600 posts — and ‘stupidity’ is YOUR favorite category!

This is post #600 for this blog.  Woohoo!  And I just checked my stats — of all the different posts clicked on in the past 24 hours, posts with the category of ‘stupidity’ were the most popular.

popular categories

Have a happy 4th. If you light any fireworks off, try not to hurt yourself.

Lizardman mind control

By now you have probably heard that Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, suppliers of man-whore wear to the masses, said some nasty things seven years ago and now people are really mad because he said nasty things about fat people and ‘aspirational branding’ and other bullshittery. People got very angry and protested in the streets.  The squawks of outrage created by this ‘terrible event’ where a rich cocksucker said he didn’t want to sell clothing to fat or ‘uncool’ people has eclipsed the story of a Bangladesh factory collapse that killed more than 1,000 people who were making clothing for the US market (and may have even been making clothes for Abercrombie & Fitch). Factories collapse and workers die? The consumer shrugs and heads to the mall. A CEO says he doesn’t want to sell clothes to unpopular kids? We get mad, grab our placards and hit the streets. Are our priorities just a bit fucked or what?

Look at this picture where I compare Jeffries, Cocksucker in Chief of A&F, and a lizard man:

lizard-man and jeffries

No way that creature on the left is a human!

Is that motherfucker terrifying or what? His face just looks like a mask pulled over his lizardy skull – the weirdly fake prominent cheek bones and the flaccid lizard lips…  under that obvious wig is probably a zipper that starts at the top of his skull and goes down his spine, allowing the lizard-king to show his true form… those fake teeth probably pop out like dentures, allowing him to chew his human babies with razor-sharp fangs. The lizard-humanoid hybrids are exactly what David Icke has been trying to warn us about!  Jeffries is clearly one of the hybrids in disguise… Wanting to ‘create an aspirational brand’ by saying he will not sell clothes to the unpopular kids at your high school is the least of his crimes… child sacrifice, cannibalism, plotting the overthrow of humanity – that’s the shit we are talking about. This dude is more evil than Ming the Merciless

Maggie, I wish I’d never seen your face…

It has been a week or so, but all of the world is still chattering about Maggie Thatcher’s death. It feels a bit surreal, like Reagan’s death a few years ago — especially since people in the public sphere are falling over themselves to memorialize a woman many of them hated while she was alive. And, perhaps because she seemed to thrive on controversy and appeared to relish a good fight, ‘hating’ Maggie might be a better tribute to her than getting all misty eyed and sentimental.

About the best thing I saw about ‘Maggs’ wasthis Steve Bell cartoon in The Guardian. I think Bell is an underappreciated artist; a modern day Hogarth with the whimsy of Herriman.

I don’t live in the UK, so much of the debate on Thatcher’s reign doesn’t resonate with me because I doubt I understand all of the issues. But the breast beating and the discussion of ‘legacies’ and the eulogizing make me sick, much like the sight of all of the ‘war hero’ pomp and eulogizing of President Reagan in 2004 seemed fairly ridiculous since Ronald Reagan had spent his WW2 military service in Hollywood making training films. And now I hear that Maggie is getting the Hero’s funeral with carriages and guards and gold braid and the whole nine yards — giving ‘military honors’  to people who stuck pins in a map and signed the orders that sent others to die without ever bleeding themselves just does not sit right with me. John McCain IS both a politician and a war hero — I’m glad every morning that he isn’t my president, but I won’t deny that he earned his medals. Give him the military honors when he passes and I’ll have no complaints.

Maggie never bled, but she certainly liked to fight.  She was the scrapper to Ronald Reagan’s more avuncular and telegenic cold warrior (In addition to being fellow ideologues,  Maggie and Ronnie both shared an affection for extremely sculptural hair care). Maggie’s “any enemy of my enemy must be my friend” mentality found her cozying up to stone cold killers like General Pinochet simply because he was anti-Castro. Never mind that Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected president of Chile and herded his political opponents into a stadium to be tortured and executed.

