Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday Evening Photodump

h/t No Smoking in The Skull Cave



Gamma-Fried Chicken

One of my favorite roleplaying game adventure modules was Gamma World's Famine in Far-Go. The player characters are a "group of young adventurers about to begin the sacred Rite of Adulthood." There quest takes them into the Forest of Knowledge to discover the cause of a "mysterious plague." Timothy Truman's artwork alone makes one think twice before eating another order of Frankenfood MacNuggets.

The entire adventure can be found at Scribd.

Gamma World - GW2 - Famine in Far-Go

NRA *heart* NY
Tip o' the pith helmet to New York Governor David Paterson for appointing Kirsten Gillibrand to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton. Senator Gillibrand is the recipient of an "A" from the National Rifle Association for her voting record on Second Amendment issues. Heck, if the Democrats keep this up, they just may win me back to the party of my forefathers.
New York Gov. David Paterson will name Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, an upstate Democrat, to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate, a Democratic official with knowledge of the governor's decision told FOX News on Thursday night.

But some New York City Democrats are skeptical of Gillibrand, who voted against the financial rescue package last fall. And the National Rifle Association has endorsed Gillibrand -- another cause for concern among some Democrats. . . .

In defense of the endorsement, Gillibrand told FOX News that she comes from a "hunting family" and "wants to support hunter's rights."

[ source : Field & Stream ]

Tip o' the pith helmet to President Obama as well for these kind words:
“Governor Paterson made a wonderful choice in appointing Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Secretary Clinton’s seat in the United States Senate. I am confident that she will continue Secretary Clinton’s distinguished service to the people of New York and to our country….During her career, Kirsten has been a strong voice for transparency and reform in government and shares the belief that government should be open, accessible and work for all of our citizens. In Congress and as special counsel for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she worked to strengthen public and private partnerships to invest in infrastructure and New York’s economy.”

[ source : Wall Street Journal ]

How to clean a Yugo

Saturday, January 17, 2009


The Loyal Masters of Dungeons & Dragons at The Boston Globe
Johnny Liu keeps his love for Dungeons & Dragons on the down low.

"I guess it's the stereotype of playing it - they are usually fat, sweaty, hairy dorky men who are socially inept who happen to live in their mom's basement," said Liu, 23, of Somerville. "It's not the stereotype. Vin Diesel played that game."

( Read more ... )

Post-Apocalyptic Post

Over at the Gamma World Yahoo Group, kvedulf2000 posted about The Last American: A Fragment from The Journal of Khan-Li, Prince of Dimph-Yoo-Chur and Admiral in the Persian Navy by J. A. Mitchell. It is written from the perspective of a Persian archaeological expedition exploring the ruins of post-apocalyptic 1990s "Mehrika." Interestingly enough, this piece wasn't written in this millenium. According to kvedulf2000, it was penned some time between 1889 and 1906.

