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PaulAsaran


Technical Writer from the U.S.A.'s Deep South. Writes horsewords, and reviews both independently and for Seattle's Angels. New reviews posted every Thursday! Writing Motto: "Go Big or Go Home!"

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Nov
8th
2018

Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXVII · 10:01pm Nov 8th, 2018

Normally I keep these blogs free of politics, but the 2018 Midterms just happened and I figured I’d share my perspective for just a moment. Plus I did the same thing last November as I recall, so why not make it a trend? Now, the interesting thing about the results is that we now have Congress split between two parties. Democrats took the House, but Republicans strengthened their grip on the Senate. What does this mean for America?

I see three possibilities. The first is that the government enters a state of gridlock and no (or at least very few) new laws are passed until at least the elections in 2020. This is a good thing, and frankly, is the result I’m hoping for. Our government was designed to make change difficult, and this only accommodates that because, in theory, the “stay in power no matter what” politicians won’t all vote to pass something unless they believe their voters want it. So now instead of one party saying “this is the way it’s going to be and the rest of you can shove off”, some form of cooperation is mandatory for anything to happen. I hope we can all agree that’s a better scenario. And with the extreme divide going on in the country right now, I also don’t see anything passing through Congress unless, somehow, both sides of the aisle clearly want it.

There is, of course, the second and far more dangerous scenario: that politicians, fearing they’ll be viewed as worthless due to gridlock, start passing laws specifically to avoid that image regardless of whether the laws are ‘good’. This can lead to some pretty bad results (see the Seventeenth Amendment), and I’d love to see it avoided.

The third possibility, and also one I consider likely, is that the Democrats use their new position of power to start throwing more investigations and false accusations at President Trump. This would be a waste of time and taxpayer money. They’ve already established they hate the guy and convinced their voters that they need to hate him too, that’s pretty much all they’ve been doing for the last two years. But I think by now it’s also clear that they’re not getting rid of the guy – they didn’t win all of Congress, so impeachment must be considered off the table for now. Especially so considering that in two years they haven’t found anything to convince the Right half of the country that his supposed crimes exist; if they haven’t pulled it off by now, I’m not sure they ever will. And keeping up the fiery rhetoric along with Trump does nothing to ease the ongoing political divide. They have the power now to block anything Trump tries to push through the legislature. All they have to do is stay united and use it. calm down, look mature, and let Trump hang himself if he’s so inclined.

This is the point where I remind everyone I’m a conservative and I did vote Red this election year. But it’s going to be an interesting two years before the next presidential election regardless. I sincerely hope that a balanced Congress will lead to a more stable atmosphere. Not getting my hopes up, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

To the reviews!

Stories for This Week:

Prince Blueblood vs. the World by Exilo
Fine Tuning by Tayman
Beatrix, Harbinger of Annoyance by TheBrianJ
A Fitting End by anonpencil
Lost in Paradise by NaiadSagaIotaOar
AND THEN! by KorenCZ11
Daily by LimeAttack
Paper Boats by Enter Madness
Another Day in Ponyville by AnOrdinaryWriter
Habits of the Equestrian Phoenix by Novel-Idea

Total Word Count: 86,464

Rating System

Why Haven't You Read These Yet?: 2
Pretty Good: 4
Worth It: 3
Needs Work: 1
None: 0


What Exilo claims is true: this story has nothing whatsoever to do with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. In fact, that cover art is so far removed from anything related to this story that I think it’s a serious detriment to the story’s potential readership and should be changed. But anyway…

Blueblood is a lot of things. An elitist, selfish, reclusive. But he adores Princess Celestia. So when she disappears, leaving behind only a note to not look for her, he can’t believe that the rest of the royalty isn’t willing to do exactly that. Worse, the ‘peasants’ are in open rebellion, unwilling to believe that Luna, Twilight, Cadance, and Shining Armor don’t know where Celestia went. Not knowing what to do, Blueblood is bitter and longing for his precious aunt. Then he has a strange dream…

This story was wonderful. It makes no effort to improve Blueblood in our eyes, instead clarifying that throughout this story he is every bit the stuck up, elitist jerk we all know him to be. But that doesn’t mean Blueblood doesn’t care. He is given a distinct humanityequinity and shows that, when he has to, he can sacrifice everything if it means achieving the greater good. He has his rough edges, but somehow he manages to be relatable despite them.

I don’t read many Blueblood stories, but there are quite a few that endeavor to make him more than the caricature we all are shown in the show. This easily falls among the top tier of that subgenre, right alongside The Flight of the Alicorn (speaking strictly in terms of Blueblood redemption, mind). If you have any interest in Blueblood at all, I would recommend this.

The one and only issue I have: what about that filly? There must be a deeper story there. Blueblood didn’t make this journey and take all the right steps by sheer, random luck. This topic is never explained, and while I’m okay with some mysteries this one feels far too much like a loose end than a stylistic choice.

But ignoring that? Absolutely wonderful fic. Ignore the unrelated cover art and give it a go.

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Fine Tuning

6,407 Words
By Tayman

I have to admit, this one drew me in with its cover art. I don’t know why, but the image just tickles me. I can’t help imagining these two getting into a musical duel or something. Sounds like fun. Too bad I lack the musical knowledge I imagine is required to make such an idea work.

Anyway, Octavia and Lyra are roommates at the Canterlot School of Music, and major tests are on their way. Lyra’s trying to study, but Octavia is tuning the A string on her cello. She’s been at it for half an hour now, and there’s no sign of it stopping. But Lyra will find a way.

