[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Monday, 2017-11-06

Vote

Filed under: Politics — bblackmoor @ 11:20

This is what happens when decent people do not vote.

This is what happens when decent people do not vote. Vote.

Friday, 2017-11-03

The Battle Of Vukovar

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 13:52

We visited Vukovar, and nearby towns, a few weeks ago. Vukovar was the first major European town to be entirely destroyed since the Second World War. When Vukovar fell on November 18, 1991, several hundred soldiers and civilians were massacred. This is what happens when people hang onto ancient grudges, and turn a blind eye to the injustices of the here and now.

We should learn from history, not wallow in it.

Vukovar water tower Comments Off on The Battle Of Vukovar

Thursday, 2017-11-02

Shadow unmasked

Filed under: Gaming — bblackmoor @ 16:15

Three years ago today, the cat finally escaped the bag: my “halfling” rogue character got outed as a human! I got to use every dodge and half-truth I had thought of before the whole truth finally came out. I had a lot of fun, and the other PCs were gobsmacked that Shadow the fifty-ish male halfling had been a tween-age female human the whole time I had been playing “him” (about a year and a half)….

Shadow (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn)

We were in the very first town in the entire history of the campaign that had even a single halfling in residence. The dwarf barbarian, Elifonsah, who had been suspicious of my character for a while for reasons he could not quite articulate (other than Shadow (my character) “seemed to be hiding something” — which is true), could not help but notice that Shadow (at 4′ 6″) was a good foot and a half taller than any halflings we see.

Shadow: “I’m tall. So? Focus on the mission.”

Elifonsah: “You’re a giant. You’re practically as tall as I am.”

Shadow: “It was that boon that the celestial gave us. I told you it made me taller.” (In fact, the boon did increase Shadow’s Strength by 2, to 12. Each of the party members got a +2 to a random stat. Elifonsah got +2 Intelligence.)

Elifonsah: “Uh huh.”

Later, when we split up to gather information about the mystery that brought us to this town, Elifonsah took this as an opportunity to find and question the local halflings on how one could tell a halfling from a non-halfling, other than by height. He learned that halflings (in this game) have somewhat elongated heads (when compared to humans), and slightly pointed ears. Shadow, of course, wears a hood almost 24 hours a day.

When the group met up again, Elifonsah grabbed Shadow’s hood and pulled it back, revealing a ponytail of hair on a human-shaped head that had round, human-like ears.

Elifonsah: “Ah, ha!” he shouted triumphantly. “YOU ARE NO HALFLING!”

Shadow: (shrug) “Yeah, and? I never said I was a halfling. What are you even talking about?”

Elifonsah: (blinks) “… Wait. What? No! You said… I am sure we… ”

Elifonsah: (to Coenrad, the human sorcerer) “We knew he was a halfling, right? He TOLD us he was a halfling, right?”

Coenred: (puzzled) “Well, I thought he was a halfling… I.. thought he said that. Didn’t he say that?”

Elifonsah: (to Shadow) “You said you were a halfling!”

Shadow: (calmly ) “No, I didn’t. Why would I say that? Have you been drinking?” (It is well known that Elifonsah is a drunk.)

Elifonsah: “No! Yes! That doesn’t matter! You’re not a halfling!”

Shadow: “Let’s say I’m not a halfling. So what? What difference does it make?”

Elifonsah: “Then what are you!”

Shadow: (indignant) “What am I? What are you?”

Elifonsah: “What am I? I’m a dwarf!”

Shadow: (satisfied) “Well okay then.”

Elifonsah: “What? No! What are you!”

Shadow: (indignant) “What am I? What are you?”

Elifonsah: “What am I? I’m a dwarf!”

Shadow: (satisfied) “Well okay then.”

Elifonsah: “STOP THAT!”

Shadow: “Stop what?”

Elifonsah: “You’re messing with my head!”

Shadow: “I really don’t think so.”

