Pinned Post: Looking at My Stats and Revisiting My #RPG #Copyright Posts

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The quarantine has me doing a bit of blogging lately, which means I’m also looking at my stats. With respect to my posts regarding copyright and RPGs:

The posts are broken into two separate issues. Part 1 and part 2 are about the copyrightability of RPG stat blocks, and part 3 (not relevant here) is about the OGL. As to the first issue, to date, part 1 represents ~30% of text by page count and has 17,037 hits, whereas part 2 (70%) has only 704 hits. Moreover, part 1 spends much of its text on going over basic copyright principles that don’t represent the actual argument. It’s clear by the stats and the basis of the criticism itself (often peppered with personal insults) that the vast majority of (non-lawyer) criticism I’ve received is from people that have read only 30% (at most) of that argument. I know it’s long, convoluted, and at times poorly written (mostly because it targets two very different audiences); and you’re under no obligation to read it (or even care about it). However, it’s all connected, and if you’re going to criticize it, you should probably understand it first.

Or not. Free speech and all that.


  • Part 3 has only 703 hits, which is surprising. I thought it would be the most-read post.
  • Part 3.5 provides necessary clarification and correction to part 3.
  • Part 4 answers frequently asked questions and addresses frequently raised issues.
  • Over on a lawyers-only subreddit, all the attorneys seemed to want to discuss is my side note on the patentability of the Shadow of the Demon Lord initiative system. I guess it’s great that they all agree that my argument is trivially correct, but Rob Schwalb has seriously hijacked my glory. No worries, though. I gave him hell when I saw him in February.

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Captivating Watch: Time Trap @Netflix #GoodWatch

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Here’s another one of those “watch this before it leaves Netflix” movies. But is it any good? It’s 1:27:00 long, so it’s easy to find time to watch it.

Presented by Pad Thai Pictures. Good start. I like pad Thai.

Netflix calls it Time Trap, but the opening credits call it Timetrap.

Enough nonsense. Let’s get to it. It doesn’t take too long to figure out what’s going on. Once you get past the fundamental premise, there’s some decent science playing out. While I can’t stand some of the occasional histrionics and stupidity of the characters — seriously, why are most writers unable to write a story independent of such elements — I still found myself unable to turn away. I wanted to learn more as things went on, and then wanted to see how it ended. Which it kind of didn’t. Not because it was necessarily setting up a sequel, but just because they didn’t give you an explanation. It’s left for you to fill in the blanks. If you don’t like that, you won’t like the ending.

Still worth my time. As always, YMMV.

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I’m a Food Critic! Honey Mustard Pringles @RickandMorty @Pringles #food

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Pringles recently announced two new flavors based on characters from Rick and Morty. If you don’t know what Rick and Morty is, you have my sympathy. Anyhoo, joining the previously released Pickle Rick are Honey Mustard Morty and Look at Me! I’m Cheddar & Sour Cream.

Come again? Did you say “Honey Mustard Morty”? Other than Morty’s voice, what’s not to love? I love Pringles. I love honey mustard. As far as I was concerned, my diet was officially over (while supplies last). So, I did some research. The first thing I learned is that they already have honey mustard. Honey Mustard Morty is nothing more than Honey Mustard Pringles with a picture of Morty on the can.

I felt betrayed.

But hell, I was still asking, “What’s not to love about Honey Mustard Pringles?” I remained intrigued, so I kept digging. It turns out that they’re sold exclusively at Walmart, and the only Walmart near me that sells them was a bit out of the way. “Never mind,” I thought, until I noticed the nutritional content. Sugars? Less than 1g per serving, which is 16 freaking chips! Even on my strictest diet, I can have one serving of those per day, and I’m not on my strictest diet. Geez, even the salt content isn’t as bad as you’d expect (6% RDA per serving). On the flip side, the fundamental basis of almost all diets is caloric count, and each serving has 150 calories. This is certainly manageable, but you must be careful not to load up on them.

I decided to give them a shot. Today (actually, 9/15), I stopped by that Walmart and grabbed three tins. I thought it was a worthwhile investment. How bad could Pringles and honey mustard be? The verdict?


From a sugar perspective, you get what you pay for, so they’re good, but I won’t be driving out of my way to get them again.

I really don’t like pickles.

By the way, that image could be the next blue dress/gold dress thing (it’s gold). That shirt and tie are clearly purple, with the tie particularly purple. I see this as a grey-blue.

