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Zovarue

Zeugma's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 958 posts (1,121 including aliases). 1 review. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 4 aliases.


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The Exchange

Congratulations! I know I'm going to love reading all of your final submissions!

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Taliesin Hoyle wrote:


Kafka - The trial. Metamorphosis and other stories.

Have you read his "Amerika"? I really loved it and, although incomplete (or is it?), it is perhaps my favorite or second favorite of his longer works; "The Castle" is also a masterpiece!

But my first favorite Kafka work is "A Hunger Artist." I've read three different translations and no matter how they change a phrase here or there, I feel the intention of the story comes through very clearly. Perhaps Walter Benjamin is right and a work becomes more itself in translation...Even so, Kafka is the only reason I wish I could read German.

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ericthecleric wrote:
Don Quixote, by Cervantes, is surprisingly readable for a book that's 400 years old. Although it's a LONG read.

I'm reading it right now! I've laughed out loud a number of times, and my copy comes with Gustave Dore engravings so yeah...I feel spoiled.

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kikai13 wrote:
Anything by Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco, or Jorge Luis Borges. Invisible Cities by Calvino is amazing.

Get outta my mind!

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Thanks for keeping the contest going! I love being able to see all the talent RPG Superstar produces/brings out, and it wouldn't be possible without all of your dedicated effort.

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It's hard to believe he's gone. I grew up with TNG, but I loved OS reruns, especially Spock's banter with McCoy and Kirk. It wouldn't have been Star Trek without Spock to balance out Kirk's emotional displays. I remember practicing the Shekinah sign in the mirror so many times until I could get the "Vulcan Salute" just right. I even read Nimoy's book, "I am not Spock," which I bought at a library sale. I wrote a short essay about it and Nimoy's relationship to the Stanislavsky Method for my acting class in college.

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Oceanshieldwolf, the contestants weren't allowed to use their own monsters, only other contestants'. I voted for the same two entries you voted for. I just wasn't thrilled by the geomaw, and was disappointed so many contestants used it.

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I'm actually disappointed so many contestants used the geomaw. It wasn't one of my favorites from the monster round, to be honest. However, it was well-designed, and certainly better than anything I could have come up with given the parameters of the contest!

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Hi all. I finally got around to reading the Braga comic. [my life has been too busy to hunt all over town for one comic] I really liked it, especially Tess Fowler's take on orcs. Very tribal-punk. I hope she gets to do more guest artistry on the series, or at least that her orcs are the style going forward. I think we need another Braga issue, too.

Spoiler:
I'm looking forward to what Round 2 with her brother is going to be like!

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Congratulations, top 8! And to the top 16: I wish I could have voted for ALL of your monsters. They were all way beyond cool.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

Getting in touch with my inner LG Cavalier

Spoiler:
and Broadway geek
. link

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Also, in the spirit of the thread: I am now reading a dual-language edition of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's Don Quijote/Don Quixote. It's been great because I don't need to use a bilingual dictionary for the words I don't know. Also, I discovered that there really is no equivalent to "hallar" in English. There are other words that are more equivalent to English, but not that one. It's a very useful word. Cervantes uses it a lot.

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Tinkergoth wrote:
Having just finished The Black Prism, I have to say I really enjoyed it.

This sounds really cool! I had an idea for a story about color-based magic, but it ended up taking a very different direction. The Black Prism is going onto my "to read" list.

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Yeah, I want to continue to the end of the story arc too. But I didn't see where Stepjic re-designed the characters. Do you have a link?

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3 people marked this as a favorite.

Since the monsters don't get much direct sun exposure, they need darkness-enabled features. I'd like to see something involving spores, or those bioluminescent bacteria, like angler-fish have. Something different than your standard "it has darkvision" response. Not everything should be able to see in the dark. I also like the monsters that have tremor-sense, echolocation, or other work-arounds for the darkness condition. It just feels more organic to me. So I hope we get some monsters with those alternative qualities.

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Please disregard my previous post as I see this issue is being discussed over in the LGBT Gamer thread.

