The Burning Throne, Episode 13: The Mountain Spirits

Continued from: http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/the-burning-throne-episode-12-kuni-magatsu/

For those of you just tuning in, this is a weekly serial I’ve been posting. It is a journal from my monthly Legend of the 5 Rings roleplaying game that I play with a bunch of other Utah writers. Obviously, when it is a bunch of writers, you can’t just play a game. You’ve got to write it too.  

In this particular game, it was Tsuruchi Machio (played by Rob Wells) that started the fight by shooting at something suspicious in the trees. He then shot another guy after the cease fire, and was the one that tossed the sword into the bushes later that night. It works out later on though, when after Rob got kidnapped by birds (long story) I got to assign him the most annoying man in the world as his “yojimbo”.

Fourteenth Entry

From the journal of Hida Makoto, Crab Clan. 

The Brotherhood of the Paper Lantern faced its first serious test last night, and I’m afraid we were about as  smooth as nezumi performing kabuki.

Around midnight, Tsuruchi Machio and Shinjo Braga were on watch when they sighted multiple figures moving in the darkness toward our camp. I awoke to Machio shouting a warning and then I was immediately struck by an arrow. Hell of a way to wake up, that. Machio said afterward that the enemy fired first and without provocation. Gathering my tetsubo, I charged in the direction of the archers.

Even with it raining arrows, Kuni Magatsu took the time to apply his war paint before emerging from his tent. He then invoked the fire kami and set the tree line around the unknown enemy on fire. As I reached the trees, the fight became general, with many armored figures moving through the dark. I received a minor cut from a katana, but then I killed my attacker with a single blow. It was possibly the hardest I’ve ever hit anything. Magatsu snared another man with gigantic crab claws that formed from the dirt and the Shinjo managed to cut down a few more, before Ide Todo began shouting for us to stand down. Similar cries could be heard from the enemy commander to lay down their arms. They spoke Rokugani, not the filthy Yobanjin tongue.

I stopped. The warriors across from me stopped. I loudly repeated Todo-sama’s orders for the Shinjo around me to hear. The enemy did the same. The woods became eerily quiet. Even in darkness and the heat of battle, both sides understood the importance of obeying their lord’s orders without question. These were no bandits, these were samurai.

A brief moment passed as the two sides watched each other. Then came the sound of a bowstring being released and the thud of an arrow deep into meat. The lack of an answering scream told me that the target had been killed instantly. Someone had broken our hasty truce, and I prepared for the battle to begin anew. But it was only by the whims of the heavens and the voice of Ide Todo that the killing did not continue. The samurai I faced sheathed his sword and I lowered my tetsubo.

Zuko brought the enemy leader into our camp to parley. It turned out that they were a group of ronin, attempting to protect the region’s peasants from marauding Yobanjin. They insisted that our sentries had launched the first arrow and that they had counterattacked to defend themselves. The ronin, calling themselves the Mountain Spirits, were led by a former Tamori named Nobu, who went on a tirade about the Dragon clan’s failures to protect the outlying villages from the Yobanjin. It was rather tense as the two groups argued, but though we were outnumbered, it was obvious to all that we were the stronger warriors.

A truce was declared for the night. They took our second in command as hostage and we took theirs. The two groups broke up and made camp.

As I took the next turn on watch, I was lost in thought. I was troubled by this fight. And not just because of the terrible performance of some of our men. (if the attackers had been Hiruma, I have no doubt that half the throats in our camp would’ve been slit before anyone had woken up) I was ashamed of myself, for I had insulted the ronin’s honor and mocked the memory of the man that I had killed to his brothers. I had not conducted myself honorably. Bloodshed does not bother me. I have seen much battle over the last year, and killed many men, but this engagement felt… pointless.

Crab are considered more pragmatic than honorable. Lives that could have been better spent fighting the Yobanjin were wasted to accomplish nothing. But there was more than that. I glory in providing a good death to an enemy, but when my lord says that man is no longer my enemy, what point is there in causing his death?

Later that night, one of the idiot Unicorns tossed one of the other idiot Unicorn’s scimitars into the bushes. I kept the sword, and in the morning I publically ripped Shinjo Braga apart for several minutes. He has been troublesome, so I told him that if he had lost his weapon on the Wall, we would’ve tossed him over the side to go find it, and that if he ever screwed up and endangered us again, I would personally kill him. In fact, I gave him a long list of transgressions that would cause me to kill him. That finally shut him up.

We and the ronin are on the trail to their village. Just now, Magatsu decided to wake up the biggest earth kami anyone had ever seen, just to tell it we were passing through and to ask for its blessings. I think he might have been showing off to scare the ronin… I do believe it worked. I for one, will never look at rocks the same way.  Zukozuko and Machio have used the distraction to slip away to scout ahead at the High House of Light.

I must finish writing, for we shall arrive in the village shortly.

To be continued next week when we go after our cursed evil sword:  http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/the-burning-throne-episode-14-duty-and-faith/  Including a short story that I love from the PoV of a random guy guarding a hut.

Out of touch rich guys and tax time fun

I’ve only got a few minutes at lunch, so I need to keep this brief. (good thing I type 85 words per minute!) Since I’ve been spending more time watching TV lately (baby in my hands and I’ve got to do something) I’ve been watching more of the news punditry, and the stupidity is driving me batty. I can’t believe that I’m about to defend Mitt Romney of all people…

For the record, I’m not a Romney supporter. My issue with him is that I don’t think he is conservative enough, or at least he totally fails to articulate his belief in the philosophy if he is. I don’t like government healthcare and I don’t like gun control, two things Romney has in his past. I said it in 2008 and I’ll say it again now, electable in Massachusetts means unpalatable most everywhere else. I suppose I’m one of those Anybody But Romney conservatives they keep talking about, but I’d amend that to Anybody But Romney As Long As It Isn’t Newt Gingrich, because holy crap, that is a dude with some serious baggage.

That said, whoever gets the Republican nomination is a billion times better than Barack Obama.

But back to Romney, two things.

First, his 15% tax rate… I’ve been a professional accountant for most of my adult life, and hearing non-accountant news morons talking about taxes makes me want to take a flamethrower to their studio. Listen, you ignorant sluts, that is the capital gains tax. That is the tax that you pay on investments. Investment income is different than regular income.

When you invest and purchase stock in a company you pay capital gains taxes on the profit you make. However, that money has already been taxed, because the corporation you own stock in pays the corporate tax rate on what they make. So, keeping it simple, you buy stock in a company. That company made a profit and already paid a much higher corporate tax on what they made. They pay you a dividend and you pay 15% on what you made. If the money you used to buy that stock came from a regular income, then you were taxed when you received it at a higher rate as well. Oh, but rich guys inherit their money! Okay, that inheritance got taxed too, and depending on when he got that inheritance, it might have been at the highest tax rate of all (and ironically Romney donated his inheritance to charity too).