I was hoping this would be comedic despite the lack of the appropriate tag, or at least a bonding experience between two of the fandom’s three favorite musicians. Alas, it ends up being a lot more straight-laced than that. No real bonding going on, although there’s a hint of an attempt at it. It’s just… a situation that is resolved. I wish I could describe it in more complex terms than that, but I can’t. Lyra has a problem, Octavia is part of the problem, it gets resolved, the end.

That’s not to say the story’s bad. At no point did my interest in what I was reading wane. The writing is solid, the characters interesting, the concept sound. But I can’t help thinking this could have been something more than Tayman gushing about what an amazing musician Octavia is (or perhaps defending the difficult personalities of star magicians in general). This is a concept oozing promise, and Tayman treated it with kiddy gloves. My ambition-loving side – which is not an insignificant side, mind you – is not impressed.

Still, despite my mild disappointment, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this story. Heck, as my first Tayman story, I like what I’m seeing. Perhaps one of this author’s other stories will have a better sense of purpose. I’m more than willing to find out. This is one of those stories that didn’t really stand out to me other than being very well written, but others may get a lot more out of it. So by all means, give it a go.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Twilight, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash manage to defeat a cult of Sombra before they can revive a superpowered version of the dark king. Before they can finish things, however, the cult leader makes a last ditch effort to summon “an adversary of the Elements” to destroy them all. That adversary ends up being Trixie as a filly. Superpowered, of course.

Even considering that this was written long before the events of Season 8, I still find the most amusing part of this how Twilight insists time and time again that imprisoning a filly in Tartarus is not the solution.

Anyway, this is a silly story about a phenomenally powerful filly with delusions of grandeur and no ability whatsoever to accept criticism or be obedient. Even when her antics go far beyond the believable, I couldn’t stop smiling. Watching Twilight do everything in her goody-four-shoes power to give Beatrix a chance and failing miserably was… entertaining.

One has to bear in mind that this is 100% joke fic, but if you can do that there’s no reason not to give it a go. The best part may have been when the real, adult Trixie decided to give the filly a few words of wisdom… which the filly happily took to heart. Whatever was Twilight thinking? Who knows. Too bad there’s no Starlight Glimmer around, right?

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Exit Through CanterlotWHYRTY?
The Diary Of An Evil PonyPretty Good


Well, that was weird. Wouldn’t expect anything different from anonpencil, though.

You (A.K.A. Anon) is at Rarity’s letting her try on some female human clothes, especially panties. Why do you, a guy in Equestria, have human girls’ panties? Don’t ask and shut up. Rarity’s been struggling for some time to figure out how human panties work, until AnonYou points out that humans don’t have tails, so their clothes don’t account for them. This gives Rarity an idea…

This story makes a number of assumptions, such as that you are a total pervert (perhaps not so inaccurate) and that being white automatically makes Rarity racist (a blatant attempt at trigger-baiting). But despite the fact it stars a pervert and an elitist, it’s still treats its characters as people. Quirky, maybe a little deviant, but people nonetheless. And ponies, of course.

The conclusion certainly felt… awkward. I can’t imagine Rarity ever doing this, especially when there are simpler and more practical solutions readily available, but I seem to recall anonpencil having a low opinion of Rares, so I’ll take it with a grain of salt. That or the author just wanted to write her characters blatantly off. Either way, I’m not sure what to make of it. I suppose I can’t blame an author for wanting to make characters that defy the norm, but at the same time I suspect that this was written to take advantage of shock value and little more.

As I’m sure is apparent by now, I am uncertain of how to approach this one. I think the safest thing to do is put it on the middle ground and let you guys decide for yourselves. Don’t worry, the mature tag is there for theming and a little blood, so if you’re afraid of gruesome material and porn, you’re safe. Just don’t go into it expecting Rarity to be Rarity or for the ‘you’ character to be anything other than a pervert.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Always HereMissed Audience


(Note: I’m getting a really weird html address for this story’s image and I’m worried it won’t come out right. Looks fine to me, but if anyone else is having problems viewing it let me know.)

Clearly, SunDagio is Naiad’s OTP.

After the Battle of the Bands, Adagio Dazzle lost all her memories. She was found by Sunset Shimmer, who has cared for her ever since. But now Adagio’s starting to get flashes of memories of her old life, and in her confusion turns to Sunset for help. But sometimes the girl with all the answers may, in fact, be giving all the wrong ones.

This was a painful story about a Sunset Shimmer who really hasn’t changed as much as she originally believed. Every argument she makes is the wrong one, and I could tell it was so every time. As a hurt Adagio gradually begins to realize what’s going on, Sunset’s struggle to save the situation always makes things horribly, tragically worse. Nothing highlights this more than when it’s revealed what she instructed the rest of the Humane 7 to do. Gradually, we come to recognize that she’s just as manipulative as she ever was, and being ‘the good guy’ doesn’t make that okay.

This was a wonderful story full of atmosphere and tense emotional conflict. After reading Who We Are in the Dark, I think it’s clear that this is the author’s specialty, and they work it with phenomenal skill. The writing seems to work the dashes a little too heavily in my opinion, but otherwise it’s effective at giving us the full range of emotions, especially in poor Adagio.

This one hits hard, but depending upon your interpretation it may be considered bittersweet. Regardless, it’s a great display of writing prowess that further cements my appreciation of this author. Definitely give it a read.

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Who We Are in the DarkWHYRTY?


AND THEN!

5,668 Words
By KorenCZ11
Requested by KorenCZ11

I really miss this anime. Will have to locate it.