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The whole Roc Upchurch arrest is making me feel uneasy about the series going forward. Will Wiebe having a new illustrator change the content? Is it temporary or will Upchurch return to illustrating it at some point down the road? It also makes me super sad that a series that is so positive/entertaining about women kicking @ss has a corollary in real-life violence that is as far as one can get from "entertaining."

I was wondering what other readers on here thought about the issue, or if y'all don't want to touch it with a 10 ft. pole.

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That AP cover is super intense!

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Did anyone get the Braga special issue? I couldn't find it at my local comics shops, and I went to two different stores!

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2 people marked this as a favorite.

Maggot Brain

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I'm really looking forward to all the maps! Those un-keyed maps were a favorite feature when I used to read "Dungeon" magazine. Good luck, you top 32ers!

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

Samnell, I don't know if you are still reading Civil War stuff, but I thought of you while reading this news item about abolitionist Elijah P. Lovejoy: Lovejoy's will found.

Oh, and I'm reading stuff. Serpent's Skull AP, to be exact. I liked the fiction by Robin Laws. It has a "Magnificent Seven" vibe, though the plot is very different from that movie.

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Aaron, I think you came up with a great ending to the campaign! Find the treasure, defend it, then ride off into the sunset... who could ask for anything more?

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2 people marked this as a favorite.

I just downloaded the Wayfinder. I'm really enjoying reading through it. This has to be the best fanzine ever, in terms of adherence to theme/style! Keep up the good work!

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

I love the sound of "volcano-themed class options"!

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Is WAR doing the covers for this AP? I really like how he illustrates giants; you can somehow feel their size and menace instead of just seeing a "large" human.

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I finished Hornet Flight. Enjoyable WWII spy thriller. But some of it bordered on the implausible, as expected. I find those implausible, last minute escapes to actually draw me away from a sense of suspense.

Now I'm not sure what to read. I'm spoiled for choice.

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I gave in and read The Spellsong War, the second book in L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s "Spellsong Cycle." As the GoodReads reviewers said, it was pretty much par with the first book in the series. Lots of politics. The only thing I liked less than the first book was that the ending felt rushed. I get the feeling that I'm probably going to complete the series, if it isn't too long. At least not Wheel of Time long.

Now I'm reading Ken Follett's Hornet Flight. Mr. Follett spoke at my school yesterday and I got my copy autographed. I don't normally read WWII thrillers, but this one has been entertaining so far. I've also heard good things about his The Eye of the Needle. I like this one because it involves airplanes. :)

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I've never read a Jim Butcher book, but I figured this is probably the best place to post that he wrote one of the Pep Talks for National Novel Writing Month this year. They just posted it on their website. I read it. It was entertaining.
Here is the link: link to Jim Butcher's Pep Talk.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

511. Oxygen doesn't become the third most abundant element in the universe shortly after the Big Bang. Life as we know it never evolves.

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I don't know if this has already been addressed (thread too long, didn't read) but on page 6, column 2, "Fire," the Wild Talents: 1--Burning Infusion, Fire Sculptor.

Where is Fire Sculptor? I couldn't find it in the Infusion section, which starts on page 7, while I did find Burning Infusion there (which apparently costs 1 Burn).

[edit: I found it, on page 10...silly me, I expected the entries to be alphabetical!]

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hi. I'm looking for a regular Pathfinder group in west LA. I tried looking on Warhorn.net, but Warhorn's website has changed since I last visited it and most of the stuff listed on there seems to be PFS specific or tournament/convention based. I'm cool with PFS, but was wondering if there are any Adventure Paths going on that I could join.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

Elfrida Andree, Piano Trio No. 2.

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Check out the Rat Queens swag! <Droool> D20 Rat Queens Tote! </droool>

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GeraintElberion wrote:

So...

A sci-fi author with no web-fiction and no published novel-length fiction is dropped into cliche-danger territory.

I am concerned.

James better be showing some mad editor-fu here and have gone full diamond-in-the-rough with this author.

Do you have any links to any of Gary Kloster's short sci-fi, or a blog, or something? My Google-fu was weak and I had trouble finding him and wasn't sure if I had him or some other Gary Kloster in my search results.

Hopefully more info about the author will be forthcoming.

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This looks fun! I know the cover of the book is just a placeholder, but where does the art come from? I don't remember Sajan fighting in a jungle.

