Chaos

One of the things that the left side of the isle (but not just them) don’t understand about people like us is our chaotic nature.

Yes, I do have a coffee mug that says “I like playing chaotic neutral, because I like to keep all my options open.”

One, I don’t actually play D & D.  I did it once, when I was a housewife with a small boy and stuck at home all day and I think I inadvertently took up DMing for the group, which made it way too much work.  If I’m going to work that hard, I want a novel at the end.

Okay, okay, I realize it might be different with a different group, and am perfectly willing to try it.  There are local friends who have offered.  Maybe towards the end of the year, if there’s time. But still I’ve never done it.

Two, from my sons who both play RPGs I’ve come to realize that “chaotic neutral” means you might save the orphans from the burning orphanage… or set the orphanage on fire.  So, I know I’m not that.  I could be.  (More on that later.) But I’m not.  I have internal principles I cannot betray, at the risk of becoming “not me.”  The mug is funny though, just like my other coffee mug “I drink and slay dragons.  That’s what I do.”  … really, I don’t drink that much, and the dragon dragon-slayer has been done to death.

But it occurs to me to a lot of the left (and some of the more socially conservative right) we LOOK chaotic neutral.  Why?

Because they have not the slightest notion who or what we are.

Take the Tea Party, before it got weird.  And keep in mind that I think the Col Springs one was a weird half false flag, half crazy evangelical organization from the beginning, that, for instance, asked you to donate a can of food to the homeless shelter organization AND had the people from Focus on the Family give speeches.

It was still, mainly, against taxes.  And against government over reach.  At lest as to its attendance.  Healthcare, 25 percent of gross GDP had just got grabbed by government, by a procedural trick, with the fricking IRS administering it, and even the so called “right wing”(they aren’t) news media were playing footsie.  The vast opposition had no voice.

I don’t remember how I heard about the tea party but it was back door of a back door, of a back door, if that makes sense.  Hell, it might have been my Marxist neighbor who told me, sneering, over the garden fence.

This was early on.  We expected trouble.  I was still — I thought — semi-closeted.

There was NEVER any chance I wouldn’t go.  I decided early on no car.  I’d walk downtown (I’ve been to demonstrations where parked cars got set on fire by the left.  But at any rate, it would be hell to park.)

And I walked down.

Later on the tea party would be painted as an evangelical and of course racisss sexissss homophobic movement.  This is logical if you follow the left’s (racist, sexist homophobic beliefs — more on that later) and I think it ended up attracting crazy people TM both because revolutionary movements always do, and because of the rep the left gave it.  But even I was surprised at how fricking diverse that first demonstration was.

Seriously, as I was walking down (about a mile and three quarters) with an air of purpose, I noticed people also walking down.

To give some background, I lived in downtown Colorado Springs, a dot of blue in a sea of red. Also I lived, as we often have throughout our married life, at the edge of the lavender zone.  Not that we seek it out, but I live, by preference, where I can walk to shops and libraries (used to be coffee shops) because I need to walk for my health, but I have the hunter-gatherers attitude about wasting energy for nothing.  As in “don’t do it.” If I have a place I can walk to, I do so.  Also, of course, we have writer and mathematician money, which isn’t exactly either steady or crazy money.  So we pick places on the edge of gentrifying.  Safe but not expensive as hell.  Which are often right next to or in the lavender zone.

So yeah, there were gay people — wearing the rainbow colors — walking down with me.  I thought they were going to counter-protest, which means the joke is on me and leftist propaganda fools even our side.

Also the neighborhood was probably higher in “vibrant diversity” than the rest of the state, except for areas of Denver.  We were two blocks from Colorado College.  And well, you know that sort of neighborhood.  Thing is of course, not all of it was vibrant.  There were also decent people of all colors in the neighborhood.

Anyway, there were also people of every color who walked down and joined the demonstration.  My biggest surprise was the bus from the Reservation, with tribe members in full regalia, who came to downtown Colorado springs to protest government overreach.  Well, I guess they’d know something about that.

Imagine my surprise when photos in the local paper showed only white people, and talked about a racist/white supremacist movement.

The question is, did the media realize it was lying?  Or did they only see the white members and “protect” the rest of us from our “misguided actions”?

You see, from the left’s perspective any movement that opposes government freebies for all must be racist sexist and homophobic.  Their true opinions of these groups are revealed in that: i.e. if you’re not a (northern) European male, you MUST need government assistance.  (Hello, Left! These are MY middle fingers.)

This is confirmed when you mention, say welfare and they ASSUME you’re talking about people of color.  Because they really despise anyone who can tan that much.  (These are my middle fingers again, and note I have a matched set.)

Because of this deep-set, unshakable and absolutely unexamined (if they examined it they’d have to understand they’re stone cold racists.  Yes, of course they dance around it by saying these groups are poor because of “institutionalized inequity but only the dumber of them get fooled by this) assumption, they can’t comprehend us or our principles.

So every time we oppose them, they have to assume we are against giving opportunities (read benefits and the bigotry of low expectations) to these people who just can’t help themselves.  So we’re bad, evil.  We’re rich white people with all the power, fighting the rise of the enlightened minorities.

Yeah…. okay, I’ve been kind of pale for years.  If you look at my picture, those of you with medical training will also realize that very pale face also has the characteristic puffy hypothyroidal mask.  That’s because my hypothyroidism is NOT of the standard kind, and took about 20 years to detect s it got worse and worse.  This year it’s at least half fixed, and those who saw me at LC asked if I’d been to the beach.  Well, no. I spent about two hours outside on a relatively warm spring day.  And I’m still very pale for me.

When I was a newlywed in the apartment complex in NC the neighbors assumed, without even asking, that I was Mexican.

I’m also against not just government bennies but against the kind of “enlightenment” that hires/buys to “racial percentage” instead of to excellence.  I believe excellence is excellence, and it should be rewarded for the good of our science, our art and our military.

According to the left, this means I want to keep minorities and women from writing/being published in sf/f.  This is a pale bronze middle finger upraised in your direction, wankers.  None of you ever explained how I’m supposed to accomplish that while I’m a midlist writer with absolutely NO power in the publishing industry.  Newsflash, even if we had changed the Hugo awards for a year or ten, it wouldn’t stop anyone from striving and publishing.  Also, before you mau-maued people into dropping out we had all sexes and colors (most of them.  We probably didn’t have pale bronze. Also we didn’t to my knowledge have anyone who identified as a wingless dragon AND an ornate building.  I could be wrong.  You see, we just read the stories, not the writers.) in the running.

But of course, because they’re stone cold racists, if we’re not actively running around pushing people who aren’t ready into publication/awards just because they’re the right sex/color/politics, then we’re keeping them out of publishing.  Yes, that’s right, you victims of Marxist brainwashing who aren’t northern European males.  The left thinks you’ll never survive by your wits alone.  (Have I mentioned middle fingers?  Does it help if I paint the nails bright red?)

I’ve helped, to the extent of my ability and unstintingly people of all sexes/orientations/colors get their start in writing. I don’t have the power to get them published, except indie, but heck, some (most)of my fledgelings in writing/indie are doing way better than I did at their time, and about half better than I do now, financially.

But the left can ONLY understand my actions through the lens of wanting to keep those people they think are incapable of making it on their own out of publishing.

So they don’t understand us.

To them we’re either evil or chaotic neutral.

I’m going to explain it now once and for all.  I don’t believe in numbers, or statistics of distributions of color and sex and orientation (you know what, I’m starting to believe the injunction against taking censuses in the Old Testament was just good, decent common sense.) I don’t believe people need to be pushed/shoved into every field in population proportional numbers.  There is no worse tyranny than that which dictates your life choices according to numbers and in the belief that you are a widget.

Human beings are not widgets and culture of subgroups is a thing.  it’s perfectly possible for people to not want to write, oh, science fiction or do, oh, engineering, because their micro culture isn’t into that.  It’s possible for women to want to stay home and raise kids, without being “oppressed.”

My beliefs can be summed up in: Let my people be.  Actually let ALL the people be.  Take your big busybody… mind, and go stick it in your own life.  You’re not the boss of me.  You’re not the boss of us.

I/we believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for individuals.  WE believe in individuals.  We think you have no clue what an individual even is, and we think you should put your own house in order before you tell us how to live.

Examine your own beliefs, and stop trying to “change the world” when you don’t have any clue how to even clean your room.

Go clean your room.  Because I tell you this, you’re sh*t out of luck when it comes to “ruling the world” (which is what you mean by changing it.  I speak fluent proggy.)

We will not let you.  And we’re determined, angry as h*ll and, unlike you (who could pick any socialist paradise on the map) we have nowhere else to go.

We’re also chaotic, leaderless, and a bit nuts.  Which means not only don’t you “get”us, you never will.

So, stop trying, go clean your room, give up the mind-altering substances, and learn a useful trade that doesn’t involve bossing others.  This is not judgemental, btw.  It’s what you need to do before you have a hope of convincing us you know anything.

Go.  Now.

 

277 responses to “Chaos

  1. A wonderful memory of mine is from a year or so ago. I was following a large (even by local standards large) black pick-up with the Gadsden flag and stars-n-bars flying. It turned into the library parking lot. I was picking up a book, and followed. We parked, and a gentleman of color, wearing an NRA hat, hopped out of the truck. I dearly wish some of the media had been around for that, so I could have heard the sound of brains breaking.

