“By The Waters of Babylon”

I read the story “By the Waters of Babylon” by Stephen Vincent Benét (the same guy who wrote “The Devil and Daniel Webster“) It is a good, Twilight Zone-like sort of story–if you don’t want it spoiled, go read it before you click the “read more” button below.

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The Last Night of Stargazing in a Distant Desert

Into the cold above he gazes,

Watching with a mournful eye

Where the fearful star of G’NURREMAHD blazes.


Through the centuries uncounted

The mighty orb has seethed and roiled

All whilst a sense of doom has mounted.


For all pervasive is its yellow glare;

And even in the night, the far horizon glimmers

With dismal rays a-dancing there.


The Watcher shivers in the chill

Of the Autumn starwind crying across

The crest of Charnel Hill


Carefully he burns his lamp

For the warmth, rather than the light–

And in the desert makes his camp.


O, vengeful Abbott of the Abyss!

Wherefore display this cosmic spectacle

If only to shatter unto nothingness?


Categories: Poetry Tags:

Should we keep watching football?

It’s the question on every fan’s mind, what with the slew of arrests and allegations against players for all sorts of atrocious crimes, coupled with the already-known health effects of the game.

Personally, I’m still going to watch it.  It was shameful that the league only suspended Ray Rice for two games, but now that they have fixed that, it seems that some kind of progress is being made.  I don’t blame people who choose to boycott the league but, as I’ve blogged about before, I’ve gotten used to enjoying performances and work by people who were really awful human beings. “Hate the Sinner, Enjoy the Sinner’s Work”, I guess.

It’s not the same, though–it’s tough watching guys who are real scumbags. I think almost every team has at least one guy who has committed some crime.

The problem is, if we assume that it’s the popularity–and thus profitability–of the sport that makes some players feel so arrogant and spoiled that they think they’re above the law, then following some new sport instead will just make those people the same way. There’s really no part of the entertainment industry that’s free from criminals.

I have no doubt that soon–maybe in the next decade–football’s popularity will start to wane.  We’ve just been through the “golden age” of football over the past 15 years, and so a decline is inevitable. As I’ve said before, it will probably be replaced by virtual sports.

Categories: football, My Opinion, sports Tags: ,

(Virtual) Paradise Lost

Shamus Young had a good post about the history of the internet. It introduced me to a phrase I’d never heard before, describing when the internet came to be how it is now, full of trolls and imbeciles. It’s from someone named Dave Fischer, who said: “September 1993 will go down in net.history as the September that never ended.”

What did he mean by that? Young explains that prior to ’93:

September was a big deal for the internet back in those days. As you can imagine, etiquette was important in a world where there were no moderators and everyone was on the honor system. Every September a flood of college freshmen would be given internet access for the first time in their lives. Then they would blunder online and make a mess of things by posting things to the wrong place, or typing in all caps, or failing to read the FAQ…. So every September was this chaotic time where the net had to assimilate a few thousand newcomers all at once, and it usually took about a month for things to calm down again.

It’s funny to read about the internet as a civilized place where ideas could be discussed in a thoughtful manner.  I came later to the internet, so I feel like somebody in a post-apocalyptic setting reading about the lost Golden Age before the great collapse.

Still, there are pockets of intelligent discourse–I like to think of this blog as one of them. Shamus’s is another (although he manages that by banning any talk of religion or politics.) But it’s funny to think that there was a time when it wasn’t a problem trying to find sites where people could have discussions without sinking into a Topix-like morass of name-calling.

Yet another open letter to the Buffalo Bills–oh, never mind! What’s the point?

Yeah, I think Buffalo ought to claim Michael Sam off waivers, but at this point I’ve learned that they never do anything I think they should.

I tell them to get a QB who won a playoff game, and instead they go draft E.J. Manuel.  I tell them not to waste their draft picks on wide-receivers and they trade up to draft an injury-prone one. I tell them they need more pass-rushers, and they don’t bother to get any, and their star at the linebacker position gets hurt.

I’m sorry, but I don’t see how my proposal for a team built around Tebow, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson running the ball on option plays, with Brandon Spikes (yes, he is the one intelligent addition they have made) stopping the run, Kahlil Mack filling for Alonso, and Michael Sam rushing the passer could be any worse than what they have now, and if nothing else, it would have a first-round pick next year.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge… thing.

eurobrat has a good post about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, this trend that’s been so popular on the internet lately.  She’s just as confused about it as I am, though I will admit it’s funny to see people getting ice water dumped on them. I’m still unclear on the concept, or how precisely it is supposed to relate to giving to charity.

But, let’s face it, far more people are watching it to see their favorite (or least favorite) celebrities get soaked than are actually donating anything to anyone when they see it. It’s like the “Dunk the Boss” thing you see at company picnics, combined with the “chain letter” aspect of challenging other people. I’m not sure what is so funny about seeing people get wet, but it seems to be a winner.

Categories: My Opinion

Cool alternate interpretation of “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask”

Longtime readers know I love alternate interpretations of fiction. I never could make it through Majora’s Mask. Too weird, even for me, and I hate timed games. I loved Ocarina of Time though. In any event, this clever analysis by The Game Theorists does make me a bit more appreciative of the game’s merits:


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