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Necromancer wrote:
Zeugma wrote:
2. Please don't stop with just reading Kafka! You do yourself a disservice if you fail to read the Kafka criticism of the last 50 years! A lot of what has been written is contradictory, but each critic has added to my understanding, and what with Kafka's last papers finally being prepared for the public after protracted custody disputes, now is a good time to revisit it.
It's interesting to watch how criticism changes over the years. My prefered method is to find the earliest analysis available and then read them (the interesting ones) chronologically.

The only difficulty with that approach is that if you start with Brod and (in English) Edwin Muir, you are getting in the former a very specific agenda, and in the latter a very incomplete view since, at that point, most of Kafka's oeuvre hadn't been posthumously published yet. Not that you can't do it, just that some of the conclusions that are drawn are off the mark if Kafka's works are taken as a whole.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jean-Paul Sartre, Intrnet Troll wrote:
Zeugma wrote:
But once you read the truly brilliant, such as by Albert Camus,
[Curses in French]

Wouldn't your girlfriend Simone de Beauvior care to troll this thread, instead of you?

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2 people marked this as a favorite.

I agree with the Neil Gaiman article, although his evidence is much weaker, being drawn from Pratchett's life, than the evidence in Pratchett's books.

How can anyone read Pratchett's Night Watch and not think he has a lot of darkness in his soul? Yes, he is sending up torturers and secret police, but...he's sending up torturers and secret police!

I recently re-read his Monstrous Regiment. The part where Tonker says, "Yes, they were very good at seeming," about the Poor Girls Working House is just like a punch to the gut.

Anyone who calls Pratchett a "jolly old elf" is clearly not thinking about Terry Pratchett's elves.

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At second thought, I'm pretty sure that the Kafka criticism I read specifically about "The Trial" and the symbolic/literal aspects of K's guilt was by Walter Benjamin, and is not part of the Gray anthology. However, it should still be widely available.

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Necromancer wrote:
JurgenV wrote:
Necromancer wrote:

To help get us back on track:

Kafkatrapping

This is why I'm concerned for game culture, because this is common in other media industries and growing in society at large. Please read.

Yep that is exactly it.

Makes me think of the youtube guy called the amazing athiest that starts one vid whipping himself chanting"why am i white, why am i male, why can't i stop oppressing others?"

After reading it, I've decided to do two things:

1 - Reread The Trial (Der Prozess) and any other Kafka work I can get my hands on.

2 - Stop using the SJW pejorative and start calling people Kafkatrappers. More accuracy and less anger.

1. Congratulations! I'm a huge fan of Kafka. My favorite of his is "A Hunger Artist," and my second favorite is "Amerika." My third favorite is "A Country Doctor" for the longer short stories, pre-Aphorisms, but it is currently in a tie with "In the Penal Colony." "The Castle" and "The Trial" are better written than "Amerika" but I like his earlier epic better precisely because it is incomplete (or more incomplete than "The Castle") and because it is a wonderful European POV of what America means to an urbanized Prague Jew of the 1920s, and can be read as a criticism of both Americanism and urbanization while also seeing these forces as inexorable.

2. Please don't stop with just reading Kafka! You do yourself a disservice if you fail to read the Kafka criticism of the last 50 years! A lot of what has been written is contradictory, but each critic has added to my understanding, and what with Kafka's last papers finally being prepared for the public after protracted custody disputes, now is a good time to revisit it.

3. Kafkatrapper is not actually more accurate (see my previous post above). BUT if you want to argue it is, and do a different reading of "The Trial" than I have, be my guest. But once you read the truly brilliant criticism, such as by Albert Camus, people who throw around such a facile term as "Kafkaesque" will make you resentful when you read its overbroad and generalized misapplication. At least, it makes me resentful.

<shakes head, mumbles> people don't know what they're saying

The Exchange

Necromancer wrote:

To help get us back on track:

Kafkatrapping

This is why I'm concerned for game culture, because this is common in other media industries and growing in society at large. Please read.

2 points:

1. Claims of "concern for [fill in the blank] culture" make me think of the claims made against heavy metal in the '80s, and all the moral panics preceding it, including D&D. It just reads as ironic.