Right now most of my money comes from 1099 income, which means that I also get to pay all those withholdings that most people who get a paycheck never even see because their employers pay for them. (just think what everybody in America could do if they got a 16% raise tomorrow?) So my overall tax rate percentage is way higher than Romney’s. I’m totally cool with that, and you should be to, because if you are smart then eventually you will be living off of your investments as well.

So, income gets taxed higher. Investments get taxed lower. That’s why rich guys who now live off of their investments pay a lower overall rate. That’s why Buffet’s secretary gets taxed at a higher rate than her megalomaniacal attention whore of a boss.

“But they need to pay their FAIR SHARE!” you bleat.   

Dude paid more last year than you’ve paid in your life times five, but that’s not fair enough? But I digress. You want to tax the rich more? Okay, raise the capital gains tax… And watch as the economy tanks even further.

Here’s the thing about why capital gains needs to be lower than income tax…

RISK.

When you invest in something, you are gambling with the money you already have. There is no guarantee that you will make a profit, and in fact you may lose everything. Risk is the greatest disincentive to investment.  The only reason we have investment is because the potential rewards outweigh the risks. As you lower the incentives to invest, you lower the amount that will be invested. The second biggest disincentive is that even if you make $100 on that stock you bought, you’re going to give the government $15. Raise that to $35 and you just made risky investing look even less interesting. Make it not worth it, and people quit investing their money at all and sit on it instead. Then watch the economy implode.

“But fair share! FAIR SHARE!” sob sob whine blather.

Because half of us not paying anything in income taxes at all isn’t fair enough? Okay, so raising the capital gains tax is stupid, but you still want to stick it to those pesky rich people. I know! Let’s raise the corporate income tax! Rich people own corporations! That’ll show them!

(for the record, do you have a 401K? Then you own corporations too)

Despite already having one of the highest corporate tax rates in the functioning world, let’s go ahead and jack that sucker up! Except that corporations look at taxes as another expense. If you tax them more, they simply pass that along in the cost of their product to the consumer, as in you and me. If the expense becomes too much of a burden and causes their prices to rise to the point that they are noncompetitive, they either go out of business and you lose your job, or they move to another country that doesn’t molest them as much, and you still lose your job. They exist to make a profit for their stockholders, not to pay for your good time.

See why class warfare sucks?

And the second topic that is ticking me off, Romney is “out of touch from the common people” a meme that I’ve heard repeated over and over… (I can’t believe I’m defending Mitt Romney here, ugh).

I’m a Mormon, same religion as Mitt Romney, so I do know one thing about the whole Out of Touch Rich Guy crap they’re trying to sell. Romney has been what we call a Stake President. If you have any clue at all what a Stake President does, then you would know that there is no such thing as a Stake President that is out of touch with the issues of the common man.

This is how it works. Latter Day Saints don’t have a professional clergy like most churches. We have volunteer leaders. You don’t ask for a job, but rather you are asked to fulfill an assignment by the volunteer leaders that are above you. We don’t get paid.

I’ll try to keep this simple. The LDS church is divided into Wards. A Ward covers a geographic area, and is usually made up of 500-1,000 people. A Ward is run by a Bishop. Bishops still have their day jobs, but they fulfill a church calling which is equivalent to a pastor or priest in other churches. Most Bishops put in another fulltime job worth of hours a week fulfilling this unpaid calling. They normally do it for 3-5 years before they get released and get put out to pasture to go be a Sunday School teacher or Scoutmaster or something awesome like that which only takes up a few hours a week.

Unless they get called to be a Stake President afterwards. An LDS Stake is made up of about 8-10 Wards. The Stake President is the man that runs the whole Stake. The Bishops report to him. It is a ridiculous amount of responsibility. Like being Bishop, you will usually fill this calling for 3-5 years, during which you will age 10.

Now here’s the thing. Bishops and Stake Presidents aren’t just managers. They’re ecclesiastical leaders. Most of what they do consists of helping individuals in their Wards or Stakes. Every problem that pops up in some member’s life, every family issue, every marriage, every birth, every death, every divorce, every crisis, Dad got laid off, Mom got hit by a truck, Little Timmy is having trouble in school, whatever, that’s the bread and butter of what a Bishop deals with daily. Mormons have our own welfare system and the Bishops are in charge of it. Part of their job is to counsel, uplift, and help the members through their trials. If there is a sad story because of a bad choice or past baggage, then a Bishop has heard it at some point.  

So Mitt Romney has spent a giant chunk of his life listening to the daily problems and concerns of normal people, and then helping them find solutions. (which for Mormons usually don’t involve the government) He was a community organizer before community organizing was cool.

My main problem with Romney is his overall squishiness. He should OWN THIS ISSUE. But he doesn’t. He gets pushed around by the press and has his morals questioned by a serial adulterer who worked for Freddy Mac. “You only paid 15% in taxes!” and we get squish squish squish, instead of “Which was all I was legally required to pay, and I’ve  given more to charity than half the democrats in congress put together, and I didn’t take a salary for being governor or saving the Olympics, so SUCK IT, NEWT! BLAM!” My gosh, if we actually got some fire out of the guy like that we wouldn’t all be so meh about him.

 

Occupy Womb Street came to an end on Edgar Allen Poe’s birtday (I share a birtday with HP Lovecraft, so I’m sensing a trend here). Introducing Correia 2.4.  10 Pounds and 9 ounces, 21 inches long, and Mrs. Correia did that all without an epidural because she is a Viking badass warrior woman.

There is a new moose on Yard Moose Mountain.

He’s a surprisingly good natured little guy, and probably the strongest baby I’ve ever seen. And that is coming from somebody who already had three ten pounders. He lifts his head, looks around, can grab stuff and hold on like a 3 month old, and even did a push up to get to a more comfy position. This is the sort of madness that happens when we have babies go to their due dates. All of our other gigantic children were early.

Mrs. Correia is fine. We’re all slightly brain damaged from lack of sleep. There is a 7 year gap between this one and Correia 2.3.

SOPA

I’ve had several people ask me what I think about this and how they’ve been surprised that I haven’t had a post about it, mostly because I always have an opinion on political nonsense, and second, because as a fiction writer I get pirated a lot, so I have skin in the game.  I haven’t posted much because I’ve been running behind. Correia 2.4 should be here anytime now, but is taking his sweet time. (Mrs. Correia has started calling this pregnancy Occupy Womb Street)

As for SOPA, piracy sucks, but I’d much rather have some loser rip me off than give an already out of control government one more Orwellian power. Screw Sopa.

