mneme: (Default)
2018-10-27 12:46 am

Godspeed, friend.

My long-time friend, Harold Stein ([personal profile] hms42), has finally left us--for nothing, for the great filksing in the sky, for dreams beyond our knowing...but...he's dead.

I'm...still processing.

Harold...is difficult to describe. He was pleasant and friendly without ever really being charismatic, eminently competent without ever being comfortable, and a tireless filk saint who was never honored for his service (in his life) except via a listener guest slot at OVFF -- which he had to miss due to his illness, listening to recordings of same less than a day before he died.

I first met Harold, that I remember, in the halls of Lunacon, as he waxed eloquent about how much he liked filk--having first becoming fascinated with it at I-Con, the Long Island con that has had great filkers, but has never been great for filk (except for introducing new people to the community, where it served an important role despite the diffulty of filk at a con where the evening programming a car ride away from the daytime programming). At this point, I think Harold had attended just two cons with filk -- Lunacon and I-Con. There were many more, afterwards.

I think (this was after I'd stopped attending I-Con) that I-Con was also where he first took a service role, thanklessly running filk at I-Con for many years before he decided to move on. That wasn't the end of his service, either -- he got digital mini-recorders when the latest generations of them became easily available, and would spend countless hours on a routine of changing out the recorders and backing up the night's haul, almost always closing out the night at NEFilk, OVFF, FKO,local cons, tirelessly worked at the sound boards, produced numerous CDs, (particularly the one-off Interfilk CDs, where after working the boards all convention, he'd package a concert or three to CD and sell them for our perennial fan fund), and took on numerous odd jobs as needed, driving my big harp to several cons and Spencer's gear to many others; and editing the Pegasus Award pages, and helping out the Filk Hall of Fame administrator, and spending his time and money on collecting hard to find filk collections, and helping administer the UK Filk Archive.

His exhaustive and extensive collection of archives were an amazing resource he spent countless hours on, exclaiming how the work of people writing down what got sung in a room, in a concert, or on a convention album would allow him to identify and index his archives, and then, opening them up to others. He also created -- and in most senses, was -- the tradition of an NEfilk CD, making a CD for each convention to be given out free to members and with remainders auctioned off at other cons for Interfilk, with songs from the guests, from the NEfilk guest for next year, and when he could, from or honoring filkers who had died within the last year.

And, of course, he also continued to run filk at local cons, particularly Philcon.

He didn't sing, that I knew, except, rarely, in groups when his voice could hide among others. Or write music, or play an instrument. He just listened, requested, recorded, edited, shared, and collected. It was enough.

Over the last...I'm not even sure how many years, we ([personal profile] drcpunk and I) fell into the habit of rooming with him at filk conventions. It was comfortable. We'd keep often only partially overlapping hours, and while we were all in the room, he'd talk about his various projects, job things, or ideas for other projects (he had so many ideas. Not all of them were good ideas, but even when you express a bad idea it often sparks a good idea from someone else). Sometimes we had to tell him we needed him to stop talking (so we could sleep, or read, or work), but once we realized he would if we asked, this was fine too. When he got his last car, he drove it over to our place to verify that he could fit my harp into it. (This wasn't because he drove my harp a lot; he drove it a few times, but he figured if the harp fit, a lot of other things would fit too; it's a big harp). We were friends.

But especially with guy friends, I don't always know what that means. If he had hobbies outside of filk (and Ingress, the ARG I introduced him to, which he continued playing well after I'd mostly made it a sometimes treat and moved on to other electronic geocaching friends (hi, Pokemon Go)) and building computers for people, I didn't know about them (I'm not convinced they exist). I didn't know much about his inner life, other than that he wanted to help people, do things that mattered, and that he ernestly wanted to apologize when he thought he'd wronged someone, wanted to make sure that he got permission before releasing work and didn't record those who didn't want to be recorded.

