parents just don’t understand … how to keep from reaching astronomical levels of ridiculousness

this week’s title is inspired by my sibling mocking me by claiming i have vast amounts of love and respect for Will Smith circa 1989; while it is true that i have much respect for his close associate DJ Jazzy Jeff (cues up “Practice”), and while it’s possibly true that i have a cassette copy of their album He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper somewhere around here (which i can justify because, let’s face it, “Charlie Mack (First Out Of The Limo)” remains the greatest Will Smith song of all time), i don’t have much love and respect for Will Smith. he makes terrible movies and i don’t think Summertime is that great of a song!

and that will conclude our totally unrelated opening … because the thrust of this week’s update is “parents today are terrible, terrible people,” a notion that i’ve probably touched on before, but either way, we’re going into again courtesy of Events In The News.

breaking news: children like ice cream
these children had better watch out, because that ice cream is about to MURDER THEM WITH OBESITY

Park Slope parents back ban on ice-cream trucks in Prospect Park to avoid screaming kids

alright, i’m pretty sure this is how ice cream trucks are SUPPOSED to work: they drive around, playing the music and promoting the ice cream; people’s children flip the fuck out; said children’s parents either give them money for ice cream or tell them to get over it; and the world continues spinning on its axis. i’ve seen plenty of kids flip out over something they wanted –sometimes ice cream, sometimes toys at a store, sometimes … well, sometimes i suspect the kids are just going nuts on general parents-annoying principle– and i’ve seen plenty of parents tell their kids “no, you get nothing” in various forms. this may simply be because i am what Scarface refers to as “a 70’s baby, raised in the 80’s,” because it seems like some modern parents think differently:

“Overprotective Park Slope parents have declared war on a treasured rite of spring: an ice cream in the park. The icy rebuke of the time-honored tradition erupted on the Park Slope Parents online group when one mother described her son’s meltdown in Prospect Park after she put the ixnay on a acksnay.”

brief tangent: while i respect the fact that the writer calls these parents overprotective from the jump, i do NOT respect the unnecessary use of Pig Latin in a news publication (even if it’s a “New York Post”-type news publication as opposed to … well, whatever you think the gold standard of news publications is).

“”Along with the first truly beautiful day of the year, my son and I had our first ruined day at the playground,” the poster named Sarah somberly recounted. “Two different people came into the actual playground with ice cream/Italian ice push carts. I was able to avoid it for a little while but eventually I left with a crying 4-year-old.” Another angry mother, identified on the site as Dorothy Scanlan, chimed in. “I should not have to fight with my children every warm day on the playground just so someone can make a living!” the poster wailed. “I too was at the 9th Street Playground on Monday, and one of the vendors just handed my 4-year-old an ice cream cone. I was furious.””

okay, Dorothy Scanlan, first things first: if a vendor just HANDS your kid the ice cream cone, just say, “hey, thanks for giving my kid something free” and walk off. however, i doubt your description is what actually happening, much as i would doubt the word of anyone who claims they have to fight with their children every warm day “just so someone can make a living.” damn these vendors peddling a snack product that no one is forced to buy! my question, however, is this: why exactly do your children start a fight with you –not “ask for ice cream,” mind you, but “start a fight”– every time they see an ice cream cart? is there some permissive and/or non-disciplinary parenting going on here somewhere?

“But not all parents in brownstone Brooklyn’s politically correct bastion are so hot and bothered. “I think they’re crazy,” laughed Lynette Barenboyn, a stay-at-home mom. “In Park Slope, everybody has an opinion, and there are a lot of opinions — especially when it comes to parenting.”

this is the correct answer, although it’s not because “there are a lot of opinions,” but because any parent who wants “an ice-cream ban,” to use one mother’s description, is a goddamn ridiculous excuse for a parent. this woman went on to point out:

“People just need to say no … I say no to him all the time, and I feel his wrath. But he needs to hear that no.”

which is correct, even if i am alternately amused/concerned by her notion of “feeling the wrath” of what i picture as a 4-year-old child. i think we call that a tantrum, not wrath.

but rest assured, there are crazy, outspoken parents that don’t agree:

“But Sarah Schenck says just say no to frozen confections. Schenck, a mother of two and co-founder of the eco-friendly, said statistics back her up. “Nobody wants to be a crank, but one in three kids are going to be obese or diabetic by high school,” she said. “When my kids see other kids get ice cream, they just start begging me. I just don’t think these are the fights we should be having.”

why is it not shocking at all that this woman has what appears to be a terrible website that i presume (because i am not spending more than 30 seconds looking at it) gives everyone out there all kinds of opinions on parenting (or at least the diet aspect of it) … and yet does not want to do any ACTUAL PARENTING of her own children? let me break down the myriad of problems with this statement of hers:

01. statistics are irrelevant here, because the issue isn’t whether or not your kids should eat lots of ice cream, it’s whether or not these vendors should be ALLOWED to ply their trade around your children;
02. it’s incredibly lame to say “nobody wants to be a crank” and then follow it up with with your self-righteous complaint about the ice cream vendors;
03. if you don’t want your children to have tons of ice cream, DON’T LET THEM HAVE ICE CREAM. you are the adult, you can say no, etc, etc. there’s the simple solution, which does not require the police and/or New York City legislators to do your goddamn job for you;
04. frankly, with all the coddling of their excellent children these overprotective parents seem to do, i would think you WOULD want to have these fights, so that you can explain to your precious genius angels WHY they shouldn’t cram all that ice cream into their bodies.

but this all comes down to the same thing: Americans would prefer if the police would ban the thing they don’t like, as opposed to being annoyed or inconvenienced by its existence. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

luckily, it’s not like i read any other crazy news about parents this week…

the scene of the crime: EASTER EGG HUNT
not pictured: thirty seconds after this photo was taken, this child was trampled so that a 48-year-old mother could claim her eggs for herself

no Easter bunny at Macon’s Central City Park this year

“For the first time in years, the Easter bunny won’t be paying a visit to Central City Park this year. The annual Easter egg hunt there, traditionally one of the largest in Middle Georgia, isn’t being held Saturday.”

did… did something happen to the Easter bunny? who would hurt the Easter bunny? unless…

“Bibb County Commissioner Joe Allen, founder and CEO of Kids Yule Love which coordinated the egg hunt, said he canceled it because “parents caused a situation in which some children got hurt.””

ah, parents, we meet again as you ruin everyone’s fun with your goddamn antics. and how sad is it that a field of excited children presumably hopped-up on chocolate are NOT the ones causing the harmful situation, but their “responsible” parents are? I DEMAND AN EXPLANATION.

“Although areas of the park were designated for different age groups, Allen said some parents insisted on accompanying their children in the egg-finding quest. Incidents occurred, he said, when parents became violent in an attempt to get eggs for themselves or their children. In past years, one woman was injured and several children were “trampled on,” Allen said.”

TRAMPLED ON? jesus fucking christ. let me tell you something, if you’re a) an adult and b) a parent –a parent AT AN EASTER EGG HUNT, no less– and you find yourself c) trampling on children, then you need to examine your life immediately, because something has gotten seriously fucked up along the way.

anyway, i get that we’re all concerned about our children’s safety, but remember when we used to let children just do things without fawning all over them? children have been able to find Easter eggs in a controlled setting without getting serious hurt for DECADES. children have been able to cope with getting slightly less eggs than other children without their parents flipping out on their behalf as well. and if you’re trampling on children to get eggs for YOURSELF … well, i don’t know what else to say aside from “if i were you, i would consider suicide.”

