Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Thought of the Day: Snappy Comebacks for Pagan Deities

I feel like at some point, pressed for a retort, the Mighty Thor should say: "My rejoinder is MJOLNIR!"

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I'm willing to do my part to address the patriarchal legacy of sexism.

I feel like as reparations for misogyny, enlightened, righteous men women should volunteer to be sexually objectified by women.

Friday, October 07, 2016

The Clown Problem

Part of me is afraid of clowns. Not afraid, really. Just suspicious. It seems like a weird identity to assume. To what purpose? I am suspicious of the ulterior, potentially sinister motives of clowns. Why are they in clownface? Why hide their features? What's with the circus suit? On one level, this ought to allay suspicion, because after all - they stand out like a sore thumb in that getup! This isn't a guise to assume for purposes of stealth.

And it feels like it's a long time since clowns have been trusted and beloved figures. Nobody could reasonably don a clown suit in this day and age and expect to ride the coattails of some general clown-based faith and goodwill. You might as well dress up in a roman catholic priest garb. Maybe that goodwill used to be there, but these days "sorry." So I can't see the clown identity as itself sinister, or lending itself to abuse, because there's no residual goodwill left to cloak their dark deeds under. If anything, a clown walks in everyone is going to be instantly on their guard!

But it leaves me wondering: why would they do it? Why do they do it? Are they driven to do it? Are they driven to it in one of those tiny cars?

I suppose trying to rationalize and analyze this thing isn't going to get me anywhere. What I've got is some kind of deep-seated anti-clown bias. It's not based in anything rational. I'm not going to be able to discover and articulate a basis for it. Just the look of a clown. There's something about it I don't trust.

But another part of me loves the idea of a clown. It's the secret identity thing, maybe. You transform into someone other, who can do peculiar deeds and has a sort of societal stamp of approval for them, as long as you're wearing the getup! At least for the doing of recognized, clownlike deeds, a clown outfit does confer certain permissions. It's perfectly excusable to douse people with buckets of confetti, or whatever. People start, it's still a bit of a shock when it happens - but then they're like, oh fuck it's just a clown. Ok.

But if I were going to be a clown, damn. I would not make my makeup or my outfit look like THAT.

I'd be like a super-colorful member of 1970's KISS, maybe.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Humility's a habit

Humility's a habit we're all guilty of. We put ourselves down, cause we can't bear the love.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Applied Moral Relativism: Or, What's the Worst Sin in YOUR Moral Economy?

Moral relativism is a good thing, or it ought to be. By all means, let's allow all ideas into the discourse! But it seems many people use moral relativism as an excuse to say: "It's useless to talk about, useless to compare, because no final absolute can be discovered!"

This is ridiculous. This is not the attitude of a rationalist, either. This is the attitude of someone pining for a moral absolute.

Relativism allows, or ought to allow, any rational person to compare competing ideas and ideals based on their actual aspects, and evaluate their relative merits. By which I mean: their merits relative to each other. Moral relativism doesn't and shouldn't mean you can't say a thing is wrong. There's nothing wrong with saying a thing is wrong, as long as you can say what's right and show why. When you lay out your basis, people will share basis to compare. The value is in comparison of real aspects, and discussion of how competing values can be weighed - not some black and white conclusion: "fire bad!"

In the post title, I deliberately chose a loaded word: "sin" - partly because I'm a dick, but let's be frank: even the most secular conception of humanism holds many things to be sins, whether they call them that or no. Skepticism, too, has its sins. Science is much sinned-against, especially by its practitioners.

To believe an unsupported and insupportable assertion is a sin against Skepticism. Skepticism can advance its case as to why it is wrong to believe unproved assertions.

To falsify data to support a hypothesis one "knows to be right" is a sin against science. Science can give its litany of reasons and examples to show why it's wrong to jump ahead of what you can establish via the scientific method: via hypothesis, experiment, falsification, and reproducible results.

None of this requires any final absolute to exist. Relativism means it is possible to compare and judge things relative to each other, without needing to reference some absolute. The principles of skepticism and science are not absolute. They are based on demonstrable benefit. Because we can see the benefit they are based on, we can tell where a given violation may hamper us.

We don't talk about movies or beer as if final absolutes are necessary. "It's useless to say this pilsner is good or bad, when we have no absolute beer ideal from which to judge!" Pish-posh. We sample a range, the wider the better, so as to have a broad basis from which to judge. We identify various merits from this range of experience, some of which may be mutually exclusive, some of which are not. Then we sample and judge between the beers themselves. Judgment is based on what attributes a given person values, and what a given beer's merits are for those attributes. The person can state what they value, and we can know what they're basing their judgment upon. Merit is no more than an ability to serve specific, identified needs. For beer, one need may be refreshment, another may be intoxication. If additional aspects and limitations such as price are brought in as relevant factors, all these considerations together will form the criteria against which we judge a beer's merit.

