might concentrate all of his efforts in the biggest cities, or the biggest states. We could see the end of presidential candidates who care about the needs and concerns of people in smaller states or outside of big cities.

Here's why all of this is of so much concern: NPV is more than halfway to its goal.

NPV's contract will go into effect when states with a combined 270 electoral votes have signed. To date, NPV already has the support of 10 states plus D.C. Together, that's 165 electoral votes, leaving only 105 votes to go.

It is time to stop this attempt to undo the way American presidents are elected, which will in turn undo America. The people behind NPV think they are wiser than every generation of Americans that preceded them.

They aren't.

I'm Tara Ross for Prager University.

Terminator: Dark Fate

by CWS

May 24, 2019

In my opinion, the first two Terminator films were truly James Cameron's greatest contribution to cinema. They told a compelling story in an original way, with truly spectacular action sequences and special effects, and pacing that may be unequaled in their genre, and they dealt with extremely dark, heavy existential themes without being pretentious about it. As you may have gathered by now, they are two of my absolute favorite movies of all time, and a major influence on my entire storytelling philosophy.

I've also hated everything that's been made since. Jim Cameron may have become a pretentious jackass in the intervening years, but the entire Terminator franchise has sucked without him, and badly.

So you understand that at this point, I'm very hesitant to get my hopes up, having been burned way too many times. But having said that...Cameron has finally agreed to come back and make one more Terminator movie, and one which pointedly ignores everything after T2. And, well...maybe.

Just maybe.

Anyway, here's the first trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate.

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Trump administration: policy vs. personality

by CWS

May 1, 2019

I posted this comment earlier tonight in response to the latest article in right-leaning media crowing about the supposed demise of "#NeverTrump". In it, I intended to address the cult-like devotion to Trump that many of his fans display, but I also ended up summarizing a lot of my thoughts on Trump's presidency so far, so I figured I may as well toss it up here for posterity.

I wrote:

Just because you support the Trump administration's policies does not mean you have to support the man, personally, without question and 100% of the time. Conservatives should not be afraid to be honest with ourselves and each other, and the fact is that Trump, himself, remains an extremely mixed bag. At best.

He took the government's boot off the throat of the economy and has slashed many restrictive and unnecessary regulations, which has been an extremely good thing. He took the handcuffs off of our military and allowed them to do what needed to be done to liberate ISIS's physical territory and demolish their caliphate, which has also been a godsend after the horrors Obama allowed them to get away with, and for years. He has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and has also recognized that Iran is, and has always been, our enemy. These things are magnificent, and are worthy of unequivocal praise.

But however great these things are, they do not erase or make up for the undeniable flaws in Donald Trump's personal character. He habitually lies and exaggerates, and he does it all the time; that's just a fact, and it's a highly problematic one. He frequently indulges in extremely juvenile and often pointless flame wars on Twitter, and he does it in ways that often end up hurting his own cause. Also problematic. And he had an affair with a porn star while his wife was pregnant with their son, and he paid her to keep quiet about it during the 2016 election. That's simply disgusting.

"But those things have nothing to do with his administration's policies or the way he does his job," many say. That's a fair argument, up to a point; it's also, not coincidentally, precisely the argument Democrats made throughout the 1990s to defend Bill Clinton, and for exactly the same reasons. But character does impact policy, in ways great and small. More to the point, it makes it more difficult for Trump's defenders to argue on his behalf without being hypocritical.

But let's get back to policy. Trump allows his very liberal daughter and son-in-law, neither of whom were elected to anything, to decide the direction of his administration's policies far too often for my, and many other conservatives', liking. He has advanced extremely left-wing positions on international trade and gun control, and done it under a Republican banner, which has in turn had the effect of shifting the entire party's position on those issues to the left over the long term, if not permanently. This was one of the biggest fears of conservative, so-called "NeverTrumpers", and they have indeed been proven correct. He talks tough on border security and abortion, then he turns around and signs budget resolutions which completely undermine his own position. He has appointed one potentially decent Supreme Court justice, but he has also consistently failed to stand up to the out-of-control activist judiciary, and on matters where his own authority clearly supersedes theirs. He also failed to hold the Republican leadership to their campaign promises, most prominently on the repeal of Obamacare, and as a result the Democrats retook the House. And he totally gave away the farm in his negotiations with North Korea, where he elevated and heaped a humiliating degree of personal praise on one of this planet's most barbaric and cruel dictators, for which the US got very little in return. And last but certainly not least, he's spent money at a rate that makes even Obama look tight-fisted by comparison.

