Lady of the Dark Waters

I can be very dense when it comes to the gods. This is not news, but it is always startling when I’m smacked in the face by my ability to miss the big picture. And that is exactly what has been happening recently.

There is a spot I needed filled, and I knew it was supposed to be by a goddess. (Not to harp on the gender-binary - but this is a bit mythologically relevant.) I spent a lot of time over the last month researching, trying to figure out who it was. Neith? Wenut? Mut? Maybe I was really off and it was Khepri asking for more attention? I knew I was searching for something primordial, something dark and sharp and also beautiful. All the Netjeru can be this - but This Netjeru overwhelmingly so.

Read the rest on WP

It’s Official: Gun Debate Proves GOP’s Learned Nothing from 2012.

In the immediate aftermath of President Obama’s reelection, there was a lot of talk about how the Republican Party would need to increase their demographic appeal. Mitt Romney’s lily-white electorate was not nearly enough to put him in the White House and discounting woman voters cost him dearly. The math no longer works, catering to the whims of the largest minority is no longer enough, the southern strategy is dead. If there’s a lesson for Republicans in their 2012 debacle, it’s that they can’t afford to continue to alienate large swaths of the voting public.

But, as I’m so fond of pointing out, learning lessons is not something Republicans do. So, at a time when they should be broadening their appeal, they’re narrowing it further. You could take this Politico article and replace every instance of “NRA” with “the Republican Party” and it would be entirely accurate:

Pollster Frank Luntz, who has studied attitudes about gun control, said on Wednesday that he doesn’t “think the NRA is listening” to the American public in the wake of the massacre of 20 children at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.

“The public wants guns out of the schools, not in the schools,” Luntz said on CBS’s “This Morning.” “And they are not asking for a security official or someone else. I don’t think the NRA is listening. I don’t think they understand most Americans would protect the Second Amendment rights and yet agree with the idea that not every human being should own a gun, not every gun should be available at anytime, anywhere, for anyone. At gun shows, you should not be able to buy something there without any kind of check whatsoever.”

He added, “What they are looking for is a common sense approach saying those who law-abiding should continue to have the right to own a weapon, but don’t believe the right should be extended to everyone at every time for every type of weapon.”

If you doubt my argument that the NRA and the GOP are hand in glove on this issue, consider this Bloomberg headline: “Senate Republicans Agree With NRA, Oppose New Gun Laws.” For Republicans, as with the NRA, an assault weapons ban is a no-go. As is a ban on high-capacity magazines.

But a recent Pew Poll found that a big majority — 65% — believe that assault weapons make America less secure. At the time, the poll found no partisan advantage on who was better at handling gun policy, but that was during a time when Republicans were wisely keeping their big yaps shut on the subject. After the school massacre in Connecticut, the GOP basically went into hiding. Now that NRA chief Wayne LaPierre has broken the ice by suggesting we throw money at the problem of gun violence and dump more guns into schools, Republicans apparently feel it’s safe to come out now.

And, as always, they come out on the side of their big donors. If it’s people vs. corporations, the GOP will always choose corporations. Anyone who believes otherwise is a chump. And the NRA represents corporations — the people part of it is a front. It represents gun manufacturers, suppliers, and merchants. Doubt me? When Luntz says the NRA isn’t listening, he includes their own members. His polling shows that NRA policies don’t reflect the opinions of NRA members. Instead, they call for the sale of more guns and more ammo — exactly what you’d expect a trade association of arms manufacturers to do. They represent gun owners in the same way that tobacco companies were representing smokers by denying their products were unhealthy — i.e., not at all.

And if the NRA stands opposite public opinion on this issue, so does the Republican Party. At a time when the party should be bending over backwards to attract new voters, they’re becoming more and more an elite and exclusive club of people who hold unpopular opinions.

You’d think that this would’ve been the year that they finally wised up and realized that constantly shrinking their base was a really bad strategy — not in the long run, but in the now. But you’d be wrong. Republicans don’t learn things, they tell everyone else what to think. And they’re apparently so intent on dictating the proper way of thinking to everyone that they’re completely unaware that most of us have stopped listening.


[image source]
Kanaya/Rose :: Spoonful of Descent

Title: Spoonful of Descent

Pairing: Kanaya/Rose

Rating: M


Troll boys aren’t the only ones with bulges. Kanaya puts off having sex with Rose because she knows that human females are built differently and she’s worried that Rose will react poorly. But in the end, Rose is 0kay with having even more tentacles in her life.

