Today marks one year since I flopped around on the floor like a dying fish to reach under the bed to get my phone to call the ambulance to take me to the hospital where I was diagnosed with a stroke.
I woke up this morning.
A small act of defiance to be sure, but one that pleases me quite a bit.
In celebration of having written a long post that did not evaporate when I hit publish, I'm going south for a few days to visit my 80 year old parents who have no computer and no internet beyond the potential for dial-up offered by their land line.
Blogging will resume this weekend and the next stream on the Twitch channel will be Friday night.
We'll begin by watching some silent DINOSAUR movies! The short surviving clip from The Ghost of Slumber Mountain ( 1918 )...(the very first live-action film featuring dinosaurs!) will be followed by the classic 1925 adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's novel The Lost World!
Since those films together are less than 2 hours long, and our Friday streams are scheduled to be at least 4 hours, we will follow the thunder lizards with a few hours of adventuring in Eorzea with the superbly entertaining MMORPG Final Fantasy 14 Online.
Come by and join us for the fun this Friday, August 5th, at 9:00PM EDT / 1:00AM UTC at twitch.tv/brickmuppet !
Next Monday at 6:00pm EDT / 10:00pm UTC we will continue last night's fighting and grilling with the quirky Metroidvania cooking game Dungeon Munchies.
There are other games in prospect, pending the arrival of some equipment so stay tuned!
While the channel still isn't monetized and thus we can't use our emotes in the channel just yet, we are prepared for that eventual contingency as the channel has just acquired a fully operational...wiggly!
Some Damn Fool Thing About an Old Property LeaseThe Diplomat reports on a strange international legal situation that could add yet another complication to the Balkans-in-1914-like conglomeration of conflicting interests, unclear jurisdictions, centuries old grievances, ethic hatreds, overlapping/contradictory treaties and great power intrigue that is Southeast Asia.
The issue has its origins in a 1658 agreement by the
">Sultanate of Brunei to cede the province of Sabah to the Sultanate of Sulu as compensation for Sulu's assistance in putting down a Bruneian revolt.
This was somewhat complicated by an 1878 agreement with the British Empire to lease the province... a contract which was continued by the Malaysian government who continued to pay the modest stipend to the heirs of the long defunct Sultanate of Sulu after the country gained independence from the Brits.
The Sultanate of Sulu covered northern Borneo, islands in the Sulu Sea and the southern end of Mindanao, today the southernmost big island of the Philippines.
The Sultanate of Sulu was the focus of considerable ire from the Spanish who, having claimed the Philippines, did not recognize their territorial claim over those islands. Sulu never actually signed a treaty of surrender however and when the U.S. acquired the Philippines in 1898 the centuries old conflict was still going on in the region known as Morro. The U.S. DID get a treaty from the last Sultan of Sulu in 1915, ending the bloody 'Morro Rebellion' and the last reigning Sultan retreated to Northern Borneo where his remaining lands were subsequently incorporated into British possessions there.
The area became part of Malaysia when that country gained independence but the lease continued to be paid to the heirs of the Sultanate....
Well...until 2013 when the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu started an insurgency that killed at least 60 people in the province of Sabah. Given that this was an attempt by terrorists to re-establish a defunct Sultanate the Malaysian government put a stop to the payments to the family.
From here it gets....complicated.
Because the Sultanate of Sulu had a large par of their historical territories in the Philippines, the Philippines, for most of their existence as an independent country laid claim to Sulu's historical territories in what is now Malaysia including Malaysian islands in the Sulu Sea and northern Borneo. (Note that the U.S. never made this claim)
The Sultanate of Sulu was somewhat at odds with the other Islamic Kingdoms in the area because their interpretation of the Koran was....less nuanced... than the other, comparatively moderate Sultanates in the Southeast Asian archipelago. Their beliefs seem to be somewhat similar to the Whahabists of the middle east. Note that at least one of the Morro factions in the Philippines (which even today are waging a nasty insurgency there) aligned themselves with ISIS a few years ago. The Morro themselves, as mentioned earlier are a Sulu remnant who never accepted the peace treaty.
The heirs to the Sultanate of Sulu consider the Government of Malaysia, to be too moderate to be a legitimate ruler of Muslims.
Thus, when the heirs to the old Sultanate made their putch in Malaysia in 2013 the Malaysian government naturally cut off payments to them.
