Wonder Woman Doesn't Say Hello

In the third issue of Final Crisis (2008) by Grant Morrison and JG Jones, Wonder Woman, fighting Mary Marvel, exclaims “Hola!”

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Morrison uses it again in last week’s Wonder Woman Earth One vol. 3:

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To my American eyes, it looks very much like Wonder Woman really likes to say “hello” to people she’s fighting. In actuality, she’s using a battlecry first seen (I think) in Wonder Woman 1. (She appeared prior to that in All Star Comics 8 and Sensation Comics. WW shows an expanded version of her ASC origin.)

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Okay, so if Wonder Woman used this battlecry in her early appearances, then where did author William Moulton Marston get it from? Turns out this is incredibly hard to find on search engines. “Amazon” is an internet company, “hola” is a common Spanish word, and Wonder Woman has a recent movie out, all of which gunk up the results. The best I’ve been able to find—my guess for the moment—is the Ancient Greek battlecry “alala,” which relates to a goddess, niece of Ares, who personified war. Maybe it got transliterated to “hola” at some point and Marston picked it up from there?

I’d love to hear other theories as to why the Amazons in DC Comics use this particular exclamation.

Dark Angels Apothecaries

As a follow-up to my previous piece about the Dark Angels, I wanted to take a look at how Apothecaries should be painted. The question: should they be all white, or wear their normal color with white embellishments? (TL:DR: White, in my opinion, but sources differ.)

The basic guidance, as I understood things, was that each Space Marine chapter has its own colors—blue for Ultramaines, red for Blood Angels, and so on—but that Techmarines, Chaplains, Librarians, and Apothecaries wore their own colors of office—red, black, blue, and white, respectively—instead, with just the left shoulder pad showing their chapter’s colors. For medics, especially, it makes sense to have them be easily identifiable. In present day (though this would certainly be laughable in the grim, dark future of the 41st millennium) medical staff are not supposed to be treated as targets.

Here, though, is a Rogue Trader-era photo which shows a good bit of variation.

Rogue Trader medics

Note the Dark Angels example, bottom-right, in what’s now considered to be their pre-heresy color scheme along with a Consecrators-like stripe on his helmet.

By the second edition of Warhammer 40,000 they were wearing all white.

2nd edition Apothecary

Second edition codex

His left shoulder pad is green and shows the Dark Angels symbol but could otherwise be an Apothecary for any chapter. (He’s also wearing his 3rd company designation on the wrong knee. How embarassing!)

The sixth edition codex makes a change. We have a robed Apothecary wearing green with a white helmet, right shoulder, and narthecium.

6th edition Apothecary

Sixth edition codex

7th edition Apothecary

Seventh edition codex

Deathwing Apothecaries are shown in bone with white accents.

6th edition Deathwing Apothecary

Sixth edition codex

In eighth edition, however, we get an illustration of a Primaris Apothecary in white.

DarkAngelsApothecary

Eighth edition codex

Black sidearm, though, rather than red. This is another detail that’s changed over time. 3rd edition-era Dark Angels carried black guns, but that didn’t last. They’ve been shown red more often than not. Also note that his kneepad has a helix, not a company badge. Each company does have its own Apothecary, so either this is an error or this is how they show they’re not attached to a particular company.

Ravenwing Apothecaries have always been depicted in all white.

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So which is it: white or green (or bone or black)?

The real answer, as always, is that they’re your models and you can paint them however you want. Here we have a case where the official books even give you both options. I’ll argue for white, though. The Blood Angels’ Sanguinary Priests tend to wear a lot of red, but they have an in-story reason for differing from the codex: they partially serve as company spiritual figures since the Blood Angels’ Chaplains are devoted to babysitting their battle brothers who have fallen to the black rage. Iron Hands don’t paint their Techmarines red which implies they’re not kept at as much of a distance. Dark Angels don’t give any special role to their Apothecaries—they’re not even Inner Circle.

So why is the Deathwing apothecary in bone? (He actually is Inner Circle since he works with the Deathwing day-to-day and it would be rude for them to have to shut up whenever he entered the room.) I suppose there’s an argument that his Deathwing-ness overrides his medic-ness, but I think it’s just what the studio painter happened to decide. Maybe they thought it looked strange to have one model wearing a different color than the rest of his squad. Him wearing his company colors would match the green Apothecary of the era (though not the white Ravenwing one).