2. The invocation of Kafka left me very disappointed in the article as written. I was hoping for Kafka criticism. This is not it. I've read The Trial and I've read a lot of Kafka criticism. This was a shallow use of a story with many more dimensions to it that those he pointed out. An alternate reading (arrived at by several authors in the Ronald Gray anthology Franz Kafa: A Collection of Critical Essays): Kafka's K was guilty. There is no escape from guilt. The fact it can be invoked to make us do/think/feel things is not some flaw but the sum of its function, which Kafka was brilliant at describing. Does it make you feel bad? Then it is doing its job. Some external referent isn't necessary. The author seems to think this is bad for society. He is wrong. Kafka would tell him it is society, and, more than that, it is K.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

I had a bad experience at a convention with a smelly, large, very hairy man playing cross-gender at my table and doing it VERY badly, in the vaudevillian "man dresses up in coconuts and wig...makes pouty face...so-called hilarity ensues" way. He went through all the stereotypes about how "women" act: slutty, cares only about the gold/lootz, afraid to be a front-line fighter, dumb, etc.

The racial equivalent would be a white man wearing black-face to a convention to portray a "black" character and saying, "Where da white women at?" and "I sho' love watermelon, yessir" right in front of a group of black players.

As a cisgender woman that guy made me VERY uncomfortable. I suspect he would make cross-gender women uncomfortable too. Hell, I think he'd have made Norman Bates uncomfortable!

If you, dear reader, are going to play cross-gender, I recommend you do not do that. Divest of your stereotypes. Or, if you must use them, mediate them with positive qualities and develop a well-rounded character before you sit down at the table. If my first ever gaming experience had been with that man at the table, I would have walked away and never looked back, and later on, if I had kids, I'd be very reluctant to let any of my children play role-playing games for fear of them becoming like him.

The Exchange

Caineach wrote:
thejeff wrote:

The discussion's moved on (and exploded) while I was away, but I'll add a couple of points back towards the start.

When I said the "reality of the day" I wasn't talking about when you (or I) were nerds in school, whenever that was, but back to the earliest roots of computer gaming. Back to that ad for the arcade game with the model in the transparent dress and back beyond that to the first hackers writing games on the old time share machines.
Women weren't involved back then to any noticeable degree, not because women just didn't happen to be interested in computer games, but because there was tremendous social pressure against women in any kind of hard science, including computers. This was back in the very early days of second wave feminism. I would hope that even those who deny sexism today will admit it existed back then.

For your response to the second point: it doesn't really matter whether I think it's a correct reaction or not. It's going to happen. Women are coming into gaming culture and gaming culture is going to change. You can fight back, but it can't be stopped, short of changes in the status of women in the outside world.

This isn't true. Like comics, women were actively involved at the beginning and then left. Look at 70s art and advertising instead of 80s. It was the 80s where gender stereotypes started being used. I suspect it was a large part of the cultural shift that encompassed a lot of other things too.

This is true of photography and filmmaking too, back in the 1880s-90s. When I studied film history in school, the reason given for the fall-off in female-produced content was a) "professionalization" and b) money (although those 2 points aren't really separate). Once Wall Street saw that [movies/comics/videogames] was making serious money instead of being just a fringe interest, they folded it into Madison Avenue's existing business model for selling stuff (i.e. Lowest Common Denominator selling) and co-opted it, making it harder for competing groups (e.g. women, minorities) to profit in an area that the Establishment suddenly wanted to compete in; when the Big Money shoved aside the Little Money, we saw a lot fewer women and minorities get the jobs and a lot less content directed at such low-dollar groups.

The Exchange

Simon Legrande wrote:
What if "Women are just naturally less interested in hard science" is actually true? Have there been studies by anyone to prove that women are just as interested in hard sciences as men are?

