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Topics I've Started

  1. The Right to Bear Arms

    Posted 4 Aug 2005

    Let me preface this by saying that I am an Australian, have never fired a gun, have never handled a gun, have seen very few guns and has also never been shot. Now in the United States of America, the Bill of Rights includes the famous amendment that gives all citizens the right to bear arms.
    And so we get guns.
    The gun, as any medieval enthusiast will tell you, was designed as a battlefield equaliser, and it is the gun that set the wealthy aristocracy of Europe down the next step from becoming soldiers to inbred crazy-men with bad teeth, simply because the old-fashioned knight in shining armour was rendered pointless by the firearm. Guns have evolved from single-shot affairs of wood, iron and bronze to some really funky crap. A wide range of aforementioned funky crap is for sale to the average American citizen. As a result, everholy craploads of people are killed by those thingies that go bang every year - between accidents, 'accidents', 'hunting accidents' and incidents. Now, I'm sure there must be some people who might have the great idea that if there were less guns, there'd be less people killed by guns. Then, people will tell you, that would breach the right to arm bears or whatever it is you do.
    Why is the right to bear arms so damn important?
    It's an old law, and it can be changed, yet people insist that it be fixed in stone.
    I'm not saying take away the precious gun altogether, simply regulate it a little - the privelege to bear arms, not the right.
    For starters, I think it would be reasonable for people to have passed a markmanship test before they can purchase, own or use a gun - just like with cars, see. Anyone with any criminal convictions of any kind should not be allowed to purchase/own/use a gun. Nowhere is it said in the bill of rights that arms may be advertised - thusly, the explicit advertisement of any firearm should be illegal. Nowehere is it said that all citizens have the right to bear all arms - just arms.
    So, a fully automatic assault rifle or semiautomatic shotgun should probably be on the restricted list. It should be absolutely impossible for anyone to actually walk in to a shop and actually walk away with any firearms product - guns or ammo - by this I mean there should be a waiting period for any and all firearms products.
    Also - all citizens having the right to bear arms means that any individual citizen has the right to posess a weapon - the two plurals cancel each other out. Who, honestly, if they even need one gun, needs two or more. If you've got one, you should be happy with it. You don't need a second .44 Magnum to balance your belt, you don't need to keep your old Glock when you upgrade to a pearl-handled Colt.
    A few more ideas that wouldn't violate the right to bear arms on that basis that the Bill of Rights doesn't say the unconditional right to bear arms.
    What if everyone who legally purchases a gun, after passing marksmanship testing, personality check, criminal records investigation and getting their new gun - has to give the police all their details including fingerprints and DNA sample.
    I hope private sale of guns in America is illegal.. if not it should be - anyone selling their gun privately or buying a gun privately seems pretty dodgy... lock 'em up, or at least give them a nice legal spanking.

    And finally - why not make an effort to scrap the right to bear arms... privilege to bear arms - a privilege that can only occur when someone has an actual job that requires it... security guard, police officer, serviceman an that is that.

    And sure, if the aliens come, you might have been able to resist them if you had twenty high-powered sporting rifles in your basement and a Magnum in your dresser, but if they have good enough tech to actually get here, chances are you were screwed anyway.
    If you really feel like shooting something, go get a good computer and blast aliens til your hearts content.
  2. The Coming of the Antichrist

    Posted 21 Jun 2005

    Inasmuch as I have been able to work out, here is the prequels Anakin story, told chronologically as distinct from the flow of the films. (Please note this isn't a hannibalistic allegory, just a theory that is fairly observable from the films)

    ten years prior to Phantom Menace, Sidious or Plagueis created Anakin.
    During the Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn discovers Anakin and brings him before the council, claiming that he is the chosen one, the one who will bring balance to the Force.
    During Attack of the Clones is becomes apparent that the Jedi are becoming less receptive to the Force - the Dark Side of the Force has disturbed the peace Jedi require to open themselves to the Force. They believe that Anakin will somehow bring balance to the Force, so that they will once more be open to the Force.
    During Revenge of the Sith it becomes revealed, apparently, that Anakin was created by the Dark Lord of the Sith to become a weaponin his hand - Anakin surrenders to the Dark Side of the Force and is transformed anew into Darth Vader. Thusly he is a sort of Antichrist - created by the Dark Lord to appear to be a saviour but in the end become a destroyer. He brings balance to the force by literally evening the numbers.

