Women and Politics

I was inspired to write this post because of the recent news that Lauren Boebert a recently elected politician to the House of Representatives from Colorado, USA has filed for divorce. She is relatively young (at least younger than me), and has four children. That she is likely also controlled opposition is irrelevant for the purposes of this post but I can’t resist mentioning it. Though for the purposes of this post I will assume that Boebert and the two other women I am to mention are or were genuinely committed to political change in the United States and not just looking be famous and/or enrich themselves. Continue reading

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The Best Comic Film Adaptations

Films based on comic books have been around for at least half a century but have become both a lot more common and popular in the last twenty years. So many have been made in this period that there is now a measurable decline in interest; though there are still plenty getting released. I have never been a big comic book reader but I have read one from time to time and loved X-Men, Spider-Man and Batman when I was growing up — especially through their respective television shows. I have also been interested in the various film adaptations starting most memorably with the 2000 X-Men film. This film is where I would date the beginning of the widespread adaptation of comic book films though you could easily quibble with this as for example: Blade predated this by a few years.

This post is going to cover eight films based on comic books that I really enjoyed. I am putting them in order of release and am only including one film from each franchise to avoid doubling up. I am also strictly choosing films based on comic books and not films based on franchises that have also been comic books or any other variation like that. The origin of the character or franchise must be originally from a comic book to be included and I don’t think I’ve made any mistake in the ones I’ve chosen.

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I am not a man of my time.

In my journals, must be more mindfult to write “I am very racist and homophobic, I am a religious extremist” so nobody comes along later and misrepresents me of says “he was a man of his time” @conan_esq

A little while back the above post was made by Conan, Esq which is the twitter handle of Alexander Palacio. I have linked to a couple of his articles before and also read the first two of his Sword and Sorcery Series Ashes of the Urn and I will review these after the forthcoming third is published. This is all by way of introduction though and the purpose of this post is in response to the tweet above. Continue reading

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The Continued Relevance of The Abolition of Man

By chance I picked up a copy of The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis recently and decided to re-read it. If you’ve read it, you would know it is a quick read and I had it finished in a few short sittings. I believe the first time I read it, I was on a binge of Lewis’ work and so I didn’t recall much about it. I have also heard it brought up a few times recently so I wanted to take a second look based on this alone. What follows will be a few quotes that jumped out at me and some commentary. I’ll be light on the latter as it is a short enough read for almost anyone and I can’t put anything better than C.S. Lewis can. 

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A Tale of Two Conans

Conan – Blood of the Serpent by S. M. Stirling, Titan Books, December 6th, 2022

Last month I reviewed The Siege of the Black Citadel by “The Legend” Chuck Dixon. I mentioned in the review that it was the first I had read that wasn’t written by Robert E. Howard (excepting comics). I expressed that I was reluctant to read stories by other authors because I didn’t believe they could live up to Howard’s work but that Dixon came very close which is high praise.

Late last year, the first new Conan novel since 2011 was published by Titan Books some months before Dixon’s new story was out. This is written by S.M. Stirling who has been a published author since the 1980s though I hadn’t heard of him until now. Blood of the Serpent is written as a prequel to what is probably Howard’s most recognised story, Red Nails and indeed, the events are so closely tied that it is included at the back. When I noticed my library had a copy, I thought it would be worth reading to compare with both Howard and Dixon.

It wasn’t but read on as I elaborate.

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The Game of Corporate Marketing

Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo by Reggie Fils-Aimé, HarperCollins Leadership, August 3rd, 2022

As can be gathered from the many posts on the subject, my interest in video games goes beyond playing them. I have read a number of books on the history of video game development and the various people and companies behind them. These books vary in quality and depth but the majority do what they set out to do. Last year I reviewed Beyond Donkey Kong by Ken Horowitz which was an excellent history of Nintendo’s arcade games — a subject previously neglected due to their far more prominent success in the home console market. Before that was Ask Iwata,  a business focused book put together after the death of Satoru Iwata, the former CEO of Nintendo Japan. The latter, as I said in the review, is more the business of video games than anything and the book being reviewed in this post by the former president of Nintendo of America is much the same — even more consciously so.

