Pixel Scroll 3/14/16 Pixels Gather And Now My Scroll Begins

(1) WHAT A SAVINGS. Get your Grabthar’s hammer t-shirt from TeeChip. These babies are going for $22.99, while they last!

Grabthars hammer t fruit-of-the-loom-cotton-t-131313

(2) WOODEN IT BE LUVERLY. It took over a year to carve, and “This Beautiful Millennium Falcon Was Made With Over 3,000 Pieces of Wood”.

(3) HISTORY OF A MYSTERY. Memorabilia of the 1955 Cleveland and 1956 NYC World Science Fiction Conventions  is up for auction on eBay. There are publications, etc., but the most interesting part to fanhistorians would be the Cleveland committee’s file copies of correspondence, like the letter sent in advance of the con to its “mystery guest of honor” Sam Moskowitz (lower right). The seller is looking for a starting bid of $499.99, and the auction has six days to run.

clevention correspondence

(4) CORNELL’S SHERLOCK. Paul Cornell’s episode of Elementary will be broadcast in the US this week. You can view the trailer on his blog.

On this coming Sunday, the 20th March, at 10pm, my episode of Elementary, ‘You’ve Got Me, Who’s Got You?’ will be broadcast on CBS.  Those in the Central and East Coast time zones should note that the NCAA March Madness second round (I assume that’s something to do with sport) will be taking place that day, so there’s a chance the episode might be delayed.  At any rate, I’ll be up at 3am my time to live tweet along with the show.  So that’ll be fun.  And possibly quite weird.  If you haven’t already found me on Twitter, I’m @paul_cornell.

As the official synopsis says: ‘when a man who secretly fought crime dressed as a popular comic book superhero is murdered, Holmes and Watson must discover his real identity before they can find his killer.  Also, Morland makes a surprise donation to Watson’s favorite charity, in order to compel her to do him a business-related favor.’

Which is spot on, really!

(5) THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LOOKING-GLASS. Fantasy-Faction’s Nicola Alter tries to ease fantasy fans into the idea of reading sf – “Trying Out Science Fiction: A Guide For Fantasy Purists”. I’ve always had to listen to sf fans who talk about their dislike of fantasy (and, oh, the howls of rage when a Harry Potter book won the Hugo), but it never occurred to me there might be fantasy fans who had to be convinced to read sf. Now I know.

I picked up a trashy sci-fi novel in my teens and immediately encountered a confusing story full of alien languages and weird words, with unappealing characters and an empty, lacklustre world. I couldn’t make any sense of it and it made me vaguely depressed, so I put it down. I decided science fiction wasn’t for me.

Over a decade later, I finally gave it another go. I had often heard science fiction works mentioned by fellow fantasy fans and seen the genres placed side-by-side at conventions, in bookstores, and online. I thought: I really ought to explore this “other side of the coin” and see what all the fuss is about.

So, I started reading sci-fi. And found books I loved – even books I adored. I added several science fiction works to my all-time favourites list. In the process, I learned a few things that might be helpful to any fantasy lovers wanting to embark on a similar exploration of this sister genre:

Don’t Start With The Classics

There are many online forums where people ask, “I’ve never read any science fiction but I want to try it out, what should I read first?” and get a stream of comments recommending classic works like Dune and Stranger in a Strange Land and Foundation. These are indeed important works that have been enjoyed by many, but they’re probably not the best ones to start with. It’s like telling someone who’s never read fantasy to begin with Lord of the Rings or Elric of Melniboné. Yes, these are important stories and forerunners of the genre but they’re not exactly accessible or easy reads for a newcomer. (The exception here would be Ender’s Game, as it’s very accessible and easy to read despite its “classic” status).

You’re better off tackling the classics later, after you’ve cut your teeth on a modern, accessible read and worked up a taste for more….

(6) THEY PEEKED. Spy pics show off Star Wars’ new cool aliens and vehicles in “Meet Your New Favorite Alien From Star Wars Episode VIII” at Birth. Movies. Death.

Star Wars Episode VIII has committed the cardinal sin of filming outside, which means people with cameras have had a chance to snap pictures of the set. Most of the pics that have turned up have been kinda dull, but a whole slew appeared recently that have me beyond excited.

 

(7) DON’T DRINK AND TIME TRAVEL. That’s the lesson of this review of Version Control at Mashable.