    I regret not going to the early Tea Party rallies. I was still trying to get an academic job at the time, and was worried about my face showing up on news footage.

    • Patrick Chester

      The media would photograph him but crop the photo so you couldn’t tell his skin color.

      • Thomas Cook

        They did exactly that in Arizona. Posted a picture of a man from the back with a rifle slung wearing a hat. Couldn’t tell at all the man was black.

      • In the political sense, being “white” has nothing to do with skin color. Clarence Thomas is white; Rachel Dolezal and Shaun King are black.

        • I’m white. Also Mormon. And Male. The things the left discovers…

          • But we all know that your rack is still quite respectable for a white Mormon male.

          • Maybe they got you confused with Correia and the other LDS/Mormon writers like Brandon Sanderson and that other guy. Then there’s also dragonlance. I made mention on another instanpundit or pj thread that certain religions have certain views towards magic or the supernatural like DnD. There’s the orthodox lines who don’t like certain things and avoids it like the devil, while other religions are more okay with it. Ironically, the latter religions are seen as the same negative orientation by the former authorities.

    • I was worried too. More worried was younger son, then in a liberal high school, who nonetheless insisted on going with me to protect me. BTW despite six foot tall (he’s gained 3 inches since then) black-leather-jacketed, sulking body guard, three guys tried to ask me out. LOL.

    • I went to an early TEA Party rally in SoCal. Pretty useless as no one noticed other than the people who were there, but the fact that anyone was paying attention at all … well, that’s some positive.

      Everyone sorta paired up with whoever they ran into on the spot, so I wound up marching back and forth with this big black dude (coulda cut him in half and made two perfectly good football players) amid a random assortment of mostly-retired folks.

      But that’s why I always remember that it stands for Taxed Enough Already.

      • and those were downplayed as heck and rarely photographed because they didn’t want to show what color the people showing up were.

    • Walked to the first Cincinnati TEA Party rally with a Russian coworker. Today, I wouldn’t do that, for the same fear of showing up in news footage. However, at that rally, even if it had been a concern, it would have been a misplaced one, because the news cameras were focused on the lone black woman staging a counter-protest. And the news claimed that they felt threatened when people nearby started insisting they cover the rally.

  2. The Left (and a good part of the Buckleyite “conservatives”) think purely in terms of a hierarchy. In their world, everybody has a social rank. The idea that there are people who aren’t interested in their greasy pole games drives them nuts.

    • Americans.. have equals. There are those who would claim superiorhood. When things are peaceful, these are known as ‘—holes’. Should things be.. Not Peaceful, they have declared themselves to be targets.

      • The thing about the vast majority of successful businessmen, whether Trump or Sam Walton is- they treat everyone around them with the same respect. They know they have to rely on their workers for their own success. It’s really tough for the most part to find people who work for them who don’t like them. Even here in rural America everyone likes the local tractor dealers and hardware store owners, including their employees. The thing about the Hollywood elite and politicians, Democrat ones in particular, they treat the people who work for them like crap. Stories abound of Hillary’s mistreatment of underlings. Everytime I see a movie where the boss is treating someone like crap- I know the inspiration comes from Hollywood itself, not the business community.

        • Jerk bosses exist all over- had a few in Florida.
          But there’s a difference between a micro-managing jerk, and a wannabe Sun Queen who instructs the serfs and peons not to make eye contact with the Royal Person.

        • And to Hillary, EVERYONE is an underling.

        • kenashimame

          It’s important you qualified businessmen with “successful.”

          I’ve had a boss who treated his employees like crap (he of course thought all his employees were trying to take advantage of him, I had the unenviable position of doing daily accounting and IT for the man so I got to hear his bitching) but managed to maintain a 90% market share in the Metro Tucson area, and probably about 60% statewide (Mostly out of loyalty to his older brother, honestly).

          Until he decided it would be a “bright” idea to fire all his “non-productive clients”, i.e. lawyers who just used our service for filing routine documents without generating any service of process. I warned him that he was going to piss off a bunch of legal secretaries and what would happen when those secretaries went from the small, “non-productive” firms and got hired at the big firms he was targeting. Because that’s the nature of the legal business, at least in Arizona, those secretaries tend to float around a lot. He dismissed my concerns as irrelevant. That was right before I got out of the legal field and started at Old Tucson. Now that company only has about 30% of the market share in Tucson, and probably about the same statewide. (Since I left the company, I pretty much stopped caring about business in Phoenix altogether.)

        • Well, not exactly. There’s a reason there’s a book , “The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison (is that God doesn’t think He’s Larry Ellison)”.

          You’re confusing local businesses with large corporations. Hollywood does too.

  3. “slay dragons”

    Since you have identified as dragon, I cannot take this to mean anything other than you have a great stand-up comic act or such that goes over well with draconic audiences.

  4. Because they have not the slightest notion who or what we are.

    I was reading an article by a conservative that accused a particular college conservative group who had installed a program of varied speaker promoting free speech for all as therefore standing for nothing.  Nothing!!! 

    We live in an unfortunate time. The argument is not whether something would constitute government intrusion and would that be proper, but, rather, how and when the government should intrude. Those who would prefer limited government intrusion in all lives are viewed as eccentric anomalies and promoting libertine behavior, even when they hold themselves to strict moral principles.

    Thomas Jefferson said that, ‘The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others.  But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God.  It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” 

    • There are an infinite number of no Gods. ♉

    • But the left isn’t and has never been content to practice whatever system of beliefs they hold dear. All praise unto the holy Marx.
      No, that is never enough, they must force those of us of a different faith to deny ours and praise theirs. Only then will they feel vindicated. Which is why they seek out businesses owned by religious folk and attempt to force them into activities against their faith, and why the SCOTUS decision on that bakery case was taken as a slap in their collective face and a personal affront.

      • It’s a show of power. They make ypu lie to yourself for theirown power aggrandizement. And all they need to do to avoid that scotus case is be a little less obvious. It wasn’t decided on ‘it is wrong to make someone do what you want just because they hung out a shingle’ but because ‘you idiots who fined them made fun of their religion and were caught admitting that religion was why they were fined. Don’t get caught next time’

    • “The argument is not whether something would constitute government intrusion and would that be proper, but, rather, how and when the government should intrude. Those who would prefer limited government intrusion in all lives are viewed as eccentric anomalies and promoting libertine behavior,..”

      Unfortunately I think you’re spot on with the assumption that government should intrude so it’s just a fight over what the State should force us to do.

      Also unfortunately I think you’re mostly wrong on the second because the assumption of government intrusion is SO profound that “limited government” or any argument for “live and let live” or even tolerance is portrayed as an authoritarian imposition on those who are not being allowed to get their way and have the State impose their will.

  5. Your TP rally experience in Colorado Springs mirrored my Trump rally experience some years later Sarah.

    My wife and I went to the Trump rally in Spokane (i.e., before the election) because …well, just because lol (she’d never been to anything like that).

    As I looked around the unusually diverse crowd (I dunno 7-10K people: the room was spilling over the edges …and Spokane isn’t exactly a “diverse” community lol), I spotted this tatted up kid (I say “kid”, but at my age anyone under about 25 looks like a kid to me) with a weird half-bald buzz cut maybe 10 feet in front of me, cheering during Trump’s speech (and make no mistake: Trump can work a crowd, and he don’t talk crazy: solid speaker).

    It was at just that point, watching that kid, I realized Trump just might pull it off.

    • Oh, yeah, my experience of rallies and demonstrations, I estimated the attendance at “over 2k”. The media reported “a few hundred.”

      • Last week’s Trump rally in Great Falls MT, hardly a hotbed of any sort of politics… estimated crowd 11,000. Out of a local population of 56,000.

        Show me another speaker who can draw nearly 20% of any city….

        • The Won could arguably in some places iirc. But a chunk was the concert before and after

          • Ronaldus Magnus? #40?

          • I think BHO’s crowd had a rather plastic (i.e. astroturf) nature to them. Teams created them to appease his (rather epic) vanity. It must be amazingly galling to him that most of the country is happy to have the shackles he worked so hard to create be stripped away with the same kind of Executive Order he used. He who Lives by the Pen and Phone dies by the Pen and Phone :-).

            • Reason I noted the concerts. But really wish some decent way to see that. On the same poll you get 80% wanting those poor immigrant children free but also 60% wanting deportion. Because of the propaganda that fills our airways only the first has happened. Once again it is bring a kid, get out of jail free.

      • The two TEA Party rallies I went to filled up Fountain Square in Cincinnati. Because of the limited area in was contained in, I was able to calculate and attendance of nearly 5,000. And, yes, reported as a “few hundred”.

        • Interesting side note: At the time, I had a big, clunky, digital camera with a silver-gray body. I pulled that out of my pocket to take some pictures, and out of the corner of my eye I caught a head snap from a guy wearing fatigues (probably military surplus) to stare at me intently. I slowed without even looking back and made sure I took that camera out very carefully, because I am pretty sure if he thought I was pulling a gun, I was going to be in for a world of hurt.