Set in but not directly related to KorenCZ11’s AU Sometimes They Call Me Super (which I will read if it is ever completed), AND THEN! is a story based 100% on Satoshi Kon’s psychological thriller Paranoia Agent, complete with Spike filling in as Lil’Slugger. If you haven’t seen Paranoia Agent (and I’m willing to bet most of you’ve never even heard of it), it may be challenging to understand what’s going on.

But even if you haven’t seen Paranoia Agent, this is a story worth getting into. Using the same themes and style, it focuses on the writer Rising Climax as he begins penning the story of Spiker, a roller-skating baby dragon who attacks ponies with his bent, golden bat. Except he soon learns that the attacks he writes tend to happen in the real world: Spiker exists, and he’s doing what Climax says. Naturally, Climax starts to freak out over this.

Personally, I like what KorenCZ11 has done here. While the concept is ripped directly off of Paranoia Agent, the story itself isn’t a carbon copy, instead using the idea in its own way. I can see some fans of the show nitpicking or grumbling about it being an emulation or some such, but for my enjoyment, it was pretty solid. As much as I’d like to have seen this turned into a much bigger tale to really flesh out the characters and events like the show did, I think it works well as a short too.

The only serious complaint I have is that KorenCZ11 is getting some of their words down wrong. For example, writing “overhear” as “over hear”. This kind of error happened three or four times and jolted me from the immersion every time.

But ignoring that, this was a creepy nostalgia trip and a delightful homage to one of anime’s greats. It is a fascinating tale even if you haven’t seen the origin material, and definitely something worth recommending. By all means, give it a go!

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

PS — I may be just a little biased in this one’s favor for the nostalgia factor. I invite others to respond and tell me what they think.

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
The Story of a Forgotten PrincePretty Good
Honesty is a VirtueNeeds Work


Daily

4,753 Words
By LimeAttack
Recommended by paul

Written long before Davenport had a name, this story is centered around an OC under his employ at Quills & Sofas. Tedious Care – or Teddy as he prefers to be called – has been living the exact same routine every day for years. Today, he’s bought his 1,000th apple a day from Applejack, just for example. Then a new pony comes into Quills & Sofas, one Twilight Sparkle, and suddenly Teddy doesn’t feel like following routine anymore.

No, no, this isn’t a romance. But it is a curious tale about learning to live outside your safe, easy routine. Part of me is annoyed that the story gives a ‘happily ever after’ sense to a character literally abandoning everything he knows at the drop of a hat, but at the same time I can thoroughly appreciate the message. And it pulls that message off with a style that steadfastly avoids Tell.

My only serious complaint is that the story feels strangely fast. Maybe that’s because of the previously mentioned abruptness of Teddy’s decision. It just seems to me that the problem and the conclusion come at an uncomfortably quick pace. That might have been intentional, though.

In any case, this is a decent tale. Well-written for certain and with a great message. It was definitely worth the read, and I can’t help but feel I’m selling it short. Like there’s something I missed in all of this. Perhaps one of you can correct me on the matter?

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Paper Boats

3,948 Words
By Enter Madness
Recommended by Pascoite

Applejack just made what may be the greatest mistake of her life: she confessed her love for Rarity. And she knew, within seconds, that she’d never get what she desired. So now she sits at her thinking spot, making paper boats and trying to get over the catastrophe.

This was an atmospheric piece about the struggle of life and finding ways to cope. It’s a hard-hitting tale that doesn’t sugarcoat reality: sometimes we don’t get what we want, and part of life is learning how to accept that even if the pain lingers. I greatly appreciate a story that avoids the tropes and reminds that real life isn’t about happily ever afters.

Granted, the Rarijack OTP crowd (of which I count myself a member) won’t appreciate their pairing being blocked like this. I for one can tolerate it for the excellent lesson the story offers, but I can see a few harsh glares being sent Enter Madness’s way. But remember that this isn’t a romance: this is a slice of life with an important point to make. And it makes it well.

I suppose if I had to complain about anything, it would be that a chunk of the story ended up being a flashback of Applejack’s confession, which I don’t think was necessary. Just knowing the confession happened would have been good enough.

Other than that? An excellent if bittersweet tale about two mares looking for a way to get over a new wall that’s come between them, and about finding a path towards healing. By all means, read it. It’s way underviewed for such high quality work as this.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Another Day in Ponyville

25,912 Words
By AnOrdinaryWriter
Completed Story

In this extremely slow burn of a story, the Mane Six are going about their daily routines. Except they aren’t really their daily routines. They’re… something else? Maybe? None of them are really sure. All they’re gradually coming to understand is that something’s wrong.

Let me just start by saying I like the general concept and how AnOrdinaryWriter decided to approach it. It’s not unlike how I handled the story Songbird, really. The problem is that it can be hard to get into the story thanks to there being no hook whatsoever. You have to read through nine chapters before the problems start to be obvious and things get interesting, and that’s way too long. The author does start dropping hints from the very first chapter, which is great, and I personally derived a lot of pleasure from noticing those hints and getting uneasy from them (that makes esne, right?).

But I am not most people, and I can tell you from experience that ‘most people’ don’t want to spend nine chapters trying to figure things out through extremely subtle hints. Especially if there’s no hook in the first chapter to give them a reason to pay attention. The end result is that this is only going to interest a niche audience of two types of readers: the very patient and the ones hoping to solve the mystery. Everyone else will probably quit reading after two or three chapters.

