Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Worlds of Context

Progress Continues!

What can make a villain out of a hero, a wise person out of a fool, a weakling out of the mighty and all of this just as easily the reverse?


For example, someone I have mentioned before.
The conversion of a Villain into a Hero has a long and storied history. Venom's done it, the Juggernaut has done it- hell even The Joker has been briefly, vaguely heroic when faced with Nazis.
But perhaps the most noteworthy distinction is Doctor Victor von Doom who, as the Comic Book Lore stands, is engaged in a struggle to save Planet Earth by virtue of his own mechanomystical tyranny. He's an obnoxious condescending egomaniac but he's been written to be... right. Absolutely correct. Thus rather heroic.
The lower panel is actually a white panther/cat God(dess) of Wakanda/Egypt named Bast who, by the way, confirms Doom isn't lying. Comics are profound(ly silly). Also why is he holding a goblet? He can't possibly drink through that mask!
So, while all of the superheros of the world are fighting supervillains and Doom, it has been revealed that in the universe as it stands they should basically be helping Doom take over the world and retire because the alternative is apparently extinction.

Doctor Doom is a Hero. An unsympathetic unlikable Hero aspiring God Emperor of Earth. Or, since this is all fictional he has been rendered so and thus gives weight to possibility to the answer of a certain question posed in the video below being "Yes". At least for some of us.

On an vaguely related note, Freud was an overrated hack.

It could also be the latest product of Comic's long history of employing the finest writers minimum wage can buy.

Still, in the context of his universe, Doctor Doom is effectively not only a Hero but a hero on such a level that all the other heroes are closer to meddling villains than anything else.

This mighty power of context is why, if you would like to diminish the probability of you being/doing something foolish, when you make your judgments you should ever be collecting more of the context related to it. Additionally, this is why although you SHOULD be willing to judge others- you should never be in a rush to condemnation.

Due to the almost all-encompassing power of context, after all, you could always be wrong. We all could be.

Progress Continues.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hysterical Revisionism

Progress continues!

Here, anyway. History is repeating itself elsewhere.

The Moral Outrage Puritans of the world have, after failing to stop the evil hashtag of Gamergate, Have, in the aftermath of one young Mr. Roof's shooting rampage, looked to stamp out a new cause of all that is bad.

Bad Flags.

Yes, clearly the REAL threat to the world is Confederate Flags. If people can't fly or have Confederate Flags, they can't be racist!

According to some people, apparently just looking at this flag makes you a horrible racist.
Apple has removed all games from their shops that have the Confederate Flag. Apparently they believe seeing the flag even in it's appropriate context- or perhaps especially in it's appropriate context- will turn people into shooting-spree racists.

What simpletons they must imagine everyone who is not them to be!

If the confederate flag turned people into racists and homicidal maniacs, then the U.S. would be a smoldering crater crafted over years of endless war between the new Confederacy and the Fourth Reich created by Wolfenstein 3D.

But, that's absurd. Surely no one actually believes this is the case.


This is a fascinating thing and could quite likely make you a better person to understand.

But Apple has decided to go further than just purging the Confederate Battle Flag for the bad feels it causes.

Don't shoot Nazis! Shoot... Germans. Yes, shoot those horrible Germans! Much better!

Meanwhile in the city of Tampa the shooting is being used by Mayor Bob Buckhorn to call for the removal of a Confederate battle flag from a civil war memorial.


“The fact that it is still flying over I-4 is not a celebration of the history of the South but a painful reminder of man’s inhumanity to fellow man. It does not reflect the amazing diversity of Tampa or the emergence of this state as a beacon of tolerance. It needs to come down.”

The flag makes them feel bad and reminds them of bad things that happened. It doesn't make them look good. 

Well, that's a good reason to hide and bury it. After all, isn't that how the saying goes?

'Those who bury their history and are never reminded of it will never repeat it because they don't really have an idea of what it was anymore.'

That doesn't sound right.

I would think said flag should stay for much of the same reasons he says it should go. A reminder of how far they've come, and of where they never want to go again- presumably.

And what good does it serve to attack these flags? Well, none. 

Assuming people aren't so insane as to sincerely believe Bad Flags make Bad People then it' s all about punishing people for either liking the flag for whatever reasons or simply trying to look like a better and more progressive person by hating BAD FLAGS. 

If you don't hate BAD FLAGS, maybe you're the BAD PEOPLE.

In doing this, they slap at a whole lot of people who could have any number of reasons for having some appreciation for the flag, for whatever valid reasons. Like representing the South in historical games in the Civil War maybe.

People slapping at wide swathes of vaguely defined people presumed to be monsters... This seems familiar. Oh, look at this.

Whoosh indeed.
Racism, folks, is a universal human flaw. It is, sadly, something you could not without merit accuse babies of. We are naturally predisposed to prefer people similar to us over people different from us. It is not an external evil, but rather an evolutionary trait that has outlived it's usefulness but cannot simply be purged from the human mind.

It must be recognized and struggled with constantly to the ends of seeking improvement. You cannot defeat it by accusing others of it and then attacking them any more than you could do this with any other human failing.

Not only is that lazy it actually makes it harder to encourage positive change in others while screaming idiots using such topics as a desperate means of collecting social capital have those others intractably defensive.

Worse than that is attempting to censor and purge the 'offensive' words and symbols of these others. When you silence the voices of others you set the framework in place to be silenced yourself.

They are not monsters, they are probably just plain wrong. Most of us are be it at a time or on a given topic, whether we know it or not. One of the problems inherent in being less than omniscient. 

Progress continues.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wanted, Eldritch Prophylactics

Progress continues!

The Cult of Urmgosh has been at it again. Or rather, there has been some aftermath. The couple that... participated... in the summoning ceremony is believed to be expecting.

Which is to say they are rather late indeed. This is something of an unfortunate development, as they would need to be put on extended leave or possibly dismissed. While we have hopes of providing childcare options in Deep Seven, there is no such setup in our present facilities.

At least we can be mostly certain their little one won't be the avatar of some eldritch weirdness.

Almost completely certain.

I'm still not sure what to make of all this, but if they are in fact expecting all I can really object to is that they did not take better precautions.