They've done studies of sex-segregated vs. mixed-sex classrooms that have shown that among student achievers in mixed-sex classes, the girls get lower grades in STEM classes than the girls in single-sex STEM classes. In other words, girls show greater aptitude and interest in STEM when in a society of females than they do in mixed company. Now whether or not the girls are more or less "interested" in science as a class than boys as a class really hasn't been compared (at least not in the studies I've read). Compulsory schooling means that kids have to take classes no matter what their interest level. However, better grades does imply that the girls are academically engaged with STEM subjects. The conclusion is that environment makes a big difference in interest/achievement. SO NO, women are not "naturally" less interested in STEM; social/environmental factors influence interest levels. There is nothing "natural" about it.

Female achievement in STEM workforce (in terms of jobs and measurements of achievement) is a whole different kettle of fish which I won't get into here. Schools provide sort-of-ideal controls for social experiment because of standardized curricula and natural division by age group and ability. Workforce studies are a lot more difficult to carry out and draw conclusions from. I'd assume video-game studies are even more complicated to control, although if the focus-group R&D money of several game companies was pooled and went to such an experiment it might provide fascinating results.

The Exchange

I also finished L.E. Modesitt, Jr.'s The Soprano Sorceress. It wasn't as dull as it was made out to be, but it was not as interesting or exciting as it ought to have been, judging by the title/cover. It's one of those books that just didn't live up to its potential but wasn't frustrating/boring enough for me to not finish reading it.

Things that specifically got on my nerves:

Spoiler:
Modesitt, Jr. has some late-'90s views of feminism that make Anna, the protagonist, a bit of a Mary Sue, in that other characters/obstacles are sometimes set up as straw-men so a feminist Aesop can be delivered (dang, I TV Trope too much!). It's not something that bothers me so much as I feel it doesn't do justice to a topic that deserves a more nuanced portrayal, even in fantasy novels. I could say, "At least it isn't misogynistic drivel," but as a reader I still hoped for a higher standard than "After School Special."

The large cast didn't help round out the world as much as it ought to have. The villains were an ensemble; the BBEG didn't get enough face-time or active moments in the story (except for very early on), which made the plot feel less urgent and disconnected. I don't like it when villains just cackle evilly and scry on people most of the time and then the Mary Sue comes in and wipes them out before we get a chance to really know them.

Finally, one of the characters, Daffyd, who dies in the end with no real payoff, is one of the few Modesitt actually spent a lot of time building up with an interesting background and motivations. I thought his relationship with Anna was actually worth exploring more than it was and I was frustrated that his death didn't lend anything to the story.

I may read the next book in the series, but more likely I won't.

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I'm reading Iain Pears' An Instance of the Fingerpost. It's slow going. I can't read it before/after I eat because it's about Oxford vivisectionists in the 1660s. Each time I try to describe to my sister what's happening now in the story, she gives me this look that says WTF? Why did you tell me that?

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thejeff wrote:
Dave Gross wrote:

While I love the first five Amber novels, the first Zelazny I like to recommend is Lord of Light.

It's my favorite, but it's a little denser than the Amber books. A little more experimental and harder to grasp.

Lure them in with the easy stuff. :)

I read Lord of Light first and I didn't find it experimental or hard to grasp at all. But I read/watch a lot of sci-fi, so maybe I'm used to the sort of world-building where not everything gets explained and tied up in a pretty bow at the end.

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edit: I meant Edgar Rice Burroughs. Dang, I get those two confused way too often! But Robert E. Howard also uses the "stolen from Earth" trope too. It's too darn convenient to have the protagonist be the reader's stand-in.

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I picked up The Soprano Sorceress by L.E. Modesitt Jr. from the .50c pile at the library sale. It isn't bad, but it ain't good either.
Things I like so far: fairly realistic portrayal of professional singers and their personalities that are shaped by their singing. Dang it, I KNOW these people! (except if they had magic...it would scare the ship out of me)
Things I don't like: having to take the "stolen-from-earth" genre for what it is and the disconnect between the "naturalistic" fiction of the protagonist's "Earth" in contrast to the fantasy world. Even with Robert E. Howard (John Carter) or Mark Twain (Connecticut Yankee) I've yet to see it done in a way that doesn't make me work really hard to suspend my disbelief. Excepted for Francis Stevens' The Heads of Cerberus who makes it work because it is just too gonzo, like a trippy episode of "Sliders."
Pet Peeve: It's "I couldn't care less." COULDN'T! grumbles about writers and lazy editors.

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