Then there are the gimmicks. Chapter 10’s the perfect example, which comes with a sort of text puzzle disguised by continuously (and intentionally) bad grammar, followed by an Author’s Note that gives away the solution, which itself leads to a non-hint that doesn’t tell the reader anything at all. It’s a strange thing to see someone trying to be subtle use the most un-subtle method imaginable to create a puzzle. First of all, if you want to have secrets in your story, don’t tell your readers how to solve them. That takes away from the fun, at least part of which is figuring out how to solve it (and I would argue it’s more fun to realize a secret’s there at all, but that’s just me). Second, give your secret a purpose other than simply existing. I get it, AnOrdinaryWriter, you were trying to provide a hint, but that hint could have pointed to nothing and everything at the same time. It might as well have pointed to the word ‘awesome’ and would have been just as effective.

Then there’s the ending, which was… weak. We didn’t need a flashback to reveal all the details of what had happened to Equestria, or the nitty gritty on how the spell worked, or even the specifics of what went wrong. You say Twilight was in that spot for three hours? That’s three hours she could have been pondering the meaning of it all, arguing with her illusions, and gradually coming to her final decision. That would have been more interesting, held more gravitas, and been way more emotional.

Now, having said all of that…

For the first story I’ve read by this author, I am impressed. It’s lightyears ahead of what most people achieve as their first foray into FIMFiction, especially considering its length. This makes me suspect this isn’t AnOrdinaryWriter’s first foray into writing in general. The general concept – for the story and its execution – is wonderful, even if it the actual attempt was hamfisted. The characters were all spot-on, the writing was largely good save for an overabundance of typos (nothing an editor can’t fix), and the desire to create a more engaging experience through in-story puzzles is laudable. Even the size is fairly ambitious, at least more so than your average FIMFic writer.

This author has all the seeds necessary to grow into a great writer someday. They just need to go through some growing pains first, as we all do. I wish AnOrdinaryWriter good luck and look forward to seeing how they develop.

Bookshelf: Needs Work

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


In what may be the single shortest story Novel-Idea has ever bothered to write, we return to the AU in which Sunset remains on as Celestia’s prized student and is steadily learning to be a better pony. In this instance she’s got a day off for the first time in ages, and she really needed it. Unfortunately, Philomena has decided it would be more fun to torment her. Next thing we know, we’re trespassing on private property, throwing bowls of water at unsuspecting princes, and exasperating an entire army of Royal Guards.

It’s a good day.

I can’t help but feel that this entire story, much like the basic premise, is intended to be a break from the serious (if fun) material of the rest of this franchise. If so, it worked wonderfully. It also establishes a new friendship (or at least something like it) between Sunset and Philomena. I do question how it is Philomena is supposed to train with the Royal Guard, and I get the suspicion that Philomena is being set up as Sunset’s alternative to Spike.

It’s nice to see Sunset take a new step in her life without having to devote a few reading days to do so. But as this is only a break, I shall be looking forward to the next average-sized story. This is a great addition to the overall franchise, and for once is easy to jump into without prior knowledge of the other material… provided you’re willing to accept Sunset is still Celestia’s student.

Another solid entry, Novel. Keep them coming.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
The Cloudsdale ReportWHYRTY?
Bards of the BadlandsPretty Good
Grading on a Bell CurvePretty Good
Princess Celestia: A Brief HistoryPretty Good
The Application of Unified Harmony MagicsPretty Good


Stories for Next Week:

Letting Peewee Go by Chaotic Note
I Feel Fantastic! by JawJoe
Look Up by Dark Avenger
To Choose the Light by tursi
The Cellist of Saraneighvo by Ruirik
Areas of Expertise by Cyanide
The Cookie Cadet Caper by Lapis-Lazuli and Stitch
Hang by AShadowOfCygnus
Ship of Fools by Hap
If You Give a Little Love... by Quillamore


Recent Review Map:

Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXII
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXIII
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXIV
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXV
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXVI
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Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXIX
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXL
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXLI
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXLII

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Comments ( 72 )

Anonpencil having a low opinion of Rares...

...that feel when people think you hate your favorite mane six character. :raritydespair:

Thanks for the review. It was seriously done years ago for a prompt about tail docking as a fetish. That's 100% the motivation here. It's a hot piece of nothing as far as stories go, and I hope it at least got a slight chuckle outta ya.

Why are you conservative?

Man, I’m reminded how no one cares about Canadian politics. Even Canadians care more about American politics than whatever’s happening in our country.

RBDash47
Site Blogger

There is, of course, the second and far more dangerous scenario: that politicians, fearing they’ll be viewed as worthless due to gridlock, start passing laws specifically to avoid that image regardless of whether the laws are ‘good’. This can lead to some pretty bad results (see the Seventeenth Amendment), and I’d love to see it avoided.

Wait... what do you have against direct election of senators?

Mate, this has real chances of becoming your most-commented blog in a while, and it will have absolutely nothing to do with the reviews. I hope it doesn't go all the way there, but if it does, I'll be over here eating peanuts, so as to say.


4964998
Yo how does it feel to be, like. Patient zero. My man.

Thanks for the review! :pinkiehappy:

Clearly, SunDagio is Naiad’s OTP.

It was!

… Then I tried writing a long SunDagio story and now I write stories about it ruining everything :facehoof:

Also, the smugness with which I could claim to have won a shipping contest by writing a story about two characters being horrible for and to each other was far too enticing to pass up, so once the controlling/manipulative angle came up I had to write it that way :trollestia:

The writing seems to work the dashes a little too heavily in my opinion

I was noticing that the other day while pondering how much weird punctuation is too much, yeah :twilightsheepish: I definitely need to cut back on those a bit!

Thank you so much for the review.