“The event, he decided, had become a liability for Kids Yule Love. “When people get hurt, they want some kind of compensation,” he said.”

well, of course, because if we can’t trample our way to an armload of Easter eggs and the chocolate bounty inside, then we’d damn sure better be getting some kind of sweet financial payout because our children maybe tripped over a rock and SKINNED A KNEE OR SOMETHING. although, to be honest, if someone trampled my child to get an egg for himself, i might be cool with suing the hell out of that guy.

“Allen said Thursday that parents should “let the Easter egg hunt be about the children. People forgot what the program was about. … An Easter egg hunt is only part of what Easter is all about,” he said.”

true… but ultimately, this is not about people forgetting what Easter is about. this is about the fact that people are, almost to a man, incredible assholes. also, unrelated craziness:

“Despite the cancellation of the Central City Park hunt, Middle Georgians can still choose from a variety of other hunts. … Another event, at Lighthouse Baptist Church, 4770 Sardis Church Road in Macon, isn’t a traditional hunt. Instead, eggs will be dropped from a hot air balloon at 3 p.m. Saturday for children to collect.”

DROPPED FROM A HOT-AIR BALLOON? whose bright idea was this? and what’s the challenge, hoping your child is able to dodge falling chunks of plastic and candy?

so i think we all see why i, for one, intend never to have children. wait, wait, save your insulting observations, the correct answer is “because all parents are idiots, apparently, and i wish to remain outside the idiot demographic.” now go forth, gentle readers, and please avoid trampling children for personal gain.

“i just wanted someone to make my wife do what i wanted her to do”

i could blame this update’s delay on actually having it mostly done and then dragging my heels when it came to putting the final touches on it; i could also blame this update’s delay on tossing one third of it at the next-to-last minute and using a replacement topic to complete it. the latter sounds more like i’m devoted to making every effort to bringing YOU the best comedy i can, so we’ll go with that one.

and now, the update!

Doyle Hardwick
yet another American incarcerated because of the demonic influence of Facebook. WHEN WILL WE LEARN

Pasco man in jail for calling 911 because wife wouldn’t leave him alone

so i have tried to make this point many, many times, but people still don’t seem to be listening, so it shouldn’t be any kind of surprise that people are getting themselves arrested for the improper use of 911, although THIS story may be our most ridiculous example to date.

“Doyle Hardwick found himself back at the Land O’Lakes jail this month, this time for 60 days, all because he wanted to check his Facebook page in peace.”

…and i am immediately blown away by this story. for one thing, this is not the typical reason for which a man gets sent to jail, so i KNOW something ridiculous is coming. for another, while i am aware thanks to the internet that there is a real Land O’Lakes, complete with a jail, in Florida, the name still makes me think there’s some ridiculous butter-themed jail out there somewhere. finally, Doyle Hardwick sounds like a fictional name, doesn’t it? but let us not digress!

“The trouble began brewing the evening of Sept. 24, as Hardwick plied his wife with beer, hoping she would go to bed. She drank. And drank. But didn’t feel like going to sleep. So he called 911. Caller (CLR) “says him and his wife are sitting next to each other,” the 911 transcript reads. “CLR is upset because she won’t go to bed. Now they are bickering about who has been drinking. CLR has had 4 beers. Wife has had 8 beers. … CLR is upset because she wouldn’t let him look at Facebook peacefully.””

now, if you’re plying your wife with beer, i didn’t think the motivation was supposed to be “in order to look at Facebook peacefully.” then again, i also didn’t think that Facebook was something for people to get locked up over, although i suppose i should have realized otherwise after i heard about people getting murdered over people getting unfriended on Facebook. but here’s the real factoid that seems to be missing her: no one ever calmed down and went to bed because someone else kept giving them more and more beers. it does not happen.

“His wife, Julie Hardwick, 54, waited for the deputy outside the mobile home at 27022 Dayflower Blvd. in the Angus Valley area of Wesley Chapel. “Come in,” she said to the deputy, a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office report states. “He’s in here.” Doyle Hardwick, 57, was still on the phone with 911 when the deputy walked in. The house was in order and the Hardwicks were calm. Both smelled of alcohol, the report says.”

as always, when 911 is being called for some ridiculous reason, someone involved ALWAYS smells of alcohol.

“Doyle Hardwick said he “called 911 because he was upset about his wife sitting next to him and not going to sleep after he gave her beers to go to sleep,” the deputy wrote. “His wife was supposed to go to sleep after he gave her the beers because that was their agreement. He wanted me to make his wife not sit next to him and go to bed like she was supposed to.” “I just wanted someone to make my wife do what I wanted her to do,” Hardwick told the deputy.”

this is presumably where the deputy arrested Hardwick for one count of being a goddamn idiot, and possibly his wife for one count of accessory to being an idiot. THIS IS NOT WHAT 911 AND/OR THE POLICE ARE FOR. although i suppose if this was some kind of contractual agreement (beers for sleep), then there might be a civil case for Hardwick to look into. perhaps the people that should be bothered are the lawyers, not the police or 911; i recommend the drunken idiots of America look into this as soon as possible.

“Julie Hardwick told the deputy “her husband asked her to not sit next to him and she told him she didn’t feel like sitting anywhere else,” the report states. “Her husband told her if she didn’t quit sitting next to him and go to bed, he was going to call 911 and the police were going to make her. She told her husband not to call 911 or the police and he did.””

sometimes i do this thing where i post what i would say in the face of this kind of foolishness, but in this case, i probably would have just shot these fucking morons. i commend this deputy for his patience, because if listening to two idiots argue is bad, and listening to two drunks argue is bad, as for two drunken idiots arguing? it doesn’t get much worse.

“Hardwick was arrested that night on a charge of misuse of 911.”

HELL YEAH. but i ask myself, is there any way that Hardwick could make that WORSE for himself? i think you see where my crude foreshadowing is headed:

“He pleaded no contest in February and was sentenced to 60 days in jail. He turned himself in to the jail on the appointed date, March 1, although he showed up intoxicated, which was against the terms of his sentencing guidelines, jail records show.”

i’m actually pretty confident that turning yourself into jail WHILE INTOXICATED is against a lot more than just sentencing guidelines, but i love that someone took the time to clarify that aspect of it. and that’s not all:

“This was not his first act of misuse of 911. He pleaded no contest in 2010 to the same charge and was sentenced to 10 days in jail, court records show. That time, he repeatedly called 911 demanding to speak to someone in code enforcement “regarding neighbors defecating into old vehicle fuel tanks for the past three weeks,” a report states. He also asked the responding deputy for a ride to his daughter’s house.”

so he’s actually done this before AND been arrested for it AND spent time in jail for it … and the previous time was for the even more ridiculous combination of “please address my neighbors who are shitting into old gas tanks” AND asking the responding officer for a ride? i’ve changed my mind: Doyle Hardwick is not a goddamn idiot, he’s a goddamn comedy genius. my apologies, good sir.