All of my state’s congressmen and sentators are now against it, including Hatch (who was one of the original sponsors). Good. Kill this piece of garbage.

As for all of the people out there on the internet having a massive freak out about the government potentially damaging something they love… WELCOME TO THE PARTY.

You think this is something new or unusual? Nope. This is just about a topic that you happen to be familiar with. If you fall into that camp, I want you to take a deep breath, step back, and examine all of the other issues in the past that you didn’t know jack squat about, but your knee jerk reaction was to say “there’s a problem, the governement has to do something!” Well guess what? The crap the federal government usually comes up with to fix these problems is similar to SOPA. In other words, the legislation addresses a perceived problem by instituting a bunch of stupid overregulation and taking away someone’s freedom. 

You think people need access to affordable medical care and shouldn’t be denied coverage? Well, you got used and we got the bloated ridiculous mess that is Obamacare. You saw a news report about how big business defrauded people and said congress should do something? Well, everyone in the business world got screwed because of Enron by completely useless new arbitrary crap laws, and a few years later we got into an even bigger financial crisis which the arbitrary crap laws we spent billions conforming to did nothing to prevent. No, because that financial crisis was caused by people saying that there was this huge problem that needed to be fixed, so more people who couldn’t afford to pay mortgages could still buy houses, and the government simply had to do something to fix this problem!

Any crisis… Any problem… You ask the feds to fix it, you get this kind of answer.  Almost never do the laws fix the actual problem. Instead the government gets bigger and gains a few more powers and it doesn’t fix the issue. When the problem gets bigger, then the government gets bigger and gains a few more powers that actually make the problem worse. Oh look! Despite all of these laws the problem has gotten even bigger? Whatever should we do? Why, I know! Let’s pass an even bigger law that takes away more individual freedom and gives the government more control!

Repeat, repeat, repeat. Any topic, any situation, any problem.  They address it, you lose freedom and they gain more control. Some of you are only offended today because this particular law hurts something you enjoy. The rest of the time? Screw it. You can’t be bothered to pay attention. Or worse, people like me who are up in arms over an issue are just cranks or anti-government crackpots.

I was going to close this blog post with a quote I read about freedom versus control, but Wikipedia was down protesting SOPA. :)

EDIT:  Right after I posted this, friend and co-author Mike Kupari posted this. So I stole it from him. (surely a SOPA violation!)  He’s on the same wavelength: 

You didn’t care when the government decided it could spy on you without a warrant. You didn’t care when they started telling you what you could eat. You didn’t care when your kids’ education was turned into indoctrination. You didn’t care when they were more worried about military veterans than Islamic terrorists. You didn’t care when they spent so much money that our entire economic system may co…llapse. You didn’t care when they gave billions of your money to unions and corporations that were their political contributors. You didn’t care when inert cosmetic features on guns were felonies. You didn’t care when they made it a fucking crime to not have government approved health insurance.

All of these things were done in your name. On your behalf. To help you, protect you, take care of you. Each time you gave them more power and gave away more of your freedom. Each time you believed them when they said they were protecting you, or helping the less fortunate, or sticking it to “the rich” who “aren’t paying their fair share”.

Each time you applauded their efforts. Mocked those that were concerned. Called them uncaring or racist or alarmist or stupid. Each time you asked for more. You begged them to take care of you, protect you, right wrongs, enforce equality.

But now that your Internet porn and bit torrents are threatened, NOW you care?

It’s too late for all that, kids. Turning off Wikipedia for a couple days isn’t going to win back the freedoms we’ve pissed away. It isn’t going to undo decades of expanding government power. They’ve already decided there’s nothing they can’t do, no law they can’t pass.

We watched it happen. We let it happen. We have the country we deserve.

So go ahead, post a rant about SOPA on your blog. Link to Ron Paul’s web page. Pretend you’re doing something. It’ll make you feel better. Then you will go back to business as usual and so will they.

Democracy in action. Isn’t it beautiful?

The Burning Throne, Episode 12: Kuni Magatsu

Continued from: http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/the-burning-throne-episode-11-lighting-the-paper-lanterns/ 

Kuni Magatsu is played by author Paul Genesse, who joined Writer Nerd Game Night a couple months in. Here is a link to his first book:  http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=monshuntnati-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=1594146594  I’ll be book bombing the next one when it comes out.

Paul’s character is great. He’s absolutely terrifying, possibly psychotic, and feels that he is prophetic (but only when he is drunk). Paul found this picture and used it as his character sketch.

Have no idea who drew the original pic, but it suits him

 

*

Private Scrolls of Kuni Magatsu, Crab Clan Shugenja

My Sensei, Kuni Kiyoshi warned me not to unnecessarily maim or kill irritating samurai. He said that many of the other clans would not understand me and that I should be patient with them and forgive their insults. I follow his advice and say my prayers to the kami silently to myself rather than crush their skulls or tear them apart with the magic of the kami. Not all of them are useless, but I wonder why so many of them do not understand Bushido or the proper respect they must give to the kami and the gods.

The wrath of the kami and the gods will be severe for those who offend them, and I am an instrument of their fury.

I pray every day that I will remember the lessons of Sensei Kiyoshi. My honored uncle taught me much and as I travel in the north in the service of the Crab Clan I will honor my master and all our ancestors as I carry out my duty. I shall keep the traditions of the Kuni Shugenja who have gone before me. I shall say the prayers to the kami day and night. I shall wear the white and red face paint in the ancient style my sensei taught me so the living and the dead shall know what I am. My enemies will see the face of death when I come for them and they will tremble before I send them screaming to the next world.

Now I must help repel the Yobanjin horde who invade the Emerald Empire from the north. I suspect that some foul power allied with the Shadowlands is aiding the barbarians. I will find out what or who it is and learn more about the Dark Oracle who is said to be leading them.

I now find myself in the service of the famous and honorable Hida Kenzan. He has tasked me to go along with his notoriously unlucky and dishonored half-brother, Hida Makoto, and keep watch over him. I will do all I can to prevent any further dishonor to the Crab Clan by Makoto. His father’s disastrous mistake at the wall is a scar that will never fade, but I now understand that Makoto is doing his best to reclaim his personal honor and for this I shall respect him.

Hida Makoto and the group he is part of, The Paper Lanterns, are representatives from many of the other clans and seek to find one of the Shameswords kept in the House of Light high in the Dragon Clan Mountains. We must prevent it from falling into the hands of the Dark Oracle leading the Yobanjin.