Any who dare to ‘speak ill of the dead’ can count on being treated as a pariah by a certain demographic. But Maggie didn’t pull any punches in life, disenfranchising those who didn’t vote for her and even relishing the media ‘he said she said’ dustups. I don’t know if she truly believed all her Ayn-Rand, social-Darwinist free market capitalism claptrap or not –  but she acted (and ruled) as if she did. Maggie didn’t pull any punches or ever concede that her opponents might have had a good point while she was alive; she described ‘compromise’ as ‘failure.’ Given how intractable and vicious she was in life, I see no reason to suddenly treat her with velvet gloves in death. The ‘Iron Lady’ is dead. I won’t miss her.

Sometimes they tell the truth by accident…

I work for a company that I will refer to as ‘Levy Pants Company’ (a very clever reference on my part to Peter O’Toole’s ‘Confederacy of Dunces’).  We have a relationship with a vendor of communications services that I will call ‘Acme Communications.’  Acme’s billing is so notoriously full of errors and overcharges that ‘Levy Pants’ employs a ‘billing negotiation company’ I shall call ‘Clawback Enterprises’ to negotiate our bills for us.  As far as I understand the process, in Acme’s billing agreements, Acme specifies that it is dependent upon the customer (Levy Pants) to determine whether or not the bill is accurate… which is where ‘Clawback’ comes in.  ‘Clawback’ uses billing specialists (most are former employees of companies like Acme) to look through the bills and dispute errors unfavorable to Levy Pants.  Every over-charge that is successfully dismissed nets Clawback about a third of what Levy Pants would have otherwise overpaid.  Acme’s usual strategy to fight Clawback is to simply ignore requests for disputes and to continually send incorrect invoices in hopes that Levy Pants pays them… where they land on my desk and I immediately forward them to my associate at Clawback whom I will call ‘Laura.’

I’m just a paper handler in this transaction. Most of the charges on these bills are for items I don’t understand that are supposedly used in places that I have never visited.  It’s like some massive and uninteresting conceptual art project or corporate avant garde performance piece.

Put another way, Acme Communication’s bills are so notoriously filled with overcharges that companies like Clawback exist just to dispute them.  This is insanity worthy of Twain or Swift… but overbilling may well be a growth source of revenue for Acme ‘cause they just keep doing it. 

Periodically, I find myself in a three way conference call with representatives from Acme and Clawback. During these conference calls, I’m usually just trying to puzzle my way through the massive spreadsheets that Laura from Clawback has emailed to me about how fucked up the bills from Acme are that week and while they talk I try to figure out what the shizzle the Acme and Clawback people are arguing about.

In our last conference call, a manager from Acme (whom I will call ‘Risky Business’ because he gives the impression of having the personality and moral compass of a drunken teenager) said something so jaw droppingly honest that I had to stop and pinch myself. First, he announced that our usual account representative (whom I will call ‘Denise’) had recently and unexpectedly left Acme.  You could practically hear a pin drop in the meaningful pause that followed, and the reason for her hasty departure from Acme was not offered (my impression is that an Acme account representative serves as a human firewall between angry customers and people like Risky Business, so Denise may not have enjoyed a high level of job satisfaction while at Acme — just a guess.).  Mr. Risky Business sounded hurt and confused that Denise would leave him in the lurch like this… but most shitty bosses seem to feel hurt and confused when their browbeaten, tired, underpaid and suddenly liberated employees shout, “FUUUUUUUCK YOUUUUUUUU!” as they sprint out the door into the sunshine with the glee of a condemned man given a last minute pardon. But then came the shockingly honest part.  Risky Business told us that his higher ups wanted him (Risky Business) to take over managing the account for Levy Pants and negotiating with Clawback, but he wasn’t going to do it because, in his words, “Your account is just too screwed up, and it would really mess up my numbers for the year.” Yes. He admitted that Acme had served Levy Pants Company so poorly that he didn’t want to take responsibility for the mess that he had a role in creating. He was also confessing that the current meeting was meaningless since it was supposed to be between company representatives and he was specifying that he was NOT our company representative… which is the business equivalent of saying, “Did I mention that I have herpes?” right after you have finished fucking someone.  Laura, our billing expert from Clawback, finally broke the silence by snuffling into a Kleenex (she was nursing a cold), and asking who would be handling the Levy Pants account.
At this point, Risky Business seemed relieved that no one had screamed, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?” at his accidental candor. Instead, Risky Business assured us that Acme would be assigning a new representative to the account as soon as possible, blah blah, blah and then went back to spouting the Acme company line that the tens of thousands of dollars in overcharges were really nothing to worry about and would soon be resolved while I listened with half an ear and thought about lunch.