We're not trying to create an absolute. We're simply trying to make a judgment based on aspects and quantities that can be experienced and known. It's a rational process. A useful process. What good are absolutes? When did we ever need them? When have they ever once been of use?

We have no problem at all with comparisons and judgments based on merit in all sorts of areas. So it is, or should be, with actions and the rightness of actions. A rational person is capable of seeing what can be seen and judging between, based on merit. Based on specific, identified needs being served. Even if each separate economy advances its own view on the rightness of an act, still we can identify the needs being served and we can judge between. We can identify the effect of an act or its prohibition, and we can judge between the views on that act's morality or immorality advanced by competing moral economies.

This is what relativism gives us. Moral relativism is not some wan surrender to apathy, with the hands-waving excuse that it is not worth discussing. It was the old absolutism that was not at all worth discussing. Moral absolutism quashed discussion, moral relativism makes discussion possible.

Moral relativism is what makes it possible for us to tell right from wrong.

Moral absolutism made it possible only to say what we've been told is wrong.

Relativism opens fertile ground for strong and vigorous discourse, wherein people are not afraid to advance their idea of right, defend it with reference to demonstrable effects and basis, and advance it as superior based on specific, direct comparison with competing ideals. There is no need within moral relativism to shirk from hard scrutiny between competing ideals.

In an atmosphere of rationality and relativism, a person advancing a given thing as right must be able to say why it is right. When one person's "why" boils down to a strong foundation of greatest benefit to those most in need, and another person's "why" boils down to "Arbitrary Unprovable Being said so!"...please, don't let's say we can't compare. We have a pretty good basis for comparison, there.

From this discourse, different people will come away differently or indifferently convinced of different things. This is no cause for frustration. Discussion can be fruitful, even if not everyone becomes convinced of the same conclusion. The more we talk about what's important, the more basis we have for understanding where we differ, and the more powerfully we are able to come together where we agree. The more we find we can't come up with an effectual refutation of another person's view - even if we do not agree with it! - still, because we have tried and found we cannot reasonably refute it, we will come to respect how they can hold such a view. The more we understand and respect each other's differences, the more we can work effectively and peaceably together on all the things we know most benefit us all.

And those of us who believe that mixed in with all the ideas there are, there are some ideas that are truly the best and highest of what humanity can strive for - the more we are able to talk about what's important, the more those best ideas have a chance to come to the fore, and persuade those most open to them.

Ideas about right and wrong don't have a chance to change the world if people take the attitude that they're not worth talking about. In the absence of absolutes makes it possible to compare between. The fact that everything is relative makes it possible to compare every thing, and judge it based on how it relates to whatever good you care to claim. You are able to claim a good, when you can show it exists. You can compare two goods and say one is better, anywhere you can show how they intersect with the world others can see.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Here's Some Movies Where I Don't Like That One.

I don't like the one where James Woods is supposed to be the good guy. Come on. We're rooting for him enough as it is! Making him the good guy, that's just overkill. Or something. Possibly, double-reverse-overkill.

I like the one where there's a shootout at the end, but I don't like the one where you think there's going to be a shootout, and instead the good guy and the bad guy make love.

I like the one where - wait, The Prophecy! I liked that one. But apart from that one, I hate the one where instead of a sense-making climax, they just slap a shitload of writhing special effects lightshow bullshit across the screen for five to ten minutes while people duck, dive and do frantic incomprehensible things, and expect you to be satisfied like it's the fucking grand finale of a fireworks. As if that's all you need to successfully conclude a fucking narrative arc!

Technically, also: Raiders. They originated it, arguably, but they made up for the bad example by showing us how to pull it off. I liked that one. Apart from those two, though, no.

I like the one where you see her tits! But I don't like the one where she dies right after. That's kind of bullshit. Another sign of the hegemony of the gosh-damn patriarchal/puritanical paradigm's sinister antinature program! Women must always be punished immediately for embracing the power of their sexuality? As a feminist I say: "FUCK" to that! Fuck it right in its puritanical UNISEX FUCKHOLE.

I don't like the one where the guy and the girl, and it's some big trumped-up complication, and all these ridiculous coincidences to keep them from figuring it out, and then at the last possible minute of escalating catastrophe towards their clearly-set destiny - they get killed by a truck.

I don't like that one at all.

Friday, September 30, 2016

PLUTARCHY: The Game of Global Rape and Plunder!

There should be a board game that's a cross between Monopoly and RISK.

Oh never mind. There is already. A bit ad hoc, and kind of confusing though. They're calling it "Riskopoly" - that's sound enough, I suppose. You can look it up. It seems to be more a fanfic slash boardgame than an actual product. They want you to use 2 boards, the actual Monopoly board and the actual RISK board! Heck, why not throw in Stratego at that point?

