Iskaral Pust

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  1. Which character did Salome Sandwich play? I remember her on the board.
  2. Best wishes to LoB, and to his family enduring a terrible wait.
  3. Just finished S6. I've been watching episodes during flights for business travel. My too-late-to-matter summation is: - no problem with the ending. Nothing ambiguous at all. I can see why the audience wanted to see the event rather than "experience" it, but that approach was heavily foreshadowed. In the final scene, the audience feels huge tension while Tony relaxes and lowers his guard. - the whole show leaned heavily on mental health, almost too preachy. Tony, Christopher, AJ, even Junior and Vito's repression. When Carmela basically accuses Tony of self-indulgence, it's her fatigue rather than any suggestion that it's really just malingering (as Tony suggests himself early on but then becomes woke so the viewer knows how they should think). - pretty much all of the characters were scum. Even the relatively innocent ones like Adrianna and Meadow were still complicit enablers. I thought the show made it clear that Carmela was even worse than that -- her money-grabbing becomes central to her character. It's also clear just how much law-abiding, working stiffs suffer from these asshole parasites; not at all glorifying the lifestyle. - the show also works as a screed against toxic masculinity and conservative patriarchy.
  4. I've had a better run these past few days. Saturday: bench press, pull-downs, cable row, etc. Strong session. Sunday: no time for the gym for legs day so substituted lots of sets of body weight squats/jumps as I manned the outdoor grill on our rooftop. Monday: after work I got back to the gym for shoulder press, pull-ups, etc. Tuesday: evening session of rowing at a gentle pace, 2 x 2km in 8:30 and 8:35. Now I'm traveling Wednesday and Thursday but I brought along swim gear to hopefully get some time in the hotel pool either tonight or tomorrow morning.
  5. I received from my tailor a few weeks ago delivery of my new suit. This one is a mid/light grey with blue micro stripe and a jewel-toned, purplish lining, in a lighter (10-11oz) summer-weight fabric of a wool/silk blend. Cut is the same as my other business suits: 2B single-breasted, double vented, soft shoulder, high armhole, slight waist suppression, notch lapel 2.5 inches. Very pleased with it. I also bought some casual clothes. My old casual shirts are all too tight across my chest now, so I bought some replacements from Untuckit. That's my first experience with that retailer. I like the overall cut/style for untucked casual wear with jeans, although the slim-fit large could use some darts to taper it more. I also bought some replacement jeans to replace two worn pairs, same brand and style as before: 7 For All Mankind, Austyn and Carsen. Only problem is that the Austyn style is now looser/wider in the leg, so they drape more and hang slightly too long. My dry-cleaner can make the alteration to take in the leg length. I need to buy some T-shirts too. My old ones are similarly too tight in the chest now (I look like I'm going to burst through the fabric). I think I'll get some from Quiksilver. I really liked the cotton fabric on the ones I bought when I was last in Hawaii. They sell on-line. And some casual shorts are needed. My wife said my current ones are out of style. I can't say I noticed but I'll take her word for it.
  6. I hate the thought of any attempt to undermine public education. OTOH, public education in the US has become such a political football that I don't see how it can hope to escape partisan interference. Higher education has become a captive market without price controls and is feeding a huge debt bubble that will drag on generations y/z/alpha for decades. K-12 education is being made responsible for addressing inequality in life outcomes when the vast majority of the inequality stems from the parents' socio-economic situation and cannot be effectively redressed by schools. The political wish for equality among students -- equality in outcome rather than opportunity -- means tracking by ability remains verboten in public schools, so parents of relatively gifted or just ambitious students feel compelled to game the system through private/charter/magnet schools to escape the left half of the bell curve. Teachers are a significant political lobby, heavily partisan, and preferred above students in the bureaucracy. And, most fundamentally of all, K-12 education is captive to the wider self-segregation within our society that reinforces local micro-cultures; it's not just AP classes vs. gang affiliations, it's also creationism vs. secularism, etc -- even if local* property taxes were not used for education, wealthy & educated parents would still cluster together and confer huge advantage on their children just by being wealthy and educated. So education policy has been used as a channel for competing political dogma, and has lately been stuck in the liberal trap that we can fix all of society's problems through "better" schools, which is then exploited by insiders, whether the teacher's union, administrators, for-profit owners, student debt providers, etc. Once you've become one of the biggest political footballs in the country, you have to expect that you'll be kicked back and forth as the political balance shifts. *FWIW, the exorbitant property taxes and state income tax paid by me and all of my neighbors are used to fund schools throughout Chicago, which is effectively a transfer to the poorer part of the city who pays very little in any kind of tax. So even though we don't have localized school funding, unlike the suburbs, the public schools in the wealthy neighborhoods are still vastly better than in the poor neighborhoods. It's the quality of the student and their preparation by parents that matters most, not the funding to the schools.
