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Iskaral Pust

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Everything posted by Iskaral Pust

  1. Liverpool fans are outraged by TAA’s omission from the England squad, which brings us to new levels of delusion and persecution complex. These are the real areas where our fan base excels.
  2. Bears won ugly. The running game was good, defense solid, and passing game had very little. Fields looks like a slightly better version of Trubiskey as he sailed the ball into those INTs.
  3. I guess we need a new thread even if another dull international break has killed the conversation.
  4. I’m surprised that the corrupt, sports washing WC didn’t make a better effort to accommodate the traveling fans. I’m also surprised that many fans are willing to travel for this WC. Just boycott the whole thing. It’s nearly as bad as the Olympics.
  5. I don’t see enough value in my subscription to The Athletic so I went to cancel it before the approaching annual renewal. They automatically offered me a 70% discount to renew it for another year at $20 for a full year. I’m pretty sure that was the introductory rate I signed up for last year, so basically no-one should be paying a higher rate than $20 per year (they were trying to renew me at $72). It looks like they just want to keep subscribers, especially after being acquired by the NYTimes, and now planning to introduce ads.
  6. I’ve avoided it so far because every other representation I’ve seen of the investment industry was either ridiculous or a warmed-over replay of reality with stupid levels of over-simplification (I actually live this each day). Billions was unwatchable. Is it really worth it? I’m definitely open to a series other than RoP and Hot D, even though I’m enjoying them. Something with sharp dialogue, wit and dark humor would be very welcome. Flack on Amazon Prime was decent for that.
  7. They might need to. We’ve switched on Paramount+ twice in the last few months for some specific content, and then found absolutely nothing else worth watching and just allowed it to lapse after a month. We turned on Showtime once briefly this year and it didn’t have enough to keep active. Peacock is similar except I keep that active year-round for English soccer and European rugby. But nothing else in their catalogue has been worth watching. And they’re steadily adding more and more commercials.
  8. Green shoots of recovery but still not that good. The fresh faces all did pretty well tonight, especially Thiago. Elliott, in fairness to him, has been a good technical advanced MF with the ball this season, it’s just that he’s so ineffective out of possession and doesn’t provide much or any cover. There’s room to improve if we get the shape right.
  9. Da Bears were fun again at least, although it was a painfully slow start for the offense, especially for pass protection. 49ers were disorganized. Trubiskey managed to lead the Steelers to a win, despite sailing passes yet again. That might be trickier to repeat without TJ Watt.
  10. I think RB have decisions ahead about Perez. When Mercedes had a truly dominant car, Bottas was comfortably second in qualifying and racing, which provided an advantage to Hamilton in races. But Verstappen is mostly winning solo this season with very little impact from Perez. Partly that means the RB car is not really as dominant as Verstappen makes it look — because Perez is a very capable driver — and partly it means they don’t really have a second driver who can help secure a championship if next season is a closer competition. Perez does have plenty of points this year so far, but mostly accumulated when Mercedes were bouncing well off the pace and Ferrari were DNFs.
  11. I’ll be in Seattle and Portland next week. I’m expecting poor air quality although hopefully the heatwave is breaking.
  12. I’m definitely against conscription. We should be moving away from warfare as a mode to settle disputes, not prolonging or feeding it. And future warfare will be increasingly reliant on highly technical specialists operating drones, etc. Even if we want to prepare countries like Ukraine, the Baltics, Taiwan, etc, to resist aggressive neighbors who haven’t yet evolved beyond murder to make themselves feel powerful, then any citizen military training should be focused on small team sabotage & sniping tactics, not the usual marching & kit focus of basic training — which is solely to inculcate unquestioning obedience and unit cohesion. It’s more effective to maintain (1) a strong network of professional tactical specialists who can train citizens in guerrilla resistance and sabotage after an invasion occurs and (2) capacity to either produce or import a lot of weaponry when needed. Wars are ultimately decided now by whether the aggressor can hold the territory for the long term or whether the occupied populace resists and makes it too expensive to hold. Citizen troops with one year of conscripted training in their past won’t be deployed fast enough to be decisive in the initial invasion — the first few weeks — but any citizens can receive basic guerrilla training over the next few months if a network of trainers and weapons is in place.
  13. LeClerc may have had a better opportunity if Ferrari did not jump to an opportunistic early pit stop under the VSC. I think Verstappen had enough race speed advantage to win regardless but it certainly didn’t help Charles to just concede the first position like that and allow Max to drive at the front.
  14. A pity to finish a race under a safety car like that. Considering the lead Verstappen had over Leclerc until Ricciardo’s engine failure, I don’t think Charles can really complain that it didn’t break perfectly for him to both close up a large gap and give him a very short sprint window to possibly win. He was already benefiting from a large slice of luck and cannot really complain if that unearned benefit wasn’t quite enough to gift him a win. But does it matter either way? The WDC is all but confirmed and a victory for Charles while Max is on the podium wouldn’t delay that by much now. Good racing by Sainz through the field. And DeVries did well considering that was his first F1 GP and in a Williams. Despite some surprises early in the season as the new regs were adopted, the big three teams have settled into their advantage over the others and are dominating the top finishes, even if they take grid penalties to continue using additional parts.
  15. Best of luck to Potter. He’s earned a larger stage although Brighton can’t be too pleased to see him go and 21 million is inadequate compensation for his value to them. Perhaps some managers should have bigger buy-out clauses in their contracts. I don’t want Chelsea to be successful with him but let’s see how he does, and whether they have enough patience. Tuchel is probably just as effective as a coach and was being fêted high and low only a few months ago. I expect this season to be a write-off for Liverpool. The real question will be whether the fatigue and complacency can be rooted out for a big re-set next year? Some players like Henderson and Milner and Firmino have just aged out, as expected. But VVD, TAA, Fabinho, Robertson, Gomez and Salah are all struggling too and they are either not all that old for their position or else on a contract that implies they should be still playing at their peak for a couple more years. Klopp may need to copy ETH and abandon the high line until they have the stamina to press effectively.
