The Last Word

Issue #471

December 2013

Fool folio
My uproarious Dungeons & Dragons campaign has progressed over the past month, because that’s what intelligent 40-year-olds spend every minute of their free time doing !ach character advanced to level " not long after we ambushed a gray oo#e, which had tried to slime us as if we were $eorge %tephanopoulos &ool people find humor in many Dungeony and'or Dragony things (’ll never forget the original Monster Manual, whose cover art featured an assortment of critters who would never be found in such close pro)imity to each other in a real D&D campaign*let alone behaving in the manner in which they’re depicted +he most visible monster in this bunch was a huge, red, winged dragon that loo,ed li,e the -ersey Devil swooping down from the s,y*preparing to claw to shards a monster that had a horse’s body and a man’s head resembling Michael McDonald +he humanoid’s face bore no e)pression as he brandished a club*as if the club was any match for the flying dragon .ut Monster Manual was li,e chewing unflavored gum base compared to the hilarious Fiend Folio /pparently there was a later Fiend Folio that was nothing li,e the original*but the original is the one ( ,now and love %adly, it went plumb out of print early in the life of D&D Fiend Folio was perhaps the most bi#arre collection of monsters ever to fill any published boo, 0ne website provides a ran,ing of Fiend Folio’s goofiest monsters, and topping the list is a tal,ing 1ellyfish that flew through the air and farted (t attac,ed by s2uirting a diarrhea-li,e goo on opponents Fiend Folio also included a monster called an enveloper that loo,ed 1ust li,e the 3illsbury Doughboy or my assistant principal in middle school Fiend Folio li,ed referring to itself as a 4tome of creatures malevolent and benign 5 (f the monsters are so 4benign5, why do they appear in the monster encounter tables to be slain6 7e can use the D&D format to create new monsters 7e can call this wor, Fool Folio /mong the many foolish creatures in it would be one called the randpaul*modeled after the plagiari#ing %en 8and 3aul 0ne method of attac, the randpaul has is the filibuster, which has the same effect as a sleep spell /nother attac, method he has is to complain about his toilets being bro,en, which can cause opponents to die from laughter +he randpaul also has henchmen who stomp on adversaries’ heads 7e can also develop a monster called a ric,scott, based on 9lorida’s fascist $ov 8ic, %cott .ut when characters see him, they might mista,e him for a stone giant (’m one of these fol,s who’s interested in the mechanics of things +he mechanics of Dungeons & Dragons can be adapted to any number of homespun, build-it-yourself role-playing games that you might hatch :ou can probably even find something to use the ;"-sided dice for, which (’ve yet to employ in my current D&D promenade !ven my current band of D&D characters can be plugged into situations uncustomary for D&D /nd ( bet D&D has guidelines for creating a city, which (’m sure has an inn <(f you’ve read my wor, long enough, you ,now what’s coming = 7hat’s the challenge in a D&D campaign li,e mine in which the characters will inevitably become invincible6 ( dig this method of gaming because of the life s,ills it teaches (t sharpens my acuity at dealing with

real-life situations >o, (’m not going to be slaying monsters and hoarding 1avelins in real life .ut my rediscovery of Dragons & Dungeons has highlighted nature’s commandment to humanity to build a republic of good +he treasures my D&D characters collect will be used to ban,roll larger pro1ects in this fantasy world*the mechanics of which can inspire a real-world community

More funtimes!