Warnings: Ad-libbed alien biology, tentadick, awkward teenage lesbian interspecies exploratory sex.

I thought long and hard about putting this on tumblr, but after Jabberwock manned up about her most recent Dave/Tavros fill, I said what the hell and just did it. Who needs dignity and anonymity when you have potentially incriminating porn to post?

So glad I finally finished this, though. Hopefully I can start on the next parts within the week!

==>Kanaya: Be overwhelmed by self-consciousness.

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Emptiness 3 Quest Miracle

And lo did the people live, and die, and dwelt Death then in his ivy-clad mansion, his ivy-clad mansion and its dust. He walked and where he walked he left footprints, and in time they faded too behind.

And lo did another generation pass, and still dwelt death in dolor there; where he walked he left his footprints, yea, and his footprints would fade away.

Now there lived a woman named Elsa in that time among the folk of human flesh; she was born, she came screaming to the world, and later died, and still Death walked; though it is said that on Elsa’s passing that he looked sideways then and sighed.

And he walked; and he left his footprints, and his footprints faded in the dust behind.

And Elsa’s daughter Elsabeth bore Brion, then, who was her son; and Brion sired Vayn; and Vayn gave rise to Elyon, who was later called the Just. And Elyon’s daughter Emma she gave birth to seven more; and they, to a brood of thirty; and twenty in the generation next; and withered then their line in the years that followed, it thinned, then, and it passed away, until only young Sasha and his sister Susan yet remained of Elsa’s line. And still Death he walked in his dusty halls and left his footprints in the dust behind—-

Until time came o’er and it coated them with a dust that was of its kind.

And Sasha died, and Susan grew old and as lined as the night was dark; and she came to spend more and more of her days and nights and years sitting out and quiet by the shore; and one day her chair it tipped forward and she went sliding then towards the lake—-

But at that very moment, and for no reason that is ever anywhere spoken, save, perhaps, that it was time, Death looked up from his endless trudging, from his mansion covered o’er in dust; and he twitched, and writhed, and he shed his skin, and he spread his wings, and he came to Susan, by the shore.

And he was in the form of a great bird of shadow, and she of wrinkles piled on wrinkles like unto a tangled ball of yarn, but still when Death’s wings passed o’er her, she saw a light; and he, the most beautiful of girls….

Stories to Watch: 1/30/13.

A little background on this one; Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke recently cut a “PSA” informing the public that he was an incompetent ass who couldn’t possibly be expected to do his damned job, so residents should forget about calling 9/11 and just shoot people. Sure, he sugarcoated it, but that’s the gist of it. The whole thing was basically an infomercial to sell guns, because Clarke is a corporate stooge and an NRA tool. Anyway, a Milwaukee woman took him up on that and fired a pistol in the air during a domestic dispute with her niece. Makisha Cooper told police that “that she knows her rights regarding having a firearm because she heard Sheriff Clarke on the radio stating that she could own a gun to protect herself.” She now faces up to 18 months in prison and $20,000 in fines for following Clarke’s really stellar advice. Luckily no one was killed. The sheriff should be run out of town.

A rightwing survivalist nutjob shot and killed an Alabama school bus driver today, then took an autistic 6 year-old kid hostage. Patriot Jimmy Lee Dykes is today’s recipient of the NRA Second Amendment Hero Award. He’s currently using his freedoms to protect himself from government tyranny — or as a commie would put it, “engaging in an armed standoff with police.” Those always go so well for everyone involved.

The Stupidest Thing Anyone Is Likely To Say All Week Award goes to Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, for this gem; “I think video games is a bigger problem than guns, because video games affect people.” Yeah, go ask Gabrielle Giffords or the parents in Sandy Hook how it feels to be so completely unaffected by gun violence. If you needed more proof that Republicans are way out in Lala-Land on this issue, there ya go.

Jim Nabors, famous for playing Gomer Pyle in Gomer Pyle, USMC and The Andy Griffith Show, got married in Hawaii to “his companion of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader.” He’s 84 years old and it’s a pity he had to wait for so long.

Two top conservative leaders are racists. Not in the “this one thing they did once suggests they might be racist” way, but in a “they gave buttloads of money to the Hooray for Racists Fan Club" way.

Another day, another step closer to universal background checks for gun purchasers.

I’m not sure Rand Paul really gets what Libertarianism is all about. Hint: Libertarians don’t take Authoritarian stances.