I’d like to construct an argument that the 8th edition Primaris Apothecary in all-white represents a decision by Games Workshop to roll back the variant for the Dark Angels, but really that’s wishful thinking on my part. It’s probably actually the case that the artist just painted him white, and I’ve not seen an official studio model of a Primaris Apothecary in Dark Angels green. Early promo art for the Dark Angels Combat patrol showed they didn’t even have a Primaris Chaplain model—his shoulder pad is clearly from an Ultramarines collection—and it differs from the color scheme seen in the codex which has him in a green robe. All of which to say, not all of Games Workshop treats this stuff as rigorously as I’d like.

I’ll leave the last word to the fourth edition of Codex: Dark Angels:

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“The armour, or sometimes just the helmet, of an Apothecary is pure white, with the chapter icon visible on one shoulder pad.”

Film Crit Hulk has been writing good pieces on WandaVision. Here’s his article on the last episode. He came to the same conclusion I had, which is that the writers of the show loved the idea of dropping the viewers into a sitcom world with no explanation so much that they let that guide the show in ways that squandered opportunities for better storytelling. In short, there’s a reason you don’t start a joke with the punchline: it’s only funny if you do the setup first. He also goes into how they pulled back from having Wanda face real consequences for her actions, which I agree with. Her story as established in Captain America: Civil War is all about her inability to control her powers. Here we have her do something else awful (controlling the people of Westview), so the questions should be, can she learn to control her power? Can she be a hero despite what she’s done?

[Spoilers for the whole show and particularly episodes eight and nine.]

Setting that aside, I agree that the show could be restructured to allow for better setup and payoff, keeping most of what we saw in the final show but moving scenes around a lot. Here’s how I’d restructure WandaVision. (Not that I’m qualified to give such advice, but at least this lines up somewhat with Film Crit Hulk’s ideas, and he’s written an actual book on screenwriting.)

Keep episode one intact but with two changes. Cold open with a quick bit with Wanda and Vision together. It’s post-Avengers: Age of Ultron, they’re together and in love. We set up a couple’s in-joke that we can use in the sitcom later as needed. Just a little thing. Then we have shot of Vision’s death in Avengers: Infinity War. Now we cut to the sitcom theme song and show the whole Dick Van Dyke episode. At the end, show us a little more of the SWORD base such that we understand that this is a show that some agents outside the real town are watching in a van which will become the makeshift base.

Now we move episode eight to be second. Show us Wanda growing up in Sokovia, loving American television, her home getting destroyed, etc. This lets us see the connection to her fantasy world of the idealized family unit.

Meanwhile we’re cutting back to Salem where we see a coven of witches with the Darkhold magic book discussing a super power witch who’ll be able to control reality. They’re about the say the name “Scarlet Witch” when Agatha interrupts them and kills them, so we think she’s the one they were talking about. This will strengthen our reveal at the end of e8 that Wanda is actually the one they were talking about, the “Scarlet Witch.” This is a name the fans might know, but now we’ve attached some weight to it. Agatha is still our villain, yes, but she’s also trying to stop the Scarlet Witch who she believes will destroy the world (though of course doing so by trying to take her power for herself).

We’ll end with Wanda coming to the empty lot in Westview and a flash of hex magic as it transforms the town. Before that, though, a few vignettes of the residents of Westview. We see that they’re real people who have stuff going on in their lives. Importantly, leave some dangling threads that Wanda’s magic will leave hanging. This can be as heavy as we want it. Someone on the phone with a relative who really needs them to get on a plane and come see them, but they won’t be able to because they’ll be turned into a cast member for Wanda’s show. A mother about to walk up the stairs to see her kids. These are the cast members we’ll see in the show but now we know what their lives were like before they were taken over.

Episode three (previously two) can proceed more or less as it did but with the added menace that 1) we know Wanda is forcing all these people to act our her fantasy life 2) we know Agnes is messing things up on purpose. (Aside: This does sacrifice the punch of the “It was Agatha All Along” song. Maybe that can be preserved somehow? This is where being the Monday Morning Script Doctor is fun because I can just say, “it’s the writer’s job to figure that out” and move on.)

