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25 Aug 15:03

Lost 1950s mosaic mural uncovered in NY after decades behind facade

by Andrea James

Allison Meier reports on the progress in uncovering a gorgeous Max Spivak midcentury stained-glass mosaic that was found in March hidden behind an aluminum facade. Read the rest

25 Aug 12:49

Creepy cloaked figure photographed dropping meat near playground

by David Pescovitz

Police are investigating strange photos turning up online of a cloaked individual reportedly placing raw meat near a playground in Gastonia, North Carolina. Read the rest

25 Aug 12:49

Watch this birdie do a pretty much perfect R2D2 impersonation

by Xeni Jardin

“We taught Bluey the budgie how to do R2-D2 and now he drives us crazy! He has two other budgies in his cage, and I think he's driving them crazy too!”


24 Aug 18:39

Play a digital version of a lost "perception-altering" Freemasonry board-game

by Cory Doctorow

Jason writes, "'The Bafflement Fires' is a digital recreation of a Freemason board game from the 1950s." (more…)

22 Aug 18:02

The Art Economy In Vornheim

by (Zak S)

For a moment a terrible hunger lit up her eyes. But it turned slowly into indifference. "Besides," she said, "I would not go if they did. Why should I go? The High City is an elaborate catafalque. Art is dead up there, and Paulinus Rack is burying it. Nothing is safe from him-or from those old women who finance him-painting, theatre, poetry, music. I no longer wish to go there." Her voice rose. "I no longer wish them to buy my work. I belong here.

-Viriconium, M John Harrison

Sooner or later, the party will be paid in contemporary art--a small canvas by Aelfron Aelrey or a book of poetry by Princert with illustrations by Scraptric in with the ill-fitting ringmail and headless coins.

The good news is: By weight, art is worth more than almost anything else--hundreds of thousands of gp-and-therefore-xp. The bad news is: Its value depends on the whims of the salon critics of the High City.

The solution that presents itself most immediately to the conscientious FLAILSNAILER or murderhobo--assassinate the opposed critics--is impractical. This only creates martyrs of the physical bodies, leaving their philosophy intact to be carried on by those they were already influencing anyway. The party's goal is to discredit the hostile critics philosophically in such a way as to increase the value of the artworks they opposed, thus rendering the adventurers wealthy.

This is less dull than it sounds.
In the Vornheim salons, the current rage (in every sense), is Arbitrism, which is difficult to summarize, but let's try:

Since at least the Hex King's War it's been immediately clear to anyone that Vornheim's cosmopolitanism is imperfect--those of the Southern Continent are scarce, those of the Eastern are unheard of since the time of Ping Feng, women are wary of the Laws of the Needle in the low districts, dwarves will not mine any stone in mixed company, half-elves fear for their lives in the Prussing Fields--the city is in many ways an ignorant place. The people do, after all, worship pigs.

Arbitrist critics blame all this--and the decadence that results--on the city's many poets and painters--focusing particular bile, among contemporary artists, on the writer Flameward Ragged Dei, a human living among elves in Nornrik, and the creatives associated with his small publishing house and its philosophies--Insane Etiolation Process, which, for practical purposes, is nearly all of the good ones.

The Arbitrists survive through intellectual arbitrage--that is, taking ideas that were discarded as useless in their native fields--philosophy, natural science, the academy--and importing them to the world of art, where their exoticism grants them a dazzling currency among the status-anxious neurotics of the collecting class.
Once an artwork is acquired, the more hostile critics are discredited, the more the work will be worth once sold. A poem by McCoffering Ginny is worth ten times as much in a world where the "red wizards" of The Awful are exposed as frauds.

The methods employable to discredit an Arbittrist depend somewhat on the critic in question, but it is safe to assume they are all discreditable since the philosophy itself is inaccurate. No sane, intelligent person could honestly hold it, therefore the critic must be insane, unintelligent or dishonest.
Typical vulnerabilities of bad critics include most or all of the following:

1. They possess a documented and widely-attested official history of madness, and their doctors will argue that their critical views are a result of this madness.

2. They are charmless and slow-witted--any personal contact with members of the salons of Vornheim will immediately convince interlocutors of their inanity.

3. Creative-critical dissonance: they have created hidden works slathered thickly with the values they despise.

4. Personally terrible--they have committed grave and secret misdeeds in dark corners, from which their stentorian proclamations are a GOP-ish distraction.

In the case of 1, 3 and 4, documents or NPCs attesting to this can be treated as a kind of treasure to be sought across the hexmap or dungeon, or buried in a drawer at the end of an investigative scenario. In the case of 2, the goal is likely to convince the critic to appear in the salons of their own accord via social maneuver.

