Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Super People Get Together: vaguely thought out idea

So they all come together for RPG night.

The one who uses the super-speed and equivalently fast thinking to move through mountains of of paperwork in moments.

The person who delivers papers and parcels for a living, and canvases like you wouldn't believe during the political season, all using teleportation.

The person who uses their super-strength to bend get the stuff they're sent (which is never to spec no matter how many complaints they lodge) to fit together correctly on the manufacturing floor.

The one whose social anxiety isn't helped at all by knowing that people hold zir in high regard through telepathic means because what if the power is wrong, what if that's what the person wants zir to think and deeper down . . . social anxiety cannot be stopped by logic, reason, and telepathy.

The person with wings who has to hide all the time because they're so conspicuous but has a friend sell their aerial photography.

The cook at the brick oven pizza place who is having troubles because ze happens to be heir to some of the most powerful bloodline linked magic in existence and none of it makes any sense.  (Loves AD&D (second edition) because the magic is all explained and quantified in a thousand rule books.  Unlike the real thing that just slams you with something that overturns your paradigm every time you think you might have the cursory beginnings of a theory.)

The immortal, child of Pompeii, who thought ze finally understood the modern world until World War I and is still reeling from how bizarre and inconceivable the whole thing is.  Works as a research assistant.  Zir Latin is impeccable, the English could use some work.  It limits the value of the translations.

The experiment.  Passes for human in dimly lit places with the hoodie hood up.  Climbs walls like a gecko, has gills like a fish, retractable claws that serve as a paralytic delivery system, healing is second only to the immortal, eyes that can see the full spectrum and the various polarizations, so on, so forth.  Works inventory at a big box store.  After hours of course.

RPG night is on Saturdays, and once a month they try to do something bigger together.  A lot of them gripe about people telling them that they've got great responsibility.  Why?  What hideous crime did any of them commit to deny them the chance at a regular life given to others?

Pizza, soda, the immortal has all the best wine, and some of the others bring beer.  Sometimes there's pot.

It may be the time when they're most openly different, but it's the only time any of them ever truly feel normal.  They kick back, have fun, and relieve stress with people who see them as people.  Not gods.  Not monsters.  Not protectors or threats.  People.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The way elections and radical activism fit together.

[Originally posted in the comments to a friend, well . . . acquaintance, but I'd be proud to call her a friend and we are facebook friends,'s  facebook post.]
[So some pretty extreme hardcore activists who know every single thing that candidateshave ever done wrong and tend to be disillusioned to the point they weren't in favor of voting at all were talking about the need to change the system itself, challenge the two party system, and so forth.  That's context.]

So I came here today because I was thinking about how I wish I could meaningfully vote for someone like Meaghan [LaSala], but since there's this discussion. . .

It seems like every election I've been eligible to vote in has been a choice between bad and worse.*  I don't like that. I want to vote for good, but that option never seems to be on the ballot. So faced with bad and worse I always vote for not-worse.

Yeah, we keep on getting the choices of, "More of the same or make things worse," and "more of the same" isn't good. But at least it's better than "let's make things worse."

When it comes to the presidency we get four years to try to make things better. We get four years to try to challenge the system. But when those four years are up, if we haven't changed things yet, and we haven't, we're faced with a choice between three alternatives: Democrat, Republican, or leave it up to other people to make the call (except possibly in Utah where a vote for Evan McMullin has a serious chance of making a difference. A weird difference, but a difference.)

With the House we only get two years to try to change things between the times we have to make a choice we won't like, but House districts are small enough that people have actually had successes at challenging the system at that level.

Fixing things has to come from the bottom up, which means it's not about who you choose for President or Senator and probably not about who you choose for the House.

Breaking things can easily come from the top down, which means that if you don't want things to get worse it _is_ about who you choose for President and Senator and probably, but not definitely, for the House.

