Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Barry Goldwater, where are you?



Barry Morris Goldwater

(January 1, 1909 – May 29, 1998) was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–1987) and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. He was also a Major General in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He was frequently referred to as "Mr. Conservative" in numerous media articles.

Or... How I became a democrat without changing parties...


I mean it, Barry, what happened to our party?  I know you’re spinning in your grave as we speak, and I for one, would like to apologize.  You see, I’m a republican.  Well, not really, anymore.  I’m a fiscal conservative, small government, less entitlement, social moderate.  That USED to be a republican, but guess what, now it’s a moderate democrat.  See?  I changed parties and never went down to update my voter ID card.

I really did like being a republican, the Reagan years were a heady time for me.  The problem is, Ron started something kinda bad for the party.  This year, 2008, the slippery slope that he started down has reached the bottom, and poor old McCain is paying the price for it.  I kinda feel bad for him, he could have been a republican, but he had (or felt he had) to sell out and hire the likes of Sarah Palin.

Yep, Reagan started the courting of the religious fringe of the right wing republican party and since that time, no serious republican has been able to move without giving in more and more to the fringe.  No talent hacks like our current presi-dictator have relied on the cash cow that is the religious right and gotten elected.  More and more they pander to the likes of Pat Robertson and James Dobson and more and more the Republican Party loses it’s esteem and history.  And yes, I’m to blame, it’s my fault.  I didn’t see the handwriting on the wall and I didn’t stand up for the Republican values that were established with the party.  So now, I’m a democrat and lumped in with all the rest.

With the current president, I find myself embarrassed to say I’m a republican.  I staunchly maintain that I am a conservative.   I have searched my mind and history to find something, anything he might have done that was either worthy of the title Republican or at least, conservative.  Try as I might, I fail.  This jackass has destroyed my party and taken down a pretty decent guy like John McCain with him.  Poor John was a moderate conservative and his own party, my party, disowned him.  These fucking neo-cons tried to tear down a guy that had more in common with republican values than any of them ever  has ever known.  He was forced to pick the mouthpiece of the Religious fringe wackos as a running mate to solidify a base of foaming, power-hungry mongrels who think that the Ten Commandments are in the Bill of Rights.

NEWSFLASH - ATTENTION NEOCONS - Hey assholes - if you want a theocracy, move to fucking Iran, they have it there, and how is it working??

Don’t Romney, Paul and Huckabee look good now?

Come Tuesday, who knows.  I may just vote for McCain, knowing that I’m in the fringe 33% of the people who will do the same.  Barack Obama is the next President of the United States, get over it, NeoCons.  You built this debacle, and now you get to stew in it for at LEAST 4 years.  And dear god I hope you roast, I hope you burn in the very fires of hell that you try to scare the shit out of everyone with.  You pathetic fucktards deserve nothing less for destroying my party and taking away from me my right to vote for a republican.  Obama will tear down every pillar that you have built in the last 8 years and laugh at you while he does it.

Well, Mr. Duncan and Ms. Davidson, you brought this all down on your heads, and for the love of god, RESIGN!  Leave the leadership of the Republican Party to republicans.  Do you think it was odd that a JUNIOR senator from Illinois could spank the living shit out of you?  Does it bother you that Joe Biden, the doormat of the Senate is going to be bitch slapping you around the beltway?  Do you honestly think that this country SUDDENLY all decided to vote democrat?  No piss-brains, when you traded conservatism for cash, you did this.  You screwed us all and I’m going to do more than withhold my RNC dues.  I’m going to actively campaign to make sure you and your ilk are turned out from the leadership of MY party.  I’m going to find every way I can to make you look like the stupid whores that you are.  Don’t think for a moment that this loss is John McCain’s fault.  It’s yours you fascist fucktards, you and everyone else who thinks like you.

Yep, my party may have left me, and I was floundering there for a while, but guess what.

DAMNIT, I’M A FREAKING REPUBLICAN!!!!!!!!

I’m going to take this damned party back from you, you pathetic excuses for conservatives.

So NO, I’m not a moderate democrat anymore, I’m a damned republican.  I’m tired of hanging my head in shame, looking back at the “good old days”.  I may not vote like it this time, but I swear to you I’ll get this party back.  I may live in the backwater bullshit state of New Mexico, but this is your notice, NeoCons, Bush apologists and all you freaked out fanatics of the right wing...

Republicans are coming, and hell’s coming with us!!




My friend Tony provided a counter-rant... or a support-o-rant, you decide...

Tony





NEWSFLASH - Goldwater's granddaughter is supporting Obama.  She also says that if her grandfather were alive he would vote for Obama as well.

Barry Goldwater?  The man accused the National Education Association of being a communist front.

As much as I found most of John McCain's politics reprehensible, at least he seemed to be an honest man.  That man disappeared after 2000.  No one forced him to suck up to the Christian right.  Do you remember Bill Keating and the Savings and Loan scandal?  Right in the middle of it all, there was John McCain's ass hanging in the breeze.

Small government?
The Wall Street debacle (prior to the bail out) - small government.
Privatization of intelligence and the military - small government.
Over 40 million people with no health insurance - small government.
Predatory lending practices and sub-prime mortgages - small government.
And last but not least, that giant, bloated, festering, Sun blotched elephant in the middle of the room, the defense budget - small government?


Less entitlements?  Christ, that empty-piƱata-of-in-issue has been dangled for decades.  "Hey look?  I just found 10 people manipulating the welfare system.  Therefore a thousand others must be manipulating it too and the whole system is bad."  The federal poverty level for individuals (one eligibility requirement for entitlement) is around $15,000 a year.  Try living on that.  I don't know what the poverty level for families is.  However, while you're looking that up, look up the demographics of the primary recipients of welfare.  Hell, if you look at presidential records on welfare gutting in the last 20 years, Clinton is on the top of that list.  Unless, of course, by entitlements you are including corporate welfare in which case both parties have been breast-feeding that for long as I can remember.

Speaking of neocons and theocracies, if you haven't already you should read the book Blackwater.  Jeremy Scahill interviews countless old-money Christian fundamentalists in positions of high influence.  They are quoted as saying that they're especially qualified to counter Islamic fundamentalists because they understand how the mind of a zealot works.  Of all the depressingly disturbing things Scahill wrote about, that rings in my head as one of the worst.

I truly do look forward to you taking on the Christian right.  I'll even help.  Of course, once the subject of religious faith comes up, EVERYONE gets scrutinized. But hey, I don't mind being on the hot seat if you don't.

Anyway, Joe Biden is the MasterCard Senator.  Everyone seems to have forgotten that he was instrumental in gutting the bankruptcy laws during Bush's first term.  Everyone except those with catastrophic medical bills they can't pay or whose homes are being auctioned off as we speak.  As far as Wall Street goes, lest we forget that Obama has obliterated campaign fund-raising records, much of which Wall Street bankrolled.

Even if Barak Obama was willing to make the very hard choices necessary to fix the economy, deal with global warming, and put out the fire that we've lit in the Middle East, neither party would back him: "that would be political suicide."

Now how's that for a rant?



Tuesday, October 28, 2008 - 10:55 PM

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Print is dead!



Dr. Egon Spengler... a modern prophet.  (For the, hopefully, few of you who do not know the works of Dr. Spengler - go here)

Print is officially dead, long live the electron!  I just celebrated my 24th anniversary, and my wife got me a Kindle for a gift.  Wow!!!  I have had many a cool gadget in my day, it’s kind of my schtick, but this is the coolest of them all (until the iPhone 2.0).  But beyond being cool, I think this is the beginning of something big.

Now, I have had many e-book readers in the past, and all of them have sucked ass in one way or another.  The Kindle??  definitely does not suck ass!  While this bit of prose will be a semi-review of the Kindle, keep in mind that I am also talking about the future here, and it may not be the Kindle itself that drives the nail in the coffin of the printing presses.  But the coffin is closing, and things like the Kindle are doing it.

I toyed around with the Sony E-book reader a while, at the Borders store in town and I found it to be cumbersome, fuzzy and generally a joke.  Coupled with the paltry selection of books they have and it’s a dead product.  (And that is not just my pure hatred of Sony coming through, they can’t give them things away.)  I also used every version of my PDA with MS-Reader installed.  Too small for most books.

Well, in walks the Kindle, with it’s gorgeous screen, luscious lines and smoooooth buttons. (Ok the buttons aren’t smooth, but that line was getting kind sexy, no?)  It looks at you, with those little “read me” eyes and says - “I’ll even play your MP3s while you read, baby”.  Face it, you’re doing the reading rumba with this thing before you know it.  Best part is... in the morning, it’s still there, ready for the newspaper and a good comedy.

