Friday, April 29, 2016


After her treason
Causing my destruction 
I was crying
But another came to me
And she said
There wasn't a reason
For any discussion
I wasn't dying
And she'd freed me
I wasn't dead
But I was entering my descent
I had no compulsion
I was yet undying
Please believe me
My heart stitched with golden thread
I lived
Despite being torn
From within

ever' body 's goin' crazy!

“Insanity - a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.” R. D. Laing

Today I thought since I keep hearing how Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are insane, by their opponents and the media, it might be worthwhile to look into some definitions.  After looking at the definition I decided to chuck that, and just talk about insanity in general, throw a few images up, and some quotes.  No one gets how stupid it sounds to accuse people like Clinton, Sanders, Trump or Cruz of insanity or Fascism or Communism or whatever.  The use of quick hit labels is bullshit, and sooner or later, the world will tire of it.

First the definition took Insanity and said look up Madness instead.  Which drove me mad.  So...
noun: madness
tthe state of being mentally ill, especially severely.
synonyms:insanity, mental illness, dementia, derangement; More

"today madness is called mental illness"
  • extremely foolish behavior.
    plural noun: madnesses

    "it is madness to allow children to roam around after dark"

    synonyms:folly, foolishness, idiocy, stupidity, insanity, lunacy, silliness;

    "it would be madness to do otherwise"
    antonyms:common sense, good sense
  • a state of frenzied or chaotic activity.

    "from about midnight to three in the morning it's absolute madness in here"

    synonyms:bedlam, mayhem, chaos, pandemonium, craziness, uproar, turmoil, disorder, all hell broken loose, (three-ring) circus

    "it's absolute madness in here"

The truth is, people will call you crazy for doing things right, for doing things wrong, for demanding fairness, for ignoring ill treatment.  To the general populace a comment or shared thought from an artist can seem so outrageous as to be insane, when in fact, it is not.  This is not to say that creative people are not often insane, they are.  But many times the person shouting that the speaker is crazy has an agenda, and the speaker has done nothing to earn it.  I don't have a specific agenda here, I am not aiming at any sort of audience.  I respect people from the arts, as well as outside of the arts.  Calling people crazy when you disagree is a bit like calling your opponent in an internet argument "Hitler" or "Racist", there is little else that you have to say there after.  It shows mental weakness to do so, that is, instead of being smart enough to just step back you say an obvious falsehood and act like a winner?  Well no, that seems more crazy than the one you just labeled.  Because, who wants to argue or debate Hitler, or a Racist, or a crazy person?  No one.  I am somewhat sure it is libel worthy, but not so sure that I'd bet upon that.  So maybe it is libelous, but enough of an opinion based statement that it is just a dirty tool  in online arguments.

But for people of the previous centuries being called insane was for real.  Being sent to the asylum meant that you were about to lose your ability to choose in most situations, and in most cases, until recently, it often meant that would be treated quite poorly.  Asylum was meant to be a place for the sufferer to be free from pain or torture of the real world, but in reality it meant that the family or legal guardians were then free from the requirements of care, and the sufferer was left in the hands of people who often did not care or worse, enjoyed harming those who could not defend themselves.

 “Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the colors, but where exactly does the one first blendingly enter into the other? So with sanity and insanity.”  Herman Melville

Humanity has suffered insanity for the length of time it has existed.  Not for reasons of hate, or harm, but for imperfection of the human form, humans have suffered both birth related and acquired mental disorders, and insanity is a broad term that relates to how those disorders distance the sufferer from the mainstream.

Just count your blessings if you suffer, that you do in an era of enlightened care, and drugs that work.  Because for many decades, it was a crapshoot.

“Where does one go from a world of insanity? Somewhere on the other side of despair.” T.S. Eliot

So fuck the world.  We live in a time when we act as if we are all fucked, but we enjoy high standards of care.  We act like we are starving when we are obese.  We call people insane when they are possessed of a different opinion.  We call someone a Communism for policies that 70 years ago were considered to be Pro America, and truth and justice.  We need to take a big shit and get over our lack of context.  Go take the blue pill, get an erection or something.