I do know that he was endlessly open to new experiences, even when they didn't work out. He would ask us to invite him to gaming nights even though board games weren't a passion of his the way they are mine (and did like them, even though he wouldn't take time out of a con to play them the way I will), would try out any restaurant we would take him to even though when he ordered for himself he tended to go for standard American fare, and would even try everything we ordered when going to more adventurous Asian restaurants, not complaining about the food that didn't work for him, but occasionally remarking that this dish or another one was "too spicy" for him.

I also knew his health was worse than he pretended. We knew when he got a cancerous melanoma around 10 years ago, though he claimed it was less scary than any cancer is. We knew when the cancer came back a year or three ago, and that he was going through a course of treatment that they hoped would beat the cancer back once again--and when he got the diagnosis that it hadn't worked, wasn't going to work. It was just a month between when he got the report that he had, at most, a couple of years to live, and when the diagnosis went down from months to days or hours.

I don't think he gave up hope until those last few, horrible days. And even then, when I saw him the day before he died, he couldn't talk, not intelligbly, not anymore, but there was light in his eyes, enthusiasm, love. Hope, I think, of a sort. He wasn't obviously sad; he was frustrated, and happy that friends had come to visit him and sing to him.

Nothing will change now that he's gone, and everything. Harold wasn't out creating great works, and many of his projects came to nothing or came out only half-right. He wasn't one of my closest friends, although it's possible that I was one of his (one of the world's greatest injustices is that it contains this kind of asymmetry, but there is nothing we can do about it other than be kind).

But he brought a light--hope, kindness, and an endless heart that would fill up the cracks in the world around him -- with him wherever he went, and without him, that light is gone. Snuffed out from our world. What he did best was to help, and now in place of that help, we have to help one another.

I will miss him.
mneme: (Default)
2018-01-03 11:10 pm
Entry tags:

New song: A Pack of LIes

I do try not to write in anger. Mostly.

But since I got blindsided by the most -smug- pro-harassment, pro-puppies song in a while today...wel, this came out.

A Pack of Lies
Joshua Kronengold
may be sung to the tune of Stan Rogers' "Lies"

At last, the con is quiet for a year,
The worldcon held in Finland, too much fun for pain and fear,
The filkers, sharing new and ancient verse,
The concourse filled with sales and games and lots of fan discourse,

Sure was a bitter couple of Worldcons for a while,
Some trolls tried to take over using cheats and hate and guile,
They thought they could pay money for our prize,
And tricking fans by posting wicked lies!

All lies
All those trolls are telling wicked lies,
Lies all lies
They have no shame for their disgrace,
If you disprove their story, they revise,
Their pack of wicked lies!

Are Hugo nominations ruled by TOR?
That was their story; somehow we don't hear it anymore.
Are they just fans just wanting to have fun?
They always seem so angry when the ceremony's done.

Each time the story changes, like Rashamon it sounds,
Like they think they can't lose if they keep giving runarounds,
But every time they give the game a try,
Why can't they post a better class of lies?

Those lies,
All those trolls are telling tired lies,
Lies all lies
They have no shame for their disgrace,
If you disprove their story, they revise,
Their pack of tired lies!

And now the pack have come around again,
This time they say they're being banned for what they think and when,
It's "censorship" that now ignites their fears,
Well we've been hosting everyone for over fifty years!

Your politics don't matter, if you are here for fun,
Your passion for SF should let you blend with everyone,
But if you come in hate, say your goodbyes,
You're banned for breaking rules, and not your lies,

Those lies,
All those trolls are telling themselves lies,
Lies, all lies
They cannot think they've lost their place,
So when they see their losses, they revise,
Their foolish little lies.
mneme: (Default)
2017-12-08 05:15 pm
Entry tags:

On humor. And jokes

So, something you might not know about me. I don't actually know a lot of jokes.

I mean, I know a few. But mostly, if you tell me a joke, I'll probably try to make one up to follow you. And...I'm not awful at it. Usually.

Which partially explains this chatlog between me and [personal profile] batshua. Note that every joke I tell except the ones specifically marked I made up on the spot.