Israel bombs a weapons convoy in Syria.

Yes, the father of a murdered Sandy Hook child was heckled by gun freaks at a Connecticut hearing on gun violence. The audience doesn’t get to just shout things out during testimony. Any other take is bullshit. It’s not even a matter of semantics. Wingnut bloggers are so ashamed by the things gun nuts do that they’ll deny reality to cover it up.

Finally, it’s not really news, just something it pays to remember: history shows that we really need to watch out for people who feel the need to hang flags all over the place.

[image via AP]

Do happiness and sadness taste like sweet and sour chicken?

It may sound a bit weird to you when you see this title; it did to me when I was invited to answer that question on a Chinese question website – ‘in Chinese, why do we use the same word sour to represent the taste of vinegar and the sad feeling when you hear a touching story?’ Several similar questions can be found on that website, such as ‘why do we use up/high for something good while down/low for something bad’, or ‘why does English use in to talk about time relation’. Fortunately (or not), my current work is about semantics, specifically about metaphor, which meant I could give an answer when they turned to me. And today, my blog starts from that story and will go slightly beyond to discover the question: when we mean ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ by saying ‘sweet’ and ‘sour’, do we really taste that in mind?

CC stu_spivack

The whole story comes from the development of the so-called ‘contemporary theory of metaphor’ (henceforth CTM), which comes out of the field of cognitive semantics and is represented by Lakoff and Johnson and their book Metaphors We Live by (1980). Lakoff and Johnson’s idea is about the cognitive realisation and conceptual formation of metaphor. They classify metaphor as a mapping between two concepts in different conceptual domains, which turns ‘metaphor’ into a phenomenon at the level of concept formation. Lakoff and Johnson believe that metaphor, as a mirror, faithfully reflects our perception and cognition of the whole world, and such reflection is embedded in our daily language. The reason we use ‘up’ for happiness (e.g. ‘cheer up’) and ‘down’ for sadness (e.g. ‘his mood is low’) is not simply because we want to make our speech fancier; instead, we do feel ‘high’ and jump ‘up’ when we are full of joy, while we lower our heads when we are disappointed. They also claim that these metaphor mappings should be universal, since human beings should perceive these events in a similar way – which is also a fundamental proposal of cognitive linguistics.

The presence of CTM leads to an earthquake-like shift in the field of metaphor research. Our definition of ‘metaphor’ changes drastically due to their proposal ‘metaphor is a mapping at the conceptual level’. In the traditional view, such as a Gricean account (Grice 1989), a metaphorical sentence is always non-literal, and we can always sense the deviance when we hear someone saying to his lover ‘you are the cream in my coffee’. Under the framework of CTM, however, even some typical literal sentences can contain a conceptual metaphor. For instance, ‘her voice is sweet’, which sounds quite literal to most of native speakers of English and a lot of English learners, contains a conceptual metaphor PLEASURABLE EXPERIENCES ARE SWEET FOOD. (When we refer to conceptual metaphors, we use small capital letters to show that it is the mapping at the level of concept: ‘Pleasurable experiences’ is the target domain of the metaphor, and ‘sweet food’ is the source domain – see Barcelona 2000 for more examples). Pleasurable experiences could bring people a good mood, just like what sweet food does. The linguistic realisation of a conceptual metaphor is called a ‘linguistic metaphor’, although it may be classified as ‘literal’ in the traditional semantic view. Iconic conceptual metaphors identified by Lakoff and Johnson include argument is war, time is space, life is a journey and so on, – you won’t miss them if you read any article on CTM.

Let’s go back to our sweet and sour examples, with some analyses and counterexamples. Based on CTM, a series of interpretation of ‘sweet’ and ‘sour’ sentences are produced, which makes use of conceptual metaphors like PLEASURABLE EXPERIENCES ARE SWEET FOOD (Dirven 1985; Barcelona 2000), UNPLEASANT EXPERIENCE ARE SOUR OR BITTER FOOD (Barcelona 2000) and JEALOUSY IS SOUR/BITTER (Yu 1998; Buss 2000). These observations show that cross-linguistically sweetness is associated with pleasant experiences and joyful objects, while sourness is associated with the opposite. The reason for such association, as is inferred from the spirit of CTM, is that both the source domain and the target domain could evoke some similar cognitive effects. However, soon we will see that these basic conceptual metaphors cannot cater for all the possibilities that ‘sweet’ and ‘sour’ can present in different languages.