I really expected better of the Henchpeople in question, but for all I know this will work out for the best.

We'll deal with any vanishingly unlikely scenarios as they turn up.

Moving on, are YOU familiar with the embarrassment that was the movie WANTED?`

That trailer sells it rather well, which is how a lot of poor bastards got suckered into it. With respect to the efforts of Angelina Jolie it is not the most loved movie, rating lower than either of the movies mentioned in the last update- going by the audience rating, with 69% of the audience remembering it fondly.

The Tomatometer has it at a much more generous 72%, but then the Tomatometer is inevitably less reliable thanks to shills skewing the results as much as they are paid to.

If you can bear spoilers, the movie is really quite enjoyable up to a certain point at which the 'awesome' qualities are rapidly overcome by mountains of weight piled onto the suspension of disbelief as we learn, among other things, that the entire fraternity of Assassins is commanded by a textiles machine.

Only it commanded them to kill themselves, you see, and that's why the Master Assassin went rogue.

But here's a fun fact : the reason it's bad is because it's source material is even worse.

In the movie there were some redeeming qualities to the characters. Something to empathize with and respect in them.

Not so for the comic miniseries it was based on.

In Wanted, The Original Series. The Protagonist starts off the same way, a put-upon guy in a miserable job being abused by all he knows due to a lack of a spine.

This is because he was raised by his pacifist Mother after his Father took off you see.

But that all changes when Fox, in stark contrast to Jolie's character, murders the patrons of a sandwich shop to reveal that Mr. Wesley Gibson is in fact the son of a super-villain assassin and destined for greater things. Which is to say, to be a horrible bastard.

This, by the way, is not Fox in the comic.
THIS is. Another stark contrast to Angelina Jolie, really.

The world of Wanted, in this case, takes place in a world where Supervillains wholly united to not only defeat all Superheroes, but because they are jerks furthermore collectively erased Humanity's memories of Superheroes.

As a result so long as Supervillains refrain from revelling in being supervillains- maintaining some measure of secrecy, they are free to be as evil as they possibly can be without repercussion.

To shorten things up, Wesley Gibson ultimately takes to it like a duck to water, killing his Father and assuming his place as requested and I would like to stress again has if anything become even less sympathetic.

In fact, where Wanted the movie ends with this milkwater fourth-wall-breaking to taunt the audience:

Comic Book Wesley Gibson ends his tale on this note:

Did I mention he also metamorphosed into Slim Shady? So edgy. So edgy.
The director of the Wanted movie, Timur Bekmambetov,  had this to say about the movie.

"It’s a comedy, a tragedy, a drama, a melodrama. Every scene, we change genres and that’s why our movie is different.”

A lot of words when the phrase 'tone deaf' would have sufficed. Still he was being fair in noting it was 'different' not 'good'.

Surprisingly a sequel to Wanted is supposedly in the works but consigned to development hell.

Which, not being a fan, I rather feel is a good place for it.

As it is it would seem the likes of Dr. Doom are doing quite well in the Comic Book universe without moving to another in which their pedophile understudies fare better. That wasn't slander, by the way that is a plot point for one of the major characters.

I am quite sure Dr. Doom would destroy The Professor utterly.

There is poor taste and then there is Wanted. In any form.

And then there is this, which proves precious little is entirely irredeemable.

Progress continues.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wicks and Equalizers

Progress continues!

Particularly recovery. If anyone was particularly disappointed in the last two updates I would indeed apologize.

Naturally there is no A.R.D.I. H. program. The entire concept is crazy talk.

But in reviewing what I wrote I think I could expand on the charming contrast of John Wick and The Equalizer.

Both could be almost equally classified as dumb action movies, almost, and at 85% versus 65% on the 'Tomatometer' it would seem John Wick is the clear favorite- although the audience rating puts John Wick in the lead by a 'easily-explainable-by-the-suggestible' 3%,

In truth, I believe the movies close to equal in quality if not in message.

The protagonists are the utter antithesis of each other. Goofus and Gallant. As is appropriate for a movie featuring an antihero and a hero respectively.

Mr. Wick is an utter asshole. He made his fortune by killing people criminals wanted dead. The audience is expected to never think about the high likelihood that said criminals might have wanted any number of innocents killed. John Wick is a professional, very highly paid indeed. Do you really believe as easily as he killed and for the reasons he killed that his hands are clean of innocent blood?

He gets out of the business not out of any regret or distaste for what he has done but because the woman he loved had such. When she dies, his reason to stay clean is solely out of respect for her memory which he honors as, poor baby, he zooms around in his musclecar on an airfield.

But when a pair of thugs knock him out and murder his dog, he has just the excuse he needs to get back into business. To make the excuse good however, first and foremost he has to achieve his revenge.

To avenge the life of a dog, John Wick kills a lot of people. How many?

Well, just so happens someone made an infographic.

http://www.visu.info/john-wick-kill-count A pro-click, if you will.

77 individuals killed over a dog and a car. Now, naturally since this is a movie we are left to hope that every one of those 77 was a horrible person who probably had it coming. We'll just overlook that most of them were bodyguards who were just doing their job. However bad they were though, Mr. Wick is clearly the better killer if not better man.

Not only does John Wick personally kill a proverbial assload of people presumably worse than he was, he puts his Mentor into a situation that leads to their death when they break their ideals in order to save Mr. Wick.

This, by the way, is the only reason John Wick survives, because a better assassin improbably elects against doing their job for sentimental reasons.

Now, if you were a big fan of John Wick- you might be rather angry with me. This might feel like an attack on you by proxy, but please perish the thought.

What you like or don't like does not make you a bad person or you in any way wrong for (dis)liking them, I am simply pointing out the things the writers of this didn't want people to think about.

Whether I am right about all this is perhaps a matter for debate and even if I am right it is, again, all only appropriate when it's an story about an antihero.

Beyond his ability to kill people better than other people who kill people, there really isn't much to respect in John Wick. He is a murderous narcissist who only thinks about what HE wants and what was taken from HIM. Again :

It might be fun to imagine yourself as being John Wick, but if you are NOT John Wick then his existence in your world only makes it a slightly worse place. You can't afford to hire him and if anyone who can takes issue with you, you're screwed.