Which is where Luxembourg gets involved.
The Petronas corporation, Malaysia's big oil conglomerate (you may have heard about a couple of their buildings) holds the actual lease at the crux of all this. Well, the company was just taken to court by the remnants of the Sultanate of Sulu...in, uh, France. There it was found that was found that, Petronas Corporation, by complying with Malaysian government, had unjustly denied the heirs to the Sultanate of Sulu the approximately $5,300 annual stipend that had been promised them by the British in 1878 and grandfathered in upon Malaysian Independence. Thus they were awarded 14.9 B...B...Billion and their subsidiaries (which were registered in Luxembourg) have been seized.
Let us review:
A group of heirs to a defunct kingdom with territorial claims that overlap two countries and known ties to Islamic extremists as been awarded almost 15 billion dollars because a company stopped paying a $5,300/yr lease the company inherited from the British after the government asked the company to please not fund terrorists.
15 billion will buy a lot of suicide vests and other kit, but there are more troubling implications. It appears that the remnants of the Sultanate of Sulu, in addition to insurgents and suicide bombers, possess a weapon that is singularly formidable and heretofore not thought of as a large part of their arsenal.
While the things are hear about are undoubtedly a filtered sample, I can't recall a single instance where a French court has made a newsworthy decision that didn't fall into the "what alternate reality are they living in" territory. I'd love to hear the reasoning on this one. Starting with why a French court is involved in the first place. I assume it's just a "universal jurisudiction" thing.
Posted by: David at Tue Aug 2 20:01:14 2022 (D6Mju)
Lessons learned children? When dealing with conquered Muslims, do unto them as they do unto those they conquer: No Muslims, no problems.
Posted by: jabrwok at Thu Aug 4 13:43:00 2022 (T4WaI)
My dislike of the current Speaker of the House is nothing short of Brobdingnagian, but I laud her for standing by an ally. I also think that she and the congressional delegation now HAVE to visit Taiwan as not doing so will send a message of weakness and acquiescence that will almost certainly come back to haunt us most calamitously in the near future.
Things are sufficiently messed up in the Middle Kingdom right now that it is quite possible that Xi might roll the dice in hopes of a 'short victorious war'.
Taiwan is where the vast majority of our semi-conductors are made, at least the ones not made with Chinese spyware. Taiwan is actually of such strategic importance that it's a place that most Democrats, Republicans, and even some Libertarians are willing to fight for for both moral, economic and strategic reasons.
I have much skepticism that anything close to a majority or a plurality in the Democrat Party are willing to fight for Taiwan, especially given the comfortable and profitable relations said Democrats had with the PRC. If anything, I am surprised that the Democrats have not given up Taiwan already to the PRC (Recall that during the Obama era, some Democrat brain-trust were writing opinion pieces in periodicals speculating on how much the PRC might be willing to pay the US if the US gave Taiwan to them Commies.).
While there are Republicans who are willing to enforce the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act (Adam Kinzinger, for all his despicable behavior, was originally a major supporter of Taiwan to the point of endorsing the US supplying nuclear weapons to the ROC.), there are precious few Democrats - and that is before getting to Biden and other Democrats finding joy in surrendering something important to the US to our enemies.
No, the Democrats are not supporters of Taiwan, either inherently or on a transactional basis - and it would be fooling oneself to believe the idea.
Posted by: cxt217 at Mon Aug 1 00:33:50 2022 (2tHvf)
Yeah, I'm shocked that Pelosi would do this; I thought she was firmly on the side of 'sell out everyone to the PRC'.
Probably more Americans are boycotting goods made with Red China's slave labor. Perhaps MOSS are no longer able to make their payments to the California faction of Democrats.
Posted by: Pat Buckman at Mon Aug 1 00:45:09 2022 (r9O5h)
I'm reminded that the Democrats were probably pushing war with Russia in the hope that it would be excuse to clamp down on internal dissent.
So, this may be the same motivation as that absolutely insane gun control thing that the House just passed.
I don't think Pelosi is willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of their goal But, if their motivations are purely domestic, they may be surprised at the PRC not playing along.