There should be a better board game that combines Monopoly and RISK.

It should be called OLIGARCHY.

Or if that's taken: HEGEMONY?

Or if that's taken, oh heck, the name doesn't really matter folks. Make up a word, and it will come to mean that if your gameplay's good enough.

PLUTARCHY. You can play as a military power, a megaglobal syndicate, or a rogue ideology. Better yet, each player gets to play as all three!

Over the course of the game, things can change. You might lose your military power entirely, and still win the game! Military powers have different goals, you can divest yourself of that (or of the syndicate business) and play all-out along only one line. Suppose you lose your armed forces, but gain an extra megaglobal syndicate? That's huge. Imagine if unbeknownst to the world - what if Coke OWNS Pepsi? Or unbeknownst to the world - what if Bayer OWNS Monsanto?

It would be a super-sinister development, with the powers-behind edging that much closer to Global Hegemony. Or whatever.

You can have as many rogue ideologies as you like, but everybody has to have at least one. Each lets you do different things, but liabilities apply as well - and your internal factions can begin to dissonate each other, if you're not careful to keep them divided, conquered and working separately towards your multifarious goals. Rogue ideologies include theocracism (there are a number of these in different flavors!), fanatisystem (same), absolutist relativism (only one of these really, the whole "all wrongs are equally false" deal - primarily used to undermine!), conspiriarchy, dogmagic orthotoxy, and more! Picking up two or three of these gives you a lot of flexibility to undermine, subvert, motivate and terrorize in a way people on the internet will be quick to justify and/and condemn.

Military power is probably best used sparingly, or towards areas where they don't have much media hookup. Of course, if you control enough of the get a pretty acceptable risk.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Thought of the day: not a joke

Life is not a joke. If it were, though, it would have a killer punchline.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Why You Might Want To Reconsider Casablanca As One Of The Best Movies Ever - What A Classic!

So because basically he's all "In one of the gin joints, in all of the lousy towns in the world - and then she walks in!" They had a history, you see, but you don't know that. You find out later. He'd already had a history himself: a real idealist, mercenary type. Running guns, participating in losing revolutions, he thought he was pretty much "all man" and knew the difference. But he had to take a little break in Paris, between gigs, didn't he? It must have been fate at hand, that day - because next thing you know, she meets this guy and they're being all coy and joyfully mysterious about their pasts. Drinking, smoking, implying sex, it was as if it was a game to them. A game they'd heard about before - no time for it, then. But now, it was a game they could both afford to play, because it was so plain they'd already secretly won. Somehow, by that point, what did the past matter?

As it turns out, he was kidding himself. He thought he was the one from the big dark past with shadowy crap in it, meanwhile she herself was just about as rough and tumble a revolutionary as he'd been - and worse, even more willing to sacrifice what's worth living for, even more willing to sacrifice everything for a hard, bad cause: whatever's right. Next thing you know, like a chump in the rain clutching a note, all the meaning in the world was running away and he finally realized that train wasn't ever going there. Somebody lied, or maybe somebody just didn't say the truth out loud. It amounted to the same thing: beans. One hill.

By then, naturally the only thing left with meaning in life was to go crawl to some Gottforsaken desert hole and act mister big shot in a white tuxedo jacket, play coy and mysterious with suave, brutal German honchos, wink sarcastically at the disgusting antics of that barbarous French sheriff, bandy a lot of banter with Sidney Greenstreet and assorted other characters, and then what? Everybody's sitting there by this point going, "the dialogue is delicious!" "How can this man possibly have so much savoir faire and yet care so little about it?" He can't. Nobody can. It's because they don't know the history. Then she walks in with it.

Ingrid Bergman was treated so cruelly in that movie, as you know. The story's famous, and as it happens, it goes that they shot both endings. All along the way - even in the flashback scene, where realistically she shouldn't have even been thinking about it! - the actress had no idea which man she's going to end up with! Much like life, really, but a cruel way to treat an actress. How's she supposed to describe an arc? When she knows somewhere out there, in the future, an alternate ending DVD extra has already happened - and was released. And was the real film, in that universe. And in that universe, everybody said "Ah! Casablanca. A slight film, a charming film, a film with wit and characters - not much heft to it, but at least there's a happy ending! That much is certain, those two were made to end up together, early, often, and ever after. What a piece of business."

And so she had no idea what universe she was living in. And she looked it! She looked like she came in from a better one, still had hopes of getting back there. But at the point of her crisis, she gave up on love for what was right. He, meanwhile, gave up on love because of what was right. That's also why he gave up on what was right, or had been. He'd found out by then what was worth living for. What's right isn't it. Not a broken man, just a bent animal in a white tuxedo jacket and a sense of style, both of which fit perfectly. And by then, she walked in.