Botox = exercise

more young woman try to beat wrinkles with preventive Botox, thermage treatments

first off, they used the word “woman” instead of “women” in the title, not i. second, let me immediately file this under “yet another reason why i am totally disappointed in Americans.” it’s not a short list.

“In a society that has become obsessed with youth, there is a growing trend of young women, many still in their 20s, taking dramatic and expensive measures to stop the signs of aging before they happen with non-surgical treatments. Preventive Botox injections and costly thermage, a hot radio frequency treatment that tightens and lifts skin that is all the rage among celebrities, are the latest cosmetic procedures used to stop crows feet in their tracks.”

so the first thing i don’t understand is why young women “still in their 20s” are obsessed with looking young: they ARE young. i mean, if you think you look ugly, okay, that’s different; if you want to look YOUNGER (although i don’t know how much younger than your 20s women really want to look), i suppose that’s a little different … but simply wanting to look young? you’ve accomplished it by BEING young. also, why do i always suspect that when something is “all the rage among celebrities,” it’s actually not, and is simply being pitched as such by unscrupulous plastic surgeons and the like? because we all know it’s not like there’s a swarm of female celebrities out there freely admitting “yeah, i’ve had preemptive Botox done to my face.”

“Starting early is one of the top tips Dr. Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist on New York City’s tony Fifth Avenue, offers in her new book, “Skin Rules.” She often tells her young patients, if they ask, that the science is clear: Early engagement can stop the clock. “If you know you’re somebody who’s going in the direction of cosmetics and you know that you’re going to care about lines, then I say it’s better to do it earlier than to wait and do it once these lines have etched into the skin,” Jaliman said. “So if you’re in your 20s and you start to see lines coming, then why not do it early and prevent it? And to me it’s just like exercise.””

TO ME IT’S JUST LIKE EXERCISE. except for the part where it’s not exercise at all? and the part where it’s a sad commentary on our culture where someone who is theoretically a doctor is telling people that paying for a minor medical procedure is just like getting exercise? however, the actual saddest part of all this is a doctor using the phrase “somebody going in the direction of cosmetics,” because i know NO IDEA what that’s really supposed to mean. is it someone who cares deeply about lines that they don’t yet have and intends to use makeup to address it?

“However, Jaliman also offers less costly, basic advice for any young woman who is looking to fend off the signs of aging. At the top of the list is getting enough sleep and eating right.”

somehow i suspect that “getting enough sleep and eating right” doesn’t get as hard a sell as the Botox, especially from someone who is pitching Botox treatments to stop lines THAT DO NOT YET EXIST as it being just like exercise.

“”I can’t tell you all the people who come to me to correct problems they wouldn’t have had if they followed those simple rules,” Jaliman said. “They would save thousands of dollars if they did those simple things.” Most importantly, she says, young women should stay away from prolonged sun exposure and tanning beds. “We know sun exposure is cumulative,” Jaliman said. “Even five minutes a day is enough to give you cancer, but it’s also enough to break down the collagen.””

yes, but again, Jaliman, there is still a difference between a woman who’s overindulged in tanning beds or never got enough sleep and has developed some issue –lines in their skin, i suppose– and a woman who’s in her 20s, has NO lines, and is asking you to stop said non-existent lines with Botox. the former has at least something concrete to worry over.

“Thermage treatments jolt collagen under the skin into overdrive, causing the body to produce more, and firm up saggy areas. Patients get the nip-and-tucked look without the surgery, but it comes with a hefty price tag. “It definitely tightens your skin. There’s no downtime,” Jaliman said. “But it is expensive. To do a whole face could be $3,500. So it’s an expensive investment, so it’s not for everybody. But I think it’s a good investment.””

“i mean, it’s thousands of dollars that you might be spending to stop lines that don’t exist … but i think it’s a good investment.”

“Jane Curasco, one of Jaliman’s patients, is a new mother and aspiring actress, with no overt need for any boosting or filling. She said she decided to make a substantial investment in stopping the aging clock at age 31. While her friends have tried lasers and microdermobrasion, Curasco said she was the only one to invest in thermage.”

one, i suspect THIS is the type of celebrity we’re talking about. two, i don’t think the issue with becoming an actress is that you look 31; it might be more related to something like “an inability to act.” three, it’s not a “substantial investment” unless you can tell me exactly what you’re getting of all this. in fact, it might be instructive to look at her remarks:

“I went on an audition recently and I was supposed to portray a young mother, which I am actually, but every young mother that went in looked 19 so I looked way older than the other people portraying what I actually am,” Curasco said.”

Curasco, you’re not a young mother, you’re 31. young mothers ARE in their 20s or younger; that’s basically what the term means, so what we’re really complaining about her is that you believe that, at age 31, you’re a young mother when no one else does (this is also why you keep repeating “what i actually am”). but let’s move past that and address the logic: if you want to get a role that requires someone to look 19, what exactly does making a “substantial investment” in stopping the aging process at 31 actually accomplish? you’ll still fail to be acknowledged as a young mother.

“The dermatologist said thermage is so popular in her office that she has seen a new trend of patients who request it as a full body treatment, which costs a whopping $25,000. But if thermage is out of reach price-wise, patients can turn to preventive Botox.”

or they could eat well and get some sleep so that they won’t have to pay $25000 to keep their feet looking young with full-body thermage. ultimately, though, this problem will only be solved when we find a way to use Botox to make stupid women act less stupid.

now, this last one isn’t so funny, but since it involves bears and something ridiculous…

this creepy bear
and when i said “bears,” i meant “this incredibly creepy staring bear”

hibernating bears’ wounds heal without scars

okay, no scarring? well, that’s not such a big deal…

“Medical researchers and zoologists worked together to find that the bears’ wounds healed with almost no scarring, and were infection-free.”

okay, and infection-free? that’s pretty solid, as well as (presumably) mysterious and inexplicable. so what was the thing about hibernating, again?

“This study was part of a project by scientists from the universities of Minnesota, Wyoming and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, who have tracked 1,000 black bears, in order to monitor their health and behaviour, for 25 years. Whilst tracking the bears – using radio collars – the researchers noticed some early evidence of their surprising healing abilities. They wrote in their paper: “We identified a few animals each year with injuries resulting from gunshots or arrows from hunters; bite marks from other bears or predators. These wounds were considered to have been incurred some time before the bears denned, and were often infected or inflamed… in early winter. Yet typically, when we revisited bears in their dens a few months later, most wounds had completely resolved whether or not we [cleaned them], sutured the areas or administered antibiotics.””

so let me understand this: bears get shot or bite by some predator, then the bear takes an admittedly lengthy nap … and the bear recovers completely, with no ill effects? this makes me a little uneasy, especially when you consider that bears are constantly sleeping in coolers and other shenanigans.

“To test the bear’s healing abilities experimentally, the team carefully tracked the healing of small cuts on the skin of 14 of their radio-collared bears in northern Minnesota.”

ah, this sounds like a good idea: you’ve discovered these massive predatory mammals have extraordinary healing powers, so you figure “let’s further annoy them by fussing over their injuries!” luckily, every movie ever involving scientists leads me to understand that there’s no way scientists will fuck something like this up, so i am not that concerned.