Now comes Version Control, the trippy second novel by Dexter Palmer and the first pick for our new series — science fiction novel of the week. It’s easily one of the smartest, most unusual time-travel stories you’ll ever read — and one you don’t need a PhD. to understand, because it’s focused entirely on some very fascinating and flawed characters.

If time travel ever happened in the real world, it would probably look something like this: a bunch of obsessive scientists blandly insisting that what they’ve built is a serious-sounding “causality-violation device” (CVD), rather than a super-cliched “time machine.” And like many of our greatest technological advances, it would come with a whole bundle of unintended consequences

(8) KEN ADAM OBIT. Production designer Ken Adam, whose work included the war room in Dr. Strangelove and some of the sets in Dr. No, died March 10 reports the New York Times.

With “You Only Live Twice,” the fifth Bond film, Mr. Adam had more than half the total budget at his disposal. He spent $1 million of it building a volcano that contained a secret military base operated by the international terrorist organization Spectre.

“He was a brilliant visualizer of worlds we will never be able to visit ourselves,” Christopher Frayling, the author of two books on Mr. Adam, told the BBC in an article posted on Friday . “The war room under the Pentagon in ‘Dr. Strangelove,’ the interior of Fort Knox in ‘Goldfinger’ — all sorts of interiors which, as members of the public, we are never going to get to see, but he created an image of them that was more real than real itself.”

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born March 14, 1879 – Albert Einstein

Mental Floss has “10 Inventive Myths About Einstein Debunked”:

10. THE MYTH: HE WAS ONE OF ONLY 10 OR 12 WHO COULD UNDERSTAND THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY.

Tired of being questioned about this idea, Einstein told the Chicago Daily Tribune in May 1921, “It is absurd. Anyone who has had sufficient training in science can readily understand the theory. There is nothing amazing or mysterious about it. It is very simple to minds trained along that line, and there are many such in the United States.” Today, a number of experts have taken on the challenge of decoding the complex theory and succeeded.

 

  • Born March 14, 1957 – Tad Williams

(11) THE SEMI-COMPLEAT RABID PUPPY. Vox Day reaches the finale of his slate: Rabid Puppies 2016: Best Novel.

The preliminary recommendations for the Best Novel category.

  • Seveneves: A Novel, Neal Stephenson
  • Golden Son, Pierce Brown 
  • Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm, John C. Wright
  • The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher
  • Agent of the Imperium, Marc Miller

(12) FOR THE RECORD. In a comment on the above post, John C. Wright summarized his experience at Sasquan last year.

Instead of criticizing me for bring unenthused and indifferent to World Con, which was the case and would have been a legitimate criticism, the Morlock here invents the idea out of nothing that I expected a warm welcome from the hags and termagants who have been sedulously ruining science fiction for twenty years, and that I was foolish for having such foolish expectations. Actually, I was treated quite warmly by the people I met there, the fans and other professionals. It was only David Gerrold and Patrick Hayden who were rude.

(13) AXANAR SUIT AMENDED. Trek Today presents as a list of bullet points all the newly specified copyright infringements performed by Axanar.

The Hollywood Reporter headlined a particular one: “Paramount Claims Crowdfunded ‘Star Trek’ Film Infringes Copyright To Klingon Language”.

After the Star Trek rights-holders sued producers, led by Alec Peters, who put out a short film and solicited donations with the aim of making a studio-quality feature set in the year 2245 — before Captain James T. Kirk took command, when the war with the Klingon Empire almost tore the Federation apart — the defendants brought a dismissal motion that faulted Paramount and CBS with not providing enough specificity about which of the “thousands” of copyrights relating to Star Trek episodes and films are being infringed — and how.

Ask and ye shall receive.

On Friday, Paramount and CBS filed an amended complaint that responded in a few ways.

To the argument that because the crowdfunded film hasn’t actually been made yet, the lawsuit is “premature, unripe and would constitute an impermissible prior restraint on speech,” the plaintiffs point to defendant’s Facebook post that mentioned a “locked script.” They also note a press interview that Peters gave on Feb. 1 where he said, “We violate CBS copyright less than any other fan film,” as an admission he indeed is violating copyright.

Click to read the amended lawsuit in full.

(13) WESTERCON 70 PR. Dee Astell, Chair of Westercon 70 (a.k.a. ConAlope 2017/LepreCo43) announced the con’s Progress Report #0 and #1 are available for download.