And that's fucking terrible. But it's the way things are. Between elections you work to make things better, but on whatever day you vote or choose not to it's about trying to make it so things don't get worse because the work to make things better, by and large, hasn't broken through to the viable choices on the ballot.

It's one day every year or two (depending on where you live) which leaves 364.245 days, on average, in which you can actually work on making things better.

- - -

* So there's some editing for the crowd in that.

Obama wasn't my first choice in 2008, but my first choice wasn't running.  She still isn't.  That said I did feel like he was "good".  in 2012 a vote for him was a vote for more of the same which given that we'd had two years of Tea Party wasn't a vote for good.  That was bad.  Mitt Romney in charge of the executive with the Tea Party congress would have been much, much worse.

In 2010 Libby Mitchel was a weak nominee, Culter was worse, LePage was apocalyptic.  We've been living in apocalyptic for almost six years now and I still have yet to meet Furiosa.  That's just plain unfair.

Other than 2008 Obama, I've never really had the opportunity to vote, "Let's make things better."  But I did vote for 2008 Obama.  And, damn, I just remembered, I voted for Kerry which would be "Let's make things better," given that he was running against Bush.  I guess that one was too painful and I purged it from my mind.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The people who can take away your children

Ok, so the thing is, in Maine and Massachusetts I know people dealing with the people who can take away kids.

Now, far be it for me to speak glowingly of the tyrannical bastards who denied us our freedom until such time as political maneuvering centered on Missouri made it expedient in 1820, but Massachusetts does this better.  Way better.  Worlds better.

As in I mention what I've experienced and heard of in Massachusetts to people in Maine and they're all "I wish things were like that here."

A strong possibility as to why is that Massachusetts has a agency to actually handle the difficult matter of deciding whether or not to break up a family.  In Maine it's DHHS itself.  Department of Health and Human Services.  The people who give me food money so that I don't starve.  The people who give me insurance so that my depression doesn't rule my life and I have a flat rate of a 3 dollar co-pay even though the only medicine that works on me is one of the more expensive ones out there.  The people who do everything, and then a bit more.

If instead of DHHS we had an isolated (standalone) CPS or DCF in which the people were specifically trained to deal with this shit, then maybe our people who can break up families wouldn't be so terrible.

It's a necessary job, some families need to be broken up.  No soul-having individual (few soul-lacking individuals) want to see kids suffer needlessly.  Child abuse is a serious problem, child neglect too, and these and all related problems need to be dealt with.

But on the flip side, breaking up a family for no good reason is bullshit.

By the time DHHS got around to saying what needed to happen for my sister to get her child back, they knew that everything the accuser had said to them was a lie.  He'd changed his story to them three times (making four stories) and when he had to make a legally binding report he recanted all four of those stories and presented a fifth.  Granted he didn't present it to them, but they knew he said, on the record, that he'd been lying to them.

With only lies telling them to break the family up, and a lot of stuff telling them not to, they're digging in, trying to get better leverage, and refusing to budge.  They're doing everything they can to delay giving my sister her child back.

Now, in Massachusetts they take a different approach.  If there's no abuse or neglect, but there are other problems, they take a position of, "This is what you need to do to keep your family together, let's get it done as soon as possible because then you don't have to worry and I can move on to dealing with children who need my intervention more."

That seems a better approach.

The people who can take your children away are given enormous power because they have enormous responsibility, they should also be given excellent training and be subjected to great scrutiny, because without good training and effective oversight great power and great responsibility are a recipe for disaster.

That's what seems to be happening in Maine.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Trump and losing

[Originally posted at Slacktivist.]
[So, for context someone said . . . I'll just copy it.]

Tsotate wrote:
He might be happy at taking the party down with him, but he'll never be happy about his name now becoming synonymous with "loser". There's a facebook event with over nine-thousand people signed up to stand outside Trump Tower pointing and laughing on November 9. That's not the sort of response Trump can be happy about.
So I responded with:


He's the best at everything. He even loses big. He's the best loser. Other people might lose their car keys, but Trump can lose so much more. Nobody loses like Trump.

