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Month: September 2003

Dear Brother #11

Dear Brother #11 picks up after the PCs left Chicago and headed down to Mississippi. Chronologically speaking, these events occurred before those recorded in Dear Brother #10c, but we played them out after we played out the trip to Mexico. If I’d known we were going to do that I suppose I’d have held off on writing #10 until we’d finished playing the events leading up to it — but it doesn’t hurt the story at all, so no harm done.

On the other hand, we did wind up playing out the events described here after we played the events described in the upcoming Dear Brother #12. But this time I knew it was coming so I can write #11 and #12 in chronological order.

(None of this matters or impinges on the entertainment value one bit, so don’t worry. I’m just noting it so I’ll remember what happened years from now when I’m old and grey. And I’m not complaining, cause Rob makes it all work)

Timing is all

Glenn Reynolds, once again, is confused.

THE REAL WILSON SCANDAL: Forget Valerie Plame, the big scandal is why anyone in the Bush Administration would ever have tasked a guy with Wilson’s views with an important mission.

If you follow the link, you’ll find Bill Hobbs ranting about a speech Joseph Wilson gave on June 14th, 2003. The very perceptive among us will notice that June 14th is somewhat later than the date on which Wilson went to Niger to look into the yellowcake assertions.

Let’s say you went to Niger to investigate claims that Niger sold yellowcake to Iraq, and you found out that the claims were false. You made a report to that effect. Despite your report, Bush kept claiming that Niger sold yellowcake to Iraq. It became an important component of his justification for war, and you knew it was a lie. It further became evident that the remainder of Bush’s allegations concerning WMD were inaccurate.

Might your views change?

What’s more likely: that Bush chose an investigator who was deeply and fundamentally biased, or that Joseph Wilson altered his opinions in light of the way his report was treated?

It kind of boggles me, in either case, that Reynolds could claim with a straight face that views Wilson expressed on June 16th, 2003 were a good reason to not send him to Niger in 2002.

Brave man

Ed Gray, a sportswriter for the Boston Herald, came out today.

“I’m out because I no longer, in good conscience, choose to ignore the unabashed homophobia that is so cavalierly tolerated within the world of sports. I’m out, because the silence of a closeted gay man only serves to give his implicit approval to bigotry. I’m out, because I refuse to continue hiding from the truth that an openly gay man has as much right as a straight man to play sports or report on them.”

It’s not a superbly written article, and Ed Gray isn’t a top tier Boston sportswriter, but he’s a brave guy and I admire him. Come to think of it, the Herald also deserves some praise. They didn’t have to print that piece, and if you buy into stereotypes you might think that the conservative Boston paper formerly owned by Rupert Murdoch would be unlikely to print a pro-homosexuality piece. Goes to show that stereotypes are tricky things.

I found out about the story while listening to WEEI on my drive into work this morning; Dennis and Callahan gave him a call, and he agreed to do an interview. He doesn’t want to be a pioneer or a trailblazer. He just wants to be able to say “I’m gay” without people like Todd Jones, Garrison Hearst, and Jeremy Shockey insulting him. He was quiet, calm, and didn’t rant. He sounded a little worried. He sounded like he was utterly sure he made the right decision.

He also said, during the call, that he thinks a gay player could come out and survive. I hope he’s right. I do know this: whether or not he wants to be a pioneer, he just made it a little bit easier for the first gay player to make that decision.

Monday Mashup #11: Star Trek

Let’s get ready to Mashup! (And remember, there’s an new game meme announcement list — get your gaming memes piping hot.)

Today we’re going to take another SF classic and subject it to our evil whims. Your target du jour is Star Trek, and we’re not talking any of that revisionist stuff. No Enterprise, no Next Generation, no Deep Space Nine. We’re doing Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, and the five year journey. Or the movies, cause hey, everyone loves Ricardo.

The core characters of Star Trek were officers in charge of an exploration mission. They were often caught between duty and humanity; I wouldn’t give Star Trek the same props I give Horatio Hornblower, but Roddenberry knew what drove his conflicts. I think there are some interesting possibilities for mashing.