Posted by: Pat Buckman at Mon Aug 1 01:02:23 2022 (r9O5h)
Pelosi is a bid of an odd duck with regards to China. She takes her progressivism seriously, and has at least partially supported if not even pushed for most of our "security actions" that are nominally in support of defending oppressed peoples, eg our actions in Libya, Syria, etc. Many many years ago she visited the PRC, and was rather rudely chased away from Tiananmen Square, which she did not take kindly. On the other hand, she's generally happy to take most anyone's donations and happily sits down at the table with just about anyone who mouths the right sayings, even when it turns out that they are members in good standing of the CCP.
If China goes after Taiwan, either via pure military force or just untenable diplomatic pressure, and we don't step in with a credible response, it will basically mark the end of the current era of international security arrangements. It will be every nation for themselves, take what you think you can grab and hold, and things will get very ugly, very quickly.
Posted by: David at Mon Aug 1 02:18:00 2022 (D6Mju)
5If China goes after Taiwan, either via pure military force or just
untenable diplomatic pressure, and we don't step in with a credible
response, it will basically mark the end of the current era of
international security arrangements.
Obama already killed that with both the nuclear deal with Iran and voiding Prague Agreement. Given the Biden is even less willing to use force to back US interests or even support them, and it is amazing that PRC has not done more sooner.
Posted by: cxt217 at Mon Aug 1 11:48:05 2022 (2tHvf)
Nichelle Nichols, best known for playing Lt. Uhura on the original Star Trek series, has passed away at 89.
Nichols was a talented entertainer who appeared in 27 films and whose career saw her give superb performances as an actor, voice actor, dancer, choreographer, singer, songwriter and director.
She also worked for NASA, initially as recruiter for women and minority employees, (successfully, she personally recruited Guy Bluford and Sally Ride among others) but later she worked for the agency in more substantive roles. She was an amateur astronomer and a lifelong space enthusiast who served for many years on the board of governors of the National Space Society.
She was most famous for her role as Lt. Uhura, on Star Trek, a role that she gave considerable gravitas to. Most other female characters in the original series tended to be 'window dressing' but Nichols' character gave off a distinct impression of competence and professionalism. She managed this while being one of the best looking women on the show.
Most of us know of her through her work on the Science Fiction convention circuit, where she was always charming and professional.
She certainly led a long and full life, but she will be sorely missed.
He was certainly a patriot and a nationalist, but he was also very much an internationalist, working tirelessly to negotiate defense and trade agreements with other members of the Asia-Pacific region, contributing to peace and stability in that part of the world. He recognized China's dark turn earlier than most world leaders, and while most countries refused to take the growing threat seriously, Abe was tenacious in setting up alliances and agreements against considerable diplomatic headwinds.
The free world would be in a far worse position if not for Abe, who without starting a single war managed to tower over most of the world's leaders in stature and consequentiality during his time in office.
He will be missed.
There are further thoughts on the man and his legacy here and here.
Things might look grim now, with riots, shootings, shortages of fuel and a looming food shortage. We have a governing cadre that holds us in contempt as it imposes these unpleasantries and further seeks to impose far greater restrictions on our freedom than were even conceived by the British Parliament of the late 1700s.
However, perspective is important. When we hear from people who are convinced, for instance, that civil war is imminent...
I mean..nobody in particular
...remember that they lack the age to fully understand that we've been through this before.
This is not to say they are dumb. A lot of the doomers are just a few years too young to grasp just how bad the things were in living memory. By the late 1970s, we had much the same situation with stagflation and shortages. domestic terrorists planting bombs from coast to coast, and overseas defeats that emboldened our enemies, and we had drugs tearing apart communities and other crime skyrocketing. We ALSO had 22,000 nuclear weapons aimed at us by a nation that claimed it was dedicated to world peace, and defined peace as our enslavement.
A few years later we were rebounding, and we saw a time of peace and prosperity that lasted with minor fuctuations for nearly 40 years and survived the abuse of multiple unenlightened leaders until the various long simmering calamities that came to a head in 2008 began the slide into our current malaise.
The United States is robust. It is so because it is founded on the principles of the enlightenment and the ability of people to both cooperate and say no. We have a federal system that allows all 55 states and territories to set up their own ways of doing things and that also allows cooperation on matters of mutual importance.
This dual dynamic of cooperation and individualism was not codified for some years after our founding, and remains an ongoing experiment.
But today is the day that we remember those flawed and human but extremely wise individuals who 246 years ago signed a document that was not a law or set of governing documents, but an affirmation of principals and a declaration of our independence from those who presumed they had the divine right to rule us...