+he 0utloo, com plot thic,ens? (n my previous ish, ( told you of how Microsoft’s 0utloo, com has been losing e-mails (’ve been supposed to receive by wrongly mar,ing them as 4spam5*and how they’ve been telling me to add every conceivable address to my safe senders list if ( want e-mail from them / month ago, ( was still missing e-mails*as many did not even reach my 1un, folder .ut now (’ve made another discovery@ !ven adding senders to my safe senders list doesn’t stop 0utloo, from losing their e-mails 7hat’s more, people who have tried to e-mail me have told me that their e-mails to me have bounced 0utloo, returns their e-mails as undeliverable .ut (’ve also discovered that sometimes the e-mails are never returned*so the sender doesn’t even ,now ( don’t receive them :et the big technology story for the past " months has been the 4bro,en5 0bamacare website that actually wor,s flawlessly Meanwhile, (’m noticing on 0utloo,’s support forum that other people are complaining about the e)act same thing (’ve been e)periencing 0utloo, does of course blame the victim in response, saying they must have toyed with the other settings in their e-mail program <in addition to the settings previously implicated= /nd now, 0utloo, is telling people to contact the (%3’s of people trying to send them e-mails*even though these (%3’s are having no trouble whatsoever delivering to places other than 0utloo, 0ne 0utloo, support genius told a user, 4+hey are the one who can address your issue properly because your 0utloo, com account is wor,ing fine5* although it was not 4wor,ing fine 5 +his prompted another user who was having the same issues to declare that 0utloo, hadn’t done anything e)cept 4dance around the problem 5 +hen, 0utloo, went bac, to s2uare one and told everyone to chec, their 1un, folders*even though everyone had already long ago made it clear that the missing e-mails weren’t even getting that far >ow the plot is thic,ening even more 0utloo,’s babblings have 1ust come crashing down, as a user has found a notice on another website in which Microsoft brags of using a system called %mart%creen*which filters so-called 4spam5 before it even reaches your 1un, folder A-ha! >ow we’ve got an e)planation? +his after 0utloo, denied doing anything li,e this (n addition to arbitrarily bloc,ing e-mails, an unrelated 0utloo, hassle has emerged@ 3eople are also complaining that 0utloo, is losing their archives of received e-mails <some of them irreplaceable= that date bac,

for years 0utloo,’s response is that their accounts have gone inactive, even though these users chec, their accounts daily 7hen one complainant pointed out that they never consented to have 0utloo, erase their e-mails, a forum moderator boasted that Microsoft’s user agreement lets Microsoft unilaterally change the terms of the agreement at any time +hen what’s the point of even having an agreement6 Aow can it can be an agreement when only one side agrees6 7here’s +he Media6 <(n the toilet =

You thre

! "lue !t me...

“You threw a glue at me...Baby...You threw a glue at me...” —to the tune of “You Dropped A Bomb On Me” &all this story the !lmer’s trilogy, if you will <or if you won’t=*B glue-related mishaps that all occurred right around the same time in my youth </nd right when the $ap .and song was popular?= (’m not referring to the time in school when a +C set got ruined when the dust cover got glued to the screen +hat was later +he e)act order of this trio of narratives has been lost, but a couple of them have to do with childhood sibling s2uabbles (n one such incident, ( was chased down the hallway at home, causing me to smash into the shower door in the bathroom $uess who was re2uired to pay for the glue to repair the bro,en piece*even though it wasn’t even my fault6 /nother occurred one evening when ( got in a disagreement with my brother and he threw a bottle of !lmer’s at me +he bottle didn’t rupture or spill, but it came dangerously close to hitting me in the noggin 0f course, the oldsters blamed me when ( complained that my brother 4threw a glue at me 5 +hat utterance is a ,ey element of the story 7hen ( called it 4a glue5, it was li,e how people tal, about 4a beer5 or 4a &o,e 5 $lue, beer, and soft drin,s are li2uids*not solids that can be ounted*so ( 1ust thought it was funny to call it 4a glue 5 +he third item in this troi,a involves one of my earliest forays into Dungeons & Dragons ( devised a very basic D&D-style campaign in which the battles were carried out on a sheet of noteboo, paper +his was bac, in the days of the D&D basic set, which was about li,e the 7al, /long %esame %treet of D&D ( had one sheet of paper that held the facts and figs for the entire campaign 0ne evening, my family and ( went out on a shopping outing, and when we came bac,, ( noticed somebody had dumped an entire bottle of !lmer’s on my sheet of paper %uffice it to say, it was ru +he mystery was@ 7hodunit6 7hytheydunit6 (t appeared to have happened while nobody was home e)cept the dog, and (’m certain he didn’t leap up onto the des, and do it +his meant somebody did it right when we left and ( didn’t notice it right away $uess who got blamed6 +he ruinment of this important document was considered my fault, because ( 4let5 somebody place a full bottle of glue near it*which could conceivably tip over*and because ( didn’t chec, to see if the last person who used the glue put the cap on tightly enough %o it was my 1ob to police everybody else’s unchec,ed carelessness6

