Sad Day for a Wisconsin Boy

Brett Favre Set to Retire After 17 Years.
Report: Gary Gygax, ‘Father of D&D,’ Dies at 69.

Seriously. What’s left for a Wisconsin boy? Governor Doyle and high tax rates? The Aaron “Mr. Glass” Rodgers era in Packers football?

You know, I once met Gary Gygax when GenCon was still in Milwaukee, as nature intended it. It was after TSR sued Game Designers Workshop into oblivion for including trademarked properties like elves and hit rolls into the Dangerous Journeys system. Gygax looked like an old biker and regaled me and a couple of friends with some stories about another system he was developing and some weird role-playing anecdote about carnivorous trees.

I never met Brett Favre, though, and I actually foolishly turned down a chance to see him play the last year. However, I think that the conversations would have been similar.

Brian Needs Google Hits

In case anyone wants to know, if you’re about 5’11” and a size 5/6, your inseam could be about 33″. Difference in your trunk vs. leg length could make for variation.

Apparently, someone does want to know, so I asked my sainted mother, who has those dimensions.

Also, please note that my sainted mother wouldn’t mind a whole box of Ho-Hos, if you’re sharing, but they nor the copious amounts of junk food she already consumes seem to alter her basic mathematics. Fortunately, I inherited something of that metabolism myself.

Sunshine Go Away Today

In a stunning turn of events, governments have thought to use the Kirkwood shooting as an excuse to cloak themselves in greater “security” by persecuting dissident citizens and offering a show of force to intimidate citizens. After Kirkwood shootings, gadlies [sic] under the microscope:

Dienoff, who denies he would ever hurt anyone, is among a small number of people who rarely miss the opportunity to attend local government meetings, where they raise the hackles of officials over issues from taxes to traffic tickets.

Often called gadflies, they see themselves as champions of freedom and watchdogs of local government.

But post-Kirkwood, a conflict has arisen between security and First Amendment rights. Where these critics may once have been seen as annoying, if sometimes right, some are now being looked at as possible threats.

Some cities have moved to install metal detectors and to have armed officers on hand. At least one, Pine Lawn, has voted to bar anyone it deems disruptive from public meetings.

Fortunately for those entrenched in local municipal power, the Kirkwood shootings have a ready-made racial template so that citizens and their leaders don’t have to think of it in terms of a small government throwing its weight onto a single citizen, pricking him and then silencing him until violence is his only possible expression.

No, it’s racial. Kumbaya, have some harmony-building meetings, and then take exactly the wrong steps.

Because silencing the disenfranchised faster and moving into micro-sized totalitarian city states more quickly isn’t going to ensure safety. Limiting the government’s influence and not running cities like fuedal fiefdoms might.

Once You Start Nannying

Once an organization finds success in its push to rule citizens’ lives (namely, through regulating corporations and the citizens they serve), that organization often likes to turn its prowess at ruling to other endeavors. Another case in point:

The Dodge pickup has rust on the tailgate and a Harley-Davidson sticker on its back windshield. Beside it sits a Honda Accord with a big, white butterfly on the windshield and American flag butterflies on each side of the trunk.

There’s the minivan sporting a tattoo parlor bumper sticker and a miniature San Francisco football jersey suctioned to a window of a red Cougar with a scuffed-up driver’s side.

They all have one thing in common: Their owners didn’t pay off a car title loan, and now they’re getting ready for auction.

For years payday lenders have been the bad guy in the predatory lending debate while their close cousin, car title lenders, have cruised along unnoticed – and perhaps more disturbing for some – unregulated in several states. Many efforts to regulate the industry have failed as the lenders pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into legislative campaigns.

Sadly, the totalitarian impulses of the news media continue to cast organizations who offer services as the bad guy, not the ill-informed or naive sheep who get into bad situations and clamor for the government to save them from their decisions.

Meterologists Predict 80% Chance of Government Payout to Fools

Spring flooding possible after heavy snow in upper Midwest:

There’s a good chance of flooding on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers this spring because of soggy landscapes and a heavy snowpack in the upper Midwest, according to the National Weather Service.

So I guess that means I’d better plan on having my tax dollars spent to fix the leaky basements of recent development on flood plains, eh?

Which is worse, the fool who builds multi-million dollar mixed use developments on land that gets submerged, or the fools who suffer a government that feels compelled to bail that fellow out with buckets of cash?

Book Report: The Wrecking Crew by Donald Hamilton (1960)

Ah, now that’s better. This is a nice, serviceable bit of pulp paperback reading. The second book in the Matt Helm series, The Wrecking Crew shares the name of one of the Matt Helm movies starring Dean Martin, but they’re not that similar. Whereas the movies are sort of Austin Powers, winking and nudging at the motif, the books are more earnest and straightforward.

Matt returns to service as an assassin, and his first real mission sends him to Sweden under the cover of a freelance photographer. After writing a telling article about a master spy, a writer is apparenty killed in an ambush. The widow has an article of her own and commissions Matt to take photos of northern Sweden. But Matt’s real purpose doesn’t seem too secret. So why does the superspy leave Helm in place?

The writing’s better than things I’ve read lately; it’s not John D. MacDonald, but only John D. MacDonald is. The plot twists a bit, and it tends to take you on a bit of a ride, but it’s enough fun for a paperback.

(My first review of a Matt Helm book here.)

Books mentioned in this review: