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Abraham Lincoln
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Episode 374: All Books are Tax Deductible

December 13th, 2019 | Robin

Freshly home and invigorated, or perhaps exhaugorated, by our annual trip to Dragonmeet in London, we issue a Travel Advisory for the William Blake exhibition at Tate Britain.

Rocketed by the power of recording technology back to the day before Gen Con, Ken and/or Robin Talk to Someone Else finds us in conversation with Colby Elliott, silky-voiced creator and narrator of RPG audiobooks, including a little number you might know as Robin’s Laws of Good Gamemastering.

Experienced listeners are already bracing themselves for what comes next: another bumper edition of Ken’s Bookshelf, featuring the haul from his 2019 London book raid. Plus special guest books straight from Robin’s carry-on bag!

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Atlas Games’ delightful game of mud, blood and regicide, Gloom of Thrones , charges  down the moat of your favorite game retailer on December 2nd. Take control of a noble family and exquisitely kill them off. May the most miserable player win!

By the Great Gold Wyrm, is that an escalation die I hear? Pelgrane Press’ love letter to fantasy roleplaying just got lovelier with an epic PDF deal in the Bundle of Holding. Grab the brand new 13th Age Adventures bundle, or dip your toes in the Diabolist’s waters with a revived deal on the original 13th Age Bundle, including the core book and the campaign to end all campaigns, Eyes of the Stone Thief.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Arc Dream Publishing presents a gorgeous new edition of Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow, a deluxe hardback in delightful faux snakeskin, with a foreword by John Scott Tynes, annotations by our own Kenneth Hite, and stunning full-pate color  illustrations by Samuel Araya. Grab it while it lasts in the Arc Dream store.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Dumb Nose, Fake Beard

December 10th, 2019 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

She Died a Lady (Fiction, John Dickson Carr, 1943) An apparent suicide pact in a small Devonshire village reveals itself as murder — or does it? Sir Henry Merrivale investigates, but the narrator, the elderly town doctor, has his own ideas. Carr’s slow burn and oblique narration prefigures P.D. James’ humane mysteries, while still providing plenty of clues and actually amusing Merrivale hijinks this time out. –KH

The White Priory Murders (Fiction, John Dickson Carr, 1934) A classic Carr impossible crime — how could movie starlet Marcia Tate have been killed in the pavilion house in the middle of a frozen pond covered with unmarked snow? Henry Merrivale in pre-slapstick mode, a classic Old Dark House cast, and a sheerly terrific solution make this a neglected near-top-tier Carr. –KH

Good

Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks (Film, Australia, Serge Ou, 2019) Clips and talking head interviews survey martial arts cinema as an irresistible force for cultural diffusion. This thesis results in a highly selective history, for example spending a segment on Bruce Lee imitators while failing to mention King Hu by name, so treat as a starting point rather than a comprehensive treatment.—RDL

Stars in My Crown (Film, US, Jacques Tourneur, 1950) Affable but tough-minded Civil War vet turned preacher (Joel McCrea) clashes with a rigid young doctor (James Mitchell) and stands up to the Klan. Slice of small town Americana, based on a novel, represents an unusual example of explicitly Christian liberalism in Hollywood, and a stylistic departure from a director better known for noir and his horror collaborations with Val Lewton.—RDL

Unstoppable (Film, South Korea, Kim Min-ho, 2018) Former gangster (Dong-seok Ma) calls on his indomitable punching skills when a maniacal sex trafficker (Seong-oh Kim) kidnaps his wife (Ji-Hyo Song.) Tackles the time-honored tropes of the messed-with-the-wrong-guy sub-genre with energetic brio.—RDL

Okay

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (Film, US, Simon Kinberg, 2019) When a strange energy enters mutant Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) on a mission in space, it unleashes her full potential and reveals Charles Xavier’s (James McAvoy) shenanigans. Splosions ensue. Cue a bunch of adequate mutant fights, hampered by everyone involved being kind of tired and one of those “explain your emotions again” scripts. I’m still angry at Bryan Singer for not making this movie in 2006 when he could have; this classic comics arc deserves much better. –KH

Not Recommended

All is True (Film, UK, Kenneth Branagh, 2018) After the Globe Theatre burns down, Shakespeare (Kenneth Branagh in a dumb nose and fake beard) returns home to Stratford and his neglected wife (Judi Dench cashing a check) and daughters. This is the kind of movie where Branagh holds lovingly on a shot of a swan swimming up the Avon. On the (ridiculous, false) nose, in other words. Ben Elton’s “today is trauma discussion day” script insults the very idea of Shakespeare with double, no, triple daddy issues. A scene where the now too old to be sonneted Earl of Southampton (Ian McKellen) recites the sonnet Shakespeare wrote for him as a kissoff is the only good thing in the movie. –KH

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Episode 373: Nutty Crab Soup [Corrected]

December 6th, 2019 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut we figure out what people are really talking about when they take sides in the system matters debate.