An excerpt:
TO THOSE THOUGHTFUL PERSIANS WHO CAN READ A WARNING IN THE SUDDEN RISE AND SWIFT EXTINCTION OF A FOOLISH PEOPLE THIS VOLUME IS DEDICATED A FEW WORDS BY HEDFUL SURNAMED "THE AXIS OF WISDOM" _Curator of the Imperial Museum at Shiraz._ _Author of "The Celestial Conquest of Kaly-phorn-ya," and of_ _"Northern Mehrika under the Hy-Bernyan Rulers"_
The astounding discoveries of Khan-li of Dimph-yoo-chur have thrown floods of light upon the domestic life of the Mehrikan people. He little realized when he landed upon that sleeping continent what a service he was about to render history, or what enthusiasm his discoveries would arouse among Persian archaeologists.
Every student of antiquity is familiar with these facts.
But for the benefit of those who have yet to acquire a knowledge of this extraordinary people, I advise, first, a visit to the Museum at Teheran in order to excite their interest in the subject, and second, the reading of such books as Nofuhl's "What we Found in the West," and Noz-yt-ahl's "History of the Mehrikans." The last-named is a complete and reliable history of these people from the birth of the Republic under George-wash-yn-tun to the year 1990, when they ceased to exist as a nation. I must say, however, that Noz-yt-ahl leaves the reader much confused concerning the period between the massacre of the Protestants in 1927, and the overflow of the Murfey dynasty in 1940.
He holds the opinion with many other historians that the Mehrikans were a mongrel race, with little or no patriotism, and were purely imitative; simply an enlarged copy of other nationalities extant at the time. He pronounces them a shallow, nervous, extravagant people, and accords them but few redeeming virtues. This, of course, is just; but nevertheless they will always be an interesting study by reason of their rapid growth, their vast numbers, their marvellous mechanical ingenuity and their sudden and almost unaccountable disappearance.
The wealth, luxury, and gradual decline of the native population; the frightful climatic changes which swept the country like a mower's scythe; the rapid conversion of a vast continent, alive with millions of pleasure-loving people, into a silent wilderness, where the sun and moon look down in turn upon hundreds of weed-grown cities,--all this is told by Noz-yt-ahl with force and accuracy.
"Here's Truth. 'T is a bitter pill but good physic."
There is land ahead! Grip-til-lah was first to see it, and when he shouted the tidings my heart beat fast with joy. The famished crew have forgotten their disconsolate stomachs and are dancing about the deck. 'T is not I, forsooth, who shall restrain them! A month of emptiness upon a heavy sea is preparation for any folly. Nofuhl alone is without enthusiasm. The old man's heart seems dead.
We can see the land plainly, a dim strip along the western horizon. A fair wind blows from the northeast, but we get on with cruel hindrance, for the _Zlotuhb_ is a heavy ship, her bluff bow and voluminous bottom ill fitting her for speed. The land, as we near it, seems covered with trees, and the white breakers along the yellow beach are a welcome sight.

Read The Last American: A Fragment from The Journal of Khan-Li, Prince of Dimph-Yoo-Chur and Admiral in the Persian Navy in its entirety

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Great Gamble

I've read George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman and The Great Game and Peter Hopkirk's The Great Game, but now I think it's time to read about the Great Gamble. While listening to Morning Edition back on January 8, I discovered that NPR's Man in Moscow Gregory Feifer, has written a new history of the Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan titled The Great Gamble
"The common view of the war was that it was a Soviet territorial grab. But the truth was much more confused," Feifer tells Renee Montagne.

Feifer says the Soviets actually spent about a year turning down requests from the Afghan communist government to bring in troops. Eventually, the Soviets decided to take action — by getting rid of the Afghan leader. After two bungled attempts to poison him, Moscow decided to send in troops — a kind of "inertia," Feifer says, surrounding these failed assassination attempts.

"There was no one decision to launch an invasion," he says.

A brutal and scarring experience for both Russian soldiers and the local population, the Soviet war in Afghanistan provides many lessons applicable to the current coalition war there.

"We have to do, essentially, the opposite of what the Soviets did," Feifer says. "We have to be incredibly sensitive to the needs of the local population. And our mission is to rebuild the society so that the government can be sustainable.
"It's an incredibly difficult task, but it's vital that we understand what happened in Afghanistan if we have any chance of succeeding now," he says.

[ source : NPR ]

Saturday, January 3, 2009

'Toons and Guns

My PC remains KIA. During my luddite sabbatical, it's been a nonstop festival of Anthony Bourdain, The Twilight Zone, and Cartoon Network. Since school is out, I allowed my young padawan to stay up past his usual Friday night fare of The Secret Saturdays and Star Wars: The Clone Wars to watch Ben 10.

I didn't think I'd like the show. I've always thought it was just some kid from the Age of Emo that can turn himself into Pokemon critters. However, I was quite pleasantly surprised with last night's offering. Ben is summoned to an alternate dimension that was used as a penal colony. Sort of how I always imagined that place you can end up if you draw the wrong card from a Deck of Many Things from the old Dungeon Master's Guide. He ends up helping liberate a group of farmers that looked to be a cross between Nute Gunray and the rice farmers from Seven Samurai. The guards of the dimension looked like something straight out of Lovecraft.

I've been hearing on the news about the rush of us God-and-gun-clingers to buy up firearms before President-elect Obama takes office; however, since I'm too broke to buy weapons these days, I've not given it much thought. Today, I went to my local firearms merchant. Aside from a half dozen AR-15 variants, they were virtually clean out of things that Nancy Pelosi would label as "assault weapons."