          Which made me happy that there were people paying attention for such things.

          • We actually passed on hitting the TEA protest near us, because it was scheduled to be held in an area where it would be REALLY EASY to drive a vehicle off the road and right through that area of the park, and we were both familiar with the behavior of the more standard “protesters” in the area.

    • I don’t tune in and listen to a whole lot of speeches, so when I happened (briefly — was driving, lost the station before the key point) across his SCOTUS announcement the other day, I was really startled because his voice didn’t sound anything like I’d thought. It was interesting.

  6. Yes– the first Tea Party demonstration in front of the Capitol building in Carson City was extremely diverse. It included all parties as well. I was surprised as well. When I say diverse– I saw all colors, gender, and political parties waving flags. Plus this group picked up all of their garbage when done.

    I might lean toward chaotic good more than chaotic neutral.

    • Definitely Chaotic Good.

      • I’m sticking with chaotic neutral. While a house full of orphans is a highly unlikely target (unless they are zombie orphans, and since, to the best of my knowledge, there have been no zombie outbreaks, let alone zombie orphan outbreaks, the unfortunate tykes are safe from my fiery wrath), I’d like to keep my options open for dealing with other unpleasant types of people.

    • me too on chaotic good

      • Most times, I’m Chaotic Good or Neutral Good; but push me and I cheerfully drop down to (insert flavor of Chaotic or Lawful Evil.) That or fall under Good Is Not Nice.

      • I go Neutral Good: I respect the law but don’t worship it when it’s abused.

      • g2-cdb27520fb49967abcc1c55ca90a2fef

        Useful alignment examples in cartoon form.
        http://www.rhjunior.com/goblin-hollow-0058/

      • tregonsee314

        In my youthful days I played almost every alignment in D&D and other RPGs. In reality I’m basically Lawful Good, although hack me off enough and I start to move towards Lawful Evil. I have a very hard time doing anything that I feel violates my principles (thus the Lawful). And I really don’t like hurting folks (although again, don’t make me angry you won’t like it, due to assorted Viking/Celt berserker ancestry). This is why I use an alien superannuated blocky boy scout as my avatar. In the right universe I might just have been a Lensman.

    • I think I was once described with a non-standard term: Chaotic Strange. I like it.

      • What’s the opposite end of that axis? Charm?

        Quarks in 3 “color” types by axial spin:
        Up/Down
        Left/Right
        Strange/Charm

        D&D alignments by axial polarization:
        Lawful/Chaotic
        Good/Evil
        {Charm/Strange}

        Sign me up for C/G/S, because that last one SURE ain’t “Charm”. As the Lady Of The House will testify.

      • All of a sudden I had this need to use that baby voice on you– “you need a huggy hug hug.” Lol chaotic strange reminds me of raising my brothers

        • “Baby voice” makes my teeth itch.

            • The worst is when some waitress uses it… it’s grating. And if they then talk to their coworkers in a normal voice… I can only wonder how much contempt is being served along with any order.

              Another one is the “What are we having..?” which $HOUSEMATE invariably answers with, “I don’t know about you but I…”

              • 🙂 She might think your are cute because many times women don’t realize how demeaning it is. Pinched cheek… *used to get that from aunts, grandmothers, old women when I was a child

                • This was or is to ALL customers… or, if selective, more weighted to the elder.

                  • Oh– I have noticed disrespect to elders usually start with the high cutesy voice because they don’t think there is any brains there. not good… actually

                    • Which makes things worse, because of high frequency hearing loss with age… Got to watch a dowager politely take apart a waitress who thought she was being cute to the little old lady. Ouch.

                    • Yep– I noticed this when I was in the hospital during my late-husband’s last days. The good nurses talked to him normally. The ones on power trips were cutsey and did tell me that my late-hubby wasn’t there enough to know what was going on– I ripped one of them when they told me that. I had just had a conversation with him minutes before.

                    • I took my Dad to a lot of his doctor’s appointments near the end of his life. He got that a *lot*. Every now and then I’d speak up; “He’s deaf, not retarded!’

                      It’s becoming a problem for me now, but my usual reaction is, “If you can’t speak intelligibly, go find someone who can.”

                      When all they can manage is a whispery mumble when they’re talking to me, but I can hear them fine when they turn to talk to someone else, it tells me what’s going on isn’t MY problem…

                    • Still may not be your problem if you still can’t understand or hear someone whether they are talking to you or someone else, but it may not be their problem either. Some (of us) don’t have voices that carry. Even when I yell (loud enough that I get a headache), people often can’t hear me; oh good lord, if we are outdoors where voices are naturally muffled. My voice is soft, & I don’t naturally “speak up”. Did not inherit my mom’s voice. My sisters did, one of them got extra helpings. Mom’s normal voice is loud enough you can hear her across the house. If she yells the neighbors hear her. She’s 83, so her yelling days are pretty much over (no kids at home 🙂 ) … but when we were kids …

                • Not related in the irritating sense, but this reminds me of a minor thing at the grocery store the other day:

                  Pushing my cart past a corner, and a woman is coming up to the end of the aisle I was passing. She says, “Sorry hon,” which I don’t really think anything of, I have met plenty of women who either call EVERYONE “hon”, or else call all men, “hon”. But then her daughter pipes up: “Mom, why dod you call men “hon” all the time?”

                  I didn’t hear the reply, but I’m imagining the potential for interesting conversations with the husband, if daughter mentions it to him, though I expect he probably already knows this.

      • One of my GMs collectively referred to my characters as “The Alcolytes of Chaos”.
        (Not necessarily due to their belief systems, but due to their effect on his plans and setting. )

        • As a GM, I can definitively state all players are Acolytes of Chaos.

          I started writing just so I’d have some say over what characters do, and that doesn’t always work either.

      • The standard non-standard ones I’ve heard:

        Lawful Paranoid
        Neutral Greedy
        Chaotic Weird

        • kenashimame

          What about Lawful Stupid?

          The official alignment of poorly played paladins.

          • Lawful Stupid, Stupid Good, Chaotic Stupid, and Stupid Evil are commonly used for another purpose.

          • tregonsee314

            Lawful Stupid, the alignment of most evil genius’ henchman as well as a large portion of the U.S. Congress, especially the liberal Democrats. Although perhaps they skate toward Chaotic Stupid (I’m looking at you Rep. Waters)

    • Chaotic Neutral really is more about not thinking much about the moral dimensions of your actions (or being actively non-judgement in this regard), in conjunction with rejecting authority and hierarchy.

      Granted, many gamers will often use the lack of clear boundaries to go full murderhobo. But there are no shortage of excuses for someone who wants to do that in their fantasy of power.

    • Oh, I’m definitely Chaotic Good. Since my husband is certainly Lawful, matters get interesting often. But I’d rather play Chaotic Neutral, which I characterize as being “What’s in it for me?” and which can drive everyone, DM and party, just bonkers. Fun, money, a good night’s sleep, whatever might suit my character’s mood at the moment . . . you never know what she’ll decide appeals, but you know she’s going to run some sort of risk/reward/mood assessment.

      Come to think of, that’s probably why my husband said “Why don’t you be the DM, Holly?”

    • *wry* Lawful good…sometimes nice, but…well, my favorite is either a cleric of the God of Suffering*, or a Paladin of Natural Law.

      Favorite flaw is a tendency to make everything a Teaching Moment.

      *as in, he suffers, not that he causes suffering– there’s always a chance he’ll possess someone who is being tortured and go hulk.

    • I submit that it is the radical Left who is Chaotic Neutral. Any actions, any tactics, any betrayal are fair game if it furthers their goals. Truth is irrelevant, honor is irrelevant, civility is irrelevant, especially when they are accusing you of being uncivil. Double standards are part and parcel of their playbook.

  7. The most conservative people I know are middle-aged black men.

    • One of the most conservative people I know is a black guy I went to high school with in ND. Want to see someone almost frothing at the mouth, bring up HRC

      • I have memories of having to ride through LA once on the bus, taking several buses, through mostly black neighborhoods (with smatterings of Hispanic and various Asians) and one of the things I noticed was a lot of them knew each other; they’d greet the bus driver, greet recognizable faces, and have neighborly conversations, the sort you’d have had ten years earlier over the fence while taking a break from sweeping the front walk. They also noticed I ‘was new’, and thought I’d moved in to the area. The driver said that I’d gone into the city on an errand and was on my way back, and was visiting family. That got lots of curious, friendly questions, and before long I was included in the chatty group. From the conversations, I gathered that a majority of them leaned pretty conservative – they didn’t like what was happening with their neighborhoods, or the tendency of the youth to ‘feel entitled to welfare’; and most of them sold their cars and stopped driving because carjacking or getting cars broken into was very common; ‘and it’s more friendly,’ as one twenty-something said. When I got sleepy, the driver told me to go ahead and nap, ‘I’ll make sure nobody bothers ya.’

        It might have been only that one time, and from what people tell me “California isn’t like the rest of the US”, but I still feel like I got a taste of ‘real America’ that day, the kind I’d read and hear about.