Did over nine thousand people show up to point and laugh at Mitt Romney? No. But they will for Trump. Why? Because when Trump loses he loses YUGE. Nobody loses better. Trump loses best.

Trump is great at losing. Why they ought to call it, "Trumping" he's so good at it.

- - -

Did I say there were four Trump things?  I think I did.  That means we've reached the end of "Trump Trump Trump Trump"  Woo!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Four Realms: Luke and Ella

There are not many things that the upper echelons Heaven and Hell agree on, and those areas where they do agree tend to involve the distant past (such as certain details about the creation of the universe.)  In fact, it's difficult to get the upper echelon to agree with itself in either Heaven or Hell.

But amoung the most powerful of the powers that be, it is universally agreed that the Luke and Ella theory, the Ella and Luke theory, the Ella or Luke theory, and all possible permutations of such theories are not merely false but outright blasphemy.

In fact, there is less stigma attached to the "God is dead" theory in Heaven than to the Ella theory, and there is less stigma attached to the "Lucifer bit the dust" theory in Hell than there is to the Luke theory.

Yet in spite of this the theories persist, and are indeed pervasive.

Some of this can be attributed to the fractured nature of the rulerships of Heaven and Hell because while the top echelon may denounce the theory, there are members of lower echelons with no clear oversight and some of them are indifferent about the theory or even supportive of it.  However, the prevalence of the theory cannot be solely, or indeed mostly, attributed to these safe harbors.  Within every organization of a certain size in Heaven or Hell it is all but certain that at least someone believes the theory.

The hostility toward the theory is not just that it involves assuming the leader of Heaven, Hell, or both left the entire population thereof out of the loop.  In fact, many of the theories to explain the absence of God, Lucifer, or both that see instituional support take this as a given.

Nor is it merely because the idea that the most powerful beings in the universe (God and Lucifer being those beings is another of the few things that Heaven and Hell agree on) decided to leave their jobs and live as humans, the youngest and arguably least impressive of the eight races, is considered absurd.

Likewise it cannot be attributed to the fact both Luke and Ella have been confirmed to be completely mundane humans in the few remotely credible sightings where attempts were made to test their nature.

It must be acknowledged that the largest part of the resistance to the Luke and Ella theory is ideological.

Many might accept that God, Lucifer, or both determined that the fate of the universe would be decided not from the top down, but from the bottom up.  From there it is possible to make the leap that says they would do this by taking on the forms and limitations of the lowliest and most ephemeral of the eight races.

Where the theory breaks down and gets denounced is in the characters of Luke and Ella.

If Luke really is Lucifer, then serious questions must be asked about why he acts the way he does.  Luke does not attempt to drive souls from the Heavenward path.  Luke does not attempt to corrupt humanity.  Luke does not appear to dislike humanity.  Luke cannot be said to be evil.

Instead Luke spends his time helping people and, if he can be said to be opposed to anything, it is institutional power, not God.

If Ella really is God, then why doesn't she care about religion?  Why are her actions secular?  Why is she willing to break bread with Satanists?  Why does she ignore the dictates of religion?  (Whichever religion the angel in question holds true.)  Why does she cavort with atheists, antitheists, and maltheists?

Why would she, like Luke, simply wander the earth helping people regardless of religion.  Instead of teaching people rules to live by, as God obviously would, she seems instead to have a flexible situation dependent understanding of ethics that makes it difficult to divine any set of fixed rules her actions exemplify.

She seems to favor helping those who are victims of individuals or small groups, such as bullies or gangs.  She does this even on the Sabbath day and regardless of what commandments, strictures, pillars, or other rules the victims may have broken.

The fact that she is reported to have said that, "Don't be an asshole," is a sufficient rule to live by incenses many.  This would be anarchy, they argue.  The few who dare to argue against them point out that actually living by that rule requires extensive study and constant work, which is the sort of thing that a religion could be used to speed up and direct.  This argument has not been met with approval.