As always, the real lesson here is the value of intellectual property.

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Ending the Streak #blog

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Well, I’ve now published 156 posts in as many days. I missed DATE but published twice on 9/11, so my current streak is really 120 days in a row. But much like Cal Ripken, I’m choosing to end my streak. I’m not going to post today.

Oh, shit. Oops.

This still counts as a post, and it’ll probably piss off Kessel Junkie for bonus points, suckers.

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Irritating Watch: An American Pickle @hbomax #GoodWatch

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American Pickle is a strange story. Herschel Greenbaum falls into a vat of pickle brine in 1919 and wakes up in 2019. There, he connects with his great-grandson, Ben. Both characters are played by Seth Rogan.

I suspect that the message I pulled from this movie isn’t what I was expected to get. The message I suspect we’re supposed to get is that people’s antiquated are harming American society, but that ignores the setting in which the story plays out. What I’m witnessing is that everyone is so focused on what everyone else has, they forget what they have. Both Hershel and Ben share this trait, but being out of time, Hershel is amazed at the things Ben, a relative loser, has. Hershel would be ecstatic to have the life of a renter with a struggling business, being focused more on his personal and family honor than on “things.” The idea of a machine that creates seltzer water mesmerizes Hershel, which shows us how silly it is to lose sight of the amazing things we now take for granted.

At this point, I think it’s best to say SPOILER ALERT. I’ll place the next paragraph as quoted, italicized text so it’s easier to ignore.

Ben is a complete villain. As Hershel’s work ethic pushes him to success, Ben’s jealously has him leveraging cancel culture against Hershel. He even tries to get him deported. I suspect that, as with all art, people will read into it what they need in order to justify their worldview, which gives it a guaranteed fanbase. That’s a bit heavy for something I think is supposed to be a comedy, but not necessarily a deal breaker. Ben’s behavior really didn’t make me laugh, and that’s the deal breaker. When Ben attempts to reconcile, Hershel’s old-time notions of honor turn him into the villain, and aided by a typical Hollywood mischaracterization of the legal system, does Ben dirty.

Of course, everyone comes together by the end, but to me it’s too little, too late (and honestly a little cheap). The movie is just a depressing tale of how selfish we all can be, and I can’t help but feel I’m being lectured over things I didn’t do. Moreover, it just drags.

As always, YMMV.

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DC Area Radio Stations @947theDrive @washfm @1027jackfm @98Rock @Todays1019 @dc101 #music #radio

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My cell phone recently died, so I had to replace it. It’s an identical phone but nevertheless won’t connect to my car stereo via Bluetooth. Google tech support was worthless, but if you want to hear me whine about that, you’ll have to visit my Facebook wall from a couple of weeks ago. This is a different rant.

Because I can’t connect to my phone, I’ve had to resort to listening to radio stations for the first time in about 5 years. I’m so used to hearing what I want to hear the moment I want to hear it that I’ve become spoiled. I forgot how bad it is to be at the whims of the deejays and program directors of radio stations. They play what they want, when they want, and with a very limited number of songs. I thought CHR went the way of the dinosaur when “mix” stations came into being, but the old habits (and FCC regulations) die hard.

You Know What Grinds My Gears?

But even that’s not my rant. My rant is this: The changes to the radio stations during those brief five years have been monumental. Nothing is as it was (see notes below), and that was an unexpected jolt as to how old I really am. I expect that phenomenon to rear it’s ugly head when I’m looking back at childhood, but I can’t even go back five years without a total upheaval.


This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this. I left the DC area in May, 1996, to attend law school in Chicago. When I came back at the end of 2000, the restaurants, radio stations, and roads really stuck out as completely different. I actually had difficulty driving around certain areas that were regular destinations for me in the early 90s (and especially those prior to that). I lived in Delaware from 2007-2008, but I frequently came back during that time, so the gradual changes never had an impact.

Don’t misunderstand me. I love change — I always want things mixed up — but this isn’t something that can be ignored. For someone with a fear of aging, it’s probably very difficult.


Some notes for DC area listeners.

WQSR (102.7) claims to “play everything,” and that sticks when it comes to the relative diversity of what they play. However, they still play a small number of different songs during any given week. It’s been two weeks, and all I’ve heard is Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper, Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi, Hot Blooded by Foreigner, Der Kommissar by After the Fire, and Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran. The songs aren’t bad to a 70s/80s guy like me, but it feels like false advertising (even though they probably have a larger playlist). This isn’t much of a change from where they were when they started, but it’s more frustrating now that I’m dependent on them.