I'll be honest, I agree one hundred percent with the extreme slow pace of the story. When I wrote it, I wanted to make it in the style of slice of life stories but something isn't quite right, hence why I called them stories and not chapters. Now though, I see how that would have its flaws and its something I definitely overlooked. Also, the idea for the final chapter you had, I'm so pissed I didn't think of that :rainbowlaugh:

Other than that, thank you so much for the kind words and I definitely will strive to improve as best as I can :twilightsmile:

Paul, I love you, buddy, but let's keep politics out of it. I see things like "false accusations of President Trump" and I can't help but cringe, because regardless of your political affiliation if you truly believe everything said about him is false that requires a degree of delusional thinking that just makes me a little sad. Whether he can or should be impeached is immaterial, he's definitely guilty of some of the things he's been accused of. I don't lean heavily left or right, but I am kinda big on people having just a little bit of morality, and the people in charge of your party seem to have none left. I will not ever imply that means you personally have none, but please, try not to impugn your own reputation by defending those who literally do not care what crimes they commit or who knows it. And if you must, keep it out of my pony, please.

4965042
Dammit, things are so crazy I can't tell if you're sincere or mocking.

Sad state of affairs!

4965032

I don't lean heavily left or right, but I am kinda big on people having just a little bit of morality, and the people in charge of your either party seem to have none left.

FTFY

4965042
I miss when politicians at least had the courtesy to attempt that. I mean, I expect those in power to lie, cheat, and steal, but I miss when they used to try to hide that from us. When shame was still a thing, and dignity was valued. I look back on Nixon now and think "Wow, I mean, he was up to so much shady shit, but when he got caught, he left office. What a swell guy."

4965048
Oh, I won't claim the dems are angels, either. But they have just a little shame left. That's why they are so easy to take advantage of.

horizon #13 · Nov 9th, 2018 · · 1 ·

I'll freely admit that I'm on the opposite side of the political spectrum from you, but I too would be entirely happy to see a few years of gridlock.

I'm confused, though. If you think that gridlock is good because it forces the parties to work together and compromise, where is the fear of scenario #2 coming from? If you've opened a single newspaper in the last 20 years, it's a given that politicians don't abandon betray their party's principles just to make themselves look busy — in fact, the fashion is far more in the opposite direction, for the opposition party to gum up the works to prevent the majority party from making progress against their side, and claim the obstruction as a positive accomplishment. Any bill that passes with bipartisan support, therefore, has to be something that both sides can legitimately point to as worthwhile. Passing the "Kick Puppies And Steal Candy From Babies Act of 2019" would require BOTH that the politician be able to justify that vote on its merits, AND justify crossing the aisle to work with the opposition on it rather than obstruct and advance their own agenda. Since most politicians aren't into career suicide I just don't see how this hypothetical comes about.

As far as #3 ... well, if Trump has done less wrong than Clinton did with emails and Benghazi, he's got nothing to fear, and the outcome isn't going to be any worse than the status quo of those years of pointless witch-hunts. But when he's on record as publically asking Russia to hack his political opponents, and providing a constantly shifting alibi about his meeting with them; and for two years has gone out of his way to keep secret the tax returns released by every president since Nixon, while demonstrably lying about the reason he kept them secret ... well, lying is not the behavior of someone with nothing to hide.

Tayman was still hanging out in the ponychan IRC when he wrote this. He intended it to be hilarious. He'd post his thoughts as he was plotting it out, and it sounded like a huge jargon wank. I didn't read the finished product, so I don't know if that's what it turned into, and I hope not, because I told him what a bad idea that would be. And as things sometimes do, it got me thinking about what would be an effective way to use jargon in a story. It's certainly something I've seen done badly often enough, and when I keep railing against authors for the same mistake, I'd occasionally take it as a challenge to see if I can do it well. So I put my thoughts together in a guest post on Chris's blog and gave it a shot myself in a write-off minific round, which I later expanded into "Canon."

I haven't read that Beatrix story, but I've enjoyed the other stories I've read by TheBrianJ. He's got a good dedication to his writing, and he's not afraid to put in the work where he needs it.

I liked Paranoia Agent! In fact, I loved it as soon as I started watching, but it's one of those series that drags on a little too long to keep my interest up, and I found the ending disappointing. It's still one of my favorite opening theme songs, though I made the mistake of looking up what the lyrics meant, but I suppose I couldn't have expected anything different.

I've read "Daily," but I don't remember anything about it, just an impression I had that it started off rather slow.

I liked "Paper Boats" for the same reason: that it made a nice show of the relationship not working out, or even getting started. That's another story type I decided to try myself once. My main beef with it was that we're just assured AJ is in love with Rarity, but we're never really shown it. I don't get to see what clicks for her with Rarity, so I'm not as invested when it doesn't go anywhere. Still, one that stuck in my head as being a good read.

4965049 Not only left office, but provided all presidents regardless of party his welcome assistance in foreign policy until he passed away. Better Ex than President, it seemed.
4965042 Snerk! Ahem. I mean, yes. Of course.

And welcome new authors Enter Madness and AnOrdinaryWriter. Yeah, we have an amazing spread of political views and backgrounds here, but still get along pretty well. Have a seat and stay a while. it's a fun ride.

Ooh boi, those comments...

So let's go with something relevant, eh? Great reviews, Paul, a lot of them for stories I hadn't heard of before!

4965052

... well, lying is not the behavior of someone with nothing to hide.

I feel like his point was that it's not going to change anyone's mind at this stage.

Also, this comment section seems pretty reasonable. Go us!