    However, this does not entirely sit with Vader as he was portrayed in the original trilogy. In the OT he is almost sheer darkness - an unstoppable militant force of evil. Ultimately however, as there is darkness in the son there is good in the father and Vader is redeemed and dies in peace.

    If Vader was the mythic destroyer in the prequels, why is he redeemed and how is he redeemable. The Vader that emerged from the prequels was built for evil - he was designed with the express purpose of murdering the everholy crap out of anything and everything - by the end he ran on darkness, and it formed a means and an end... from somewhere in there we get 'there is good in him' and finally 'you were right about me.'
    Something about this doesn't sit right with me... Vader's redemption always seemed somewhat hollow but when you add in the prequel idea of Vader being created by the Dark Side of the Force then it seems even stranger.
    Thoughts? Medals? Criticisms? Flamage?
  3. Wasted opportunities

    Posted 8 Jun 2005

    "Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father."
    "He told me enough, he told me you killed him!"
    "No, I am your father."
    /"That boy was our last hope."
    "No, there is another."
    /"I love you."
    "I know."
    /"I have sensed a disturbance in the force."
    /"You may take him to Jabba the Hutt."
    /"We can rule the galaxy as father and son."

    At the end of Empire we had countless exciting plot threads - then in ROTJ they were all closed off in the simplest possible way - most of them by Ben sitting on a log and telling all, some by simply putting them up on the screen.
    (spoiler)DARTH VADER IS LUKE SKYWALKER'S FATHER (spolier)
    For all that Ben and the Emperor said, it turns out that what they were saying was wrong - "The son of Skywalker."/"He betrayed and murdered your father." -
    But then in Jedi, we are told the simplest and crudest spin on the plot - Anakin Skywalker turned to the Dark Side and suffered some terrible injury, and assumed a new identity, that of Darth Vader. Not that Anakin and Vader were separate people, once staunch allies, then divided by some schism (perhaps Luke's mother) and when Vader fell to darkness he fought Anakin and in the ensuing battle Anakin was killed and Vader suffered the injuries that forced him into the suit. In fact, when Anakin and Vader are separate people you are given a world of possibility (and also you never see the child, because while George is fine with showing Anakin as 9-year-old Ani, even the flanneletted one couldn't bring himself to put lil Darthie on screen). More on the possibilities later.
    (spoiler)THERE IS ANOTHER PERSON CAPABLE OF DEFEATING THE EMPIRE(spoiler)
    Of course, Ben, while sitting on a comfy log, tells us that the other is Leia, now revealed as Luke's twin sister. How this classifies as an actual hope seeing as Luke would have to train her from scratch while he wasn't even a fully-fledged Jedi is beyond me. Leia being his sister also closes off another plot thread, more on that later. In ROTJ we are told that Ben and Yoda are the last of the Jedi, so there can't be another one kicking around. And since Vader and Anakin are the one person we can't have any possibility of the cloned or original Anakin (cloning anakin is reasonable speculation - after all he did fight in the Clone Wars, and some of the older stuff about Vader was that he was Anakin's clone), returning at all - it might have been cool to see a counter-Vader, Anakin inside his own life-support suit but one that makes you go "He's a good guy" to relive the old battle with Vader that crippled them both so - might it have been cool? Finally - even in ROTJ "There is another Skywalker" from dying Yoda could be taken to mean Vader, that somehow Vader is the last hope (more on that later), but log-sitting Ben tells us unequivocally that the other is Leia.
    (spoiler)LEIA LOVES HAN SOLO(spoiler)
    Though the scenes were cut from ESB, it is pretty easy to see from the last bit where Luke calls out to Leia and the tenderness with which she cares for him that Leia does love Luke, however, she also realises that she loves Han, and she will, as long as Han languishes in carbonite, love him with a fierce and tragic passion.
    So they go on much fun shenanigans, rescue Han, she manages a very simple and painless "one who loves you" rather than the emotion-choked attempt to bring down Slave I or her breaking loose from the stormtropers to kiss Han one last time. However, everything goes swimmingly for Han - they are reunited, have a few hissy fits, kill stormtroopers together and find out that Luke is Leia's brother so Han has a clear run. Cause that was the simplest, crudest and most soap operatic way to resolve that idea.
    The Emperor.
    We started with Tarkin, the charming, intelligent villain brought out so well by Peter Cushing, then the role of Vader widened to turn him into the ultimate screen villain - but the best thing with a really cool villain is the idea that he is a front for another, even better villain. From Empire, we know that Vader is a front for the mysterious sage Emperor - tall, calm, imperious, with the Force to see all and the wit to understand it. Then in ROTJ we meet an entirely different person - a short wizened cackling bumbling fool with bad teeth. The Emperor radiates horrendous and hideous evil, yes, but the Emperor in ESB was genuinely sinister and godlike.
    Also, Vader chafed under the Emperor's rule, but never openly. He offered Luke the chace to join him and overthrow Clive Revill, but when Ian McDiarmid turns up he goes soft and says "I must obey my master." Then in the end, Vader kills the Emperor and we are told he is now a good guy because he did what he intended to do as a bad guy.
    Jabba the Hutt.
    Jabba was mentioned as a crime lord in Star Wars, the shortlived Greedo who didn't shoot first was enforcing for him. Then in Empire Strikes Back we met the extremely cool bit character of the bounty hunter (his name was not mentioned in the entire movie, so unless you bought the Kenner action figure or watched... the holiday special sick.gif ... you have no idea who he is) Boba Fett and Vader turned over the frozen Han Solo to Fett and mentioned Jabba the Hutt. When Vader mentions someone they have to be cool, especially if he mentions them to someone as cool and menacing as Boba Fett (who is not Jango's clone).
    But when we meet this guy who is supposed to be cool enough that Han was afraid of him and Vader mentioned him we see an awful fat slug mouldering in a rusty castle on Tatooine with all the technology of a nineteenth century orgiastic sadist.
    Also he is put in this silly prelude bit that has no bearing to the movie, let alone the saga - I and probably quite a lot of other people feel that the movie doesn't begin until the Emperor arrives on the Death Star. He could have been tied in somehow, and might have made a really cool character - perhaps when Luke escaped Vader he would have realised that once Luke recovered he would seek out Jabba the Hutt and Vader could have set a trap for him there, thus kicking off the story.
    In the end, we got Return of the Jedi - and it does have some of the memorable moments of the trilogy (Vader and Luke battling before the Emperor, the technical brillaince of the space battle) but it does have some truly forgettable scenes (the Ewoks, the tension-free speeder bike pursuit, the somehow succesful bungled rescue scene, the slow-moving pansy rancor and Jabba eating frogs).
    It isn't trash, it isn't a masterpiece, it is the weakest film of the original trilogy in my opinion, and it is an extraordinarily wasted opportunity.
  4. Knights of the Old Republic

