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Tongue Stuck to Wall

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  1. Grodin was absolutely classic on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson playing the disaffected curmudgeon always "cynical" towards Carson's alleged interest in his guests.
  2. Yeah, it's in end note 20 of the account: "But it was not his praise they would have won, if any had lived long enough to see his revival. No tortures would have satisfied his anger with the bungling fools who had let slip the greatest prize in Middle-earth; even though they could know nothing of the One Ring, which save to Sauron himself was known only to the Nine Ringwraiths, its slaves."
  3. Not entirely. Tolkien is clear that Sauron had already positioned orcs of the Red Hand in the northern Vales of Anduin specifically for the purpose of ambushing smaller bodies of Alliance forces traversing the area. These orcs, overtly oblivious to the existence of the Ring and indeed to Sauron's recent "downfall," initially launched their attack in accordance with their standing orders. There was speculation, however, the proximity of the Ring hastened the Orcs' attack and increased its savagery.
  4. How much of a correlation do you see between the dismissal of Chauvin's charges and Trump winning when he runs again in 2024. I'm thinking 58.5% of the popular vote and at least 480+ EC votes. Time to pack it in.
  5. There is absolutely no way Japan or the UK will *ever* look to China as a hegemonic sponsor in the time frame you've identified. The historical connections and alliances based on shared values they have with the rest of the west aside, the United States is still well-poised to remain the dominant military power on the planet until well into the later part of the century. Japan needs the aegis of the US military in the Pacific as a bulwark against Chinese regional expansionism, and it is simply unthinkable to consider the UK's allegiance for sale between 2030 and 2050. I also disagree the EU can ever transform itself into some kind of power bloc able to rival a major power. You brought up the effects of the 2008-09 financial crisis. The economic of fragility of the Union cannot be understated. If another recession or depression occurs and the EU Central Bank insists on force harmonization of fiscal policies, this could spell the end of the Union in its current incarnation. The PIGS countries and whoever else may falter could well leave, perhaps to form their own union, rather than submit to a German-led insistence on austerity again. Before any further analysis of Russia and China's threats to West are properly considered, their geo-strategic an ideological objectives need to be discerned more accurately than has been discussed so far (if at all), and therein lies the rub. The annexation of the Crimea in 2014 is a good example - Russia's traditional need for access to a warm-water port (going back to Peter the Great), or Putin-esque global expansionism? Or if both, to what degree does the West need to be prepared for future expansion and the reasons for it. This matters because both Russia and China have traditionally demonstrated a national paranoia about their borders and spheres of influence -at what point does a defensive buffer posture become perceived as aggressive? Finally, when you are discussing the United States "decline," it must be taken into account that this decline will be in relative terms. The US may implode due to hyper-partisan domestic politics, but with reference to their conventional military ability to project power at a specific time and space, they will continue to be significantly unrivalled. Outside of a terrible political decision to engage Russia or China in a conventional ground conflict on their own ground, the US will maintain a terrifyingly-capable military potential.
  6. I picked up Solasta: Crown of the Magister and it's been pretty good so far, if anyone is looking for a serviceable D&D (or D&D inspired) game in the same vein as Baldur's Gate 3 or Pillars of Eternity. It's still early-release (max level 6), and based on 5.1 rule set. You can create up to four characters on your own or choose a pre-made, then head off to the tavern for your beginning. Each of the characters you choose has a generic back story mini-quest that also serves as a tutorial. The main quest itself is pretty straight-forward but enjoyable enough; you're tasked with entering the "badlands" on the fringes of civilized society to do battle with the baddies there. Some of the highlights for me so far have been: - Cool overland travel which is customizably detailed and has tons of commentary; eg. your party may choose to stop at a shrine en route so a paladin can make obeisances; a ranger with high survival skills can hunt for food which will be converted to rations (which your party needs to properly camp and heal/restore spells) and the like. You can also set forced marches and determine how much time is devoted to housekeeping . I personally like micromanaging traveling logistics, so that aspect has been quite cool. - Commendable attempt at generating in-party banter. The voice acting is a mixed bag, but it's really varied and profligate. - A system whereby any vendor trash you pick up in an area can be automatically sold on-site, for a percentage of course, to a group called the Scavengers. Saves huge on slot spaces and encumbrance. Combat is very challenging for the most part. You can take advantage of cover and the concomitant defensive bonuses it gives, but so will the AI, at time fiendishly so. It has an original X-Com feel to it as your characters sprint forward maneuvering to cover to get a clear shot at that last goblin archer, while the others overwatch,. So overall, it's very solid if not spectacular rendering of the 5.1 system. The level of immersion has been keeping me playing, and I'll re-up when they introduce the next levels, areas and challenges.
  7. Does your school have an established academic integrity policy or something similar, that clearly spells out what constitutes an integrity infraction and what consequences are (eg: escalating ), and can be used to formally record these incidents? As well, having three cases of cheating on the first test you administered as a teacher is indeed a rough beginning and you deserve advice and/or support on how to handle it. I don't think it reflects badly on you if you were to approach your department head or relevant vice-principal to a) make them aware the class does have repeat offenders in it and b) obtain clearer guidance on how to proceed.