( tried salvaging the sheet of paper even though it was hopelessly destructo /ll the data on it was lost .ut ( ,ept it around for a few more wee,s before ( gave up 7hat’s ama#ing is that the des, wasn’t ruined too +he glue scraped right off the des, 0ne can only imagine how many other important documents all over the world have been decimated by poorly timed glue spills 0ne of these papers may have featured the cure for cancer, climate change, world hunger, and spontaneous public defecation*but now we’ll never ,now

#o$ stor$
(t’s a real barrel of dachshunds when people act up in public*especially when they’re old enough to ,now better /nd what funnier place to do it than +oys 485 Ds6 :ou+ube has 2uite a few videos of people invo,ing mischief at 7almart, Eroger, or other retail establishments .ut none that ( ,now of are anywhere near as uproarious as this guy’s +oys 485 Ds antics +hat may well be the funniest video ever posted on :ou+ube*bar none? /nd it ,eeps getting funnier as it bips along, especially after he dons the undersi#ed 4Fers helmet +he best part is when he lic,s the filthy floor when they try to ,ic, him out of the store (t would of course be much more en1oyable for me to watch if my computer wasn’t so 1umpy from all the viruses, but what can ( e)pect from a computer that’s more than G months old6 <+he progressing sloth that slowly ta,es over all new computers after a few months should be the real tech story these days*in addition to 0utloo, com’s travails =

%100&000 boo"ers
“!Dum dum dum dum" boogers ! lap" #$%%&%%% Bar...” %ince we’re on the topic of :ou+ube uproarity, allow me to introduce you to something called the #$%%&%%% booger 7hen ( was growing up in the HI0s, >estlJ fre2uently ran +C commercials li,e this for its K;00,000 .ar *a caramel-filled candy bar s ( forgot about the commersh for decades until it appeared on :ou+ube /nd when it did, the memories came rushing bac,? 3eep the manner in which the fol,s in the ad stretch the candy bar out of their mouths +his has led some to as, what the point is of a candy bar if you’re 1ust going to stretch it out of your mouth instead of actually swallowing it /nd what do people do with the part they’ve stretched out6 Do they put it bac, in their mouths and chew it up some more, or do they discard it6 0r do they use it to ma,e nude sculptures of 'esame 'treet Muppets6 0n the other hand, bubble gum did pretty much the same thing and was 2uite popular in those days .ut you can’t blow a bubble with a K;00,000 .ar (’ve never attempted it, but ( must assume it’s not feasible +his leads us to the K;00,000 booger (n grade school, my schoolmates would pull strands of mucus out of their noses that seemed to stretch halfway across the classroom +he side view of this activity loo,ed e(a tly li)e the way people pulled the K;00,000 .ar out of their mouths in the ad /nd they did it a lot +hey didn’t let the snot column dangle to the floor +hey grabbed the end of it and pulled it away from their face, at a slight upward angle +he gooey strand of mucus bowed downward a bit in the middle due to gravity :ou could almost use it as a 1ump rope or maybe even a lasso (t was as guffawy as you might imagine .est all, there’s no wrong way to e)tract a K;00,000 booger :ou can hold the strand low and feign disgust li,e this gentleman

0r you can hoist high the ensign of boogerdom li,e this young lady

%o go ahead 7hen the urge stri,es, pull out a slimy one? /ma#e your friends? (mpress your teacher?