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The Siege of the Black Citadel Review

The Siege of the Black Citadel by Chuck Dixon, Castalia House, February 23rd, 2023

Although I’ve been supporting Castalia House since it began, it has been a long time since I reviewed a book from the publisher. Almost seven years in fact as the last and (and in fact only one) was a review of Cuckservative: How “Conservatives Betrayed America by Vox Day and John Red Eagle. I was stoked that Vox even responded to the review on his blog. I have reviewed quite a lot of books that I’ve liked and disliked and it is more likely I’ll review one I dislike or want to offer commentary on. As I have tended to simply enjoy Castalia House releases, I often don’t have much to say though promoting good work is important.

To begin to rectify my lack of support, I will be reviewing this new Conan story by “The Legend” Chuck Dixon which is available now from Arkhaven.

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Street Fighter: Ludicrous Fun

As I write, the new Super Mario Bros. Movie has been released in theatres. I haven’t seen it yet but I will be this week with my son who is around the same age I was when the live-action Super Mario Bros. film released in 1993 — thirty years ago next month. I quipped that he at least got a better film than I did when I was his age. Indeed, video game adaptations began with that notorious film and with few exceptions, haven’t improved since. The following year adaptations of both Street Fighter and Double Dragon were released followed (in 1995), with Mortal Kombat; which I reviewed a long time ago. The Mortal Kombat film had its flaws but was generally thought to be the best of a disappointing series of early video game adaptations.

Even today, it is arguable that there has never been a “good” film based on a video game but I would reject such an argument. This is simply because I don’t see film as the sophisticated medium that many do. Generally speaking, if I want something highbrow — I’ll read a book. That is not to say that I see no art in cinema but that I believe the strengths of the medium are found more in genres with wide appeal than in the arthouse. The films I believe best take advantage of the medium are ones with a lot of spectacle to them so I tend to prefer action/adventure films over the average film that gets nominated for an Academy Award or is shown at an avant-garde film festival. And as I spent a weekend a few weeks back reading a paperback called Dinosaur Beach, I also enjoy “lowbrow” books as well as more sophisticated novels.

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Teaching and Following the Curriculum

As I’ve observed before, education isn’t a common topic here though I have been a teacher for more than sixteen years. The last time I wrote directly on the topic was almost two years ago. The post today will be somewhat related to one I have written previously. Before getting to it, I just thought I’d add that I have had an interesting (though not financially lucrative) career in education. Unlike many teachers, I’ve done almost every type of job there is to do at a school because I’ve worked at two small schools where everyone needs to put in a bit extra to keep things working. So I’ve not just focused on one area of teaching and have experience teaching toddlers, adults and all years in-between. I’ve also taught in multiple subject areas including ones I don’t really have the specialty to be teaching. As well as this, I’ve done all sorts of other jobs in schools including leadership, administration, disability support, IT, event management and even smaller jobs like fixing the photocopier and changing light bulbs. I think this experience gives me a somewhat unique understanding of how schools function.

And as I understand how they function, I can see that with competent staff, they work quite well without external bureaucracies, standards and other forms of outside interference. That is outside of the parents themselves which is the one group the education establishment around the world seems to believe should be mostly excluded. However, compliance with government standards in many areas is now a condition of running a school in Australia even if they could do without the tax dollars every Australian child is entitled to. One of these areas of compliance is Australia’s National Curriculum.

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We don’t deserve nice things.

There is a fairly well-known meme with the phrase “This is why we can’t have nice things.” which I have seen around frequently enough though I wasn’t previously familiar with its origins. It is usually posted with a picture of someone doing something really stupid or inappropriate. There is also another similar meme, “Remember what they took from you.” which is either accompanied by a photograph of happier times or more ironically accompanying something like images of cheaper petroleum or 1980s action figures. Both of these served as inspiration for this post. What follows applies across the Western world but will mainly be focused on Australia as it is my homeland.

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