Elifonsah: (to Coenred) “He’s trying to confuse us!”

Coenred: “I think it’s working.”

Elifonsah: (to Shadow) “You’re no halfling. I want to know what you are.”

Shadow: (exasperated sigh) “What if I was a half-halfling? A — what would that be? Quarterling? — What if I was a quarterling? Would it matter?”

Elifonsah: “I’ve never heard of a half-halfling!”

Shadow: “Delgoro is a half-orc. Leannan is a half-elf. Why not a half-halfling?”

Elifonsah: (to Coenred) “Are there half-halflings? Is that a thing?”

Coenred: “I, uh… I really don’t know. I’ve never met one.”

Shadow: “You never met a halfling before you met me, either.”

Elifonsah: “YOU ARE NO HALFLING!”

Shadow: “I never said I was. I just said you hadn’t met one.”

Elifonsah: (to Shadow’s best friend Nigel, the human cleric in his fifties, who joined the group with Shadow a year and a half ago) “Did he say he was a halfling, or not?”

Nigel: “I’m… not… sure.”

Elifonsah: (to Shadow) “I want to know what you are. How can we trust you? You’re keeping secrets!”

Shadow: “Oh, you don’t have secrets? Really?”

Elifonsah: “That’s not the point! You’ve been lying to us!”

Shadow: (offended) “I have never lied to you.” (This is a lie.)

Elifonsah: “I want to know what you are, right now.”

Shadow: (pulls down face mask, which normally covers Shadows face from the nose on down) “Fine: I’m a human, okay? But I am the same person I was yesterday. I am just as good at stabbing people now as I was before.”

Elifonsah: “You’ve been lying to us! How can we trust you!”

Shadow: “Pfft. I could have killed you a dozen times over if I wanted to.”

Elifonsah: “Aha!”

Shadow: “‘Aha’ what? I didn’t!”

Elifonsah: “You are sneaky!”

Shadow: “That’s my job! I go into danger first and then come back and tell you about it! I keep you safe!”

Coenred: “That is his job. He’s the scout.”

Elifonsah: “Nigel, did you know about this?”

Nigel: “Well, yeah.”

Elifonsah: “For how long?”

Nigel: “Always, ever since I met her.”

Elifonsah: (indignant) “Always!”

Elifonsah: (shocked) “WAIT, WHAT!?!”

Elifonsah: (to Shadow) “WHAT ARE YOU!?!?!?!”

Shadow: “I already said I was human.”

Elifonsah: “And female?”

Shadow: “Yeah, duh. (pulls sword) Do you have a problem with that? Because if you do, I will cut you into tiny pieces.”

Elifonsah: (to Coenred) “SEE? SEE? He… she…. she’s threatening me!”

Shadow: “Why do you even care? I do my job. I am just as good at stabbing people now as I was this morning. What difference does it make??”

Elifonsah: “You’ve been keeping secrets! How do we know you don’t have other secrets? How do we know we can trust you?”

Shadow: “I saved Coenred. I helped save Leannan. I’ve fought with you since I was this tall.” (holding up hand to her chin) “What else do you want?”

Elifonsah: (still skeptical) “I guess that makes sense.”

Shadow: “Good. Now can we get on with the mission?”

Elifonsah: “Wait. If you’re human, how old are you? You’re really small for a human.”

Shadow: (shrugs) “I dunno. Why does that matter?” (Shadow is 12, but she does not know that, or even what her birthday is. And she’s small even for a 12-year-old.)

Elifonsah: “Huh.”

Shadow: “Are we good now? Can we get on with the mission?”

Elifonsah: (sullen) “Yeah. I guess. (pause) I need a drink.”

I am leaving out some stuff where Efilonsah was asking Nigel about how he and Shadow met. Short version: Shadow was an 8 year old street orphan, Nigel was bleeding to death, and Shadow dragged Nigel to a temple. They’d been together ever since.