M!n'el! ins(ires
0n a serious note, the >elson Mandela story is an indication that we can’t let people dictate to us what’s possible and what isn’t Mandela*an internationally ,nown figure who fought against apartheid in %outh /frica and went on to become the country’s 3resident*died recently .ac, in the mid-;FG0s, Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for his activities against %outh /frica’s authoritarian apartheid regime Ae was released in ;FF0 and went on to win a >obel 3eace 3ri#e and help establish a new system of democratic elections +hen, in ;FF4, Mandela was elected 3resident During his term in office, which lasted until ;FFF, he helped institute a new &onstitution, e)panded health care, and wor,ed for land reforms &ontrast that with the /merican HF0s, in which the 9ar 8ight gutted health care, reassigned real property to big corporations, and installed unabashed white supremacists and neo->a#is in positions of public power -ust thin, Mandela went from serving "I years as a political prisoner to becoming 3resident*and ending the government’s long-entrenched apartheid system :et people insist it’s impossible for 0ccupy to reduce wealth ine2uality or corporate greed6 0ccupy may be the only movement in modern /merican history to actually pre*ent a war (t was 0ccupy that led the 0bama administration to drop plans to bomb %yria*which could have been a potential Cietnam or (ra2 0ccupy had already accomplished a lot before then <e g , the %+0&E /ct and .an, +ransfer Day= 8ight up to the very second when 0ccupy started, there were people saying it couldn’t be done +hey’ve sure got humble pie on their faces now, huh6 (t’s time to act*or get out of the way >o e)cuses 7e need to draw inspiration from >elson Mandela* not the naysayers who say things can’t be done


e ne*er "et ro$!ls& ro$!ls...

( want royalties for my wor,, dammit 7e’re independent artists*#inesters, musicians, bloggers, boo, authors, filmma,ers, computer programmers, and others (ndependent*and hard-wor,ing <+here’s no such thing as a la#y do-it-yourselfer, because if we were la#y, we’d die = /nd our contributions are priceless*( repeat, pri eless*to art and science /ren’t independent content creators li,e me entitled to be compensated fairly6 ( for one can no longer afford not to be %o ( have an idea on how lawma,ers can ma,e it so

/ few months bac,, ( tried selling this #ine +hat didn’t wor, +hat was probably the second-biggest great /merican unsuccess story in the "0-year history of !he"#ast"Wor$ %o the burden falls on &orporate /merica to pay its fair share (n recent years, we do-it-yourself types have released the bul, of our wor, on the (nternet 7hat does it re2uire for one to access the (nternet and see our wor,6 !lectricity? 3ower? !nergy? -uice? 7ho pays for electricity6 D? +hat’s who? :ou pay more than enough for electric, and it’s time .ig !nergy’s profits go to a worthy cause %o we must demand that legislators act +here ought to be law +here should be legislation re2uiring electric utilities to pay a royalty to independent content creators 7hy6 .ig !nergy is actually using our content 3eople buy their product so they can access our wor, %o energy utilities are e)ploiting us*and we get nothing in return 9ran,ly, consumers can’t always afford to buy our wor,s*and it’s often because their electric bill eats up so much of their hard-earned dough (t’s only fair that compensation comes from those who use our content and can afford to pay up /s an added bonus, the law should also prohibit utilities from passing the cost of our royalties on to consumers (n addition, this law should be retroactive +here’s a strong constitutional basis for this 9or starts, corporations are not people, so they cannot ma,e the case that the law violates human rights guaranteed by the &onstitution .ooger eaters will cite the fuc,headed &iti#ens Dnited ruling to defend corporations from this claim, but &onstitution obeyers ,now otherwise 9urthermore, you can easily argue that utilities have been forcing independent artists to wor, for free*which itself is prohibited Many of us have no choice but to engage in this line of wor, >ot all of us are 4people people5 li,e we’re e)pected to be (’m a card-carrying member of the >ational 7riters Dnion, and ( ta,e my wor, seriously +he days of not demanding fair compensation are over
&opyright L "0;B /ll rights reserved

Related Interests