The Tradecraft Hut peers into a classic tabloid spy scandal, 1961’s Profumo Affair, to see what one might make of it in The Fall of Delta Green.

Beloved Patreon backer Timothy Coram steps up to make a demand on behalf of all, that Robin enter the Food Hut to confront Ken with the contents of the Sno-Voyageur’s Cookbook, a time capsule of Ontario cooking from the 80s.

Finally the Consulting Occultist answers a request from beloved Patreon backers Tim Maness and Jean Bauer for the lowdown on the 1911 Ark of the Covenant expedition.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Atlas Games’ delightful game of mud, blood and regicide, Gloom of Thrones , charges  down the moat of your favorite game retailer on December 2nd. Take control of a noble family and exquisitely kill them off. May the most miserable player win!

By the Great Gold Wyrm, is that an escalation die I hear? Pelgrane Press’ love letter to fantasy roleplaying just got lovelier with an epic PDF deal in the Bundle of Holding. Grab the brand new 13th Age Adventures bundle, or dip your toes in the Diabolist’s waters with a revived deal on the original 13th Age Bundle, including the core book and the campaign to end all campaigns, Eyes of the Stone Thief.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Arc Dream Publishing presents a gorgeous new edition of Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow, a deluxe hardback in delightful faux snakeskin, with a foreword by John Scott Tynes, annotations by our own Kenneth Hite, and stunning full-pate color  illustrations by Samuel Araya. Grab it while it lasts in the Arc Dream store.

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Episode 372: We Welcome All People with Mithril

November 29th, 2019 | Robin

Join us not midway through but at the top of the podcast as the Gaming Hut finds ways to introduce a new player to a long-running series.

In the Television Hut beloved Patreon backer Jeromy French asks Robin to expound on the problems of the series finale.

Ken and/or Robin Talk to Someone Else features an interview Robin conducted at the Kraken, with Pedro Ziviani, whose new Chaosium story card game The Red Thread of Fate will begin its Kickstarter campaign on Jan 19th.

Then we get quiet, very very quiet, in an Eliptony Hut discussion of Raudive voices, also known as Electronic Voice Phenomena.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Atlas Games’ delightful game of mud, blood and regicide, Gloom of Thrones charges  down the moat of your favorite game retailer on December 2nd. Take control of a noble family and exquisitely kill them off. May the most miserable player win!

What’s worse—yet even more pulse-poundingly exciting—than being a burned spy on the run from an international vampire conspiracy? Going it alone, as you do in Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s brilliant adaptation of GUMSHOE One-2-One to the shadowy world of Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops, from Pelgrane Press.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Arc Dream Publishing presents a gorgeous new edition of Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow, a deluxe hardback in delightful faux snakeskin, with a foreword by John Scott Tynes, annotations by our own Kenneth Hite, and stunning full-pate color  illustrations by Samuel Araya. Grab it while it lasts in the Arc Dream store.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Trouble by the Sea

November 26th, 2019 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

I Hear She’s a Real Bitch (Nonfiction, Jen Agg, 2017) Founder of wildly influential, now-defunct, Toronto charcuterie destination The Black Hoof recounts the building of her bars and dining spots, sex life, and the challenges confronting women in the bro-centric food biz. A rare look at such insider details as service, interior design, lighting and staff relations from a restaurant creator who isn’t a chef.—RDL

The Lighthouse (Film, US, Robert Eggers, 2019) Two men (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) spiral into madness while tending a remote Maine lighthouse in the 1880s. Decades of Guy Maddin films prepared me somewhat for this ferociously earthy sea story, shot in 35mm black-and-white in a 1920s aspect ratio, that hits more as a series of fabulous grimy images and scenes than as a narrative per se. Add to that a ferocious, top-notch actor’s duel and a foghorn-fueled Mark Korven score and sound design, and you’ve got yourself a film. –KH

Okay

Tiger Shark (Film, US, Howard Hawks, 1932) Lovable brute Mike Mascarenhas (Edward G. Robinson) marries the straight-talking daughter (Zita Johann) of a casualty from his tuna boat, who catches feelings for his loyal first mate (Richard Arlen.) Early Hawks outing features his key theme of camaraderie between men who perform dangerous labor, but also the over-the-top melodrama and big acting he will quickly toss overboard. Documentary footage of 30s fishing techniques would prove invaluable to anyone writing a tuna-themed Trail of Cthulhu scenario.—RDL

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Episode 371: Werewolf Adjacent

November 22nd, 2019 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut beloved Patreon backer Elias Helfer asks us how to invent great magical artifacts.