Hida Kenzan has also asked me to help destroy the Shamesword, and this, I will do, though before I attempt to break its blade, I will attempt to understand its connection to the darkness. If I can sever this link, perhaps I will be able to find a way to break the metal.

I will also carry the tetsubo wielded by Hida Makoto back to Hida Kenzan if his half brother should fall in battle. The stories of Makoto’s bravery and prowess in battle are likely true from what I have seen, but his recklessness may prove to be his doom. I will keep him alive as a service to Kenzan-san, though ironically Makoto has been tasked to be my personal Yojimbo.

In our first battle Makoto left my side and charged into the fray and killed a ronin warrior with a blow so hard it would have cracked an ogre’s skull. The battle was foolishly started by a dishonorable but deadly archer, Tsurichi Machio of the Mantis Clan. The battle was a mistake and was rushed into by samurai who must learn more patience. I am angered that the archer, Machio appears to wish for death and picks fights with simple Bushi. His history of getting into duels is known to me and he must be a friend of the infamous monk who murdered an honorable samurai and then fled. One day, Machio’s insults will get him killed, but if his death is honorable I will say the prayers over his corpse and help his spirit pass on. If he dies poorly, I will not say the prayers and will consider binding him to this world so he may observe the error of his ways before passing on so that in his next life he will show the proper amount of respect to the way of the samurai. The Mantis clan are valuable in the battle against the Shadowlands, but those Mantis I have met prove they are not truly one of the great clans by their lack of respect of Bushido.

At least my Yojimbo, Hida Makoto shows the proper respect. As he watches me, I will keep watch over him and prevent him from dying, unless the opportunity for a truly glorious death presents itself, then I will join him and we shall die together among the piled corpses of our enemies.

The Paper Lanterns, and their retinue now find ourselves in a village under the protection of ronin who call themselves Spirits of the Mountain. They have been allowed to escort us to the House of Light. They are not to be trusted as they have left the Dragon Clan and claim to be protecting the eta who live in the mountains. Why would I trust men who do not follow a Daimyo? Most of them are without much honor, though I agree that the Dragon Clan have proved to be weak as they let the Yobanjin invade their territory without mounting a strong defense. We Crab would have died to the last man to stop such a dishonor as the Dragon have allowed on their watch.

I am not afraid of the ronin, though I will be wary and trust our group leader’s decision to allow them to escort us to the House of Light. He is building an alliance that we will need as we travel in the Dragon Clan lands and fight the Yobanjin, but I will remember what my sensei has taught me: “Be wary of the open hand offered by any man, for it can easily become a closed fist.”

Still, I trust that our leader, Magistrate Ide Todo of the Unicorn Clan. He is an honorable and intelligent man. I do not believe the whispers that he is a coward, and why would I ever believe a member of the Scorpion Clan? Ide Todo is above the death dealing ways of lower men like myself who enjoy seeing blood leaking out of an enemy’s ears and laugh when the dead ghosts wail for the loss of their bodies.

The Unicorn are Crab’s strongest allies and Ide Todo has been a competent leader, though I wonder why he chose a former ronin who now serves the Spider Clan, Zuko Zuko to be our gunso, when Hida Makoto was the most qualified. Politics are the way of things in the clan territories away from the Kaiu Wall. Humility is a lesson beneficial to all samurai and Makoto will be forced to increase his own with Zuko Zuko as our gunso.

However, Zuko Zuko appears to be a competent warrior and his disfigured appearance will bring fear to our enemies. I wonder how he lost his eye and was burned. This I will perhaps ask him someday if the moment is right. Though I do not approve of how Zuko Zuko disappeared when the battle with the ronin started. A gunso should stay with the men and make certain they follow the commander’s orders, but somehow Zuko Zuko got his sword in a position to kill the leader of the ronin at the rear of their lines. It was a great feat, but how did he do it? There is something very strange about him and I can sense he is hiding something. I shall ask the kami about him. Also, how can I trust a man who has allied himself with the Spider Clan? The spirits do not favor the Spider and there are portents that the Spider will fall into darkness.

Despite the travails of the journey into the mountains we are now within sight of the ruins of the House of Light. I have spoken with two kami of the mountains, one of great significance, and I believe one of the Shameswords is within the ruins, as I trust the earth kami above all others. When the sun has risen I shall go with the Paper Lanterns and find the nemuranai within. Before we attempt to destroy the sword, I shall seek to understand the power of the blade and will speak with the awakened kami inside it and find out what its true powers are. I will speak with the soul of the dragon clan samurai who is rumored to be trapped within the blade. Perhaps he will tell me how to destroy it and free his spirit and thereby regain his lost honor.

I have already seen the darkness of the Shadowlands and looked into the Well of Jigoku when I passed the test of Poison Jade. I have survived my trials and will not flinch from what must be done now. If destroying the blade and learning its secrets will cost me my life . . . I will pay. Then once again my soul will return as a Kuni Shugenja.

*

To be continued next week when the Paper Lanterns go looking for an evil magic sword.  http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/the-burning-throne-episode-13-the-mountain-spirits/

Quick update, patch contest winners

Okay, I’ve been getting requests about the patch contest and how come I haven’t annouced the winners. Here’s the thing. I’m not quite done with MHL and still need to do another editing pass. There are a lot of other Hunters and rival companies in this book. My issue right now is that I’m using several more than I originally expected, but I don’t know how many yet, and won’t really know until I get the next editing pass done. Once I’ve got that, then I’ll post who the winners are. Part of the issue is that it isn’t just the ones that got the most votes, but ther are also several that I just thought were cool, but I havent’ seen if I can fit them in cleanly yet or not.

Standing in the way of getting MHL finished is that Correia 2.4 is due any day now, so we’ve been sort of hanging on to the edge of our seats, which makes productive writing time kind of hard to achieve. :)

Picture Time Fun, MHI tattoos, grips, D6 art, and my best mini yet

First up, an MHI tattoo that was recently posted to Facebook.

Personally, I’m not a tat guy myself, but that is freaking sweet. :)

Next, here are some custom MHI grips for a 1911. He sent a PDF to Alumagrips and they engraved these for him. The other side of the grip is the Crusader logo. Crusader is an awesome custom shop run by my friends Joe Chetwood and George Hill. http://crusaderweaponry.com/ 

People always ask me about using my logo on stuff. My answer is always the same. A. If it is for personal use (i.e. you’re not doing it to make money off of my stuff) go for it. B. You send me a picture to put on the blog. 

Up next, my latest mini. As usual my iPhone camera work sucks, but even then you can tell this dude looks awesome. I’m actually getting decent at this hobby. Lots of shading, much of which looks pretty good. Even the dusting of snow on the base came out pretty cool. (that’s baking soda) The fact that he actually looks a lot like me is purely coincidental. Though I do totally look like that with my shirt off.

