Pixel Scroll 8/15 “Ward, I’m Worried About the Marmot”

The editor fails to hide how ornery all this Puppy news makes him, in today’s Scroll.

(1) D23 is this weekend and attendees received this Drew Struzan poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s a souvenir edition — Struzan will create another primary poster for the film.

star_wars_poster_full_0_0 COMP

(2) Just in time for WorldCon, “Tragedy of the Goats”, Francis Hamit’s epic story about, sex, security,and science fiction Fandom. Download it to your Kindle today and read it on the plane. (No puppies were harmed in this production.)

tragedy of the goats

(3) Spokane Public Radio devoted about three minutes to “Worldcon Brings Science Fiction and Hugo Awards to Spokane”

Tom Whitmore, head of publicity, spoke to me over Skype and explained the twist in this year’s awards. Normally their 10,000 members nominate freely, but this year two writers groups formed a coalition to lobby for certain scifi works.

Whitmore: “And they were very successful in getting the nominations out there. This was not against any of the rules, it’s just not what’s been done in the past, it was against social norms.”

Hugo Awards recognize science fiction works, as voted on by Worldcon members.

And, he says, it has upset a lot of other members. Critics say these writer groups want to make the nominees more homogenous like the genre used to be, ie: winners would be less diverse.

That doesn’t sit well with one very-well known, award winning female writer. Vonda McIntyre will be a guest author at the convention.

McIntyre: “The most amazing writer going when I first started was Samuel R. Delaney…”

A science fiction writer who’s black, and gay.

And who’s named Delany.

(4) If Tom Knighton hadn’t titled his post “Why I no longer care” it would be easier to focus on his actual point:

I read for fun.  If I want to challenge myself, I read non-fiction.  I’m a damn political writer.  I challenge myself daily.  I read fiction for fun, and it’s not your place to suggest I challenge myself in what I do for pleasure.  It’s not anyone’s place.

The truth is that those books I’m told I should challenge myself over are books I don’t want to read.  I don’t care how it handles homosexuality.  I care whether it tells a good story and whether I’ll like the protagonists.  Now, if those protagonists are homophobic, I’m 99 percent sure I won’t like them.  I don’t need to be told that the protagonists are gay, straight, trans, or whatever.  That’s not pertinent to my interests.  Whether the story is fun, is.

Somewhere along the line, folks got hung up on sex and sexuality.  It’s pretty annoying.

However, it’s become clear that for some people, a book’s “message” is vital.  Even books from bygone eras aren’t safe from being dissected for their social message rather than their story.

I’ve been one of those trying to argue that message fiction was a bad idea.  I still think it is.  But now, I just don’t care what those folks do.

(5) George R.R. Martin pre-interprets how any of several possible Campbell Awards winners will be an early sign of how the wind is blowing on Hugo night.

If Wesley Chu takes the Campbell, as he should, I think we will be in for a fairly reasonable night in Spokane. There will be some winners from the slates, and some categories will go the No Award, but most of the rockets will actually go to deserving work. If Chu wins, I think the vast majority of the fans in the auditorium will be more happy than not by night’s end.

If No Award wins, however… if No Award takes the Campbell, it will represent a huge and ominous victory for the “nuclear option,” for the faction of fandom that wants to destroy the village in order to save it. A victory by No Award in this category will signify that the voters decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and will likely betoken a long ugly night ahead, with category after category going to No Award. Myself, I think this unlikely. I think the hardcore “vote No Award on everything” voters are a small (if noisy) minority. But I could be wrong. It could happen.

And what if one of the four Puppy finalists takes the tiara?

That would represent a victory for the Puppies, certainly. But even there, certain distinctions should be made. Rolf Nelson was a candidate of the Rabids, but not the Sads. A victory by Nelson would be a singular triumph for Teddy Beale and the most extreme elements of Puppydom… and could suggest even worse results ahead, up to and including VD actually winning one or both of the Editing Hugos for which he is nominated.