  8. Agree with all of the above. The collapse of Arnor and the following wars of succession left the land no longer under the aegis of the central monarchy in Fornost. The internecine warfare coupled with the Angmar War did indeed heavily depopulate the region. It's clear the absence of royal authority, and the concomitant lack of law enforcement / public security, in what was Arnor played a key factor in the region's sparse population. When Aragorn became monarch of the Reunited Realms, of course his Northern Policy was to reestablish the king's seat at Fornost, restore stability and reintroduce migration to the region, although wild wolves were evidently still a problem well into the first century of the Fourth Age!. As well, the Great Plague (particularly in southern Cardolan) of TA 1636 and flooding caused by the Fell Winter, TA 2911-12 (which was the death knell of Tharbad) further contributed to the desolation of Eriador. The Plague was also devastating east of the Misty Mountains as Rhovanion lost 50% of its population during the outbreak. The unfamiliarity of Hobbits, particularly in civilizations east of the Misty Mountains, clearly and profoundly underscores how inward-looking and effectively isolated those peoples had become. The relentless wars against the Easterlings and Mordor had forced them to embrace martial virtues at the expense of lore. I also think it's Tolkien's commentary on the shorter memories of men. For example, in the five hundred years since the Eorlingas migrated to Calenardhon / Rohan, hobbits had faded into obscurity. Proximity to a foreign culture, race or nation does not seem to be a factor either as the Rohirrim know almost nothing about Ents despite the fact Eomer wiped out a band of orcs practically under the eaves of Fangorn. What is obvious, as rightly mentioned, is that Hobbits and their potential to influence the course of Middle's Earth history was, to put it mildly, definitely unaccounted for by even the most learned and astute leaders, despite that they may have recognized their existence. Neither Denethor, Boromir nor Faramir to our knowledge seem especially nonplussed by the mention of the "halfling" in the summoning dream.
  9. Grade inflation to boost students' chances of getting university offers is a huge problem and your principal should indeed know better. I'm the university admissions' counselor at my school and the pressure to get students multiple offers from good universities is extremely intense, but it must be balanced with protecting the students and the school's reputation. Many universities actually do keep track of grade inflation and factor it into their admissions' decisions. Here's an article about how the University of Waterloo in Ontario has been doing that, much to the detriment of the students from the secondary schools flagged by the uni: https://globalnews.ca/news/4405495/waterloo-engineering-grade-inflation-list/ What platforms are you using, Tony? My school in Shenzhen has been teaching online for about a month now and we've been using a combination of Wechat for attendance and class messages , Zoom for online lessons/activities/discussions, and Managebac for assignments (don't know if your school has a license for it or not). Our grade 12s normally taking blended online classes through Moodle, so we transitioned with them relatively easily to going fully online. Zoom has worked really well so far but you do need to be judicious about making sure the students cameras and mics are on at all times so you can monitor if they are paying attention or not. I have 15 students in one class and can oversee all of their windows at once. It was definitely a learning curve at first for everyone, however after a few days we settled into a smooth rhythm, and the kids have been very good about complying with our online classroom management techniques. Our parents have also been very supportive with making sure the students are participating as fully as possible. And yes!...being able to cover the allotted class time requirements online (each of our secondary school courses must be 110 hours in length according to the Ministry of Ed.) definitely means less make-up time in the summer. 加油 my friend...I'm sure it will go well this week!
  10. Hey, I read your prologue and the first few chapters, and enjoyed it overall. By no means am I an accomplished writer but I'd like to offer the following feedback: 1) Watch your spelling and word usage - for example, it's "faint", not "feint", stifled is not a great negatory verb for seeing (maybe blinded?), etc. You want to be taken seriously as a writer so make sure you avoid easily-correctable errors like that to establish your credibility. 2) You have WAY too much background information (ie. infodump) for the prologue. I found myself immediately confused about the places and people you mentioned in such a short space. Remember: your world-building may be complete in your mind, but you need to introduce it to your readers in digestible chunks. Your final draft might have a glossary, map and timeline, but I don't want to be referring to it exhaustively in the first few pages. I really liked the twist at the end of the prologue and wanted to read more about you-know-who's motives. Don't detract from establishing good hooks such as that by overwhelming your readers with information. 3) Some logic/continuity issues: if the wind is so strong, how can Mordin hear Merrik if he's mumbling his answers? Could a single log on fire illuminate armoured marching men so far away that you describe it as an "abyss". 4) Repetition: I don't think you need to have Merrik constantly complaining about how cold it is on sentry duty. I get the point that he's not a great guard and thinks more with his stomach and being warm, but it's a lot of commentary for a short prologue. 5) Similar to 2) - Show, don't tell - for the rest of the chapters try to find a way to cut down on the exposition. You're trying to set up the story of a bunch of rough-and-tumble characters, but it's jarring to switch between pages of history and the dialogue of your characters. Aside from that, I really did like what I've read of your story so far. You created a vibrant and violent world that believably lends itself to Jamie's plot arc and character development.
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