This is conversation about humor, but not actually jokes )
Ok, the actual jokes start here! )
mneme: (Default)
2017-11-26 01:19 am

Filk: On the Internet

I finished this (based, naturally, on some previous songs in the circle) about 20 minutes ago.
So no promises on it not drifting futher, but hey, fresh filk!

Up on the Internet (Magic)
by Joshua Kronengold
to the tune of "Under the Gripping Beast", by Cat Faber

For a cardboard box that's filled with cards, with five dots on the back,
Land, artifacts, and colored cards, red, blue, green white and black,
I bought them from some Wizards, from a land that's near the shore,
And should I keep on buying them, I'll die forever poor,

Up on the Internet is the price that they will pay,
For all my Magic cards, if sell instead of play,
But the pain of giving up my cards, no sorcery can heal,
So just until the next release, I will will keep my cards and deal.

I sat there the first evening, as I tuned up my first deck,
I shuffled and I played a game, and found that it was dreck.
But with a few more dozen packs, and tuning for an hour,
I found my deck could draw some land and tap it all for power,

Up on the Internet is the price that they will pay,
For all my Magic cards, if sell instead of play,
But the pain of giving up my cards, no sorcery can heal,
So just until the next release, I will will keep my cards and deal.


As I played, I needed far more cards to meet my decks' demands,
Rare creatures, moxes, fireballs, time walks, and multilands,
The next two sets released and shipped, and sold out in a night
And I resolved to get the next, if I had to wait 'til light,

Up on the Internet is the price that they will pay,
For all my Magic cards, if sell, and do not play,
But the pain of giving up my cards, no sorcery can heal,
So just until the next release, I will will keep my cards and deal.

My decks won me a tournament, Mr Suitcase they called me,
So now those cards could bring me lots and lots of cash money,
But the thought that I should sell them all is not one I can bear,
Not even though in Legacy, they find my decks unfair

Up on the Internet is the price that they will pay,
For all my Magic cards, if sell instead of play,
But the pain of giving up my cards, no sorcery can heal,
So just until the next release, I will will keep my cards and deal.
mneme: (Default)
2017-10-11 02:26 am

Meme time: Amendment

Migrated from Miles Vokosigan of FB (who is apparently nolonger in the LJ/DWverse?)

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT: If you could add one Amendment to the US Constitution, what would it be?

Here's mine (warning: it's a mouthful).

Every citizen of the United States of the age of majority is guarunteed an equal vote and an equal share of representation for senators, as well as for federal, state, and local representitives. Accordingly:

1. No Citizen of the country at or above the age of majority shall be denied the right to vote for any reason save an act of rebellion.

2. The states are required to make sure that all citizens are eligible to vote have the ability to vote in both semifinal and final elections, facing no bars such as unreasonable waiting periods, unnecessary voter registration, or unreasonable demands for identification beyond that needed to prove that they are a citizen of the United States (or for local elections, if that is not required, a local reseident).
a. This also means that a means of voting shall be made available to any citizen who might otherwise have problems voting due to residency, illness, disability, or incarceration.

3. Henceforward, the President and all other top executive offices of cities, states, and the country will be elected via direct popular vote of the populace.

4. No bar should be allowed to an equal exercise of the franchise based on any basis except that listed out here -- including location of residence, except that one must be resident within an area in order to vote for their executive officer or representative body or bodies. As such, the practice of Districting for the purpose of determining voting areas is hereby banned; instead, states and all other territories of the United States must use a voting system that apportions representitives in a manner proportional to the voters preferences.

a. All citizens must be able to vote in national elections and to elect representitives to the governing bodies of this nation, so non-state-resident citizens shall be considered as living in the non-geographical state of United, which shall be given Representitives and Senators as any other state.