I appreciate the political commentary, it's nice to be reminded that not everyone lives in the screeching of Tumblr and Twitter on a daily basis. I too voted red and think this may have been for the best since the GOP has the power where it needs it at the moment, and now the president can punch someone else instead of his own party. I may not get my wall anytime soon though, which is sad and I want to see it built.


Honestly, I'm more surprised that you've seen the source material than I am that you enjoyed it. I wrote this story immediately upon finishing Paranoia Agent for the first time myself, and I had to get this idea out of my head. I have seen most of Kon's work at this point, and if you get a chance, go watch Paprika if you need a refresher on Paranoia Agent. It is a lot like if Paranoia Agent was made into a movie, really.

As for the 'one-word two words' thing, I do this a lot and more often than not it's just because I don't know better. I specifically take my word docs into google docs and skim through it just to find the one-word two words with red squiggles under them that my word processor doesn't know or catch.

4965042
thedailymire.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/005EFB58-1C7F-483D-8F42-E5071B4123DB-1024x600.jpeg

Comment posted by KorenCZ11 deleted Nov 9th, 2018

4965288
You know, it's people like you I feel the worst for. You support ideas you want to see happen, and Trump had big ideas... he unfortunately was always assuming the job of 'president' was like 'CEO'. The president cannot just 'dictate' that things happen. He needs the cooperation of congress, not just his own party, often both sides.

You were promised so much, and I honestly don't think he can deliver a tenth of it. He can't make us all rich. He doesn't understand economics... He's a charismatic showman trying to sell dreams. I think he'll make a great ex-president, because he's shown us all just what a man like him can do when he's not kept in check. Just how much damage can be done. And I think he'll be happier too, he can go back to his business deals and golden apartments, and no one will investigate him for it. A man like Trump is not someone who should have a lens like the presidency on him.

4965288
What do you like about Trump?

4964998 4965002 4965004 4965007 4965032 4965042 4965048 4965052 4965113 4965118 4965229 4965288
Well, this ended up a lot more tame than I expected. And I intend to keep it that way, which means I will not be discussing any (or at least most) of the topics related to the current administration. In my experience, the vast majority of political debates ultimately become circular shouting matches of "That's not true! > Is too! > Is not! > Too! > Not! > Uh-huh! > Uh-Uh! > Racist! > Leech!" I am not going to promote that. I'm also not going to debate because, quite frankly, I'm shitty at it (I know at least one person who can probably back me up on this).

That being said, I will respond to many of these comments. I just won't do it as one big comment. I feel it's easier on everyone if they don't have to go scanning down a single massive response looking for the part that's pertinent to them. I also can't do this all in one sitting, as I'm currently at work and have to, y'know, work. So please be patient. If I haven't answered your query by the end of the day, I either don't intend to or missed you. Feel free to ping me if you want to know which it is, but rest assured that if your comment had something to do with Trump, it will probably be ignored. He's too much of a lightning rod for inevitable shouting matches.

4964993
You used such a negative image of her that I figured you just didn't like her. But then again, I should know that negative characters seems to be your M.O., so...

Some of the parts at the beginning amused me, but then it got to the end where Anon goes back to Rarity's and I was more "wut?" than anything.

4964998
Despite what others are (perhaps jokingly) suggesting, I consider this a fair enough query to warrant a proper answer. The short form is that conservatism defends all the things that are most important to me personally: limited government, free market and capitalism, individual responsibility, individual accountability, State sovereignty, adherence to the Constitution, and ensuring my country's success before fretting over the success of others.

Before anyone makes the query (because I suspect someone will), I'm not 100% conservative: I'm pro-choice (within reason) and pro-gay marriage, just for example. I'm sure there are other topics I'm missing right now, but I don't have the time or patience to go about listing all my beliefs in intricate detail.

Nor will I be answering any further queries on this topic. I've answered the original query and am stopping here before I get dragged into an overlong discussion when I could be spending my time reading/writing horsewords. Oh, and doing my job. Guess I should be doing that, too.

4965004
The Seventeenth Amendment is one of the biggest legal mistakes we ever made, up there with things like Prohibition, but perhaps less obvious.

Congress's original design was intended to balance two overt threats to our freedoms: the tyranny of the Elite and the tyranny of the People. Both have severe negatives attached that will rear their ugly heads when given the chance. In a big way, the Congress was a compromise that allowed the two to have their say but keep one another in check. It comes down to elites vs. the common man: both have legitimate concerns, but they also both will tear the country apart if allowed to always have their way. It's important to remember that, despite what politicians might declare in their speeches, America is not a democracy, it is a representative republic.

The House of Representatives was designed to be the Voice of the People. Its numbers and districts are determined by population, and its decisions can be viewed as the desires of the People. But what the people desire isn't always in the country's best interest, and our founding fathers understood that. They needed someone to check the people's whims and make sure they didn't destroy the country.

The Senate was designed to be the power of the elites, i.e. the local legislature of each State. Now, every state was allowed to decide how it chose its own senators, but many were simply selected by the governor. This was inherently dangerous, because if you're not careful you can end up with a form of tyranny run by a select few. The founding fathers also recognized this, having just freed themselves from monarchical rule. This kind of power needs to be kept in check, and who better to do that than the People? Enter the House of Representatives.

The Congress was designed to balance these two political forces. Which, as we all know, are often at one another's throats. Granted, this made changing the government hard, but it also meant the nation couldn't tear itself apart by throwing out bad laws designed to promote only one side on a whim.

The Seventeenth Amendment destroyed that balance. Now the only voice is the People's Voice. Now it's up to the Executive (the President) and the Judicial (the Supreme Court) to be the roadblock of bad, but popular, policy. And if it weren't for the Electoral College, even that safeguard would be gone. If America can't maintain the balance between the People and the Elite, it will eventually eat itself alive. We've already lost one key element of that balance. How long before we lose the rest?