Perhaps if you are already hideously wealthy, it's nice to imagine there is a John Wick on call.

Again, aside of this I would say the movie is worth seeing and very entertaining. Keanu Reeves does an excellent job in his role.

Now, for the antithesis.

Comically, this is the only time The Equalizer uses a gun.
The Equalizer is an odd duck, to be sure. Their history is never touched on as thoroughly as Mr. Wick's. They are implied to also have been a widower however.

They have some history with the U.S. Government. Though be it with the CIA or some other agency is never clear.

They too have retired- though it is not entirely clear whether this is the result of them outliving a spouse is unclear. Only whereas Mr. Wick spends his retirement roaring around in musclecars and screaming The Equalizer lives a quiet, orderly life immersed in precise routine, reading, working at a home depot and helping acquaintances reach their goals.

In their retirement, long before they ever get into a fight, they are helping others. In this case it is helping an obese gentleman train and lose weight sufficiently so as to qualify for work as a security guard.

His efforts to retire from violence are interrupted when he befriends a young woman being made to work as a hooker. When she is put in the hospital, his first reaction is not to kill everyone between her pimp and him and then the pimp.

It is to empty his savings and attempt to buy her freedom.

Only when the pimp and his cronies laugh him out of the room does he resolve to secure her release by other means.

While this unfortunately invites further complications from their Russian overlord, he sees it through to the end. They pointedly avoid guns for some reason. (Though perhaps in a certain comedy, most of the ways he kills are far less merciful for this self-imposed restriction.)

At the end of the day The Equalizer is saved not by his Mentor breaking his ideals, but by his student who lives up to them.

Is that more believable than a master assassin turning down an absurdly high bounty and endangering themselves to save their protege who had already retired but was coming back because someone killed their dog?


The Equalizer kills around 13 people over the course of the movie, avoids losing more blood than a human body possesses while surviving anyway and has almost certainly saved many more lives than he has taken.

In addition to removing corrupt cops and dismantling a crime syndicate he embarks on this to give a young woman forced into sexual slavery a new chance in life.

It is STILL awesome to be The Equalizer, if you are not hung up on spending your time roaring around an airstrip in a muscle car while pitying yourself. He is demonstrated to be every bit of a superior killer.

But, if you are NOT The Equalizer, then it is still fortunate for them to exist in your world. At no point will anyone be hiring him to murder you and there is a fair chance that if you needed their help in a dire situation, they would provide it regardless of your personal income.

They are motivated by something other than money and anger and if you compare the characters at the end... You might notice one of them is significantly happier as well.

Progress continues.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Altered States (again)

(Director Arketer would surely apologize for their absence, but the painkiller used in the most recent procedure made in impossible to update even this horrid thing. Regards, #0)

Disregard tjHat! I am perfectly fine. It's just... whatevetr it is they used. It's stronger.

Progress continues!

I am going to talk about The Equalizer  and John Wick

Type. Anyway.

So. These are both very fun films and I reccomend them to all an sunfry. Very ghoof films. They are alike, you know, but very very different.  They're action films that feature protagnotists that appeal to cynics and optimotrists specificly.

The Equalizer is the optimist hero. He is a man who recognizes the deletrious nature of violence and attempts to retire from it only to find it is in some regrettable instances necessary. Even then he strives to provide the possibility of a nonviolent resolution, but proves better at being violent when it is necessary wven when undertaking the handicap of not using guns, which make things too easy.

John Wick is the Cynic hero, he doesn't 'do' for other people it doesn't make sense to him. He is a retired hitman who is good at what he does, but only survives the movie by virtue of a mentor betraying their own values for the sake of sentiment, which makes less sense still. He leaves his first career because he realizes he would be happier without it with the love of his wife, who then dies of cancer. Then his dog, which his wife gave him is killed by thugs, so he goes back into it for revenge.

Which makes sense to the cynic, whereas  the optimist notes it is selfish and respects more The Equalizer's desire to use his talents to better the position of those less fortunate.

It's all about what is in it for him, for John Wick. The revenge. It's all about giving others a better future, for The Equalizer.

Both are really good films though.

I don't remember where I was going with this, but update made!

Progress continues!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Altered States

(Note, the Director has recently undergone a medical operation requiring the application of strong painkillers, while under the influence they are unable to attend to most of their duties. This unfortunately did not stop them from attempting to update this security hazard they call a blog.

While it has been edited to remove anything dangerous it is fair to say that this entry may not be up to their usual standards. If there are standards. From what I have seen of internet 'blogs' that seems unlikely. #0)

Progress continues!

Isn't that great? And the world keeps getting better. Historically speaking. Assuming we haven't already killed ourselves from climate destabilization. Or maybe we saved ourselves ignorantly from an Ice-Age cull! The science of global climate change is insanely complicated and built on woefully incomplete information!

But science will fix that! Or it can. I want to have people on that one, I do, it's a biggie- but there's Deep 7 to worry about and all the other projects and all of the interference from- look, worse comes to worse we should be in a position to preserve scientific accomplishment and the human race as a whole in a worst case scenario.

It's like I have Director Arketer of Tyria doing, but, you know- without the public invites and whatnot. In the game, that is. Guild Wars 2.

Always wanted to pass this on, never quite fit.
Deep Seven is going to be great for that. A proper self-sufficient city under the sea- but nothing like Rapture. We're not Post-Objectivists, Ayn Rand was a shrill hypocrite. I know some people who resent that statement, but like those Finns say 'The Dog Yelps When The Stick Hits It".

Or something like that. Translation is rather tricky. You get the idea.

No man is an Island or person and whatnot. It's all an interconnected system that requires one to put considerable effort to extricate themselves from. The reason we did that was not to go 'Gault', but just so work could be pursued without irrelevant distraction from people attempting to validate themselves loudly and without much rational thought.

Ultimately as in reality as with fiction the ultimate goal is to provide any number of public services to humanity, not for profit- though some will surely profit from them when the time comes- but in the interest of advancing science and humanity itself. Though there is some concern about whether some technologies will ever be entirely safe to the social contract.