On this day, 246 years ago a group of delegates set in motion our very imperfect but quite magnificent experiment, that has faced myriad obstacles, some of our own making, but has always bounced back better and stronger than before.
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring
Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
I'm actually a lot less concerned today about a civil war than I was over the last 5 years or so. What I'm seeing looks like the beginnings of a preference cascade where people realize that what they thought the majority believed about wokism is not what they themselves believe and are willing to act on it. Glenn Reynolds described this in https://web.archive.org/web/20030910002544/http://www.techcentralstation.com/031302A.html
For all the bad of the covid lock downs, I think having people at home with no real distractions from watching Wokists burn down and loot cities like ancient barbarian hordes and hearing for themselves what was being taught to their children caused enough people to talk to each other and realize that they weren't alone in opposing all of this. While some collage-aged may be willing to fight for it, without a major portion of the population being willing , they won't have the infrastructure to support it. Their attempts to purge and control the military will just break it and cause it to be replaced by local militias (not a long term good thing, IMHO). Militaries aren't just weapons they are people and volunteer militaries need the support of The People.
On the Country Club Republicanism of most of the Republican leadership, it's never been truly popular, and Trump for good and ill has reoriented the bases' energy away from them. Their power is hollowing out and they will collapse.
I just don't see there being enough support among the people for a civil war and if the Elites try, than they will motivate the population to fight... against them.
Posted by: StargazerA5 at Mon Jul 4 12:18:57 2022 (Y7jiM)
I concur that a preference cascade model is likely.
I'm not sure if my opinion is much independent of Stargazer's, I think the Reynolds explanation may have been where I was first exposed to the concept.
My quibble is age of the doomers. One of the younger guys in my circles believes that he sees a lot of /older/ doomers.
The older doomer model hangs together theoretically. A lot of those people would be expected to have information processing habits vulnerable to the old disinformation scheme running on automatic. Furthermore, they grew up when the opposition's information manipulation was a bit more comprehensive.
My issues are a) I am relying on someone else's perceptions b) I don't know how reliable the samples are c) I don't know how representative the samples are.
The 70s were the tail end of the last time the communists thought that they could take over by violence, and were trying. That failed, the theoretical cookbook that they were using was so stupidly false that they decided that they needed to corrupt the system from the inside instead of using the violence. Now, those idjits are at the top of the system, desperate for fear of mortality, and trying to use violence again. They are failing at the violence, again, because of how spectacularly wrong their understanding is of Americans in particular and humans in general.
Posted by: Pat Buckman at Tue Jul 5 09:48:56 2022 (r9O5h)
Only about 26 minutes of this ~80 minute film still exists, and the title cards of the only English version I've found are not particularly helpful.
In fairness, most of what's missing is merely context to the story. The footage we saw last night eschews such boring world building to get down to the important business of screwball chases, cosplay follies, and robot rampages.
So, for the 8 non-robotic viewers that my stream summary says watched the film, here is an overview of of what seems to have been going on, cobbled together from a discussion in film class 10 years ago, Wikipedia, the very sparse English subtitles in the version we watched, and the infinitesimal amount of information I was able to glean via my very atrophied 2 years of Latin from the more extensive Portuguese subtitles.
This was an interesting and remarkably forward looking film in a lot of ways.
The basic set up is that a city in post WW1 Italy is being beset by rising crime and a string of political assassinations. Meanwhile one Professor D'Ara, a scientist/engineer, has become the talk of Italy by inventing what is essentially an anthropomorphic, remote controlled drone, to which he gives the perfectly straightforward name of Mechanical Man. The device is fantastically durable, being built like a light tank and possesses speed comparable to an automobile. It is hoped that it can be used in mining and dangerous heavy industrial jobs.
A gang of criminals led by a remarkably competent and brazen woman(for a '20s film) named Mado attempts to steal the device but they are thwarted and it is put under close guard. Mado's gang proceeds to kidnap and tourture Dr. D'Ara in an attempt to get the robot blueprints from him. The police, led by a famous detective do locate and overwhelm the mob, arresting most of the leadership including Mado who is badly burned and suffers a heart attack during the raid. D'Ara did not break but the police discover he died from the gangs tender ministrations.