Okay, maybe not. But at least the male pattern baldness hairstyle is 100% accurate.

Here are a few pics that I got from Zack at Minimum Wage Historian. http://minimumwagehistorian.wordpress.com/ (which is my favorite history geek website, this week features him interviewing Tomoe Gozen, 12th century samurai badass chick). These are characters from my and Mike Kupari’s novel, Dead Six.

Lorenzo

Valentine

Bob

And speaking of Mike, here he is winning the internet in Afghanistan. That is the most crap I’ve ever seen stuck onto a gun, and therefore is totally awesome. (the one that looks like a TV is a super EoTEch that normally goes on the M2) Mike will be home in a few weeks.  Then we will do his first book signing, and as many of you as possible need to come to make it extra good.

Hate Mail from my Hate Mail Response

The cool thing about hate mail is that when you respond to one whiney little crybaby you inevitably get another one in the comments. Around here I’ve got this sort of perpetual hate mail machine. If only I could harness the power of liberal angst. I could probably power my house just off the friction from all the hand wringing.

After this post last week, http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/more-fun-with-hate-mail-time/#comment-23186 I got this bunch of nonsense from Bags. I responded in the thread with a short post, but then decided to share with you guys. Y’all seem to enjoy these posts, and who am I to disappoint the Monster Hunter Nation?

Well, Larry, I’m sure you would have pulled yourself up from the bootstraps if you were born in a slum in India, too. You know, India has a much smaller, much less powerful government that taxes much less than the american one.

And thus begins an exercise in Reductio Ad Absurdum. What that term means is that when you are clueless and have no intelligent way to respond to someone’s argument, you take their argument and then stretch it out into absolutely ridiculous territory to try and disprove it.

Reductio Ad Absurdum is pretty much the favorite argument of the left. You think the government is wasteful and spends too much money on social programs? Then obviously you want all the old grandmas to starve to death in miserable agony. You are in favor of the 2nd Amendment? Then obviously you want UZIs in vending machines at elementary schools and blood to run in the streets. Lefties love doing this, and they do it so much that it is the default setting for what passes for political commentary in our country now. For example, think of last week’s news coverage about Rick Santorum once he tied in Iowa… Because he’s a staunch Catholic in his personal life he obviously wants to declare Catholic Sharia law and will ban birth control (because everybody knows that is exactly how our system of government works!).

In the mind of the media, Republican Catholics = Spanish Inquisition II. Democrat Catholics = Totally Awesome (unless they get in the way of Michelle Obama’s political ambitions in Chicago, then they are just no good paddy crackers). Of course Rick Santorum, because he has personal beliefs, will declare Sharia Law in America! Meanwhile the actual people that want to declare Sharia Law in America don’t get talked about, because that would be culturally insensitive…

Now that we’ve got that cleared up, back to our hate mail…

It also happens to have de facto control of around 70% of its land-mass, while the rest is controlled by armed gangs.

Like most countries with really strict gun control. Go figure.

People starve in India, but you wouldn’t have been one of them, because I’m sure you’d have improved your situation. Somehow.

Sadly, I could not live in India, because despite my love of curry, I am simply terrified of the Monkey Man.

Probably, since you don’t believe in hand-outs,

This is an interesting one to me. Because I’m against the welfare state, the hate mailers always assume that I’m against helping altogether. Not at all. I actually give a relatively high percentage of my income to charity. (way higher than Joe Biden, that’s for sure). The thing is to those of us on the right, there is a huge difference between choosing to GIVE money for something, rather than having someone else TAKE it from us, to then give to people/causes that we personally have moral qualms with.

you wouldn’t go through any kind of publicly funded education system.

I’ll have you know that I’m a proud graduate of the California Public School System and Junior Gladiatorial Academy, thank you very much! I didn’t actually learn much outside of Ag and Shop, but man, I can take a punch with the best of them. (sadly, looking back, I learned a lot more by reading library books on the long bus ride than I ever did in class).

Wandering off topic again, I think public education is a vast joke. You want to be filled with rage? Watch Waiting for Superman. Same guy that did Inconvenient Truth, only since this one poked at a sacred liberal institution it didn’t get truckloads of awards.  

You’d have probably got a loan and gone private. Oh wait, you wouldn’t have been able to get a loan. But you’d have worked your ass off, got some relevant skills – oh wait, you’re living in a slum, and you don’t believe in hand-outs, so no public transport means you can’t get to jobs that are further than 10 miles bike-ride.

One of my associates read this post before I approved it. He looked at me and said, “Knowing you, you would’ve worked your way up to head slum lord or something.” I took that as a great compliment. My goal would have been to work really hard until I made enough rupees to put in a Monkey Man proof fence around my slum.

Sucks to be you.

Actually, my life is really awesome.

People like you don’t realize how privileged you are,

Not really. I totally recognize how blessed I am. I was born in America, the land of opportunity. That alone gives me a huge advantage over the rest of the world’s population. All those little whiney We Are the 99% morons are the ones that don’t realize how privileged they are, because to the rest of the Earth, they are the 1%. “Oh no, somebody needs to pay my student loans” vs. “Man, I really wish I didn’t have malaria and gigantic Gambian rats gnawing on my children”.

The thing is, the reason why we’re privileged is that we live in the greatest nation that has ever existed. Why? Because it was founded and built upon freedom and capitalism. I’d like to keep it that way so that my grandkids and great-grandkids can also be born into privilege. The other option would be to continue spending America into oblivion, because then we can all suck equally.

and how damn hard it is to pull yourself out if you’re not born out in the first place.

Hmm… No. That’s just more loser talk like last week’s defeatist loser. My position is that despite how you start out, you can go on to improve your lot in life. That’s my fundamental belief. Americans do it every single day. Your response is to bring up someone born in the worst slum on Earth as an example that you can’t. The thing is, I’m talking about America. Shockingly enough, I don’t have too many blog readers in places that don’t have things like computers, electricity, or literacy.

So, sticking with America, barring the extreme circumstances of your birth on the bell curve (i.e. you were born a radioactive mutant or have flippers), you can AND SHOULD improve your lot in life. I grew up rather poor* and had some early strikes against me, but I did something about it. That’s not so weird. Most of us that are doing okay right now have similar stories. I’ve got one neighbor on Yard Moose Mountain that is a doctor, but he grew up with seven siblings in what was literally a tin roof shack. That’s life in the greatest nation in history.  