“Between November (when the bears first settled down in their dens) and March (about a month before they emerged) the wounds healed with “minimal evidence of scarring”. Added to this, there were no signs of infection, the layers of damaged skin regrew and many of the bears even grew hair from newly formed follicles at the site of their injuries. One of the researchers, Prof David Garshelis from the University of Minnesota, told BBC Nature: “It seems so surprising to us that their wounds would heal so well and so completely when they’re hibernating and their metabolism is slowed down. But, he added, the animals had many other “remarkable adaptations to hibernation”.”

you know who’s not surprised? the guy who knows that bears are awesome AND doesn’t try to mess with their wounds. that guy is me.

…and that will (belatedly) do it. let’s try to keep things going at a good pace next time.

in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s idea and relate it to damn lazy kids with parents unnecessarily spoiling them

recently, our hero janklow was attempting to drive to work in the morning when- well, honestly, i could probably start a LOT of “open letters to” rant-style posts with “something that made janklow LOSE HIS GODDAMN MIND while driving” events, because if there’s one thing in this world not named “David Miscavige” that makes me completely loose it, it’s Maryland drivers: the Worst Human Beings Ever, excepting of course, myself, and all those whom i hold dear in this world, unless i have specifically told you that you, yes, YOU, are one of those shitty Maryland drivers. chances are most of you Marylanders have heard this by now.

ANYWAY, recently, our hero janklow was attempting to drive to work in the morning when he realized a very sad fact about this modern world we live in, a fact that a) deeply upset and saddened me on some fundamental level, and even worse, b) slowed my drive to work, a sin that is truly unpardonable.

and now, janklow with an open letter to the parents driving their children to the school bus.

the noble American minivan
fuck you, minivans, fuck you

well, why do you do it? are you all some sort of jerks or something? obviously you’re not the kind of jerks who hate your children and split your time either beating them with random objects from your home or outright neglecting them, but you’re the kind of jerks that are turning them into terrible, terrible human beings by spoiling them unnecessarily in the most ridiculous of ways. wait, what the hell am i talking about? well, let me elaborate!

so when janklow drives to work, he takes some roads that, while a little longer and more winding, generally work out well due to a lack of traffic and the related bane, traffic lights. people keep telling me that no matter what i think, my route is longer AND slower, and in response, i can only say that i wish all those people would consider that… well… SHUT UP, that’s what! anyway, this route features a large amount of suburban-to-rural homes, so while it’s good much of the time, when you hit that magic “here come the school buses” hour, you’re bound to suffer from the ill effects. this, however, is okay: it’s the way school buses, and we all have to accept that.

however, while waiting behind a bus this morning, i had the experience of watching every single parent drive their child to the road where the bus picks them up. say what? okay, maybe when you’re in a neighborhood where you’re set some distance from the end of the road AND you’re paranoid about your child’s safety, i can sort of see the point, although when i was a child, all those kids dealt with just walking themselves to the bus stop, and i don’t think any of them were worse for it.

…but then there are the parents who hop into their massive SUV (or maybe minivan, but i mostly see SUVs doing this, and really, they’re more offensively gas-guzzling, so picturing a Suburban will help you get more riled up here) and drive their children 50 feet down their driveway to deliver them to the school bus… and there are a lot of them. so many, in fact, that on a ten-minute drive, i might see 8 parents do this… out of a total of 10 kids getting picked up (the other two having marginally more excessive driveways). to this i must ask: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

first, there’s the basic “why don’t you let your goddamn children get some very easy, very basic exercise,” which frankly, if we’re talking about concern for the safety of the children, would ALSO benefit the parents. now, i’ve considered the possibility that these parents are more concerned with their laziness than their child’s exercise, but a strictly LAZY parent would just stay in their damn house and let their wiener kids walk themselves to the bus, so there must be a mixture of “shameful laziness” and “concern, i guess” involved here.

second, i understand you want to spoil your kids –i mean, think of poor Johnny, forced to walk FIFTY FEET to the PUBLIC SCHOOL BUS in SEVENTY-FIVE DEGREE WEATHER where there was a BIRD somewhat NEARBY– but there’s a difference between not denying them reasonable things (like “food” and “air,” i guess) and spoiling them in that way where they end up thinking they’re the be-all and end-all of the universe and, even more importantly, grow up to bother me when i’m out in public, which is something i try to keep to a minimum, since the public is absolutely jam-packed with your goddamn annoying kids, people.

third, i know a lot of us were raised on panicking about STRANGER DANGER abducting your children, and it’s really, really hard to get people in their thirties and forties to let go of that regarding their kids… but again, there’s no reason not to just walk about there with them or god forbid, keep an eye on them FROM your house that’s a whopping 13 feet away from the bus stop.

also, ironic note: one of these fathers today zoomed out of his driveway in his minivan, WILDLY INTO TRAFFIC (which included myself), and began honking like a madman until the bus stopped and he could let his kid run from his van to the bus (which was MAYBE ten feet past his house and which was assuredly making more stops down the line). now, i know this wasn’t about safety as much as “damn it, i don’t want to have to drive my stupid wiener kid to school myself,” but i still find it ironic that a parent who’s maybe the only non-overprotective one in the bunch (on the grounds that he wasn’t sitting there with his kid in the minivan at the end of his 20-foot drive) almost got his kid killed in a car accident.

okay, i feel better now. i’ll get over it, i guess. still, make your damn kids exercise.

at least i’ll be able to make myself feel better with this:

S&W 29-2

ooo… papercraft Travis Bickle is SO JEALOUS. also, an interesting study has developed from the purchase of this fine S&W product: women (with one exception) all think this hand-cannon is “excessive,” whereas men all want to shoot it, like, right now, preferably into something that will explode in a way that’s really, really cool. in summation, i think women (with one exception) have problems.

HOGS GONE WILD: the less successful branch of Joe Francis’ creepy media empire

so after all that “website problem drama” and “ANGRY WIZARD drama,” i figured it would be reassuring to our audience (all three of you) to get back to the usual: dashing off “updates” in the forum of linking to random, weeks-old internet news articles and making some jokes about them. actually, it’s possible that one of these is accidentally current (or fairly current, at least), but i’m not sure of that; in either case, let’s just consider that an unfortunate accident that we’ll try not to repeat and get right into the “internet comedy!”

Amanda Clayton
although i would like to thank this welfare cheat for being white so that we can avoid the outburst of internet racism that always accompanies stories about welfare cheats

Michigan woman wins $1-million lottery, still collects welfare

now, i know it’s not really kosher to declare that the victim of a crime has done anything to bring that crime upon themselves… but at the same time, i have a feeling that if something criminal was to happen to this woman at the hands of Michigan taxpayer, we’d probably all be sitting here thinking, “well, i imagine she should have predicted SOMETHING along those lines occurring.” and why is that? well…

“A Michigan woman who won a $1-million lottery jackpot last fall admits she’s continued to collect $200 a month in public assistance. That’s not all: The 24-year-old also says she deserves the financial aid because she’s now saddled with expenses related to two houses.”

yes, this is really one of those situations where people need to stop speaking in their own defense, because the last argument you should follow “i still need my welfare after winning a $1 million lottery” is “i DESERVE the financial aid because i have so many houses!” actually, i guess the LAST argument you want to make is “i DESERVE the financial aid because i spent all my lottery winnings on heroin and child pornography sold to me by Communists,” but the one she’s making here still seems to be incredibly unsound. of course, someone smart enough to shut up in this situation is probably also smart enough to not immediately waste all their lottery winnings, so…

she also added in a quote in another article on this story that:

“[Clayton] will keep using her Bridge card until the state cuts her off and said she deserves it. ‘It’s just hard, you know. I’m struggling,’ she said.”

