Running Commentary 1/24/2022
7 min read

Running Commentary 1/24/2022

The Book of Boba Fett (Chapter 4), BattleBots (S6E3), Jedi: Fallen Order, Bearded Reedling


I was out for a (largely unsuccessful) woodpecker-spotting walk this past week and I noticed a tag on my gloves stating “-20º waterproof”. I’m not sure whether that means -20º F or -20º C, but on either scale, water is quite solid at -20º. I’d think most clothes would be waterproof at such temperatures.



The Book of Boba Fett

Boba Fett and Fennec Shand aboard Slave 1
Still from The Book of Boba Fett Twitter
  • Hey, the show’s good again! In all seriousness, though, while this episode was a bit less exciting than Chapter 2, I liked it just as much
  • After spending a few episodes hinting at why Fett is trying to take over Jabba’s empire, we finally just got his thoughts on the matter. While bounty hunters are a cool part of Star Wars, they tend to lead tough lives. Boba Fett has realized that, having seen his father die for Dooku and having himself nearly died for Jabba. In Legends, Boba retired to become the leader of the Mandalorians. In Canon, that path seems unlikely, but he is trying to move up in the other world he comes from. He’s starting with taking over Mos Espa because he’s just starting out. Overall, this episode really improves our understanding of Boba Fett and what’s driving him at this point.
  • Fett is apparently “fully healed”, which means we’re either done with flashbacks or he’s about to get hurt again.
  • We could have saved some time if Fett had just offered Krrsantan a job when he released him last episode, but whatever.
  • I’m surprised those Trandoshans got off as easily as they did, considering how they’re known to treat Wookiees. (Go back and watch the first episode again, and pay attention to the tribute the Trandoshans bring.) From how she handled things, I’m guessing Garsa Fwip has seen situations like that before.
  • I know he’s badly scarred when they first meet, but you’d think Fennec Shand would have recognized Boba as a clone. Maybe she did, and just didn’t say anything.
  • It sounds like we’ll be seeing Din Djarin again in the next chapter. I wonder how we’ll find him. Last we saw, he was, by rights, the ruler of Mandalore, but he didn’t seem to care. That situation I expect to see explored in his own show, but it would seem weird if he was just back to bounty hunting.


Week 3 of the 2021 season brings back some familiar bots who sat out the 2020 season, namely Icewave, Cobalt, and Duck! Let’s review each fight:

  • HYPERSHOCK v SLAMMO! - No longer sponsored by Mowbot, Slammo! has reverted spellings. Hypershock was able to outmaneuver Slammo!'s grasp and take the win. If they can maintain that level of performance, they should go far this season. Still, they lost weapon systems at the end...
  • VALKYRIE v P1 - Valkyrie remains a good design that loses. I especially liked the hardened metal tooth on a more resilient spinner; if it's done right, I can see that become standard fare on spinners. But P1 was able to outmaneuver Valkyrie and tank their hits, so it won.
  • HUGE v RIPTIDE - Rookie team Riptide scored a win in their first match, and, as much as I like Huge, I'm happy for them. Taking inspiration from Yeti was odd, I thought. But now Riptide has one more win this season than Yeti does. Huge really does need to keep clear of those screws.
  • FUSION v COBALT - Cobalt returned under new management who didn't seem to know how to use it. Cobalt is fantastic at breaking through armor. It is not great at getting the low ground or at going weapon to weapon. I suppose Cobalt's driver was counting on Fusion still not working quite right. Unfortunately, Fusion seems to be in fine form this year.
  • BLACK DRAGON v ICEWAVE - IceWave is my favorite bot, but I didn't have much hope for this fight. Black Dragon is not a good matchup for any horizontal spinner. I think IceWave lost transmission between its motor and its blade at some point. I hate to say it, but I predict more losses for IceWave in the coming season.
  • WITCH DOCTOR v DUCK! - Duck had a bad time, as the controllers for their new all-brushless drivetrain bugged out and left them unable to push Witch Doctor around. Despite WD losing their weapon (again) they won the judges’ decision based on aggression and control.
  • COPPERHEAD v LOCK-JAW - Another judges’ decision, the first split vote of the season. I was surprised by that, given that, after three minutes, Copperhead still had a working weapon and Lock-Jaw didn't. In the post fight interview, Team Copperhead was clear that any win as hard-won as that was still cause for concern. (I laughed at the snake staff micicking the captains’ thoughts.)