(14) LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER. Vanity Fair Hollywood says “Xena Reboot Series to Turn Implied Homoerotic Undertones into Glorious Homoerotic Overtones”.

NBC has ordered a new Xena pilot from writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, architect behind the CW’s cult hit The 100, and he plans to be a little more forthcoming about the undeniable chemistry between Xena and Gabrielle with this updated iteration. During a Q&A session on Tumblr, Grillo-Marxuach confirmed that the two women would be lovers, no bones about it:

i am a very different person with a very different world view than my employer on the 100 – and my work on the 100 was to use my skills to bring that vision to life. xena will be a very different show made for very different reasons. there is no reason to bring back xena if it is not there for the purpose of fully exploring a relationship that could only be shown subtextually in first-run syndication in the 1990s. it will also express my view of the world – which is only further informed by what is happening right now – and is not too difficult to know what that is if you do some digging.

His passing reference to differing worldviews alludes to a minor kerfuffle among devotees of The 100 following the death of fan-favorite character Lexa, who was in a relationship with the also-female Clarke prior to her untimely demise. Fans cried foul and the choice to extinguish one of the small lights of hope for LGBTQ viewers on television, and Grillo-Marxuach has evidently heard their pleas loud and clear. This new series—the fate of which is still something of question mark, considering that NBC is still far from ordering it to series—will right past wrongs and placate the fans in one fell swoop. And best of all, it’ll provide young viewers with a hero with whom they can identify.

(15) DESPERATELY SEEKING MARVIN. Yahoo! News has the story: “Europe-Russia mission blasts off on hunt for life on Mars”.

One key goal of the Trace Gas Orbiter is to analyse methane, a gas which on Earth is created in large part by living microbes, and traces of which were observed by previous Mars missions.

“TGO will be like a big nose in space,” said Jorge Vago, ExoMars project scientist.

Methane, the ESA said, is normally destroyed by ultraviolet radiation within a few hundred years, which implied that in Mars’ case “it must still be produced today”.

TGO will analyse Mars’ methane in more detail than any previous mission, said ESA, in order to try to determine its likely origin.

(16) MARS ATTACKS GAME. Here’s a video demonstration of how to play Mars Attacks: The Dice Game by Steve Jackson Games. (If this really turns you on, there are four more videos about the game at the SJG site.)

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Mark-kitteh, Will R., Tom Galloway, Andrew Porter, and Michael J. Walsh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Iphinome.]

206 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/14/16 Pixels Gather And Now My Scroll Begins

  1. @Red Wombat: I’d want to make sure Xena wasn’t battling her way through the underworld to get Gabrielle back before I threw in the towel.

    That was honestly my first impression as well when this question first arose. I mean, I see it going something like this:

    Hermes: “So you go down this cavern, here. Don’t forget to keep playing this lyre, and remember on the way back, don’t look-”

    Xena: “AYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIIIIII!!!”

    Hermes: “…or you can just Leroy Jenkins your way through the Underworld. Gods, I don’t know why I even bother.”

  2. Isabel Cooper – that was pretty much my college experience as well. I don’t regret a minute of it.

    And the “I have a young, hot body again – hooray!” was one of the many things I liked about OMW. If I had a young, hot body again, I’d do EXACTLY what I did the first time I had one, only longer, louder and with even less discretion.

    But as an old now, one of the things I liked most was the narrator’s love for his wife. That, and the self deprecating humor – the older I get, the more of that I identify with. I bought the book right after it came out, and I’ve bought everything Scalzi’s published since then.

  3. @Rev. Bob

    On the one hand, I mentioned it. On the other hand, the thought is making my brain weep.

    @Steve Simmons

    Best thing CONvergence did several years ago was to badge the main parties area. It at least means the only debauchery is that the con goers bring with them, and defangs the concern trolls who want to shrink CVG back down to just them and their friends.

  4. I saw a tweet: Indiana Jones and the Crystal Hip Replacement.

    I suppose I would love another Last Crusade. But I suspect we’ll be getting Indiana Jones and the Crystal Temple of the Doomed Skull.

  5. @OGH: Your subconscious did it on purpose.

    I had “A Crown for Cold Silver” here but hadn’t read it. The first line has me very intrigued: “It was all going so nicely, right up until the massacre.”

