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I think that just about covers it.

“I do not regret the incident. I will not apologize, given the opportunity. I don’t plan on doing anything like this in the future but to be fair I didn’t plan the initial incident, I just found them and decided to go through with it.” —NathanTheHicc

A new world.

So the ten-year-old is getting into D&D, so I went and made a world for her.

The Fedhir Nation.

(It gets easier, as you get older, making worlds. —I merely filed incriminating details off of this, and added a sprinkling of these. —Voila!)

Of course, almost all of this will never be seen; it’s all just airy atmosphere. Ambience. From the notices sent forth to candidates:

No Dwarves! No Elves! No Half-Anything! —Otherwise, whichever Bob you like might be your uncle. —You’re newly minted adventurers headed for the city known variously as Ossrond, Othronn, Ethrynn, Ndu Kemen, Sunso, or, most formally, as Nueämbar—a fantastical outpost of the Elven Empire (the Fedhir Nation), anchor of commerce and urbanity on the great green Coast of Flies (the Gnat Palastor)—and site of the Elves’ great and terrible defeat of the Dwarves, mumblety-mumble years ago. —It’s the darkening days of autumn, and great huracanoe-storms are building out in the Circled Sea to herald winter with tree-lashing rains. Fisherfolk, merchants, coffee-farmers and tea-distillers, brontosaurus-herders, mountebanks and mendicants, the landless houseless peoples all along the Coast of Flies are streaming to the fabled groves of Nueämbar and the vasty caverns within—or rather, the fabled caverns, and the vasty groves within—for shelter in the coming cold wet wind-tossed season. And you are there, among the raucous hordes! —If you’d like a glimpse of this wondrous city before we arrive, look up images of the Son Doong cave system, and imagine a dozen Rivendells tucked here and there, like kudzu creeping into Khazad-dûm.

So: pants-seated night-flown Adventure in dragon-adjacent dungeons! —Further bulletins as events (and the dice) warrant.

Remember, remember.

Huh. —This is my first election night without, as the kids call it, the Birdsite in quite some time. I wonder how this used to work?

Go, read:

back in the good old days, the before-times, we used to spend a whole blog post on nothing more than telling you to go and and read somebody else’s blog post, so: while I’m elsewhere otherwise occupied, go you then and read about the time Maria Farrell debated Ted Cruz into the ground.

#notallC.A.B.

A look at what the retired horses of Portland’s no-longer Mounted Unit have been up to, a year after they were disbanded:

Murphy went back home in southern Oregon where he’s competing in dressage, a highly skilled form of riding, while Red, Monty and Asher are with families who wished to keep their locales private. Major found his place in Prineville, while Diesel went back home to Port Orchard, Washington. Olin aids people with mental or physical barriers as a therapy horse at Forward Stride in Beaverton, and Zeus lives with a former mounted patrol stable attendant at the Lake Oswego Hunt Club.

But why, as the kids say, do you have to go and make this political.

Even though she has friends living in the city, Mack said she remembers her years there with the horses so vividly that she can’t bear to visit Portland anymore.

“Honestly, it’s sad for me to go there,” she said. “I mean, I look around every corner and remember when a horse was walking there.”

And she still wonders, she said, why the unit was disbanded yet again.

“It’s pretty hazy to me as to why, after 20 years of blood, sweat and tears, I was told it was a budget issue when it didn’t appear to be a budget issue.”

She said they were told the mounted patrol would be replaced by community service officers, but she never saw that happen.

“There’s all this talk about community policing,” Mack said. “Well, you cut the best community policing tool you ever had.”

If nothing else, one might idly muse over what might’ve become of recent antifa and fascist clashes had they been met with crowd-control officers on horseback, and not barely-less-than-lethal SWAT troops looking for a fight.

(And I know why the mounted unit was disbanded: it’s because I mentioned them over there once, and as with anything I work into the story like that, once I’ve done so, it must then be demolished, destroyed, forgotten, erased from the city.)

You an’ me both, kid.