Truly, the screen on this thing is better than white paper.  It has just the right contrast for me, and the print font is perfect.  Of course, the font is scalable, so you can have teensy print or really big print, your choice.  It does everything a book will do an alot more.  You can dog-ear pages, annotate passages and even look up the really big words in the built in dictionary.

Truly, this thing is a wonder.  But beyond that, I think it is ushering in a new era.  Imagine if you will, an 8th grader on the first day of school.  Rather than getting a ton of books to lug around all year, he gets his Kindle (or similar) device with all the years books already loaded on it.  And not the old books that alot of our school systems are struggling along with, revised updated editions.  All the handouts that teachers would give out are now just uploaded to the classes Kindle’s and assignments are handed in the same way.  Even better, spin this up to the same kid in college.  Same device, just has to get the book(s) for each class uploaded at the beginning of the semester.  The cost savings to the school system are immense, as it is to the publishers and teachers.

Obviously, this is a few years down the road, but even now, I get the New York Times delivered to my Kindle every night, ready to read in the morning.  Time Magazine, same deal.  More are coming all the time.  Granted, Amazon is making money with the Kindle now, selling books and their selection is a tad bit limited.  But I have gone to a bunch of sites that offer many books free, all the great classics are totally free.

While I will not say that the Kindle or it’s progeny will kill print media, a device like it will.  A full blown laptop PC (Macbook Air?) with this screen, in this format is coming soon, and you will see it take the world like the iPod did.  Mark my words.

As to reviewing the Kindle itself, I have a hard time doing it fairly.  The thing is just about perfect.  I’m not sure if I am just so enamored with it, or if it is really this good.  I have thirty books on it right now, and I am finding myself staying up WAY too late reading.  What a joy that is!  The controls are intuitive and VERY easy to use, the management of the device is made incredibly easy by Amazon.  Maybe in a future blog I’ll have some things to say against it, but for now, I can’t give it up.

If you decide to get one, please use my store link to get it so I can buy some good books :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

E. Gary Gygax. Farewell, and thank you!


E.Gary Gygax - July 27, 1938 - May 4, 2008


I know, I know, he died in May and here it’s June before I get around to this.  Well, let me explain.  For a long time, I thought this guy was one of the bad guys.  Stealing the original D&D game from Dave Arneson and going on to make a bundle of $$ off someone else’s work.  Well, time and age make one do research and it turns out that my youthful derision of EGG was pretty much based in bullshit and here-say.  So, my apologies.  The delay, therefore comes from not really knowing what to say about a guy who changed your life, but you never met him.


Some folks relax by knitting, working on cars, gardening or whatever.  My particular, and favorite method, is Role Playing Games.  When not in one, I like to think about and modify the things that are going on in my world.  Not every waking moment, mind you, but my free time.  I find the mental challenge, the creative expression and the pure satisfaction of creating something to be very relaxing and enjoyable.  I wouldn’t have that were it not for EGG.  Surely, someone else would have done it, maybe better, maybe worse, but in this dimension, it was EGG who did it, and there ya go.  Thanks EGG!

He went through alot of crap in his life, especially when he was in charge of TSR.  He did manage to weather it all and kept doing RPG stuff through his whole life.  In 2007 he was publishing source books for the D20 system.  Pretty cool.

Now, here is a stretch for you.  Do we owe modern pop culture to E. Gary Gygax?  Let me explain.  Gygax makes a game called D&D.  It’s a pen and paper RPG, but then they come out with the Personal Computers (Apple II, Commodore 64 etc).  What games are pushing well on these?  Computerized RPGs.  Yes, there are a bunch more games and software than RPGs, but the D&D type games are a huge push in the industry.  Video technology is pushed by the needs of the game industry.  Some of the BIGGEST selling games ever, on any system, are RPGs.  Final Fantasy, NeverWinter Nights, Oblivion, Daggerfall and a host of other games are all computer RPGs.  I won’t even mention EverCrack, and World of Warcrack.  All this industy, all this development to perfect a system that was originally printed in a chainmail magazine...

Makes you wonder... maybe... a little.

I’d love to ruminate more, but I have to work on Pam’s character a bit so we can play a bit of 4E tonight :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The State of the Music Industry?? Kiss my Arse



Why do stupid but famous people get to talk to the press??  It’s a damn shame, because alot of the time, their opinions are not just wrong, they’re fucking stupid.  Take for example this excerpt from Gene Simmons of KISS.

The music industry is suffering, and it's all because of those darn fans. Er, what? It turns out that KISS member Gene Simmons believes exactly that. He claims that piracy is to blame for the industry's woes, and KISS is apparently taking its ball and going home until the situation gets under control.


"The record industry is dead. It's six feet underground and unfortunately the fans have done this," Simmons said, according to AOL News. "They've decided to download and file share. There is no record industry around so we're going to wait until everybody settles down and becomes civilized. As soon as the record industry pops its head up we'll record new material."


Wow, KISS isn’t going to release anything until this is settled. THANK YOU, GOD!

Mr Simmons, let me help you get your bearings here...

1 - You’re a no talent hack who is famous because of a costume and a brilliant marketing campaign, not the soul searching depth of your musical talent.  After all, you cannot exactly tell me that “Lick it up”, “Detroit rock city”, “Shout it out loud” and “Calling Doctor Love” are staples of the musical library of this or any generation.  Don’t threaten me with something I’ve been hoping for and think it matters...

2 - Piracy to blame for the music industry, get real, old man.  The only reason the music “Industry” is dying is because it HAS to.  It’s an industry mired in the past and cannot seem to figure out that the world has changed a wee bit since Duane Eddy was recording.  The RIAA had alot of chances to make things right, but they clung to the OLD business model.

3 - Your rant about suing every college kid in the world is priceless.  It just really points to how out of touch you and the RIAA are.  You just cannot conceive of the world where the record industry does not own every method and manner of expression in the world.  Wake up, put down the cocaine you can barely afford anymore and join us in the 21st century.

4 - Face it, music is online, now and for ever.  You shouldn’t worry too much about KISS music being stolen, nobody wants it that bad.  But music is going to be stolen as long as it is being overcharged for.  Until you give up your old sales paradigm (album centric) and move to 2008 (song centric) methodology, you’re going to keep losing.  Today’s buyers are not going to buy a CD with 14 songs they don’t want to get the one that they do.  Face it, iTunes and Amazon music will continue to kill you and your kind.

Gene, it’s not the fans, and it’s not a British band that is killing the music industry.  Face it, it’s the RIAA itself that is eating it’s own tail, has been for years and is no digesting it’s own head.  It’s time for it to die.  It’s time to get some people in the industry that can understand where the music has to go.

This one got a great comment that I just loved... brought tears to my eyes...


jack



Whomever...wrote this...against Gene Simmons....you are a no good cock sucking mother fucker...you are not a musician. and you...never will be...and if your job was mowing lawns..and someone came and took your lawns away from you would be pissed off wouldnt you?....

the whole entire music industry has been leveled by interenet jackoffs and limewire type programs.. music artist suffer greatly to people like you and your sheer ignorance.. cds dont sound as good as vinyl anyway....people are getting shortchanged from hell there to...before you write anything else on the interenet...get a reality check ....


Saturday, May 2, 2009 - 01:24 PM








Myself



Wow, thank you for that.  it's cutting, insightful and well... honest.  I like it.
In my own defence, I don't purport to be a musician.  The only thing I can play is a CD.
Really though... vinyl?  Please.
The industry is being killed by it's own ineptitude.  Artists will remain artists until there is no more planet to live on, but the industry that they are being abused by and unwittingly supporting is in it's death throes and thank god for that.  As long as the RIAA controls the marketing and accounting for the recording industry, nobody but the lawyers win.  Not artists, not consumers, nobody!
And lastly, I'll have you know that my music library contains only songs that I own.  I do not pirate anything.  so :p


Friday, May 8, 2009 - 11:52 PM







Bill Castello



Hey Jack...  Did you see, KISS released an album, so piracy must be dead...  Or Gene Simmons is a lying piece of no-talent shit...  Hmmm, which could it be?


Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 07:43 PM

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Equal Time



Well, I offer this in the spirit of “Fair and Balanced reporting”.  Rather than make comments on the blog post about DnD, alot of people opted to send me e-mails about it.  Wherever I have quoted is an actual reply, and I have requested and received permission to post these anonymously.  So, without further ado, on to the replies... Any perceived lack of grammar or sentence structure belongs to the quoted authors.  Some of these are quite a bit to read through!