Kary English, on the other hand, represents a much more moderate side of Puppydom. Though initially put forward by both the Sad and Rabid slates, VD later dropped her and removed her from his suggested ballot entirely when English put up a couple of blog posts that distanced herself from the Puppy party line.

(6) Miles Schneiderman of YES! Magazine joins the ranks of finger-waggers who haven’t bothered to learn how to spell “Torgersen” in his widely-linked critique “Sad Puppies, Rabid Chauvinists: Will Raging White Guys Succeed in Hijacking Sci-Fi’s Biggest Awards?”

In other words, Torgerson seems to think there are merely a handful of science fiction and fantasy stories worth anyone’s time: the ones that are just plain fun. People don’t want uncomfortable ideas or unorthodox characters; they just want “a rip-roaring good story” full of “broad-chested heroes” with “pioneering derring-do” who, of course, “run off with beautiful women.” Anything else is false advertising, tricking the unsuspecting reader into a story with complicated messages and cultural commentary, when all they wanted was escapist adventure. Torgerson’s version of “old school” speculative fiction seems to be primarily for and about men. Get out of our treehouse, girls! We’re playing space pirates. Didn’t you see the sign?

Not only does this view denigrate women, it denigrates fans of speculative fiction. In fact, it disrespects the entire genre by negating the value of any story element that doesn’t contribute to the reader’s entertainment high. As the Canadian journalist Jeet Heer points out, “the faux-populism of the Puppy brigade is actually insulting to the right, since it assumes that conservatives can’t be interested in high culture.” The Puppy movement is anti-intellectual at its core, and thus anathema to the genre it seeks to redefine.

(7) Jugger Grimrod (would I kid you?) says the butcher’s bill at the Hugos won’t be as bad as you’ve heard, on Silence Is A Weapon.

Everyone says the Hugos will survive, and I tend to agree. I think the Puppy voters will get tired of throwing away their money in the name of making whatever statement they’re trying to make. They will also have a harder time maintaining the charade that their campaign is about anything other than self-promotion, because after this year there will be fewer neutral parties willing to appear on any slate. The nomination rules will probably be changed to make slates less effective, although I’m afraid that will make the whole process more confusing and could scare some potential nominators away. In the long run this will mostly be forgotten, but in the short term it probably means that at least two WorldCons are going to have their Hugos basically invalidated, and I don’t like that they have to make that sacrifice. In my opinion the harassment policy should be invoked against the Puppy organizers and they should be banned from the convention and disqualified from the awards on that basis. I get that the Hugo organizers won’t do this, they would argue that the integrity of the awards depends on strict adherence to the bylaws, not arbitrary decisions by administrators. I could make some counter arguments but I don’t want to go down that road right now. I will just say that when a group has a stated goal of disrupting the awards, it wouldn’t bother me at all if they were barred from participating.

(8) Brianne Reeves breaks down the Antonelli story from a politicial perspective in “Let’s Talk about the Hugo Awards (Now with more libertarianism!)”.

Most recently, a false police report was filed by a Hugo nominee against another, leading to a full WorldCon investigation and the nominee’s work being rejected from a magazine. In the fall out, death threats and harassment ensued. We’ll be talking a little bit about this. For the full background on the story, you can see some of the posts I’ll link below.

While the “victim” of the false police report has accepted Lou Antonelli’s apologies, the actions of Antonelli haven’t ceased to have consequences. Antonelli’s actions in particular aren’t really what I want to talk about. I’m going to be addressing the actions we have seen in our community more broadly. It feels a bit ridiculous that I should even have to do this; these behaviors are far from common. Unfortunately, they’ve insinuated themselves into our world.

I’m approaching much of this from a more libertarian perspective. This is for a few reasons (1) I think that a libertarian discourse about rights and the role of the state is fitting for the behaviors we have seen in this community; and (2) I think that a discourse about positive and negative rights is a broadly applicable approach for the rhetoric that accompanies the behaviors we have seen recently.

I believe Lou Antonelli acted on impulse, not in furtherance of either well- or poorly-considered libertarian principles, though Reeves’ post was interesting to me just the same.