        • *snicker* I rode a city bus regularly for two years, going from home to the junior college campus, and you better believe that all of the regular riders knew each other, the route, and the regular drivers! (A good few times that there was a substitute driver, the regulars would guide the substitute through the route, and tell him where to pull over and stop.) The bus that I took went all the way between a distant outlaying suburb and downtown LA – and was ridden by a number of women who were domestics, riding from where they lived to where they worked – and, yeah – they were of color, and a great number of different shades.
          One of the most popular bus drivers was this middle-aged and crude white-rednecked guy, who was a bit of a flirt. Such was the time that I rode that bus, that everyone took it all in stride. (A more innocent age, I know.)The older and the more unattractive the female rider, and even the more … umm-non-white, the more heavily came on the flirtatious charm, as the women got on and off the bus.
          Come the last day before Christmas — the space around the driver’s seat in that bus was heavily crammed with wrapped gifts and bags – and he had a good helping of discrete envelopes of checks, money orders and cash. Because, crude as he seemed to be, sometimes – he was at heart a decent guy.

        • Sadly at a micro level most people do tend conservative for their own actions. They want true protection of law, frredom and choice, etc. But the fascists have been extremely good at using wedge cases to poison the well. And they have succeeded in splitting the polity to the point where they have gotten their opponents dehumanized.

  8. For me, the irony of this is that for many years I described myself as “culturally leftist,” and what I meant by that is still true. That is, I’m basically opposed to king/church/landed aristocracy/army European-style conservatism and the national/ethnic collectivism it grows out of. I’m a lifelong atheist and as anticlerical as it’s possible to be in a country without an established church; I prefer diverse city life to being out in the country; I’m opposed to the enforcement of chastity by law or social pressure to conform; I favor republican institutions over monarchy and the subordination of the armed forces to civilian government (not that this last is controversial in the United States, happily). Add that I flinch when I hear people complain about judges negating laws passed by majorities, because I think that that’s the most important job of judges: It’s what prevents the majority from becoming a an authoritarian, self-centered monster.

    And over the past decade, I’ve found myself increasingly disaffected from the political left, to the point where I regard their hard core as fascists and a lot of the rest as apologists for fascism. California is my home and I’ve been happy here, but I don’t feel that it’s safe any more, because its one-party government looks certifiably insane, and there’s no internal political force to restrain it. And I see the political left using increasingly draconian measures against anyone who disagrees with them—in effect, making war on the private consciences of religious people whom I disagree with, but whose beliefs neither pick my pocket nor break my leg. It’s an uncomfortable position to be in.

    • Cerulean Dragon

      Similar experience here, although I grew up in Oregon. Classically liberal, which means the closest party I can find is “Libertarian” (not always a good fit), and I got labeled conservative until I left my home state. It’s more than a bit troubling.

      • Hey. I’m small l libertarian. (Libertarian minarchist with the understanding that a country without borders isn’t a country and yeah, sometimes we need that army.) I get called a Nazi in my field. … those famously small-government Nazis, I guess. May the lord have compassion on the left and other mad people.

    • We left Cali’ 7 years ago for the base foundational reason that I didn’t feel safe there any longer. And I surmised it was going to get worse. Considering I was born in a small agricultural town in the Central Valley, that’s a hella thing to come to a realization about.

    • Sadly it seems that the most likely result of the times will be California exporting that nationally.

      • I suspect you’ll see increasing push-back from us non-Californians if they try it.

        • Can only hope. For now just seems that speaker Pelousi will have enough smokescreen candidates to officially regain control of house. And with amnesty and the retributions against Trump’s people you’ll have no one willing to run (or able to get support at least) except party stooges who want DC Uber Alles just like she does.

    • Add that I flinch when I hear people complain about judges negating laws passed by majorities, because I think that that’s the most important job of judges: It’s what prevents the majority from becoming a an authoritarian, self-centered monster.

      We lack your child-like and innocent trust in the authoritarian, self-centered monster known as the judiciary, which has shown that it is immune to law, the Constitution, and sanity.

      • In the first place, there is an established method of dealing with judges who make bad decisions, the one used to set aside the Dred Scott ruling: passing a constitutional amendment (the fifteenth amendment was the one that did for Dred Scott).

        In the second place, Hamilton spelled out the whole theory of the matter, and I think quite lucidly, in the Federalist. One of the inescapable tasks of judges is to sort things out when there is a conflict between different laws, and to decide which law takes precedence (since it’s not possible to enforce a contradiction). But in such a conflict, the will of the people (as embodied in the Constitution itself) ought to take precedence over the will of their representatives, who are only their agents; and the will of the generality ought to take precedence over the will of a mere majority, which is addressed by the supermajoritarian requirements for constitutional ratification and amendment. So judges have to put the Constitution above other laws. There is the source of judicial review; the rest is commentary.

        In the third place, if you don’t let judges do that, then any legislature can pass a law that conflicts with the Constitution, and that law will be enforced, and there will be nothing to be done about it. That amounts to letting the Constitution be amended by a simple majority. Is there any of your rights that you would be willing to see taken away by a bare majority vote? (That’s not just abstract theory. Here in California, some years ago, we had a state supreme court ruling that marriage was not restricted to opposite-sex marriage under the state constitution. So a ballot proposition was submitted, and the constitution was amended—by just a little over 50%. Whether the judges were right or wrong, letting their interpretation be overturned by that narrow a vote appalled me.)

        What you want seems to me to be absolute democracy, in which the majority’s word is law; and I don’t think that’s much improvement on absolute monarchy. It may be worse; the rule of the Bourbons was ugly and stupid, but a lesser evil than the Reign of Terror. And where else would you apply checks to the power of majorities, if not in the courts? Give me an alternative and I’ll look at it; but I don’t want unchecked majorities. That way lie Socrates’s cup of hemlock and Mme. la Guillotine.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          But are the Judges declaring a law unconstitutional based on what the Constitution actually says or are the Judges declaring a law unconstitutional based on their idea of WHAT THE CONSTITUTION SHOULD SAY?

          When people talk about the “Living Constitution”, they aren’t talking about the real Amendment process. They are talking about “we can change the Constitution by getting the correct Judges on the Supreme Court”.

        • The most problematic part of Dred Scott was never repealed.

          In Madison v. Marbury, the court reserved itself the discretion to not apply laws.
          It was in Dred Scott where the court granted itself the power to dictate “but thou must”.

          And nearly

        • In the first place, the method is laughably inadequate,

          In the second place, any assertion that the judiciary comes anything CLOSE to Hamilton’s writings in many cases is ludicrous

          In the third place, YOU support an absolute democracy, where the Constitution can be amended by a simple majority.; YOU are actively arguing that I should lose my rights by a bare majority vote — and certainly should not have the franchise because it should be limited to nine, and only a majority of the nine is need. EVERY bit of your hair-pulling horror at democracy is even more applicable to the system YOU support than simple democracy.

          When you say, “where else would you apply checks to the power of majorities, if not in the courts?” — I notice you propose NOTHING to apply checks to the power of the judiciary. You are in fact proposing absolute nonarchy as if it were better than the other two. You have given no reason to believe that.

        • When people interpret the US Constitution it is much akin to people of various religions interpreting their scriptures. There is too much power in the words written by human beings which have been translated to some kind of authority over the life and death of the people.

          Socrates’ example is what set Plato against democracy in his Republic. That is partially why the Founding Fathers decided the judiciary of “wise men” from elite universities, would be a good balance. The lack of wisdom is a collective American problem, not so much a government problem. There can be no wisdom in government when the people themselves lack it.

  9. Okay, okay, I realize it might be different with a different group, and am perfectly willing to try it. There are local friends who have offered. Maybe towards the end of the year, if there’s time. But still I’ve never done it.

    Roll20!

    AKA, the one place where it’s easy to sign up and make a campaign WITHOUT having to buy anything first– buying stuff makes things easier, it’s not required. (When we have a little bit of breathing space I’m getting Elf the monster manual, though.)

    NOTE:
    I get nothing for saying this, I just like the site and want to promote them. They have a built in video chat, you CAN use, sound can be a bit laggy; we use mostly icons (nobody wants to see me bathed in laptop light) and Discord’s voice chat.

    Even for locals, you can avoid the drive and use this as an alternative.

  10. …we LOOK chaotic neutral.

    A fellow I worked with once asked how I could have what seemed very left/liberal ideas of some things and very right/conservative ideas of other things. It simply not occurred to him that all I really wanted was for minimal interference. Or, to sum it up, the gov’t has NO business in my wallet, NOR my bedroom, etc.

    And there is one fellow, perhaps mildly autistic, who seems to demand to live in a perfectly reasonable, consistent world. An ideal I seem to break my simply existing. He finds me confusing, and that’s when I’m not even trying. Then, it is perhaps all too easy when “moo” is enough to cause bewilderment.

    • I would argue that we LOOK ‘chaotic neutral’ to the Progressive Left because THEIR POLITICS are all-over-the-map justifications for their real goal; complete control. Thus we ‘agree’ with some of their positions…..until we disagree with their proposed (and pointless) ‘remedy’ of more Statism, and disagree with a lot of their positions, but they can’t figure out why.

    • “all I really wanted was for minimal interference. Or, to sum it up, the gov’t has NO business in my wallet, NOR my bedroom, etc.”

      Wickard .v. Filburn 1942 is where this was decided.