Further, all proponents of Arbitrism are, consciously or not, agents of the Red Hand of Tiamat--preparing the world for the coming of the lava babies. They are not without defenses, and the party may find themselves set upon by assassins and slanderers.

The physical location of critics is rarely considered to have any import in the salons--some occupy the city, some live East of Yoon Suin--they propagate their ideas via proxies. Hurling Tracing earned her name by periodically dropping copied artworks from a window of a tower in the Mulched Fen.

They go about in high dudgeon, and finding one is generally no more complex than tracing the rail of snickers and eyerolls back to the source. To find out the critic's current obsession, consult the table:

What's the Arbittrist  Mad About Today? Roll d20

1. Famed director Orgel Ooclas has created a fantasy for the theatre concerning wizards and steel golems that dwell beyond the stars. In a revised version, one character, a beloved rogue, loses initiative in a tavern brawl when previously he'd won, causing a wide outcry of "Slann drew first" among the theatre mobs. The Arbittrist cites this popular reaction as an example of "poisonous manhood" and the work itself as "imperialist propaganda"--though admits to never having seen it.

2. The Arbittrist has become enraged by the word 'madness'--claiming it is has the effect of devaluing the opinions of the lunatic so labelled. 

3. A fad for erotic openness has swept the women of Vornheim. The Arbitrist is suspicious, claiming it is a cover for some darker force.

4. Serialized poems concerning the adventures of a scion of a high family of Vornheim who adopts the affect of a bat and protects the weak from violence and predation have gained favor with the young and young-hearted of the city. The Arbitrist is opposed. As a member of even a fictive upper class, imaginative sympathy for this Bat Man is unimaginable.

5. Parents of the city have begun constructing "sand boxes" wherein children might build from that humble substrate towers and homes for dolls and imaginary friends. It has come to the attention of the Arbitrist that it is a frequent practice to dismantle these miniature residences and sometimes even abuse the toys who dwell therein. The Arbitrist is alarmed that those who enjoy these "sand boxes" do not use them to simulate creation rather than destruction.

6.  The practice of counting "Hitting points" in schools of duelling is reviled by the Arbitrist--who claims it saps the creative expression of duellists.

7. Conservatory students, aged 8-11, have lately performed--to wide acclaim--the brooding and experimental ballad "Forty Six and Two" originally composed by Memes Canard Keyplan's Implement Quartet. The Arbittrist has railed against it on the grounds that the young girl singing the lead part does not grasp the true and esoteric meaning of the piece.

8. The Arbittrist is enraged by the hair style affected by an artist of the Warm Quarter.

9.  The word "barbarian" has been declared upsetting, as its etymology refers to the brutalities of the past.

10. Playwright Lost Weevil has created "The Scavengers"--a work wherein a god of mischief contends with an archer, a spy, a patriot, a knight in gold armor, and a gamma troll--receipts have been unprecedented. It is the Arbittrist's opinion that Weevil's entertainments serially insult the women of Vornheim, this one most of all.

11. It is an established fact that humans and demihumans often have bad ideas. It is the Arbitrist's notion that all humans unconsciously adopt all of these bad ideas and that, therefore, they are all loathsome, including themselves.

12. A group of sculptures purporting to depict creatures of the Lower Planes has been produced--the bodies are distorted and erotically charged. The Arbitrist claims their shapes insult the women of Vornheim.

13. Another Arbittrist has called for the censorship of the work of starry-eyed author and fantasist Geil Mainann. Mainnan, in turn, has responded by saying he shouldn't. The Arbittrist cites Mainnan's behavior as a clear case of harassment.

14. Rann Ice, author of erotic works concerning vampires, has defended a fellow author against an Arbitrist critic claiming she should be sexually assaulted. The Arbittrist cites Ice's behavior as a clear case of harassment.

15. The popular art works have inspire young women of the city to wear outrageous and revealing fashions in imitation of their heroines. The Arbitrist feels this insults the children of Vornheim.

16.  The Arbitrist has written a play. The Arbitrist is now disgusted by it--claiming the many hours spent writing have rendered it familiar and contemptible--and wants no part of the production.

17. The toymaker Rike Pearls--has hired an anti-Arbitrist artist and critic as consultant at the toy factory. The Arbitrist is incensed.

18. It has been widely reported that adventurers inside the city and out have taken to slaying dangerous and predatory beasts rather than ignoring them or allowing the parties themselves to be slain. The Arbitrist finds this practice "othering".