(9) Marcus Bales’ poetic comment appears on Blog, Jvstin Style:

Ballade of Sad Puppies

[first of four verses]

Who knows within what hidden garret
Vox Day scribes his sexist rant,
or why Correia tries to parrot
his vicious views with careless cant,
or Torgerson begins to prate
of how their work has been ignored
providing cover for their slate
behind his merited award;
they’re powered by their privileged fear.
Oh, where are the pros of yesteryear?

(10) I often search Twitter for File 770 references but rarely for Glyer. It seems I have missed a few gems as a result.

[Thanks to redheadedfemme and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cubist .]

544 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/15 “Ward, I’m Worried About the Marmot”

  1. Mark on August 17, 2015 at 8:29 am said:
    Most of all, Hoyt herself graduated from one of the best universities in Portugal with an excellent European reputation. I don’t get her point.

    Seems to me to be a variant of “Brad Torgersen has high standards for other people’s conduct.”

  2. @nickpheas: That’s rec.humor.funny. And you are slandering Brad Templeton: the average level of posts that I remember from reading that group makes Wisdom From My Internets look like the US Tax Code.

  3. Rail on August 17, 2015 at 11:46 am said:

    Most towns no longer accept names that are too much like existing street names; they learned quickly how confusing that is for emergency operators.

    My father’s friend, when working for a city agency in Boston, found a small unnamed back alley and officially named it for himself, giving it his surname and the designator “Boulevard”. My town has six roads named “Brattle”: Court, Drive, Lane, Place, Street, and Terrace, all very near each other. The “Park” roads, conversely, are all over town: Park Ave and Park Ave Extension are colinear, and Park Circle is off of Park Ave, but Park Place, Park Street, and Park Terrace are nowhere near each other. I live near Davis Rd, and only once in the 30+ years we’ve been here have I encountered someone near here lost looking for Davis Ave (3 miles away).
    We own a second house in a small town in New Hampshire, which installed Enhanced 911 for emergency services, and part of that process included rationalizing the street names, and naming streets which didn’t have formal names. The list had to be sent to the state capital for approval, and they disallowed any confusing duplications of that sort.

  4. Just got alerted to the bracketing discussion here. Please feel free to go ahead!

    Honestly, I don’t think my permission is at all needed; I don’t own bracketing. But if it matters to you, a TV bracket would be one I’d be extremely unlikely to do anyway.

  5. There are streets named Lois Lane in at least six cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts.

  6. Any discussion of U.S. Place names from the 19th century on really needs to consider the impact of both the U.S. Board on Geographic Names and (especially, in my opinion) the U.S. Post Office. It’s a lot more complicated than just “Ooh! Let’s name our town after Shakespeare’s Juliet!” . . . which was, by the way, the original name of the town of Joliet, Illinois (then changed to Romeo, then back to Joliet, or something like that, and still located near the town of Romeoville).

    And, also for what it’s worth, by the 19th century, Shakespeare’s reputation has gone far, far beyond the “he was a popular dramatist who pleased the groundlings.”

  7. Wonder if there are subdivisions in the UK somewhere that have Doctor Who related names?

    I dont’ know. But there’s one in San Jose (California) with Tolkien related names. (And there is no way that I’d voluntarily live on Angmar.)

  8. @ the ongoing PoI discussion

    If we’re discussing things that make one grit their teeth and just try and move past it… the car crashes. Oy, the car crashes that they all just get up and walk away from, sometimes with a few scratches. Even car crashes off of highway ramps down several stories and landing on the roof. Out stalk Reese and Shaw.

    Seriously, the constant terrible no-injury car crashes ruin my day.

  9. Since it’s been two days since Martin Wisse dropped by to call me either stupid or dishonest, I will just note here that he hasn’t returned to clarify what about his post on Antonelli/RH I misrepresented or misunderstood. I will therefore assume – as can everyone else – that I was dead right about his position and that Wisse was just using personal abuse to persuade people to ignore my comment.

    A tactic, I will also note, is something his pet author, Miss Hate, is extremely fond of.