The History Hut exits pursued by a bear, and also flying bricks, as we look at New York City’s 1849 Shakespeare riots.

Phil Masters leads a cane-toting pack of his fellow Patreon backers into the Horror Hut, demanding to know how Jekyll and Hyde fit into Robin’s theory about the inherent structural challenge of werewolf movies.

Then backer Andrea Colletta revs up Ken’s Time Machine to find out what history looks like when Richard Nixon’s application to join the FBI is accepted.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Fairytale Mash-ups, the new expansion for Atlas Games’ classic storytelling card game Once Upon a Time, is here to bring you classic characters, hilarious juxtapositions and hungry giant sheep.

 

What’s worse—yet even more pulse-poundingly exciting—than being a burned spy on the run from an international vampire conspiracy? Going it alone, as you do in Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s brilliant adaptation of GUMSHOE One-2-One to the shadowy world of Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops, from Pelgrane Press.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Arc Dream Publishing presents a gorgeous new edition of Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow, a deluxe hardback in delightful faux snakeskin, with a foreword by John Scott Tynes, annotations by our own Kenneth Hite, and stunning full-pate color  illustrations by Samuel Araya. Grab it while it lasts in the Arc Dream store.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Doctor Sleep, The Irishman, and a 60s Op Art Head Trip

November 19th, 2019 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

The Irishman (Film, US, Martin Scorsese, 2019) Sponsored by mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), hitman Frank Sheeran (Robert de Niro) becomes the right-hand man of union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). De Niro actually puts in the acting work in his portrayal of a “good soldier,” and Scorsese wisely reins in Pacino just enough for his showboat Hoffa to work perfectly, but the real star is unimaginably Joe Pesci (!!) as the voice of tired reason (!!!). Scorsese out-Scorseses himself (and in one scene out-Hitchcocks Hitchcock) then dares to show his moral wrecks and wreckers in a calm, deadly light. –KH

Recommended

The Deuce Season 3 (Television, US, HBO, David Simon, 2019) As the Martino brothers (James Franco) pay the inevitable toll for their mob ties, Eileen (Maggie Gyllenhaal) sees demand for her classy feminist erotica dwindle in the VHS market. The show’s touching, downbeat final season completes Simon’s thesis as grand-scale political and economic forces grind down its cast of shadow economy workers.—RDL

The Prisoner (Film, France, Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1968) Fascinated by the bondage photography of her thickheaded artist husband’s imperious gallerist (Laurent Terzieff), a TV news producer (Elizabeth Wiener) initiates a mutually self-destructive love triangle. Drama of eros, thanatos and neurosis features saturated colors, arresting op art visuals, and a hallucinatory freak-out that stands as the kink counterpart to 2001’s hyperspace sequence. AKA Woman in Chains.—RDL

Okay

Doctor Sleep (Film, US, Mike Flanagan, 2019) Left a barely functional alcoholic by the events of The Shining, Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) protects a young psychic girl (Kyliegh Curran) from a truly ridiculous team of shine-eaters led by, and I wish I were kidding, a vampire named Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson). With dread gone, we’re left with a movie that’s a decent secret-mutant-battle flick until it becomes a literal travesty of Kubrick. –KH

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Episode 370: Dire, Satanic Chili

November 15th, 2019 | Robin

,

We show up in the Gaming Hut with our usual punctuality to look at ways of handling player absences.

Crime Blotter looks at video games as a platform for money laundering.

Beloved Patreon backer Steve Dempsey invites us to the Food Hut for a bowl of chili, or at least some palaver and history concerning this iconic and weirdly controversial dish.

And finally, in Ask Ken and Robin, backer Michael Gemar invites us to riff on the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, a kickstarted temple to art and psychedelic mysticism, complete with bread and breakfast.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Fairytale Mash-ups, the new expansion for Atlas Games’ classic storytelling card game Once Upon a Time, is here to bring you classic characters, hilarious juxtapositions and hungry giant sheep.