…which, if nothing else, does lead me to believe that she’s not actually smart enough to know what the word “struggling” means.

“The situation came to light this week after the Detroit-area Local 4 station received a hot tip: “Please do a story on lottery winners on welfare.” Local 4 did just that. First, it tracked Amanda Clayton using her public assistance card at a local snack market. Then, it tracked Clayton out to her home, where she was packing up a U-Haul for a move to her new place — a home she had bought with cash from her lottery earnings, along with a new car.”

i think the best part about this is the small scale, almost insulting use of the public assistance: you’ve just bought a house AND a car, both presumably with the sudden windfall of lottery cash… but damn if i am going to shop at my local snack market with said lottery cash! i mean, at least buy something more than some candy and beer with your morally-outrageous purchase!

“Clayton, stopped in her driveway, barely flinched when the camera and microphone were thrust in her face. Nor did the single mother of two backpedal; she said she deserves the extra income just like any other taxpayer on public assistance.”

…and the whole thing is made even better by this woman being a (presumably-unmarried) mother of two. no time to plan for my children’s future; i need to spend this money ASAP! and yes, i know that buying a new house could in many respects be a form of planning for her children’s future, but i’m going for comedic outrage here, so there’s no need to be so technical. but okay, she says she needs the extra income “just like any other taxpayer on public assistance.” so… can we elaborate on that?

“I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn’t, I thought maybe it was OK because I’m not working,” Clayton told the reporter. “I feel that it’s OK because, I mean, I have no income, and I have bills to pay. I have two houses.”


now, i DO like the subtle shift from “i thought maybe it was OK” to “i feel that it’s OK.” i’m wondering how long she pondering this question for, but i imagine it can’t have been longer than 13 or so minutes. then again, we’re obviously not dealing with a deep intellect here, considering that she seems to see no connection between “i have bills to pay” and “i just bought myself a second house with my lottery money.” i suppose at the very least, though, she’s not saying “i have bills to pay, and i’ve spent all my massive lottery winnings on rolling around in a giant pile of money, thereby tearing all the bills and rendering them unusable in legal commerce.” that WOULD be more ridiculous.

“[Clayton] also quibbles with the reporter who wonders how she can justify taking public aid after winning $1 million on the state’s “Make Me Rich!” television show. After taking the lottery payment in a lump sum and paying taxes upfront, she walked away with much less.”

see, my rule of thumb goes like this: if someone makes more per year in salary than the amount of lottery money you’ve theoretically wasted, they can manage to understand. if i make $30000 a year and i hear you won and spent $10000? well, hey, i get it: cars need repairs and past-due bills need to be paid. i might not like that you’re a shamelessly-spending unwed mother of two, but i can wrap my mind around it. but if i make $30000 a year and i hear you won and spent $500000? well… i might just suspect you of being a terrible person, to say the least.

“It’s not clear that Clayton is actually doing anything wrong, mind you. She does not have a job, and as a result, does not technically have any income.”

you know, i’m going to make a call on this: she’s doing something wrong. maybe she’s not doing something ILLEGAL, but she’s definitely doing something WRONG.

“But the idea of a lottery winner on welfare does not sit well with Michigan state Rep. Dale Zorn. The Republican lawmaker has introduced legislation, now pending, that would trigger a state notification whenever a resident wins more than $1,000 in the lottery. He authored that legislation after it was discovered that another Michigan resident, Leroy Fick, continued drawing public assistance after winning a $2-million lottery jackpot in 2010.”

you know, i think the really sad part here is that this has apparently happened before AND involving a large sum of money, and thus there HAS to have been outrage over this issue… and yet not one person managed to take political advantage of that to get something passed.

“The problem, Zorn told The Times on Wednesday, is that many lottery winners opt to take their earnings in a lump sum and pay their taxes upfront. That helps them to largely fly under the radar. Under Zorn’s pending legislation, lottery officials would be required to alert the state’s Department of Human Services, which oversees public assistance, whenever a state resident wins more than $1,000. The winner’s name would then be checked against the state’s roster of financial aid recipients. Winners would be required to undergo a reassessment to see if they still deserve aid after their financial windfall, he said. “Public assistance is for those people who can no longer purchase food for their families, or pay their heating bills,” Zorn told The Times. “It’s not here to help those who win millions of dollars.””

Dale Zorn also added, “i would, however, like to thank Miss Clayton for giving me a surefire political example regarding welfare abuse that no Democrat in their right mind can dare take issue with in public.”

“For her part, Clayton is no longer talking to the media. But her mother is. “Until the bill’s passed, apparently it’s legal, and people need to leave her alone,” Euline Clayton told the Detroit News, referring to Zorn’s bill. “I’m not saying it’s the right thing to do. But it’s nobody’s business if she’s not breaking the law.””

again, i agree, she’s probably not breaking the law (although not knowing the specifics of Michigan’s welfare laws, i don’t know if there’s some regulation she’s violating or not), and i agree, people should leave her alone in the sense of not going to her house and committing crimes against her. but frankly, if you’re going to out yourself for being an evil thieving cunt on the news, then i think it’s only right we be allowed to point out that you’re an evil thieving cunt based on what you have ADMITTED YOU HAVE DONE here on the internet. fair enough?

Kevin Brann
behind these disgruntled eyes is the soul of a man who simply wants to be left to his alcoholism and sexual anus plugs

DUI driver with sex toy in tush rear-ends other driver

well, there’s distracted driving and then there’s DISTRACTED driving. also, i like how in a fairly graphic scenario such as this one, we’ve decided to run with the word “tush” in the title. it certainly makes the incident seem much more light and whimsical.

“A driver with a “sexual anus plug in his rectum” was jailed after investigators say he rear-ended another driver and had more than five times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood, according to a recently released arrest affidavit.”

so this raises three questions:

01. when we say “sexual anus plug” … is there really any other kind of anus plug? now, i’m not trying to be flip here. i just cannot think of a non-sexual scenario where a man (or woman, i suppose) requires a plastic plug to be jammed into his anus, although i suppose there COULD be a medically-necessary scenario. or maybe this is just the official legal term as used by the officer in question?
02. was it REALLY necessary to use the word “rear-ended” there? i mean, that HAS to be intentional;
03. what’s the more distracting part: the “five times the legal limit of alcohol” or the “sexual anus plug in his rectum?”

“[About] 11:20 a.m. Feb. 24 as Martin County Sheriff’s investigators went to a two-vehicle crash at U.S. 1 and Seabranch Boulevard in Hobe Sound. A deputy determined Kevin Brann, 41, had rear-ended another vehicle. Officials also determined Brann smelled strongly of alcohol.”


“Brann’s speech was slurred and mumbled, his eyes bloodshot and glassy. A deputy gave Brann, who’d urinated in his pants-“

well, it’s good to see that this Kevin Brann character keeps it extra classy.