    On best SFF TV Show – Greatest American Hero, of course!

  10. @Gabriel F, I can live with no-injury car crashes if it’s modern vehicles, in only moderate-speed crashes, which are equipped with airbags, and everyone’s wearing a seatbelt. (Yes, I know. Bruising, maybe broken ribs… but I can live with it.)

    …But then the car catches fire! Because all modern cars catch fire! when they’re in a fender-bender. And probably blow up! (…funny how the NTSB hasn’t required a recall of all those vehicles with flashpaper upholstery….)

  11. Gabriel F. on August 17, 2015 at 1:34 pm said:
    @ the ongoing PoI discussion

    If we’re discussing things that make one grit their teeth and just try and move past it… the car crashes. Oy, the car crashes that they all just get up and walk away from, sometimes with a few scratches. Even car crashes off of highway ramps down several stories and landing on the roof. Out stalk Reese and Shaw.

    Seriously, the constant terrible no-injury car crashes ruin my day.

    Cassy B on August 17, 2015 at 1:39 pm said:
    @Gabriel F, I can live with no-injury car crashes if it’s modern vehicles, in only moderate-speed crashes, which are equipped with airbags, and everyone’s wearing a seatbelt. (Yes, I know. Bruising, maybe broken ribs… but I can live with it.)

    …But then the car catches fire! Because all modern cars catch fire! when they’re in a fender-bender. And probably blow up! (…funny how the NTSB hasn’t required a recall of all those vehicles with flashpaper upholstery….)

    Back during the press junket for Crash (the adaptation of the Ballard story, not the RASCISM IS BAD one), Cronenberg had many stories of people coming up to him after test screenings and complaining about the “realism” of his car crashes – because people got too badly hurt and the cars didn’t explode.

  12. Cronenberg had many stories of people coming up to him after test screenings and complaining about the “realism” of his car crashes – because people got too badly hurt and the cars didn’t explode.

    One of the myths perpetuated by Hollywood is that car accidents are more exciting and not nearly as dangerous as they actually are. One wonders how enthusiastic people would be about car travel if movies and television portrayed them more accurately.

  13. For the longest time, MapQuest showed a “Deep Space Rd” near us, causing me no end of consternation that we hadn’t looked for a property on it when we were buying.

    Alas, driving past the alleged location of the street in question brought me to the conclusion that it was a Trap Street. 🙁

  14. I came across a place in Cork city called Bothair An Poill Dubh, which, directly translated, means Black Hole Road.

  15. @Cars blowing up

    This was lampshaded massively in Burn Notice, where it was noted that that doesn’t happen in real life. They would then use lashings of C4 to get them to blow up anyway. PoI is not above using “rule of cool” sometimes too though, see Reese bullrushing some poor mook out a third floor window and using him to break his fall. Plausible? no Awesome? Hell yes.

    Amazed no one has mentioned Bear yet, especially his Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/beardehond

  16. IanP on August 17, 2015 at 2:19 pm said:
    @Cars blowing up

    This was lampshaded massively in Burn Notice, where it was noted that that doesn’t happen in real life. They would then use lashings of C4 to get them to blow up anyway. PoI is not above using “rule of cool” sometimes too though, see Reese bullrushing some poor mook out a third floor window and using him to break his fall. Plausible? no Awesome? Hell yes.

    Burn Notice was frequently fun TV because of stuff like that. On a similar note I was stuck in a hotel while on a training course a few months back and ended up watching the movie of 21 Jump Street, which did non-exploding cars to great humourous effect (and then they blew up a car minutes into the sequel)

  17. The car crashes in 80s TV (including 21 Jump Street IIRC) were usually of the non-exploding variety but heavily dependent on strategically hidden ramps. Cars would fly straight up in the air for no apparent reason and then tumble or land on the roof. Cut to a quick shot of people crawling out or banging on the steering wheel in frustration at the good guys’ getting away. I think at some point there was a “family viewing hour” standard that said that you had to make it clear that people didn’t die in early prime time (8-9 pm) shows like The A-Team. Guns were fired hundreds of times and cars crashed everywhere but you always saw people jumping free or crawling out. Unless the car goes over a cliff and rolls over and over and over into a ravine, in which case it definitely explodes.