I mean, consider if we had in fact perfected a form of human clothing. Or had launched a program I call A.R.D.Y.H. in which one person could simultaneously direct any number of their own clones while sharing a singular consciousness? One mind, multiple bodies, instant gestalt entity. The potential is amazing, but that thing- which we certainly haven't done- could be horribly misused by any number of very lucky billionaires to secure themselves a sort of immortality by just passing on their consciousness to younger selves.

Stagnation is the way of that. No, far better to let them just keep freezing their heads.

(Added for comparison. #0)

The A.R.D.Y.H. program which we didn't ever do was inspired by Dr. McNinja.

Dr. McNinja is a Doctor and a Ninja who thanks to a mentorship under the clone of Benjamin Franklin had the opportunity to clone himself and take ALL of the college courses- then, getting into REALLY crazy territory re-consolidated all of those clones back into a singular entity. Now, while I do my best to maintain at least a mediocre understanding of the various projects our henchpeople undertake- and I still really like the term henchpeople. You just don't see it much anymore. YES I know it has negative and villainous connotations, but it's also much more fun. It's not as if I have anyone out there knocking over banks.

Ridiculous that anyone ever DID have henchpeople do that even in fiction, if you really want to steal a ton of money investment banking is where you send people. Hedge funds, options, calls! They might as well be cheat codes for the economic system and it's really a wonder it hasn't already collapsed over the conjuring going on.

But then, that's probably what THEY have to manage. They basically are the banking system after all. Bet that's a headache.

That's where many of my predecessors have gone wrong. Trying to rule the world is a fool's errand. By the time I am prepared to retire, I am going to go for a small nation and even THEN I intend to rule discreetly from behind the scenes.

No slapping MY face up everywhere. You're just daring someone to punch it then, and what good does that do?

It only works for this egomaniac because he's fictional. Also if recent reports on the state of the Marvel Universe are correct, has effectively ascended to Godhood. God Emperor Doom.
But perhaps most importantly everyone who thinks they are suited to ruling the world primarily reveal they are utterly incapable of properly self-evaluating and noting their own weaknesses. Specifically, no one alive or has ever lived yet is up to the task of managing a world prosperously in a fashion that doesn't reduce the complexity of countless social structures into a barbaric parody of freedom.

If most such leaders every sincerely asked themselves if they really wanted the hassle of dealing civilly with every problem of every culture on the planet- and answered honestly- they would probably say no.

Most of them just want to be dominant, not unlike a poorly trained dog. Could as well tell them they're the boss and stick them in a mansion somewhere surrounded by well-paid sycophants and call it a day. Perhaps fake the odd execution to cater to their delusions and hope they save everyone a bit of money by attempting to willpower their way into flight from the top of a skyscraper.

Speaking of bungling. America got hacked again. China probably did it, I'm not going to have anyone look into it. So we're one step closer to the United Nations of Chimerica! Big woop. The countries are practically symbiotic at this point anyway, given the zeal with which American politicians sell away bits of their government to private entities it might just have been a matter of time until China bought the country wholesale.

Remember ladies, if you are in an elevator with Jim Sterling and he starts sweating heavily and breathing rapidly he's just afraid he'll be mistaken for a rapist. Just exit the elevator as soon as possible, for their peace of mind.

I am not sure what else I intended to cover here and #0 is being rather obnoxious, so just look at this thing up there.

Most of us are right with that Dad who smacks down the guy kicking at his kid. But there's another part who happen to know the kicker is the retard kicking the kid is actually retarded. Which is one of the finer excuses for behaving retardedly.

The problem is, with two fairly valid points of view to this a bunch of people had a bizzare seizure over deciding which one to hate more. Can't hate the mentally handicapped guy rationally but the Father probably wasn't thinking that rationally. This, folks, was an unfortunate incident. No one needs to be hated, arrested or executed here.

If any fault could be found, it would be with the parents who either didn't act fast enough, or acted a little faster than he probably should have.

Rash action is rash, especially when the kid clearly wasn't injured.

I'm... going to stop this here. I'm starting to see unnerving things.

Progress continues...

Friday, June 12, 2015

TSA vs. Private Contractors

(Non-Americans may prefer to skip past to the next-most-recent update, as that one is a bit funnier.)

Progress continues, still.

I have just learned of something profoundly absurd.

The Transporation Security Administration is catching media hell at present for not preventing the hire of 73 individuals on a potential terrorist watch-list.

This, is pretty absurd- not profoundly, according to the Department of Homeland Security report it's not clear if this watch-list was even provided to the TSA.

Worse still, this comes on the heels of a publicized DHS report that indicates a high failure rate on tests. Very absurd

What's really interesting is how easily this data is getting out into the media despite the security risks it encourages. Could it be there is another agenda?

For those of you not willing to subject yourself to excess Fox News- and really, who could blame you- the important part is right HERE.

I suggest listening to it a few times, in fact. Rep. Michael McCaul R- Texas thinks they need to seriously consider going back to privatized airport security. Because that worked so well last time.

That is Profoundly Absurd.

What they might as well be saying is that airport security is public theater anyway, so why not go with the lowest bidder again?

Or, more accurately still, that it is officially long enough post-disaster to go try selling this bit of the U.S. Government to private interests.

Now, if you don't live in the U.S. this naturally doesn't matter much to you. You may also not be familiar with the situation in the U.S. with TSA employees.

The TSA is hated by the public. If you have a hankering for casual loathing from total strangers, there is no greater everlasting fount of it to be found than obtaining work on a TSA checkpoint.

Haaaaaaate. They're being clear, even without these latest events, they would still have nothing but loathing for these PURSE-REACHERS.
These people railing about the incompetence of the TSA, you might note, are very much the same people who deeply resent not being immediately recognized as someone who could never be a Terrorist and thus exempted from screening.

There are no shortage of Americans especially who would rather I devote this text to defending pedophiles and arguing they should be able to obtain work at kindergartens rather than even appear to be defending the TSA.

Which is a gross oversimplification. Corporate saboteur Rep. Michael McCaul, R- Texas is right when he says the system has failed. The TSA's failure rate is inexcusable. However that means you fix the system- rebuild it if necessary, not sell it.

But where's the profit in that?

