[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Thursday, 2012-11-08

Post-election befuddlement

Filed under: Politics — bblackmoor @ 10:11

I don’t interpret the election results the way anyone else does. When given the choice between two virtually identical candidates and three other very distinct candidates, 98% of the country voted for the two virtually identical candidates, and the votes for those two candidates got split almost exactly in half. To me, that says that a) 98% of the country approves of our current domestic and foreign policies, and b) that the two major parties are very good at choosing candidates that appeal to nearly everyone, to the extent that choosing between them may as well be a coin toss.

I find the chest-thumping of the winners and the hand-wringing of the losers surreal. Half of the country wanted a Pepsi, and a very tiny fraction less than that wanted Coke. This means that Coke is no longer relevant, can no longer be seriously considered as a soft drink, should be removed from grocery store shelves and relegated to local convenience stores, and so on? This means that people who want Pepsi are morally and dietetically inferior (or superior) to people who’d rather drink Coke? It’s the end of the world and/or the beginning of a new era because a very tiny fraction of the population prefers one brand of carbonated brown sugar-water over another brand of carbonated brown sugar-water?

It all just seems a wild overreaction to a very tiny difference in preference between two extremely similar things.

Monday, 2012-11-05

Musings on “race”, culture, and the President

Filed under: Civil Rights,History,Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 18:41

I am, by ancestry, as white as white can be. However, I grew up in a black neighborhood — I was the white boy on the school bus. My family was on food stamps from time to time, and I was on the hot lunch program at school. So it’s always struck me a little surreal when people brag or bitch about our “first Black President” when he had one white American parent and one foreign parent (not an “African-American”, but a plain old African — a senior governmental economist from Kenya), he was raised by his white mother and grandparents, and he lived a life of privilege that I never saw anywhere but on television. In every way that matters, I think Barack Obama (who was called “Barry” most of his life) is just an ordinary, affluent, career politician. I don’t think he has anything in common with any of the people I grew up with.

I am not supposed to say any of this, because, as I mentioned, I am as white as a slice of Wonder Bread. But on the eve of his re-election (he’ll get approximately 64% of the popular vote) (* see below), I was just thinking about all of the important things that I wish people were taking into consideration when they vote (like the erosion of our civil rights, the lack of accountability of corporations, the insane expansion of our military, the fact that we incarcerate more of our population than China does, and so on), and all of the trivial nonsense that they talk about instead. Like who the candidates’ ancestors are.

What is the controversy? It’s not his culture and upbringing. Is it because, like a great many completely ordinary Americans, Obama’s ancestors are from multiple continents? Is it literally the color of his skin that makes a difference? Is the big deal not that he’s our “first black President”, but that he’s our first President who isn’t as light-skinned as I am?

Apparently I am the only one who finds this obsession with Obama’s pedigree peculiar.

I’ll be voting for Gary Johnson, because I think he would do a decent job. I know that he won’t win. I am not betting on who will win: I am voting for who I want to win. But even though I’m not voting for President Obama, I do wish him good luck on his next four years. Who knows? Maybe he will end the expensive and bloody Drug Prohibition, attempt to scale back our military expansion, reduce the amount of spying his administration does on American citizens, and support fair and open trials for everyone detained under the color of law.

Or maybe he won’t. We’ll see.

One thing I don’t expect from President Obama’s second term is a miraculous resurgence of our economy. The President is not the Wizard Of Oz. Despite the sound bites from both Romney and Obama, we have neither recovered from the depression, nor are we still at the bottom of it. Actual unemployment is around 14%-16%, but it’s getting better. The housing market still sucks, but it’s getting better. The price of gasoline is still over $3.00 a gallon, and it’s not going down by much, if at all, ever again. None of this is Obama’s fault. He didn’t break the engine of our economy, and he can’t fix it. He might deserve a little credit if he doesn’t do anything to disrupt the current recovery process. We’ll see.

* 2012-11-07: I was way wrong on the popular vote. I said Obama would get almost 2/3 of the popular vote, and he barely got 50%.

Lady Scrubbins

Filed under: Friends,Home — bblackmoor @ 09:46
Lady Scrubbins Old-Fashioned Goat's Milk Soap

By the way, that great-smelling soap that everyone was drooling over at the Halloween party is from Lady Scrubbins. You can order it on the Lady Scrubbins web site.

P.S. If you enter the coupon code “SIXFER” you can buy six bars for $25.

P.P.S. Here is a link to their Facebook page.

Sunday, 2012-11-04

7th Annual Blackmoor Halloween Party review

Filed under: Friends,Home — bblackmoor @ 23:21
Scary!

Another Halloween has come and gone, and the Blackmoor Halloween Party has gone with it. In our opinion, this year’s party was a great success, and possibly the best Halloween party we’ve ever hosted. At least, we think so. We hope that the people who came enjoyed themselves, as well. We love Halloween (we got married on it!), and have always thought of it as “our” holiday (although I guess everyone does), and we love sharing the festivities with people.

We don’t get to see any of our old friends as often as we’d like, and it was great seeing so many of our best and oldest friends. We are touched and grateful that our friends were willing to drive two, three, or even more hours to join us. It was also wonderful to spend some time with one of our new neighbors, and a few of our newest friends.

And now: photos! Not of everyone, alas, but I got almost everyone at least once.

P.S. I just counted the kids in our photos from Halloween night — 50 trick or treaters! That’s outstanding!