“As soon as he left, Velásquez spoke and said, ‘I have tried in vain to concentrate all my attention on the gypsy chief’s words but I am unable to discover any coherence whatsoever in them. I do not know who is speaking and who is listening. Sometimes the Marqués de Val Florida is telling the story of his life to his daughter, sometimes it is she who is relating it to the gypsy chief, who in turn is repeating it to us. It is a veritable labyrinth. I had always thought that novels and other works of that kind should be written in several columns like chronological tables.’” —Jan Potocki

Filled from crown to toe-top full of direst cruelty.

So the nine-year-old saw a neat little card at Movie Madness that had a cartoon of donkey-headed Bottom in a referee’s shirt and a list of ye olde First Folio titles and some dates, and it was for something called OPS, which apparently stands for Original Practice Shakespeare, and you can go read about that later because the important thing right now is she saw the item in re: the Gentlewomen’s show, a Macbeth played entirely by a cast of women and non-binary actors, and said I want to go see that, so we did, up on Mt. Tabor on a cool August night that was lovely until the fog rolled in and then the rain with Birnam Wood but still, I mean, the Scottish play, so anyway, that’s how the nine-year-old’s first Shakespeare was Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth; the Macbeths.
Duncan and Lady Macbeth.
Macbeth soliloquizes.
The Macbeths.
Macbeth and Seyton.
Me and Her.
Grass.

Why do you rob banks, Willie?

I mean, what happens when he loses clients and can’t really network within the comic book community because he’s suing them for two and a half million dollars?

A gifted mimic, he nonetheless eschew[ed] regional accents for comic effect.

They’re waxing utopian, over at mastodon, and who wouldn’t really, nowhere to go but up, but somebody went and posted a link to a ca. 2003 Dave Winer pæan to the power of the link, and while it’s perfectly inoffensive and utterly unfalse, still: one wishes for a sour snap, a bite, something not so blandly self-congratulatory as a dig at the New York Times (even then). If we’re reaching back fifteen, seventeen years, why not go for someone with panache, like—

—and here I admit I googled, because one does like to be sure, and I was right, about the spelling, but what caught my breath was the past tense in the little Wikipedia preview over to the side, there—

Dean Cameron Allen was a Canadian typographer, web developer and early blogger—

Back in January. —I’m just hearing about it now because we live in the future, where we are all wired together and interconnected and no news of any import escapes our sight.

Everything here and at the city runs on Textpattern, which he began, but it’s no exaggeration to say that every time I think about how to write on the web, and how to present that writing on the web, I think with Dean Allen; I think my way through what I picked up from how he went about what he did, clean and simple and rigorous; a way of being online that was what I wanted to be when I grew up. (Even down to such fine points as the use of en-dashes in the flow of the story over there, rather than the usual em.)

People who knew him better have said better things about him, and the Globe and Mail’s obituary was achingly personal, but maybe it’s best to let him have the last word.

The worth of dirt.

Example: The ongoing fight to save the 125-year-old Wayne Apartments, better known as the block containing Shorty’s, the “clown bar.” Residents rallied for the building because it forms a sort of funky heart to the core of Belltown. They had seemed to win three years ago when it was granted historic protection on the grounds that it predated the regrading of the city in the early 1900s.

But the landmarks board recently voted to relax that protection, because the building is in such a poor state the owner said he couldn’t do anything with it.

“Dirt is more valuable than this building,” one of the landmarks board members said, expressing frustration with how the superheated real-estate market is overwhelming any intangible value like culture or community wishes.

That’s from up in Seattle; meanwhile, here in Portland, we’re kicking out a wildly successful food cart pod to make way for a 5-star 33-storey glass tower with plenty of hotel rooms for all the people who come here to eat at the quirky food carts they’ve heard so much about.

The ground floor includes several retail storefronts, including space for a potential food hall, which [Walter] Bowen[, chief executive of BPM Real Estate Group,] said would be similar to downtown’s Pine Street Market.

Five stars, thirty-three storeys.

“This project will be a development for the ages and a catalyst for international commerce,” Bowen said. “We believe that the next generation of real estate investors and developers will compare their projects to this one due to its high standards for design, construction, community and elegance.”

I don’t know; if anybody ever writes songs about this place, I don’t think you’ll like them.

The spectre, of this superheated market, before which we must all bow, and unto which we must all do what (almost) none of us want; take steps (almost) all of us regret: the original grand algorithm, this first Von Neumann machine: fiduciary duty! Which thoughtlessly heartlessly eats up the world to make of it shareholder value—the original grey goo.