  16. The scale doesn’t work. Not even close. Medieval agricultural food surplus wasn’t that large, so huge populations of serf farmers would be required to support Dwarf cities. And road-based trade would have been very slow and hugely inefficient— just look at how hard it was to transport food supplies for armies; just feeding the draught animals used a large fraction of the food mass. Laketown was the closest to a plausible food supply system, but still not that close for the population size indicated.
  17. Agreed, the Galadriel swim was ridiculous, especially after showing on the map the vastness of the Sundering Sea. But the series so far is pretty enjoyable. BTW, I haven’t read the Sil or the BoLT, and it’s a long time since I last read the appendices, so I am just following the show as it unfolds without many anchor expectations. Based on the rights they acquired, it’s understandable that they had to gloss over the first age. The visuals, acting and production quality are very good, and there is thankfully less portentous Elven dialogue than I feared. As ever with Tolkien, the world building is ridiculously thin: who feeds these Dwarven underground cities and Elven forest citadels? Medieval agriculture requires space and lots of labor, and utopian hunting & gathering especially requires a huge, shifting area rather than a fixed population center. One feature I dislike in the adaptation specifically is the assignment of accents to cultures: the twee, primitive Harfoots have Irish accents, the earthy, greedy, canny Dwarves have Scottish accents, the coarse, truculent Men have Northern English (Yorkshire?) accents, while the Elves speak in Received Pronunciation. It betrays a regional bias straight out of Buckingham Palace.
  18. I’ll continue with some recent reads but split into a separate post to manage length: Lionheart by Ben Kane is the first in a series relating the history of Richard the Lionheart told by a fictional retainer. Very similar in structure to some of Bernard Cornwell’s series. But the writing and characterization isn’t as strong here, and it’s very light on action considering the era & events it covers. I won’t read further. Why Does e = mc^2? by Brian Cox, a non-fiction review of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Nothing new that hasn’t been related and illustrated by many high quality TV documentaries but it is a different experience to immerse yourself in a book for several days rather than watch a documentary in an hour or two. OK. Beartown by Fredrick Backman is a literary fiction that feels very similar to Friday Night Lights but transported to ice hockey in Sweden instead. Very well written if you can overlook the familiar themes. Recommended. Kingfall by David Estes, Gunmetal Gods by Zamil Akhtar, and The Boneships by RJ Barker are all starters to their respective fantasy series, but I dropped them all within 50 pages for having depressingly generic characters and prose. Most fantasy feels too childish and simplistic these days. It’s not the existence of magic or silly-sounding names that makes them childish, it’s the rote characters with predictable arcs.
  19. Some more of my recent reads: The Wrong Side Of Goodbye (Harry Bosch) by Michael Connolly is the base material for the most recent (first?) season of the Bosch spin-off series. The book is pretty well written but you can see why the TV adaptation tries to broaden the characters. In the books, only Harry matters. Everyone else is either incompetent, corrupt, or a victim for him to save. Band Of Brothers non-fiction by Stephen E. Ambrose, the source material for the excellent HBO miniseries. I enjoyed this a lot although I think it was improved by having seen greater character depth from the TV adaptation. The books does a better job of fleshing out the background context of the war to explain why Easy Company was put into each situation. Recommended. The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French, the start of a new fantasy series that positions half-orcs as the crude, sympathetic heroes against the elitist, racist humans. DNF. Tropey characters and plot, and too much contemporary trash talking and humor in the dialogue — and I enjoy dark humor in a grimdark fantasy. It missed the mark. Unsouled by Will Wight. I dropped this one quickly. It felt like a YA fantasy version of Divergent — a society based on ridiculous category assignments but the plucky, super-special teenager will defy their categorization. Jesus wept. Murder At Greybridge by Andrea Carter. The fourth in her series of cosy mysteries set in rural Donegal. Another good read. I’m enjoying this series. The Stone In The Skull by Elizabeth Bear, start of a new fantasy series. I dropped it quickly. Setting, prose and characters did not grab me within the first ~30 pages. There’s just too much undistinguished fantasy getting published and Amazon/Goodreads ratings are being shamelessly fluffed. Immoral by Brian Freeman. A police procedural mystery set in frozen Duluth, MN. Pretty well written with a winding plot. Only negative is how many beautiful women have to fall for the protagonist. A solid option for fans of detective novels. This is the first in the series. The second one, set in Las Vegas, is pretty good too.
  20. Yes, the book was very clear on this, and then the film adaptation was just so stupid.
  21. The absurd military “tactics” and the huge city of Gondor standing isolated on an empty plain — where does their food come from!? — were the worst parts of ROTK, then followed by the green scouring foam of ghosts and the de-nuanced Denethor.
  22. DRS could be adjusted to reduce less drag and lessen the advantage. I’m glad there’s more racing and overtaking but it does seem like it favors the chaser too much. The Netherlands GP was an interesting addition to the circuit after a long absence. The track is fast but narrow, which can allow for some good racing but still lots of jeopardy around gravel traps. But the pit lane seemed dangerously cramped.
  23. I agree that the formation shift doesn’t help either. Our most potent attackers are further from goal. Plus opponents are willing to double cover all three forwards rather than cover MFs joining the attack in the inside channel, because those MFs don’t pose much threat.
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