Although Lakoff and Johnson claim that conceptual metaphors exist across languages and cultures, the realisation of these conceptual metaphors varies in different languages, which means the mapping may not be really ‘universal’. Take our favourite example ‘sweet’. In a number of languages, the word ‘sweet’ is associated with nice feelings and delicate objects, for instance, ‘sweet music’ and ‘sweet voice’ in English, or ‘xinli ganjue hentian’ (feeling sweet in one’s heart) and ‘tianyan miyu’ (sweet sentences and honey words) in Chinese. But an extraordinary example is discovered in Japanese: the Japanese correspondence ‘amai’ (sweet) can be used to describe a naive person without any knowledge, which has an obviously negative implication. Such use is also transferred to Chinese, and I was totally surprised when one of my close friends said ‘ta taitian-le’ (he is too sweet) while her intention was ‘he is so naive’. There is even a semi-formulaic popular expression in Chinese ‘sha bai tian’ (lit. stupid, white and sweet) to describe ‘a super naive, super foolish person’. The use of ‘sweet’ for naivety is clearly not a part of the conceptual metaphor PLEASURABLE EXPERIENCES ARE SWEET FOOD.

Another interesting example is that both English and Japanese demonstrate the use (although limited) of ‘sweet’ when describe ‘a large amount’, which is reflected in ‘a sweet amount of time’ and ‘mizu ga amai’ (lit. the water is a large amount); in Chinese, however, this expression is absent. It is also difficult to cover the meaning ‘a large amount’ if we apply the conceptual metaphor PLEASURABLE EXPERIENCES ARE SWEET FOOD.

Such cross-linguistic differences lead me to question whether these associations are systematic or merely coincidental, or a combination of the two. It is clearly shown in the case above that the use of ‘sweet’ for ‘naive’ in Chinese is a borrowing from Japanese, while in English, the connection ‘naivety is sweet’ is totally absent. At that stage, we have three choices to explain this phenomenon. First, maybe we do have a conceptual metaphor NAIVETY IS SWEET FOOD; this argument is difficult to prove, because cognitively we cannot directly associate naivety with sweetness, and we also need to find the reason to explain why it only appears in a limited number of languages. Second, maybe ‘naivety is sweet’ is derived from some existing conceptual metaphors which have not been discovered yet, since ‘naivety’ is definitely not a pleasant experience; it is no less difficult to find the conceptual metaphor, however. Third, it is a mere coincidence that Japanese uses ‘sweet’ for naivety, which makes the seeming-conceptual-metaphor nothing. The use of ‘sweet’ for ‘a large amount’ in English and Japanese faces the same problem. Either we need to find a valid conceptual metaphor to cater for these expressions and explain why it is only present in some languages, or we should admit that it is not a metaphor at all, even though it involves some domain mappings.

These are the problems that challenge CTM today. Maybe humans systematically use ‘sweet’ to represent happiness because they feel good when they encounter the sweet flavour, but before we research all the possibilities in different languages and cultures, we cannot claim that this usage is universal, and we cannot attribute all the different usages to human cognition. We should always keep in mind that those cross-linguistic similarities might only be a coincidence or a result of semantic borrowing. When we use ‘sweet and sour’ to describe the mixture of happiness, unease and anxiety, it is possible that we use it only because it is a linguistic convention. Maybe we do not have a plate of sweet and sour chicken in our mind after all.

For more sweet and sour feelings, have a look at these references:

Barcelona, Antonio. 2000. ‘On the plausibility of claiming a metonymic motivation for conceptual metaphor’, in Antonio Barcelona (ed.), Metaphor and Metonymy at the Crossroads: A Cognitive Perspective (Walter de Gruyter), pp. 31–58

Buss, David M. 2000. The Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy Is as Necessary as Love and Sex (Simon and Schuster)

Dirven, René. 1985. ‘Metaphor as a basic means for extending the lexicon’, in Wolf Paprotté and René Dirven (eds.), The Ubiquity of Metaphor: Metaphor in language and thought (John Benjamins Publishing), pp. 85–119

Grice, H. Paul. 1989. Studies in the Way of Words (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press)

Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. 1980. Metaphors We Live By (Chicago: University Of Chicago Press)

Yu, Ning. 1998. The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor: A Perspective from Chinese (John Benjamins Publishing)

Do happiness and sadness taste like sweet and sour chicken? was originally published on CamLangSci

Stories to Watch: 2/1/13.

