What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Linkee-poo lives with the October People in Grover's Mill

So, Michael Dell has given his investors their money back. I wonder if now he intends to close up shop? Yea, Mr. Dell is a tool. You can imagine me flipping the bird every time I say his name. Not only because he made that comment about Apple back in the day, but because of his business practices (which most PC makers adopted), you now really can't be sure of the hardware configuration of the machine you buy (unless you spec your own machine for a custom build). In the 90s I would set up on-site projection systems for corporate business training. We had 12 Dell laptops, serial numbers were sequential, and they all had different video cards which required us to adjust the adapters for the projectors. It added about half an hour to each setup for no really good reason except Mr. Dell was cheap. After the 6th set up, we bought packaging to keep the adapters with the laptops. We still occasionally had issues (because the video cards and other components were the cheapest he could buy at any given time). Dell computers in my head equate to PoS. Can you tell I'm bitter? Yea, I know they supposedly got better, but they still sold because they were cheap. (Pointed to by John)

Gandalf the Black. Gandalf as imagined if he had taken the temptation and relieved Frodo of the One Ring. I love the commentary and all the learned opinions, but they're all bullshit because they forgot one thing. The Ring is tied to Sauron, there is a part of him in the Ring (this is why as long as the Ring survives, Sauron can not be killed). The Ring has it's own mind (in case you ever wondered why Gollum fights with Smeagol, here is your answer, when Gollum/Smeagol travels to Mordor and Sauron captures him and tortures him, he makes the split between Smeagol and the Ring more explicit which is how that character has two personalities, which is something that was changed in Tolkien's later notes, which is the basis for the movies "The Hobbit"). So, while Gandalf would fight the mind of Sauron, by using the Ring he has already lost. Gandalf more than likely would have replaced the Witch King of Angmar or the Voice of Sauron (more than like the Witch King because of his duties). So, yes, Gandalf would have been a tool of Sauron. This is something Galadriel missed because she had not come close enough to the Ring to understand its true nature (the Ring may also have blinded her through her own Ring of Power which she used regularly and while free of the control of Sauron wasn't free of its tie to the One Ring, which is why it lost its power when the One Ring was destroyed). Take that all of you who like to quote from the Silmarillion (which I love is in the apple dictionary). (Grokked from Tor.com)

The Ohio State Marching Band. 'nough said.

In Maine, turkeys are causing a problem. Every year I normally get turkeys in my yard (I haven't seen any yet this year). I could see them being a pain, but here's the thing, you can eat them. As for turkeys spoiling an apple crop, uh, yeah Bob. While turkeys do nest in trees (yea, I know, some people don't even know that wild turkeys fly… they don't go far but they can fly)I don't see them liking apple trees (normally dense brush). See the line about most crop damage being done by other animals which is then blamed on turkeys (because you can see them). Also "Only Alaska is turkey-free"? Um, I think I know of one and she's on the TV all the time. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Science! Space born jelly fish have problems when they're introduced to gravity. Which could mean human children born in free fall or microgravity may have difficulty copping if they return to the gravity well. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Denmark is considered the happiest country. I've been there, people do seem to be happier, in general. And the reasons why they are happier, here in the US there's one party dead set on making sure we don't have. Many of the reasons we can't have nice things. And there's no real reason why we can't do these things ourselves. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Speaking of happy, Vince points us to the Happy Rooster. A combination alarm clock and sex toy. Um, yeah, Bob.

"Japanese scientists successfully test asteroid-blasting space cannon." The article actually talks about the mission it will be used on (blasting a hole in an asteroid and scooping up the debris to return to Earth). So, before we do the kaiju jokes, wasn't this the plot opener for Andromeda Strain? (Grokked from Tor.com)

"North Dakota, the nation's No. 2 oil producer behind Texas, recorded nearly 300 oil pipeline spills in less than two years, state documents show. None was reported to the public, officials said." I'm sure you won't see that in those oil and gas "is safe and good" commercials.

And you thought the idea of a tape worm was bad. (Grokked from Tor.com)

"So when does the Tea Party end? In the simplest terms, it ends whenever the next Republican president takes office. When that happens, there will be no more government shutdowns, no more cries of Washington tyranny, no more debt ceiling standoffs, no more Republican obsession with deficits. The tricorner hats will be put away. But the fears and resentments that created and sustained the Tea Party will fester, waiting until the next Democratic presidency to burst out. And it will begin all over again." And isn't that a pleasant thought. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Paul Solomon talks about how our economy works. Unfortunately the people who really need to learn this will never read this Q and A session (people like Ron Paul, his son Rand and their acolytes). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Whackaloon. (Grokked from the Slactivist)


Eric said...