    Posted 8 Jun 2005

    Alot of the time on this forum people refer to the events of KOTOR, sometimes as saga canon, sometimes as Helena's KOTOR fanfic etc.

    I've never played the game. I don't have the kind of technology that would allow me to do so. However, everyone goes on about it and I always like to hear a good story and am always open to good ideas.

    Could people put in this thread stuff about the story of KOTOR: not reviews, not technical points or stuff like that - the story of it, the characters, the backstory, the events of the game(s)...

    Effectively I'd like to hear the story and since I can't play the game this is the best way to do it.

    (For any who read this and also read my prequel rewrites, this doesn't mean that the backstory to my prequels will included KOTOR as canon, since I mapped it out months ago and it's too late to change it now)

    Cheers.
  5. How big is Barend?

    Posted 25 May 2005

    There are 634 members at ChefElf.Com.
    These members have generated 70020 posts.
    The average number of posts per member is therefore 110.
    If you assume the average person is 175 cm tall (bit of an assumption but fairly accurate) that gives you an idea of a figurative 'size' for everyone here at ChefElf.Com.
    There are probably lots of members who are invisible, because they have made no posts. But everyone who has made a post has a 'size' based on this. Every 0.628 posts made gives 1 centimetre of height. These figures will change as time passes but are accurate for now.

    By this count, the much-loved Emu, for all she may seem like a quiet one and conservative with her posting, at around 400 posts is actually more than six metres tall! People who might be considered to be mid-ranking, the just sub and super custom rank mob, like me at about 850 up to Jariten at about 1100 are phenomenally huge... 13 1/2 metres for me and 17 1/2 metres for Jariten.
    Top Tens are getting really, really big.

    But the ultimate question is... just how big is Barend.

    At about 4850 posts, by the current figures, Barend is so far above the average posting that if posting was size he would be almost 80 metres tall.

    Though not yet a match for Godzilla, Barend is twice as tall as King Kong. The next largest active poster, the Green Knight Simon, is 25 metres shorter than bloody big Barend. A disturbing thought for this argument would be if Rory were still... well, you know.

    There you go, Barend. You might not be 21337 yet, but you are eighty metres tall.

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