  11. One tip on role-playing games. Think of them as improvised theater, with some wargame rules tacked on to resolve conflicting actions. Stick your tongue firmly in cheek, come up with the zaniest character you can imagine, and have fun!

    • Favorite character was a half elf fighter-mage named Michelob. Could never remember if his casting got worse the more I had to drink each night, or if the DM was pulling a fast one on me. Did have our group pissed at me when the DM used a critical fumble of a fireball to torch half our gear when he decided we were too over powered.

      • I’ve had a couple of good ones. A D&D character named Jacque Chanel. Wi’t ze outrageous French accent. Et un beeg floppy hat wi’t a plume!

        The other was a 1930s pulp hero, a big bruiser with the Southern Gentleman schtick. Accent so thick you could cut it with a knife, unfailingly polite.

      • You haven’t seen a ‘critical fumble’ until you’ve been on the fringes of a ‘Helm of Brilliance’ failing its saving throw against fire. Sort of like a fire in a fireworks warehouse….only worse.

    • Many years ago a friend described RPG’s (the games, not the grenades) as “A legitimate way for adults to play pretend” which worked for me.

      The problem I had was that if I wanted to play I almost invariably had to DM the game, because every single other group I’d tried to play in the players always wanted to play the “bad guys” and I just wasn’t into that. (I did it once in a one-off game. That was plenty.)

      • No group ever went the ‘evil’ route with me as GM more than once. I firmly believe that being evil gets the entire world to turn against you, including the other evils, since you are competition. Low level evil characters who strike out on their own don’t last long.

        • Agreed.
          “Let’s be bad guys” is a proposition bet by the players that they’re willing to stoop lower than the GM.

          Remember: they specifically asked for this. Their actions will always have consequences, so just make sure they’re appropriate. They’ll hang themselves in very short order.
          (Seriously, if they make it three sessions, they wanted to play antiheroes, not villains. )

        • Feather Blade

          It’s hard enough to not get kicked out of cities and chased by vengeful posses when your adventuring group is good and/or lawful.

          Deliberately playing evil characters is just asking for trouble.

          • Lweful evil. Let your inner barracks lawyer, minor bureaucrat, petty tyrant roar. Lawful evil characters require an intelligent player, one who has a sense of what he can get away with, and what will get him noticed with most unpleasant results to follow.

            You can still kill monsters and save the maidens. You can still do quests and gain high regard from the townsfolk. You keep your inner evil on the downlow and only strike when the time is right. Low level lawful evil characters don’t rob the shopkeeper. They blackmail him when they find out he’s cheating on his wife. They don’t assassinate the watchmen. They “help” them catch the “real” thief.

            My experience with “evil” player characters is that the vast majority of them lack imagination. A truly good “bad guy” doesn’t leave an obvious trail. It means your detect and protection from spells are going to need a bit of imagination too, as the DM. *chuckle* But it is so worth it when done right.

            • But you might feel the need for an occasional shower or two after a particularly productive game session.

              (Yeah, I’ve done it a few times. But only with GM encouragement. It’s rude to flip the script without buy-in.)

              • *nod* It takes cooperation, sure. Like any good story told in a series of long sessions, you want to have someone with the other half of the script, as it were.

                … Which is why Odds tend to seek out and marry other Odds, I think. Scripts and other halves, that is.

            • Stupid evil, in fact.

            • kenashimame

              My son is playing a lawful evil character in a campaign I’m running.

              The character wants to make the world a better place, even if he has to kill and torture to accomplish that (like the Operative from Serenity). He hides a large chunk of what he does from his leader, who is lawful neutral trending towards lawful good, with the odd setback, both to escape her wrath and to try and protect her from any repercussions of his actions. His character also engages in acts of philanthropy partially as atonement (like the Man in Black from the HBO version of Westworld, when he’s outside the park), and mostly because of the whole making the world a better place thing.

              • That sounds like fun– to watch, anyways. I couldn’t do it, it’d be too much temptation to apply the way you play to the way you live.
                (Chaotic neutral, OTOH, is no temptation at all but still fun.)

            • “A truly good “bad guy” doesn’t leave an obvious trail. It means your detect and protection from spells are going to need a bit of imagination too, as the DM. ”

              Subtlety is not an answer for detect / protect, because the very premise that they are based on is that there is an externally determined, objective, and quantifiable measurement scale for good / evil, and that while a villain’s smooth style and plausible lies may deceive the external eyes and ears, those spells measure that person’s soul on that external objective scale and strip that facade away.

              The only thing subtlety offers is to keep those spells from ever being cast. Which is why paladins, who can potentially be watching with that sense all the time, should be the target of every assassin in the kingdom.

              • On Detect Evil spells, in the multiverse context every person’s intention and action pulls them towards a Plane, whether of Good, Neutrality, etc. It is more like a philosophical fit. Thus their karma becomes attached to a plane and the magic should be easily able to see that.

                There might be some loopholes there as a result, for multiverse manipulations. All they have to do is to attach their karma to a Plane of Neutrality, so that the magic spell doesn’t trigger on the evil part.

      • Donald Stephens

        One DM I knew called the game a ‘shared novel.’ He looked on his role as world-builder and manager while the players provided the action and plot.

        “You can do anything in my campaign. Of course, some of those things will get you killed.”

        • one storyteller i know insisted the same, but occasionally railroaded us to follow his ‘a’ plot.

    • Though, I imagine it would take some work to out-zany Old Man Henderson…

      https://1d4chan.org/wiki/Old_Man_Henderson

  12. Your experience tracked with mine, also – although I got roped into it by another military veteran blogger whom I knew slightly, who took on the task of organizing San Antonio Tea Partiers when asked to by the original organizer, a woman from Boerne who had started a local group there. It was, “Hey, can you organize the San Antonio section?” and he contacted me, saying something like, “Hey, you were a broadcaster/Public Affairs type, can you come and do our press releases?”

    I thought at first that we would be lucky to have a rally of five or six hundred in a public park some place, but a lot of people got involved, including a local video producer who did a spot which caught the eye of Glenn Beck (of whom I had never heard, at that point!) and things steamrollered to the point where we had a massive gathering on Alamo Plaza … which had a very mellow vibe, like the worlds biggest neighborhood block party.

    Our group had a strong element of Evangelicals – because I think they tended to be rather conservative, fiscally-responsible, public-oriented and self-organized anyway, Strong constituency of small-business owners, and because of the military bases, a LOT of veterans.

    The rallies were fun, energizing, and made a big splash – but it was not the main purpose of the Tea Party, and that was something which those of us on the planning end of it acknowledged: the main task was getting out the vote for fiscally-responsible, strict-constitutionalist, free-market candidates, and in letting those inclined to run for office on those principles, that there was a large constituency out there, waiting to vote and contribute.

    That these good, earnest, hard-working people who turned out for the Tea Party got smeared and calumniated as racists, bigots, morons and everything else by the smug progtard media, the so-called intellectual elite, and the establishment ruling class is an insult that I still hold an abiding grudge about. Anderson Cooper, who first sniggered about ‘tea-baggers’ on a national broadcast is someone whom I especially despise.

  13. “for instance, asked you to donate a can of food to the homeless shelter organization AND had the people from Focus on the Family give speeches.”

    Um, where’s the contradiction here? I’m not entirely sure why either of these should be surprising.

    • the can of food was weird, because the place we were supposed to donate to was well… lefty. Also, you pay for the privilege of assembling.
      Focus on the family, for those of us from the outside who have had to deal with them are authoritarian asses with a different set of priorities than the left, and that’s not AFAICT what the tea party was about. I.e. “we need new bosses.” (IOW not just evangelical but “we want to legislate your morality.”

      • OTOH, donating to food banks is more a right-wing thing.

      • Actually, Sarah, it’s a better fit than you realize. Smaller government means fewer resources for persecution / implementing anti-theism. It’s also why they voted for Trump. At least he’s not weaponizing the government and the law against them.

    • For perspective, we used to live next to one of the founders (long ago and far away) and their attitudes as neighbors and their visible disapproval of our writers’ group (who btw were nothing strange) sucked.
      ALSO they kept stuffing Chick comics in our mailbox. I was very tempted to annotate them and send them back.
      At any rate, an assembly for civic liberty should not have MAINLY religious speeches.

      • Found a Chick tract in our McD’s the other day. First one in years,

        • We got the every week. After a while the kids decided it was an alternate universe and started collecting them.

          • My first run in with those was in my high school. They came from a teacher who was supposedly 7th Day Adventist, but really was looking to make a small cult that revolved around him. He managed to brainwash one student badly enough that the guy was ranting at his poor younger sister that she was going to burn in hell for reasons; that bit was the straw that broke the camel’s back; though I’d been quietly reporting on him for a while. He actively hated me and tried to lay traps. Since his class was stupid early in the morning, he took advantage of this by ‘suggesting’ that ‘since we were treading into God’s realm, perhaps it would be good to discuss God for maybe five, ten minutes; and anyone who didn’t want to participate could do something else, or rest. He once waited until I’d fallen asleep – he’d kept the conversation going for longer than 20 minutes – and then said “Okay, she’s asleep, let’s start the class now.” Except I was in that odd doze of sleep, but able to hear everything happening in the class – including the laughter of the other students.

