Thursday, June 25, 2020

Stumbling through to the other side

You know that old curse, "May you live in interesting times?"

2020 has been waaaaaay too interesting.  I wanted to hold off and not bore readers, or frustrate readers who are thinking too much about all this and need some distraction, but I can't hold it back.

After 9/11/2001, the satirical genius newspaper, the Onion, was shocked into silence for a while, but then printed a much-needed, well-thought-out issue with headlines like "A Shattered Nation Longs to Care About Stupid Shit Again" illustrated with Brittney Spears in a bikini with a snake coiled around her.  I'm not there yet, but if you persevere to the end of this post, I promise some attempt at humor and vaguely game-able material, OK?


The picture is from in front of my house in Minneapolis at the beginning of June.  A unfamiliar woman drove up in an SUV the morning after, took pictures, and said, "Can you believe they are doing this?"

I told her, "People are angry."  I thought the angry graffittists were remarkably restrained.  They didn't use my exterior walls as a billboard, they didn't use the nearby houses' fences as a billboard, and they didn't even trample the wussy little flowers I am trying to replace the grass in front lawn with. 

Either another SUV or the same one took pictures of the neighbors' house and their Black Lives Matter sign.  Yet another damn black SUV was reported a block away, with two young white chicks covered from head-to-toe in black: hoodies, tactical jackets, fancy gas-masks, doing a photo-shoot.  WTF?  Their license plates were missing.  They took off when homeowners came out and asked what they were doing.

I monitored Unicorn Riot and Wedge LIVE! as well as the usual news sources.

There seemed to be 4 1/2  groups of people out on the streets at night: peaceful, but understandably angry protestors, a few of whom might have erupting into attacking buildings; opportunists who wanted to loot stuff; people who like to burn and destroy things in general; middle-class white anarchists for whom this was "the spark that would ignite the Revolution"; and scary-ass white "Boojihadis" and neo-Nazis of various types, decked out in really expensive-looking tactical gear, bulletproof black jackets, clean boots, near-military-grade gas masks (and, at maybe in one case, umbrellas - see  this article at Forbes.com). 
 
The drugstore two blocks away from me was hit that night.  I walked over the next morning to get blood pressure pills somebody in my household needed.  I asked the cashier about the boarded-up glass door and heard how schmucks entered that way, couldn't get the nicer, more locked-down drugs, and left with lower-value items.  A jewelry store down the way was hit.  In later days, two cosmetics shops and a coffee shop were hit.

Along with the Cub Foods grocery store and the Target in the neighborhood where I used to own a house until 2013, MIGIZI non-profit organization for Native American youth and Gandhi Mahal Indian restaurant were destroyed.  The public library was attacked.  A construction site for affordable housing was burnt down.  The post office was destroyed.

The "Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo" types and the neo-Nazis who fantasize in their (Wisconsin? Idaho?  Colorado? Texas? Illinois?) exurban bunkers about igniting a Turner-Diaries-style race war were extremely scary.  People reported finding caches of gasoline-soaked flammable materials hidden in their yards and alleys.  It was said that these schmucks would use "urban guerrilla" tactics to scatter when their initial targets near East Lake Street got too hot, literally and metaphorically, and they were supposed to run into the neighborhoods in all directions and attack "targets of opportunity". 

A friend who lives in a different neighborhood, but the same ZIP code as the post office which was burnt down, said it looked like opportunists had attacked the liquor stores and pharmacies near her, but that the neighborhood hardware store, with its store cat, had also been attacked.  Luckily, the poor cat was later found alive and severely shaken, but unharmed. 

My friend said she thinks the people who want to incite "Civil War 2" or the race war are targeting nodes of civil society, not only the places which hold us together as neighbors and communities, but the intangibles: the spiritual glue and trust by which we hold together.

In good and more recent news, the DriveThruRPG charity bundle I donated my STATUES adventure to raised $16,763.22 to NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. 


The bundle stopped being available on 6-22-2020, but you can still check out and donate to the organization at NAACP LDF.



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OK, I want to talk about lighter topics right now.

Click on the picture to hear this song I like: Afraid by Exchpoptrue.  Even though, of course, there have been plenty of real things to be afraid of recently, this song pokes deadpan Teutonic (or Gallic?) fun at fear itself.


My wife and I were talking about how the psychological terms she uses in her work would make awesome band names:

  • DECAY THEORY - Minimalist post-punk band  
  • MOTIVATED FORGETTING - Title of Decay Theory's 1st album
  • COGNITIVE DISTORTION - Legendary hardcore/thrash band
  • COGNITIVE DISSONANCE - The highfalutin' No Wave intellectual noise outfit from NYC
  • DISPLACEMENT -Post-metal band
  • SCHIZOID FANTASY - Pioneering stoner doom band.  Played influential California desert shows in 1990.  Beloved 1970s-style double gatefold album highly sought after by collectors.
  • BORDERLINE - Pop dance r&b group.  Height of popularity in 1991.
  • REACTION FORMATION - All-woman r&b group.  Slick synchronized dance routines wearing high-cut one-piece swimsuits and high heels.   
  • PERSONALITY DISORDERS - Cute glasses- and sweater-wearing Oregonian indie rockers.  Give self-deprecating, very funny interviews.  Also the name of a completely unrelated 1970s early punk rock band in New York City.
If you had the persistence to read to the end of this post, but are still annoyed there was no gamable content, choose among the terms of art above and make new psionic disciplines or spells out of any that appeal to you.

(I wonder if, since I mentioned the words that summon them, MADAME LOLA or KING MARK's spells or vampire spam will appear in the comments now.  Even the Pakistani wigs and women's night dress spammer has abandoned me recently)

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