God damn it I hope I never hear that song again. But if she can stand it, so can I.

I learned all those same lessons he did, when I first saw the film. And I was deeply moved because it was just a movie. That's what consoles us to these things, that's what reconciles us to movies. Later, I was sitting in a gin joint in some forsaken town in the real world, or what suddenly no longer passed for it: because all of a sudden, she walks in.

It's all a lot of history, and it never amounts to much. The right person got on the plane, that's all that matters. It took me forever to realize that the whole time, she didn't know who she was going to end up with.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Definition of the day: "terrorist"

A terrorist is someone who uses homicide as public relations, and is stupid enough to think this makes their cause look good.

Takes On: FOOD

Time to get back to basics: FOOD

Food, people, is one of those words that's just FOOD-NEUTRAL. It gives you the idea of something to EAT, but it doesn't really expand on that or fill in any of the details. Will the food be delicious? It might say more about you than the food, the answer you give to this next question: FOOD GOOD or FOOD BAD?

I think the human heart holds out hope that FOOD GOOD. Even though let's be honest, we've all had a lot of experience with the disappointment of a meal-gone-wrong. Or even a snack-gone-poorly. Does that put us off food?

What about involving FOOD in a sexual encounter, as sort of a playful, frankly childish maneuver? Don't play with your food, love. It's unhygienic, probably - although this may depend more on the FOOD factor than emotions do.

I remember the first time somebody brought my attention to the idea. It was my first, real love, you know - "X1" as I call her. Actually I don't! I just made that up, but I think I kinda like it! X-1. "Girl X-1." There oughtta be a manga. Anyhow, speaking of mangia, she goes "hey do you want to eat raspberries off my belly?"

Now this is kinkier than it sounds, because she knows what I'm really into is blackberries. Raspberries just seem seedy to me. But what are you going to do?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tough Topics #37-b: Slavery

The main thing people object to in slavery seems to be that it was racist. I wonder how the other aspects would play today, if the racist aspect could be fully and completely purged.

Would people sign up for slavery, if we could guarantee it were a multiracial institution with no race overrepresented, if we instituted strict requirements for clothing, nutrition, medicine, housing and humane treatment - a guaranteed decent standard of living, all you give up is your freedom? It'd be entirely voluntary: upon signup, slaves would first be sterilized, and owners would buy them from the government. It would be unconscionable to allow a generation of children born into slavery. That would ruin the market.

Would you choose a life of drudge work, no pay, no possibility of advancement, but at least you know you'll be clothed, fed, housed and taken care of? If you are like many people, you may already be choosing all the negatives from that list, pretty much. What price, hope?

One is reminded of recidivism. Prisons are drastically overcrowded and, we hear, dangerous places. And in case you don't know, people commit crime just to get back inside, where they know they're clothed, fed, housed, and to some extent, taken care of. Have recidivists been institutionalized - unable to survive outside? Or have they just found that for the less privileged, the outside has become a crueler institution than prison?

Time to Take Pokemon Go to the Next Level. Who's With Me?

I want to get a Pokémon cosplay posse together, dressed up in all different Pokémon costumes and we go around ambushing these people while they're all distracted on their app.

Friday, September 16, 2016

What People Don't Realize Is #2

What people don't realize is, it would be a great children's picture book if a baby bee hummingbird got lost and was taken in and nurtured by BEES.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Tough Topics #31: The Intelligent Design Controversy

Another thing: those "Intelligent Design" people? Always talking about how "obvious" it is? Well how come they never point out how the vagina is almost the perfect opposite of a penis??!

I'll tell you why, it's because they're hypocrites. A bunch of sex prudes, refusing to even mention the best argument they've got, probably: creation's naughty parts. After all: come on! Could those parts have arisen at random? In tandem? Pretty suspicious, if so.

It's kind of a tipoff, how they do all these cartwheels everywhere to scrupulously avoid all the sex stuff like it was the plague. Like it was a pitfall, and they thought their name was Harry. Swinging on vines over quicksand and crocodiles, with all their nudity taboos hanging out, and their so-called sexual mores - meanwhile, a moray eel has a better idea of healthy and natural sex attitudes than these people do. Or most of them, anyway. I tell you it'd be laughable, if there were anything the slightest bit funny about how pathetic it all is. Trying to act all natural about it, walking around nude as the emperor's sweet patoot - but with the HUGEST FIG LEAF EVER on! Of, of course.

Surrr-r-r-r-re. We totally believe you on that fig leaf, dude. We're so sure you need one THAT BIG. Hypocrites!

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Taunts We Don't Know What They Mean #7: Bull?

"Buddy, you just opened a BULL SHOP in Chinatown!!"