RBDash47
Site Blogger

4965399
Huh! I'd wondered if it was a typo for the Eighteenth.

Thank you for the response.

4965010
Oh? So if it's not your OTP anymore, a shipper such as myself wonder which pairing is. :raritywink:

4965011
I'll be looking forward to more, then!

4965296
We can get into the politics of it all privately if you want, but here's what I'll say; America is insanely rich in comparison to... everywhere. And I mean everywhere. There is not another country on earth that has the wealth the US does, and most people in this country make more at a minimum wage job than people in other countries do in their lives. Every American citizen is rich and adding money to the pot, which has been done, is not something I complain about. America and western civilization by extension is so wealthy I think we've lost sight as a whole on how bad it really used to be. We don't understand real poverty anymore because it is very difficult to even approach that in this country, in this age.

4965309
Quite a bit. I think he's suited for high offices, and he is the most entertaining president in recorded history. If you can say nothing else about the man, he puts on a good show.

4965399
You have no idea how much I appreciate that.

4965380

but rest assured that if your comment had something to do with Trump, it will probably be ignored.

Duly noted and appreciated. I in turn will not pretend Trump is at all representative of the republican party in general, as he is an aberration that can only be himself. I will further add that I don't think every republican in power is teh debil, but I do feel those in charge of the party have lost their way and have jointly decided that party agenda trumps (pun very much intended, not sorry) everything else. I don't require or expect a response as this is my opinion and as such is meaningless to anyone but me or people who wish to understand me.

4965032
This is the only Trump-related comment I intend to address, but I feel this one element needs correcting: at no point did I say Trump is totally innocent of wrongdoing. I merely pointed out that we might see false accusations fly in the future. I think it's fair to say that not all the claims leveled against him are true. Heck, that holds true for every President that ever held office, I'd argue. But I will acknowledge that by not clarifying this in the first place I left it open for improper interpretation.

And don't worry, the politics are just for this blog, and then you won't hear a peep from me about it for another year at least. I just noticed I've done it once every November since the Ferguson Riots, so I figured why not keep the trend going? Gives me a chance to go outside the norm for a change.

This is the point where I remind everyone I’m a conservative and I did vote Red this election year.

I'm liking you more and more, Paul. :ajsmug:

That said, I really hate to think it, but I'm pretty sure you're on-point in regards to option 3. I have never seen Democrats hate a man as much as this guy, even during Bush Jr's years, they called him retarded but didn't actively witch hunt him to this degree imo.

4965383
Well, wut is also perfectly acceptable. :)

4965431
You have no idea how much that relieves me to hear.
4965399
I think the elite will manage somehow. The people are easily swayed by a huge tool that the elite swing around; money. This ensures that those in power are kept beholden to those who got them elected, and thus the system over corrects towards the needs of the elite. I'm not actually sure the people have a voice at all anymore. And the less said about the electoral college the better.

4965435
It's pretty much to the same degree the republicans hated Clinton. And still somehow hate Clinton even decades later. I think the main difference is Trump is worse at hiding his shady stuff.

4965050 Not sure I'd call it shame, but the difference is probably only interesting to an armchair psychologist :)

Other than that I'd have to agree.

4965441
South Park called it years ago, our choices are a turd and a douche. Pick your favorite.

4965422
There’s one I’d really like to mention, but I’ve been asked to keep it a secret until one of the stories that made me like it so much is published :twilightsheepish:

I’m actually not certain I have one now, though. For all I don’t think SunDagio would work out long-term, the ideological differences between those two can make for great drama (I can’t see the scenario of Lost in Paradise working with a non-Sunset pairing, for instance). So, wickedly tempting contests aside, I find myself coming back to that one quite often, if mostly in the slightly twisted way of having it be awful for both of them.

But Adagio/Rarity is one of my favorites right now, and not far off from OTP-level. I wish I wrote more of it, and that there was more of it to read, because Rarity was probably the closest thing to a victim there was in my one rendition of the pairing :twilightoops: But Rarity is, I think, one of the best options for a long-term Adagio romance, and also my favorite mane cast member except possibly maybe kinda Starlight, so it’s just fun to imagine lobbing her at Best Siren and expecting happy kisses and such to follow :rainbowkiss:

Of the ships I don't write myself, LyraBon, StarTrix, and recently RariTwi are probably the ones I'm most keen on.

4965084
I'm sorry to say I don't remember the ending of Paranoia Agent! all that well. Which may be indicative of something. Regardless, I may find it and watch it again soon, if only for the nostalgia factor.

4965113
It's actually kind of impressive how tame this blog's comment section is really. I expected something far more explosive. I'm proud of most of the people here for keeping an even tone and ignoring those who are trying to prod the dragon.

4965288
I have Paprika, actually. Great movie all around. And that theme song, yo. I bounced to that thing for months.

Other awesome Satoshi Kon shows I've seen (but not all of which I own): Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers.

RBDash47
Site Blogger

4965431

And don't worry, the politics are just for this blog, and then you won't hear a peep from me about it for another year at least. I just noticed I've done it once every November since the Ferguson Riots, so I figured why not keep the trend going? Gives me a chance to go outside the norm for a change.

Consider doing so in a separate blog post from reviews. I really think you've done this post's fics a disservice by lumping them in with fodder for political debate: the focus of the discussion is now on the politics of you, your commenters, and America at large rather than discussing the stories.