*on this note, I once had someone I argued with on this blog try to prove that I had not been poor growing up, but had in fact, grown up rich. (Which as all liberals know is the only way you can end up rich) So he went to Google Earth and stuck in Correia Dairy, Modesto California, which revealed a huge, very nice looking farm. Ah ha! Gotcha! And he posted that as “proof” on his blog… However I’m not from Modesto. I’m from El Nido, which is in Merced County. And the San Joaquin Valley is filled with Portuguese families and Correia is the last name commonality equivalent to Tanner in the English world, so it is relatively common there. Besides, if you go to Google Earth the farm I grew up on is now underneath a very large chicken plant now anyway. This moron’s research talents were wasted on me. He really should be writing books about Sarah Palin or something.  

 You’re very eloquent, but there’s a hell of a lot of sloppy thinking going on.

Disagreeing with liberal dogma = sloppy thinking. Gotcha. And I must have been born eloquent, because everybody knows you can’t learn a skill like that. Especially Indians*, because they’re too busy being terrorized by Monkey Man to learn to write good.

*in reality I’ve got a lot of respect for India. That’s a country that is not dinking around. They’re serious about getting their crap together and they are in it to win it. Same can be said for Brazil and many of the other up and comers. If we don’t stop our venture into socialism, then in a couple of generations when we’ve managed to completely destroy our productive class and America is sliding into irrelevancy, I’m sure our grandkids will be able to get jobs working at call centers to provide customer service to consumers in New Delhi.

If your going to complain about your tax bill, complain about military spending.

Obviously not a long time reader. I’ve worked for the Army and the Air Force. Believe me, you give me a team of Assault Auditors and control of the budget committee and I could do some slashing.

That’s where most of your tax dollar is going.

Actually, no. That’s not true. Medicare and Social Security are bigger than the defense budget. But of those three things, only one of them is mandated as a federal responsibility in the Constitution.

The hand-outs are pennies in comparison, and they’re mostly to stop old biddies from dying of hypothermia come winter.

See? What did I tell you? All those entitlements that are bankrupting us? Cut any of them and all the old people will die! Why do you hate old people and puppies, Mr. Correia? And sunshine and Monkey Man! Why are you such a hate monger?

Also, taxation’s more complex than a choice between high or low.

Really? I’ve only been a professional accountant for over a decade… I never realized that taxes were complicated! Herp de derp!

Many european companies tax middle-class guys less than america does, but still pay for poor old bastard’s healthcare because they tax the top ten percent more.

Do these guys actually pay any attention to the world around them, or do they just float through life in a bubble of wishful thinking? The world is what I think it is. La la la la. Europe is doing AWESOME! They’ve got so much money that all the Greeks can afford to retire at thirty and still have money left over to pay disability to all their pedophiles!*

*Germany could not be reached for comment. The country couldn’t pay its internet bill because they were too busy paying for everyone else’s good time.

This link: http://xkcd.com/980/ is pretty interesting in this regard. You can get a good idea of where the money is, where the tax money is coming from and who’s being hit hardest, and so on.

Hardest hit? I just wrote a 4th quarter withholding check big enough to buy a new Hyundai. That’s a groovy infographic. Xkcd is usually pretty clever. I have absolutely no idea what your point is though, other than you think that posting links with numbers on them makes you seem smart or something.

So that’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll be receiving more hate mail soon, probably from someone who thinks I unfairly criticized Monkey Man and his reign of terrible scratching.

The Burning Throne, Episode 11: Lighting the Paper Lanterns

Continued from: http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/the-burning-throne-episode-10-the-nakado/

This week’s stuff is all written by Steve Diamond. Ikoma Katsu is an NPC bard that has been following our group around, and we have a lot of fun with his ridiculous overblowing of the everything. The Paper Lanterns are the order that we started, and over time it will slowly grow into an army.

#

Lighting the Paper Lanterns

The Rise of Ide Todo Volume Three

Ikoma Katsu – Bard of the Lion Clan

    The Fortunes have blessed me.  I see the jealously in everyone’s eyes as I walk past.  They know me.  They know of whom I write.  Am I the most blessed man in Rokugan?  Nearly.  I can only claim to be the second most blessed.

            The most blessed, doubtlessly, is Ide Todo.

            Others have read my earlier works concerning this great man—no, this paragon—and have said, “Ikoma Katsu, your words don’t follow the tradition of a biography.”  I am forced to remind them that Ide Todo doesn’t follow the traditions of most great men.  He is far greater.

            I have joined the Brotherhood of the Paper Lanterns.  The history of this Order is one of the great stories of Rokugan.  I thought I had witnessed all the greatness possible from Ide Todo, but I was humbled when I witnessed his work at Shiro Shinjo.  I must say that I was shocked that it took so long for the great Unicorn courtier to be made a Magistrate.  I rejoiced for Ide Todo, but had to restrain myself from offering my personal congratulations.

            A bard such as myself must remain objective after all.

            I am known across the land for my unerring ability to discern the truth from the embellishment.  Surely the tales I was hearing were overwrought?  Tales of discovering and deciphering messages from spies, and then rooting out that conspiracy.  Tales of magical mirrors.  Destruction of Oni summoned by Yobanjin dogs!  His exploits became grander and grander.

            There was a chase through the streets of Shiro Shinjo where Ide Todo—in a truly stunning display of Unicorn riding prowess—cut off the escape of a spy attempting to flee the city with forged maps that were used to throw the armies into disarray.  How I wish I could have been there to see his steed dramatically pawing the air with its hooves, and that cowardly spy cowering in veritable fear while Ide Todo’s companions finally caught up.

            What history may have difficulty showing is the kind of man Ide Todo was.  Of all the honorable and virtuous traits he exhibits, the one that strikes me as the most distinguished is his desire to see things through to the end.

            Nearly all men would have considered their part done after talking down an entire war council.  Not Ide Todo.  He wanted to know the real reason behind the embarrassment of Hida Kenzan.  The man was disgraced, and heartbeats from seppuku.  No, Ide Todo took it a step further by leading his men to the spy responsible.

            Simply deciphering messages relating to a spy network wasn’t enough.  He had to uncover the identity of the man responsible for compromising the current front of the war.  I will never know how—I can only assume the Fortunes whisper in his ear—but he uncovered the truth behind it all.

            Ide Tong—may his name be reviled through history for nearly bringing shame to the Ide family and for causing Ide Todo discomfort.

            If there is a man more honest than Ide Todo, surely he has already become a god.  Ide Todo called out Ide Tong in front of the entire war council.  His speech and logic at that meeting—yes, I was there to personally witness it—sent chills down my spine.  Every soul there saw the intelligence in Ide Todo’s words.

            How could they not?

            They were words of perfection.