            He had me woken up by one of the other students, to do a ‘pop quiz.’ I managed to terrify an entire classroom of students and that teacher by getting a perfect score, calmly walking to the sole door of that classroom and telling him, in a clear voice, “Don’t do that again.” Everyone in the corridor heard me, including a couple of other teachers, who wanted to know what happened afterward. I still feel a distinct pleasure remembering how he paled and hurried away from me. (And afterward, he was convinced I was being helped by the Devil himself.)

            • “He had me woken up by one of the other students, to do a ‘pop quiz.’ I managed to terrify an entire classroom of students and that teacher by getting a perfect score”

              I had two teachers try that on me…… except I was actually asleep. Unfortunately for them, they were teaching areas I was interested in…… After that, they let me sleep.

              • Yeah, the other teacher who let me sleep was in college, lmao – which was because her class was right after lunch, and I actually wanted to stay awake because I enjoyed that class. But inevitably I’d drop off – they’d watch me. One moment, wide awake and actively listening, the next zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… I was told I’d blink, and not open my eyes again. That teacher didn’t mind because my grades in her class were so high, she figured letting me sleep was just fine.

                ;_; but I liked that class. It was interesting. (International relations.)

            • Humans that get a little bit of authority of power, tend to easily be tempted into misusing it to create a cult of personality. That is why a nation suffers the most when the people are corrupt, that is what makes the leaders look bad, not the other way around.

      • …stuffing Chick comics in our mailbox.

        I assume NOT actually mailing them. I suspect that just stuffing such into a mailbox might well be considered a case of “tampering with the mails” which, if reported (the Inspection Service of the USPS is… thorough, to put it mildly) would have resulted in more than a warning to cut it out.

        • That one has always puzzled me. How can putting leaflets (of whatever nature, whether they’re religious or just flyers advertising your rock band) into someone’s mailbox, without taking anything out of the mailbox, possibly be “tampering with the mail”?

          What it really is is “competing with the government-granted monopoly”, and you’d better believe the government will come down hard on that. But it is not, repeat NOT, tampering with the mail if I choose to deliver mail myself instead of paying the postman to do it, and any government official who claims otherwise is a liar, plain and simple.

          • Hence my use of the word “considered”.

            • And why I specified “any government official”; I wasn’t willing to attribute such beliefs to you unless you came out and specifically said you agreed with them, which you hadn’t. (And I’m glad you don’t).

          • Basically the issue is that you’re not supposed to open someone elses’ mail box, and it’s a really easy false-flag to be walking around with a big bag of “flyers” to “give” people…while doing a slight-of-hand with anything that looks valuable in the mail box.

            It’s like how going in a doggie door is breaking and entering, even though you don’t actually BREAK anything to do it.

            • There’s a much better solution to that one than making a law against opening other people’s mailboxes: design locking mailboxes with a slot in them, so that mail can be inserted through the slot but you need a key to open them and remove anything.

              But that wouldn’t serve the second (and IMHO real) purpose of protecting the monopoly.

              • Which are then useless for packages or oddsized letters, unless the post office is going to put a lock on the back of them, which is expensive and means the post office has to provide the box so they’ve got the correct key for the back.

                Our mailbox HAS to be one of those, because mail theft was such a big issue– they have to put them in as banks of boxes, it take between a month and six months to get a key when you move in, I’ve had multiple packages ruined because they’re post office sized boxes and most stuff isn’t that small, they aren’t very water proof, and there is STILL a mail theft issue because they’re not right next to anybody’s house.

                • My son’s college apartment, his last year, had those type of boxes. Post Office insisted he had to pay to get the key. He told them, “No Thanks.” They said “But …” His response was “Too Bad. Not paying for a key.” Since everything came to “home” & all utilities, etc., were paperless, mail box got very full of junk mail that was never picked up; their problem. Kid never did get the key. He was there a year.

          • I once received a “postage due” notice, and it took me a week to get down to the post office, open at odd hours for our inconvenience. And found out why I hadn’t received the invite to a Scout’s Eagle Ceremony, which the father swore he had dropped off. He had. In the mailbox, before delivery time. So the maillady took it out and brought it to the post office so they could get their revenue from it. Even though it’s yours, you put it up, and you own it, the inside of it belongs to the USPS. And everything in it better have been put in by them.

            • And apparently the only people who can demolish mailboxes and posts without committing a crime are snowplow drivers. Average life of a rural mailbox I’ve read is 18 months. Seems about right judging from mine.

            • That would have me steaming mad and promising a lawsuit. Against the maillady, for tampering with the mail.

              • I looked up the law. It makes no exception for postal employees!

                https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1708

                Whoever steals, takes, or abstracts, or by fraud or deception obtains, or attempts so to obtain, from or out of any mail, post office, or station thereof, letter box, mail receptacle, or any mail route or other authorized depository for mail matter, or from a letter or mail carrier, any letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail, or abstracts or removes from any such letter, package, bag, or mail, any article or thing contained therein, or secretes, embezzles, or destroys any such letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail, or any article or thing contained therein … Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

                Removing the “or” parts that aren’t relevant to the current situation, we get:

                “Whoever takes, out of any letter box, any mail, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

                Now the law doesn’t actually make exception for the intended recipient taking the mail out either, so it’s clear that there’s at least one legitimate case that’s covered by this law, making it poorly-written. But the law does not allow postal employees to remove letters from your mailbox, and specifies that anyone who does so shall be fined or imprisoned.

                The statute of limitations has probably run out, but you could have reported that postal employee to the police for theft from a mailbox.

                • But their argument would be- it’s not mail unless it has postage on it. And that definition likely exists somewhere.

                  • There’s https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1725 which says:

                    Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits any mailable matter such as statements of accounts, circulars, sale bills, or other like matter, on which no postage has been paid, in any letter box established, approved, or accepted by the Postal Service for the receipt or delivery of mail matter on any mail route with intent to avoid payment of lawful postage thereon, shall for each such offense be fined under this title.

                    Translated from legalese, that means “Nobody is allowed to deliver the mail themselves without paying us our baksheesh.” Which is utterly wrong and needs to be overturned.

                    • Overturned doens’t cut it. You need to amend the Constitution.

                    • The Constitution merely grants Congress the right “To establish Post Offices and post Roads”; nowhere in there does it say that the U.S. post office must be a monopoly. The post office’s monopoly on mail is a law, not part of the Constitution, and another law is all that’s needed to overturn it. No amendment necessary.

            • Possibility… if your mail carrier also picks up mail *from you* out of your box, she may not have looked at what was there, but just grabbed it and stuck in in the bag to be mailed, it got back to the post office and during sorting there’s already no way to tell who sent it or where it came from, and it had your address on it and no postage.

          • You bought the mailbox, you installed the mailbox, and you maintain the mailbox; but the USPS considers that box to belong to them.

            It’s a not a bad thing. If the mailbox was yours, their responsibility would stop once they put your mail into it. If the box is yours and someone steals your mail? (checks, parcels, legal documents, etc.) Well, tough then, not their problem. But since your box is USPS property, if an unauthorized person messes with your mail, it’s still within the US postal system, and it’s a Federal crime, and USPS can act on it.

            The reason they get testy about other people putting things in your mailbox is, it would allow a court to question whether the box was in fact USPS property, sort of like “adverse possession” of land or failure to enforce trade marks. If anyone could use the box, there’d be no reasonable legal expectation that it was a space controlled by USPS, and their ability to deal with anyone who stole your mail, put trash or snakes in your mailbox, etc., would be reduced.

            It might be annoying on occasion, but it’s one of the times when there’s actually a good reason why things are that way…

            • We had a guy putting in IEDs. Being rural, you could get a good idea of how many minutes it would take for her to get from the one around a blind corner to the next box.

              They were designed to be harmless, just smoke and noise– but he wasn’t a very good designer.

              I didn’t like the mail lady, but I was very glad she didn’t lose a finger.

            • It would be easy to compensate for that with the compromise of having multiple mail boxes. It’s not like it is a 500 dollar water heater.

              Just like multiple recycle containers that Japan uses. People have their private mail boxes and packages, and there are other things that are protected by the USPS, although technically that is more of a deterrence than actual protection.

              The person that occupies the property with the firepower is the one protecting it.

          • William O. B'Livion

            Because *technically* the mailbox is USPS property.

            That makes just *opening* it, if you’re not the person who’s supposed to, a crime.

            I don’t recall the exact history, but it’s one of those things that people used to do bad things, so a law was passed that solved that particular thing, but in a rather *broad* way.

    • By weird coincidence, yesterday I got an email from Thrivent (Lutheran Brotherhood) entreating my attendance on an event put on by those very folks… in upscale Pleasanton CA, where I suspect there are zero homeless folks.

  14. Would you rather a Tutwiler?

  15. > false flag

    The Arkansas TEA group was *far* more concerned about “promoting Christian values” than about politics; enough that they sounded like the near-theocracy I experienced in the 1960s and didn’t like one damned bit.

    Sarah Palin blew into town and made a speech calling them all a bunch of losers, and if they wanted to accomplish anything, they’d sign up with the Republican Party.