“So man's insanity is heaven's sense; and wandering from all mortal reason, man comes at last to that celestial thought, which, to reason, is absurd and frantic; and weal or woe, feels then uncompromised, indifferent as his God.” Herman Melville

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What is beauty?

(Caveat: I am by no means saying I am a handsome man, nor someone who is an authority upon the true standards of beauty.  This is a work of opinion, however much research it is guided by, and in the end, I am responsible for my own words.)

“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.” LEO TOLSTOY

“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”  Franz Kafka

Sandro Botticelli The Birth of Venus
As defined by Wiktionary: BEAUTY
Noun:  beauty ‎(countable and uncountable, plural beauties)

The property, quality or state of being "that which pleases merely by being perceived" (Aquinas); that which is attractive, pleasing, fine or good looking; comeliness.

Brigitte Bardot
I don't know what beauty is other than it is.  I've been trying to write for hours and I know what I like, and know that the world's view of what is, is not the same as my own.  So, instead of bullshitting, I am going to post some images, and some quotes, and shrug my shoulders.

"We have exiled beauty... the Greeks took up arms for her."
Albert Camus

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

I believe that Celine Dion is a great singer, who sings songs I don't like, and is not at all pretty, but is a very beautiful human.  She seems like a person with great compassion for others and kindness.  So when people call her beautiful I can accept that.  But they don't usually just limit it to that.  They say she is beautiful regarding her looks.  Beauty to them, therefore, is not a constant, definable, pure, objective standard, instead it is a throw away term.  This happens a lot when a popular and talented celebrity is famous.  Media equates popular with beautiful, and beautiful does not equal successful, that just isn't the case.  It is nearly the same with the morons who will tell you popular equates quality.  It does not, not by any means. It equates what it does, that someone likes it.  That is not quality.

Elizabeth Taylor
So, in this windmill tilt I go, like Don Quixote before me... Beauty is not popularity, and it must have some sort of way of determining it beyond likes on a facebook page...  I am not suggesting that I am the king of determining beauty.  I haven't a clue.  I only know what I find to be beautiful, and what I find to be ugly as sin.

This poem is my standard of soft ethereal beauty.   Nothing really compares to it.

"She Walks in Beauty
By Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!"

I was told at a time, long ago it seems now, that it seemed that I preferred blondes.  But, that really isn't true.  I was told by another person that I seemed to like tiny girls, with elf like features.  Not true.  I think my wife is beautiful, and she is red-haired and well bosomed.  She had been in my office looking at my wall art and smiled.  I said what.  She said in all your paintings that you have framed there is one constant.  I said, oh?  She said, there is a knight, and a red-haired woman who looks like me.  I am guessing that is my standard of beauty.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Games, Mags and Stuff

As I've shown some of the gaming magazines from the UK that I collected, I decided I should show some of the game magazines and games I collected, some I liked more than others, and, this grouping is missing TSR products, and that is intentional.  I played/play D&D, but since that was my focus, I could do many articles upon them alone.

The Ghoul Copyright Les Edwards
Tunnels & Trolls was a game I played rather early on and while it was a little bit simple, it was also suitable for sole play.  And I spent a lot of time alone for reasons I don't care to remember.  So I have a soft spot in my heart for this.  The magazine aimed at the game, Sorcerer's Apprentice was hard to find, just like the game.  But, it was always worth the time and money I spent, it was worth using it for game ideas and even if it wasn't directly used for T&T, it was often applicable to my ongoing campaign in my D&D world.

Shadis was an independent role-playing game magazine.  It was a very good read, it offered numerous ideas for an ongoing campaign, and was never what was called a House Organ magazine.  The best part of Shadis in the beginning was Knights of the Dinner Table, but, when that comic left for greener pastures at Dragon magazine (TSR's House Organ) Shadis was doing very professional quality work.  I even subscribed, and that means, with me being a cheap ass, I liked it a lot.

Unlike Shadis, where I found something useful with every issue, Pyramid was a magazine that I read and loved, and rarely found a use for.  But, again, I loved it.  It was written well, nicely illustrated, and was entertaining throughout.  If one considers buying for pragmatic reasons, this was a bad buy, but I looked forward to every issue coming out.  It was a House Organ of Steve Jackson Games, and I like them a lot, but never really used them much.  Still...

