Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hey, a new webcomic!

Check it out--it's only a few days old. It's got CROCODILE MEN.


(Meanwhile, holy heck, did Grognadia's link to that article about 20 old words obsolete (and pudify!) my whole Etymonday enterprise or what?)

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Pudifying Etymonday


I adopted this word on Saturday but discovered too late that it didn't appear (at least in this particular form) in any of my desk dictionaries--not the New Oxford American (3rd ed.--alack! I didn't check the 2nd ed., but left it in exile under a bookcase in the coldest corner of my living room); not the Merriam-Websters Third New International, not even the Shorter Oxford English. I didn't find it on Wordnik either, and I still haven't bothered to google it.

Uh, but they did all have the likely root word: pudency which mean 'modesty' and comes from Latin pudentia, a form of pudere, meaning 'to make or be ashamed' which I take to be the intended meaning of today's word as well--so this post is another riff on my Shameful Bits post from ages past.

I think somebody ought to write up pudify as a cleric spell. Sort of a specific, limited charm person or cause fear--and here I apologize for referring to the spells not by their canonical names but by generic equivalent phrases. Except that charm person is the proper name.

Here's a picture of Thomas More confronting Cardinal Wolsey (because we're reading Wolf Hall in my book club). I'm not sure which is pudifying the other, but I'm sure there's plenty of that going on.

I found it here. He found it here. The painting is by Vivian Forbes and dates from 1927.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I'm a Member of the Society!

The Pembrooktonshire Gardening Society:

You can probably blame the hat on the Holiday Hoedown I'm playing tonight with ASD.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Of Weredog and Man: The Predator Domesticated

Wolf and Man have ever been rivals, and though we still respect and fear the wolf in its primal state, it is not our species that has become a million different mockeries of itself, that fawns and pants over the other in absolute idiot loyalty. No, that is the state of the Dog.

Likewise, Werewolf and Man have always had an even closer relationship, the mooncurse bringing the fear of nature red in tooth and claw directly into yourself and losing yourself in it. It's a Klein bottle scene.

But just as with the Wolf, Man triumphed and made of a killer a pet, there now can be found, everywhere humans live, a domesticated race of Weredogs--floppy ears, spotted coats, slobbering friendliness and all. When the moon is full the Beast overtakes them and they become Man's Best Friend, and their human mind can only guess in horror what was done in their metamorphosed body while they were exiled from it. Did they sniff the behinds of house cats? Like the hand of a weakling wizard? Beg to be let out to answer the call of the wild?

The only answers will be half-recalled scraps of dreams. This bestial state is rather like the cat's eyes trance that sometimes overcomes Thuderan cat-people and Mongonese Lionmen. Thus, the weredog is a playable race upon the Mutant Earth.

Could these be the dogmen described by Marco Polo? Sure, why not.

(from Wikipedia)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Welcome to Whimsey Wednesday!

Long ago, a beloved blogger called Sham shared with us a set of Whimsey Wine tables for Arduin that he'd made in his youth, some 25 years ago. I still have never seen Arduin, but I was inspired--positively possessed-- by the idea of whimsey wine, and the idea of having several tables of madness always on hand behind the screen--and that's a practice I follow nowadays in my Mutant Earth LotFP:WFRP game.

Today I begin a weekly series exploring some application of randomness that I can use to further my mission of maximal ridiculousness in roleplaying. I suppose that can also be know as the principle of Awesome/Stupid. Also, I realize now that roleplaying may not really need any additional randomness.

My example this morning comes through a few clicks on Stumble Upon in the subject of mythology, leading to Godchecker, whose tagline is "More Gods Than You Can Shake A Stick At." They sell a Cafe Press mug with that on it, anyway. That doesn't remind you of Grognardia's current book project does it?

And the idea I have today is Godnappers. It could be a WEG Ghostbusters campaign--or hey, even the setting of that Ghostbusters retroclone that doesn't exist--just imagine that the GB's got ahold of some serious mystical incunabulae, souped up their proton packs with gamma-ray-generating-Americium (I don't know why--just, gamma rays are cool, okay?),

found themselves a Stargate to Olympus, and started napping up all the gods they could find. Or maybe that's what the bad guys did, whatever floats yr boat.