Taking the pulse

Some polling tidbits from Iraq, via Juan Cole — 94% of Baghdad residents think Baghdad is more dangerous now than it was before the invasion. 29% of Baghdad residents have a favorable view of the US; 55% have a favorable view of France.

On the other hand, countrywide, 33% of those polled think they’re better off now than they were before the invasion, but 67% think they’ll be better off in five years. Which actually strikes me as fairly accurate. Mind you, they could be thinking “as soon as the Americans leave,” which bodes poorly for our long-term ability to work with Middle Eastern countries.

Aqila al-Hashimi died. Old news, but as long as I’m on the subject of Iraq…

Also, we’re calling up more troops. We’re not getting any help from India and while we still want Turkey to send troops, Iraqi leaders are not thrilled about the idea.

Syria’s willing to help, though.

It spreads, it expands

Despite it being an LiveJournal thing, I find myself saying why not? Thusly:

Your meme, should you choose to accept it, is to rank the following bands in order, from COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT to COULDN’T CARE LESS. To add value to this process, you must also add one band to the list, and remove one band from the list, before passing the meme on (including these instructions).

David Bowie
Bob Mould
Suzanne Vega
The Beatles
The Pixies
Duran Duran
Jethro Tull
Fleetwood Mac


It’s Chris’s fault, really. After a pulse-pounding conclusion to his Morrisonian supers campaign, I have a yen to run Champions. Maybe it’ll pass. I’m probably safe, since I don’t think anyone in my current gaming group is a Hero fan. (“The chargen! It burns my eyes!”)

(The UNTIL Superpowers Database makes it easy! Really!)

Champions Universe? Maybe. Millenium City is a nice piece of work, and there’s a ton of background available. Or I could do my own universe and just reuse all the interesting super writeups from the CU; with novice Hero players, it wouldn’t matter.

I do have a little stock of campaign ideas, to wit:


In 1957, the first superhuman came into his powers. He, unlike those who would follow him, had only one ability: by drinking the blood of a human and giving that human his own blood in return, he could grant that human unpredictable powers of his or her own. The only common thread? All superhumans can grant powers to others, just like the long-dead originator of the line. Superhuman powers are infectious.


The seven Great Familes of metahumans have never been inclined to let the normals know that superpowers are hereditary, and the big lie has held up for centuries. Behind the scenes, the non-powered members of the families plot for position and arrange marriages between just the right superhero teams. Dynastic royalty, hidden from the world.

Man, that’d take a ton of setting work. But it’d be fun.

College Days

By the twenty-first century, college athletics are passe. There’s only one college activity that matters: the superhuman studies program. Where else would young superheros learn their trade? There’s not a superhero team on earth that would accept a non-graduate, so best to take your studies seriously. But hey — when the recruiter gave your family all BMWs as an under the table signing bonus, how serious are you going to be about exams?

And then I have the one where the PCs play non-supers, who’re the minders for the only four superheros in the world. But that one’s just dark and I kinda wanna do four-color.

Alternate bat

Half of me wonders if Mark Millar’s latest column isn’t a prank. But — Orson Wells as Batman? In 1946?

Millar mentions a Lionel Hutton as the source of the news, and there’s no trace of any Lionel Hutton on the Web. I’m thinking the column is a prank. But, hey; it’s a glorious concept, and I’ll dream of Dietrich as Catwoman tonight. (And Cagney as the Riddler. Yum.)

City in the sand

George Alec Effinger fans will want to be making their way to “Golden Gryphon Press”: and picking up a copy of Budayeen Nights. Nine pieces of fiction, all set in the world of Marid’s Budayeen. Four of them are Marid stories, including one which is just the first two chapters of the never-finished fourth Budayeen book. One of them is the first few pages of what would have been the last Budayeen book. One of them is a Honey Pilar story, and it rocks.

Barbara Hambly wrote the foreword, and introductions to each story. Her anger and her love for George are both evident; the love in stronger measure.