If there was a security system like the above in place, this would all be rather moot- but there isn't and America is a long way from developing their own. As such 100% effective checkpoint security is not going to happen.

And yet...

In an article by professional former TSA Agent Jason Edward Harrington he comments on the TSA's security test failures- but in assuring people they are in no more danger than they ever were he touches on what justifies the Checkpoints existing.

"A successful real-world terrorist is going to go right around all existing security measures for a near-100% guarantee of success. That terrorist is going to be resourceful and use items that aren’t prohibited – such as box-cutters – in conjunction with gaping security weaknesses such as unlocked cockpit doors. The live-run terrorist is going to forego the risk of a random inspection at a security checkpoint and launch a missile at a plane from the ground. Or – and this is the elephant in the room of every other TSA agent discussion on security vulnerabilities – the terrorist who means business is going to stash a bomb in a body cavity, which no current screening measures can penetrate."

Mr. Harrington is really fixated on the butt-bomber problem.

That aside though, that's the true value of checkpoints. They add an element of uncertainty to any terrorism plan. Terrorists do not want to gamble on losing out on their martyrdom and ghost virgins because Bob Agent was really on the ball that day.

Replace Bob the TSA Agent however with Dave the Contractor now and you have all the old problems you had with Bob but in addition Dave has to think about money first and foremost. It's very unlikely they are motivated by the work itself.

They work for a company for as close to minimum wage as their bosses can press them. 

They are as hated as any TSA agent ever was because they are still going to be federally obligated to go through the motions.

Do you imagine Dave is less likely to turn down an offer of enough money to retire on in return for helping Sinestro the Terrorist get a non-descript box through the checkpoint where he spends eight hours a day being spit on by the public?

Is Sinestro, accordingly, less likely to try?

The TSA needs reworking, but in order to be truly effective they need to be taught their purpose is as a deterrent rather than a surefire catch-all. It's in protecting people by making terrorist plans ever-more uncertain and the TSA can do that because protection is it's purpose. It has a Higher Calling, if you will, that can be shared and used to motivate it's employees with something other than greed.

That is NOT something I believe a private contractor can offer, or certainly cannot hope to achieve as efficiently.


Hopefully, progress continues.

These Are No Emperors in These Clothes

Progress Continues,

but let's laugh mean-spiritedly at the deluded rather than discuss it.

For those of you that may be unaware there is a group of people known as Sovereign Citizens.

If you are unwilling to slog through that wikipedia article- and I wouldn't blame you- Sovereign Citizens are at worst anarchists and at best hilariously deluded individuals who have sincerely convinced themselves they are not obligated to obey the laws of their respective countries.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are found most often in the U.S. and Canada.

They believe themselves entitled to any number of rights- mostly imaginary- that 'federal citizens' (everyone else) has forfeited in some fashion. By virtue of this they feel they don't have to do things like pay taxes, obey speed limits, or really anything they don't want to do while also entitled to do whatever else amuses them.

Let's see where this gets them, shall we?

And to finish things up, let's have a cameo from the King of Hawaii!

"David Russell Myrland filed the civil suit in U.S. District Court in Seattle with help from David Wynn Miller, another sovereign who claims he became the “king of Hawaii” in 1996 after turning that state’s name into a verb. (For the record, Miller prefers the “full-colon” spelling of his name, David-Wynn: Miller. Like many sovereigns who don’t recognize most state and federal laws, he claims the government uses grammar to enslave it(sic) citizens. By using hyphens and colons in their names, he claims, citizens can escape the grasp of government and its taxes.)"

It's far better to laugh at than cry for these individuals, chiefly because they're not going to be reached by either method when they are living in another world of their own creation that... will never quite override this one.

There is a way for these individuals to escape the grasp of the legal system that is both vastly simpler and far beyond reach, though.

It's called : Being Really Rich

Progress continues.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Magneto was Wrong

Progress Continues!

Salon.com, continuing what I am told has been a long slide from respectability to half-baked Gawker clickbait fishing, launched an article in which they believe it was time for comics to 'get real' about race.

For far too long has Mutant Hitler been represented by a WHITE MAN.
The author, Eli Keel, who- no doubt from fear of Gamergaters- has precious little personal information tied to their writing, believes that Magneto is old and as such needs to be rebooted as a black man who sees Martin Luther King assassinated and rejects nonviolence in favor of putting non-mutant Humanity under a boot or into the ground.

They would like to see what would happen in such a situation.

Well, Eli Keel, I can save you a bit of trouble there! Since you're a white guy yourself, the immediate question that would come to mind is why you want one of the most inhumane villains of the Marvel Universe to be a black dude.

It sounds, I must say, rather bad in such context.

Meanwhile people who are questioning exactly how smart such a race-swap is are being accused of, curiously enough, racism themselves. They point to characters who have been rebooted as other races, most notably Nick Fury. Who, I would like to note, worked primarily because he was patterned on Samuel L. Jackson and was thus amazing in every way.

With respect to Mr. Hasslehoff here...
This is the best Nick Fury the world has yet seen.
The lesson here should be that it doesn't truly matter what race a character is- so long as they have someone as irrepressibly charismatic and apt as Samuel L. Jackson playing them.

BUT! So long as any one person is assigning genders, outrage addicts on the internet will be arguing that it's part of some absurd agenda.

We here at Arketer Labs are problem solvers first and foremost, so simply dwelling on this problem won't do. No, instead I have come up with a solution to solve the preponderance of white, male protagonists.

First : Select Hero to be Equalized. Randomly or systematically, they should all be thus eventually.
Assign ethnicity at random.

As chaos is effectively choosing the race, accusations of racism are going to be utterly moot. Do take care that unimpeachable records are kept however in order to prove the selection was random.

And now we will give you examples, using our proprietary and fully refined system, of the New Heroes.

Captain America!
From HERE. And indeed, why shouldn't Captain America be Chinese? Everything being made in China is the American Way.
The Incredible Hulk!
May potentially exist in the real world already.

Black Panther!
Much to my surprise, this one already existed, "pro click." Meanwhile I can't help but think how that hood is just a wee bit of pointy-ness  away from making them look far more like a Dragon than a Panther.

