Vital Update on the Asparagus Fleet

If you know, you know.

Thanks to an update from a mysterious figure in the shadows, I was prompted to start searching again for the true origins of the Asparagus Fleet myth (or is it a myth? Maybe it’s real! No classicist I’ve told the story to believes it’s real, but we could all be missing the secret wisdom! Who knows!?). And I have an update. I still don’t believe I have pinpointed the genesis of this elite squadron of vegetable-toting Augustan ships and/or chariots, but I have an earlier source for it, which exonerates Pam Brunning of the International Wine and Food Society of the crime of inventing it. That source is an article, now available online but apparently first published in print as early as April 1999 (more than 10 years before Brunning’s magazine article, which was cited by Wikipedia and probably spread from there to the rest of the asparagus fandom), in the Deseret News, a Mormon newspaper based in Salt Lake City. Said article can be found here. The author’s name, unfortunately, is not listed online and I might have to track down a print copy to get that information [EDIT: one week later, the article now does have a byline. I don’t know why it didn’t before, or what has changed since then. The original writer was apparently food editor Jean Williams, who has unfortunately died in the 23 years since the article’s publication, meaning I cannot pursue her for answers.]. The article also doesn’t say where the asparagus fleet came from. Newspaper articles don’t cite their sources, because by convention the article is the source; whatever the journalist writes is assumed to carry the authority of the paper’s reputation and editorial standards. This works (…up to a point) when a journalist is reporting on current events. When they dip their toes into history… not so much.

Let’s look at the text of the relevant section of the article (a feature on asparagus with a couple of asparagus recipes, just like the dozens of more recent articles that have also picked up the myth):

Continue reading “Vital Update on the Asparagus Fleet”

Black 2 Kingslocke: Episode 11

Rules are here, and if you’re interested in hearing about the tribulations of other trainers suffering through this ridiculous challenge run I’ve created, check out the just-completed season of the EXP. Share podcast!

Iris is beaten, but there’s still more of Unova to explore.  I think the first order of business is to cut through Twist Mountain to reach Icirrus City in the northwest.  Icirrus is a gym site in Black and White, but in the sequels you can’t even visit until… well, now.

I guess this is a change of pace…

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Black 2 Kingslocke: Episode 10

Rules are here, and if you’re interested in hearing about the tribulations of other trainers suffering through this ridiculous challenge run I’ve created, check out the current season of the Exp. Share podcast!

Here we are on the road to the Pokémon League!  We’d better draw a card.

oh, god, not this bull$#!t again

Four – Elements: Your Pokémon may not use attacks that get a Same-Type Attack Bonus, unless they have no un-STABed damaging moves (note that moves with fixed damage like Dragon Rage and Nightshade do not have STAB).  Pokémon in your active party with no un-STABed attacks must learn one as soon as they can (using a TM/TR if you have, or can easily buy, a compatible one).  This rule ends if you draw another Four.  You may catch the first Pokémon you see in this area that does not share a type with any of your current party Pokémon.

So, that’s… no Surf for Woshua, no Hyper Beam for Alvin, no Discharge for Lieutenant Derby, no Surf or Ominous Wind for Shoal and no Shadow Ball for Nefertiti.  Pizza Rat, fortunately, has no STAB moves to lose, since Endeavour and Super Fang deal fixed damage.

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Open Discussion Topic


shut up for a second

actually, don’t shut up, that is the opposite thing of the thing I am specifically requesting that you do

do listen though

I answer questions sometimes from readers, which is always a very exciting opportunity for you to be told, by someone who has a website, that your opinions are wrong and you should feel bad, and is to a certain extent a source of #content for me. This is obviously a win-win, and an important part of what allows the poorly designed and nebulously purposed edifice known as Pokémaniacal to continue functioning.

But sometimes I have a question, y’know? And often I have questions whose topics are, frankly, not things I could usefully write an article or other substantial “feature” about, but if I’m not going to answer it, who the hell am I supposed to go to? It’s not like I have any friends among the ranks of other Pokémon #content #creators, well, except I Chews You, and no matter what the question is, they’d just answer “have you tried eating the Pokémon?” or maybe Exp. Share now, but honestly we’re still at the “trying to make them think I’m cool” stage of that relationship, and I guess there’s Pokéjungle, ’cause I’ve written a little bit for them before, but they’re way too big and too busy to bother themselves with my bull$#!t. So I have these dumb questions and no one to take them to, and I says to myself, I says “I have some extremely intelligent and attractive readers, and Hugh. Why don’t I ask them some $#!t sometimes? They’d all be wrong, but a lot of them would be wrong in amusing ways, and it would probably generate #engagement or some $#!t, right?”

So that’s what this is. I’m going to pose a question, you’re going to tell me what you think in the comments. Depending on how many answers we get and how much discussion there is of the answers, I might collect my favourite bits in a follow-up post. If it isn’t a disaster, I’ll do it again; maybe we can make it a “thing,” maybe one day I’ll even think of a useful question. Anyway this is the hypothetical I want to put in front of you today:

A benevolent but somewhat careless deity offers you the opportunity to just make Pokémon real: they’ll be introduced into the real world, all over the planet, in environments that suit the preferences of each species.  Manufacturers around the world will also receive designs for basic Pokéballs (but none of the other futuristic technology of Pokémon’s setting).