Knights of the Dinner Table:  A comic strip with characters you meet when you play a variety of RPG's.  It is funny, and magnificent.  Well worth the cost, and more.

KOBOLD Quarterly was great.  Totally brilliant in every way, well written, great illustration, great ideas.  The magazine morphed into a game company, so some of the world is happier, and some is diminished.  Seek back issues out, they are well worth the cost and effort.

Different Worlds was a magazine devoted to the game Runequest.  Despite being a House Organ for that game system, it still had a number worthwhile features.  The writing was interesting, different and had a way about it that inspired my campaigns that made them have a difference than most D&D worlds I've experienced.

After Caeser and Before Arthur, there was Boudicca

Some people do not have a clue that the Roman Republic/Empire extended as far as it had from the gates of Persia to Britain, from German down to Egypt.  The reach of the empire has left an enormous impact upon the world today.   The impact can be seen from the legal system, mapping of the known world, the names of regions, a variety of religious groups were either elevated by the official acceptance of their existence, or their disappearance as a result of the empire's disdain for the same. 

Additionally Rome was successful in its goals, often, as a result of its incredible military.  Many people assume it was due to greater weapons, armor, or numbers, but there are many instances of outnumbered legions winning against great odds.  Many times the numbers, the weapons, the armor were not unequal, the source of inequality was found in the leadership.  Rome had over its existence a great many military minds that stood out as brilliant, and better than almost any others who fought against them.  Rome did, also, have a number bad leaders.  But, the expansion of the borders of the empire happened most often under the reins of the best leaders, and at times the fall of Rome was averted solely by the military genius of another Roman military genius.  They were not the only geniuses, and many times geniuses were wasted.  But between political genius, military genius, great systems, and opportunity, Rome rose to be the greatest empire humans have known.

 54 BC  JULIUS CAESAR's LEGIONS invade Britain

One of the bold humans who revolted against the entity that was Rome, was Boudicca.  Her story has been told many places, and many times, by me as well.  Her husband was king, who upon death had his realm stolen by Rome.  His wife was publicly flogged.  Her daughters raped.  Her tribe was the Iceni and they rebelled against the Romans, and followed Boudicca's call to revolt!

They burned London
They burned Camulodunum
They burned Verulamium

80,000 Romans and allies were slain.

And then Rome called up new Legions.  Many revolts against empires fail, and the Iceni revolt was no different, and failed.




We are all made in a delicate, fragile, tender package.  How gentle life must treat us, or we shall break.  We wish to reach out, spread our influence, our knowledge of the universe, and power.  But will it be that we can do so?  Or will the first contact be our final contact?

Whether humans realize it or not, there is arrogance of a grande scale to think that they are powerful enough, smart enough, and wise enough to expand into space.  The unknown is not the problem.  The known is.  Humanity, and not simply white humans preying upon the other humans, has a history of those possessing higher technology using if not outright killing those with lesser technology.  Slavery, epidemics, war and trade imbalances were just some of the unjust experiences.  Will the lessons of the past be remembered?  Perhaps yes.  But, what will happen when humanity as a whole learns that it is now on the lower end of the equation?  Will inviting Alien contact be worthwhile then?

I am a great fan of the Alien movie franchise.  I've read many of the books in the Alien universe, and I enjoy most everything about it all.  Having said that, I think the fear of contact is a good thing to be aware of, as the universe almost certainly holds surprises that are greater, more intelligent, more dangerous than humans can defeat.

Holy Shit, Look at All that Cthulhu

A friend pointed out that just talking about the Cthulhu stuff is great, but that sometimes people don't know where to look, and that some folks have no idea that various items exist. So, I hope these images and links give you an idea where to go to bulk up your reading library or collection of interest. I am a large fan of Brian Lumley's work. While I do not think it is canonical in the sense of what Lovecraft would have done, it is every bit as much as any of the predecessors who have written stories of the worlds of Lovecraft. The people doing adaptations have not, in my opinion, done as well, I am afraid, because to write in the domain of another author is one thing, but to try to understand a work and depict the scenes of it is quite another.

JOYNER STUDIO Great Cthulhu Bust