    Real life data point: I was hit *hard* at an intersection 2 years ago this month by fleeing robbers in a (stolen) minivan. Airbags deployed, car was totaled, and I walked away without a scratch. Though a little dazed and memory of moments immediately after are patchy, I apparently jumped out of the car and began directing traffic (such as there was at 430 AM) around my car because all the flashers and lights went out and it was hard to see in a curve. I saw the car in the city lot later and it’s pretty amazing the way modern cars basically commit suicide to preserve the passenger compartment. The front end is completely demolished and a tire (one of the vans) was so wedged under the car that it was still there when I saw it in the lot.

    Looking at that car after the wreck was my Danny Glover moment, in which I thought, “I’m too old for this shit.” and began plotting my escape from my current career. I have one year to go but at least I’m behind a desk most of the time these days.

    Also, of all the many, many wrecks I’ve seen, I’ve seen no explosions and only a handful of fires, generally which started independently of any wreck. Mostly it’s a loud flat bang and a lot of hissing as every bit of fluid vomits out of the front end.

    The one really impressive fire I’ve ever seen was a tractor trailer which ran over a mattress that was on the roadway. The mattress wedged under the trailer and was dragged along the road, and the friction caught the mattress, which in turn caught the trailer. The driver pulled over, was able to unhitch the tractor and pull it down the shoulder a bit. He and the tractor were okay. The trailer and its load (lots and lots of chocolate bars!) were totaled. Oh, so was the mattress.

  18. cmm, wow! (and congrats on surviving that crash). When I see men tooling around in some gawdawful ‘classic’ car, polished to the nines, I wonder if they realise they are riding in a death trap compared to modern vehicles – no crumple zones, no padded interiors, hard edges which can decapitate a passenger and so on.

    I bet the stink from that tractor fire was foul – burning chocolate is the worst.

    See, this kind of comment is so much more interesting than the nonsense the trolls spout. I learn from people like cmm telling me their real life experiences.

  19. One of the myths perpetuated by Hollywood is that car accidents are more exciting and not nearly as dangerous as they actually are.

    The prime myth perpetuated by Hollywood is that everything is more exciting than it is in real life.

  20. @cmm:

    I can recall growing very cynical when in GI Joe cartoons, bad guys’ airplanes would explode … and then we would see parachutes opening up to demonstrate that no one was killed.

    And when the “Dragon Ball” cartoons were imported, huh, I’m thinking in the ’90s, and people who had clearly just been killed, lying still on the ground, without their lips moving would moan “that smarts.” (That same show had a character horrendously defeated — killed, obviously — and transported to “another dimension” where red people with horns and tails and hooves and, I think pitchforks wore camp counsellor t-shirts which said “HELL”, except the American animation company had drawn wobbly bars over the letters to turn them into “HFIL” and had the red people refer to the place as the “Home for Infinite Losers”.)

  21. @ Ian

    Amazed no one has mentioned Bear yet, especially his Twitter feed:

    Hah! I have a friend who trains dogs for a living and she has a beautiful Dutch Shepherd bitch that does schutzhund, agility, dock-diving, obedience… she does it all and she’s fantasically nice. The moment I saw Bear I called my friend and just squeed to her about the gorgeous Malinois on my TV screen!

  22. @IanP – Your comment (Reese bullrushing out a window and a separate mention of Bear) reminds me that when Bear turned up I identified him as Ace the Bat Hound. This was the clue that led me to realise that one or more versions of Batman lurks in POI’s ancestry.

    Which also reminds me of the least realistic thing about the show; a vigilante stalking the streets of New York is given the nickname “The man in the suit”? Please, my disbelief will only supend so far.

    (If I were a tabloid reporter/paranoid urban legend blogger then I would have called him either “The well-dressed man”, or “Wall Street Avenger” depending on what rumours reached me in what order. Fusco does better than “man in the suit” every other episode.)