By all means, support the administration's policies, where they deserve to be supported. But don't let them blind you to the failings of the man.

Easter massacre in Sri Lanka

by CWS

April 22, 2019

A series of coordinated suicide bombings at several Catholic churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday have left at least 290 Christians dead, and an additional 450 500 injured.

While no one has, to my knowledge, claimed responsibility at this point, we have seen this scenario play out enough times over the past couple decades, all across the globe, to know exactly what happened here. And the scale and coordinated nature of the attacks was far too organized to have been the work of a few random crazies.

Some continue to insist that we are not witnessing a clash of civilizations, but those who do most of the killing seem awfully determined to prove otherwise.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

by snowman1989

April 12, 2019

*facepalms* I can't believe THAT is what they chose to name the movie. You trying to rub the salt deeper into the wounds, Disney?

Alright. Here's the damn trailer.

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Had The Last Jedi not been a thing, or ever existed, I might have been interested. But since The Last Jedi unfortunately DOES exist... I find myself not caring. :| I've never cared so little for a movie before in my life, and it's heartbreaking. Because the last movie ruined Star Wars forever. And the prospect of having Lando and the Emperor return in this movie just makes it worse. We all know, based on the patterns of the previous films, that Lando is going to die an ignominious death. And the Emperor?! His story was done! His story has a clear beginning, middle and end. Bringing him back isn't just lazy writing, it's a sleazy move to prey on our nostalgia!

More and more I hate Disney for retconning the Extended Universe, because it had some great stories that the directors could have taken inspiration from, instead of copy-pasting the original trilogy. They could have done the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion, where an extragalactic enemy with organic ships and major technophobia invade the Star Wars galaxy. Or they could have introduced the World Devastators, giant nigh-invincible mobile war factories built by the Imperial Remnant that consume entire cities and planets to build more ships, more fighters and upgrade themselves. Or the rise of Grand Admiral Thrawn, a military genius with a great love for art, who nearly destroys the New Republic in its infancy.

I'm so fucking angry how they've squandered this universe. :x :cry:

Joker

by snowman1989

April 9, 2019

A few months ago we got test footage of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, which I'll show first before we get to the meat.

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So, a lot to cover here. I was hesitant to put this in the DCU category, since this is a stand-alone film. Not just that, it doesn't play like a superhero(villain) movie at all, but a psychological thriller. It feels too grounded to be a comic book movie, and instead has a Scorsese feel. I get the feeling DC might finally have learned their lesson, and are starting to move away from universe-spanning epics, because let's face it, they fucked it up. :lol: If they want to compete with Marvel, THIS is how they do it; produce quality, stand-alone films, much like they already have done in the animation department. More than that, it appears that DC is willing to take risks and go in more experimental directions if Joker is anything to go by.

From the looks of the trailer, I'm encouraged. So far they've hit the right notes. I'm seeing a lot of inspiration from The Killing Joke, and that late night show scene looks like they might replicate the infamous massacre the Joker commits in The Dark Knight Returns.

R.I.P. Dan Howard, AKA kuroitora

by CWS

April 4, 2019

Man, I am absolutely stunned by this news. I just found out that our own kuroitora died of pneumonia today.

I've known this guy since the mid-'90s. I met him through the online Bubblegum Crisis fan community, then met him in person during my visit to Baltimore in '99. I considered him a very good and loyal friend. We didn't agree much on politics, but so freaking what. He was the best artist I've ever met, and I hoped I might find a way to collaborate with him on something, someday...but I guess not.

I really can't believe this...it's just awful.

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