And, once again, here’s the extra fight, Claw Viper v Pardon My French:



Jedi: Fallen Order

Yeah, I’ve been playing something besides Warframe. The reason is that Amazon is giving away Jedi: Fallen Order to Amazon Prime members through the month of January. At time of writing, I haven’t gotten all that far into the game, but I will say that what there is so far is pretty good. It’s more of a puzzle game than an action game. I’ll have more to say once I’ve finished it. This is mostly just a heads-up about the giveaway.

Bearded Reedling.png

Bird of the Week

This week we have a tough-to-classify bird. The bearded reedling is a small perching bird found through the temperate latitudes of Europe and Asia in the reedbeds found at the edge of marshes and ponds, where it eats insects in the summer and seeds in the winter. The bird does not migrate seasonally. The males are distinguished by black feathers on either side of the beak. (Such markings on birds are generally called “mustaches”, not “beards”, but whatever.) The females look the same, but without the mustaches. Reedlings are generally squat birds, and can appear almost spherical when fluffed up in cold weather.

Bearded reedlings, also sometimes called bearded tits, were originally classified in the family Paridae, along with the long-tailed tit, which it somewhat resembles in shape. In 1854, while cataloging the birds in the collection of the British East India Company’s museum in London, naturalists Thomas Horsfield and Frederic Moore described a new family for the “parrotbills”, a group of birds that had been classified in Paridae but which would henceforth be classified in Paradoxornithidae (meaning “confusing birds”, since they were difficult to classify). The bearded reedling was moved along with the parrotbills, though soon after, Marc de Murs, a French amateur ornithologist and small-town mayor would place it in its own family, Panuridae, named after the genus name Panurus (from the Greek for “excessive tail”). Modern genetic testing has vindicated de Murs’s bold move; while distantly related to larks, the bearded reedling has no close living relatives.

Linnaeus called this bird Parus biarmicus, which means “tit of Bjarmaland”, a reference to a region now part of Russia, near the border with Finland, where, confusingly, the bird is not known to reside. The German spider-expert C. L. Koch gave it the new genus name Panarus. Most languages name the bird using their term for “beard” or “mustache”, though the Basques, who live in the foothills of the Pyrenees in Spain and France and whose language does not share common ancestry with other European languages, call it “Tximutxa” which is also their word for “monkey”.

Making Concessions | Marsha Gordon, Pipe Wrench

When you buy a movie ticket, quite a bit of the money you spend goes to the studio that produced the film. Only a little goes to the theater. Their money mostly comes from selling you cents worth of food and drink for dollars (or the local equivalent).  This was not always the case, as this history of cinema concessions explains.

The Spy in the Forest | Shaun Assael, Smithsonian Magazine

A look at the life of André Michaux, a French botanist and explorer who, while documenting the geography and plant life at the edges of the newly-founded United States of America, was implicated in an espionage effort on behalf of the even newer French Republic. The political drama surrounding him has overshadowed his significant contributions to science, though some today argue Michaux deserves greater recognition.

New York's Hyphenated History | Pardis Mahdavi, The Paris Review

Excepted from Hyphen, Mahdavi’s book on the titular punctuation mark and the oft-fraught terms it finds itself in, an episode featuring Theodore Roosevelt and a pamphlet from the “New-York Historical Society”.

The Unlikely Rise of the French Tacos | Lauren Collins, The New Yorker

Tacos in Michigan are a different thing than tacos in the Southwest and Mexico, where the dish originated. So you can only imagine how strange they get once you get to France. There, tacos are flatbread folded around fried potatoes, kebab meat, and cheese sauce, as Algerian as they are Mexican and adapted to French tastes. They're the latest thing among French youth, who are criticized at either side for eating something too foreign or too French.

Icarus | Tom Teller

[VIDEO] [FICTION] A researcher on Mars must travel to orbit on a rescue mission. (20 minutes)

See the full archive of curations on Notion