Crank Yankers

A friend of mine owns a business where they rent furnished apartments to the well heeled traveling executive who needs a place to stay for extended periods. They have a crew that cleans the places out after a guest leaves, this group of male executives and high rollers leave behind a surprisingly large number of sex toys. If my friend rented apartments to porn stars or sex therapists, I guess finding sex toys would seem less surprising (at least to me).

Maybe the dildos and penis pumps are left behind by call girls? Maybe these middle aged dudes end up in a city and think to themselves, “I’ve always wanted to stick a dildo in my butt without my family judging me… here is my chance…”?  I don’t know. Some of them are still in the package, meaning, I suppose, that they are still ‘perfectly good.’

What is a ‘penis pump’ for, anyway? As a species, have we grown so lazy that masturbating ‘by hand’ is too much work and we want a machine to do it for us?  Or does the pump really permanently increase the size of the organ? Or does it just help the man who cannot rise to the occasion seal the deal with the call girl?

Limbaugh blames feminists for small dicks

“My dick was HUGE till she wanted out of the kitchen!”

I am not making this shit up.  According to the internet, Rush was on his radio show, talking about penis size (?), and he brought up a study that was done in Italy that claimed to show that human penises had decreased in average size by about 10% over the last 50 years.  The Italian penis measuring people said this was a result of exposure to pollution (Which remind me: I gotta stop dipping my dong into that Rouge River water!).

“I don’t buy this,” Limbaugh said.  “I think it’s feminism. I think if it’s tied to the last fifty years, the average size of a member is ten percent smaller…it has to be the feminazis.” 

Makes perfect sense to me. Those dick hating Feminazis have probably been sneaking penis shrinking pills into our food… or doping the water supply with anti-viagra… or sprinkling or underpants with magic genital shrinking powder or something.  There really is no other logical explanation.

Another ill-advised foray into politics / social commentary

Let me tell you ’bout the birds and the bees **

Note: This was supposed to get posted ages ago — whoops.  Probably less current, but my thoughts remain the same.

Both of the people who read this blog probably already know that I sometimes write ill-advised things about politics and / or social issues on my blog.  And so it is with great joy that I write about the stupidity of Congressman Todd Aiken, from the great state of Missouri, who is running for Claire McCaskill’s seat (which isn’t my former home district, but is near to my hometown of St. Louis).  Aiken, who is gunning for the incumbent McCasskil’s seat*, was (not so) recently being interviewed on his views about reproductive freedom/abortion in the case of rape.

Then on Sunday, Mr Akin was asked by local news station KTVI-TV about his no-exceptions view on abortion.

The 65-year-old congressman said: “It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that is really rare.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

 I don’t know if Akin defined what differentiated a ‘legitimate’ case of rape from an ‘illegitimate’ one.  And the people of the state of Missouri wonder why some of us want sex ed in the public schools.

Later, Akin said he “had mis-spoke” and did not intend to say what he said. He also complained that ‘one word’ was accidentally used which caused people to misunderstand him and he was a victim of the “gotcha” media in action — but if we gave him a do-over in which he were allowed to change one word, which word would he change in order to change the fact that the statement he made means that he is in denial about how women get pregnant? This also causes me to wonder what, exactly, he was trying to say, because there are very few ways that what he did say could be interpreted.  And the “from what I understand from doctors” comment has me puzzled, too.  Are these medical doctors? Or people with doctorates in some other field?

The official deadline for Akin to drop out has passed, but there are apparently still other ways in which the candidate could withdraw. The Republicans want him out.  The Democrats***, who are delighted to see that they now actually might have a chance of retaining McCaskill’s seat, want him to stay on. It’s a real nailbiter.