“you stupid arrogant bastard you present yourself as some all knowing deity of ADnD well your actually not. you proabbly started playing last year and your so happy that a new system is out and you can lord your knowledge of the system over all your players i feel bad for the people who play with you your one of those holyer than thou types gaming with you must be an exercise in listening to you talk about how much more you know than anyone else.  admit it the system sucks and you defend it because you bought it have fun with your skills and powers i’ll be having alot more fun with people who actually like me and enjoy playing a good game that doesnt need updating”

WOW!  Alex, I’d like to buy a comma, perhaps a period...  You’re more than right about the “holier than thou” thing, that’s a character flaw :)  I actually have been playing longer than a year, honest.  I can cite some references if you actually must know...  (ROFLMAO, I have to give my DnD credentials to make a blog post.  I think I have finally made it to the big time.  Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up!!)  But seriously pal, turn on the grammar checker in MS word and write your e-mails in that if you want anyone to take you seriously.  I’ll not defend the system again, I think that’s what started all this.

(ermmm Jump in Tony, Jane, Bob, anybody!!  Defend my DnD honor... ok???)

*****************************

“Bill, while you make some strong points in defense of the system, I still ask why it was necessary in the first place.  I don’t think 3.5 was bad at all.  The timing of the release, so soon after 3.5 makes me question WotC as well.  Unlike some, I’m buying the system soon and will give it a try, but I won’t get it until some of my group does as well, I don’t want to force it on anyone.”

#1 - Bless you for writing in English!

#2 - I agree with everything you said, I think they are milking this cash cow for all it’s worth.  I doubt 3.5 sales will stop next Tuesday, so now publishers have 2 wonderful income streams.  Kinda makes me love America!

******************************

“FUCKTARD?  you stole that from CAD you prick. <[:-)”

Correction, I borrowed with no intent of citing or returning!

******************************

“Only someone who really thinks highly of themselfs could in one article tell all of us what Wotc was thinking about the release, how dumb the rest of the DnD world is and how great the new system is.  I think we all bow at you superior intellect.  Are we worthy to drink from the font of your wisdom some more?  Will you tell us all how to convert our characters. Wotc didn’t knowing they you to fall back on.  Will you illuminate us on how we migrate our existing worlds, npcs and stuff? Please, great one, share with us poor slobs who are not as in touch with the gods.”

Great bootlicking, I’ll bet you’re the night manager!  And yes, I am truly magnificent enough to do all those things in one post.  It comes with the clarity of vision I have about all things, remember I am Holier than Thou :)  As you drink from the trough of my wisdom, I would hope that you recall that it’s a FUCKING BLOG.  You’re not required to read it or agree with it. It is one man’s opinion, and I tried to use enough stereotypes that people would get a good laugh from it.  If you took it seriously, my apologies.  I would think the fact that my name is unknown in publishing circles would make you understand that my opinion has NO MORE validity than yours.  And since you got pissy, I’m not gonna help you convert your characters, even though I know how!!

*******************************

“DUde, I worked hard to manage this store and I don’t think you should jest go dissin it cuz it’s not up to your standards. yeah you may make more than me but i don’t need all that muvh.  I got my buds and we got our games and we have fun, try not to give me your snotty highbrow shit i don’t want your life but dont dis mine.  I put alot of time into second edition and i like it better than anything else, that doesn’t make me a fucktard.  but roll on man have fun.”

Same to you bro!  And if I sounded like I was lumping you into a bad group, I apologize, like I said before, I added some stereotypes to the post to make some folks laugh.  And mega-kudos to you for knowing what a fucktard is!!! CAD 4ever!!

*******************************

And there ends my sample.  Just so you know, I got about 10 e-mails of the first one I quoted, and a smattering of the others.  Of the 10, I picked that one for it’s eloquence and clarity... I shit thee not, that was an easy one to read.

The BEST e-mail came from overseas and was so absolutely cool that I am buying a set of books and mailing them to this kid.  He pulled apart almost the whole post and asked very lucid questions about how the game worked and he ended it with a great story about his playing, his group and what they do.  I might just be sending money to Nigeria, but if I am, so be it, if this e-mail is true, the kid deserves all three books and more!!  (And no, he didn’t ask for anything in the e-mail!)

And the one comment that defended my honor....

Bob



OK, fine.  Since he won't do it, Alex, I will enlighten you that Bill has been gaming for about 27-28 years (a very scary thought IMHO).  Which is not to say he has a clue as to what he's talking about.  But right or wrong, he IS in a position to have a legit opinion.  (He's also not as much of an egomaniac as he comes across as.  He just likes people to think that.  I actually suspect a connection between the length of his rants and how many beers he's had.  I also suspect he has the blog mostly because his wonderful saint of a wife has simply stopped listening...)
love ya Bill!


Thursday, June 19, 2008 - 09:47 PM

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons - 4th Edition!




<sigh>  Do memory and history really fade that fast?  Has it been that long since we all said how fucked up version 3.0 of DnD was?  Well, like it or not, here it comes.  My thoughts about 4th edition.  I have spend a good deal of time today laughing at the corerules group (the 2nd edition die hards.. they’re truly funny in their hatred of anything newer than the fiend folio...) and the 3.5 foamers society on a certain large website that used to be free but is now pay-per-view...

And so you know, I am from the camp that KNEW I was going to hate 4th edition..  I knew it was going to suck.

And suck it does.  It sucks at winning over the crowd that still plays 2nd edition.  It sucks at convincing people it’s not WoW on paper.  It sucks at convincing people to just give it a damn chance.  I blame this suckage on the really brilliant marketing guys at WotC.  I say brilliant, because they came up with the awesome idea of releasing some teasers for the new system in perfect bound format months before the rollout.  This worked on so many levels it hurts.  First, they cost about $2.95 to make and they charged $19.95 or somesuch for them.  BRILLIANT <cut to animated Guinness guys>.  Second, they got free market research to gauge to overall acceptance of the new system ideas before putting the main books in the print process and not having a chance to tweak them as needed.  BRILLIANT <same guys>

What they should have done was spent a bit more time working over the hard core fans.  When you make many changes to a system that has die hard loyalists, you’re screwed as a publisher.  If you update it, you make happy new fans, but you piss off a percentage of the old guys.  Well, 4th edition is no exception and it will piss off some of the die hards.  The min-max players will never go to 4th edition, that’s a given.  They still haven’t left 2nd edition, which, in their eyes, is the only true game.

Trust me when I say that most 2nd edition hold outs generally still live with their parents, have the same job they had at 17 and are now 40 and have the same car as well.  They can quote the exact page and paragraph of the Dragon magazine article detailing the actual shape of a cone shaped spell effect and they sneer at Magic CCG players are lower life forms.  Some have not bathed since the job interview (yes, the one at 17...)  Now, to be fair, some 2nd edition hold outs are there because of their investment in the system or the inherent flexibility of that edition.  I’m not trying to label all of them, just the foamers that go to conventions with 30 year old tee-shirts, taking pride in telling you how they used to game with Gygax and have the first set of Magic cards ever printed.  (In my humble survey, Gary Gygax played D&D regularly with about 9,348 people weekly from 1973 through 1984.)  (BTW wanna see my original brown box set of original rules, baby?? - that line gets me laid at every convention.)

On to 4th edition - Is it dumbed down...?  I don’t think so.  Unless you consider simplifying the system a bit and renaming some things dumb.  Is it a little less flexible?  I think so, right now.  I think the biggest thing that all the nay-sayers are forgetting is how gaming works.  WotC puts out a framework of rules, then they add sourcebooks, campaign settings and more, ad infinatum.  This is how they make money, people, WAKE UP!  WotC is not the enemy, and they are in business to make money too.  Before you label them the evil empire, just remember that they announced next week the OGL for 4th edition will be published.  That means you can RIP-OFF their ideas and make money too.

So, yes, there are going to be quite a few VERY similar wizards and rogues running around for a few months.  Then the deluge of $ettings,  $ourcebooks and tome$ will hit the game stores and all the min-maxers will be happy as pigs in shit.

Does the new Skills and Powers system make sense, You bet it does.  For those 3.5 edition foamers who scream bloody murder about the lack of utility clerics have, I say simply, READ THE FUCKING MANUAL, you puerile moron.  Play through it a time or two.  See how it works.  Then eat your words, happily, with some ranch dip.  The new skills/powers system makes spell-casters even more inviting to play, balance that with every one else's powers and you have a system that really ties the roles together making a party work well.  I know some people hate they way they explain roles in the party, but it’s simply a case of WotC putting a name on something we have all known/done for years.  Just because a particular classes role says “leader” does not mean they intend that character/player to be the party leader.  THINK people, that is not written anywhere.  If there is any dumbing down in these books, it’s the people who read just what they want, quote it to everyone and then feel superior.  (Fucktard is my name for that person)

Is 4th edition perfect?  Nope.

Do I think that my argument about flexibility, dumbing down and $$$ has a huge flaw that you are ready to throw in my face? ... yep!

(What is that flaw, oh gibbering mouther of DnD wisdom?)