And how's that for half-baked? Incidentally, that's the other byword for my refereeing style.

Here's a picture of my moustache, from a couple weeks ago when I was roasting a goose or two (hence the hairnet) (I cannot explain the shirtlessness, however):

There's still plenty of time to donate for the benefit of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Livestrong.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Techno-Magical Crowdsourcing Nightmare, Again

You can feel it coming, can't you? The day when the whole world is wired together and thinks as one planet-sized consciousness, the day any wish can be made deed with the speed of thought and the all the resources of the planet behind it.

More "information" they say is generated in a second--or a minute, it hardly matters--than one human can consume in a lifetime. That's waste! That information is fuel. Fuel for the interstellar colonial civilization we are destined to become.

In the meanwhile, consider that the chatter among those 10 billion simultaneous-minds will be just like Twitter and the comments threads of blogs, so be prepared for rival factions crowdsourcing instant monster factories and sending said giant robot monsters to duke it out upon the ruins of all the cities and museums and schools and libraries.

What will YOUR team's giant robot monster look like?

Oh wow--this image tickles some deep, long-undisturbed memories. I must have seen it once when I was very young. Read about it here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Introducing Etymonday

Gretchen Rubin advises that a blogger should post every day if they want to . . . I'm not sure what the result is supposed to be--I only remember the injunction to post every day. So here's my first attempt at a weekly feature: Etymonday.

This feature will be my attempt to locate a good old word that you might want to use to add some old-world-type archaic class and charm to your referee narrating--and read to you from a dictionary about it. For the first word I decided to pick up a copy of The White Company by A.C. Doyle--a book that dumbfounded me 10 years ago with the amount of words I had never seen that were in it--and read until I encountered a word I (still) didn't know.

(You can go here (Project Gutenberg) and try this experiment yourself. And go here (Golden Age Comic Book Stories)to see some stunning N.C. Wyeth illustrations for it.) Like this:

It turns out that I had to skip several place names--I may not be familiar with the names, but I probably won't find them in a desk dictionary either.

Anyway, the first word of the Etymonday series: saltern. Here's the sentence it appears in, if you'd like a taste of some stately prose: From the vineyard and the vinepress, from the bouvary or ox-farm, from the marl-pits and salterns, even from the distant ironworks of Sowley and the outlying grange of St. Leonard's, they had all turned their steps homeward. (I probably should have looked up 'marl-pits' and 'bouvary' as well.)

And here is what the New Oxford American Dictionary (2nd Ed.--my new 3rd Ed. is at home) has to say: "a set of pools in which seawater is left to evaporate to make salt," and it come from Old English sealtærn 'salt building' the original use denoting a saltworks.

Saltworks? That's rad. Do you suppose goblins like salt? What if some sort of negotiation/mass slaughter had to be worked out with the goblin saltworks so that the peaceful/genocidal villagers could deal with an infestation of Slugmen From Out Of Space? (The slugmen have slime-rays.)

Here's a blog (http://thisplaceissacred.blogspot.com/) that I found when I Googled 'slugmen from out of space.'

And here's an image from something called piranhaquasar.com, which might just be NSFW and maybe even morally repugnant, but, you know slugmen.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why did no one tell me there was a new edition of the Oxford American Dictionary?

Go look at it here.

I like the sound of the new format--but who am I kidding? I'd like any new dictionary format (expect maybe "online").

And who can turn down 6 months free access to the Oxford Dictionaries Online? Almost everbody, I know.

Anyway, I'm very exited about this big blue book bolting even now to my doorstep, even if it does look like my favorite lexicographer, Erin McKean (of Wordnik), is no longer on the title page.

Friday, November 12, 2010

You know who had a great moustache?


Go here to donate to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and grow a mo.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's Mo-Vember On My Face!

Hey, Kids!

I'm pledging to grow a mo ('stache) for the month of November. Not only is this a chance for me to act ridiculous in public, it's a stunt to raise awareness of (and funding for relief of. . .) prostate cancer (which, you'll recall, was the bane of my Spiritual Master, Frank Zappa).

So, if you'd like to donate to this hairy cause, please follow the link by clicking the Great Moustache itself:

I'll be back periodically with shots of my ugly mug to mark my progess. So stay away for that!