    @Aaron: That does seem to be a common MO of the Puppies — insult other men by comparing them to women. Honestly, though, Gerrold’s got a way with insults, but only to people he likes. Now, if JCW was going for the double insult as Hampus suspected (termagant being now an insult to women, originally an insult to Muslims), that would also be par for the course. And mega-super-wow insulting to Gerrold, who’s both Jewish and gay, things which aren’t popular with radical Islam.

    “Go, tell the Spartans we followed their orders and they got an entire army killed. Great strategy and tactics, y’all. Please look after our underage boyfriends.”

    Plus, anyone who’s looked into it knows that battle was really won by the common men of the Athenian navy (serious capitalists, not professional soldiers), who invented democracy, kept their wives at home, and didn’t require pederasty.

    TYP is entirely correct about the US right-wing longing for authoritarianism. “Daddy, just tell me what to do.”

    von D: Badge name is what you want people to call you. Can be your legal name, but often is your nickname. So you could ask for “von Dimpleheimer”, I could have “lurkertype” in large friendly letters, etc. There are some people I’ve known for years, even decades that I’d have to think really hard to come up with their legal name, since I only see them online with handles and at cons with the same.

    Chip Hitchcock: you’re too generous Heh. Not something I hear often!

    Regarding OMW: TYP is also correct here. The proto-Puppies thought Scalzi was One Of Them, bringing jolly SWM from America out to the stars to kick ass gloriously and screw all the women. And then he went and made the American army the backwards hick guys who weren’t getting any of the benefits and in fact were in the dark that they were dying for the colonialism of foreigners. Betrayal! And then he blogs in favor of the poors, teh gheys, wimmins, PoC. Traitor!

    Are any Filers going to Silicon Valley Comic Con?

  6. Bruce A: I was going to bring up The Goblin Emperor, but you beat me to it. I was fully halfway thru my first reading before I felt reasonably comfortable about my grasp of the naming conventions, and it took nearly that long before my brain stopped trying to interpret the “Untheilenese Court” as the “Unseeleigh Court” — the latter at least being already familiar.

    In fact, I was sufficiently befuddled by the language issues to have devoted a couple of weeks to developing a glossary, in the hopes that it might be of assistance to others in the same predicament. (There is a list of characters and place names in the back of the book, but not a real glossary.)

    Also, having clicked thru to the source, I notice that one of her recommendations is Ancillary Justice — which, while it doesn’t have the same kind of language issues, definitely has some that take getting used to. Go figure.

  7. A Crown for Cold Silver is well-written and has some interesting characters, but it is very long, its pacing is glacial and there are a lot of dangling plot threads awaiting the next book.

  8. Item of interest to sf gamers – Stellaris is due out May 9th.

    I may reemerge from my room May 16th. Or not, depending on how much water I took in with me…

  9. Everyone here knows that Graydon’s third Commonwealth book, Stand and Deliver is out next month, right?

    While I’ll agree that Graydon has some things in common with what I’ve heard about Cherryh, I take exception to the idea that my problem with Cherryh’s writing is that I’m not willing to put effort into my reading. I’m willing to pay attention to dense prose. But, reading the prose has to be enjoyable enough to make that effort worthwhile; there is just something about the way that Cherryh strings her words together that makes reading it feel like slogging through mud. Any analysis that locates the problem at the level of plot and character is misguided: it’s at the deeper level of sentence and paragraph.

  10. @TYP: (brain weeps)

    The scary thing is, J.B. and I have been trying to turn a certain idea into a solid outline for a while now, and if a couple of the names got changed… Well, it’s an explicit story of two unsavory individuals and mental conditioning, it would probably serve the purpose rather well, and I’m leaving it at that.

    (The name change isn’t happening, though. One’s an established part of the setting, and the other has symbolic significance.)

  11. Apropos of absolutely nothing:

    Now! To go with such mainstream classics as “ATM machine” and “PIN number”, we have an entry from the world of fandom: the OTP pairing!

    Re: “Badge names”. I’m more used to seeing them referred to as “fan name”, but maybe someone thought that was too confusing? Of course, I’ve been using “Xtifr” for ages, but my brother, who just goes by his regular name, started putting “We don’t need no stinkin’ fan name” as his fan name for a while. And people started to call him that… 😀

  12. @Steve Simmons: the identities of the misbehavers are one of the debatable parts of that essay. One group of high school students was especially visible because they moved as a pack and not slowly, but the person who tried to run a cotton candy machine in their room was probably not a high-school student and I doubt the person insisting on his right to use the express-to-the-deluxe-level elevators to get to his room elsewhere was either. And we don’t know who let off the fire hose or the fire extinguisher.