That's a perfect example of maybe I ought to hold my boasts, taunts or even toasts a moment in mind before letting fly. Because after the initial incredulity, hostility, questioning-of-mutual integrity and everything else - we were both forced to admit that it worked out to a compliment for him! I mean, apart from the dubiousness of the whole enterprise, selling bull to the Chinese, which seems a bit exploitative - but clearly you want to be the bull of the shop, not the one who's got to clean up all the busted wares your curious customers have taken home with them, to put them back together broken-hearted. So much prouder of the pieces they carry out than what they had walking in.

An interesting business. Customers are scarce, because we refuse to speak English. It's a bit of a ticklish dick move, that - "Don't patronize ME!" - seems to be the message on the front door sign. Unless that calligraphist has been making fools of our faith in her! Hey, maybe that's why people keep coming in? Depending on what those beautiful characters hung in the door really say, I'd be curious to.

What with the takeout business so brisk, we're thinking of offering delivery.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Unsolicited Product Service Feature Offerings #5: YelpFaceLinked

*a nice-looking, clean, bright professional office setting*

*singing woman carrying in a tray, walking towards camera with a small crowd of singing co-workers all gathering in and around towards camera. On the tray is a large RAIN BOOT in cheery 60's cartoon flower bumblebee rainbow colors*

(to the tune of "Happy Birthday to You")

"Get the fuck out of here. Get the fuck out OF here. Get the FUCK out, get the fuck out get the fuck. out. of herrrrre!"

*Reverse angle on: seated at desk, well-dressed, haircutted GUY who is getting the BOOT:

His FACE is bright, a wide, partly-openmouth smile but eyes also wide, wondering, unsure*


"Not sure how your colleagues really feel about you? Try YelpFaceLinked. YelpFaceLinked is a platform for professionals to come together and offer unbiased raves, opinions, and personal takes on each other, based on real experience, of real people from real people. YelpFaceLinked: Where Transparency Professionally Goes Globally Social on Itself.

YelpFaceLinked is a professional-focused platform of YelpFace. YelpFace, Where People Come to Yelp Each Other Out."

During the narration, you see screenshots and pans of the functionality, and if you lean in and squint a bit you can read some of the comments. Good stuff.

Thought of day: Principled.

I refuse to get involved in a popularity contest unless it's rigged.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Thought of the day: unbeatable

The only thing that can beat the unbeatable argument is the irrational idiot. I am the latter. And I've got the former.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

That Word You Used Does Not Define Me

I was just thinking. I'm proud of who and what I specifically am. Adjectives? COOL. That's what a label is I believe. Generally, it's an adjective? And the converse as well: an adjective is a label. I take 'em all, each and all, case by case - fill up a case and ship me the labels! If they apply literally, I'll slap the patch on my sash and flaunt it as if it had merit. If they apply to me only questionably, I'll question, and we'll come as close to understanding each other as is pleasurable and convenient. If it's intended as an insult, I'll thank you for the compliment! It was after all, nice of you to notice, and I have to believe you spoke because you felt it was important that I hear. That shows class, and I respond with gratitude and humility. You compliment me! But if you clarify "no, what I just called you means you're dumb/weak/something wrong with you," well I'll clarify, as you didn't seem to get the point: I'm happy to do you the favor of showing you how mighty that weak thing you called me really is.

Next time, you'll use the word properly! In consideration of the fact that you met one once, and it turned out these people-so-called aren't all as pejorative as you'd been led to believe, by all those glamorous and ignorant rumors.

What's the problem with every label that touches me? Even just a bit! However slight, a kiss, a hit, a hit - if it's a hit I do confess it. You can't run me through with one of those things. What's all the indignation over? "You can't define me!" No duh, my sun! You can't define ANY one. You just noticed that now? You can't definite a person except with a 1:1 fit, because when it comes to people, we are none of us synonyms. If you look in the dictionary under you, you will not see me.

Perhaps the closest you could come to defining a person is to read out their full and unabridged name. And guess what: they make that name and live what it means into being. They wrote the definition. Not you. So no, you can't "define me."

Yet so what? When every word you use fits perfect square. When each descriptive word you pick hits dead-center apt, describing some aspect that I do in fact have. It's not impressive. We have an infinite quiverful of wonderful words, straight sharp shafts to fit to the strings of our tongues and let fly. And guess what? The words apply. They apply to you. When the apt word is chosen and the aim is true, yes. That label in fact pertains to you. And the labels you apply to me do too! Wonderful of you! Thanks again for noticing - my attributes and traits, and for putting to them one of the various well-honed, fit and fitting names we use for things like that. For shades that hair color, or swoops of bone structure, or graces of motion, or ever-so-barely-noticed degrees of eyebrow raise. You nailed it! Got me with an adjective. And it's so me. I think I'll keep it.