*Rumor has it that McKasskil’s staff celebrated when they heard that Akin won the Republican primary because he was thought ‘most likely to self destruct’ of all the potential competion. I’m sure they are gratified to see that their prediction has (sort of) come true. I wonder if they have bought liquor, party hats, noisemakers and a ‘pin the word LOSER on the Elephant’ game for their McCaskill re-election party in advance now that Akin has decided to stay in?

**No actual horses were harmed when this picture was taken although a wooden horse was temporarily made to look silly.  This image merely illustrates that some merry-go-round horses have detatchable tails, although there is something rather perverse about the picture that caused me to choose it over all the other images that popped up when I typed, “horse’s ass” into image search.

***People who don’t know me very well might think of me as probably being a ‘democrat,’ and that is sort of true, if by ‘democrat’ you mean I think that the democratic candidate will occassionally be the less destructive of the choices that the voter is usually presented with, but I think ‘less destructive’ is not really as an endorsement of the Democratic party — just labeling them the lesser of two evils.  Thinking Mr. Akin is an incompetent, dangerous douche has less to do with whether a D or an R follows his name and is more about the fact that he wants to legislate human reproduction without understanding how women get pregnant.


I was going to write a post about the current fascination with Kickstarters but now I start wondering if arguing about Kickstarters is the new, “Can Paladins kill baby kobolds and get away with it?” question… in short, it becomes a question in which a lot of people have strong convictions but I start to doubt whether the question itself (are Kickstarters good/not goof for “the hobby?”) matters.

THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT I APPROVE OF PEOPLE USING A SERVICE LIKE KICKSARTER TO RIP OTHER PEOPLE OFF ANY MORE THAN I APPROVE OF ANY OTHER CON.  But a con perpetrated through the mail does not mean that ‘the post office is evil;’ similarly, the fact that Kickstarter could be used to bilk people doesn’t mean that we should automatically be afraid of it. 

I don’t know if Kickstarters and similar ‘crowd funding’ strategies are here to stay or not. I’ve kicked in at pretty low levels on a couple of them, mostly because I liked the ideas and thought the people proposing these projects could pull them off. If I don’t get what I was promised (or I get much less than I was promised), I guess I’ll feel disappointed… but I remember feeling pretty disappointed back in the day when I waited and waited and waited for TSR to publish ‘Temple of Elemental Evil’ and they just didn’t but somehow managed to find the time to grind out woodburning sets, trapper-keepers, Saturday Morning cartoons and needlepoint kits.  I didn’t have to wait for the internet to be invented to feel disappointed by the way in which I fit into (or failed to fit into) a game company’s market strategy. I find myself thinking that amateurs with Kickstarter backers are going to have to try pretty hard to do worse.

The complaint that I hear echoing around the blogosphere, however, is that these ‘kickstarters’ are going to be ‘bad’ for gaming.  I just don’t buy it.  First of all, I don’t know what ‘gaming’ is since it seems to cover everything from Magic the Gathering to Napoleonics. Somewhere in that broad spectrum are people like me who like playing older versions of D&D — and I don’t feel much in common with the card games people or the Princess Leia in a metal bikini impersonators. I’m not against them; I’m just not a part of them. So, if your basic proposition is that “kickstarters are going to disappoint people and drive them from the hobby,” first you are going to have prove that people will leave the hobby. I don’t think that will happen because:

a) I don’t think Kickstarters will disappoint enough people to form some sort of ‘critical mass’ of disappointment that will make people leave “the hobby” (whatever the hobby is).

b) I don’t believe that all of the people who are involved in this hobby in all these different ways have such a shallow level of personal investment that not getting value for the $25.00 or $1,000.00 or whatever is going to drive them from the hobby.  There are people out there who name their kids “Han” and “Leia,” do you think getting rooked by a Kickstarter is going to make them say, “Fuck it” and go scrape all the Trekkie and Doctor Who stickers off their Subaru and never go to GenCon again?

c) Who has been robbed via kickstarter? I know some projects are late and some kickstarters are not communicating with their backers as much as a very vocal group would like, but the level of noise from some people makes me feel like this is something on the scale of a Bernie Madoff con.  Dear internet: late does not equal fraud. KIckstarter is not a “pre-order.” If you have actually been robbed via kickstarter (i.e.: you know that you will never get what you were promised), please post below… share details.  I wanna know about it.