Wednesday, 2017-11-01

Blackmoor wedding, October 31, 1991

Filed under: About Me,Family,Friends — bblackmoor @ 17:37

The wedding of Brandon and Susan Blackmoor, October 31, 1991. There are a few folks in this who aren’t with us anymore, including Susan’s mother and her uncle. The last half is all present-unwrapping the next day: I recommend skipping that.

Wednesday, 2017-10-18

Be very careful of what you type on a keyboard

Filed under: Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 22:34

Be very careful of what you type on a keyboard. There is no such thing as an innocent gaffe, and what may be considered ordinary banter today could be considered unforgivable heresy tomorrow.

I am grateful that I am inconsequential enough that my words and deeds have not been subjected to motivated public scrutiny. I have not always been as enlightened or even-tempered as I would like to be.

Fun fact! My first online nickname, back in the 1980s, was “heretic”. (There wasn’t a “world wide web” back then, but there was an Internet.)

According to this, you're a heretic.

Tuesday, 2017-09-12

The problem with ‘privilege’

Filed under: Civil Rights,Philosophy,Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 14:39

You're not being oppressed when another group gains rights that you've always had.

White privilege“.

Male privilege“.

Straight privilege“.

It bugs me so much that the word “privilege” is used in this context. “Privilege” is something that not everyone has, and that not everyone should have. But everyone should be able to travel without fear of being stopped for no reason. Everyone should be able to live day to day without fearing for their lives if a police officer notices them. Everyone should have their accomplishments respected and accepted without questioning if they had actually earned them. Everyone should be able to go through their lives without experiencing a constant barrage of insults or “jokes” aimed at their ancestry, or gender, or sexual proclivities, or skin color.

Using “privilege” to describe these benefits says that they should be taken away, which is the exact opposite of what ought to happen. These are not privileges — they are what everyone ought to have.

The argument for this terminology is that it points out that a person belonging to group X (males, straight people, “white” people, whatever) has some benefit that those in other groups do not have, a fact of which some (perhaps most) in group X are unaware. (Although how any straight, white, American male could possibly be oblivious to their status relative to other groups is a mystery to me.)

But given the standard response when the phrase “_____ privilege” is used, this terminology fails to convey that. The response is typically, “I am ____ , and I don’t have any special privilege!” And that response is correct — they don’t have any special privileges. What they do have is the ordinary way life should be for everyone, but isn’t.

So what would be better? “Respect”? “Dignity”? “Liberty”?

Personally, I think discourse on this topic would be improved if the focus were less on what group X has, and more on the gap between what group X has and what other groups have. There is a phrase already in common parlance: “income inequality”. I think we need a focus on “dignity inequality”, or “liberty inequality” — the emphasis being not to take it away from people who have it, but to make sure that everyone has it.

To be clear (because someone will read this far and yet still somehow fail to understand this), I am not saying that the disparity does not exist. I think you’d have to be willfully ignorant or just plain despicable to claim that (and many ignorant and/or despicable people do — Google “myth of white privilege” if you want your love of humanity severely tested). I am saying that if we, people of good will, are to come together and eliminate that disparity in treatment, describing it as a “privilege” makes that work more difficult.

Thursday, 2017-08-17

The Confederacy is not the South

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 11:37

The Confederacy is not the South. The Confederacy was a six-year tragedy in a history that stretches back over 400 years. There were other tragedies along the way, obviously — the genocide of native Americans and the chattel slavery of Africans being the two biggest ones, but as these were American atrocities rather than strictly Southern ones, I won’t be addressing them here. This isn’t about the crimes of the United States: this is about the southern USA (or just “the South”, as it’s affectionately known), which had its first permanent European settlement in St. Augustine, Florida in 1465, by the Spanish. The South existed for hundreds of years before the stain of the Confederacy, and the South is still here long after the blight of the Confederacy is gone (and good riddance!).