When they came for the music, they finally pushed the limit. Maybe we’ll snap when they come for the pink Elephant.

Burned all my pronouns, what good are pronouns.

I mean, I’ve written about pronouns, like, fourteen years ago pronouns, and while I wince and cringe today at the patronizing tone I took then (forgive me, I was old), the basic stance is one I still take firmly: any system with two gender-poles requires at a minimum five genders of pronouns to operate with any dignity or grace. —That said, and the reason I bring this up now, now that pronouns and their various uses have progressed so far that bios should list them and badges should ribbon them and a third-rate Jungian washout can achieve international fame by refusing to honor them, now that we’ve come so much further than anyone might’ve thought possible fourteen years ago, the reason I bring it up is because when I go to take a step I wholly support everyone else in taking, to suggest or insist upon their preferred or actual pronouns—I find I can’t, and it’s for an entirely irrational reason that only applies to me, and yet, but still: I’d be telling you how to talk about me when I’m not there. —Which seems (to me! only for me!) inescapably, well. Rude. (To me! For me! You, you’re all fine! All of you! And beautiful!)

Punchy, anyway.

I mean the impetus for this couldn’t be more pathetically transparent, it’s right there in the first paragraph. —As for the Hugo-winning “forgotten story,” I’d merely note the Hugo is hardly an imprimatur of excellence in reporting.

A.C.A.B.

She told conservative talk-radio host Lars Larson she thought the protesters were acting like children who lost a schoolyard fight and had gone of to “whine and complain” after police fired flash-bang grenades, rubber bullets and pepper spray into a crowd of demonstrators. (At least two people were sent to the hospital with serious injuries after being hit directly with stun grenades launched by police, and many more have reported being hurt.)

“I tell you, ‘Meet me after school at 3:00. Right? We’re gonna fight’,” Outlaw said, setting up the analogy to describe how she feels her critics are acting. “And I come with the intention to fight. And then you get mad because I kicked your butt. And then you go back and you wail off and whine and complain.”

Well, I’m seeing at least two problems right up front: first, the police should never ever under any circumstances ever go anywhere with the intention to fight. For fuck’s sake. —And second?

Lars Larson: How you doing, chief?

Chief Danielle Outlaw: I’m great. Thanks for having me today.

LL: So now how long have you been here since Oakland?

DO: 10 months.

LL: 10 months. Is Oakland a tougher city or is Portland a tougher city?

DO: Similar issues, different cultures.

LL: Different, how different?

DO: Uhhh…

LL: Come on. We’re not politically correct here.

DO: Neither am I.

#walkingaway

“Embrace the #walkaway movement, this is a sign that the American people still believe in healthy debate.” “When actor James Woods tweeted out the hashtag ‘#walkaway’ in late June, even the alt-right missed the enormity of what lay beneath it.” “I am kicking off the #walkaway campaign by releasing my video about why I am walking away from liberalism and the Democratic party.” “The #walkaway movement that began with a popular Facebbook video featuring a gay hairdresser in New York City explaining why he was leaving the Democratic Party has quickly morphed into a major force on social media and beyond.” “Are people really leaving the Democratic Party in droves this week? If the #walkaway movement is to be believed, yes.” “Democrats aren’t converting to the right wing in droves. But #walkaway doesn’t have to be true to go viral.” “Russian bots are back: #walkaway attack on Democrats is a likely Kremlin operation.” “Democrats want you to think the “#walkaway campaign is a right-wing propaganda effort propped up by a legion of Russian bots, but don’t you believe it.”

Ha ha, remember #walkaway? No? Yeah, well, it was back in July, which is epochs ago in this superfast zipsquealed political age: painfully obvious #yourslipisshowing sockpuppets with stock photo avatars all posting Manchurian confessionals about how they didn’t leave the Democrat party, nope, the Democrats done left them. Worth a slow blink, maybe, and then you block the puppets and move on, and nothing ever really came of it, beyond the slow small grinding of the friction of dealing with bullshit that wears away at all of us more and more, but everything’s moving so fast these days. Who has time to worry about that. —Anyway, it’s long since over and done. I don’t even think it’s still making much noise over to Twitter, but I’m not gonna bother to go find out.