Tuesday, 2012-10-16

Bugs and mopping

Filed under: Gaming,Home,Work,Writing — bblackmoor @ 20:06
angry mop man

What a day. I tracked down a very devious bug of my own design and fixed it, so hopefully that project I am two days behind on will be finished before I am four days behind on it.

Then I cleaned the hot tub thoroughly with a mop and a bucket of bleach-water, in the dark. Thank goodness for security lights and cotton string mops! There’s nothing quite like a cotton string mop for a job like that. Then I filled the tub and started it up. The pump is running and the tub doesn’t appear to be leaking, but there’s a lot of water splashed all over the place so I can’t be absolutely certain about the lack of leaking. The current water temperature is 58 degrees — let’s hope the temperature rises!

And now I get to spend the next couple of hours before bedtime working on the Character Sheet Helper for Bulletproof Blues. I have renamed it from “Character Builder” in the hope that the new name will better convey the notion that this spreadsheet isn’t required to play the game: its main purpose is to help make attractive, easy-to-share character sheets.

Friday, 2012-10-05

Things I hate about amateur singers

Filed under: Music — bblackmoor @ 20:10

I have been suffering through various TV talent show contests such as The Voice and The X Factor and so on. Here is a list of things that I would be happy to never see or hear again:

  • Excessive head-swinging and upper body swaying (almost always female singers)
  • Waving hands around: punching the sky, making wave motions, reaching out, and so on — especially the wave motions
  • Hunching up shoulders and holding elbows in close to the body (almost always male singers)
  • Repeating “uh-huh, yeah” between each verse (almost always male singers)
  • Warbling vibrato-ee-ooo-eee-ooo-eee-ooo
  • Bizarre spasms of the head and/or lower jaw while holding notes (often accompanied with warbling vibrato-ee-ooo-ee-ooo-ee-ooo)
  • Weird twitchy arm movements like the singer is going through drug withdrawal (often accompanied by hunching up shoulders and holding elbows in close to the body)

If you do any of these things, please do the world a favor and stay away from cameras and microphones.

An observant child

Filed under: Art,Family,Gaming — bblackmoor @ 19:12
Grimknight by Malakai

While visiting my mom, one of my sisters, and my sister’s family a few weeks ago, I took a few minutes to change my Champions Online password because I received an email that made me suspect my account might have been hacked. I logged in just long enough to do that and then logged out again: a minute, perhaps, at most.

I did not realize that my 6-year-old nephew Malakai was looking over my shoulder while I did so (children are sneaky). Later that day, he presented me with the drawing on the left, which he had done entirely from memory. Note the things he noticed and remembered: not just Grimknight in the foreground, but the waving police officer and the insectoid spaceship behind him! I was, and am, amazed.

Outrage over PBS

Filed under: Politics — bblackmoor @ 18:43

Here are two meme images I made in response to the outrage over the cost of PBS, and the outrage over that outrage.

Wants to cut PBS funding

Outraged over cutting PBS budget

Saturday, 2012-09-29

The wild, wild life

Filed under: Home,Nature — bblackmoor @ 16:53
The Hole

The wildlife around here is pretty amazing. Other than the usual birds and squirrels, in the last 24 hours I have seen a bunny, a deer, a huge possum, a tiny frog, and some kind of tiny, ground dwelling yellow-jackets.

The Hole

The possum led us to the yellow-jackets. Last night we were watching Cabin In The Woods (which isn’t bad, if a little slow and predictable). Suddenly, the motion-sensing light on the balcony came on, startling us. Looking out, we saw a huge grey skull-faced animal walking along the railing: a possum! It wandered around, but had meandered away by the time I got the camera.

The Nest

This morning I was out back, spreading grass seed and generally looking around, and I found a huge hole. Could this be why the possum was on our deck? Had it taken up residence? Crawling closer, a bug flew out. I backed off, and it flew back in the hole. Huh? I crept closer again… and a bug came out again and flew toward me. I backed off again.

The Hole

I retrieved the camera and took some zoomed-in photos. Examining the photos, it’s clear that these are yellow-jackets. Did they take over the possum’s hole and drive it away? If so, where has it gone? In any case, tonight I’ll need to do something about the yellow-jackets.

P.S. Here is a photo of that tiny frog.

Wednesday, 2012-08-29

7th Annual Blackmoor Halloween Party

Filed under: Family,Friends — bblackmoor @ 19:55
Scary!

You may have been cordially invited to the 7th Annual Blackmoor Halloween Party! If so, keep reading. If not, bugger off.

Costumes are encouraged! Snacks, drinks, and Halloween Chili will be provided. If you have special dietary needs or are prone to complain about what is offered, bring your own.

You may bring guests and/or children, but you are responsible for their behavior.

We have abundant amounts of room, including a couple of private rooms. Regardless of where you sleep, you will need to bring your own bedding (such as a sleeping bag or inflatable mattress). You may also reserve a room at the nearby Best Western Plus Crossroads Inn & Suites. A sober driver will be available to drive drunk guests back to their motel rooms — your safety is important!

Update! All of the private rooms are spoken for (if you haven’t already arranged for one, you don’t have one). However, we will have tons of open floor space on the first floor, and you are welcome to bring an air mattress and crash. Just be aware that you may have trouble getting to sleep until the party is over. Also, don’t forget that there is a nearby motel, and that a designated driver will be available to shuttle people to the motel.

Please RSVP, so that we can plan appropriately. Thanks!

When:
6 PM, Saturday, November 3, 2012
Let us know if you want to arrive early!

Where:
Castle Blackmoor
70 Starling Ln.
Troy, VA 22974-3278

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