Now we can more or less keep the show as-in, but ideally also spend more time figuring out why Monica Rambeau is in this show (and Darcy for that matter). Also we can pull back real hard on the bad agent guy being such a jerk. Just keep hitting on how Wanda has enslaved this whole town and it gives him motivation for wanting to stop her and lets us build up our central theme for Wanda (aside from her grief) being that she wants to be a hero but isn’t in control. Then when we reveal that she, not Agatha, is the bad witch from the prophecy, we show that SWORD was right to want to be stopping her. Ideally toward the end of the showdown with Agatha is where Monica steps in and maybe reminds Wanda what being a hero really is—she knew Captain Marvel after all. She talks Wanda down but I’d like for it to leave with a little more condemnation on her.

I realize all this makes it seem like I didn’t like the show. There was a ton I enjoyed, I just think it was undermined by its own structure. The performances were great. It had a few great sitcom jokes. I like how Wanda trapped Agatha with the runes (which worked because they did a think they’d set up before. See?). I don’t really want to see a second season, though. More of Wanda, yes, which I guess we’re getting in the next Doctor Strange movie, but it was necessary and correct to end with Vision still dead or it would have taken away from his death (in a way comics do too often).

Shoulder Pads of the Dark Angels

Of all the things I have opinions and knowledge about, surely some of the least important must be the proper way to mark squads of Dark Angels Space Marines from the tabletop wargame/hobby Warhammer 40,000. When I started playing the game in 1996 or so, this stuff wasn’t so complicated. The 2nd edition codex had two full pages on how to mark your squads! But now, with dozens of different unit types in the game, I see a bit of confusion about this online, so I hope this guide will be useful to anyone who’s curious about this stuff.

Choosing Your Company

All of your “greenwing” units belong to a company, typically the 3rd–5th, though if you wanted you could make a force out of a Reserve Company (6th–9th). It doesn’t matter which company you choose. The left kneepad of every member of that company will display its symbol, which can be seen here. The 3rd is the easiest to paint. If you intend to run Lazarus and not a generic Company Master, you should consider painting them as the 5th, or you can make up a story for why Lazarus is leading a different company, or why someone else is leading his—maybe he’s on vacation. (Dark Angels vacations are solemn affairs with lots of incense.)

Most marines will have their company marking on their left kneepad. There are some exceptions:

  • Deathwing and Ravenwing units don’t put anything special on their knees. Their armor color tells you what company they’re in.
  • The Scout company doesn’t have a knee marking. Note that in addition to scouts, the 10th company has a full complement of Vanguard squads (Infiltrators, Incursors, Reivers, Eliminators, Suppressors, Invictor Warsuits), so an Infiltrator squad, for example, might be from any of companies 3–10.
  • Each company has 1 chaplain and 1 apothecary in addition to its other command squad units, but there are chaplains and apothecaries that are not part of a company, so you can decide if yours is attached to that company or unassigned and paint his kneepad accordingly. Interrogator-Chaplains, Techmarines, and Librarians are not typically of a particular company. Even if they’re wearing Terminator Armour, they’re still not part of the 1st Company and so should also have green shoulder pads. (Asmodai or Ezekiel signs their checks and approves their overtime, not Belial.)

Each company has 60 Battleline marines, 20 close support, and 20 fire support. More on that below. If you go over any of these limits, you can paint the extras as from a reserve company on their left kneepads.

Below, I’ll go over the major unit types and what goes on the shoulders. In general Dark Angels don’t vary their helmet colors, shoulder trims, etc.

IMG 1582 Character markings, 2nd Edition Codex: Angels of Death.

HQ

Captains (Masters) typically have an imperial eagle on their right shoulder, Dark Angels symbol on their left. The right might be an angel, though (as seen on the Lazarus kit, for example), or some personal heraldry (Sammael). The captain of companies 3–9 will have his company’s heraldric symbol on his left kneepad or maybe on a tilting plate or elsewhere. One Master per company.