I walked away from Twitter 36 hours ago.

I joined pretty much ten years ago, exactly: the Kid was fixing to come into the world, and enough people we knew were already on it that it seemed like a good idea, even if it didn’t seem like a good idea. Microblogging. I mean really. We have blogs and RSS and Google Reader, who needs microblogging?

185,409 tweets later.

And I got a lot out of it: some (hopefully) lifelong friendships, some wonderful opportunities, some kind words, a lot of stupidly hilarious jokes. I had some fun with the form.

—But lately I’ve been tweeting less; I’ve even been retweeting less; mostly what I’ve been doing is reading or seeing some frictious slop of doltish hateful terrible bullshit, and blinking, or sighing, or biting my tongue, and setting about reporting and blocking accounts by the handful, the dozen, the hundreds. —Every now and then a report would come back, something had been done to this one account, or that, but never really what, or why, and anyway who has time for followup, there’s more, even more, far more.

This is not a healthy relationship. —I mean, it’s more rewarding than CandyCrush, but so’s breathing.

Content that appears to violate Twitter’s rules appears over and over again in the hundreds of hours of video available on the accounts that Jones and InfoWars maintain on Twitter and Periscope, a livestreaming video service that Twitter owns. Jones has repeatedly degraded individuals of the Muslim faith. He has attacked people on the basis of gender identity. And he has engaged in the harassment of individuals.

CNN on Wednesday morning presented Twitter with examples of such content available on both the InfoWars and Jones account. A spokesperson at the time said the company had no comment beyond a statement CEO Jack Dorsey made on Tuesday in which he said neither Jones or InfoWars had “violated our rules” and other previous statements by the company. When asked if Twitter would be reviewing the videos and content CNN had asked about, the spokesperson declined to answer. On Thursday afternoon, after another request for comment, a different Twitter spokesperson notified CNN that the company was reviewing the content.

After this story published, the tweets included in this article were removed from Twitter. A Twitter spokesperson told CNN that Twitter had not removed the content, and that the company was still reviewing it. The Twitter spokesperson said that either Jones or someone with access to his accounts had likely removed the tweets. A spokesperson for Jones and InfoWars did not immediately respond for comment.

And it’s not (just) that; it’s not (just) choosing Sean Hannity’s radio show as the venue to explain themselves; it’s not (just) verifying straight-up Nazis and Proud Boys and following “newsworthy” bullies like Mike Cernovich—it’s all of that, and the litany of responses from people I know and follow and admire, who have been suspended, forced to delete tweets, harassed off the site—transwomen for speaking out against TERFs, Black women for speaking out against racism, sex workers for speaking up for themselves—

I mean, fuck free speech. I know whose side I’d rather be on.

(Of course, the horrific irony is so many of those folks can’t walk away—their very lives and livelihoods depend on the opportunities and friendships such instant, easy connection makes possible, despite the ever-ratcheting grind. —So much for being on their side.)

(And yet: until we do it, we won’t do it.)

—So, I don’t know. Blogging. RSS. Mastodon, maybe. I’ve downloaded an archive of 185,409 snippets of text; when I can find a reputable service that can wrestle with Twitter’s API and win, I’ll delete them from the site itself. Burn it to the ground. Walk away.

Start over.

“Know this: I love you all.”

Definitions of distinction.

The novelette is, of course, but a narrower version of the novelatelle, and the novelttine is narrower yet; the novelccine is larger and thicker than the novelatelle, but more of a ribbon; the novelucce is wider than both by far. Noveletti, as a rule, are thin rectangles or squares of plot, while the noveleja is an elongated screw. The novelalde, like the novelccine, is a ribbon, but long, with ruffled edges, and the novelaldine is a novelalde cut into bits. The novelgnette, also called the noveliolini, is short and thick; the novelarelli is fluted; the novel alla chitarra is named for the strumming motion made to slice the theme. Novelozzi are similar to shoelaces; noveloline are ridged, but only on one side of the plot; novelerini are slender and photogenic. The noveloccheri is made without tropes, and so is hard to manipulate; the novelardella is thick and wide, similar to a thick novelccine. The novelagliati is irregular in shape and size, formed from the scraps left on the floor by other novel-shapes.