Why on earth should I have to PAY for flexibility that should be in the core rules???  I bought three books already, why should I have to pay more to get what i ALREADY have with 2.0 or 3.0 or 3.5? <said in the whiny tone that seems to accompany alot of ADnD players>

My answer - simply, Life in the big city kid.  <Imagine me grabbing my suspenders, puffing up a bit and saying>  You know, when I started DnD, we had 4 classes, YEAH 4, and we liked ‘em.  No specialist mages, no whiny ass paladins, no crappy tree hugging druids.  NOPE. we played, fighters, mages, clerics and thieves.

In truth, WotC did something subtle here, and it will go over most people’s heads.  They designed a VERY open system and put into the core books more of what needs to be there and less crap.  The fluff will come later, and they know it.  That is why the OGL comes out AFTER the release of the books.  They could very easily have released it long ago and had a flood of material available on launch day.  Remember that took a long hard look at 2 scenarios for launch, the one where they are the only player on launch day and get a little extra profit, but there is also a scenario where they share launch day with all the other publishers making material for the system.  Selling sourcebooks and such drive core manual sales, marketing 101.  They didn’t do it because they wanted that month long head start to let the system sink in.  Lest you think it was just them being evil, realize this, they have NO books set for release next month, just sheets and DM screens.  They’re giving the other publishers a chance to get their stuff out there.

So, in closing.  I LOVE 4th EDITION - IT’S COOL!

It’s also not for everyone, so, to all you basement 2nd ed guys - roll on!!!  You haven’t seen your dick in years, no sense looking for it now...  It’s friday night, you’re gaming (and I’m writing about gaming... what a fracking hypocrite) and life is good.  Grab me a PBR and I’m rolling up a 5th level ninja trained multi-classed psionicist/wu-jen master with scale mail and a +2 nunchuk!

And for all the fucktards who haven’t even read it, but post merrily away in public forums, i feel for you, I really do.  Chances are you’re one step ahead of the basement guy in evolution, in other words, you’re the night manager at the 7-11 you worked at when you were 17, and you managed to get a newer used car 4 years ago.  You probably moved out of mom’s place a year ago into that cool 2 roomer downtown by the tracks.  Good on ya!!!  You can come game over here any time... I have some pre-generated 4th edition characters here!!!

To the rest of the free thinking world, come on over.  We’ll play a rousing game or two, have some fun and enjoy the new system.  It’s pretty easy to do if you can read, write and form a full sentence.  Oh, having some imagination will help, since 4th edition will not spoon feed you your every role-playing moment. (yet)

And now... the comment trail...

Mark





Okay!  I'll try it.  You convinced me.  You just don't have to be so angry about it.  I am afraid the veins are going to blow out of your forehead.  I'll give it a try just to save your life. :)


Saturday, June 14, 2008 - 10:00 AM




McLovin It





Fuck yeah! Finally a sensible review of 4E! For the haters out there, stick to 3.5 and forever suck with the cheezers and others who have failed to crawl out of the RPG dark ages. The new system may not be perfect but it is a massive leap forward in a recalcitrant  game design that was complex, open to lack of party cohesion and a snore-fest in combat.

4E is raw and more encouraging of teamwork plus class balancing - how could this be bad? WoTC have balls the size of mountains to take the beloved D&D are bring it kicking and screaming into the modern era. So they've borrowd from MMORPG's? Good! How many people play WoW, by the way? It's the synergy of abilities that makes it work so well in group play. In no way do the new rules effect roleplaying (c'mon, seriously, how can anyone say that rules restrict RP in ANY system?), and personally I like detailed maps and boards to move characters around on in combat.

Suck it up you purist pussies and accept that nothing stays the same forever. Have the courage to try the game and customise it to suit your tastes. Fer christ sakes, it's HIGH FANTASY!! You know, where heroes kick the shit out of things, plan to kick the shit out of things, or get the shit kicked out of them then plan revenge on the things that kicked the shit out of them first. Sometimes you get treasure, maybe score some hot elf ass (male or female depending on your persuasion) and definitely hang out in taverns.

What more do you want?


Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - 11:45 PM





alias





lol, what? Is it possible that some people just like an older edition of a game? I guess you did say that there are people like that, so as one of them I wanna chime in. I'm actually in my early 20s, and I used to go the library (got ourselves a private room) and game with my buddies with 2nd Edition when I was like 12.

2nd remains my favourite but you know what? That's actually mostly because of the wide mix of different settings. Planescape, Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Birthright, and even goddamn Mystara. I'm a settings whore. I liked 3rd Edition alright as well, even though I never actually played it, I kept up with some of the books and have a few friends who used it. I liked how it updated some things (wizards can now HOLD swords) while keeping a lot of the flavour, mythology and cosmology intact, even if they did gut Planescape.

I tried 4th Edition a few weeks ago and it just doesn't seem to have as much personality to me. It's not the rules changes that turned me off really (although I didn't like certain things, like marking)  it's what I saw as an almost complete removal of the old school flavour that I liked. It's not a big deal to me though, I still have my books and I can look at them and play a game set in Greyhawk or Sigil or Taladas anytime I want to.

And hey, I like new editions of many RPGs myself. I liked the Rifts Ultimate Edition (even if it was not really a new edition, more like D&D 3.5) I like the new(er? is it still being supported?) Pendragon much more than the old one. In fact the only other game where I completely do not like the new edition is White Wolf's WoD, and that's also for flavour/setting reasons.

Enjoy 4th Edition, I'm glad you do, and you doing it doesn't spoil my fun.


Monday, July 7, 2008 - 11:52 AM






Bill Castello



Alias

It's a free world, keep playing 1.0, 2.0, whatever you like :)  Enjoy, just keep playing.  Just remember that with DnD 4th Edition, we're going back to the role-playing aspect that the very first edition was famous for.  My only beef on 2nd edition is the huge playground for the min-maxers it provides.  That's also where 3.5 was heading, even though when it first came out it tried to do away with that.

Keep playing, have fun, and remember my opinion matters to NOBODY but me :)


Saturday, July 19, 2008 - 09:40 PM




Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert, too young to go!





Wow, Tim Russert.  All those years of “meet the press”.

I’m truly at a loss, as I’m sure his friends, family and colleagues are.  A real journalist, reporter and a true example of the 4th estate.

As some of you know, I don’t hold many members of the press these days in high esteem.  I have a bad habit of holding them up to the light of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, to which they pale greatly.  Mr. Russert didn’t.  He knew when to ask the hard questions, when to back off a bit and he moderated Meet the Press with alot of style over the years.  Anyone who can do that is pretty damn talented.

Godspeed to you, and blessings and prayers to your family, friends and colleagues.

Some snippets from around the web...

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown ordered that all flags on city property be lowered immediately to half-staff in Russert's honor.

Russert was born May 7, 1950, in Buffalo, New York. His parents were Timothy John Russert Sr., or "Big Russ," a newspaper truck driver and sanitation worker, and Elizabeth Russert.

Before joining NBC, Russert served as press secretary for former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and as chief of staff to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

During his 17-year run as the host of "Meet the Press," the longest of any host in the show's 60-year history, Russert earned the respect and admiration of many journalists and politicians.

He was also the recipient of numerous awards for his work, including an Emmy in 2005 for his coverage of the funeral of President Ronald Reagan.

"I just loved the guy. He had this enthusiasm about all of the things that life brings to you," said James Carville, who often attended Washington National games with Russert. "My wife and I are in a complete state of utter shock."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

F-22, The Death Knell for my Air Force.



Please understand, I love the USAF.  I retired after 25 years of service with the USAF, and I have almost no regrets about my service, in any circumstance.  My true regret is that my Air Force is dead, it will not come back, the USAF no longer deserves to be a separate service and it’s filled with pansies who run around in officer’s clothing.

To prove my point, you have to go back to WWII.  I know, these days that is anathema to USAF officers.  They are taught to look forward, carefully, inside the box and with a careful grasp of the risks involved.

Before WWII, President Roosevelt selected Gen. Marshall to be the boss of the US Military machine.  That day, we won WWII.  I know, it hadn’t been declared yet, but we won.  Marshall cleaned house, ridding the military of the hidebound officers that ran the military and pulled in guys that understood the next war would be won by military machines, supporting the doughboys in the field.  The tank, the airplane, the carrier and the submarine would rule the world, not the trench and machine gun.  Marshall knew that peacetime leaders make shitty wartime leaders.  He hired Bradley, Eisenhower, Patton, Hap Arnold, Stillwell, Nimitz and other guys that could do the job, alot of them junior to other guys...

Now, we spin the way-back machine forward to this day and age.  The USAF has forgotten the lessons of the past.  You know, the ones that made us a separate service...  Close Air Support....

Iron bombs falling on the enemies head... (Your knee in the enemies chest, knife at his throat...)

Yes, SAC was a huge factor in the development of the USAF and the end of the cold war.  Problem is, we won.