  23. Also once upon a time a car crashed into a concrete post at the corner of my street. When I got to a window to see, the people inside had got out, seemingly uninjured and other people came to help. Then smoke started coming from the car, everyone scattered and it burst into magnificent flames. First time I had to call the emergency services.

    Everyone walked away and the car burnt to a wreck (with a few pops and bangs) in the very few minutes it took the fire engine to get there.

  24. Near where I grew up in upstate NY, in my first job we occasionally had help lost truckers sort out the difference between the towns of Owego, Oswego, Otsego, and Otego. I wonder how many people are blindly following their GPS to the wrong place these days…

  25. peace is my middle name:

    GI Joe was the absolute nadir for that (though I have not seen Dragonball Z, which sounds pretty bad for that “it’s ok kids, everyone lives!” Approach)

    OTOH when I was in kindergarten I was a big Speed Racer fan (I told my teacher that I was going to marry him…fan girl from birth apparently!) and watched it every afternoon. I didn’t see it for years and yeas and then caught it again when MTV was running it in the mid 90s or so and was pretty shocked how often Speed wins races by running other cars off the road when the road is on a cliff. No one jumps out. The cars always explode. I remember saying to my roommate, “holy crap, Speed Racer is a mass murderer!” Yet I watched it daily as a little kid and remain (mostly) unwarped.

  26. ARGH! Take 3 on this comment.

    I’ve thought before that if I but had the talents, the contacts and the budget, I’d do a film showing a Hollywood car chase – intercut with the emergency services, the injuries, surgeries, family and friends waiting. Some of funeral arrangements and some of physical therapy…

  27. Amoxtli’s entire brilliant comment on literacy and Latin and Shakespeare YAY

    THANK YOU! *kisses your hands and feet* **would offer to have internet babees but does not like babees* **but might make an exception for you**

    OMG, one of the ongoing Facebook memes I hate so fucking much is the “in blah blah 19th century, high school students learned Latin; today they don’t even know English blah blah.”

    People post it, go all Golden Age Nostalgic, and I tear my hair out and post statistics and yell about EXACTLY what you said: he main thing about 19th century educations was how few people had one. Only about 55-60% of children went to school at all, and only about 7% of children had more than primary school education. Most people didn’t stay in school long enough to get to the point where they’d encounter Shakespeare in their primers. Basic literacy for most of the population, and not even at a very high level, was a huge national achievement in the 19th century. .

    Industrialism and a changing economy were one of the causes behind the push for increased literacy (medievalist HISTORIAN also threatens to go medieval to the medieval lit people who are all about how the various protestant reformers wanting to publish the Bible in the vernacular were a grass-roots movement because CHAUCER–when Chaucer hung out with the freaking nobility, and when the literacy rate in England, in the cities, MAYBE, was something like 5%–I don’t remember numbers well so don’t vouch for my accuracy here).

    Print literacy as large cultural goal RECENT people! (ANd that’s how SFF developed, fer crying out loud–ONE of the genres in the pulps which were being devoloped for the masses in the U.S. — but by an immigrant let us remember).

  28. @Ann Somerville

    Of course Greatest American Hero is the best sci fi show. It has Greatest AND American right in the title! What more need be said? 😛

    On the general TV topic – a favorite:

    Ijon Tichy – Raumpilot

    http://youtu.be/xO9ppicjlFg

    Wish there were more English subtitled episodes… (Or I spoke German)

  29. Lenora Rose — I always thought a story about insurance adjusters in a world where superheroes have apocalyptic battles on the regular (like the infamous trashing of NYC in The Avengers) would be fun…and just like crime scene cleanup is a lucrative business niche, superhero battle cleanup would be too.