I am that.

Let's go celebrate, shall we? Because now that we agree, have I got a few choice words for you!

And believe me you won't mind much if at all. It's ribbons and medals all around, as far as I'm concerned - this or that bright colored swatch that flaps on one's breast and states what state we happen to achieve, or what classification fits us scientifically, or how others have expertly-assessed our artistry, as we backflip, stick the landing, curtsy and put a bow on it. Ribbons all around! Pin it on, pin it on pin it on me.

Every label you'd care to apply. That's just a bright, colored ribbon at the All-Species State Fair.

Although guess what? I was wrong. You can define me. Quite easily, in fact! But it's going to take a lot of pretty ribbons.

Them Eternally Puzzlin' Posers #2: Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Because good people exist.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Trendspotting 2: What's Next For Alterative Anachronism Style Slash Attitude Mashups?

Steampunk's kind of cool, but I think it's time we dug deeper into the antecedents that no doubt must have led to the steampunk revolt in the first place. That's right.


Video Game Idea #4: BOSSQUEST: The Embossening

There should be a video game where you ARE the level boss. I mean - that's such an obvious idea, probably there are already several takes on it, but if not, come on. NEEDS TO BE DONE. All you'd do is fucking sit around waiting for these shrimpy quick dudes to come in and try to beat you with their nimbleness, move combos and clever weapons. You'd be all "BUMP!!!!!!! Next."

Well, that's not all you'd do. Despite the perception of most Players, there's a lot more involved in being Boss than waiting around to whomp up on some pipsqueak chump. In between attacks from Players (by the way, when we say "Players," we mean "antagonist character, controlled by the computer but made to resemble the stereotypical player-protagonist of other videogames - right down to the godawful botched jumps and dodge-right-into-the-attack gaffes of the early and inexperienced comers! Players coming at you would show recognizably different improvisations, strategies, and other idiosyncrasies, just like a real Boss has to face), you'd have social time with your minions and various little interaction skits and jokes that would be (for a videogame) quite revolutionary in their fuzzy logic bot personalities, albeit designed not to pass as real people but to incarnate various quirky personalities of video-game underthugs. There would be internecine backstabbing office politics and rivalries to deal with, sure, and non-Player-fighting job tasks assigned that you'll have to juggle, but also water coolor chat, maybe parties with cake for some occasion - a going-away, a birthday whatever. All kinds of stuff you can imagine! The perils of interoffice dating, in a realistic major videogame badguy corporation setting. But don't get too wrapped up in it the milieu because - SUPRISE!!!! HOLY SHIT here comes another level-storming attacker! What the fuck, guys, nobody was out on hall patrol?! Everybody in the party, fuck. Real responsible! The stooges would scatter as much in fear of your wrath as in fear of Player - leaving you to meet the sneak attack at a furious disadvantage, but perhaps: fuck it. You're the Boss. Sometimes, that's the Job.

That's why you make the big bucks. Or whatever form of respect and satisfaction tokens bad guys get paid in, in their pixelated economy.

Character design would be a big key to the appeal. You can imagine the examples I'm sure. You want to push all the way archetypal without slipping over to derivative. You can't go wrong, long as it's got that appeal to it! A big hairy robot in diapers with an eight-month's pregnant belly and a jaunty beret? Sure, why not. Haun! Haun! Haun! Something memorable, something quirky, that's the main thing. It's got to hearken to the idea of what a Big Boss is and a Level Boss aspires to be, again, without blatantly ripping off any single game. There are so many fantastic ideas you could throw up you might as well just pick one and run with it, honestly. In fact, while the main Boss character would be so out-of-the-box kickass that everybody'd love to play it, you can also choose the choose-your-own full-custom feature if you like. People will come up with some FUCKED-UP Boss options, I assure you - and there'd be connectivity via online to share, so your great little self-made guy can go viral! Become beloved and infamous. A lot of different goals to be pursued in this game - but you don't have to, you can ignore the distractions and just focus on being as Boss as you like. Arguably you'll do better on the official scoring.

Gameplay would include a level-up feature that's not just a power-up, it's also a race against the clock versus the powering-up Players. You'd smack the crap out of all comers easy at first, but it gets harder pretty fast. The more you pound fuck out of the intruder with style, flair, brutality, etc. the more your points rack up. The worse the Player gets in hits against you, you're LOSING points (not health bar though - style bar). In short, the longer it takes you to beat enough Players to level up to the next level's Boss (with a power and size beef-up to suit - by the way, all this time you've been EATING the defeated players!), the quicker those incoming attackers are improving in power, skill, guile, and Ken. But then if you can make it to the promotion point YOU take a leap up in toughness - and you're once again easily trashing the initial Players who make it to you. Do it fast while you can, do it with style, do it with cruel taunts and psychological warfare - trick the Player into thinking they've got you cornered and them BOOM. SHITTED ON 'EM! There'd be some interesting attack and defense options, and a fast fun intuitive gameplay. You need every bit of it to realize your goal, and make it all the way to be Big Boss.