Greg Sargent has a real nice send-off piece about Hillary Clinton’s political career arc from First Lady to Secretary of State to 2016 possibility. Really worth a read.

In case you missed Clinton’s departure, the video is here.

Complaining that America doesn’t have a “White History Month” is like complaining that the Vatican doesn’t have a “Hooray for Catholicism Day.” It’s a really stupid and clueless and silly complaint. Knock it off.

The NRA put out an “enemies” list of organizations and — more concerning — individuals they’ve deemed enemies of freedom. It’s kind of amusing, until you consider who this list is being addressed to — the NRA’s membership base, who are mostly people who believe that the Second Amendment is a blank check to kill “tyrants” and many of whom are unhinged gun fetishists. The first thing I thought of were the “wanted posters" anti-abortion nuts put up of doctors they want killed.

Carbon dioxide emissions have fallen 13% in the last five years, bringing them to their lowest level since 1994. Credit goes to “new energy-saving technologies and a doubling in the take-up of renewable energy.” Notice anything different? Yeah, me neither. Industry didn’t crumble and America didn’t collapse. As always, Republican talking points are laughable BS. Cutting emissions was so painless you didn’t even notice it happening. So let’s do it some more.

Despite having a movie out titled Bullet to the Head, Sylvester Stallone comes out in support of gun control. Some on the right will laugh and say that’s hypocritical, but I’d point out that drama ain’t real. The last guy you saw play MacBeth probably wasn’t a big supporter of regicide.

Geraldo Rivera’s stated reasons for a possible Senate run as a Republican are hopelessly incoherent.

The Super Bowl ad Big Soda doesn’t want you to see.

Republicans have given Harry Reid a pretty much immediate chance to regret completely fucking up filibuster reform. Nice job Harry. Now start over and get it right.

Finally, attempts to soften MLK’s image and give him a conservative makeover are bullshit. He was a radical, believing in social justice and economic equality. He was pro-union, anti-war, and anti-violence. If King’s legacy doesn’t fit nicely with your political agenda, then change your agenda. Don’t vandalize King’s legacy.

[photo via Reuters]

Cthulhu Fluxx Takes You To The Brink Of Your Insanity

Cthulhu Fluxx combines the frenetic gameplay of Fluxx with the beloved characters of H.P. Lovecraft. If you’re unfamiliar with Fluxx, it’s a card game that starts simple: each player has three cards, and you draw one card, play one card. From there, you can change the rules of the game, depending on what’s in your hand. Suddenly, a few rounds later, you’re drawing three cards and playing two, or drawing four, playing one, and you’ve got a hand limit of one card.

Sound confusing? It’s not. It’s a simple game where you make the rules as you go. The way to win is by fulfilling whatever the present goal is. For Cthulhu Fluxx, that goal is related to the Lovecraftian universe. And, since it’s such a dark place, there are also some Ungoals, too – meaning there are ways you can lose to darkness. Certain characters can be drawn and placed in front of you with an action. If you draw Keepers, those are good characters – the Socialite, the Poet, and the Reanimator are just a few. The Creepers are the bad guys who prevent you from winning – this includes the Body, Shoggoth, and, of course, Cthulhu. Creepers have Doom counters too, which adds to the chances of everyone losing. Put Creepers in front of you automatically; Keepers you play within your regular actions.

Goals and Ungoals have various criteria, each one tickling the Lovecraft geek’s horror bone. “The Whisperer in the Darkness” goal says that the player with the Professor and the Fungi on the table wins. The Dunwich Horror Ungoal says that if the table’s Doom count is six or more, and Yog-Sothoth is on the table, the game ends with no winner. Well, actually, the winner is Yog-Sothoth!

For me, Fluxx is a really fun game that can be played quickly and without that much competition. There’s not much to dislike about it: it’s super portable, easy to learn, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space to play, so you can really bring it anywhere. My friends and I played it in a diner booth the other day, and even when the food was on the table, we had enough room to keep going. But some people don’t like the frenetic energy of it, and avoid it at all costs. I played it with both kinds of people (as well as some newcomers!) and found that, no matter what, I enjoyed it. And being a Lovecraft nerd only helps with Cthulhu Fluxx.

tl;dr – Cthulhu Fluxx is a super entertaining game for anyone into Fluxx, Cthulhu, or any kind of fast social game. It’s quick, easy, portable, and most of all, fun!