            All of this led to Magistrate Todo being given a boon.  But what do you ask for when already so close to perfection?

            Again, the great Unicorn showed his depth and intelligence.  Indeed his cunning.  He asked for a recognized order—the Brotherhood of the Paper Lanterns—be instituted with him at the head.  True to the name of the Brotherhood, he stated their goal was to shed the light of truth and wisdom throughout the land.  The very name of his order keeps it from being viewed with suspicion—though how anyone can suspect Ide Todo of anything dishonorable is beyond my understanding.  I ask, are the Fortunes speaking through his lips?  Can any mortal be so wise?

            And so I have joined this order.  How could I not?  I have taken it as divinely spoken that I am to follow Ide Todo and chronicle his daring deeds.

            I have sent off word to my associates throughout the realm of my observations of Ide Todo, and I suggest he would make an ideal Voice of the Emperor when this Empty Throne absurdity stops.

            I await their replies with the patience Ide Todo has taught me with his example.

           He surrounds himself with a motley crew.  Some say that in order to be great, you must surround yourself with great people.  Surely this is why all these individuals are following Ide Todo.  He makes them greater than the average samurai.

            We were ambushed this night by clanless ronin.  They claim the Dragon have abandoned them, and to be truthful—for how can I be anything to the contrary?—given their inability to even surprise our traveling group I’m not surprised the Dragon cast off these fools.

            I watched as Ide Todo once again used his steely voice to direct the flow of the battle.  He has become even more observant and commanding since he single-handedly dispatched the blood speaker many weeks ago.  Arrows flew around him, yet all missed their mark for I am sure he has divine protection.  Under Ide Todo’s guiding eye, we were massacring the honorless forces.

            Yet he did not let his battle lust overcome him like the foolish Mantis whose name is not even worthy of writing down.  Ide Todo soon realized that the battle was a mistake and managed to calm both sides.  I still am in awe.

            Now we march to this group’s small village.  What Ide Todo wants with them I am unsure.  He has kept to himself as of late—perhaps still reeling from being asked to be the nakado of that brutish Hida Makoto—so I find it hard to divine what his intent is.

            But whatever is on his mind, I am certain it will lead the Brotherhood of the Paper Lanterns to glory.

#

Journals of Ide Todo

Authenticity Unconfirmed

Discovered in the Shadowlands 1175

The Brotherhood of the Paper Lanterns.  I wish I could say that we were off to a good start, but I fear that I underestimated the difficulty of running an order.

I requested the formation of this order for a number of reasons.  I hope that my children—should I ever be graced with any—and the denizens of the Empire will one day look at the Brotherhood and be proud of what it has accomplished.  With this order I hope to start an information network that will rival any the Empire currently has.  When events—no matter how mundane—begin, the Brotherhood should know of it…or should be the cause of it.

The first order of business is to identify the main players for the throne.  If this situation isn’t resolved quickly, I fear the Empire could be so weakened as to making it susceptible to the Yobanjin invasion.  The first thing I did while still in Shiro Shinjo was—

I must pause in my writing.  I can almost hear my ancestors chuckling in the air around me.  How far I have come.  There is a saying among my people, “You cannot teach an old Utaku steed new tricks.”  Perhaps this saying has lost some of its validity.  I talk and write like a leader now.  I had worried that I was not up to the task of being a diplomat.  Then I worried about being a representative of the Imperial Regent.  Then a Magistrate.  Now a leader of a recognized Order.

Yet now I recognize some of that doubt has faded.

When my thoughts are allowed time to dwell on the state of the Empire, I begin wondering where I will stand when all the dust settles.  I no longer worry whether I am worthy of my current titles and responsibilities.  Now I wonder how high I can reach.

After all, how better to help the Empire than to be at its center in some capacity.

Ambition.  A word I never truly understood until recently.

I fear writing down my plans for the Brotherhood of the Paper Lanterns.  They are far reaching, and I cannot share them with even my closest companions.  I dare not even write them down in full—thank the Fortunes for interrupting me earlier—for I never know who is watching or reading my words.

My thoughts turn, then, to my companions.  We are so early in the life of the Brotherhood, and yet I already anticipate having to levy punishments.  Shinjo Braga lost his scimitar—an offense punishable by death on the plains—and Hida Makoto nearly had to be restrained from strangling the fool Unicorn.  Or perhaps the Crab went easy on my clansman.  It can be hard to tell with the Hida.

Tsuruchi Machio may never know how close he came to death.  Having been a part of his life since the murder of his family, I understand that blood runs hot through his veins.  That said, his insults nearly earned him a duel with Shinjo Braga.  The duel would have lasted mere moments, and the Mantis’ blood would have fed the earth.  Considering how many instances in which his life has been spared already, you would think he would honor that life more.  Instead he picks useless fights and throws insults around like a peasant.  The next time it happens—no matter how much I respected his family—I will have no choice but to let the duel happen.

He cannot remain a child forever.

Our new shugenja is perhaps the most frightening man I have ever met.  Just looking at the Kuni—

My train of thought is lost.  I have just been approached by Hida Makoto, interrupting my writing.  He appeared as if summoned from my thoughts in writing.

He wishes me to be his nakado.

May history show that I am nearly speechless.

He honors me with his request, though truthfully I am baffled.  He wants me to not just teach him the courtly ways (is it even possible?), but he wants to marry Otomo Yuni.  The very idea of it is absurd.

And yet…

Hida Makoto is a man of honor, regardless of what his idiot brother thinks.  I think he was hurt that I have not made him my Second, but the reality is that I fear he may have to assume his brother’s position, and will not be with us long.  Kenzan is prone to only three things: sake, being fooled, and poor judgment.  Intelligence never will be associated with him.  Hida Makoto is smarter than he looks…barely.

And so, I am honor bound to help him.

Fortunes have mercy on me.

#

To be continued next week, with our first entry from Paul Genesse.  http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/the-burning-throne-episode-12-kuni-magatsu/

More Fun with Hate Mail Time!

Yes, it is time again for Fun With Hate Mail! This latest gem was posted to a thread from 7 months ago when President Obama talked about how us bestselling authors needed to pay our “fair share”.  http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/obama-says-im-not-off-the-hook/ 

First off, as a blogging rule of thumb, the older the post that the hate mail is posted to, the dumber the poster. If you really want to zing somebody, you should comment on the new posts, because then it might actually get read by somebody other than just the blog administrator. 7 months is quite a long time in internet terms. A year ago mammoths walked the internets. As evidence of this theory, you’ll notice that the dumbest hate mails are still being posted to the infamous HK, Because You Suck and We Hate You thread. “You don’t like them because your poor and cant afford them and cant shoot good and stuff! Herp de derp! Im a gonna go play Call of Duty cause I know all bout guns!!”