  13. Unless Graydon’s changed the title, the new Commonweal book is Safely You Deliver. It continues with the same characters as in A Succession of Bad Days but with more points of view.

  14. Badging the party areas and carding people in parties seems to have gotten rid of the “random drunk college/high school student” problems at cons I go to. As long as you’re not sharing a hotel with an assemblage of adolescent jocks and the cheerleaders who love them. They’ll trash things and it will be blamed on the people in funny outfits, because Our Heroic Athlete Kids would NEVER do things like that. Seen that happen far too many times.

  15. @lurkertype: I’ll probably be at SVCC for a day. Amused that in their schedule (which is surprisingly horribly web designed) they list “Geek Match Game” sans any names of hosts or panelists, given the excellent version of same Kevin Standlee’s been doing for quite a while at Worldcons, Westercons, etc. I emailed Kevin about it, and as expected (their sample question was horrible), he’s got nothing to do with it.

    And just because I managed to bring it up, my own favorite answer from being a panelist on it. Kevin: “Vain Vera was so vain, she BLANK”, as he originally read it. When it came time to get our answers, it went Kevin: “Vain Vera was so vain…” Me: “She probably thinks this question’s about her, ’bout her, She’s so vain…” [singing]. Brought down the house.

  16. lurkertype, Sci-Con (bygone Hampton Roads, Virginia relaxacon) was blamed for the depradations of a soccer team one time, and for a wedding party another time. The convention was even informing the hotel of damage these parties were doing, and the hotel still tried to stick the con with the rap. The new hotel was better, though I missed being right on the beach.

  17. @James: On double-checking I find that you’re right and I’m wrong. Oops. Thanks for the correction.

  18. @Tom Galloway: Perhaps I’ll see you there, but since it’s much larger than the cons you and I usually attend, maybe not.* Anyhow, I got my wristband ready to go.

    That’s a truly great answer, BTW. Which for those of you who haven’t had the privilege of seeing one of Kevin’s Match Games (accept no substitute) is a big compliment.

    *If not, then at ye Escher Marriott?

  19. OUT OF ORDER:

    @Shao Ping: (groan) 😉

    @lurkertype: I also loved the first line of A Crown for Cold Silver! It took a more for me to buy it, but now I’m well on my way reading it.

    @Kip W: My first con (and only one for quite a while) was Sci-Con, while I was in college an hour or two away, lo’ these many years ago. Many people in a room (I slept in a chair) and a somewhat baffling experience for newbie me.

    @kathodus: The TBR pile is an ever-hungry beast (fantasy) or a self-replicating machine (SF) or a bottomless pit (horror) – take your pick!

    @kathodus & @Cally: Oh, I found it on Kobo (I thought I said that), but I couldn’t find much about the book anywhere, and the Kobo samples* appeared hosed. Taking another look – thanks for nudging me! – I see it’s just that the first couple of sample pages** are blank; going past those, I found the text! Whew, I’ll check it out. Also, many thanks for the additional description and sense of what his writing is like.

    * Amazon is/was my go-to sample site, which is why I mentioned them, but I do look elsewhere.

    ** His books are the first on Kobo I’ve seen like this. Usually “preview now” has the cover or text on the first sample page. I guess I’m easily confused. 😉

  20. P.S. There are iBooks/iTunes samples for Graydon Saunders’s books. Even better. I thought I looked for that already. Bleah, I’m batting a thousand this week.

  21. @RDF Indeed. I am friends with one of the people who work with Paradox, so whenever he tweets he’s playing with Stellaris, I gnash my teeth

  22. Lee on March 15, 2016 at 6:58 pm said:
    Bruce A: I was going to bring up The Goblin Emperor, but you beat me to it. I was fully halfway thru my first reading before I felt reasonably comfortable about my grasp of the naming conventions, and it took nearly that long before my brain stopped trying to interpret the “Untheilenese Court” as the “Unseeleigh Court” — the latter at least being already familiar.

    Try learning English as a foreign language. Just try it.
    She said bitterly.

    (That must be why I never had any problem with names, apart form the odd feeling of “Are we in Kansas or not then?” with ASOFAI).