Guess what, the fighter guys made SAC go away, along with research and development.  Now we have the F-22, the biggest waste of money in US History.  NEWSFLASH... if the bad guys nail ONE of these $500 MILLION dollar abortions with a $25 million SAM, THEY WIN.  Yes, they are cooler than sliced bread, but guess what, in virtually any next war scenario, they are USELESS.  But fighter guys promote fighter guys.  Transporters, tankers and the bomb droppers are all second fiddle to guys who pay more attention to risk management and accident avoidance than to innovation, leadership and a will to get things done.

Risk aversion, management and avoidance is now the benchmark by which officers are promoted.  There is a feeling in the USAF that good officers can actually prevent accidents.  Enlisted people are sent to risk management classes while officers are taught risk management as a leadership methodology.

Chuck Horner must be sick to his stomach - WHO DARES, WINS!!!!!!!

Not in this USAF, today we promote the guy who has no DUI’s in his squadron and no accidents.  We don’t avoid unnecessary risk anymore, we avoid all risk.  People die in the war business, get over it.  The same risk managers managed to fly a loaded B-52 across the country with some very hot cargo.  The pendulum didn’t stop there either.  In fact, it cost the SECAF and COS USAF their jobs.  They were risk managers who failed.  (Pansies)

Without the primary purpose of the USAF, our leaders are not forced to think outside the box.  They’re stuck so far in it that they can’t see the sides.  We write mission statements on every wall, but we don’t grasp what the hell the primary goal of war-fighters must be, victory over ANY enemy.  USAF guys die in war today while doing army type jobs, why?  Because we forgot that our mission is to SUPPORT the guy on the ground, taking the territory, house by house if need be.  How does the vaunted F-22 and CV-22 help that effort?  (Hint, they don’t)

What is the primary purpose of the USAF?  Support, wether you call it the air and space force or not, no risk manager flying at 41,000 feet takes ground.  The 21 year old PFC on the ground takes ground and holds it.

Consider the A-10 and the F-22.  The A-10 has a purpose, the F-22 has a goal.  The A-10 supports the ground pounders in every way imaginable.  The F-22 is the best air superiority fighter EVER.  Too bad that killing the enemy 1 at a time in the air while they push their human waves into Seoul, or unify the USSR means WE LOSE.  God help us if Putin or the Chinese ever get fiesty, we will lose.  We have forgotten how to support the soldier on the ground.  Add to that, we will never promote the guy that suggests we try to remember it.  We retire the H-53 so we can make room for the CV-22, a wonderful hybrid that does nothing well, and everything slowly.

My USAF is stuck on gadgets and budgets.  The day we told the army they couldn’t have fixed-wing ground support aircraft of their own is the day we lost the right to be our own service.

I suppose it’s fair that the USAF banked it’s future on the acquisition of 600 F-22s and now has to make do with 170 of them.  Yes, that decision is going to cost the blue suiters everything.  While I feel for the enlisted guys and junior officers, I think it’s only fair for the twaddling senior officers who cared more for their promotions than the good of the USAF (Yes, that means you, Col Stein.)

Now where are you and where is the USAF.  You’re a trivial memory and the USAF is worse for your service, self serving as it was.

We had a slim chance with Gen. Dugan,  a real man in a blue suit, but we instead opted for McPeak.  A vegetarian pansy who couldn’t be in the same room with Chuck Horner lest his privates shrink to where he couldn’t find them again.  McPeak’s great contribution to the USAF,  V-neck tee shirts and the “Year of training” that took 10 years to recover from.  If you ever read this, General, may you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome for the rest of your life for not having the balls to LEAD.

If any USAF officer reads this, please learn one thing.  Leadership is not promotion, it’s putting your ass on the line when it counts and STAYING there.  Command, don’t manage.  Lead, don’t mitigate risk.

Sooner or later, my beloved USAF will go back to green suits, and they deserve it for not having guts.  Hap Arnold proved we could do it, McPeak and his ilk proved we didn’t know what to do once we had it.

It’s kind of sad, but at least when we get re-absorbed into the Army, we won’t have to keep looking for some Air force warcry that none of our pansy ass leaders can seem to settle on.  We don’t have traditions because we don’t deserve them.  Gen Arnold would be in tears if he could see what we have done with his legacy.  I, for one, would like to apologize to Generals Arnold, Spaatz, and Eaker.  They had a dream, realized it, and thank GOD they don’t have to see it washed away by senior leaders who are watching the stock market more than the National Intelligence Reports and getting us ready for the next one.

HooooAH! (Learn it, blue suiters... and find a good tailor.  Green will be in soon.)

Friday, June 6, 2008

D + 23360, God Bless the Vets!


It has been 64 years since thousands upon thousand of American, British and Canadian soldiers stormed ashore, or jumped from aircraft to begin the liberation of Europe from Fascist domination.  (Oh, where are they now, when we need them here...)  Casualties for the campaign on both sides were high;

  • Germany 30,000 killed, 80,000 wounded, 210,000 missing

  • USA 29,000 killed, 106,000 wounded/missing

  • UK 11,000 killed, 54,000 wounded/missing

  • Canada 5,000 killed, 13,000 missing/wounded


Of course, Eisenhower led the whole thing, got 5 stars, headed NATO and was elected president.  Not bad for a lifetime.  Check out this quote...
On January 17, 1961, Eisenhower gave his final televised Address to the Nation from the Oval Office.  In his farewell speech to the nation, Eisenhower raised the issue of the Cold War and role of the U.S. armed forces. He described the Cold War saying: "We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method..." and warned about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals and continued with a warning that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Do you think he saw the Bush administration coming?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ding, Dong, the witch is dead!




The picture says it all ;)

One of the greatest chokes in the political history of the world.  How can you manage to go from the presumptive nominee for the guaranteed presidency of the U.S. of A. to an also-ran who is in debt up to her ass.  Billy boy better get to writing some new books and make some CA$H fast!!!

Maybe they can build a house for habitat for humanity and get a commercial deal?
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Taking a cue from the George Bush playbook -- the pop-up version, with pictures -- Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign announced at a rally today in Yankton, S.D., that the New York senator is now the official Democratic presidential nominee and that she will launch a pre-emptive general election at "a time and place of my choosing."

"We cannot afford to wait any longer for the American people to cast their ballots," Clinton said to a group of supporters at the Yankton High School gym. "If my opponent won't declare victory, what else will he neglect to do as president? My ambition can't afford to find out the answer to that question."

Dozens of angry, middle-aged, braless women cheered Clinton on while carrying torches and threatening to burn any male within 50 yards, except former Pres. Bill Clinton, who they inexplicably still adore, despite his possessing every quality that strong women find completely offensive and contrary to their feminist sensibilities. Though she does not have -- and will never have -- enough delegates to officially win the nomination, Clinton remained steadfastly oblivious.

"We are going to bring peace and democratic democracy to America," she continued. "The American public will greet us as liberators -- women's liberators!"

Sen. Barack Obama had no comment, but did pull out a note pad with a short list labeled "Barack's VPs?" and crossed one name off.

Clinton capped off her "Beginning of the End of the Beginning of the Campaign" campaign kickoff rally by driving an M1 Abrams battle tank across the Yankton town square and pulling down a 20-foot-high bronze statue of Obama.

<Free-Ass Press Blog>


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hillary wants Obama to die??






Wow...  At first I was almost pulling for her.  Now, I hope it’s her that gets shot at first.

Some people have audacity, some have a sense of entitlement and some are just egomaniacs.  This wench is all three with a generous side helping of evil.  And I do mean evil.

People very rarely “slip” when they talk about someone being assassinated, more especially people who are used to being in the public eye and live and die by the sound bite.  For her to say she didn’t mean anything by talking about Bobby Kennedy is about as convincing as me saying I’m not spoiled.  Career politicians don’t make these blunders, they do it for calculated reasons, either to gauge reactions or to start a discussion.  I’m not sure what her goal here is, but I do believe hysteria comes to mind.

After all, she went from the heir-apparent to the throne to an also ran in 2008.  How she must hate Barack Obama.  What a perfect storm he was, huh Hillary?  The ONLY thing in the entire United States that could interfere with your pre-ordained ascension to the throne would be a black man who is eloquent, intelligent and has a plan.  Now all you can think about is getting him killed so he can’t steal your nomination.

To top it all off, this guy makes your job in Washington pretty untenable as well.  After all, you’ve been campaigning for the top spot for a while now, throwing trash talk at alot of your peers in congress.  Now you have to go back there and be the JUNIOR senator from NY?  Hmmmm.  No more press following you like hound dogs.  I don’t really think the real Queen Dee in washington is going to give you her job either... (News Flash - you’re in the wrong house.)  Do you really think Harry Reid is going to roll over and let you be Majority Leader?  I doubt it.  So now you have to go back and be just another body in a house of 100 people more qualified than you.  And remember, the DNC is not real big on re-trying losers.  Although with Howard Dean in there, anything is possible.