Do you take the offer?  Why, or why not?

(As might already be obvious, I’m less interested in whether the answer is “yes” or “no” and more interested in what reasons there might be for picking either side, because I think there are a lot of possible arguments for each, and probably a lot more that I’m not thinking of.)

Black 2 Kingslocke: Episode 9

Rules are here, and if you’re interested in hearing about the tribulations of other trainers suffering through this ridiculous challenge run I’ve created, check out the current season of the Exp. Share podcast!

First things first: because I’ve beaten a gym leader, I get to free one of my two petrified Pokémon (note: Pepper is disgraced, not petrified; I think on balance she’s actually slightly harder to get back).  Let’s go with Alanis.

(There’s no way Alanis would have been any help in Marlon’s gym, but because the team beat him, she gets freed from petrification.  She thinks that’s ironic.)

This week we’re going to find Team Plasma’s base of operations and kick the $#!t out of them – but before we can do that, we have to head up to route 22 again so we can meet Colress… and someone else special.

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Anonymous asks:

Legends Arceus finally retconned the Indian elephant from Raichu’s dex entries into Copperajah, so I guess real world animals are now completely removed from canon

well, that’s true, but they are also now insisting that Pokémon takes place in an extremely convoluted multiverse, possibly to the extent of every player’s individual save file representing a branched reality… so maybe there are some Pokémon universes where real animals exist and some where they don’t. Maybe Indian elephants are in a quantum state of existing and not existing, and the only way to collapse the wave function is to hit one with a Thunderbolt.

I have thought for a long time that Game Freak, the Pokémon Company and other creators of official Pokémon media have been gradually erasing real-world non-Pokémon animals from their “canon” as they stopped thinking of the Pokémon world as being a version of the real one and began conceiving of it as a more independent fantasy world, this change to Raichu’s ‘dex entry being the latest step in that campaign. But I do also think that they have written themselves into a position where it will never actually be possible to truly erase or retcon anything that has ever appeared in official media out of “Pokémon canon” even if they want to, which is extremely funny to me.

Gym Trainer Jeff asks:

Pokemon Concept:
Mechanically, what would you think of a Dark-type Pokemon that functions like an “anti-Zoroark?” What I mean is: imagine a Pokemon that has high stats on average, but no/few moves it can learn or be taught/bred on its own. Instead, it has a unique ability that works like the move version of Zoroark’s Illusion, where it fills in any empty move slots it has with the moves from those slots on the last Pokemon in your party? This is why I’m calling it an “anti-Zoroark”—while with Zoroark it always has Zoroark moves but hides under the illusion of another Pokemon, with this “anti-Zoroark,” you always know the type of Pokemon it is, but it could come at you with almost any move, based on what’s in the party with it, and generally has the stats to make them work? Weirdly enough, it’s a Pokemon where forgetting moves is actually *encouraged* (more empty move slots to fill with its ability). I get that this is a super gimmicky idea to base a Pokemon around, but is it an *interesting* gimmick, or just dumb?


Without more details, my first instinct is that this is too strong – like, if it has good stats and a bad movepool, but its bad movepool doesn’t matter because it can have practically any moveset you want, then that seems extremely good to a degree that is probably dangerous. The fact that its type coverage is going to be redundant with something else on your team is a limiting factor, but it could also have other tricky bull$#!t that just doesn’t rely on fighting toe-to-toe; maybe it has Spore or something, which on a fast Pokémon has a lot of potential for abuse. Hell, maybe you just put Smeargle in your last slot; then “anti-Zoroark” can have literally anything you want, but on a body with actually good stats. That’s terrifying. Of course, you can’t ever make a Pokémon forget its last move, so this thing is always going to be stuck with one move of its own. If its natural movepool is really $#!t – like if there is nothing good in there whatsoever, not even a good Dark-type STAB move – you could design a Pokémon that effectively has only three moveslots, which might be interesting. Without actually diving into all the zillions of possible combinations of moves out there, or doing the calculus of whether this is good enough to be worth having a Smeargle on your team with a moveset designed for a high-statted Dark-type, I really don’t know where this falls from a balance standpoint. And, of course, in the post-Sword and Shield era, maybe you can just never allow this thing to exist in the same game as Smeargle; that’s probably safest. Still, my instinct is very much to assume this thing will be super overpowered unless someone can really convincingly prove otherwise.

Black 2 Kingslocke: Episode 7

Rules are here, and if you’re interested in hearing about the tribulations of other trainers suffering through this ridiculous challenge run I’ve created, check out the current season of the Exp. Share podcast!

This week we fly across Unova with Skyla and Professor Juniper to Lentimas Town, another location exclusive to the sequels.  But before that…

I’m gonna be honest, I completely forgot about Mistralton Cave when I passed through here on my way to Chargestone Cave; I only remembered it even existed when I was a guest on Exp. Share and we talked about it.

Continue reading “Black 2 Kingslocke: Episode 7”