4965464
I agree, I should have waited until this weekend. But it is what it is this year. I'll try to remember come next year, assuming I keep the trend going for another.

4965463
My freakin' man. AND THEN! was written to the PA ost, but this was also played too. Millennium Actress is the only one of those that isn't on my watch list, only because I've seen it. It is hard not to want to emulate the man's work after seeing his movies. There's a good few chapters of Super that focus on dreams, and Kon is the root of that inspiration.

prods dragon

4965425

We can get into the politics of it all privately if you want, but here's what I'll say; America is insanely rich in comparison to... everywhere. And I mean everywhere. There is not another country on earth that has the wealth the US does, and most people in this country make more at a minimum wage job than people in other countries do in their lives. Every American citizen is rich and adding money to the pot, which has been done, is not something I complain about. America and western civilization by extension is so wealthy I think we've lost sight as a whole on how bad it really used to be. We don't understand real poverty anymore because it is very difficult to even approach that in this country, in this age.

hmmm

Estimates of the number of Americans living in poverty are nuanced. One organization estimated that in 2015, 13.5% of Americans (43.1 million) lived in poverty.[6] Yet other scholars underscore the number of Americans living in "near-poverty," putting the number at around 100 million, or nearly a third of the U.S. population.[7]Starting in the 1930s, relative poverty rates have consistently exceeded those of other wealthy nations.[8] The lowest poverty rates are found in New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota and Nebraska, which have between 8.7% and 9.1% of their population living in poverty.[9]

In 2009 the number of people who were in poverty was approaching 1960s levels that led to the national War on Poverty.[10] In 2011 extreme poverty in the United States, meaning households living on less than $2 per day before government benefits, was double 1996 levels at 1.5 million households, including 2.8 million children.[11] In 2012 the percentage of seniors living in poverty was 14% while 18% of children were.[12] The addition of Social Security benefits contributed more to reduce poverty than any other factor.[13]

Recent census data shows that half the population qualifies as poor or low income,[14] with one in five Millennials living in poverty.[15] Academic contributors to The Routledge Handbook of Poverty in the United States postulate that new and extreme forms of poverty have emerged in the U.S. as a result of neoliberal structural adjustment policies and globalization, which have rendered economically marginalized communities as destitute "surplus populations" in need of control and punishment.[16]

Oh shit sorry I accidentally did half a second of research on this. My bad.

For real tho -- I think what you said is kinda misguided. Leaving literally everything else aside (not here to argue politics or anything, just this literal particular point), poverty in the USA is alive and well, man. Sadly, I might add.

4965399

What do you define as 'tyranny of the people'?

4965479
I know you said you don't want to debate politics, but in any case I will also comment on this particular point, because the idea that poverty is a serious problem in America is wrong on several accounts. Copying and pasting wiki pages isn't necessarily bad (I use wiki myself) but it's clear you didn't even look at the references provided. It's easy to skew data.

The first is talkpoverty.org, which asserts that the wage gap is real, something that has been debunked by economists more times that scientists have debunked flat-Earth theory. So that already hurts their credibility. But even ignoring that, a lot of these statistics, including them, do an overly broad analysis for poverty which includes the entire working age population. This is gonna include young people who work part-time jobs or seasonal jobs or what have you. A college student working once or twice a week (like me) will obviously make less than the poverty line. That doesn't mean all young people who work part-time are in poverty. At the present unemployment rates are pretty low and most people who work part time are below the age of 25. This is all according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For actual full-time workers, roughly 3% of them lived in poverty by 2016.

Even in the part on that wiki page where it points to a near 1/2 poverty rate, the very article referenced linked it to the recession and that this was an abnormality.

So that's that. About the dreaded One Percent, it's all well and good to complain about the rich by American standards, but by global standards if you're making 32k a year you're already in the One Percent. This is to say that even some lower-class American citizens would be placed in the One Percent. That's pretty amazing.

Something like 65% of Americans suffer from obesity as of today. Obesity is the consequence of too much food. The fact that America has the problem of too much food is not only not poverty, it means they're better off than nearly every single place in the history of human civilization. That's no exaggeration. The fact that you can turn down food is a luxury you take for granted. Most people throughout history couldn't do that. Low-income people live better than kings hundreds of years ago because of better medicine, air conditioning, wider variety of food (thanks to GMOs), higher life expectancy, and so on.

Let me wrap this up. Things like income inequality and relative poverty are non-issues. They're completely overrated. Someone who makes six figures still has extreme income inequality with Bill Gates; that doesn't prove the former is living in poor conditions. What's important is reducing overall poverty, which the free market has been doing for a while now.

4965479
I mean when you make a statement like,

Oh shit sorry I accidentally did half a second of research on this. My bad.

You're just begging to start an argument. To say the research you've pulled up really adds to my case here is putting it lightly, but you might've needed to read what my comment actually said to figure that out. Of course, that might've taken more than half a second, as it were. If you actually want to talk about this, I am totally up for it in private, but the way you put it here is a little like saying 'You're dumb and you don't know what you're talking about, but really man, let's not actually talk about this.'

Ah, but what do I know, eh? I only spend a good part of my day listening to political commentary. I'm dumb and don't know what I'm talking about.

4965007
*comments still ongoing*
Have you switched to popcorn yet? I made brownies, myself.

4965478
Definitely see Tokyo Godfathers this holiday season. It is, simply put, a stream of minor miracles. It's a wonderful story for Christmas full of colorful, interesting, and highly amusing characters.

But for some reason, the only thing that's been going through my head since reviewing AND THEN! is that PA episode with the suicide club. Still hilarious, even as faded memories.

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