In short.  Get out the race you stupid whore.  You lost, go to home depot, buy some materials, build a bridge and GET OVER IT.  Stop praying that Obama gets killed.  Stop trying to re-write the rules you signed up to (although to do so is in your nature).  Quit crying like a worthless tramp-stamped little girl and get out of our lives and off our TV screens.

You’re old news, bitch, time to start acting like it.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My new iMac!! Yes, I am in the Cult of Steve!!



Well, after working some overtime and getting some “gumint cheez” (aka Bush’s attempt to fix the recession) I went and took the plunge!  I got the top of the line new iMac.

A bit of Geek-bragging;

  • 24 inch screen at 1920 x 1200 resolution

  • 3.06 Ghz intel Core 2 Duo processor

  • NVidia GeForce 8800GS with 512mb memory

  • Built in 802.11n, Bluetooth and Gigabit Ethernet, USB/Firewire ports

  • 4Gb Memory, 320Gb HDD


Damn this thing rocks!  And of course, as soon as I unpacked it from the box, plugged it in, and BLAM, it was running.  No hours of reconfiguring windows.

As usual, I had to name it soon after using it, and it had me a little bewildered for a bit.  Then I saw the jet black reflective Apple logo on the front and it hit me, Indigo.  The name sticks and now Indigo gets along famously with Lippy the Leopard powered MacBook Pro and Maxi, the homebuilt PC.  The only thing that keeps me from being totally happily networked is the fact that Maxi has Vista on it.  Needless to say, that only works when you hold your tongue just right.

I was tempted to upgrade Maxi again, even though it’s still top of the line.   Pam brought a new Intel chip home from the Employee program, and it’s a quad core.  But when I looked at how I was using machines around here lately, I knew it had to be a new Mac.  I was spending all my time on Lippy (The MacBook Pro), even so far as setting up a dock station for it and an external monitor, keyboard and mouse.  I was using it as a desktop.  At that point I knew the future for me was Mac.

Yes, I know, I was a Micro$oft flag waver for years, but Vista changed all that.  Installing the 64 bit edition of Vista Ultimate was the DUMBEST thing I ever did.  I’m still on the cusp of putting XP back on the machine and using a boot manager.  The boys in Redmond really blew it this time and they’re losing market share for it :)  I love it!

No, I don’t think Micro$oft is in danger of falling down, or that Apple will capture enough market share to challenge the windows base any time soon.  I do think that this will spur on Apple development and make more software available.  I just hope that the average Windows developer doesn’t make the change over to the Mac.  Most windows programs are badly written and prone to bugs.  The Mac world doesn’t tolerate things like that (Another nice part of switching).

So, I welcome Indigo to the fold, and she seems to like it here.  Not even a Kernel panic yet, and she is the main workhorse here.  Uptime tells me she has been running for 9 days 13 hours and 55 minutes.  I believe the last reboot was caused by a firmware update too, not a crash.  I do love it so.

The only problem, learning to program i n XCode and Objective C :)  Well, I’m off to work on a new project!  Ciao for now :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The ongoing round table

(OK, this is from an earlier e-mail between Tony and I...)

I still stand by my convictions.  Whoever wins this time is in for a world of hurt.  I do love Hillary's ploy of acting like it's sewn up and offering Obama the VP slot.  How typical that they do that, I truly love it.  And the kicker is, she has always been the smarter one.  I wonder why she wants it now, when 2012 looks sooooo much more promising.

If I was at the RNC, I would let the winner from the 2 of them run unopposed.  Why beat up the war chest when you don't have to?

Of course, there is also always the chance of a republican win?  That would probably serve the Democrats better than a victory in '08.  Let a republocrat take the fall for the economy/war and then clean house. Trouble is, politicians are never that far sighted.

Reminds of Heinlein's starship troopers.  Only let veterans vote.  You can only get the franchise if you have done something to earn it. ??

Poor Hillary, if she wins, she loses the court of public opinion. She'll be endlessly beat up for anything she says/does all because her plumbing is inside.  She's a freaking genius and capable political mind.  Worse yet is Obama, if he wins, he will most likely die in office.  It sickens me to say it, but I fear it with every fiber of my being.  America is not ready for a black president, sad to say.  Too many NASCAR fans.

<sigh>  the waters in the political arena have muddied recently, and there is nought to do but see who can buy more super delegates.  Nice thing about the democrats is that they do their scandalous, back room politics in front of everyone.  I wonder how much money is, right now, changing hands all over the DNC.  The republicans are lucky, we don't have to do that this time.  but if they did, it would all be back room, hush-hush stuff, and nobody would notice mike wallace and his camera crew...

I do love a country where the leadership is up to who ever has the most money.  Perhaps the ultimate expression of capitalism?

(I haven’t posted Tony’s Reply, because I don’t have his permission.... yet :)

Who else, your friendly moderator

I posted that without edit, btw...

Losing Mississippi, a shocker for Hillary.

Geraldine Ferraro - Proving you can be very stupid in several decades worth of news clips.

Can Hillary actually do more to make a mockery of this than she has already?  We all know Ferraro's slip (err comments) were not unguarded, any more than the VP offer was a slip.  But come on, she is starting to sound like a republican who gets caught in a scandal - very shrill and hypocritical.

And all the while, money is being spent on ad buys and superdelegate bartering.... <sigh>   BTW - heard a rumour that Hillary is buying ads at a 15% margin while Obama is getting in at 11%.  Over the course of the campaign, that's HUGE...  Purely unsubstantiated though...

Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 04:33 AM

Paul

The VP "offer" wasn't even a slip. This is one of those cases where my compatriots in the media made a story out of nothing.

The story started like this:
Good Morning America question:
Could we see a Clinton-Obama or Obama ticket?

Hillary's answer:
Anything's possible, but first we have to find out who's going to be on the top of the ticket.

That is what the media has called Hillary offering the VP spot to Barack. All of the successive comment has, likewise, been in response to questions.

My pet peeve is the Obama camp -- only because they currently lead the delegate count -- saying the role the superdelegates should play is simply ratifying the pledged delegate count. Clearly, that is not the role they were intended to have. If they were merely a rubberstamp, why bother having them at all? The pledged delegates could decide it on their own. No, the superdelegates were created as a check for just such an instance as what we see this year.

Remember, the superdelegates are elected officials and party leaders, who would bear the brunt of local efforts across the country to get out the Democratic vote in November. Giving them a voice at the convention safeguards against them having to stump half-heartedly for a candidate they don't really like who had only a small margin of victory in the primary process.

By the way, what's up with these caucuses? A handful of people gathering in someone's living room gets to decide for tens of thousands of voters who their state will support at the convention? And while the caucuses may be a quaint form of grass roots democracy, we pick the eventual winner in an actual election, not caucuses. Using caucuses to choose a nominee makes about as much sense as using the results of batting practice to determine which teams make the playoffs.

In a similar vein, it's interesting to note that Clinton still leads Obama in the number of electoral votes represented by the states she has won, and electoral votes are the only stat that will count come November (or December or January, whenever it is that the College gets together).

Glad I'm not a Democrat (though I technically am for the next 90 days because I voted in their primary).

OK, end of rant. That felt good.
Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 05:42 AM

Friday, March 14, 2008

Are you smarter than a 5th Grader?



Wow.  Every now and then I catch this show on TV.  It amazes me.  Last night a Magna Cum Laude school teacher didn’t know that the Danube river was on the continent of Europe.

O M F G

Is all I can really say.  Are people today really that ignorant?  Have the cell phone owning, texting generation really taken over the schools?  Are kids really being taught like this?  I could understand if they were getting all the contestants from Mississippi and New Mexico, but they're not.  This girl was a MAGNA CUM LAUDE graduate of her college and had trouble with every question, real toughies like “how many centimeters are in 3.5 meters?”  I do not blame her for her ignorance, mind you.  It was her wedding day and she just may have had other things on her mind, like her tats showing, both ankle and back.  Yep, her tramp stamps were in full view.  And get this, her husband was ALSO a teacher and didn’t know the meter/centimeter question.  How cool is that?

Did you know they have NEVER given away the grand prize on that show?  The $1 Million prize, for answering 11 5th grade questions has NEVER been given away!!!  How brilliant are that show’s producers?  God bless ‘em!  11 questions, 1 million bucks! WOW.

Am I saying I could do it?  NOPE!  I got one wrong yesterday (Who invented Penicillin?  I forgot about Fleming and for some odd reason thought it was Jonas Salk?)  I bet I would have looked funny standing there all smug and been called wrong...