Lieutenants should have a red sword on their right shoulder, the appropriate Dark Angels symbol on their left shoulder. This includes the Strikemaster and the Talonmaster. Your company should have at most two Lts (though potentially one guy could have a set of Mk X eveningwear and a Phobos suit to wear for daytime fighting).

Chaplains have a skull on their right shoulder (over a black field generally but it’s fine to paint it green) and a Dark Angels symbol on their left. If it’s a Chaplain in Terminator Armour, he’s the 1st Company’s Chaplain, so his right shoulder should be bone white with a red Deathwing symbol and his left should have a Crux Terminatus.

Librarians have a horned skull on their right shoulder (over a blue field) and a Dark Angels symbol on their left. If he’s wearing Terminator Armour, it’s a green right shoulder with a DA symbol and a crux on the left.

Apothecaries have a helix on their right, DA symbol on left, and their company’s symbol on their right kneepad. Here’s a piece I did on apothecary armor colors.

Techmarines have a cog on their right shoulder, DA symbol on the left. Tip: There’s a DA-specific cog and head on the Ravenwing accessory sprue.

Elites

Ancients should have a laurel wreath on their right shoulder, DA symbol on their left.

Champion Codex: Dark Angels, six edition

Company Champions have a special shoulder pad that comes in some of the command squad boxes. There isn’t a clear symbol or badge for the position.

There’s no consistent guidance on what a Champion should have. Some of GW’s studio models have a wreath, but DA definitely use that symbol for their Ancients. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Veterans in previous editions were marked with a red sword. Now that the Lieutenant has taken over this symbol, there hasn’t been updated guidance on how to mark up a veteran. This is sort of moot because there’s not a big reason to take Company Veterans or Veteran Intercessors, but this is still unresolved.

Bladeguard Veterans should have a Crux Terminatus on their right shoulder and a Deathwing logo on their left shoulder. There are crux transfers on the Indomitus sheet.

Deathwing Terminators should have a Deathwing symbol on their right shoulders, Crux Terminatus on their left.

Deathwing Knights have fancy Dark Angels on their right shoulders, Crux Terminatus on their left, and elsewhere (knee, tilting plate, wherever), a squad-specific pattern, typically a Quartering in some combination of red, green, bone, black, or white.

Black Knights have gold pale over black on their shoulders. The right shoulder has a squad number, the left is a Ravenwing symbol. (“Fun” fact: Each Space Marine company has a traditional heraldic pattern and color. A gold pale is the 2nd company’s in many chapters. Dark Angels follow these loosely. You can see more examples here.)

Squads

Sergeants are not picked out in a conspicuous way as in other chapters that change the helmet color or add a stripe. A general Space Marine convention, though, is that sergeants have skulls on their helmets. You can also use the sword helmet from the upgrade sprues, or model your squads so that the sgt doesn’t have a helmet on to make him more obvious. For firstborn squads, the robed figures from the honor guard set make great sergeants.

Deathwing Terminator Squads

Deathwing squads aren’t explicitly numbered.

Ravenwing Squads

The Ravenwing is organized in a way that matches a previous edition’s concept of formations. There are two types of Ravenwing squads.

Attack Squads should have a gothic 1–5 on their right shoulder and a Ravenwing symbol on their left. They are composed of ten marines: six bikers, 1 attack bike, 1 Land Speeder (or Typhoon or Tornado variant). In the fluff these squads would be training and hunting together. All 10 marines would have the same number on their shoulder.

Squads 6–10 are Support Squads. They’ll consist of a squad of attack bikes or land speeders and a Land Speeder Vengeance or a Darkshroud.

Unresolved is how to mark up squads of Primaris Ravenwing marines, but I’ll make an argument for 1–2 Outrider squads, 1 ATV, 1 Storm Speeder for Attack Squads, and squads of ATVs in Support Squads with a Storm Speeder and/or the other heavy speeder types.

IMG 1581 Battle company squad markings

Battleline Squads

Page 16 of the 9th edition Codex: Space Marines breaks down squads into three types. These squads are part of the battleline:

  • Tactical Squads
  • Intercessor Squads
  • Infiltrator Squads
  • Heavy Intercessor Squads

They should have a two-headed arrow on their right shoulder pads, a Dark Angels symbol on their left. Superimposed over the arrow should be the squad number, which should be 1–6. If you have more than 60 (!) of these, you should mark the extras as being from the 6th or 7th reserve company on their left kneepads.