  7. @mormont so glad your daughter is ok. That must be a sickening, terrifying experience for a parent. And my heart goes out to all the other parents waiting for calls from kids tonight, some of whom will receive devastating news.
  8. Agreed, this season is a bit limp. Not terrible, but not quite firing. For me, S1 was even better than S2.
  9. I agree with that. Simply having every cup game settled in a single leg, by penalties if needed (no extra time), would reduce the logjam of games in January. Of course, I'd also like to remove the mid-season international breaks and have those games all concentrated in late May and June instead. There's lot of potential to streamline the domestic season and improve player fitness and health (or at least non-injury).
  10. I think the PL teams do suffer in the CL from more games (domestic cups) and greater physical intensity in the domestic games -- severity of tackles, distance run, # of sprints, etc -- without having any supporting data, just the observations of managers new to the PL. However, I think PL teams suffer much more in the CL from their fundamental reliance on athleticism and intensity over technical ability -- harking back to the English vs Scottish versions of soccer in the early decades of the game. John Terry, IMO, deserves some sympathy here. He needed to follow #FullKitWanker, but sequels are tough. He needed to go bigger but also keep it fresh. He could have sat on the bench all game and then emerged in full kit with added grass stains, sweat patches and a bloodied bandage on his head -- which would've upped the stakes but felt derivative. Instead he found an entirely new expression for his narcissism that no-one saw coming and he made it the centerpiece of the entire game, rather than just an afterthought. As a performance art, it makes me curious for the completion of the trilogy.
  11. Relief, then, for Liverpool. Probably for the football media cabal too: although Liverpool imploding is always good press for them since Michael Thomas, and especially since Gerrard's slip and the Palace 3-3, they're more invested right now in the narrative of Wenger's tenuous grip, which will now carry them through the cup final and into the following week. Impressively high points total by the top 5 this year: 93, 86, 78, 76, 75. I doubt any prior season exceeds that aggregate points haul by for the top 5, although it may just be recency bias in my memory. A lot more wins this year by the top teams, not just against the relegated teams, resulting in the massive gap in the table and the compression from mid-table to just above relegation. Once again, the PL is depressingly competitive from the POV of outside challengers. Leicester got the miracle last year, aided by big slumps at all the wealthiest clubs, but City, Chelsea & United all spent big (and will again) and upgraded their managers, Spurs continued to develop their once-in-a-generation crop of young talent (manager included) before money splits them up, and Liverpool made a really decent fist of it for half the season before being hauled back by the reality that they had absolutely nothing outside the first XI. It'll be a big challenge for Liverpool to stay in the top four, never mind win a title.
  12. Bosch is pretty good, although more ensemble character-driven, like The Wire, than moody or atmospheric. The central crime arc extends through all ten episodes of a season, with three seasons available on Amazon so far. There is another thread dedicated just to Bosch.
  13. We finished S3 already. My wife got hooked and we watched a couple of episodes whenever I was home for the evening. Good season, changing the dynamic again. It felt like there were too many threads at times: the movie director and the former cop, the soldiers, Bosch being personally undermined/investigated, politicking for new positions at captain and chief, and KTK. It didn't seem like they could all be resolved but KTK was just set-up, presumably for next season, and some of the politicking and Bosch professionalism aspects just rumble along unresolved. Jerry is my favorite character. That actor needs his own show. No doubt.
  14. From mug to mugging (well, beating) it was a gruesome episode but drove on the story and the conflict. Varga's sudden anti-Semitism felt strange but I'm resigned to his character growing more monstrous each episode. David Thewlis leering as the henchmen silently menace does make it seem, as Sy said, like a break from reality. I'm glad Nikki survived. Considering her blatant, undisguised attempts at theft and now blackmail for large sums, she seemed overconfident in her personal safety. The police are much, much weaker characters this season.
  15. Hasn't this also been a topic of emerging discussion/acknowledgement to various extents in countries throughout South and SE Asia? Especially as a new educated/liberal upper middle class in developing economies wrestle with their use and treatment of extremely low paid servants. It's easy to criticize the exploitative traditional landlord class until you start behaving like them. I have lots of friends from countries in the region that say they are very uncomfortable now when they visit home and encounter live-in servants on very low wages.