SnooPac beat me to it, but clearly not many fans of the US Office here:
“Black bears are the best bear” is sort of a parody pronouncement of something that is clearly an opinion being stated as if it were a proven fact. But once you’re explaining the joke, the moment is lost. Luckily for me, the jokes I tell are only for my own amusement. If anyone else gets it, that’s just gravy.
Did I ever tell you my joke about the UDP packet? It doesn’t matter if you get it.
On a serious note, the grain versus detail debate is real, although it’s not really about grain, it’s about generational loss. The optical duplication process used to create projection prints from negatives (typically via several intermediaries) loses significant detail with every generation. Thus, if you want to get the most detail, you go back to the original film negatives, or at least something higher-generation like an interpositive. This is why Blu-ray restorations tend to be based on “scans of the negative” instead of “scans of projection prints”. The Star Wars UHDs, and even the BDs, are based on these higher-generation sources. So even with all the grain scrubbing and color mangling and other nasties, they do in fact have more detail than a projection print. That’s more detail than anybody ever actually saw in the theater, though, so whether that’s a good thing or not depends on what you’re after. So while 4K77 is a better representation of how the film looked in theaters, D+77 does have more fine image detail. Even Despecialized has more detail, and it’s 720p. The reason 4K83 looks so much better than 4K77 is that it’s a special print that skipped a few duplication generations, creating a more detailed and less grainy image (also seventies filmstock was crap, and this was mostly resolved by the time ROTJ was filmed, but that’s another tangent).
Grain is sort of a red herring. Because of how optical duplication works, the grain structure is “stacked” with the grain of all the previous generations. So the grain of the negative may be fine, but by the time you get to the projection print, it’s pretty thick. But really I’ve found it’s not the grain so much as the lack of fine detail people object to. But as you lose detail in duplication, you gain grain, so they kind of go hand-in-hand.
Nevertheless, if you’re blending with NTSC TV footage and don’t want the quality seams to be obvious, I’d recommend a Laserdisc/GOUT source, but color-adjusted.
Regarding his absence, Zion comes and goes, and works on his own schedule. I would not necessarily take a year-long absence as a sign of a problem. But I do wish him well.