By the way, after each promotion but the last, you come into your new Boss Office and there's the previous occupant, now demoted to make room for your rising star - finishes cleaning out their stuff into a big cardboard box, walks past you grumbling, the usual sad story *sniff*. But then to get that final promotion, you have to battle and defeat the Big Boss yourself!

To Be The Boss, you've got to Beat The Boss.

And the real pain-in-the-ass of it is, if you and the Big Boss take too long battling back and forth...guess who's coming to barge in? THE PLAYER.

Which won't go real well for him/her, one suspects. But it'll be a hell of a strategy wrinkle for your fight!

PHASE-TWO SPOILER: speaking of interactivity, the next phase is we go massively multiplayer online, with real humans controlling the attacking Players, all dying to take down and humiliate Bosses and spoil their Boss dreams - starting out weak and playing their way up, against the competition of all the people playing Bosses competing to be the Boss of the higher levels! Rising and falling based on how they do, constantly beating back waves of aggressive players and trying to outmaneuver and outpolitic one's ambitious rivals. In an environment like that, making it to top Big Boss status of the server could conceivably win you the people's ovation and fame forever.

All-in-all, somebody's probably thought of, developed, marketed and sold this same basic concept, but I bet they fucked up and missed all the important parts. Should've called me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How Many Languages Does Han Solo Speak, Anyway?

Is it just a coincidence he speaks both Chewie and Greedo? Chewie, sure, he's had all the time in the world to learn. But Greedo's kind of an asshole. Not the kind of dude whose conversation delights are going to tempt anyone to bear down and learn a new language for the pleasure of participation. And: Han speaks Jabba, too? Jabba's clearly not speaking Greedo. True, in his own lines he's speaking human to them, but he clearly understands everything they're jibber-jabbering back at him.

Is Solo some kind of specialist in the languages of Tatooine (with a side of wookie for business and good-buddy purposes), or does he speak a comparable selection of local languages at each of the shithole planets he puts the Falcon into port at? We don't get the impression Solo lives in Tatooine. He's just soaking in the wretched atmosphere of scum and villainy at Mos Eisely, keeping an eye out for an easy score, meanwhile enjoying the jazz scene. He's not there to make a thorough study of tongues.

I'm not saying it's impossible for him to have mastered a few languages. I'm just saying it raises an eyebrow. It's a little convenient. Han's not the type you expect to put all that effort and study in, just to impress a few of these fringe species types with his thoughtful grasp of their beloved mother tongue. Especially given he can't be bothered to answer back in it.

The fact these different folks all understand Han doesn't seem too problematic to me. Realistically, everybody pretty much has to understand English. It's clearly the official State Language. These monocultural and definitely English-speaking Imperials who've been ruling this galaxy with an iron fist aren't going to foster some multi-culti polyglot paradise! That Trooper asks you a question, you better be hip to his jive talk. And I suspect if you can't answer in him back in something he can understand, you may find yourself up shit creek in Dagoba without a Gronkneik.

The more you examine it, the more peculiar Han Solo's love of languages seems. I wish we'd learned a bit more about this guy's backstory.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

The Tough Topics #37: Slavery and the Bee Crisis

Somebody once told me that in Japan, there are no bees, and so all pollination is done by hand. It turns out that's not true, but I'm pretty sure I know who steered me wrong and how it happened. She must have read something to the effect that "In Japan, pollination is done by hand," and took it to mean that it was done ONLY by hand. She then passed that tidbit on to me, in that breathless and plausible way she has, such that I found it amazing instead of merely incredible - result? I didn't look it up. Now, it is true enough that in Japan, pollination is done by hand - but not exclusively, and not only in Japan. Japan does have bees. I apologize to any of you who I may have misled on that score, in the past. Blast my credulity! Blast yours too, while we're at it.

In the process of hunting and pecking around the internet to research this topic, I also came across an interesting and hilarious tidbit: an estimate to the effect that converting the pollination industry from bee-based to humans-only would cost a cool nine-hundred billion dollars.

Estimates like that are delightful to me, because come on. No way would it cost that much! There isn't that much money in the world! Push come to shove, they wouldn't try to spend no nine hundred billion dollars. They'd just bring back slavery.


First: make it multiracial, of course. That would kill two birds with one stone, really. You do realize that today, people consider that slavery was wrong because it was racist? It's true! So we fix that. Institute quotas: no racial demographic can be overrepresented by more than 5 percentage points, in a comparison of the general population to the slave population. Once you hit that ceiling, anybody of that racial group wanting to sell themselves into slavery would be turned down cold.

