Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday News: Star Wars, a Training Update, and Other Stuff

Not a lot going on today, but there were a few things that caught my eye.

Lucasfilm Clarifies Future of STAR WARS Expanded Universe, Announces New Prose Novels (Newsrama)
They're going to shit-can it.  From Lucasfilm's press release:
"In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe."

Will you miss Timothy Zhan's Thrawn trilogy?  Or maybe the Dark Empire from Dark Horse?  Well, strictly speaking, that stuff isn't going away.  It's just no longer counts.  But Lucasfilm is going to keep it in print under the new Legends imprint.

That said, there are gonna be new books that do count, and those are coming from Del Rey, starting in November.  I confess that I don't care about most of them, but this one from Forgotten Realms veteran Paul S. Kemp looks good.

Due out in March 2015.  Image from BleedingCool.Com.
Kemp's stuff is usually great.  I used his Shadowstorm trilogy as the organizing high concept for my long-running (4 years!) online D&D campaign, the Sellswords of Luskan.

That shit is hilarious.  Not for nothing is Jonathan Hickman one of my favorite comic writers.  He's currently writing the Avengers, and he was the writer on the last (only?) really good event-book that Marvel has put out in the last decade, Infinity.


Olivia Nuzzi is another of my favorite follows on Twitter.  She inadvertently launched her career as a punching bag for the Anthony Weiner's imploding mayoral campaign, and I confess that I only started following her because I think that she's hot.  But she's followed that up by doing some insightful and entertaining political coverage, especially locally, and most especially of Governor Chris Christie's "Bridgegate" scandal.

Besides, who else is going to point out a former governor of Alaska in jeans and a t-shirt at some kind of political event?  Granted, it's not news, but it does speak to class, or lack thereof.

Unfortunately, it's not all bad fashion, Star Wars, and Hulk Hogan on drugs back in the 80s.  There's also the war to deal with.  The new war.


Y'know, this shit in Ukraine is getting out of hand.  Seriously, it's not that hard to envision a scenario in which the U.S. sends military advisers (i.e. Special Forces) into Ukraine to help them train their army, and we wind up actively fighting the Russian Army.  In which case, I don't like the Russians' chances, particularly if the "A" teams are backed by American drones providing close air support via Hellfire missiles and Ukrainian heavy artillery.

But the Russians would certainly escalate, right?  Send lots more troops?  Fire some kind of massive artillery barrage at the population centers like Kiev?  I mean, these guys have a track record, and it's recent.  You can read the accounts of the fighting in Chechnya to see what to expect, and it ain't pretty.

So then maybe America establishes a no-fly zone over the Ukraine, and if we want to get crazy, we can even stipulate some counter-battery fire (again via drone strikes) against the artillery raining down on the population in Kiev.

But Putin's not gonna take the loss.  I mean, he can invade from the north to try to encircle the Ukrainian mainland, or he could just say "fuck it" and just drive straight into Poland.

You see where this is going, right?  The shit is getting a little scary.

 As I was telling my mother-in-law just last night, my Spring Training is for shit.  I've been sick twice, and I've had to travel once, and while none of that would have been an issue in isolation, as it is, I've had maybe two good weeks of training all season.  I don't look too bad, and as long as I don't push, I'm not gonna hurt myself out there, but I am nowhere near being ready for competition, and the first race of the season is on May 10th.

Last year, I qualified for nationals in two disciplines, Olympic triathlon and Duathlon.  Neither of those is gonna happen this year.  Granted, I already have a stack of medals--recent medals, not old ones, and they're podium medals, not "finisher's" medals--but whatever.  I'm not sure what I have to prove, but it's still aggravating that we're almost into May, and I'm weighing in at nearly 200 pounds.  And yeah, I made a decision early on in the season not to race much this year.  I've been a triathlete since 2007 and already had more success at it than I was ever looking for back when I started, so like I said, it's not like I'm trying to prove something out there.  This particular year, I'm trying to be a better husband and father, trying to give myself time to get more out of my social life and all that kind of crap.  We're going camping, and I bought a bunch of tickets to various Army Football games, etc.  That stuff is all good.


You asked how my training was going.  Truth is, it's going like shit.


  1. The scariest thing about a war with Russia is that nearly all the analysts are convinced that if it happens with the US, Putin will use nukes. There is a firm belief out there that the man if fucking nuts.

    1. *is, not if fucking nuts. The dude is fucking nuts.

      God, I have got to stop using my phone to post.

  2. Thing is, even conventionally Russia isn't an insurgent force, and it's not backwater regional power. It's still got scads of armed forces, fighters, tanks, etc, and recently demonstrated integration with cyber warfare and other "modern" techniques for bringing your enemies to heel. I hear what you're saying about the no-fly zone, drones, and counter-battery fire. I don't think it'll be as easy to establish the first, nor will the other two be as effective as they were in the US's more recent conflicts. I'm also not sure the nation has the stomach for a fight against another nation-state, especially given the impact it'll have on our allies economically.

    Overall, I have to agree with your sentiment that it won't be pretty. Not sure if Putin's willing to go nuclear or not, either.

    On the plus side, those of us who studied the art of warfare as children of the Cold War can dust off all those Kraznovian order of battle FMs and operational overlays... I'm actually somewhat curious if the modern Russian army is using the same or similar doctrine still.

    1. To be clear, I wouldn't rate the odds of any of this at any more than 5%. So, roll a d20, and on anything other than a Crit Fail, you're good. On the other hand, this is a Hell of a lot closer to serious end-of-the-world shit than we've been in a while, and I don't know that I trust our current president to correctly calculate the odds. What's MOST concerning is that. Ukraine started the new counter-offensive the day after the VP left the region. Now, we don't know what security guarantees he gave, but Ukraine's current gov't obviously wants Putin to THINK he have guarantees, and that is seriously concerning.

      Me personally, I would set the Red Line at Poland and leave it there. But Obama has tended to assassinate mother-fuckers with drones irrespective of borders. That shit is also scary.

  3. I'm reading Infinity now (as it comes out in Marvel Unlimited) and though I like the sophistication Hickman brings to writing comic books, something about it leaves me a little underwhelmed. I think his villains (the Builders, in this case) tend to be too serious (I know that sounds dumb, but hear me out for a second) - I guess it just bugs that their over-arching plot ignores so much continuity (and I'm not one for preaching the immutability of canon, you have to be liberal with this stuff if you want to keep moving forward) that they don't feel believable (which again, feels dumb to say about super-hero comic books).

    I got interrupted while trying to read the Star Wars: EU announcement this weekend, so I appreciate you bringing it down to the bottom line. I thought nothing outside the films (I forget about the Clone Wars TV Series) was really canon anyway, so this shouldn't come as a huge surprise.

    I'd call my Spring training shit too, except I'm not sure I can even call this Spring yet...

    1. The thing with the Builders was a slow build coming out of Hickman's Avengers/New Avengers ongoing titles. I can see why it might seem groan-worthy coming in cold, but it was actually very organic after a 12+ issue build. Besides which, I'm not convinced that particular story arc is actually over. The event was cool, but it was also colossally all-over-the-place, and truth be told, I don't know how much was actually tied up and how muh was just a Universe-Wide story arc. But that was what I loved about Infinity.

      Let me know what you think when you get to the second half.