Another problem is that there are rumors that Luke and Ella have worked together at least once.  If Luke and Ella are simply wandering humans then this is easy to believe.  Both would rush to help the victims of bullies with institutional power.  If Luke and Ella are Lucifer and God this is more difficult to accept.  The two meeting ought to be apocalyptic, it is argued, and they would not set that aside to meddle in the minor affairs of humans.

The theory also suffers because there is no definitive proof that either Luke or Ella actually exists.  Certainly there are many individuals with those names, but that the ones described by the theory exist is much more difficult to determine.  The fact that the characters of the two are consistent across reports lends some credence to the idea they exist, but it could be that those making such reports only did so because the character of the individual they met was consistent with reports already made.

It should be noted that outside of Heaven and Hell the theory meets little resistance.  In addition to it being entertained, variations often crop up.  Amoung the Norse there are those who believe Loki, in one of his excursions as a human, is Ella, Luke, or both.  Others point to Odin as a likely candidate.

The theory is harmless, and it would be prudent to stop suppressing it.  The arguments against it would likely be given greater weight if they were supported not by the fear of punishment but instead their own soundness.

The current situation has led to the theory flourishing in darkness and private spaces.  It has also made it difficult to debunk the claim that where Luke and Ella go there are often miracles of an unknown sort using magic undetectable by ordinary means.  This is because such stories are generally told in such a way as to obscure the source, and thus protect each story's originator from any official sanctions.

The greatest mystery surrounding Luke and Ella sightings is what caused them to be identified with Lucifer and God, respectively, in the first place.  Neither Luke nor Ella has been reported to have claimed to be more than human.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Vergil overused superlatives but he was not on the level of Trump

[Originally posted at Slacktivist after people were talking about Trump's excessive use of superlatives.]

Vergil overused superlatives and thus we have other Latin poets mocking that, but it wasn't directed at himself and it wasn't nearly as frequent and he was Vergil so he had some points in his favor.

He didn't write:

Muse, take the day off, I can speak of Arms and the Man better than anyone. I have the greatest knowledge of Arms. Nobody knows weapons like I do. And as for the Man, I am the man. Aeneas and I are like twins, except I'm smarter and better looking. No one can tell the story of Aeneas the way I can tell the story of Aeneas...

And so on.

Someone probably did write that. Someone who got lost to history because they fucking deserved to be forgotten.

Making money by blogging.

The blog started in 2011 (it actually just turned five last month) and I applied to add ads late that year and noticed that they'd finally went active (because I earned a penny) on December 29th.

Today I was informed that I finally had earned enough money for them to pay me (the threshold is 100 USD.)  In fact, I earned more than enough by 49 cents.

This allows us to do some math.  $100.49 per 1759 days equals 5.7 cents per day.  That's actually way better than I would have thought because usually I'm lucky to earn a penny or two, but then again there are some days when the stars align and . . . I'm not totally sure but I think what happens is that someone clicks an add and then browses the site in a way that the site logs as "potential customer" and on those days I've been known to earn as much as a dollar, so days like that have obviously brought the average up.

So, you know, become a blogger and you could earn between five and six cents a day.

It almost goes without saying, but doesn't quite, that being a beggar/busker is way more lucrative.  That's basically what the donations are: they're the money thrown in my open guitar case on the subway while I regale you with my rendition of . . . what's the guitar equivalent of Twilight/Narnia/Left Behind?

That got my boiler fixed, which I still think of as a furnace because that's what we always called it, thus saving me from going homeless in the dead of winter in Maine.  To afford that on my ad revenue would take 288 years, 72 days, 14 hours, 20 minutes, 58 seconds, and one tenth of a second.

Oh, also, programming note: I went back through my disqus log to dig up any things to be posted and came up with four things on Trump, two of which have already gone up.  I'm trying to write some lighter, or at least less Trumpish, posts to break up that string of Trump Trump Trump Trump.