“-field sobriety exercises before arresting him on a DUI with property damage charge. Brann “soiled himself” en route to the slammer. “The defendant had a sexual anus plug in his rectum, which he removed, or it fell out in the rear of my patrol car,” an affidavit states.”

now i would think you’d handcuff someone who you’ve arrested for a tragically-intoxicated DUI, and if you did, how exactly is he REMOVING this “sexual anus plug?” on the other hand, i could totally see some drunk Floridian saying to himself, “watch me teach this officer a lesson for arresting me!” … although this still assumes he has the ability to remove the plug. unless all along we’ve been talking about some violent anal expulsion of the device, which i now REALLY regret thinking about.

“The length, girth and color of the “sexual anus plug in his rectum” was not listed in the affidavit. Also not specified was the make and model of the plug and an explanation of how it ended up in his bottom.”

…and it was at this point when i began to wonder, “why does the author of this article really need information regarding the length, girth and color of this sexual anus plug? even if you assume the size part is relevant to wondering how all this happened… the color? really? and this same disbelief extends to needing to know the make and model of the plug.

as far as the explanation, you ARE talking about a urine-covered man with a blood alcohol content of roughly 0.409-0.412, so it’s entirely possible he doesn’t even remember putting the plug in there.

wild boar, apparently 'going wild in Islamabad'
it turns out that Pakistani wild boars are completely unfazed by the prospect of facing down “pitchforks” and “rocks”

hogs going wild in Islamabad

so from the jump, there’s two things i like about the tone of this piece:

01. the INCREDIBLY DRAMATIC tone of the hog uprising, as the synopsis immediately tells us “with a police officer wounded and the presidential palace breached, the Pakistani capital has launched a fresh offensive against a uniquely feared enemy.” it turns out this is simply wild boar, but oh my, all this DRAMA!
02. the way it sounds like these hogs have risen up in righteous anger at a populace that has insulted and marginalized them.

“Each night, packs of the hairy beasts emerge from Islamabad’s river beds, parks and scrubland to rifle through the overflowing rubbish bins of its mostly wealthy residents and growing number of restaurants. … The animals can weigh up to 180 to 220 pounds (80 kilograms to 100 kilograms) and have razor sharp teeth. Adult males come armed with upward curving tusks. While they scurry off at the site of humans, they charge when cornered, alarmed or wounded and are a major cause of traffic accidents in the city.”

so while i grant you that any animal with the ability to injure you CAN be dangerous when cornered, i find it more difficult to freak out about any animal that can be described as “scurrying off at the sight of humans.” not even running off at the sight of humans, SCURRYING off. this is the way you describe mice and other 100% non-threatening animals!

“The latest chapter of man versus hog played out in a city center police station last week. “Someone shouted ‘watch your back’ but before I could look round the animal had hit me,” said Sajjad Hussain, who was on duty when the animal slipped in past the high, razor wire-topped blast walls after guards opened the gates to let in a car. Hussain had a gash in his stomach that required eight stitches and is on medical leave.”

so i suppose it’s less than reassuring that the razor-wire-topped blast walls of a Pakistani police station can be defeated by one sneaky pig … a fact made even more depressing when you consider that this particular hog was clever enough to get subsequently trapped in a large pit and shot by police there. hopefully, though, the police responded to this in a measured, reasonable fashion?

“The pig was like a terrorist. We shot him down,” said station chief Fayaz Tanooli. “I have told the guards if another pig gets in then they will be dismissed.”

…ah, well, so much for that. although, in fairness, aren’t “rogue pigs” and “terrorists bend on destabilizing the nation and equipped with heavy arms” roughly the same thing?

“The hogs have also encroached upon the lavish, not to mention tightly guarded, houses of the president and prime minister. A team has been dispatched to lay poison mixed with molasses or maize, said Malik Aulya Khan, the city’s environmental chief. “We are making special efforts. We have killed many with poison,” he said. “Somehow they enter under the fences.””

SOMEHOW? either the fences don’t go all the way to the ground, or the hogs burrow in. we’re not talking about rocket science here; these are random wild boar!

“Wild boars are found all over Pakistan, and are one of its major agricultural pests, gobbling their way though millions of dollars of wheat and sugarcane crops. In Punjab province in the 1980s, the government initiated a bounty system whereby villagers were paid for each tail they delivered, but it was discontinued for lack of funds.”

something tells me that the funding from the fences and molasses could PERHAPS be routed to a fund to pay these villagers, especially considering that the fences and molasses are apparently not even working… but then maybe i’m simply more versed in the ways of “crafty animals” than the entire police and political establishments of Pakistan.

“The animal’s abundance has made the country a prime spot for boar hunting, said Qaiser Khan, who leads hunting parties to Pakistan, including teams of foreigners who like to shoot hogs. He said that teams must sign a contract stipulating they will not cook the meat or ask staff to so. He said hunting in Islamabad was unlikely to get many takers because it was not “worth the hassle” of coordinating with police and city authorities. Moreover, shooting hogs with a shotgun was dangerous because the hunter had to be up close, and the weapon risked wounding, but not killing, the animal, he said.”

see, again we find the Pakistanis making this incredibly ridiculous for themselves. they KNOW they have a wild boar problem… but the police and city authorities can’t make it easy to coordinate with foreign hunters who want to shoot said wild boars? even if foreign hunters could theoretically be brought in in small, controlled groups for the express purpose of shooting boars? FRUSTRATION RISING. eh, well, keep leaving out random molasses, as i am sure THAT will convince boars to stay out of the city.

…and that will do it for us. stay tuned for next time when we’ll probably have a 100% decrease in stories about wild boars!

here’s a gem, here’s a dragon, now the dragon’s dead, now your iron deficiency’s cured, OKAY

and now, to address the question that literally no one is asking: what exactly did our hero janklow mean when he wrote “perhaps, ever so slightly, foreshadows the upcoming update?” well, a combination of “angry magician” and “Patton Oswalt” might lead you to realize that this week’s update is about this incredibly random and ridiculous role-playing module purchased for yours truly by the Irishman: ANGRY WIZARD. brace yourself, because this week’s update is about to get about as insane AND nerdy as one update can possibly get without involving that tentacle pornography Japanese people seem to like. there’s no way i can top that.

the back story: the Irishman spotted this module on the internet (of course) and picked it up for me solely because of the “ANGRY WIZARD” title and basically nothing else, which led to a string of discoveries about this module that i, because i am sometimes easily amused, find to be incredibly hilarious. so here we go!


and by “chronological,” i mean “starting with the front cover, and then i flip through the book to the back cover,” just in case that wasn’t clear. was that actually very clear? eh, well, that’s what i get for trying to be helpful.

clearly the only thing more powerful than this wizard (and his anger) is THIS INTENSE FONT

01. the title of this module: ANGRY WIZARD
so let’s just take a look at the above image and start with the screamingly-obvious bright red title bursting out from the cover of this thing: ANGRY WIZARD. technically, when you get to the introduction part of this module, you learn that it is actually called FEZ III, The Angry Wizard, being as it’s the “third in a series of adventures” featuring this Fez character… although whoever designed the cover clearly wanted to give us the wrong impression, since ANGRY WIZARD is printed in letters about about three feet tall, with FEZ III hiding in the shadow of the D in WIZARD.

also, there’s still some deranged grammar at work if the wizard’s name is Fez, because then shouldn’t the title be Fez III, not FEZ III. clearly, someone at the Role Aids corporation is of the mindset that role-playing modules DEMAND TITLES PRINTED SOLELY IN CAPITAL LETTERS, THE LETTERS OF MAGIC AND DRAGONS… and i cannot say that i truly disagree.