As represented by this Venezuelan Red Skull impersonator.
Progress continues!

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Lady of the Fountain : Part Four : Sir Owain's Return to Nature

Progress continues,

and so does the story, the original of which may still be found HERE.

If you are just now looking at this, the saga begins HERE

When we left Sir Owain, he had obtained leave from his new wife to go back to Caerllon-upon-Usk with King Arthur to party for three months and promptly forgot all about ruling a land who's economy he personally drove by virtue of ransoming bored Knights who came to play with the insanely dangerous hailfountain.

Three years, rather than three months have passed- and only after all this time does the Countess get around to sending a messenger. This messenger- a lady clothed in fine yellow satin- turns up to take back a ring Sir Owain was wearing, though be this a wedding ring or the invisibility ring he was lent is unclear. As she does this she calls him terrible names such as deciever, traitor, faithless, disgraced and most damningly- beardless.

Sir Owain is rather tolerant of his by virtue of the fact he's absolutely mortified he had forgotten, apparently among other things, that he was married. So horrified is he at having forgotten about his Countess and Country, he departs Caerllon-upon-Usk the next day.

Not to hurry back to The Countess and apologize, ask forgiveness and take up his duties. No, remember being a Knight means never ever doing anything like that. Sir Owain knew what he had to do.

"And the next day he arose but did not go to the Court, but wandered to the distant parts of the earth and to uncultivated mountains.  And he remained there until all his apparel was worn out, and his body was wasted away, and his hair was grown long.  And he went about with the wild beasts and fed with them, until they became familiar with him; but at length he grew so weak that he could no longer bear them company."

Yes! He knew he had to wander off into the wild to live with the wolves as a wildman up until poor hygiene and nutrition nearly killed him. Alternatively, this is just what happens when a Knight really can't deny even unto himself that he owes an apology but utterly lacks the mental capability to deliver it.

Anyhow, his life as a wild and carefree woodland hobo comes to an end as he passes out from exhaustion near the domain of a widowed Countess. This Countess, who apparently isn't the same one he made a widow, married and then abandoned, wanders across him with her maidens and after poking him come to the conclusion he isn't dead.

Said Countess then returns to her castle with her people and, either because they can tell he isn't a peasant or because they're just a unusually decent person, the Countess sends a maiden back with an expensive medicine, some clothes and a horse.

Revived by his treatment and dressed properly, Sir Owain returns to the castle and is made comfortable. He learns that the Countess is soon to lose her lands to an ambitious Earl who had already besieged the the castle in the time he rested there.

In something approaching a plan to return the kindness he had been shown he asks to borrow arms and armor.

The Countess, expecting to be overthrown and her armory taken as a prize anyway, was happy to oblige. Armed and armored, Sir Owain rode out to the camp of the Earl and- taking everyone involved by surprise- knocked the Earl out of his saddle and hauled him back to the Castle, making a gift of him to his host in payment for the medicine spent on him.

The Countess ransomed then the Earl's life for the lands he had taken from her, and for his freedom he paid her all his gold and the majority of his lands while providing her also with hostages to replace him and ensure the Earl's good faith.

This done, Sir decided to resume his wanderings- much to the disappointment of the Countess and her people.

Sir Owain then found a lion quarreling with a snake and on slaying the Snake, found the Lion had become an unusually fond friend. With his new Lion buddy, Sir Owain continued onward and eventually made camp for the night- with his Lion pal helping fetch the firewood and then deliver a tasty deer to cook up.

Wait, this thing is seeming a bit too smart and amiable for a Lion...

Anyhow, whilst Sir Owain cooked he heard a sigh. Which he ignored. Then a second sigh, which he ignored. Finally a third sigh annoyed him sufficiently that he looked into where it came from and discovered he had made camp beside a stone cell, imprisoned within being one Luned. The 'Maiden' responsible for saving Owain's life and securing the Countess of the Fountain as his wife.

So changed is Sir Owain by his questionably sane adventuring that she doesn't recognize his voice. They converse and Sir Owain learns from here that in his long, idiotic abscence pages in the Countess's court came to decry Sir Owain as a traitor. Luned objected, and for this she was thus imprisoned- to be held until Sir Owain came to her rescue, or to be put to death- this latter occasion being tomorrow.

After confirming that Luned truly believed that if Sir Owain knew of her plight he would come to rescue her- because clearly she doesn't recognize she is speaking with Sir Owain- Sir Owain goes forth to the castle of the Earl who imprisoned Luned.

There he learns the Earl's sons, the Pages who imprisoned Luned, have been taken captive by a brutal giant of a man and will be put to death themselves if the Earl does not deliver to the Giant his daughter. Sir Owain volunteers to go out and fight the Giant- and with the aid of his Lion buddy does so.

In the midst of their fighting, the Giant calls a time out, saying that he would find it so much easier to kill Sir Owain if Sir Owain didn't have that Lion helping.

Because Sir Owain is a bit of a dimwit, he graciously takes the Lion back to the castle and closes them inside.

Returning to battle, the Giant begins to gain the upper hand- at which point the Lion, being vastly smarter than Owain- has made it's way to the top of the castle wall and over to attack the Giant again. It's blow kills the giant, and thus the Earl's sons are freed.

Sir Owain then asks them about the imprisoned maiden, and volunteers to fight them both- two young men versus a recently reformed hobo of the woods- for her freedom.

The young men agree, but once again that pesky lion turns their fair Two-Versus-One fight into a unfair Two-Versus-One-and-a-Lion.

A time-out is again called so Sir Owain can try to imprison the entity keeping him alive.

Spoiler, he fails- the Lion escapes as the battle goes poorly for Owain and kills the youths. So as it turned out Sir Owain Saved the youths to kill them himself.

Luned freed, together they return to the Countess of the Fountain who I am sure was overjoyed to see Sir Owain over three years later on. He took her then to Caerllon-Upon-Usk where she remained his wife for as long as she lived.

The end? NO! There's one more tedious hamfisted allegorical adventure crudely stitched on the end!

Yes, there is one villain unaccounted for! One which has haunted all of the noble folk with his mockery and helpfulness and INTIMIDATINGLY LARGE STAFF.

