Saturday, April 12, 2014

A quote from Blade Runner. Works in many ways.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Union Jack (if Scotland leaves)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

FLPA - No More Heroes

I don't understand partisans. I wish I did sometimes. Black and White. Up or down. Angelic good versus Demonic evil in a winner take all battle. Why is it that these partisans never seem to notice these battles are never won or lost? When has anything in history been truly resolved? Even battles between long lost civilizations are hotly contested by academics. All across Europe and the Old World battles centuries won or lost are still vividly remembered - with the losers still resolved to turn the tide or seek redemption.

Heroes, saints, saviors, leaders and icons. It's a terrible, beautiful world. But not the one I want. I want mortals in the world. It's complicated and doesn't lend itself to easy analysis but it's pure and real. I want the world where the leader of the free world (at the time) FDR curb-stomped the liberties of a racial minority. I want the world where LBJ, a promoter of civil rights escalated a war which would leave a million dead. I want the world where Arch-Conservative White Dude Nixon opened relations with Communist China, signed the EPA into law and gave an honorary law enforcement title to Elvis Presley. I want a world where the Patron Saint of Conservatism Ronald Reagan wrote an eloquent appeal against the statutory discrimination of the LGBT community - at a time when it could have jeopardized his future in politics.

It's good to have ideals. It's necessary, even. In fiction they can take inspiring form but life doesn't happen with a script.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Onepercentopoly - A Work In Progress

TOPHAT: All penalties are halved, all bonuses doubled. Controls the Bank. Begins the game with one Utility/Railroad/Five Developed Properties. When purchasing Properties, half of purchase price is paid by either the player with the lowest assets or Bank. Penalties paid to other players may be delayed for 20 turns. In the meantime, players can opt to recieve a %25 settlement (%10 after 10 turns). May take 3 cards from Community Chest and Chance cards. Player is encouraged to call other players taking one card from the Commuity Chest "Communist Moochers".

WHEELBARROW: All Penalites doubled, all bonuses halved, does not collect $200 for passing Go when prompted by Chance or Community Chest cards. May not use "Get Out Of Jail" card. May only use one die per roll. Loses $20 per turn while in jail and may not collect $200 ($100) for 5 turns after jail. All Properties are purchased Mortgaged.

THIMBLE: Penalties remain the same, bonuses and Go salary are reduced by %25. May not use "Get Out Of Jail" card for 3 turns. Loses $10 per turn while in jail. All Properties are purchased Mortgaged.

CAR: All Properties are purchased Mortgaged. Any bonuses recieved from players must be accompanied by a matching amout paid to Bank for legal fees. Every 10 times Player passes Go, salary is reduced by $5. Loses $5 per turn in jail.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fear, Loathing and Paranoid Alienation in Modern America (part of a series I do intend to continue)

Why are we so afraid these days?

Reading has always been a passion. The internet has therefore been something of a divine gift to me. You know all the cliches so I won't repeat them. Something else happened that also kind of feels like a divine intervention. The realization that there is something fundamentally flawed about our culture. Never is this more apparent when seeing a news story simultaneously gets covered on websites with different views. It's jarring to see that Demons and Angels can be flipped so easily. One site may talk about the politician who's the salvation for the country because of x,y and z. And they may mention the evil politician who promotes a,b, and c. Another site will call the politician an evil destroyer - because of x,y, and z. The followers of each site will demonize the followers of the other - they're dupes, they're frauds, they have a secret agenda. And they may well mention the scrappy, heroic underdog who promotes a,b, and c.

Now, it's nothing particularly new - newspapers and media companies have always had a preferred slant on events. There's nothing wrong with that in and of itself. In the days prior to the Information Age, mass-media could only push it's slant too far. There would be too many people reading or watching who had different views to call bullshit. And there was a level of accountability for the major outlets. Sure, the media giants especially could call on cadres of lawyers in cases of lawsuits and pass the blame buck internally, but a third of the country would have the evidence in the event of a fuck-up. If nothing else, the public could just move to another of the outlets. Never underestimate the power of ad revenues (although that power was used to censor as well as censure, but that's another post).

Modern television news reflects modern trends the most. Regardless of slant, it's the same stew of music beds, cherry-picked stories and clips and the "correct" story told in loud, jumbled words. All without the least bit of context or insight. There's precious little chance to consider the story or understand anything. Nor is there time. The average headline clip lasts 20 seconds - if it's not just a five-second headline crawl at the bottom. Even the in-depth pieces are little more than wire-service copy with no fact-checking (takes too long). It's as if Kurt Vonnegut's Handicapper-General wasn't needed after all. We did it to ourselves.