Mado turns out to be as dangerous and creative as The Joker, from Batman. It turns out that she faked her heart attack and her burn. Using her feigned coma to lull the hospital workers into complacency, she sets fire to the hospital, murdering numerous patients in the process, frames Saltarello (Dr. Dara's brother) for arson and murder, swaps a murdered nurse for her body (faking her own death) and escapes Scott free to reunite with the remains of her gang. (This is where the limited surviving footage mostly picks up...with the villain's clever arson and Joker-esqe escape from the hospital)
She the kidnaps Dr. Dara's daughter and forces her to give her the location of the robot blueprints. The detective Ramberti, who arrested Mado suspects that she is not dead but is unable to do anything until he finds Dr. Dara's daughter who has been free'd by The late professor's brother who is on the run from police, having been framed for arson and mass murder. (Whew!)
Meanwhile a series of smash and grab robberies are taking place that generally involve safe's being stolen wholesale or armored cars being broken into. Also a series of murders, with the victims being pulverized transpire over the next few weeks. There is one group of witnesses, a rich socialite reports that a mechanical man tore into her house and stole her jewelry safe while she and her friends were far enough away to not be noticed.
Mado has built her own mechanical man.
Allow a moment of silence for the chap that took refuge in the dresser.
Saltarello meanwhile is still on the run from police and trying to clear his name and avenge his brother. He has a close encounter with the mechanical man as the latter assassinates a politician.
He takes refuge at a costume ball, where, for reasons not entirely clear, he suspects something bad is about to go down. The ball, has apparently been a big looming "thing" for most of the movie, is being attended by a veritable "Who's Who" of Italian Politics, Industry, and old money. He has to flee, but not before he dresses up as Napoleon.
Meanwhile, Mado sics her Mechanical Man on Detective Ramberti and a number of witnesses including the late Dr. Dara's daughter and Dara's engineering assistant . They flee but discover that not only is the Mechanical Man bullet proof, but it can break through walls and iron gates. It also has cutting torches in its fingers that make short work of the iron door they attempt to slow it down with. They escape in a car, but the mechanical man almost overhauls the car until Terminator1921 suffers a short circuit and crashes by the side of the road in flames.
This chase is silly, but surprisingly good.
Ramberti and his party then run into a bunch of bicycle cops with his car, (literally) and he subsequently tries to get help to recover the infernal device.
Meanwhile Mado is able to get a team together to recover the Mechanical Man before Ramberti gets to it.
Saltarello escapes the costume ball, dressed as...uh...Napoleon or something, steals a police motorcycle, and is pursued and confronted by another detective (who is in an 18th century...dress, because he was undercover at the costume ball). The detective explains that Saltarello is no longer under suspicion for murder/arson/jaywalking.
The public is completely unaware of ANY of this so, a few hours later when some cosplayer shows up at the costume ball dressed as the famous 9 foot tall mechanical man, the person is awarded best in show and becomes the toast of all the movers and shakers of Italy, sitting down with them and not saying anything.
"This is not at all sus. Not one bit."
This lasts until, well, he gets right up close to all the most important people in the social register and reveals that his costume...isn't...and begins crushing them, throwing them off balconies, and generally being impervious to bullets.
MEANWHILE: Dr Dara's assistant, who has been trying to get the ORIGINAL mechanical man working again succeeds in getting the wireless remote control to work. He then sends the ORIGINAL Mechanical Man out to fight Mado's Mechanical Man. They engage in a robot slap-fight in the ballroom, destroying it in a most satisfactory manner as they wack away at each other.
Saltarello arrives at Mado's headquarters to find her frantically manipulating the wall sized control panel during the fight which she is observing via a television screen.
(BTW, in 1921 Television won't be invented for 7 more years)
He starts to sneak up on the most dangerous lady in Italy but decides to throw random switches in the hopes of throwing off her control. As a result the control panel shorts out. Mado is electrocuted and dies. The Ersatz mechanical man goes berzerk but is subdued by the original and explodes.
Mado is revealed to be a famous rich socialite with connections in politics and industry (explaining how she had access to the physical plant needed to make a Mechanical man in mere days). She also is the person responsible for having the big costume ball that gathered all the assassinate-able people in one place. The second detective, no longer in his dress, thanks everyone including Saltarello who is still dressed like Napoleon.
Later, Saltarello, in a normal suit, says his goodbyes to everyone and gets in a plane and flies off into the sunset.