IMG 1583 Reserve companies

Close Support Squads

These squads should have a four-headed arrow on their right shoulder, a Dark Angels symbol on their left:

  • Assault Intercessor Squads
  • Assault Squads
  • Centurion Assault Squads
  • Inceptor Squads
  • Incursor Squads
  • Reiver Squads

Their squad number should be 7 or 8. If you have more than 20 of these marines, mark the extras as 8th company.

Fire Support Squads

These squads should have a blast symbol on their right shoulder, a Dark Angels symbol on their left:

  • Aggressor Squads
  • Centurion Devastator Squads
  • Devastator Squads
  • Eliminator Squads
  • Eradicator Squads
  • Hellblaster Squads
  • Suppressor Squads

Their squad number should be 9 and 10. Reserves go in the 9th company.

Also, from page 22 of C:SM:

Even the squads themselves can be broken down to fight in a variety of roles should their captain require it. Should three brothers be detached from their fire support squad to form an Eliminator Squad, the remaining seven can form a Hellblaster Squad, pilot Invictor Warsuits, or fulfill a number of other roles.

So as with the Ravenwing having mixed squadrons, your 9th squad might be 3 Eliminators, 6 Aggressors, and an Invictor, all with a 9 on their shoulders.

Combat Squads

It’s fashionable these days to field squads of five, not ten. Two squads of five Intercessors would still all be part of, let’s say, squad 1, they’re just operating as two demi-squads. As such, all ten might have a “1” on their shoulder. One would be led by the squad’s sergeant, the other by a designated squad leader. In-game both are sergeants. Personally I give the proper sergeants an ornament on his backpack and usually model them without a helmet, while the squad leader gets a helmet with a sword or skull on it. None of this matters in-game, it’s just a bit of flavor I try to sprinkle in.

I’ll update this guide as needed, or if I’ve gotten any of this wrong. One last note: My general feeling is that if you’re playing a pre-made army like Dark Angels, part of the fun is trying to be “correct” with all of this, but they’re your models so do whatever you think looks good! Even better, make your own custom succesor chapter and make up your own rules for how and why your chapter does what it does.

Here’s a quick infographic with some of these.

Dark Angels Shoulder Pads

Having been an 80s Nick at Nite viewer, I feel like WandaVision was made just for me. I’m looking forward to watching the third episode tonight.

It happens I met Tom King at Victory Comics just before Covid-19 restrictions started. He kindly signed my copy of Vision.

Christmas Playlist ’20

I’ve been carefully building a Christmas playlist for over a decade, adding one track a year. There are now nineteen songs on the list.

  1. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love
  2. “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley
  3. “The Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues
  4. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland
  5. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee
  6. “A Holly Jolly Christmas” by Burl Ives
  7. “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby
  8. “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” By Dean Martin
  9. “Christmas Time is Here (Instrumental)” by Vince Guaraldi Trio
  10. “The Christmas Song” by Nat “King” Cole
  11. “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson
  12. “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon
  13. “I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday” by Wizzard
  14. “Here Comes Santa Claus” by Elvis Presley
  15. “What Christmas Means to Me” by Stevie Wonder
  16. “All I Want For Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey
  17. “What a Wonderful World” by Joey Ramone
  18. “Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy” by David Bowie & Bing Crosby
  19. “Father Christmas” by The Kinks
  20. “Merry Xmas Everybody” by Slade

This year’s addition is “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” It’s been a long time since this playlist moved from “here are some cool Christmas songs” to “here’s this year’s standard,” but so be it. My goal is just to pick my favorite Christmas songs, and every time I come across a new one, I add it to a list, but year after year a classic song beats the newer additions onto the list.

Listen on Apple Music

A few thoughts on yesterday’s Apple event.

The iPhone has now reached a point, I think, where it’s an established platform and its updates aren’t “run out and get it day one” essential any longer. This is a good thing. New innovations will come, but the phone is much more a reliable tool rather than a shiny gadget at this point.