Sir Owain, Lion in Tow, resolved to set back for the dreaded Grove Court of the Savage Black Man, for reasons.

There, he and the Lion vanquished the Savage Black Man and found out that the Savage Black Man had a castle stuffed full of fine ladies the Black Man had taken prisoner and deprived of their gold and frilly things after having murdered their husbands. Sir Owain frees them, yay!

BUT WAIT! The Black Man isn't dead! And now he's a Knight on a horse! And Sir Owain beats him, and the Black Man says 'It was foretold you would come and beat me! Spare my life and I will be your friend!' and Sir Owain agreed! Yay! And the fine ladies went back with Sir Owain to the Court of Arthur and some stayed there and some went on and everyone loved Sir Owain!


And thus ended the story of The Lady of the Fountain, thank God it's over.

Progress continues.

Oh, and you can take that uppity housecat or small dog down a peg by making them into a sad parody of a lion HERE.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Lady of the Fountain : Intermission : The Fountain of the Lady

Progress continues,

but once upon a time there was a struggling village in an arid land, the people within barely surviving. One day, however, a wizard visited.

"Hail cater-cousin, what plagues this land so?" asked the Wizard

"A talking gib!" exclaimed the Farmer he addressed.

"Ay ay, but thou see I am actually a wizard trapp'd in a gib's form. nay less powerful f'r it."

"A talking gib!" exclaimed the Farmer, who started reaching for their hoe.

With a sigh, the wizard muttered a word of power- taking on the illusion of his original form- an older gentleman with a long white beard, hat and robe.

Thrumbore the Nonplussed, who had accidentally turned themselves into a cat some time ago.
The Farmer dropped the makeshift weapon and ran off, screaming about Fae.

The Wizard stared after a moment, then sighed and padded onward into the village. There he was greeted by the Village Elder, who was much less excitable.

They retired to the Elder's hut for milk as the Wizard listened to the woes of the village. Foremost, the Elder explained, regular droughts had made it exceedingly difficult to produce enough food by farming.

The Wizard, being a powerful man filled with good intent, resolved to solve this problem.

He set out from the village and summoned all manner of Fae counsel and together resolved to create a magical fountain and altar, complete with silver bowl to activate it. One splash of water from the fountain onto the marble altar would summon a gentle rain to nourish the land.

This was achieved without issue, and the Wizard journeyed back to inform the Elder. There was much rejoicing with fresh milk and a party was sent out to test the fountain. Their success was soon shown by rainfall and the village rejoiced as the party returned- silver bowl in hand.

The Wizard appeared to put a palm to their face and asked why they had brought the bowl back with them, for he had made it clear it was vital to the fountain's operation.

The villagers looked uncomfortable and mumbled something about shininess.

With a word of warning, the Wizard had them take it back to the fountain.

The next week, it had vanished again. After some scrying, the Wizard found it in one of the villager's huts. The thief turned into a frog for a week, the lesson- the Wizard hoped- had been learned.

The bowl disappeared again within another week, and the Wizard was forced to track it down now to another village some distance away, where a Chieftan's son had taken it. Said progeny turned into a hamster for a week, the Wizard left.

Lesson learned, he again summoned his Fae associates to forge a silver chain by which to affix the bowl to the fountain to where it might never be taken again.

Weeks passed and when rain was needed the fountain was used without issue. The Wizard, beloved by everyone who had not been turned into something else, set about to continue their travels.

Years passed, the village grew into a town and the lands prospered dramatically. Human civilization grew and spread.

In the Wizards absence however, the Fae whom had been employed to construct the fountain grew wary of Humanity's success as the people drew ever closer to contact with their secret places.

Eventually, they sent an emissary, disguised as a wizard themselves, to treat with the Chieftain of the settlement.

Having only really known Thrumbore, however, they were subject to a misconception as to what a Wizard looked like.
After that Emissary was chased off as 'A talking gib.' they eventually sent one disguised as a regular human. After a brief display of magic in which two people of no particular importance to the Chieftain were irrevocably rendered pumpkins, said Chieftain was willing to listen.

As Wizards, they offered to upgrade the Fountain, at no cost. They needed the consent of the people however, for only with such could the enchantment be altered.

They promised to make the fountain summon songbirds, to sing beauteously as few mortals had ever heard and thus make the Chieftain and his people famous throughout the lands.

The Chieftain was quick to agree, and with the commanded support of their people, the Fae went to work.

True to their word, now after every rain songbirds would be summoned to a nearby tree, and there sing much to the delight of the Chieftain and those in range of it.

But now the Fae, laughing, revealed the cost.

The Chieftain and his people would have to pay a tribute to the Fae regularly, a princely sum in valuables

The Chieftain asked them if this was necessary to keep the Fountain working. The Fae laughed even harder at this, for it wasn't. No, they explained, if the Chieftain should stop paying tribute- the fountain would summon not rain but instead murderous hail the likes of which would kill those caught in it.

Horrified, the Chieftain and his people strove to pay this tribute.... for a time.

The tributes ended, and a Fae was sent to ask why. The present Chieftain explained that the lands had grown lush and moist and rather than diminish their wealth it was deemed wiser to not pay and simply not make use of the Fountain further.

Wroth, the Fae resolved to use the Fountain themselves. Many people were slain- but by now Humanity had learned to work metal and the Chieftain rode out clad in iron to slay the Fae who made use of the fountain, often they could not flee- enrapt themselves by the songbirds that followed the storm.

The Fae were not incapable of being clever however, and thus resolved to trick others into using the Fountain on their behalf. They had their friends such as the Black Man tell stories of it's wonderous nature to wandering explorers, in the hopes they would be tempted to see it themselves. In this fashion they hoped to set the humans against themselves.

"But, what if they lock aroint the fountain?" asked one of the Fae.

"Shut up." answered another.

Initially the plan seemed to work. Why, for the next several years hardly a month went by that some bored Chieftain's son wandered by and used the fountain. Each time it happened, the local Chieftain would charge out to fight them- but finding them not to be Fae- spared them in victory taking their mounts as penalty.