    Speaking of crazy frustrating inaccuracies, I re watched the first X-Men movie over the weekend. For being 15 years old, it holds up pretty well. But the opening scene with Jean Gray speaking to a room full of politicos had me scratching my head. If it’s a speech, why is it okay for the Senator guy to interrupt and berate her? If it is a Congressional hearing, as the interaction as well as the shots of Charles Xavier viewing from a balcony imply, then why is she standing at a podium in a lecture hall setup rather than sitting at a table facing a line of Congresspeople across the back wall of the room? We’ve seen enough televised Congressional hearings (not to mention many seasons of The West Wing) to know how this is supposed to look…

  30. @Ray Radlein: (“Deep Space Rd” MIA)

    It probably got sucked into a wormhole…

    @Lenora Rose: “I’d do a film showing a Hollywood car chase – intercut with the emergency services, the injuries, surgeries, family and friends waiting. Some of funeral arrangements and some of physical therapy…”

    One of the Austin Powers movies did something like that with henchman deaths. (At least, they wanted to; I think I’m remembering deleted scenes.)

    @cmm: “I always thought a story about insurance adjusters in a world where superheroes have apocalyptic battles on the regular (like the infamous trashing of NYC in The Avengers) would be fun…and just like crime scene cleanup is a lucrative business niche, superhero battle cleanup would be too.”

    Marvel’s done it at least three times, not even counting any mentions in She-Hulk’s legal career.

    Re: street names

    Lookout Mountain, of “See Rock City” fame, has a zone where all the streets are named for fairy tales. Those who live there uniformly pronounce the area’s name much like “furraland” despite it being spelled “Fairyland.” This is considerably more interesting, IMO, than the phenomenon of downtown Atlanta, where all the major roads seem to be named Peachtree.

  31. @Cmm

    Not quite insurance, but Marvel had an on-again off-again background team called Damage Control, which was a firm specialising in post-superhero battle clean-up. They’ve not been seen recently, though I think they were somehow terribly shoehorned into the Civil War crossover a few years back. I may be confusing that with something else though.

    The Netflix Daredevil series actually had the post-Avengers Battle of New York reconstruction boom as a background storyline – various criminal enterprises were vying to take advantage of it.

    ETA: ahhh, ninja’d by the good Rev!

  32. I created the “Guild of Trap Resetters” for a D&D game once. They’re the ones who fix everything after the adventurers are gone.

  33. Cmm,

    Do us all a favour and on your last day, avoid another trope by caling in sick.

  34. Do us all a favour and on your last day, avoid another trope by caling in sick.

    ObLigatory:

  35. snowcrash:
    Believe me, I’ve had that thought. Used to be you could burn all your accumulated sick time before you “officially” retired but we would have retirees on the payroll for a year after their last day at work so they did away with that. I’ll still be sure to use any leave I have on the books before I go, though! No one will quite know when my last day is til it happens…

  36. @Neil
    Given Nolan’s involvement the batman parallels are unavoidable. It verges on a deconstruction, blended with Neuromancer. Fusco’s nicknames are great, Cocoa Puffs for Root being one of my favorites.

    I once saw a car catch fire a couple of hundred yards after pulling out of the petrol station I was working at. No apparent reason, mechanic grabbed a powder extinguisher and managed to get it out but the engine was a mess. So I’ve never had an issue with crashes causing fires.

  37. Driving a big ol’ Sprinter van to LA this summer, just a bit past the point on the Grapevine (on I-5) where it starts going downhill, I noticed what my brain processed as some workers in the median pouring fresh tar (lots of black smoke). My friend in the passenger seat suddenly exclaimed “That’s moving!” and I realized what I was seeing was a semi-truck going the opposite direction smashing through the median and crossing into our lane. The trailer “caterpillared” as the truck blasted through the median. While I was trying to figure out which way to dodge (couldn’t tell if the truck was going to jacknife) the truck blew through three (four?) lanes of traffic, hit the opposite embankment, and the driver jumped out and hauled ass down the highway (presumably to get the hell away from his possibly-exploding semi). Nobody got hurt. Missed us by maybe 50 feet. Missed a couple cars in front of us by… a couple feet? Not sure. Everybody just drove on. Lots of “whoas” throughout the van, then about 5 minutes down the road what had just happened hit us and we pulled over for a data processing/coffee/cigarette break.

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