Questions Week: Question Fair

So Monday I foolishly asked for your questions, which I would answer today, Friday. Foolishly, as it turns out, because I got slapped with an 18-hour work day yesterday (give or take a beer to wind things down), which made me very late addressing those questions. But promises are promises, and they're made to be kept.

S asks:
This may not be the kind of question you're looking for - but any reason you changed the font on the blog? I had grown attached to the old look.
The reason is technical. I was using an old and now unsupported, template (the simplest possible one) from an older version of Blogger. The new Blogger, which I'd resisted as long as I could, cut the right-hand side of any picture posted at 400 pixels width, and I couldn't modify the unsupported template's overall width. So I switched over to a newer, wider, and still clean enough template to fix those problems. Needless to say, I've still got a few older posts to re-format so that the pictures are in the right spots.

Snell asks:
Why hasn't James Bond been to Canada?!?!?!?!
He's talking about THIS MAP which shows all of the Bond's travels to date. And yeah, we noticed, Snell. Moonraker does have a scene in a plane over the Yukon, but it's before 007 gets involved. I can't believe, for example, they haven't tried an opening stunt at Niagara Falls, or a chase sequence in the Alberta Badlands. I mean, look at that landscape!
As to why they haven't, I'm guessing it's because Canada isn't considered glamorous enough. If we surveyed the entire world, I bet Canada would come in very low on the list of most glamorous and/or exotic places to visit. I'm not saying they're right, but such is our reputation. Franchise is alive and well, so maybe the best is yet to come. I want to see Australia too.

Madeley asks:
French language comics (French language anything) that Anglophones are missing out on/should be translated.
I'm not sure what the situation is as far as what's been translated or not, but there are so many English-language comics readily available, Anglophones must miss out on a lot of other-language material (and this is true of other media as well). I'm in the same boat. A Francophone with an English degree who consumes a lot more English-language media than I do French. (In media taken as a whole, French doesn't even come in second - that would be Chinese.) And so a lot of my French comics favorites (or bandes dessinées) are older books which should be readily available in translation. I have friends who love newer stuff coming out of France and Belgium (the bande dessinée capital of the world), but I haven't really fallen in love with the stuff. But let's say I don't name the classics like Tintin, Asterix (I've read them in both languages, and they rewrite all the puns, it's a pretty amazing translation effort), les Schtroumpfs, Spirou or Lucky Luke, I might steer you towards Valérian (an imaginative space opera), Philémon (positively surreal) and Achille Talon (originally 2-page humor strips by Greg, he later got embroiled in adventures). The latter is actually worth mentioning because I don't know HOW it can be translated successfully. Talon's whole shtick is an incredible verbosity and language play, with rivalry between neighbors or a soul-crushing job as background. I make it sound depressing. It isn't. Except when I was a kid because the characters' absurd pomposity meant I didn't really get it. Definitely one to enjoy more as an adult.
This is a question that could bear to have its own post or series of posts. And I could ask the same of Madeley. Any Welsh media the more vowel-obsessed among us are missing out on?

Pilosier asks:
What is a Bozon?
My physics may be a bit rusty, but I do believe that's the subatomic particle that is responsible for bringing the funny, named after the famous clown that discovered it. Among its applications, we count the Slapstick Uncertainty Principle, which states you can either know the location of a banana peel, or its slipperiness, but not both.

Mike Zeidler asks two questions:
1. If you could have any technology from the Star Trek universe, what would it be?
I can't say PADDs anymore, can I... Quite simply, non-invasive medical equipment. Scan me, tell what's wrong, psssssht me with the cure, that's the kind of doctoring I want.

2. Could you explain Joss Whedon to me?  I love Trek, Star Wars, LSH, Doctor Who, even the Buffy movie, I even get the "singular artistic vision thing" because I adore all Bryan Fuller stuff, but I just can't get into Joss at all.  What am I missing?
I think what works for me that he creates characters that are, for all the fantasy and stylized language, true to life. That is to say, the heroes have some pretty impressive flaws (Buffy, for example, is a self-centered whiner), and the villains the qualities that make them more beloved than the heroes (usually, a sense of humor and of the dramatic). But that's part of the overall plotting, which in most cases manages to give everything a slight twist, turning left just as you thought it was going to go right, playing with genre conventions to achieve the effect. And each series is truly ABOUT something, has an overall theme and its permutations, which tickles my literary fancy. I'm aware his personal ticks, when listed out of context, will inflame non-fans (our next question asker, for example) with "THIS AGAIN?", but I don't think Whedon is any worse on that score than many other auteurs, like Aaron Sorkin or Quentin Tarantino. Either you accept the recurring tropes (too-cool-for-school language, empowered young girls, making you love characters then MELTING them, etc.) and enjoy how they are put together in any given story, or you let it bother you and give up on it. I've chosen to do the former.

Idtiobrigadier asks:
1. When are we gaming again? (I realize this is a loaded question, as my schedule just became at the same time very limiting, but also frightfully predictable.)
I feel your pain. I'm currently involved with orchestrating a Survivor even on campus, but once that's over, I'm posting some availability on Doodle. We've got 3-4 games on the go, so it's time to get cracking.