Is the show a dumbed down Jeopardy?... you bet it is.  It’s Jeopardy for the text message crowd.  The ones too ignorant to know better and too stupid to do anything about it.  I have never minded ignorance, but when you are and you know it, and do nothing, you cross the line into the realm of the stupid... and then I despise you.

Here is some fun... a quick quiz for you 5th grade graduates out there... be honest, how did you do?  And then there is the Salina, Kansas 8th grade test hoax that I post here. That really is not an 8th grade test, it is a test developed for the teachers to make sure they knew what they were doing.  Just as the internet seems to screw everything around, this is no different.  For years this has circulated trying to make us all feel dumb.

All I can say is I thank god I was educated when and where I was.  A reason I love living in New Mexico is the feeling of superiority I get when I walk around...  after all, we’re 50th in education, and it pervades every part of our existence here.

Blu-Ray - Part deux

I know most people hate my Blu-ray ranting... but I cannot help it.



Golly gosh, guess what, without competition, blu-ray prices have gone up???  Who would have thunk it?

Unfortunately you would hope that with Sony being able to sell more Blu-Ray players, they could up production and lower price points for consumers. But unfortunately for us, Sony would rather gouge it's customers... They have been doing it for decades, so why not now?  Especially seeing that Sony gets licensing fees from studios on every title sold and not to mention that they are themselves a major movie studio.

Analysts says consumers did not end format war.



“As we poked and prodded through the ups and downs of the format war, we noticed a recurring theme -- HD DVD seemed to have things going in its favor on more than one occasion. Consumers adored the low priced hardware, studios were coming on board and Sony's PlayStation 3 (along with all the other Blu-ray players) was priced extraordinarily high. Not to mention Sony's absolutely awful track record with formats. In a recent interview with ABI Principal Analyst Steve Wilson, BetaNews found that he believed that the outcome of the format war wouldn't necessarily benefit the consumer. Besides being more expensive and less developed, some Blu-ray players have had quite the time performing as advertised. According to ABI, "it wasn't customers' likes or dislikes that powered the fatal blow in the format war, it was Warner Bros.' decision to switch allegiance to Blu-ray, along with subsequent moves to dump HD DVD by major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Netflix and Blockbuster." Frankly, we can't argue with that one iota.” - Quoted from EngadgetHD

For me? I'll  be sticking with plain old DVD. As much as we all like the way Blu-Ray titles look, the  cost of the players and not to mention the stupid costs for media compared to DVD is just way too high.  The early adopters, in this case, are going to get royally screwed by a company (Sony) that just got raped by Micro$oft and they’re looking to make you their prison bitch!


Thursday, March 6, 2008

See ya' round, Brett Favre



Wow, it is the end of an era.

There are so many things that come to mind when you think of Brett Favre...

  1. He is the classiest football player I have ever heard of.  Nobody, on the field or off, speaks ill of him.  Every player in the league seems to respect him.

  2. He is a real role model (yes, even with his addiction problem).  He played the game for what it meant to win.  He wanted to give his best whenever he stepped onto the field, and it showed.

  3. How in the hell do you get FARV when it should be pronounced FAVER???  I mean, I can SEE where the R is... it’s AFTER the V.  maybe I shud hav gon to a gooder skool.

  4. NEWS FLASH - DATELINE 2013 - BRETT FAVRE ENSHRINED IN HALL OF FAME ON FIRST VOTE - DUH!!!!!

  5. No matter who they played, or when, you knew watching number 4 was going to be enjoyable.  I do think, however, that the legacy of Brett Favre will live on more in the football follies reels that they have compiled over the years.  His banter with other players, other team players, coaches and refs are the stuff that legends are made from.  He’s hilarious.  He might have a future in comedy?

  6. Manning and Brady may have the spotlight now, but it’s longevity that matters.  They’ll be remembered for the rings and the seasons, Favre will be remembered as a “Player of the game of football”

  7. I think it was a great call to walk out on top of his game.  He had a GREAT year and it will make his leaving that much more memorable.  Had he left last year, people might have said, “Well he stayed past his useful life”.  Now, they can say he left on top of the game of football - where he belongs, with the legends!


See ya round, Brett.  Take care and thanks for 17 years of sharing a part of your life with us non professional athletes.  Good on ya!

Friday, February 29, 2008

And now, for something completely hateful???



Don't ask me where this came from...  it just finergled into my head.




Along with countless (millions?) conservatives, I do not claim the current buffoon sitting in the office of the President of the United States as the representative of my party.  In fact, I dearly hope to god that he and his moral-minority (without even the formality of a made-up litmus test that even they couldn't pass) are an aberration on the party rather than the wave of the future.  (As a Reagan Republican, I find myself a moderate democrat now, not a republican, it tears me up to see what one uneducated man can do to an entire party...)

That being said, I do not hate him, only the things he has done.  It’s the same way I don’t hate a puppy for shitting on the floor, until they are taught not to.  I’m just not sure this guy could be taught how to not fuck everything up?  I don't hate Dick Cheney either, in fact, I respect him for being able to either a) be the puppet master or b) be the guy who is keeping the government running while the bull lays waste to the china shop.

In recent memory, from the republican view, the last time I saw such vitriol landing at the feet of a President was when Bill and his traveling road show were in the office.  Please understand,  I think Bill Clinton will ride through history as a great president who had some bad advice now and then and a few personal troubles.  But of course, as the out-of-power party at the time, I heaped as much scorn and vehement disgust at him as I could.  I mean, really, blowjobs in the oval office?  Why couldn’t he have had a little decorum... or at least silence the bitch like a real man (money people... money...  Sicko’s).

As I see the shoe change feet, the democrats now smell the blood in the water and are able to (rightfully) throw much hatred at the current office-holders.  I am reminded of the relief I felt as Clinton started his last year in office.  Trouble is, I don't ever recall this being the case until the Clinton/BabyBush era.  This hatred, scorn and disrespect seems, at least to me, to be relatively recent.

Question - Are we, as a nation, so polarized now that every time a president is elected, the other side will become more and more hateful?

I truly feel bad for Obama, as much as I like and respect the man.  He looks to be the winner now, and will most likely sweep McCain under the rug in a Reagan-esque landslide.  His problem will be a totally tanked economy and a war he cannot win to deal with.  Unfortunately, he’ll be branded with both and he might be a Carter/Bush Sr. and just give up on a second term.

I just hope if 5 years, we aren’t looking forward, with a nation half hateful and half mirthful as the impending inauguration approaches.  Are we that far apart?








9 Comments





Tony



As much as I abhor what W. et al have done, I don’t hate them; at least I try not to hate them. I continuously remind myself that had I lived the life of someone else, I could never say with any certainty that I would have made any different choices than they would have. I would ask on a side note; however, are there any world figures of present or past that you do hate, for example, Osama bin Laden or Adolph Hitler?
The Christian right has been a steadily and effectively growing demographic in the Republican Party since Reagan came to office. In fact, he ushered much of that initial influence into the party. They wrested control from big money, and built a remarkable grass roots political base after getting trounced from backing Robertson as a an independent presidential candidate in ’88. What we are seeing now is big money taking the party back.

I’m not a democrat. I don’t have a great deal of love for Clinton either, although the image of him getting a blowjob in the oval office while talking on the phone to Newt Gingrich will always bring a smile to my face (btw, I’m alone as I type this, I assure you.) I do believe that the two parties have abandoned everyone without the money to keep them in office (read: virtually everyone.)

To my mind, This hatred and scorn comes from a core feeling of have lost control of our lives, dehumanizing those with opposing viewpoints, and something I refer to as Identity, which I’ll elaborate in a second post. Take the events and names off of politics, speak hypothetically about them, and nearly everyone will acknowledge that politicians lie as a matter of course, money keeps them in office, and their vote doesn’t account for much.
This hatred and scorn is a smoldering fire, fanned certainly by presidential elections, but there all the time.

Don’t write McCain off just yet. As I recently heard mentioned on the air, people aren’t voting for a black president just yet, only the chance to vote for one. Once the nominees are in place, a 71-year-old white man may be all the change the voting public may need.

PS. Thanks for the blog. I miss these discussions.



Friday, February 29, 2008 - 03:46 AM







Tony



Identity in context with your post, “and now for something completely hateful…”

There is a corollary to this from the antebellum south. The cotton economy of the time benefited a small minority of wealthy white families. Most of the southern population was quite poor. The majority of the white population; however, vociferously defended this way of life. Why would so many people suffering under such a society defend it? Because no matter what, no matter how poor they were, no matter how miserable or hopeless their lives were they could still say that at least they weren’t slaves. Being white meant something special, and for the above mentioned, it was probably all they had.

Cut to today. People are losing control of their lives; their economic prospects get bleaker every year like some fatal disease. The American dream as we are presented with it has become at best an anachronism. But, however bad our lives may be, however hopeless they may seem, however out of control they may have become, we’re still Americans. We’re still part of something that we were brought up to believe is the greatest thing this planet has ever seen since sliced bread. For many, it is the last positive thing to hold on to, the last thing from which dreams of a better life may come.