The speed of the A14 is sort of interesting. A 5nm chip in a telephone is bonkers, but it seems like a lot of that speed is being used only in ways you don’t really ever appreciate. All the computational photography is impressive, but Apple has managed to make it all happen in the background to such a degree that you don’t really ever realize or appreciate what’s going on under the hood. And on the iPad side, the lack of advanced software means I don’t have many opportunities to take advantage of the processor power I do have. How much faster would my iPad transcode video than my Mac if I could run Handbrake on it?

MagSafe looks like a handy upgrade to Qi charging. If you plug it into a larger brick, it seems like it’ll charge a good bit faster, too (though in practice I always just charge my phone at night so charging speed is rarely relevant). I’ll probably get one of the duo chargers for my bed stand and might get another to keep in my travel bag. (Travel tip: For everything you can, get a redundant copy and just keep it in your bag. You’re less likely to forget it when you’re packing if it never leaves your travel kit. Travel tip 2: On the topic of charging speed, getting a 20W charger for fast fill-ups for your travel bag is nice for when you’re not on your normal routine or need to share chargers with family.)

The magnetic wallet is interesting, but presumably you have to detach it whenever you wirelessly charge the phone, which sort of diminishes the “keep everything in one handy place” idea. Obviously it’s only for people who can get away with carrying just 2–3 cards.

I had to laugh at Apple trying to pass off League of Legends as an innovation on iPhone. As a graphics showcase, the game is over ten years old, and a MOBA with onscreen controls is terrible fit for touch.

My current AT&T plan won’t give me access to 5G. Moving to one of their unlimited plans—which I don’t need, data quota-wise, even in months when I do leave the house—would cost me something like $25/month.

HomePod Mini looks great. I have an original HomePod and like it a lot. It wasn’t cheap but it sounds fantastic, and does exactly what I want, which is to play music when I ask it to with the added ability to pick songs directly from my phone. Echo and Google Home obviously do this for much cheaper, but I really don’t trust those companies. Even after the story about Apple keeping Siri recordings, I still prefer their stance on privacy over the competition.

Apple Music Hits is doing a block of songs about cars. They just played “The Passenger” and I thought, “lol, that song’s not about a car, it’s about heroin. The passenger is the addict.” Then I looked up the lyrics and… it really just might be a song about riding in a car.

Old Times There are Not Forgotten

The story yesterday about Good Humor hiring The RZA to write a new jingle to replace “Turkey in the Straw,” which has racist lyrics, reminded me of something that happened in middle school.

When I was in 8th grade—or maybe 7th, but I think 8th—this would have been ’92 or ’93—the middle school band prepared several pieces for our twice-yearly concert. One of the selections was a medley that included Dixie. The song, if you’re not familiar, is sort of—well, no, it is—an anthem to the antebellum south. It wistfully longs for the old days. Its least objectionable lines include “In Dixie Land I’ll take my stand to live and die in Dixie.” You’re welcome to look up other versions that specifically call for southerners to take up arms against the United States.

A week or so before the concert, word got out that “Dixie” was part of the medley the band was going to be performing, and a few parents and teachers complained. At twelve or thirteen, I really didn’t get it. It was just one song in a medley, and we weren’t going to be singing it, just playing the tune. Plus, we’d worked hard to prepare the piece. Without it we’d have a hole in the program. But instructions came down that we shouldn’t play the song, so it was dropped.

I remember at the time really not getting it. Now, of course, I do. But then, we were in the era (still are, probably) when we were taught that the American Civil War had a complex series of causes only partially rooted in slavery. I really can say that I’ve honestly never understood “southern pride.” I’ve always found it shameful. And yet, I was surrounded by it, and here and there, it soaked in. “Dixie” was just a song! You can’t erase history! Why not be proud of your heritage? And so on.

I can see, now, how this event could have been an opportunity for the school to teach us how to move forward. They could have gone through the lyrics of the song and said, “See how these words are meant to paint the slaveholding era as the ‘good old days?’” We could have had discussions about how you can be proud of your heritage while still admitting the truth of what happened in the past. There’s pride in knowing your society has improved, too. A town that built itself on the legacy of Thomas Jefferson would do well to be able to honestly say, “Here are the ideals we believe in. Here’s how we haven’t always lived up to them, here’s how we’ve moved closer to them, and here’s what we still have to do.”