    Sorry, Sarah. We just *left* your party, for good reasons, and we haven’t heard a peep about anyone addressing those.

  16. Mencken got it right when it comes to people wanting to “save” us, generally from ourselves:

    “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” H. L. Mencken.

    • They claim that the only want what’s best for us, that we need them, that they just want to take care of us.

      Yeah. Like the rancher takes care of that herd of Angus.

    • I want to save people…from the political class.

      As for running your life by remote control…I’m a genius. Which means I understand that the best I can do is provide some fairly basic guidance. Sometimes, you have to delegate.

      • I don’t want to save people from themselves. They can go to hell if that’s their desired destination. I strenuously object to their trying to take me with them though.

        • Or even insisting that trashing public areas doesn’t “hurt” me, at all.

          • So why was I picking up litter at the park this morning after someone set off fireworks (naughty, naughty) and then apparently departed in a rapid and chaotic fashion? Beach towels jammed into the trash cans, unopened snack food, unopened drink bottles, one might almost think that they fled the scene.

    • “I want to save the world…

      …for my personal collection.”

      Why, yes, I do get Strange Looks.

  17. ” (These are my middle fingers again, and note I have a matched set.)”

    These are my middle TOES. And if you know how hard it was to learn to do this, you’d know JUST HOW MUCH I want the left to go perform a physiologically impossible feat of self-impregnation.

    *snort*

    Any political group that has screwed up as badly and consistently as the Progressive Left really ought to be more humble. But they never are. They go kicking and biting and predicting horrible disasters to the bitter end.

    There is no moral difference between a Progressive Leftie, a Plantation Aristocrat, or a High Priest of the Temple of Moloch.

  18. I saw a Tea Party poster using an acronym TEA = Taxed Enough Already. I can support a platform of reducing the size and scope of the Federal Government in any party, be it Republicrats, Democans, Awakened Philosophists, or Slumbering Gophers. Unfortunately, the Democrat Party is unlikely to adopt any such platform, and the Republican Party can only be dragged back to it with much kicking and screaming.

    • Everybody expects things to be resolved in one election; sheesh!

      The Republican Party have been shifting, slowly, since the election of Reagan in 1980. Naturally the ‘Business As Usual’ ranch of the Party has been fighting tooth and nail, but they have been losing ground steadily if slowly.

      The Democrats Party has (perhaps, I hope) just STARTED changing, and at the moment they are lurching Left.

    • Slumbering Gophers

      And what happens if they should awaken?

    • ” Unfortunately, the Democrat Party is unlikely to adopt any such platform, and the Republican Party can only be dragged back to it with much kicking and screaming.”

      The perennial problem is not the wrong people are in charge. The wrong people will always be in charge, that’s just how it is, was, and always will be (more or less). The real trick is to make it profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. We get that licked, we’re good. For a few minutes or so.

      • One problem is there isn’t sufficient turnover in Congress. The incumbents learn to work the system and can fairly reliably get themselves re-elected. Most people aren’t paying attention to what their elected representative is doing, and as long as he’s not too egregiously stupid, he can get away with paying more attention to his party bosses than to his constituents.

        • Thus why term limits are a thing I’d like to see, but don’t particularly expect absent a convention of states in my lifetime.

          • The states could voluntarily enact state laws concerning term limits for their representatives. For the Fed to give itself the power to reject a state’s chosen representatives… it would take a Constitutional Amendment to do that, and even if such a thing happened (and I consider the probability close to zero), that’d open a real big box of You Don’t Want To Go There, Seriously.

            What was that cry at Brexit 1776? “No Taxation Without Representation…”

            • William O. B'Livion

              The individual states won’t do that because seniority is power in D.C., and they want their reps to have Da Power as much as possible.

              Frankly what we need to do is have the representatives chosen by lottery from among the eligible voters, then every 2 years have a vote to keep or replace them. Since the random lottery could be done in couple days once set up (or faster) it wouldn’t delay the swearing in.

              Now THAT would make for some fun.

          • William O. B'Livion

            Term limits in congress just shift the power from the elected officials to the bureaucracy.

            This is *already* a problem. Kicking them out after 2 terms makes it worse.

  19. There are a lot of people who can’t deal with anything without crunching it into one of their predefined categories. A speaker at a local school several years ago was a Jewish woman who worked with the French Resistance and went *into Germany* as a spy. Apparently the school’s program listed her as a “Holocaust survivor.”

    Technically true, I guess, but a strange way to define what she had done.

    • Like the “Vietnam veterans” I met, who served their entire hitches in Europe or Stateside…

  20. What happened to the Tea Party is one of my not-quoted examples of why I don’t believe popular media. (I generally say there are a couple of examples of which I have personal knowledge of what happened and the popular narrative is completely different.) Just call me Benjamin the donkey.

  21. “The question is, did the media realize it was lying?”

    Yes, they definitely knew. They have an editorial template. It doesn’t matter what pictures and what eye-witness testimony was gathered, it doesn’t matter what the reporters saw and recorded on-site. The story is written to the template.

    Always remember and never forget: Newspapers do not exist to report the news. They exist to SELL ADVERTISING.

    “It is bleeds it leads.” Yes, it does. Why? Because more people will pay a buck to read about the shocking car crash/murder/scandal than will pay to see a picture of what actually happened that day.

    The Tea Party: 100,000 regular people showing up, listening to some guys talk for three hours about taxes and then going home again without wrecking the place, this is BORING. Its not a story!

    Hell yeah they lied. With malice, forethought and intent.

    • ” …yeah they lied. With malice, forethought and intent.”

      And they have gone on lying, relentlessly. And people who really didn’t pay much attention swallowed the lies whole.

      That is what I cannot forgive the Established News Media for. The bald-face, easy lies that they spewed, and went on spewing. This is why I wouldn’t walk across the street to piss on Anderson Cooper if he were on fire, why I’ll cheer on whatever breaks CNN, and the NY Times, and MSNBC. I pray that their various headquarters buildings will be tumbled to the to the ground, plowed under and the earth salted, and the creatures who worked in them trudge off to minimum-wage jobs at a call center, while they live in their cars, or in a cardboard box under the interstate..

      • Lying media is an old, old problem. Back in the 60’s and 70’s when Walter Cronkite was “the most trusted man in America, that didn’t mean he was honest. It simply meant he could lie through his teeth and get away with it because there was no one to gainsay him.

        • I’m reminded of His Girl Friday. That was pretty much the entire movie, how can we spin this to our advantage? Still one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, though.

      • They lied, they lie, and they’ll lie again and again and again, world without end, forever. That’s why we call them the enemedia, and Prof. Reynolds calls them Democrat operatives with bylines.

      • Stea… appropriating some verse and rui… modifying it some:

        My father peddles opium, my mother’s on the dole
        My sister used to walk the streets but now she’s on parole
        My uncle plays with little girls, my Auntie rapes wi’ her fist
        But they don’t even speak to me, ’cause I’m a Journalist!

  22. Feather Blade

    If I’m going to work that hard, I want a novel at the end.

    Play via something like Google Docs and you can. Several in fact.

    … they need editing, to be fair.

    And if your players are in significantly different time zones, getting a play session scheduled can be a bit of trouble, but the separate chat window means that meta-gaming and off-topic chatter doesn’t interfere (very much) with the game-play.

    Also, you don’t have to try to remember what your party did last time you played them six months ago, because you can go back and read it.

    … come to think of it, I think I’d want to play via Google Docs even if all of my gaming group were sitting in the same room.

  23. Just a note: It has been a very long time since I played DD. It might have had to do with the first time I played. The group couldn’t keep their game life and real life separated.

    • Yeah, there’s always a couple people like that. They’re not healthy

      • You might have a D&D addiction if you walk into banks in Full Plate to deposit your paychecks.

        You might have a D&D addiction if you find it impossible to enter churches and have to attend mass by sitting on the outside steps.

        You might have a D&D addiction if you dress up as a ninja and throw all your groceries into a large canvas sack claiming it’s a bag of holding.

        You might have a D&D addiction if you wander around on your knees telling everyone you’re actually a Halfling.

    • Yeah. Some folks get into it and forget it is supposed to be *fun.* That was the point in all of my games, and all the ones I played in. When it stops being fun, folks drift away. I just wanted to tell stories, be it the world, or with my character. Sometimes it worked out, sometimes not.

      • Maybe some day I will meet a group near me who I would enjoying doing D&D with… then I would get into it. But I am over the half-century mark so it probably won’t happen.

        • *chuckle* My father is in his seventies and back looking for a good group to play with. D&D nerds tend to overlook things like age, sex, religion, politics, skin color, and even number of functional limbs as long as you have a functional brain. It’s finding the right group you mesh with that’s the kicker.

          • Which is why the “GenCon is racist” essay that Larry Correia so beautifully fisked a few years ago (the very same one that got him disinvited from Origins this year when the author’s fiancée decided to throw a tantrum) was so stupid. Of all the things to consider racist… a convention that centers around gaming? When roleplayers are one of the the groups least likely to care about anything but the contents of your brain? It is to laugh.