Years ago I was told by a film student, when the discovery of this film caused the topic to come up, that this was one of a series of "great detective" films that was popular in Italy at that time, and that the detective character in this film is a star of numerous other films around the same time. That is, this would be equivalent to Sherlock Holmes meets The Terminator. I don't know if that is true, the detective is a central but supporting character in the extant footage, but I'll put it out there. If there is a "franchise character" in this it's seems more likely to be Salterello, though I can't find any references to such a thing.
There are probably several details that I've got wrong. If anybody speaks Portugese, then please correct me in the comments.
I was chuffed when I heard that the remnants of this historic film now had English subtitles, but as we discovered during the stream, they were so laconic as to not be particularly helpful. When they are compared to the very lengthy Portuguese subtitles, it's obvious the 'restorers' did not hire a translator.
My onstream commentary was based on my knowledge of the film from reputation, and the little bit of research I'd done, fully expecting that "English Subtitles" meant something.
On the other hand, the DMCA-Free Electro-Swing BGM that I paired with the film on stream was a surprisingly good fit.
In any event, this was an enjoyable watch, being a completely whackaloon little film that had all of its buildup and exposition destroyed allowing one to get right into the important business of fire, explosion, murders, and the first Robot Battle in cinematic history. So I'm calling it a win.
Screenshots for this post are not by me but were knicked from the film's IMDb entry and Tumbler's SciFi .gifs page.
Stream Update (Updated!)
I've just been informed by my employer, that, due to the 4th of July holiday, I'll need to be to work at 01:30 AM EDT this Saturday. For some reason, this will have a negative impact on my digitized alter ego's ability to do a stream from 21:00-03:00 EDT Friday/Saturday night.
There may be a short stream on Friday, but Friday's stream will be essentially moved to Saturday. Saturday streams are not generally firmly scheduled affairs but we'll make an exception this week. Come by and join us at 21:00 EDT / )1:00 UTC for Raid! Shadow Legends, a short Silent Film and continued comically inept grinding through Final Fantasy 14.
See you all there!
Update: The short silent film will be The Mechanical Man. Actually it will be the surviving 20 minutes of this film, which is an Italian film from 1923 that contains the first instance of a giant robot battle. (OK, a moderately large robot battle) It's frankly a bad copy but it's goofy as hell and should be a hoot. Come on by and join us in chat for a watch party.
(Like most Silent Films this predates SteamBoat Willy, and so avoids DMCA.)
While there are myriad crticisms that can be made of the Biden administration, it cannot be said that he hasn't met many of his campaign promises. From, supporting BLM, and hamstringing cops, to the obscene rise in the cost of fuel (which has so many knock-on effects for the economy). BIden's voters got exactly what they voted for.
Unremarked though, is that another of Biden's promises has been met. And it's one that he does not get credit for, as he is generally accused of doing quite the opposite.
After a week of Streaming off and on I've settled down on a tentative schedule that fits in with my...uh...schedule.
Monday: 18:00 EDT/22:00 UTC
Tuesday: 18:00 EDT/22:00 UTC
Thursday: Occasional streams after 18:00 EDT/22:00 UTC
Friday: 21:00 EDT/01:00 UTC (Longer Stream)
Saturday: Occasional streams after 21:00 EDT/01:00 UTC
Sunday: Occasional streams after 18:00 EDT/22:00 UTC
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday Streams will be necessarily short (2-2.5 hrs) since both I and my internet alter ego have to be to work at 02:00 EDT.
This should hold fairly steady for about a month, though I may be on the road in August. I want to stabilize at 4-5 days a week ultimately. I do reserve the right to start streams early, though I will make every effort to keep to the schedule otherwise.
I expect to get my replacement PS2 in the next few weeks and will then have a wider variety of games than FF14. I'll be doing some silent films as well , though I have not decided which night to do those on yet. Actual day by day programing schedule will follow when all that shakes out.
I'll be doing one of those occasional Sunday streams tonight. It'l be a fairly short stream tonight, partly to test some widgets.
Stop by and say "Hi!"@ twitch.tv/brickmuppet tonight at 18:30 (6:30pm) EDT/ 22:30 UTC. We'll be viewing the 1910 version of Frankenstein (which is VERY short and was only viewed by bots when it aired before) and after that doing a bit of flailing/grinding in FF14.