5. In order that no cartel should henceforth control the choices available to our fellow citizens, all elected offices will also have their final candidates set via public and open semifinal elections, which like final elections, must allow choice of multiple candidates and produce fair and proportional results. Thus, there shall be one set of finalists for the Presidency and Vice Presidentcy throughout the nation, rather than separate and potentially contradictory sets of finalists in the several states. Congress shall make laws determining how this election proceeds, and whether the President and Vice President are elected and/or nominated together or separately.

6. All election days shall henceforth be national holidays, that no ciitzen be prevented by hardship or financial burden from exercising their rights and duty.
mneme: (Default)
2017-05-24 03:04 pm
Entry tags:

On Punching Nazis and other hyperbole

I'm willing to sing about punching Nazis, but I'm not willing to seriously advocate that doing so (or censoring them) is ethically and morally right.

Ken White (Popehat) has an excellent post as to why not. (oddly enough, -do- read the comments here).
mneme: (Default)
2017-04-28 12:27 pm

The Saga of the Hall Light

So, last night, we came home at, I dunno, 9:30 or so, turned on the hall light as we came in--and it flickered and then went out. Light was dead.

So naturally, I decided to try to change the light.

For a bit of background, we moved into our current place 14 months ago (or so), and it has 9-10.5 foot ceilings.

So...the first question was whether we had a ladder tall enough to hit the lights. It turns out that our normal 6-foot ladder, standing on the highest safe step (ie, the one made of hard plastic), I can -just- reach the ceiling, and thus have enough height to -just- change the bulb. So with bravery-aplenty, and not much forethought, I started doing just that.

The first problem I ran into was that I couldn't figure out how to remove the cover. I didn't take pictures, but our hall light consists of a metal plate, with a big glass bulb on the bottom--with no knobs, dials, or screws in evidence. Of course, I tried turning the bulb in different directions, but when I did, the whole thing twisted (against the wall). So...after much struggling (but not even -close- to the amount that happened later), I eventually had the whole lamp hanging from three wires, each spliced using plastic wire nuts. With this as my starting state, I decided (this was one of the correct decisions involved in this whole process) to just remove the lamp entirely and figure out how to remove the glass cover once it was safely on the ground, and did so -- carefully removing the huge disc of fiberglass foam that had been lodged behind/above the lamp.

Of course, [personal profile] drcpunk attempted to make sure the light switch was off (and to be sure, also that the dimmer switch was on the lowest setting, since with the bulbs out there was no way to be sure the swich was Actually Off unless we'd marked the on and off sides, which we hadn't.


As it turned out, the glass cover -was- easily removable, by twisting it counter-clockwise and lifting it (or letting it fall, when it was on the ceiling). However, since the lamp was attached to the ceiling by two screws, which were locked in place by...twisting the lamp counter-clockwise...this was no easy feat to do without dislodging it from the ceiling.

Now it was time to wire the lamp up and put it back onto the ceiling.

As it turned out, this was a bit more difficult than I might have anticipated.

First, of course, there was the matter of wiring up the three wires -- positive, negative (whichever was which; they were, strangely for the slipshot manner the entire thing was constructed, pretty well color coded), and a very clear ground wire connected to the body of the lamp and unlike the others, uninsulated. The first charged wire went fine; the second had the complication that on first touch, I could tell it was live (with one wire connected, this was noticable; presumably the circuit needed to be nearly complete for it to matter, since I wasn't about to short out the circuit by touching the charged wires as a test; I guesss I could have used a light bulb), without getting more than a tickle of electricity (thank you, self-installed dimmer switch), and got Lisa to turn off the light. After that, the second wire nut went on just fine.

But the third wire? The one that had a ceiling wire connected to the uninsulated wire from the lamp? Well, that one was a bit more complicated. It seems that that combination of wires was quite a bit shorter than the other wires, so I needed to hold the lamp up higher to screw it on, which complicated a one-handed attachment between two very unlike wires that would -not- line up, and there were several false starts and offers from [personal profile] drcpunk to "help" by providing more light (useful, mostly) and provide a book to stand on on the ladder (very much -not- useful; I did not need some way to make it more likely that I'd fall of the ladder and get seriously hurt). But eventually I was able to attach the third connection. It was now time to re-attach the lamp to the ceiling. Also, my arms were very tired.