02. the “suitable for use with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” declaration
okay, okay, i swear that we’re done with the above cover once we get through this. anyway, if you’ll note, this product, which was clearly NOT made by the company that brought us D&D (TSR), has a little yellow corner that declares ANGRY WIZARD to be “suitable for use with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons*.” now, i have to admit, i found this shameless hilarious, and THEN i noticed that on the back cover (we’ll cheat and skip ahead this one time), the full claim is “suitable for use with all popular roleplaying systems including Advanced Dungeons and Dragons*.” thus i am forced to ask: well, what about the not-so-popular role-playing systems? is this module not suitable for use with them because they’re not the proverbial cool kids in school, or is it just that we’re not willing to guarantee they’ll be up to the task of allowing you the full pleasure of ANGRY WIZARD?

and yes, there’s an asterisk in each case, because there’s a tiny notation on the back stating that “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of TSR Hobbies, Inc. Use of this trademark is NOT sanctioned by the holder.” this surprises me (although i think the internet told me TSR and Mayfair Games had a weird arrangement for some time), because i didn’t think you could use someone’s trademark and then just say, “they’re not okay with this” in very small letters… especially when you consider that on page 2, it’s angrily declared who FEZ is the trademark of, and that you’d BETTER NOT USE IT WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF LEONARD BLAND.

just pretend that the effect from the flash is the ANGRY WIZARD magic bursting out of the module

03. the cover image itself, in all its ANGRY WIZARD glory
okay, keep looking at that above cover. as stated, the Irishman saw a scowling wizard on the cover of a role-playing module, thought to himself, “well, janklow is king of the nerds in this state AND angry wizards are funny, OKAY,” and bought this thing for me on a whim. that in and of itself is fairly insane as is… but then when he actually received the module, he learned that the ANGRY WIZARD is sitting in what appears to be a reasonably-appointed but ill-kept modern kitchen drinking a can of beer. i’ve examined this image closely, and as best as i can tell, he appears to be drinking a generic Budweiser, which may be popular, but seems to lack the magic you expect in a beer that can be described as “the choice of angry wizards everywhere.” the copyright on this module also leads me to believe that we’re talking about a “modern kitchen” circa 1984.

other questions raised by this cover image include the following: “is it possible the wizard is mainly angry because the kitchen is simply FILTHY?” and “is it counter-productive if i engage in a fantasy role-playing game to escape the misery of my mundane life only to find myself adventuring in an early-1980s kitchen filled with dirty dishes and trash?”

04. the “Role Aids” name and logo
so you might notice that, in the lower right-hand corner of the cover, you’ll find name and logo of the company behind this masterpiece: ROLE AIDS. while i suppose what they were going for is apparent (if a bit clunky; does this aid my role? or more my adventures?), it still seems like a tactical error to have your company’s name sound exactly like a brand of antacid meant to alleviate “muscle soreness and stomach aches relating to constipation” that also has more than 60 years of existence on your company? yes, i know that Role Aids is a brand pushed by an actual company (Mayfair Games) because i researched this module on the internet because i have nothing better to do with my life, but it’s still incredibly lame.

also, let’s note the logo they chose to use: an angry unicorn. not a unicorn, which is maybe a little feminine but still an iconic fantasy image, and not something classic and angry, like a dragon breathing fire (or even an ANGRY WIZARD)… but an angry unicorn. i’m picturing a board room full of nerds fighting over the logo, with half demanding “something beauteous and magical” and the other half demanding “something fearsome and mythological.” that’s the story of how you get a ridiculous angry unicorn as your logo.

05. the somewhat awkward names of the adventurers in the adventures of ANGRY WIZARD
as i skipped over the part of this module where they gloss over FEZ I and FEZ II (which also feature our ANGRY WIZARD, but are not titled ANGRY WIZARD because life doesn’t make any sense sometimes), i got to the part where they assign the players characters, as it’s one of those kinds of modules (many provide this option, but in less demanding terms), and they’ve got fairly generic names. some are appropriate: Stoutarm, dwarf fighter; Nightstar, female elf illusionist; Fern, female human druid. some are generic: Roshan, human ranger; Moman, human cleric. one confuses me: why is Ramble the human magic user? shouldn’t the ranger be named Ramble, since that would kind of keep with the theme that Fern has established regarding “the outdoorsy types of characters.”

and then we have Ughblow, human fighter. Ughblow? Ughblow? what kind of twelve-year-old nerd wants to play someone named UGHBLOW? it’s bad enough that the kids playing this are being forced to stomach a second-rate knock-off version of a D&D module; now one of them has to throw himself on the proverbial sword of being the one to bear the name Ughblow? maybe i’m just being incredibly immature about this (most likely true), but i find it to be just plain cruel.

also, on the last page of this module, FEZ violates the naming we have already established to address this character as “UghBlow,” which essentially confirms my theory that this is all a cruel joke.

“#8: Please remember that you cannot breathe water in real life, nerds!”

06. the “special underwater conditions”
so shortly after we learn our players awful names, there’s a box that helpfully tells us that “even though the characters have been given the permanent ability to breathe underwater, there are still a lot of differences between adventuring on dry land and adventuring underwater.” now, okay, some of the upcoming rules are clearly in the need-to-know category: movement in water, decompression sickness, speech under water, and so on. but then we have a couple things that don’t really seem to need to be spelled out:

–“Wooden objects in water: Care must be taken with wooden objects as they tend to float in water.” now this section ultimately ends up telling us some specific rule for the rate at which they float… but listen, if your elven illusionist needs to be told by the guy running the game that WOOD TENDS TO FLOAT IN WATER, then you probably need to get out of your house more.
–“Paper in water.” it turns out that if you leave a scroll unsealed after reading it UNDERWATER, it gets ruined. SHOCKING.

07. the part about “how the character sheets are used”
now, those who have played role-playing games generally understand the part where you get a character sheet (or at least some paper) and draw up the character you play on it; even in the case of those aforementioned modules that provide characters (like this one), you tend to still need a sheet for the same reasons. what does ANGRY WIZARD direct us to do with the sheet that explains the characters?

“This page should be torn out of the booklet, photocopied, and cut into sections for each character.”

for one, i reject any product that immediately tells me to start tearing it apart. i probably paid good money for this in 1984! for another, this module lays flat: could i not just photocopy the page and cut the photocopy into sections WITHOUT tearing anything out of the module? like, oddly enough, almost every single other role-playing book would recommend? i am willing to bet that i can. oh Role Aids, please don’t think i’m going to be tricked into purchasing extra copies of ANGRY WIZARD.

hopefully this has killed off anyone’s remaining desire to play this module… and if it hasn’t, then we’ve discovered their fetish

08. the picture of what can only be described as “a leprechaun prostitute”
yeah, it’s an awkward picture. now, it’s not ENTIRELY random: when i examined this module closely, it turns out that one of the characters (not Ughblow) gets turned into a leprechaun by FEZ for some reason, because we all know that when an ANGRY WIZARD wants you to fetch a gem for him (this is the general plot of the module), it’s incredibly helpful for him to turn the cast of heroes into random monsters, and for those random monsters to include a leprechaun. anyway, it also turns out that this leprechaun might be helpful in obtaining a “reptile-control staff” and this is all very important to this adventure that even i, a guy who played first edition D&D at age five, find grotesquely nerdy.

none of this, however, explains why the leprechaun is shooting the reader a come-hither stare while posing with the “reptile-control staff” in front of what appears to be a leg made out of smoke. clearly whoever is responsible for this art (and the credits tell me that one “Susanna Griffin” is responsible for the “interior illustrations”) has done a wonderful job… of making me incredibly distressed by their art.