19. Teratophilic pornography from the East has lately appeared in the bedrooms and evidence-vaults of the city. The Arbtrist has declared it and its inculcators anathema.

20. An illustrated guide to Gyorsla and Voivodja has been recognized with some minor awards. The Arbitrist is displeased.

And now, a word from our sponsor...
Only 22 copies left at the LotFP webstore!

18 Aug 11:49

Cool photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson as a college student in the eighties

by Xeni Jardin

Photo: Neil deGrasse Tyson in graduate school in Texas, sometime in the 1980s. (more…)

17 Aug 17:56

Champagne bottle fights back

by Mark Frauenfelder



17 Aug 15:38

World Record in Posing as Anti-Union Image

by Erik Loomis


Above: The actual Rosie the Riveter image, which did not seek to fight unions

I know I will never win this fight, but if we are going to try and set world records in women dressing up as “Rosie the Riveter” can it a) at least be the real one and b) not copy what was in fact an anti-union poster. Remember, the “We” in “We Can Do It” does not mean women. It means Westinghouse.

I get that the image has been appropriated for good. It doesn’t mean that we should forget about its history or pretend that it is what it isn’t. Historical mythology should always be corrected.

12 Aug 16:27

DICK Card Game: An irreverent retelling of the whale of American literary classics

by Natasha Tauber
DICK Card Game
DICK is at once a provocative party game and a retelling of Herman Melville's classic novel "Moby-Dick" or, "The Whale." In a mash-up of literature and lowbrow humor, the game positions direct quotations from Melville's often-suggestive text against......
Continue Reading...
04 Aug 19:41

22 Years Ago Today, Nolan Ryan Beat The Shit Out Of Robin Ventura

by Barry Petchesky

You charge the mound because you’re furious. Because you want to hurt someone. You know you’ll be ejected, fined, suspended, but it’s all worth it for brief taste of revenge. You never do it thinking that it all might go horribly wrong, and you might wind up on the receiving end of one of the most iconic beatdowns in sports history. Robin Ventura was one of the finest third baseman to ever play the game of baseball. I can’t hear his name without picturing him in a headlock, being whaled upon by a 46-year-old man.


03 Aug 19:47

Which Baseball Fight Moment Would You Commission As A Work Of Art?

by Timothy Burke

Our pal Shawn visited the National Sports Collectors Convention this weekend and wrote up some of his strangest findings over at Hall of Very Good. One item, however, caught our eye: this oil painting by Justyn Farano of the famous Nolan Ryan-Robin Ventura brawl that took place 22 years ago. We’d hang this in our house (and, if you’ve got the money, you can) but we quickly came up with other baseball fights we’d love to see captured by an artist’s hand.


29 Jul 20:43

Taste Roger Goodell's Wrath With Our NFL Punishment Generator

by Deadspin Staff

I got a 4 game suspension for committing light treason.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is a ruddy incompetent who draws out decisions on punishing league employees in order to soak up the most positive attention he can. Until now, fans have only been to take part in this experience as third parties. Thanks to the NFL Punishment Generator, though, you too can answer a series of questions and receive a punishment—generated via a set of mysterious but certainly stupid criteria—that fits your crimes. In the end, it’s all about justice.


24 Jul 12:39

Ravens unveil team-specific emoji collection

by Jon Meoli
Now you have more than the purple heart emoji to use when discussing the upcoming Ravens season.
23 Jul 12:27

Have You Read "The Worst Story Ever Written?" Clear Your Schedule!

by Charlie Jane Anders

Lots and lots of things might lay claim to being the “worst story ever written.” But the reigning champion, according to huge swathes of fandom, is probably The Eye of Argon, first published in a fanzine in 1970. You can read the whole thing online.


23 Jul 12:21

Said one high schooler to the other...


22 Jul 11:48

A Neural Network Designs Magic: the Gathering Cards, and It's Hilarious

by Ed Grabianowski

I have a tenuous grasp of how M:TG works, but this is hilarious.

What happens when you feed the text of every Magic card ever made to a deep neural network and ask it to design its own cards? Part genius, part gibberish—and maybe a little poetry. But mostly, it just makes you laugh your ass off.


21 Jul 17:26

Bear Chows Down On A Buncha Dog Food, Passes Out

by Tom Ley on The Concourse, shared by Tom Ley to Deadspin

The beautiful lug you see in the picture above is a good bear, who after munching at a 20-pound bag of dog food decided he needed to take himself a little post-meal nap.