Some kickstarters will be in trouble because the people running them are incompetent, some will fail for lack of effort or because of dishonesty… and some will be everything that the originator promised but the backers will still be dissapointed because the backers didn’t bother to read what they were agreeing to before slapping their money down.

One suspicion I have is that the signal to noise ration has spiked because the obsessive compulsives who simply must have one of everything D&D in shrink wrap in their closet are suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer number of things coming out via Kickstarter and feel like if they don’t kick in on every project, they risk having a collection that is incomplete… yet if they do kick in on every single project, the ‘completeness’ of their collection is reliant on the good will and work ethic of strangers. Because the O.C. Collector can’t risk an incomplete collection, he has to gamble on the honesty/work ethic of strangers — no fair! Collecting is all about control and this makes me feel out of control!  It’s like the wailing and gnashing of teeth we heard when Goodman printed up only 300 of some ‘special edition’ adventure for sale at one convention, sold first come first served, and, to add insult to injury, he didn’t limit “one to a customer” so people who came by later in the day were S.O.L.. For months after that event, some of these obsessive types were cursing Goodman like he had killed their dog simply because he published something and they didn’t get a copy.

Goddamn Liars

Part of my work involves testing and trouble-shooting bar code labels.  Every time I print a test label, I get 2 labels on either side of the label that are printed witht the words ‘BLANK LABEL’ in big letters… to which I want to answer, “No, it’s NOT a blank label…”

The world is full of goddamn liars.

What is this blog for?

At least one of these rounds is going through my foot.

What is this blog for? I used to write here about gamey-dork-type things, and I plan on continuing to do that as the mood strikes me. For example, we will be playing another session of our DCC campaign next week which will probably eventually be preserved here for posterity’s sake (see links to session 1, session 2, etc., at right).

I’ve never been much of one for writing ‘state of the hobby’ or ‘here is what you should be worrying about if you care about the game industry’ and similar stuff.  That just doesn’t interest me and there are plenty of blogs that fill that niche.
I used to write what some people would describe as ‘political rants’ (I saw them more as ‘social commentary from my perspective’) and probably still will, even though doing so seems pretty pointless. I’ve given up on the idea that the internet is a good method of ‘winning converts to your point of view in order to make the world a better place.’ (if that is even possible — I put it in italics to show you that I typed it with a smirk on my face). Whenever I go off on a ‘political tear’ I end up feeling like I was either preaching to the already converted or telling people who were never going to agree with me what I thought. It doesn’t stop me from wanting to fire off an angry screed now and again; an esteemed author of many angry screeds, Gore Vidal, died today, so I kind of feel like being a crank puts me in good company, but I don’t fool myself into thinking that these cranky rants are anything more than me blowing of steam or holding forth on a topic I am interested in to a mostly indifferent audience.  I also think I’ve become more fatalist in the past few months; I used to believe that if you selected your positions carefully and then attempted to argue with honesty, people might find something interesting in what you had to say.  And I no longer believe that the vast majority of people have the ability to accept anything that does not fit their preconceived notions as anything other than ‘incorrect thinking.’
I suppose I’ll also use the blog keep writing about my own projects and stuff.  How much time I am able to spend on those projects (and spend writing about them) has been greatly cut back because of my new job, but you gotta do what you gotta do in this world to pay your bills, and, sometimes spending too much time ‘blogging’ about doing rather than doing something feels like being a hamster on a wheel — a lot of activity that fails to go anywhere.

(speaking of potentially political posts, “zombies” showed up when the Westboro Baptist Cult had yet another one of their almost constant protests where they shouted how “God hates Fags” and whatnot. If there was ever anything that left and right could agree upon in America, it is that WBC is loathsome. I like to picture a zombie shambling up to one of the Westboro cultists, biting into their skull and finding a tiny, shrunken walnut of a brain inside that even the undead find inedible.)