One of our mainstays since my childhood, Mix 107.3, nee WRQX, has changed its call letters to WLVW and gone Christian. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s just not for me. With all these changes, I went scrolling through the wavelengths looking for replacements and found tons of new Christian stations where there used to be nothing but static. It seems like a plurality of stations that I can pick up in Northern Virginia are Christian.

At 10:07 am on Labor Day, 101.9 rickrolled me. Thankfully, 94.7 has stayed loyal to me.

Further complicating things are that I live in Northern Virginia, not Maryland, so some of the stations are too far away for me to hear. Losing them in 2000 wasn’t so bad, but now that I need them, their static-filled signal is a tease. I’m looking at you, 98 Rock and 101.9.

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Avengers: Endgame Deleted Scene @Russo_Brothers @MarvelStudios #MCU #Avengers #Endgame

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today, it’s the deleted scene from Avengers: Endgame the Russo Brothers don’t want you to see.

These are apparently a series of videos where “Bully McGuire” saves the day. Here’s a couple more.

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Wow! Watch: Class Action Park @HBOMax #GoodWatch

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Class Action Park on HBO is a 90-minute documentary on Action Park, an amusement park in Vernon, NJ known for violating just about every regulation to which it was subjected. Gene Mulvihill founded the first modern water park — so far; so good — where the visitors to the park had total control over the “rides” (including speed boats) — ummmm — and supervised by teenagers, some of which were too young to work — wait; what? — who were operating on little sleep because they spent every night getting high and have sex with each other. The results were exactly what you expected.

But that’s okay. Our legal system would protect the visitors, right? Legally, the park was required to be insured, regulatory authorities could cite him for irregularities, and people could always sue for damages. Watch the show to see how all of that works out for the victims.

On July 8, 1980, someone died. It was the first of six deaths that occurred in the park. Despite the deaths and injuries, the park didn’t close until 1996, but it eventually reopened and still operates today.

I really enjoyed the show. As always, YMMV.

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9/11: Never Forget #911 #NeverForget

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Sen. Cruz: May We Never Forget 9/11 | Ted Cruz | U.S. Senator for Texas

For people within a certain range of ages, this was our JFK assassination moment. We remember exactly where we were. I lived and worked in downtown Chicago during the worst year of my life. I was riding the bus to work, and everyone on the bus was talking about it. When I got to work, the news reports (many false) were pouring in. We were told to go home by 11 am, but I left around noon.

When I got back to my apartment in Lincoln Park, I called my friend, Matt, and we headed out to a bar to watch the news coverage together. During our time at the bar, we saw the first tower fall, and then the second. I grew up in the Washington, DC area, so I was calling everyone there to make sure they were alright. Unfortunately, things were so chaotic that even reliable sources of information were being fooled by false news reports (e.g., “They hit the State Department!”). It took about a day for all of that to be sorted out, at least for me (I have what I’ll call “connected” family and friends).

Regardless of how you feel about our efforts against the Taliban and Iraq, it’s all hindsight. At that moment, all of America was pissed off and demanded action.

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Growing-on-Me Watch: Star Trek Lower Decks @StarTrek @CBSAllAccess #GoodWatch

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Star Trek: Lower Decks is CBS’s attempt to capture the magic of Rick & Morty without losing its target audience. That would seem to be a tough sell: trying to do something but tying one’s hands in an important aspect. It certainly started that way. It’s first couple episodes fell flat for me, but even Futurama had a boring first episode. All first episodes are set ups.

Five episodes in, it’s finally growing on me. It’s better than Star Trek: The Animated Series, which was ridiculous. (There was only one good episode, and it was good because the third act was ridiculously funny.) This doesn’t mean I’d ever re-watch and episode of Lower Decks, but it’s decently entertaining, and I’m already paying for it. The gimmick with this series is that its main characters are ensigns rather than ship captains and senior officers. However, the higher-ranked officers get far more attention than was initially advertised, so they don’t really stick to the gimmick.

I think CBS missed the mark on this one, but if it fills the gap between the other shows such that we always have Star Trek, I’m on board. A low production budget show to fill that gap may have been the idea. Besides, Lower Decks may get better.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch today’s episode. As always, YMMV.

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