2. Combining your love of cinema and comics, what is (to your knowledge) the greatest comics movie that never saw the light? Examples: Cameron's Spider-Man with Schwarzie as Doc Ock, or Burton's Supes movie with TOUR DE FORCE ACTOR Nic Cage as Kal-El?
Neither of those would have been very good. In fact, a LOT of comics-related movies that weren't made would surely have been HORRIBLE. Because I know that for you, horrible movies are awesome movies, my answer will be this: In the early 90s, there was a Sgt. Rock movie in development. Sounds awesome, right? Except this one had Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role. Yes, they would have made the prototypical American soldier an Austrian. It would have been directed by John McTiernan (Die Hard, Predator) and had a script by Steven de Souza (Commando, The Running Man, Die Hard 2). A big action resume, but is Sgt Rock REALLY about the action? Or is it about Easy Company's cross-section of humanity? (There's a new Sgt. Rock picture on the works, by the way. And apparently, the latest script takes place in the future instead of WWII... sigh.)
3. As these are geek questions, they tend to swing towards absolutes; so. Absolute hands-down favorite D&D monster. Go.
Beholder. Hands down. Well, no hands, really. I fell in love with the Eyeful Evil at first sight when I opened the original Monster Manual.

4. 0 Oscar nominations for The Dark Knight Rises; is this good? Circle one: Yes / Yes

5. FYI Justified season 4 started yesterday. Get on that season 3, son!
That's not a question. Justified Season 3 DVD has just arrived. I'm on it!

6. Where should I go next in Skyrim? Do I go punch vampires, join the rebellion, or do I deal with Delphine's nonsense?
I don't know ANYTHING about Skyrim except what I read on your blog, but I'll say join the rebellion. I don't know what you're rebelling against, but it sound the most character-driven. However, if the vampires shimmer in the sunlight, please feel free to punch the hell out of them.

And that's all the questions in the suggestion box! Thanks for asking, hope you liked the answers. If you want to keep playing, I'll see you in the Comments section.


idiotbrigade said...

** Edit **

I don't know man; that Sgt. Rock teamup of mcTiernan & De Souza sounds like it would've been great.

When you get Die Hard and Commando together, what could possibly go wrong!? (Besides everything.)

Also my favorite D&D monster is a two-way tie between the Gibbering Mouther and the Gelatinous Cube; I even imagine what the Mouther sounds like in my head it's hilarious, and the Cube as a Monster Player race, cleric of Pelor. Paralyzing touch-heals FTW.

Siskoid said...

Second place for me is the Mind Flayer, despite the wonky psionics rules. I had a sweet sweet miniature of one (of both).

So it would seem I was tailor-made to buy Spelljammer products. Too bad it didn't live up to its potential.

Brad said...

9825 eatsabiI saw at least one translation of Achille Talon as Walter Mellon. Thought the character didn't take an active enough hand in his own adventure.

Siskoid said...

Walter Melon is all over the You-Tubes and was a cartoon show... I'll have to check it out, but it looks quite removed from the source material.

As for the books, when he started having adventures and solving mysteries, while there was still a lot to like about the language, it just didn't work as well as the 2-page strips.

Martin Gray said...

I don't know Eyeful Evil - any relation to the Legion's Eyeful Ethel?

Madeley said...

Re: Welsh language media, there aren't many Welsh language comics, but there is a bit of a tradition of publishing translated bandes dessinées - the one I've got most fond memories of as a kid was Christian Denayer and André-Paul Duchateau "Les Casseurs", to my recollection not available in English over here. I think this is a historical quirk of the tenuous connection between the Académie française and the Welsh language Academi Gymreig, the latter being inspired somewhat by the former.

The biggest Welsh-language media that went international that I know of was "Yr Heliwr" (The Hunter), which was a detective series in the 90s that had both Welsh language episodes and English language ones (the English language ones broadcast under the title "A Mind to Kill.") It starred Philip Madoc, a familiar name to Whovians, and was an unlikely international success- it was the most-popular UK shows in translation abroad around the turn of the century, despite only limited popularity at home.

A couple of things that deserve a larger audience would be Fflur Dafydd's SF novel "Y Llyfrgell" (The Library), which won a Welsh language literary prize a few years ago, and a really weird Twin Peaks-ish TV series called Arachnid from ten years ago.

Siskoid said...

I am putting all that on a list. Probably won't be easy to track down, but looks worth the effort.

Ahh the Académie Française, bane of my language! While I suspect the Welsh Academy is an important tool to protect the imperiled Welsh language, I'd point to the Académie as a major cause of French's own imperilment. By setting iron-cast norms in spelling, grammar and even literary style, it kept the language from evolving over the last couple centuries. Or rather, spoken French evolved, but written French did not, causing problems in the classroom. In Canada, this is a huge problem, as kids let their counter-intuitive language skills lapse in favor of the "cooler", "easier" and more flexible English that surrounds them.

Yes, I'm saying the way French has been handed down to us is one of the most important causes of assimilation.


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