            • That’s also what was hilarious about the (obviously horny teenage boys) who ventured to an Animaniacs-themed IRC channel and after discovering that most female characters had male typists DEMANDED a ZERO-crossover policy. The reply was pretty much two parts:

              1. NO. Grow up.

              2. Dude, you’re concerned about sex when folks here are changing species at the drop of a hat?!

              And since it was a text medium, all anyone saw was the text unless they DCC-ed a picture or voice file — and then, how do you know it’s really them, unless there is some external verification?

              Or, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. But anyone can see if you’re a moron.”

              • The internet. Where your starting assumption is that any pretty female pic has a overweight male slob behind it. And every teen cheerleader is a Fibbie

                • The old (and admittedly outdated) version was: “The Internet, where the men are men, the women are, too, and the children are FBI.”

                  And though Platteville, WI was not as far as I know sheep country, there was this nasty little saying, “…where the men are men, the women are, too, and the sheep run scared.”

  24. My on-line name (Kamas716) is the name of one of my old D&D characters and my badge number from my previous department. I’ve since fallen away from all those people I used to play with. I’ve mostly been Lawful Good IRL, maybe drifting to Lawful Neutral over the decades and dipping my toes in Chaotic Neutral during the prior administration.

    Growing up I thought of myself as more of a Progressive Republican/Independent, because I like the idea of a safety net. But I think it should be entirely a matter of choice to join those programs. Making it mandatory just means it’s another tax I’m forced to pay. The older I get, the more I drift towards libertarian.

    • I like safety nets. Insurance and retirement savings. But you need to treat safety nets the same way you treat parachutes. Do you really want someone else packing your chute for you, or are you going to feel better about it if you pack it properly yourself?

      • The current safety nets caused their own problems. Social security is part of why retirement is no longer expected by my generation. The companies assume the feds will keep it and so it is unimportant to support (while they do their best to rip apart families by moving them apart because of consolidation.) There is no way it’ll continue. And in all likelihood the 401k funds will be raided before I’m fifty because its not fair that some people saved and others didn’t.

        Same with worker visas and wages. Even without different living standards, a visa is worth something to someone wanting to immigrate. So the government is subsidizing foreign worker wages by giving something of value that a citizen employee doesn’t get equivalent.

        They all get gamed to maximum extent possible.

        • “all likelihood the 401k funds will be raided before I’m fifty because its not fair that some people saved and others didn’t.”

          I believed that way for awhile too. Now not so sure. Companies are dropping standard retirement funds true. But they are replacing them with forced 401(k), so they loose the overall long term liability. You can then save beyond what the company puts in, some won’t, but everyone that has company retirement will have something beyond SS. Even companies that have had traditional retirements for decades are converting existing employee’s over. I think raiding 401(k)’s now are off the table. Getting their claws into them at inheritance tax time, however …

          When the one company that had traditional retirement did so I had 4 options (no longer worked for them). Two, wait until full retirement age (65) & monthly benefit or cash out. Two same options, but discounted to 59 1/2. I chose the early because the benefit was already over what I was going to get at the time the company left my area at 65. Plus fully expect to outlive the cash payout amounts (either one). Although I’ll admit the joke is: “Honey, my retirement deposited! I can take you out for dinner now.” 🙂 🙂

        • Yeah, but SS is the government’s safety net, not yours. They take your friggin’ parachute away from you, and give it back when and as they feel like it. And remember, any promises, laws, or regulations are only as permanent as the ink and paper they’re written on. Easy to alter by a single vote, or even just ignore.

          • Ya. But its used to make ideas like pensions completely disappear. Part of why companies like the situation in socialist nations is because they offload their costs for employee support on government. And because they are much more powerful than the workers they get the workers taxed yo death to cover it while still paying wages as if it was covering everything.

            Game is completely rigged against us citizens and only gonna get worse. Hillary win may have been better because it would result in less retributive acts.

        • Raid anyone’s 401ks without giving them back equal value, and I promise you there will be dead politicians. And I won’t even be crying about them either.

          • Don’t remember if it was just under 40 or overall but 401s were only held by 30-40% of employees. Make sure that the funds are first posed to bail out the teacher and gestapo unions and make sure that everyone gets retirement money and you’ll have enough public and institutional support that any retaliation will be put next to mcveigh and Breivik in terms of culture. Simplest way i can think of would be to say that it should have been taxed and to tax the value at current marginal rate plus fica. About halve it if you make even close to 6 figures.

      • That’s easy. I packed mine or rather we did as part of our partnership. So have our siblings, & (so far) all of our kids (counting siblings kids). We didn’t start on our 401(k)’s, IRA’s, etc., as soon as we started working (they weren’t around then) but we started moving savings & salary contributions as soon as they were available. You’d better believe our kids started with their first jobs. “Pay yourself first.”

        I resent the heck out of people that complain they can’t live on SS, after they spent their on one or more of: vacations on Cruises, to Europe, RV’s that cost more than our house, or high end homes. Regarding their complaint, my response I want to say is “No s**t Sherlock.” FYI. More than a few extended relatives have gotten the (false) multiple blinking of eyes & a “really?”.

        Look, I get it. Some for whatever reason didn’t have a chance to save. Dad’s mom didn’t. Yet she died with house paid off & savings after living on SS for over 30 years (at less than $1000/month). My other grandparents died in debt (big time) on combined SS of over $2000/month. Mom should have small savings & the house, but we’ll see, she’s 83 this year & going strong. Mom & dad only had a few years to save extra tax free between availability of programs & daddy’s stroke at age 50. Then mom had to go to work, having no work history.

        My response to those who want to take my hard earned, scraped & saved, savings? (note: NO inheritance from anywhere, including the one surviving parent, don’t expect much to be left.) “NO. Go away, leach.” I’ve earned my Cruise, or Europe trip, or maybe a new car, or whatever we decide we want to spend our saving on, or just leave it for the kid, it’s no one else’s business.

  25. Alignment is taking all the moral and philosophical problems that all the wisest people in the world have broken their hearts over for millennia, misunderstanding most of them, boiling them down to a game mechanic, and handing them over to a bunch of sophomoric players (some, true, having the excuse of being sophomores) to use.

    One particular bad aspects is that Law vs. Chaos collapses your views on the universe, your views on soceity, and your actual habits as if there were any correlation.

  26. Captain Comic

    The joke (not a joke) has been for years that ANYTHING AND ANYONE can be declared and analyzed as racist.

    I’m convinced “white privilege” was created to denounce others without going through all that tiresome bit of actually coming up with reasons.

    See also: racism is no longer bias or prejudice based on race, but bias or prejudice based on race from a person whose ethnicity has historically held power.

    I lost my NewSpeak dictionary and have no intent to replace it. I’m still miffed at the ILOH for making me learn what Cis Male means…

  27. Just because I have a little bit of time, and because I want to…

    The thing about RPGs, is that it is the interplay that makes the story.
    For example, if I introduce the scene with: [i]
    You wake up late for work. You frantically get ready, and out the door, before you realize that it’s awfully quiet. Looking around, there don’t seem to be any cars on the road. You don’t see anyone. Even the birds and insects seem to be missing. As you’re looking around, you notice that the sky to the South has a distinct green tinge, right over downtown. [/i]
    The scene defines what genre of story we’re telling, but you as the player have agency, and your actions refine it further.
    If you go back inside, and turn on the news, that’s one type of story.
    If you announce that you have to find your girlfriend who works at the mayor’s office, that’s a different type of story.
    If you take one look, and head North as fast as you can manage, that’s another type of story.
    If you decide it’s the perfect opportunity to loot the gothic mansion up on the hill, that’s yet another type of story.
    (And on, and on, and on. GMing is a constant state of scrambling to think up logical consequences, or sometimes, trying not to facepalm.)
    Your character will live and die by your choices, and stories have a momentum and logic all their own. Use that. You can often lock in the campaign climax that you’d prefer during the very first session.

    • HENCE: It’s too much like my job.

      • [Grin] I actually was trying to highlight the distinction.

        (There *are* some GMs who know exactly the story they want to tell, and who take it as a personal affront when you don’t cooperate. I advise avoiding them. )

  28. [Insert witty introductory quip here:]

    Don’t Open That Big Black Sarcophagus In Egypt!
    By Sarah Hoyt
    Sometimes I think the world suffers from a shortage of pop-culture, particularly horror pop-culture, US version.

    Take the news today: A Massive, Black Sarcophagus Has Been Unearthed in Egypt, And Nobody Knows Who’s Inside.

    Is there any conceivable universe in which this doesn’t end with “the world succumbed to the wrath of Amonthep?” (who for some reason one of my sons believes is the divinity whose power created the animated mummy we know as Harry Reid. I keep telling him it was just a pharaoh.)

    Or at least invaded by vampires, with Brendan Fraser making a last desperate stand somewhere?

    And yet, the article linked doesn’t say “and then we covered it up, poured concrete over it to a depth of forty feet and had the priests of all known (and some unknown religions) say blessings over the whole thing so it would stay buried.”

    No, instead it reveals they have every intention of “studying” the find.

    Seriously, the article says things like this:

  29. “This is a pale bronze middle finger upraised in your direction, wankers.”

    Okay, that one sentence has completely destroyed my ability to aurally imagine your voice, because I can’t ever mentally hear that word in anything other than a masculinely nasal accent from the British Isles.