17 Jul 15:31

I Can’t Stop Watching These Crazy Assholes Play Indoor Bike Soccer 

by Drew Magary

Have you been wandering around your life blissfully unaware of the existence of RADBALL? Well, my man, today is your day of enlightenment, because I’ve got a video that will blow your fucking dick off.


17 Jul 12:40

Here's The Best Sports Highlight Of The Day

by Samer Kalaf

There aren’t many good sports highlights for you today, so here’s a dorky bird knocking a soccer ball into a small goal. The bird also dances.


09 Jul 19:35

Get to know pesäpallo, Finland’s bizarre, breathless version of baseball.

by Barry Petchesky

Get to know pesäpallo, Finland’s bizarre, breathless version of baseball. Look at this damned field!


09 Jul 19:33

A Dastardly Application of the Prisoner's Dilemma 

by Robbie Gonzalez

The following “opportunity” appears in a survey posted on a University of Maryland domain. We don’t know what class this problem was intended for (given its nature, we’d guess maths, econ, or psych). What we do know is we like this teacher’s style.


09 Jul 16:16

Conan Goes To Comic-Con As The Doof Warrior From Mad Max

by Gergo Vas on Kotaku, shared by Charlie Jane Anders to io9

Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter replaced Immortan Joe and The Doof Warrior from Mad Max: Fury Road for a short Comic-Con clip.


09 Jul 11:51

Ultimate guided meditation video

by Rob Beschizza

Join with your inner stillness, where those fucks can't get under your skin with all their horseshit.


08 Jul 11:58

Quantum Trump

by jon


This was the very worst episode of Quantum Leap.

San Diego Comic-Con is on! Come on by Dumbrella (Table #1335) and say hello. I have all sorts of goodies for sale including a few new items!


The post Quantum Trump appeared first on Scenes From A Multiverse.

04 Jul 16:06

Puzzle sheds light on government policy, corporate America and why no one likes to be wrong

by Mark Frauenfelder

Here's a fun puzzle from the NY Times. Try it then discuss your experience in the comments.

02 Jul 13:02

This is the best funny video on the entire internethole

by Xeni Jardin

This. Looping. Forever. (more…)

30 Jun 18:41

Two chatbots talk to each other: "I love crayons. But you are not dressed."

by Mark Frauenfelder

This is more fun to watch than most romantic comedies. Read the rest

30 Jun 17:11

Fail of the Day: Man tries to Cut Watermelon with Sword, Destroys Table Instead

by TDW

Attention: Ali is no longer invited to anyone’s Fourth of July BBQ.

This guy decided to see if he could play “Fruit Ninja” in real life, and failed miserably.

At a recent BBQ, he whipped out his scimitar and tried to cut a watermelon in half while it was sitting on a glass patio table.

Not only did he end up ruining the party, but the person filming the accident chose to record a vertical video which ruins everything.

For a more upbeat BBQ, check out this tiny hamster in a tricorn hat eating a tiny ear of corn with his friends.

The post Fail of the Day: Man tries to Cut Watermelon with Sword, Destroys Table Instead appeared first on The Daily What.

30 Jun 15:23

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: A New (Shinto) Deity

by Anne Laurie

We all have a job to do, in this world. Via commentor Germy Shoemangler, the Guardian reports:

In an outpouring of grief usually reserved for the passing of a cultural icon, thousands turned out at the weekend to bid a final farewell to a cat credited with saving an obscure Japanese railway line from financial ruin.

An estimated 3,000 people, including railway officials, attended Tama the cat’s Shinto-style funeral on Sunday, days after she died of heart failure aged 16 – the equivalent of about 80 human years…

From the Washington Post:

A decade ago, Wakayama Electric Railway’s provincial Kishigawa Line had been losing about $4.7 million a year. Trains were arriving at the Kishi station in Kinokawa in Wakayama Prefecture empty. In 2006, the rail line watched its last human employee walk out the door, according to Agence France-Presse. Then Tama, a stray, strolled in.

The next year, Tama was named honorary stationmaster. Tourists started pouring into the area to see her wearing the uniform cap. She inspired T-shirts and stuffed animals. She even got her cartoon-likeness on a train…

“We are proud to have worked with Tama, who appeared in this world as a savior for Wakayama Electric Railway as well as regional train lines throughout the nation,” Wakayama Electric Railway president Mitsunobu Kojima said in a statement.

“We will name her as an eternal station master emeritus,” he added.

Tama was no kitten when she took over the stationmaster job, and 16 is a fair age for a cat. To me, her expression in the news photos says “I’ve done worse jobs for less rewards…”
Speaking of doing what must be done, what’s on the agenda for the day?


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29 Jun 13:57