Pith Helmet

Heraldr of The Secret Wars
March 31, 2008, 3:10 am
Filed under: Books, television

Today, while watching Book TV on C-SPAN2, I discovered a book that I’m definitely adding to the readling list: I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon’s Black World by Trevor Paglen. Paglen addressed an audience of scruffy-bearded Lone Gunmen types and black-clad Wonkette wannabes from a Brooklyn bookstore, giving them a lengthy powerpoint presentation on the information he uncovered. Among his revelations is that the National Reconnaissance Office has its own Hubbell telescope, only its pointed toward earth instead of away from it.


Saturday Morning Photodump
March 29, 2008, 12:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Have AK and iPod, Will Travel

Whisky Tango Foxtrot?!
h/t The Circus of Dr. Lao
…and they’re local boys, at that!

Armed, Dangerous, and Hungry for Eucalyptus
…oh wait, that’s koalas. Nevermind.

Rough Night in Jericho
March 22, 2008, 11:46 am
Filed under: television | Tags:

Well, CBS has nuked Jericho — proving, once again, that if I start watching a television show regularly, it is doomed to cancellation (see Firefly). The only reason that Battlestar Galactica had such a healthy run was I got bored and quite watching it during the second season.

Expect Anthony Bourdain to be putting in his application to be a prep cook at TGI Fridays any day now.

[ source: Variety ]

Capoeirista Monks
March 18, 2008, 2:56 am
Filed under: Gaming | Tags: ,

One of the oldest dilemmas facing old school DMs is what to do with monks. If one looks at the old AD&D Player’s Handbook, they seem kind of tacked on. Shaolin monks plopped down right in the middle of medieval pseudo-Europe. The Scarlet Brotherhood of the World of Greyhawk seemed like a good solution.

In my world, monks are practitioners of Capoeira.

Capoeira is a martial art, game, and dance created by slaves some five centuries ago. Capoeiristas (as its practitioners are called) gather in a circle, playing instruments and singing, while others spar in pairs.

Traits of Capoiera

  • fluid acrobatic play
  • feints
  • extensive use of groundwork
  • sweeps
  • kicks
  • headbutts
  • Things a Capoierista must defend against:

  • sweeps
  • trips
  • kicks
  • head butts that may knock him on the floor
  • Less frequently-used techniques:

  • elbow-strikes
  • slaps
  • punches
  • body-throws
  • Capoeira is widely believed to have grown from the necessity to hide that slaves were honing fighting skills (to be used against their masters), concealing it with a seemingly harmless dancing style. That is why today’s capoeira looks to be a cross between fighting and dance.
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    That Old Time Religion
    March 16, 2008, 12:13 pm
    Filed under: Gaming | Tags: ,

    My favorite fantasy RPG diety is St. Cuthbert of the Cudgel, and, as such, I will be copy-and-pasting him over the my campaign world from the World of Greyhawk. Note, the one I’ll be using is Gary Gygax’s St. Cuthbert. The one from Dragon #67. The one whose sphere of influence included “wisdom, common sense, truth, forthrightness, and dedication.” The one who “appears as a manure-covered yokel, or as a wanderer clad in brown and green robes, or as an elderly and slight tinker.” I will not be using the watered-down, generic god of vengeance from D&D 3.0 who looks like a surly old knight with a mace (I’ve never liked a lawful diety including retribution in his portfolio. After all, that’s Trithereon’s job).

    I will probably include a little St. Paddy in him as well, but, rather than chasing the snakes out of Ireland, he’ll have chased the frogs (I plan to use a lot of bullywugs) out of [insert nation name here].

    And, making good on my pledge to plagiarize take on loan all of those things I like, regardless of the source, I’ve decided that the holy book of Cuthbert’s flock will be The Book of Good Farming, which I envision as sort of a cross between the Book of Proverbs and Poor Richard’s Almanac.

    All You Zombies Hide Your Faces (‘Cuz G.I. Joe Is There)
    March 15, 2008, 10:20 am
    Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

    One of our favorite bloggers, Evil DM, recently attended the Sacramento area GI Joe show and returned with some great pics of a diorama featuring an Adventure Team Land Adventurer and a horde of the goosesteping dead.



    [ source : The Lair of the Evil DM ]

    The Bloody White Baron
    March 15, 2008, 2:23 am
    Filed under: History | Tags:

    Baron Roman Ungern von Sternberg. Some of you may know him from Peter Hopkirk’s Setting The East Ablaze. Others may know him as the model for Baron Ugenberg in the alternate history game Iron Storm. I first learned of him from Copplestone Castings Back of Beyond wargaming minatures line. But, most people don’t know him at all. Even self-proclaimed history buffs.

    Definitely the most colorful figure of the Russian Civil War, the Mad Baron rampaged across Asia, proclaiming himself to be the reincarnation of Genghis Khan, spreading his strange gospel of Tsarism, Buddhism, anti-Semitism, Mongol nationalism, and anti-Communism by the sword.

    Now, James Palmer has penned a new biography of Our Man in Ulaanbataar entitled The Bloody White Baron.

    From The Times, Giles Whittell gives a favorable review.

    While I haven’t found it on Amazon.com, it is available from amazon.co.uk.