Eventually an explorer came and defeated the Chieftain, taking their lands and spouse for their own. Now, those who used the Fountain were kept ransom and their price increased the wealth of the Lords of that country. Peasants died in droves of course, but no one cared.

The Fae were horrified, for while the Fountain killed many, it if anything only made the local human lords richer. So profitable was it that no one made any effort at all to 'lock aroint the fountain'.

The Fae cared not for all the dead peasants either of course- that was their goal- but the Humans had the sense to retreat to shelter swiftly, less so the animals of the wild for whom the Fae felt some affinity.

"Bugger this, we're out." resolved the Queen of the Fae at last and thus they departed for safer realms.

And when word of this reached the Human domain, no one terribly cared- as they were far too busy preparing for war, to carve up the domain of a missing Lord of the Fountain...

If you too would like to earn the passive hatred of your small domestic predator, you can do so here.

Progress continues.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Lady of the Fountain : Part Three : Sir Owain's Kingdom for a Calender

Progress continues.

When last we left the strong, courageous and idiotic Sir Owain he was proudly enjoying his position as a Count of the country who's previous Count he personally killed taking said late Count's wife for his own as he makes use of a magical fountain to trap fellow less-capable adventurers into fighting him at the cost of a few peasant and cattle lives. Fortunately they don't get a say in such things, so Sir Owain is well loved and popular amongst the people who matter because they profit richly from his antics.

In this fashion, being fair, Sir Owain is no worse than the previous lord and is perhaps more honest for while the late Black Knight criticized Knights for using the hailstorm fountain under the pretense of caring about the lives of his 'property' Sir Owain doesn't even pretend to care.

Beating up his fellow Knights and ransoming them is both fun AND profitable!

Sir Owain is having so much fun himself meanwhile that three years pass in which he never so much as thinks to send a messenger to King Arthur's Court.

King Arthur, eventually, comes to notice that Sir Owain is missing and is concerned with his fate. He makes as if to summon an army to discover what has become of him, but it counseled against it by Sir Gwalchmai- who assures Arthur that he and a small host of Knights will be more than sufficient to free Sir Owain if he has been captured, or avenge him if he has been slain.

Arthur agrees and, led by Sir Krillin, they set out. They meet briefly with the people of Castle Yellow and are awed by the girth and length of the Black Man.

Magic Fountains of ruinous intent being catnip to such Heroes, the question of if they were going to use it doesn't arise. Instead the only question is who goes first.

To this challenge steps forward Sir Kai, who knows this story and what the fountain does. With Arthur's permission he splashes water on the marble slab with the theft-proof silver bowl and...

Well, as promised a great hailstorm arose which killed many of Arthur's attendants, whom no one particularly cared about.

And as King Arthur and his Knights enjoyed the birdsong, Sir Owain- now effectively the new Black Knight without even the intimations of a conscience- rides in to kick ass.

All of the Knights in King Arthur's entourage are fully armored, so he doesn't recognize them supposedly. Nor does he recognize the surviving attendants from the Court and apparently everyone left their heraldic devices at home.

Free of any pesky recognition and, thus, moral conflict getting in the way of his habits he rides up and in short order knocks Sir Kai off of his horse, but reasonably doesn't take them prisoner with King Arthur and his entourage right there.

So instead Owain, apparently without further word, returns to what is now his castle while King Arthur and friends set up camp for the night. Maybe bury those attendants or at least get their corpses out of sight where they needn't digust their betters.

The next day,Sir Owain returns for another fight. Sir Kai, despite losing quickly the first time, talks King Arthur into letting him try again.

Sir Kai gets a lance, which pierces his armor and skin to meet the bone of his forehead, for his trouble.

The rest of the day saw Sir Owain, apparently resolved to take the entire court prisoner after beating them into submission, smacking down each member of King Arthur's entourage until at last only Sir Gwalchmai and King Arther themselves remained undefeated.

King Arthur readied himself to go forward, but Sir Gwalchmai recognized that this could lead to the King doing something in this story and hurried forth to request permission to go first.

King Arthur permitted this, and thus Sir Gwalchmai rode out.

For the remainder of the evening Sir Gwalchmai and Sir Owain in utter ignorance as was their lot in life charged at each other with lances and failed to unhorse each other until finally they resolved to call it a night and pick it back up tomorrow.

The next day they resumed their contest of strength and ignorance as they slammed into each other with stronger lances until finally breaking their respective saddles and falling from their horses only to rise again and resume the fight on foot.

The people who had fortunately avoided being slain by the hailstorm fountain thus far did note that they had never before seen two such powerful men fight so fiercely for so long.

The battle was finally ended as Sir Owain delivered a blow that opened the helm of Sir Gwalchmai, and having recognized him was in turn recognized by him.

Being Knights and thus being completely incapable of apology, they responded to this development in the next closest manner possible to them by immediately trying to surrender to eachother.

Eventually King Arthur had to accept the surrender of both of them just so things would move on.

This done, King Arthur's bros rushed forward to embrace Sir Owain and nearly hugged him to death.

Sir Owain then bid King Arthur and his entourage to stay for he had been expecting that King Arthur would search for him and thus had been preparing a great feast for their arrival all this time. This all being easier than sending a messenger with an invitation apparently.

And so King Arthur and his people were invited in and there was much feasting on partridges, boars, deer, goats, hams and yams, crumpets and dove and cat and cheese and bread and wine and ale and beer and mice and chicken and shrew and fish and fruit and all the other foods too good for the people that actually put in the work of growing, catching, cooking or in any way preparing the largesse.

While this was underway King Arthur requested of the Countess that she allow Sir Owain to return with him so that he might show off Sir Owain to the people that matter in Britain, the Nobles and Dames, for the span of three months.

The Countess of the Fountain, acquiesced of course and thus did Sir Owain leave his Kingdom to go party at Caerllon upon Usk.

For the span of three years.

Join me, if you like, for The Lady of the Fountain : Part Four : Sir Owain's Return To Nature- but in the honor of Sir Owain I'm going to promise to do that Wednesday- and then do something else, getting back to it... eventually.

No, next time I would like to explore the possible origin of this Hailstorm Fountain which, you may have noted, I have become rather fixated on. This is it's final appearance in the story after all.

In the meantime, progress continues.