Tsk. Your analysis of Gandalf and the Ring omits the salient fact that Gandalf is one of the Maiar.

Which of the two is more powerful is debatable. Sauron was one of the greatest of the Maiar when he betrayed the Valar and became Morgoth's lieutenant, but he has lost much of his power, first by putting much of himself into the One Ring, but also by losing a physical form in the destruction of Numenor. Gandalf is one of the wisest of the Maiar, but in volunteering to enter Middle Earth in a mortal form to inspire and kindle hope, he's limited himself and given up much of his potential power.

There's no reason, however, to think that Gandalf couldn't master and enslave the piece of Sauron that The Ring embodies or represents. They're both high-ranking demigods or archangels, but Gandalf is the less-compromised of the two.

This is also why his fall would be greater and why The Ring would be far more dangerous to him. Like Galadriel, he might be tempted to use The Ring for beneficent ends, but inevitably it would corrupt him, because The Ring is a short cut: it is absolute power, a tool that turns the will into reality without the honest work that makes anything worth doing. Hobbits want small things and are corrupted in small ways: they like to be unseen, left alone, or (especially if you're Sam Gamgee) to mind their gardens (recall that the temptation The Ring offers Sam in Mordor is the ability to turn the world into a Hobbit's garden--or a perversion of one, since the world isn't supposed to be a Hobbit garden). The great are tempted in great ways.

To especially make clear how Gandalf would overthrow Sauron and The Ring would overthrow Gandalf: remember, as mentioned above, that Gandalf is a demigod who gave up demigod-ness to come to Middle Earth in a humble form to do a humble thing (he comes to Middle Earth to bring out the greatness of others). The very act of claiming The Ring would be an act of power: abandoning the humility of his mission for the prideful act of cutting directly to Sauron's defeat, bypassing the elevation of all the peoples of Middle Earth he was supposed to be inspiring to their own liberation and greatness. In a sense, he would become Sauron--a kinder, gentler Sauron, but nevertheless an enslaving, fallen god.

And if I'm wrong and Gandalf didn't replace Sauron? He would be destroyed, because there's no room in Middle Earth for two Maiar of that stature. Sauron would never suffer a servant with such potential to betray and overthrow him. So there's that.

Steve Buchheit said...

Ah, but as Gandalf himself has said that their is no way to subvert the will of the Ring. He would use it for good, but by using it the Ring would eventually enslave him. Since the will of the Ring is also the will of Sauron (which I could and have debated that since his fall at the end of the Second Age, the Ring has become it's own entity, but then the Ring is also trying to get back to Sauron, that the Ring and Sauron are still linked and the reason Sauron hasn't been able to full manifest is that he lacks the Ring is the counter argument), eventually Gandalf will lose and the Ring (Sauron) will once again prevail (by Gandalf's own words).

If Gandalf was capable of overthrowing Sauron, why not just have him go to the Black Gate and challenge ol' One Eye to begin with. This is why there are 5 wizards sent. No single one of them could overpower Sauron.

After all, Saruman is the strongest and wisest of their order (again, according to Gandalf) and using only the Palantir, Sauron is able to subvert his lust for power and make him a servant. Yes, Saruman's intent is to overthrown Sauron, but Gandalf knows that will never happen and that if Saruman were ever to gain the Ring, Sauron would kill him (remember, in the presence of the servants (orcs) of Sauron, the Ring betrayed Isildur (which forms the basis of my argument that the Ring should be considered a separate character as it acts at the nadir of Sauron and has its own agency).

Keep in mind, the Ring is the long con in the book. Gandalf refuses to even touch the ring with his bare hand (if he did, because of his power, Sauron would instantly know it's exact location and would also begin the attempt to subvert him, this is also why Gandalf never looks into any of the Palantir, even though he would be stronger willed than Aragorn, he knows what would happen - also, Aragon is mildly successful but is only able to wrest control from Sauron so that he could see what he wanted to see, but then never uses it again because Sauron is still watching).

There is no enslaving the Ring. This is the secret Gandalf knows. The Ring will always win out.

Steve Buchheit said...

I forgot to mention, we will see how well Gandalf does again Sauron in one of the Hobbit movies (my guess is that showdown will be the climax of movie 3). IIRC, while Gandalf is able to survive the battle of Dol Guldur, and win a small victory, he is just barely able to survive. Keep in mind he is not able to banish even the shade of Sauron (who is in a weakened state and not fully recovered, and still missing the part of himself in the Ring). How could he defeat the fully conscious and powerful part of Sauron in the Ring?