 

Only a few days remain in the latest Bundle of Holding deal featuring Pelgrane Press’ Trail of Cthulhu. Feast on the brand new Cities of Cthulhu PDF bundle, featuring Dreamhounds of Paris and Cthulhu City, or tip your friends to the classic original bundle including the core book and so much more.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Arc Dream Publishing presents a gorgeous new edition of Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow, a deluxe hardback in delightful faux snakeskin, with a foreword by John Scott Tynes, annotations by our own Kenneth Hite, and stunning full-pate color  illustrations by Samuel Araya. Grab it while it lasts in the Arc Dream store.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: The Irishman and Other Criminals

November 12th, 2019 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Ken was unavailable to consume media this week, due to a mission in space.

The Pinnacle

The Irishman (Film, US, Martin Scorsese, 2019) Obliging hit man Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) becomes confidant and factotum to Pennsylvania mob boss Russ Buffalino (Joe Pesci) and then labor leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino.) Subdued formal control and absurdist humor predominate as Scorsese’s gangland cycle culminates and merges with his contemplative religious films. Absolutely worth seeing on a big screen if you can.—RDL

Recommended

The Florida Project (Film, US, Sean Baker, 2017) Under the eye of its beleaguered manager (Willem Dafoe) an adorable grade school hellion (Brooklynn Pierce) makes her Orlando motel complex a playground, as her authority-defying mother (Bria Vinaite) turns to increasingly desperate means of paying the rent. Irrepressible kid hijinks and a zowie color palette leaven the usual bleakness of the fly-on-the-wall social problem drama.—RDL

Widows (Film, US, Steve McQueen, 2018) Backed against the wall after their husbands die in a heist, a no-nonsense teacher’s union official (Viola Davis) recruits the grieving partners of his crew (Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki) to pull off his next planned job. Tough crime drama set in the world of corrupt Chicago politics offers a master class in executing a complicated set-up without a whiff of over-explanation.—RDL

Good

Woman in Witness Protection (Film, Japan, Juzo Itami, 1997) Mismatched cops protect a fading actress (Nobuko Miyamoto) after she witnesses a cult murder. The director’s final film follows his central formula, in which kooky comedy sweetens a confrontation with intimidating, lawless power.—RDL

Okay

Out of Print (Film, US, Julia Marchese, 2014) Documentary homage to L.A.’s New Beverly Cinema, directed by a member of its staff, celebrates its role in film culture before moving on to lament the demise of 35 mm film print distribution. My biggest surprise was to discover how modest a house it is compared to its Toronto equivalents.—RDL

Raw Deal (Film, US, Anthony Mann, 1948) Hardbitten gal (Claire Travor) helps her man (Dennis O’Keefe) bust out of prison only to see him fall for the idealistic paralegal (Marsha Hunt) they’ve taken hostage. Atmospheric, brutal noir hobbled by the casting of the patrician Trevor as a gun-toting product of the skids.—RDL

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Episode 369: Lotta Garlic There Though

November 8th, 2019 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut, Patreon backer Jacques de Villiers wonders how one might use The Armitage Files or Dracula Dossier in The Fall of Delta Green.

Then Ken convenes a Cinema Hut to talk about his discoveries from the Chicago International Film Festival.

He’s been a character in the Kartasverse for ages, but now he’s here in person. In Ken and/or Robin Talk To Someone Else, James Damato gives us the scoop on his Ultimate RPG Guides.

Then the Consulting Occultist acquaints us with a central figure in the field of magical speculation, Cornelius Agrippa.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Fairytale Mash-ups, the new expansion for Atlas Games’ classic storytelling card game Once Upon a Time, is here to bring you classic characters, hilarious juxtapositions and hungry giant sheep.

 

What’s worse—yet even more pulse-poundingly exciting—than being a burned spy on the run from an international vampire conspiracy? Going it alone, as you do in Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s brilliant adaptation of GUMSHOE One-2-One to the shadowy world of Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops, from Pelgrane Press.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Arc Dream Publishing presents a gorgeous new edition of Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow, a deluxe hardback in delightful faux snakeskin, with a foreword by John Scott Tynes, annotations by our own Kenneth Hite, and stunning full-pate color  illustrations by Samuel Araya. Grab it while it lasts in the Arc Dream store.

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Film Cannister
Cartoon Rocket
d8
Flying Clock
Robin
Film Cannister