  23. And in totally unrelated news, Scandinavian filers will be interested to know that in the increasingly nasty, brutal and cold land of Albion we have been treated to the Icelandic production Trapped, in the usual Subtitled Foreign Stuff slot.

    Quite apart from the fact that it is an outstanding drama equalled only by Happy Valley, Icelandic is a fascinating language, uncannily close to English and/or German when you have the subtitles on, and distant enough from other Scandinavia languages that when Danes and Icelanders speak they do it in AN AMAZINGLY FLUENT AND SOPHISTICATED ENGLISH.

    What is it with Scandinavians? Or Slavs for that matter? do they just need to pass by a window through a room where somebody speak a foreign language to acquire the whole syntax and vocabulary by osmosis, or something?

    But back to Icelandic, or as it is known among linguists, I understand, Old Norse: it is a very beautiful language.

  24. I’ve had the great pleasure of hearing Eleanor Arnason reciting in Icelandic. Beautiful indeed.

  25. @Lois. I’ve met Eleanor, even been on multiple convention panels with her, but never heard her read her work in Icelandic. Coolness!

  26. @Lurkertype

    Really, badging the parties can’t go wrong. The normals can’t blame the weird for the property destruction; the concert trolls can’t blame the normals for the havoc wrought by “people who were just having a rough patch/product of a different time/really good people under it all” and argue for cutting the con down to the “right” people (they and their friends).

    At CVG, it’s been said that the parties department will look past multiple code violations for party rooms that never make an IDing mistake. I’m not sure about the truth of that, but is sounds plausible.

    @Rev Bob

    Shine on, and certainly don’t take lurkertype’s (very accurate) condensation of my view of the right’s authoritarianism as a guide.

    @RDF

    Paradox in space? That’s good enough to get my money.

  27. Paul – it was a long time ago, but my memory says she was reciting lines of a saga, not her own work.

    The ties to the roots of English echo faintly but distinctly.

  28. @aaron @Laura. Nonsense! Theodore Beale is a +2 sigma intelligence super genius, so he must be, ipso facto, the Wright thing to stick it to the evil SJWs.

  29. Has Mr Day finished his list now, having reached Best Novel, or did he skip some things?

  30. Has Mr Day finished his list now, having reached Best Novel, or did he skip some things?

    I believe he has finished, but I don’t care enough to double check to make sure.

    Given the blandness of his picks, I think there may be no more candy left inside him.

  31. @Laura Resnick: It’s a slate. As long as the Dead Elk get the titles by the end of the month, it’s fine. It’s not like they’re actually going to READ the stuff. He could put it out two days before the deadline and still get his suckers to nominate.

    @Aaron: We can but hope there’s no candy left in him. I won’t declare that till we see the nominations. I think it might be a relief to the sooper genyus if he doesn’t have to whip the dead elk into line this summer so he can spend all his time sucking up to Cheeto Mussolini and sending the suckers to rallies to beat up SJWs. There’s a much better RoI on that, after all — obscure literary genre award vs. Presidential campaign.

  32. Andrew M: Mr. Day has promised a big surprise in the near future. So who knows?

  33. I’m not going to consider anything less than Teddy becoming a woman to be a “big surprise” at this point, frankly.

  34. @lurkertype: I’m not going to consider anything less than Teddy becoming a woman to be a “big surprise” at this point, frankly

    I’d accept his moving to Mars as long as it’s a good solid plan as a big surprise.

  35. @Tasha: Nah, that would require him doing something worthwhile and working hard, which he’s never done in his entire life.

    I miiiiiight consider him retiring to a monastery with irrevocable vows of poverty, chastity, and silence and no Internet a big surprise. Or if he came out as gay (and a bottom). Or if he went whole-hog socialist or Communist (two different things).

    I’d also consider it somewhat of a surprise if he returned to his beloved USA, stopped being a remittance man, and had enough balls to face the IRS/Feds.

    But nah. It’s not a truly BIG surprise unless he announces he’s been working on a transition to female, changes his name (legally or informally), insists on being called “she” or other non-male pronoun, maybe some noticeable hormone effects. Pics or it didn’t happen.

  36. “What is it with Scandinavians? Or Slavs for that matter? do they just need to pass by a window through a room where somebody speak a foreign language to acquire the whole syntax and vocabulary by osmosis, or something?”

    Not true. Danes have a problem with their language and can’t even understand themselves. They need help. Please think of the danes.

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