This makes criticizing America or its institutions, the oval office or military in particular, not a critique of those institutions per se, but rather an attack on one’s core identity. This leads, for example, to accusations of betraying the country for criticizing the war or the president in time of war. When I say the war is wrong and we should get out of there, I’m not criticizing the war, I’m attacking you (“I” and “you” being hypothetical subjects and objects.) In many ways, Identity has co-opted patriotism.
The only way out of this mindset in the short term that I can see is to strip us down to our most fundamental non-negotiable beliefs. Once we do that, we will find out that we have more in common, re-establish ourselves as human in the eyes of each other: removing the dehumanizing masks of despised labels. Then we can slowly layer back on our secondary, tertiary beliefs and so on, and find out where our differences truly spring from, and, more often than not, how those differences represent different paths to getting to the same place.

This solution is a cultural one, not a political one.



Friday, February 29, 2008 - 04:24 AM







Tony



...speaking of scorn. You have pictures of W. and Obama straight out of their press packets and Clinton's straight out of the National Enquirer. What's that about?


Sunday, March 2, 2008 - 09:27 PM







Tony's Straight Man



Ok,ok, you got me.  Hillary frightens me on several levels.  Also, if we're going to change, let's change.  She is just more of the same old money and owed favors as the last 4-5 Oval Officers.  Methinks Obama might be a fun change... if he can survive/outlast the Bush breakdown.

And yes, you're right, these discussions are sadly missed.  I think you and the whole gang should move to New Mexico.  The weather is better here :)



Sunday, March 2, 2008 - 09:44 PM







Tony



Alright…

Any other thoughts on the above blather?



Monday, March 3, 2008 - 12:06 PM







Bob



Can any of that happen under the existing power monolith that is capitalism?
Which is, I suppose, partly what Tony is saying.

tangential notes:
-A co-worker and I were discussing Clinton and I was chagrined to say that I thought she would be in a very different place right now if she did not have the public speaking voice she does.

-Don't feel bad Bill.  In an interview this morning on CPR, a news editor from RI kept referring to to Senator Obama, Senator McCain, and Mrs. Clinton.  I wondered if he even knew he was doing it.

-Tony, expanding on your point about Obama, if he is elected, (and I hate even putting this in print, but since nobody reads Bill's blog anyway ;)...), I just hope down to my marrow that the secret service can keep him safe for 4 years.

-The weather is different in NM.  Not better.  And 5 years from now, we should still have some water left in CT.  Pffffftttthhhhhtttttt!!!!  Now excuse me whilst I wipe the spit off my monitor.

-None of this will matter anyway when this planet shakes us off like the painful, disease ridden, infestation of fleas that we are.

-Can we please find a way to get together sometime?



Monday, March 3, 2008 - 08:23 PM







Tony



To be honest, I no longer consider lasting solutions complete-able in my lifetime. The cultural solution I have mentioned takes place on a one-on-one basis (I inititally typed ‘none-on-one.’ How’s that for a Freudian slip.). Btw, I’ve thus far only gotten one person with significantly different views to engage in that exercise. He was a bail enforcement officer/ Army Reservist (a.k.a. bounty hunter with a hobby.) It was over the Iraq war, and even then we didn’t get down to our most basics. I’ve also had little joy with the left.

Can any of that happen under the existing power monolith that is capitalism?

Unlikely, and it’s those who’ve evolved to the top of that food chain that will make sure. We (I) talk about how many of the present-day systems have failed. This is not entirely true. For a very small minority, these systems work quite well and this minority has accumulated over 90% of the assets as its reward. Are people who’ve accumulated so much power and wealth the type who would simply let it go? Even if the electorate were to suddenly stand up and demand from it’s politicians what is truly needed, would those behind the throne simply slap their foreheads and say, “Oh my. What ever have we been doing all this time. Oops, I guess you’ve caught us?”
No.
Ironically, it’s activist circles to whom I’ve mostly posed this question, and most people have never even considered it, well enough posed a solution.
Would Clinton or Obama live through one term? Both are targets for those who cannot live with the prospect of a black or a female president. The Secret Service has been hemorrhaging since the expansion of the air marshal program; they pay a lot better. If either became the sort of president I would actually vote for, someone on the inside would off them. But, as Aragorn often proclaims, there is always hope.
The first time I went to NM, there was snow on the cacti, which really messed with my visual sensibilities. Btw Bob, CT has had how many stage-three drought emergencies in the last eight years? You may want to carefully collect that spit and put it an airtight container.
My image of the earth clearing up its flea problem involves a tanning salon.
I’ve an idea about getting together. Why don’t we meet someplace in the middle. Danbury is in between Danielson and New Mexico, so…problem solved.



Tuesday, March 4, 2008 - 01:03 AM







liberal lawyer



Workers of the world unite! For you have nothing to lose but your chains


Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - 12:45 PM







Tony



Dear Liberal Lawyer,
What do you think of today's US unions?


Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - 08:42 PM




Sunday, February 24, 2008

How Sony got slapped by Micro$oft... and Nintendo... all for Blu-Ray

Balmer gloats and drinks the Champagne of sweet victory...

"Ohhhh, we so sowwy abowt PS3" Chairman apologizes for PS3 recalls...

I can’t believe the war is finally over.  Sony wins!!!  Blu-Ray is the new heavyweight CHAMPEEEEN of the Wooooorrrrrrrrlllllllldddddd.

WRONG!!!!!

You know who won this fight?   really?  MICROSOFT!!!

And everyone who bought a Blu-Ray disk, player or sticker helped them do it.  The best part is, they don’t even realize how they were duped, manipulated and used so that MS could pump up the XBox 360 and demolish the PS3.  Sorry, legion of  Sony fans.  Even as you bought your Blu-Ray PS3s you were lining the coffers of Micro$oft.  Well done!

Lets forget the fact that the format of HD-DVD was better.  Blu-Ray has ALOT going for it, and it won the war because it was the better technology.  Since the release of the two specs, the only thing HD-DVD had going for it was it’s cheaper format and easier structure.  In every other major category, Blu-Ray kicked it’s ass.  So why did it take over 2 years of constant fighting to bury HD-DVD?

Well, set your way back machine to when both companies were announcing the new 3G video game machines.... Xbox 360 and PS3.  MS knew it needed to do something incredible to make a dent in Sony’s market domination with the PS2.  Then Sony offered them the greatest gift the business world has ever seen.  They trumpeted how the PS3 would have and be a Blu-Ray player.  Instantly, Balmer and Gates were hugging and crying in their champagne brunch!

They knew they would go with the abortive format from Philips called HD-DVD.  They knew they could leverage a format war, that Sony would spend BIG money on Blu-ray, all the while, developing the XBox 360 download service and getting a LEGION of fanbois to embrace the digital delivery method.  (Can you say, Apple TV, NetFlix, TiVo etc)

And just like the dupes they were, Sony POURED money into Blu-Ray, spent HUGE money to woo the major studios and bought off major game developers all in a vain attempt to win a format war that they had won at the starting gate.   And the side effect of all this?  MS was able to market the 360 way ahead of Sony, they had great games at the rollout, all while Sony and it’s developers tried desperately to get killer games onto the system.  (Meanwhile Nintendo walks in and slaps both of them, but that’s another story.)  As Sony poured money into Blu-Ray, they had to slight something, and it was game development.  Sony even went so far as to buy the Blu-Ray equipment for some smaller game developers.  What a bonus if you’re a small developer.
“My favorite iteration of the HD DVD campaign was the negative push whereby all you heard was how Blu-ray disks would scratch easily and be ruined by a single thumbprint, or how they are hard to manufacture, and on and on. This was an orchestrated attack and none of it was true.”, John C. Dvorak

So here’s the scoop...

  1. MS never intended to back HD-DVD

  2. Blu-Ray was better from day 1

  3. Sony poured capital into backing/hyping Blu-ray

  4. MS didn’t spend a dime on HD-DVD

  5. 360 rolls out with network that works and people get behind digital delivery model for stuff

  6. PS3 rolls out with lousy games, network flaws and some very Un-Sony-like problems

  7. MS “loses” the fight and Sony wonders why it cost them so damn much to win

  8. Phillips/MS/HD-DVD people all giggle and watch the latest Blu-Ray copy of “The Office”


It truly has been fun to watch this fight.  I’m kind of proud of Steve Balmer, he managed to win a fight like this without buying another competitor.  In fact, he showed more style than Bill Gates.

Oh, and congratulations to all you PS3 / Blu-Ray buyers.  You’ve got some great hardware there... <snicker>  But just think... 2008 is going to be the year of the PS3.  (Unless of course, they roll out some more clunker games...)