Original Article

The Argument that 99-Percenters Offer No Solutions is a Really Stupid Argument

Imagine you’re driving along and you hear a sound somewhere under your car. “Ka-chung, ka-chung, ka-chung…” You’re going to take that to a mechanic, right?

Now imagine that the mechanic asks you what you want to do about the sound. “I want you to fix it,” you tell him.

"Sorry," he’s says. "That’s not specific enough. I need you to tell me exactly what needs to be done. What component I need to replace. What tools I need to do it. I need step-by-step instructions on exactly what repairs you want done.”

"I’m not the mechanic," you answer, "you are! I just want you to fix the noise. I don’t know how to do it."

"Come back when you have real solutions," the mechanic says.

That’s the problem facing the American people and, specifically, the protesters in the streets of New York and other cities right now. The problem is obvious — unemployment, a tax structure that’s way to lopsided toward those at the top, corporate crime and runaway greed, out-of-control higher education costs, etc. Our entire economic system is going “Ka-chung, ka-chung, ka-chung.” Yet, when the protesters point out there’s obviously something wrong here, they’re dismissed by politicians and the media for having no solutions

But here’s the thing; it’s not their job to have solutions. That’s what we hire politicians for. In our metaphor, they’re the customer, not the mechanic. Yet the media is constantly asking what the customer plans to do about the noise, then snicker behind their hands when the customer shrugs.

Even Paul Krugman comes close to falling into this trap — before sidestepping it expertly. In an excellent piece on the protests, he praises protesters for correctly identifying the problem and addresses the “no solutions” argument.

A better critique of the protests is the absence of specific policy demands. It would probably be helpful if protesters could agree on at least a few main policy changes they would like to see enacted. But we shouldn’t make too much of the lack of specifics. It’s clear what kinds of things the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators want, and it’s really the job of policy intellectuals and politicians to fill in the details.

Yes. It probably would be better if they came out with wonky policy proposals, but that’s what policy wonks are for. As critiques go, “they don’t have solutions!” is just plain dumb. Thankfully, he pulls out of the media argument with the last sentence of the paragraph. But this is perilously close to calling the criticism valid.

I’ve been pushing this a lot lately, but that’s because I think it’s important; go to We Are the 99%, scroll through a few pages of posts, and see if you don’t notice something. That’s right, a lot of the stories are extremely similar. There’s a big, big problem out there, all of these people are pointing right at it, but the media are pretending — completely illogically — that if you don’t know how to fix it, the problem must not exist.

The Washington crowd should not be looking at average Americans for solutions. That’s not what we pay them to do. The American people need to tell them what they’d tell that mechanic; we’ve told you what the problem is, now quit being a dick about it and fix the damned thing.

Or we’ll find someone else who will.


Plunder for gold in Scallywags! ARRRRRRRR!

Who doesn’t like talking like a pirate, and everyone should love it on September 19th, but it’s more fun when it’s done with a purpose. Enter Scallywags, a quick game appropriate for youngsters and adults alike. If you’ve ever wanted to plundering without the risk of walking the plank, here is your chance. And on this raid you can bring the kids along!

Let’s dive into Scallywags, and afterwards listen to game designer Chevee Dodd talk about his game on our podcast!

The point of the game is to acquire more pirate booty, gold pieces, than anyone else. Do they do this with cards that have a picture of gold coins like other card games would? Nope! The game comes with pieces of gold! Alright, they are really plastic coins, but it is a sturdy and unique game component. On the face of the coins are values ranging from zero to eight. Pieces of eight anyone? Way to keep with a theme! And they don’t take the easy way out and print a 0 on the zero coin, they take the theme all the way home an put a Jolly Roger on those. The only thing I wish were different about the game is a better contrast on the number side of the coins. They do have raised embossing of the numbers, but the coin is a little difficult to read at times.

There is a different mechanic for taking face up and face down coins, so you are encouraged to dump them out onto the table so there are a random number of face up and face down coins. And besides, the chaos of cascading coins onto a table top is just plain old fun. Once the coins are sufficiently randomized in the center of the table, everyone gets dealt 3 cards and the rest of the cards are placed next to the coins. At this point you can either play a card from your hand or take a face down coin from the pile. If you play a card you get to draw another one to replace it.

Use of the cards are the only way to get the face up coins. There are cards that let you give a face up coin to an opponent or take one for yourself. Other cards let you do things like look at some of the face down coins and take one of them, steal a coin from an opponent or merely swap a coin with them, and put another pirate’s coin back. All of them are titled things that keep with the theme. My favorite card is the one that stops someone from taking one of your coins which is aptly titled, “Hands Off Me Booty!” I tend to shout that one a little too loud when we play.