Even some Confederate generals, such as James Longstreet and William Mahone, recognized the value and importance of a United States with racial equality, and worked to make it happen. Sadly, they have been largely forgotten — or demonized — by Americans on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.

A Southerner who glorifies the Confederacy and treats it like something to memorialize is like a 50 year old man who met a girl in a bar when he was 18, took her home, and woke up with a dead dog, a stolen truck, an empty bank account, and a case of herpes — but who insists on keeping her photo on the mantle because it’s his “heritage”. He shouldn’t be blaming himself for that mistake after all these years, but he damned sure shouldn’t be reminiscing about it, either.

Tuesday, 2017-08-15

Ghost In The Shell, The Sand, Nudist Colony Of The Dead

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 11:17

Recent movie viewing…

Ghost In The Shell (1995)

“Ghost In The Shell” is pretty famous, but I’d never seen it. The first half hour is really good. I really liked the story, the characters (if not the English-speaking voice actors), and the animation. It starts to bog down at around 30 minutes, when two characters woodenly recite some Philosophy 101 blather for a few minutes. After that, every ten minutes or so the movie grinds to a screeching halt for more “what does it mean to be alive” blah blah blah. It’s the sort of tedious philosophical crap that seems deep when you’re 16; after you take a couple of philosophy courses, or read a few books, or get some life experience… not so much. Aside from that, and the English voice actors in the dubbed version being really just terrible (don’t judge me for watching the dubbed version), I thought it was okay, but I expected it to be a lot better.

The Sand (2015)

In “The Sand”, a half-dozen attractive young people in bathing suits wake up after a beach party to find that they are stranded in the middle of a stretch of beach that eats anything living that touches it. The premise sounds horrendous, but the performances and the variety of ways the characters die really raise the quality of this. The cast is surprisingly good, and the movie held my interest the entire time. The special effects are very good at the beginning (both the gore and the monster), but get more cheesy and less convincing as the film goes on. But at the beginning, they really are quite good. Overall, this movie exceeded my expectations, and even surprised me a couple of times.

Nudist Colony Of The Dead (1991)

“Nudist Colony Of The Dead” sounds like it will be awful, and it is. However, it’s not what I expected, and it’s actually somewhat amusing. For one thing, it’s a musical. The songs are terrible, but the tunes are kind of catchy. Second, it’s a satire of late-1980s Americanized Christianity, along the lines of “Saved” (2004). It’s not as funny as “Saved”, but they do try, and it’s definitely a step above painfully unfunny “comedies” like “Bridesmaids” (2011), “Jack And Jill” (2011), and “Hot Pursuit” (2015). Finally, I was surprised at just how little nudity there is. I was expecting a cringe-inducing, wooden parade of naked bodies, but there’s more nudity on an episode of Game Of Thrones (the first season, anyway: I stopped watching shortly after Sean Bean died). Heck, “Ghost In The Shell” probably had as much nudity (although those were robots, so I’m not sure that counts). So while I wouldn’t call this a good movie, if your expectations are as low as mine were, you might find it okay, or even mildly amusing. But it’s no “Zombie Strippers” (which is fantastic, aside from the tedious framing scenes at the beginning and the end).

Sunday, 2017-08-06

Young and beautiful

Filed under: About Me,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 21:22

No one is young and beautiful forever. As Carrie Fisher said, “Youth and beauty are not accomplishments. They’re the temporary happy byproducts of time and/or DNA.”

On the bright side, age has made me a much better person than I was 30 years ago. I wouldn’t trade that for being young and pretty again… but I would think about it.

Friday, 2017-07-21

Cult Movie Night: Anne Rice Vampires

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 23:45

Tonight’s Cult Movie Night was “Interview With The Vampire” (1994) and “Queen Of The Damned” (2002). “Interview” is definitely the better film, but the cast in both is really quite good. And Aaliyah was just pure magic in “Queen”. She steals the movie, even though she only has a few scenes.

Next Page »