Secondly, no matter what, nobody would be captured and made a slave. That's unjust. It would only be people who have consensually sold themselves into it, due to unpayable student loans, or to avoid a prison sentence, or whatever other reason. Maybe they're investigative journalists, and a little too gung-ho about it? Here's how it would work: they'd sell themselves to the government, and whoever needs the slaves would buy them from the government - sterilized, of course! You can't have slaves breeding. You'd be raising generations of children born into slavery, if you did that. It would destroy the market!

Thirdly, let's put some strict anticruelty laws in place. This is a no-brainer. There needs to be regulation and oversight to ensure slaves are being pampered with plenty of nutritious food, adequate clothing, clean and sanitary living quarters with strict limits on overcrowding. Economies of scale apply: clothing, food and lodging doesn't cost nearly as much as they milk you for it at retail! Cap the work-week at 70 hours at the absolute most, with provisions for holidays and reduced workloads for the elderly - I'm not sure what you'd do about the infirm. Perhaps they could tell stories or sing.

Point is, it's clear these solutions can be come up with. If you don't think people would sell themselves into slavery and not sweat the tradeoff, you may not be paying close attention to what life's like. Would you choose a life of drudge work, no pay, no possibility of advancement, but at least you know you'll be clothed, fed, housed and taken care of? If you are many, many people, you're already choosing all the negatives from that list. If you think people wouldn't willingly consign themselves to what they're already pretty much doing in exchange for a guaranteed standard of living, go "google" recidivism, why don't you. Prisons are drastically overcrowded and, we hear, dangerous places. And in case you don't know, people commit crime just to get back inside: where they know they're clothed, fed, housed, and to some extent, taken care of. They say it's because the person has been institutionalized, from years on the inside.

Wrong. It's because the outside is a far worse institution than prison, for many, many people. We will have no shortage of crop pollinators (among other trades), and it won't cost no nine-hundred billion dollars.

But hold on there!

Maybe the crisis won't end up requiring such creative measures, you say? Rather than change the very structure of how we view (or claim to) human life, wouldn't it be more prudent to not? And if it happens, won't the problem take care of itself, as all things do? Five or ten years after the agriculture crash, what we've got left will be - at that point - a sustainable population, won't it?

I have to admit, you're right, there. Some would argue, better to preserve our essential liberties for posterity, in that case - rather than trade 'em all away now, over some b.s. current-events crisis that ten years from now will find itself all taken care of. Isn't it time for us to cure ourselves of the stereotypical modern-era curse of shortsightedness?

Far and away the best solution would be, of course: bees. And plenty of 'em. Bees are better than nine hundred billion dollars that we don't have.

Bees are better than slavery, too. Anyone arguing otherwise has something wrong with them.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Video Game Pitch #3 (I think): FUTURE SOCIOPATH

One time I thought a great videogame would be called "Future Sociopath" and you'd start out as a toddler pulling wings off flies and progress from there. You know how one of the common childhood backgrounds to violent sociopaths is torturing and killing helpless creatures? Lack of empathy? Etc.? It would be like that. Perhaps you could even boost sales piggybacking off the success of Grand Theft Auto by implying it could easily be a prequel.

Yes, we all know that the link between childhood sadism towards animals and violent, dissociative adult behavior has been questioned, some say discredited, and that there's little hard diagnostic correlation to support the claim, but the idea is pretty well imbedded in our web of pop culture pop psychology notions - and isn't that half the whole fun of videogames to have some fun with our collective myths?

Also, if we can get young people to play the game it could keep them from doing it for real. Sometimes, you really don't want Johnny to go play outside.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Tight Pants PSA Campaign Pitch

"Hi, I'm film and television actor Bradley Cooper. You know, tight pants aren't just unsightly and uncomfortable. They are proven to lower sperm counts, and could even be a link to increased risk of testicular cancer. DON'T BE A DICK TO YOUR BALLS."

There are a couple potential problems with this pitch, but I think if we can get Bradley Cooper those problems go away pretty much. It'd be a short, punchy spot. Get in, get to the catchphrase, get out. Arguably Bradley Cooper's not the best pick for this, as he's been quite a tight pants wearer himself, but in my belief it's always been in the service of the role. Anyway, a converted former offender can be a convincing pitchman.

People might object that the testicular cancer link isn't established or supported by anything in the research. This is probably true, but I needed two medical-sounding things. Besides, I softened it quite a bit with that "and could even be a link" bit. Nobody's saying any link has been proved. But if we can get these poor tight-pants culture victims to loosen up a bit and look less ridiculous, the ends justify the means to some extent do they not?

Really I just wanted a reason for the "Don't be a dick to your balls" slogan. That could easily catch on.