You don’t heal by singing “Look away! Look away!”

As much as I like His Dark Materials, it took me a while to get around to its spinoff series The Book of Dust. I’m not sure why, but I’ve just finished La Belle Sauvage. Will start The Secret Commonwealth tonight.

Okay, Doom Patrol, I like your show a lot, but I’m halfway through and you’ve blown two chances to have choreographed dance fights. (When Dr. Harrison tells her patients to dance, and the drag queen vs. g-men face-off.)

Legion got this right.

I’ve had Apple’s Magic Keyboard for a few months now and thought I’d write a bit about it. In short, it’s a remarkable accessory, but not one I think I’d recommend widely.

I have a 27″ iMac that I use for programming. I wanted a portable machine to use for writing (when it’s safe to leave the house), but didn’t want to buy a whole laptop just for that purpose. The iMac is my home computer, the iPad is my portable one. It seems silly to buy a second portable computer when the iPad already fills that role. So, while the Magic Keyboard is expensive, it’s much cheaper than a MacBook of any variety. It takes my iPad, which does well for a number of functions, and turns it into a pretty good writing device.

The thing about writing is, a lot of it isn’t typing. I spend a good deal of time looking at my notes, flipping back to previous chapters to remember what I’d named a side character, looking stuff up in ebooks I’ve saved as research, going online to figure out what the currency in Austria in the 1770s was, and so on. On a Mac, I’d have each of things things open in a window and could easily switch between them. On an iPad, doing that is cumbersome. So while the Magic Keyboard’s keyboard is fantastic (I’m using it right now), iPad OS just isn’t Mac OS.

Nor do I want it to be. I love being able to tear the iPad off the keyboard and use it in regular tablet mode for most of its functions. I wouldn’t want iPad OS to lose its comfort and simplicity. I have a Mac for that.

Putting that all together, it’s likely that the right setup for me might be a good laptop that stays docked to a big screen most of the time. I could unplug it and take it on the go when needed, but would have all the monitor’s space for Xcode use when I’m at my desk. In the meantime, the iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard is a great compromise. But it is a compromise.

I’ve been expecting the Mac line to get a redesign as rumored here for a quite a while. The iPhone and iPad Pro have been symmetrical for years while the Macs still have uneven screen bezels.

A short thought experiment: Imagine that walled garden social networks never caught on. Instead, people post things to their personal blogs or use services like Tumblr, Blogger, Flickr, or newer sites that had come along for their thoughts and photos and such. People still have timelines where they read their friends’ posts, but they’re less centralized, backed behind the scenes by RSS, maybe with some extensions to make replying and such work nicely. (Though people don’t need to actually know what RSS is; this is how podcasts have always worked.)

In this setup, when Trump or any other white supremacist posts something, he does it to his own site (whitehouse.gov or trump.edu or whatever). People who follow him still see it in their timeline, but it’s not owned by the same entity that runs the timeline.

The provider of your timeline is just an aggregator. They scrape up posts from your friends and combine them into a timeline for you, but they don’t own the posts; they’re hosted elsewhere. As such, it’s not their problem if someone posts misinformation. It’s that person’s host.

The government could require that anything posted by the president use the official whitehouse.gov feed, which would have associated guidelines and an appropriate understanding of what force of law it’s communicating.

Again, as far as you the user is concerned, you’re still just reading a timeline containing the stuff the people you follow post. We’re just talking about where those posts are hosted, who owns them, and who’s responsible for banning those users who post stuff they deem objectionable.

The difference, I think, would be that instead of having just two social media giants making these decisions, we’d at least have a wider breadth of hosting services in the mix.

Doom Patrol has good music. By which I mean music that Gen X types who read the Grant Morrison & Richard Case comic would like.

If you’ve never seen the original Japense Godzilla (not the Americanized version), you should. It’s on HBO Max. It’s not as much about goofy rubber-suited actors as a horror movie about an atomic monster made fewer than ten years after the bombs dropped.