09. “the Dwarf is indestructible”
i pointed this line out to the Irishman, and he about lost it, but yes, there’s a part in this module where the characters are confronted by an old Dwarf who teaches them a valuable lesson about greed, which boils down to “if you choose what appears to be a better option that you’re told that you can have for free, and continue to choose apparently better and better options that appear in sequence, all still for free, you will ultimately be punished by fighting a lot of kobolds and always getting the same thing: dwarf-size armor.” reading through it, i’ve learned nothing about greed, but i HAVE learned that i might want to kill a dwarf.

however, as the module takes the time to explain to us, possibly for reasons like “they saw this need to murder said dwarf coming,” the players won’t be able to live out their dream, as “the Dwarf is indestructible. On any attempt to attack him, he will vanish and reappear.” let me just say this: FUCK THAT. if i was running this module –which would never happen– i can assure you that i would promptly violate its rules on the grounds of not recognizing the powers of dwarves that fail to teach us reasonable lessons.

this image of the least-threatening monster EVER also features a bonus mention of UghBlow

10. the “rust monster”
so i may have mentioned the thing where our ANGRY WIZARD turns the cast of heroes into random monsters? well, one of those (Nightstar, our elf illusionist) gets turned into a rust monster. however, it seems that Role Aids didn’t want to stop with making your precious character one of the most random and lame of all the D&D monsters; no, Nightstar is described as looking “like a teddy bear,” but with “an insatiable appetite for metals (chiefly brass and iron).” now, my understanding of rust monsters was that they at least didn’t look THAT fucking pathetic, and that while they loved to eat metal, it wasn’t some kind of insatiable hunger.

but to make matters worse, of all the characters the aforementioned Susanna Griffin illustrated for the module, she chose not just the courtesan leprechaun Moman, but ALSO the pathetic “rust monster” Nightstar… and yes, that means this module features a crude sketch of a teddy bear tossing a handful of nails into its mouth from a pot marked “BRASS NAILS.” brass nails?

this also confirms my theory that if i was standing in a store debating whether or not to purchase this module and flipped through it, seeing these pictures… well, i would put this shit back on the rack.

11. the closing rewards found in FEZ’s castle
so you’ve finally beaten the “adventures” contained within the module and brought the ANGRY WIZARD some mysterious “Queen’s Gem” that he needs to defeat a wizard, which sounds like a much more exciting adventure that you’ve missed out on because you were busy dicking around in leprechaun form. FEZ rattles off this list of rewards for all the characters, which make sense if you’re aware that early in this module, on the sheet we were supposed to TEAR OUT FOREVER, your characters learned what their adventurer motivation was. i found this to be weird, but not funny, so i skipped over it.

so some of the rewards make a little sense: Stoutarm got some dwarf armor, Stealthwidow gets a small but sustainable amount of money. some are weird, considering that these are throwaway characters you didn’t create and will never play again, but that i guess are still reasonable: Roshan gains “an important clue to [his] wife’s recovery”; Moman gets a staff that controls reptiles (remember that?) because his village is plagued by snake attacks; Fern gets a cure for a plague afflicting her forests; Ughblow gets to be a two-headed ogre forever, which is apparently a good thing, for some reason. but two are a little more off, if you ask me:

–Nightstar gets a cure for her iron deficiency. while i am sure this is important to ACTUAL PEOPLE, doesn’t it seem beyond lame for a role-playing game? “i’m setting off on a noble quest TO CURE MY IRON DEFICIENCY!”
–then there’s Ramble, a human magic user whose motivation is to become a fighter. i’m not sure why you wouldn’t have just made a level one fighter if that’s what you wanted, but there it is. so what’s his reward? well, you can become a warrior… but you have to maintain your charcoal-skinned warrior physique that was your MONSTER FORM for the entire adventure. luckily, since you cannot be attached to this lame character, i guess you just say “fuck it” and go charcoal.

…and then FEZ “will invite them all into his castle for dinner.” now THAT is what i call an absurd conclusion.

please enjoy an additional dose of ANGRY WIZARD (and stern ANGRY WIZARD gaze) with your terrible, terrible grammar

12. the punctuation of “time traveling Wizard”
finally, we find ourselves on the back cover of this module, where we’re told that “at the beck of Fez, a time traveling Wizard-” woah, stop right there, whoever the hell is writing this thing: where’s my hyphen? (and i suspect they think i forgot that “roleplaying” spelling from earlier.) why is Wizard capitalized? sure this is some nitpicking, which IS one of the things i love to do, but i find it hilarious. also, i should note this: this kind of grammar runs rampant throughout the ENTIRE module in question. commas are all over the place, capitalization is consistently weird (nouns are randomly capitalized all the time, and then there’s that whole UghBlow thing); the whole thing is just a mess.

it also goes on to this “claw your way through opponents and hazards on a mission” thing, but for some reason, after that last preceding ridiculous moment of non-grammar, my brain reads this sentence as “claw your eyes out.” make of that what you will.

Role Aids gets in one last stab at those poor conjurers

13. the subtle insult directed at conjurers
so after you’re told to claw your eyes out on a mission for ANGRY WIZARD — and really, the disparity in the text makes the way i wrote that insufficient; it should be more like “you’re told to claw your eyes out on a mission for ANGRY WIZARD” and then a massive explosion of EXCLAMATION POINTS– we get to the second part of the description:

“He has guaranteed each hero or conjurer the time of their lives, soon you realize that it may be the time of your death instead.”

yes, to start, we AGAIN have atrocious writing. ignore that, however, and focus on “hero or conjurer.” now, i am pretty sure that every nerd playing a wizard throwing LIGHTNING BOLTS around sees themselves as an adventuring hero even if they’re not a strapping warrior (or even Ughblow), so this just seems like an unnecessary insult aimed directly at your target audience: “he has guaranteed each hero the time of their life, and even you stupid guys playing wizards can come along!” plus, to really nerd this up, doesn’t the average conjurer (for the non-nerds, think… uh… Gandalf, i guess) come off as more heroic than the average thief or rogue or whatever you want to call the class?

plus, remember this: the game that ASSIGNS you seven characters to play… and FOUR of them are arguably conjurers (Moman, cleric; Nightstar, elf illusionist; Fern, druid; Ramble, magic user). granted, one of them has the motivation to not be a magic user, and i GUESS you could argue that “we didn’t mean the cleric and the druid when we said that,” but you’re still alienating one or two of the people playing the game after FORCING them to play those conjurers.

so, all in all, it’s a pretty ridiculous module. i need to hang it on the wall somehow next to my autographed picture of Steven Seagal.