Eric said...

If Gandalf was capable of overthrowing Sauron, why not just have him go to the Black Gate and challenge ol' One Eye to begin with.

For the same reason the Eagles don't fly the Ring to Mordor: because the agents of God (Manwe) are there to inspire and/or succor the actual agents of destiny, Elves, Men, Dwarves (and, apparently, Hobbits, tho' no one knows how they came into the histories).

I won't be seeing any of Jackson's movies, but I wouldn't be shocked if he makes Dol Guldur a big thing. My recollection from the books is that Gandalf's infiltration of the Necromancer's was retconned by Tolkien when he linked the Necromancer to Sauron in Lord Of The Rings; and in LOTR, what we learn (if I remember correctly) is that when Gandalf confirmed that the Necromancer was Sauron, returned, he came back as part of a force led by Galadriel, et al., only to discover Dol Guldur essentially abandoned. They cleansed what was still there, driving away what forces remained, but Sauron was already gone. Not much of a cinematic setpiece, that, so I imagine Jackson will screw it up the same way he screwed up Gandalf and Wormtongue (not Saruman) vying for Theoden's soul at Eodras.

That screw-up (which was part of the reason I never saw Jackson's Return Of The King) goes back to your question about Gandalf facing Sauron and the larger question of Gandalf versus the Ring. In the novel, Gandalf isn't using magic to vicariously confront Saruman through Grima Wormtongue. What has happened, rather, is that Wormtongue (as an agent of Saruman, who isn't using wizardry here, either), has been conducting a whispering campaign to demoralize the House Of Theoden, and Theoden has bought into it to such an extent he's forgotten who he really is. Gandalf does is what the Wizards were sent to Middle Earth to do: he verbally challenges Wormtongue, and verbally challenges Theoden to remember his heritage and to ask himself why the Hell he's listening to a bootlicker like Wormtongue in the first place. He inspires Theoden, and rekindles the fire in Theoden's heart.

(The biggest problem I have with Jackson's misinterpretation with this scene actually isn't that he changes it from the book. It's that he has Ian Effing McKellen and Brad Bleeding Dourif playing Gandalf and Wormtongue--i.e. a brilliant Shakespearean actor and one of the best character actors* of his generation facing each other in what could be a fantastic battle of words, and what does Peter Jackson do? He freaking wastes that talent! Instead of having McKellen and Dourif spit rhetoric at each other, a scene that any drama fan should crawl over broken glass to see on stage or screen, Jackson has a bunch of CGI foopery and cross-cuts to Christopher Lee waggling his fingers and flying around the set; and Christopher Lee is a magnificent bastard, too, but he has no business in the scene at all. I sat in the theatre with my jaw slack, watching two of the finest actors of their respective generations turned into live-action props in a videogame cutscene. Pissed me right off, as you can tell.)


*How good is Brad Dourif, and how good would he be in a scene where two guys haggle over a human soul? Among his many roles, Dourif's voice has stolen scenes and sometimes even complete films from onscreen actors in all the Child's Play movies, where he makes a vapid-faced, poorly-animated puppet one of the scariest and funniest franchise monsters in history. Yes, Peter Jackson could have had Richard III debating Chucky, and he dropped the opportunity.

Steve Buchheit said...

See, I disagree on the whole "eagles flying the ring" argument. As a writer, it probably wouldn't have occurred to Tolkien to write that because air travel wasn't that common as he was writing (and I could argue, in his life). Also, Sauron would see the eagles coming and be able to interdict them. That was the whole reason for the big confab at Elron's place (and the basic strategy that blasting their way through Mordor wasn't the way to go, and instead they needed to sneak it in). It was also the basis for Aragorn's gambit of taking Gondor to the Black Gate (as it was meant to distract Sauron and fake him into thinking Aragorn had the ring, a ploy he started as he wrestled the Palantir from Sauron's control, as it played into exactly what Sauron expected to see).

As for the changing up of the scene in Theoden's hall, it was good visual short-hand for the struggle. Grima's words had so disabled Theoden that he walked as a stooped old man and could barely function as king.

Actually, besides the elimination of Bombodil, the arrival of the elves at Helms Deep, and the forgetting of the scouring of the Shire (and the death of Saruman), the thing I am most upset that Jackson changed was the scene at Ford of Bruinen where in the book, Frodo resists the ring wraiths in the movie it's Arwen that resists. In the book, this is the first inkling that Frodo may actually survive this quest (which he actually fails at as he succumbs to the lure of the Ring on Mt. Doom). It was the first moment of the hobbits showing their true grit. And Jackson wipes that all away.