I don’t comment on most hate mail, only the particularly dumb, but I feel that this one really illustrates a few things about what is wrong with the world today. This is from Opa, completely unedited and in all of his incoherent glory. Keep in mind that this was relating to a post about me thinking that Americans are overtaxed. You really should read that linked post to get an idea of just how off base this jackass is before continuing on.

larry, my what a whiny cry baby you seem to be. am going to finish the book but it will be a struggle. why are you not pleased and happy to be in a country where freedomm allows you to accumulate large sums of money from the sale of your product. those of us that read your writings are just trying to escape a reality of humdrum existance, jobs that seemingly do not matter,and work with and for persons that seem to be more interested in personal power accumulation and wealth rather than the betterment of our job’s product. gone is the dream of being part of a team that matters, a team that builds the best lathe in the world or the best toaster or the best automobile. etc etc give us some escape that is all we ask and quite frankly, just pay your taxes and quit bitching. be happy, you could be poor like the rest of us.

First off, Opa… Is that short for Oprah? What do you have against capital letters? What did they ever do to you?

There is just so much ignorance in that clot of unpunctuated nonsense that I’m going to have to break this down to respond in an orderly manner.

larry, my what a whiny cry baby you seem to be.

Why is it that whenever anybody strays from the accepted groupthink and says that the government spends too much of our money, then we’re just whiners?  (you’ll note, I addressed this in the prior post, because the only time liberals say you should be proud to live in America is when you are paying taxes, but the rest of the time they hate the place and want to change it into something else). 

 am going to finish the book but it will be a struggle.

I’m actually surprised that: A. You are capable of reading a book without pictures. B. Were able to figure out how to purchase said book from a store or check one out of a library.

Why is it that if a writer/artist/actor/musician comes out of the closet as a right winger, then they should be shunned and blacklisted, but if you’re a left winger you can hang out with brutal dictators or rape 13 year olds and win awards by the pound?

why are you not pleased and happy to be in a country where freedomm allows you to accumulate large sums of money from the sale of your product.

Why are you unable to use basic punctuation? Diagram that sentence, kids. Holy moly…

And for the record, I love America. I love capitalism. I love freedom, even without the extra m at the end. Here’s a better question. I’ve got one country that has all that cool stuff listed. You’ve got like a hundred shitty pseudo-socialist ones where you can give all the fruits of your labor over to the gigantic central government to be redistributed to the nonproductive as they see fit. Why don’t you move to one of those paradises and leave me alone? 

those of us that read your writings are just trying to escape a reality of humdrum existance, jobs that seemingly do not matter,

WTF? Seriously? If you’re going to send me hate mail, at least try to write it so that you don’t sound like a Nigerian prince trying to move his bank account out of the country. 

I think I understand what you’re trying to say. Let me paraphrase. You are stupid, apathetic, or lazy, and are thus trapped in a menial job that doesn’t matter. Because your life sucks, entertainers should not be allowed to have opinions that differ. You don’t want to be offended, don’t read my blog.

and work with and for persons that seem to be more interested in personal power accumulation and wealth rather than the betterment of our job’s product.

Guess what, jackass. The people that are more interested in accumulating wealth don’t stay stuck in “humdrum existance” because we work our asses off, gain skills, and then get better paying jobs.

Those of us who have done this tend to not like paying stupid amounts of taxes. You’ve got a crappy job so you probably don’t pay much if any taxes, but you sure feel justified calling those of us who foot the bill whiners.

Let me break it down for you. I have a day job. It pays really good because I’ve got a set of skills that are useful and necessary. It took over a decade of hard work to gain the experience to get to a really good management position with a good company. I have a bunch of money taken out of each check to pay taxes. I have a second career that pays me extremely well because I’ve got a set of skills that are rare and commercially valuable. I pay quarterly tax withholdings for my royalties. My 4th quarter tax bill was enough to buy a new Hyundai. Judging from your meager ability to communicate, you are probably something like a Junior Assistant Hog Ejaculator down at the pig farm.*

     * No offense intended to anyone that actually ejaculates hogs for artificial insemination purposes for a living. I’m sure you provide a valuable service, but man, you really do win the award for worst job ever.  

Don’t give me that crap about the betterment of our job’s product, like that is mutually exclusive from accumulating wealth. That’s loser talk. Bettering your product is how you make more money and move up in the world. If you actually produced good work, then you wouldn’t be trapped in your humdrum job for very long. My bet is that you are another apathetic sack of crap motivated by jealousy and shame. Is it cold out there at Occupy Wall Street?

Or as Sean Connery once said, the losers talk about doing their best, winners go home and **** the prom queen.

gone is the dream of being part of a team that matters, a team that builds the best lathe in the world or the best toaster or the best automobile.

I wasn’t aware that we had fallen so far behind in Toaster Technology. But this is just more loser talk, none of which has anything to do with the post you were hate mailing me about, Oprah.

You’re bagging on me for thinking the government is too big, powerful, and stupidly wasteful, and in the same message you go on to lament America’s flagging greatness… Does that much cognitive dissonance hurt? Ask anybody that runs a business (you know, the folks that build teams and manufacture awesome toasters) what their greatest hurdle is? If it is anything like when I was in business for myself, or any business I’ve ever worked for, the answer is going to be the government screwing with you.

etc etc

Normally the etceteras come after the period.

give us some escape that is all we ask and quite frankly, just pay your taxes and quit bitching.

Bread and circuses! Now!

Actually, that isn’t all “we” ask for. This blog gets a lot of daily hits. You are in a distinct minority. That is what you ask for, because you are pathetic and divergent thoughts make your head hurt.

And by the way, I do pay my taxes. I probably paid more this month than you made all year gently caressing pigs.

be happy, you could be poor like the rest of us.

Wow, pity party. Poor is a state of mind. I’ve been broke. I’ve held crappy jobs, been underpaid and underappreciated. I’ve lost my job and been unemployed. Almost everybody has at some point. That’s life. The difference between you and me is that I actually did stuff to improve my circumstances. That’s what us power and wealth accumulators do that you hate so much. Until you wrap your brain around that, you will remain a loser.   

So I disagree with having the government take a bunch of my money to give to people like you and I’m a whiner, then you go on to cry about everyone that has more than you do. Hypocrite… I write a couple of books a year and you can’t write a single coherent paragraph. Yet, I’m supposed to be happy that I donate a few hundred hours of my writing time every year to the government to squander on stupid crap? Of course I’m pissed off!  If you aren’t pissed off then you haven’t been paying attention.

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