The game ends when every player has 6 coins in front of them. No player may ever have more than 6 coins in front of them. This becomes paramount near the end of the game since you want to try and get high number face up coins away from other players and maybe get low point face down coins out from your pile of treasure. For your last couple turns it is possible you do not have a legal play with this 6 coin limit, so you’ll have to discard a card and draw another.

The game is easy to learn and plays quickly. This definitely isn’t a game where players get distracted since it’s so short between turns, so I think it would work out well with kids. It does have a little strategy involved if you play it with adults. Pirates are forced to keep their booty in order in front of them, so you can remember that sinister player across the table stole your eight for his second coin and you can try and swipe it back later.

You can plunder a copy of it for yourself here or at your FLGS.

tl;dr - Aimed at kids, but still fun for adults. No one’s going to choose walking the plank over playing it.

Original Article

Stories to Watch: 1/2/13.

While everyone’s eyes are on fiscal cliff fiasco postmortems, filibuster reform may quietly be dying. Harry Reid’s punting until the next congress is sworn in, hoping to get a more favorable Senate. Once again, the words “seeking a bipartisan ____” carry with them the stench of death. Partisan steamrollers are needed to get anything done. That’s the new reality. You wonder why Democratic leadership are so slow to learn that.

The War on Drugs is the best thing to ever happen to the prison-industrial complex. There’s a lot of money in incarcerating people that every other sane country in the world treats for addiction. Want to reduce wasteful spending and promote liberty? Gutting and defanging the private prison industry and their lobbyists would be a real nice way to start.

John Boehner preemptively walks away from any future negotiations with the White House. I’m not kidding. I guess from now on, all the heavy lifting will be done by the Senate, because that made everyone in Boehner’s caucus so damned happy in the fiscal cliff fiasco, right? I swear, I becoming more and more convinced that Boehner’s a bona fide moron with each passing day.

Chris Christie, the Republican Governor of New Jersey, is shocked to discover that being a Republican means not giving a crap about people in need — especially those Tea Party-type Republicans like, say, Chris Christie, the Republican Governor of New Jersey. Someone find him a fainting couch.

Rep. Brian Sims officially becomes Pennsylvania’s first elected openly gay official.

Hillary Clinton has been released from the hospital. Apparently everything went great with removing her blood clot. Good to hear.

Ezra Klein says the White House won the fiscal cliff fight — with reservations. Meanwhile, Nate Silver argues that it’s hard to tell who won, since no one was extremely clear on exactly what they wanted.

As promised, part two of Sam Wang’s ongoing report on Republican election-rigging shenanigans: “How many voters were disenfranchised?

Can we please stop worrying about violence in pop culture in relation to mass killings? Everyone sees the same movies, everyone watches the same TV shows, everyone listens to the same music and plays the same video games. Yet only America suffers massacre after massacre after massacre in non-combat situations. The problem is guns. Period. Anything else is a distraction. Stop falling for it.

Finally, you might not want to take too much time catching your breath after the fiscal cliff fiasco; here comes the debt ceiling. It could be just a stupid and frustrating. Our government is broken, because gullible people keep electing stupid people who hate government to run government. Knock it off.

[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]

Ep #00056: Perpetual Geek Machine Podcast

We’ve got a smaller Machine for you this week. You’re going to basically be a “fly on the wall” for a conversation between Ryan and Kevin. Don’t worry though, nothing gets that weird. Just a little weird. And uncomfortable. Yeah.

Here’s the link to give Perpetual Geek Machine: Show #00056 a listen!

Here’s the breakdown on where to find/follow us online!

Show Notes to show your battery-powered bipedal:

What’cha Been Doing? (3:02 - 35:00)

  • They ramble on about:
    • Kevin has some sort of strained muscle in his neck and a fine cocktail of drugs to soothe the pain.
    • He’s also been rewatching Louie now that his wife is into it.
    • We played Scallywags and Tsuro recently.
    • Ryan been enjoying the “outside”, whatever that is and playing a bunch of Wipeout on his “Vita”, whatever that is.
    • He also increased the bicycle count at his house to 5 between two people.

Break (35:01 - 37:46)

Let’s Talk About… (38:23 - End)

Total Run Time - 1:02:18

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