This was where the trouble really started.

The problem was that it was impossible. The two screws the lamp twisted on to were just long enough to enter the holes, but they were in a cradle that wasn't firmly anchored on its own (although it was firmly-enough attached to the ceiling), so they'd sway and rock and slide as you tried to tactically push the lamp into them. Plus, it was super clear from how the lamp left the ceiling in the first place that those screws needed to be tighter than they started or it wouldn't stay up. I did try borrowing a mirror to see what I was doing, but this was useless; the lamp body blocked out any sight of what was going on, and the result was my arms getting even more tired but nothing getting done.

Eventually -- and I do mean eventually, it occurred to me the screw holes were plainly visible and accessible when the cover of the lamp was off and the bulbs removed. So (with a rest for a minute or so since the lamp could hang from the three wires--well, one wire, really, since the ground was so much shorter than the others, and without the glass cover on, without a -real- risk of something tearing and there being broken glass all over the floor), I got to work. This wasn't as simple as I'd hoped; there was a -lot- of screw, so it took a while to extend the screws, although I could do it by hand, and once I'd done so, one of them went through (and was able to twist in place, making it -much- easier to take periodic rests without fear of something going wrong), but I think the screws were a touch too narrow for their holes; not enough not to lock, but enough that they were at slightly different angles. So I tried to find the other one to no avail for a while, with much gnashing of teeth; involving another rest, and eventually returned, extended the loose screw enough to put the lamp on that one -first-, and was then able to lock it to both.

Of course, with this much standing on a ladder with my arms over my head, I -really- needed a rest, but there was much more to do--still, I thought if we could, we should really find the electric screwdriver rather than spending many minutes turning the fully extended drivers back to the point where things were nicely locked down. Which involved looking through the tool shelf (I should really get rid of useless stuff and compact that down to a tool case plus maybe an appliance or two) fruitlessly, then a few other places we sometimes put tools, then [personal profile] drcpunk suggested it might be in one of the chair-stools we put things in when we had a housefilk, so she resolved to look in the easier one and I looked through the harder one in the corner (where it wasn't), but there were keyboard ephemera on top of the "easier" one, so [personal profile] drcpunk declined to try to figure out how to move it; eventually I finished up with the far box, opened the nearer one, and...there it was. And my arms weren't quite as tired either.

So I used the electric (it's kinda amazing how much better simple battery powered motors are at turning screws than muscle power, really; we're super good at big motions, but simple tiny motions tire us out nearly as much and we're much less efficient and fast with them) and was able to lock down the lamp nicely, put the bulbs back in (tested them, because you always test them), swapped the dead bulb that had somehow got among the live bulbs and replaced it, and put the glass cover back on, twisting it in place. All good.

At which point, the entire lamp twisted, and came loose from the ceiling again. And I saw a golden wire peeking out, indicating that the ground wire (which, you'll recall, was shorter than the others) had finally snapped under the strain.

So, -much- faster than anything else went, I removed the cover and the bulbs, tried to loosen the screw that had attached the ground wire to the lamp (and failed) and decided to just tie it to one of the loops hanging up from the base of the lamp instead (metal be metal, for ground), took cardboard lying around and made -shims-, loosened the screws on the ceiling and put the lamp on them and then tightened them again (this time all with the electric so it went fast), shimed the screw holes so the lamp wouldn't twist off them without the shims being removed,, put the bulbs back into the lamp, tested the lamp (and determined that one of the bulbs was a cfc didn't work great with the dimmer switch, flickering like mad when it was dim, so swapped it out for a cfc that was fine with our dimmer), put the glass bulb back on, and -now- were done. Only, oh, an hour and a half after I started trying to change a light bulb.
mneme: (Default)
2017-02-14 12:26 am
Entry tags:

A completely unplaytested mafia variant

Ok, so here's an idea for a somewhat uncomfortably realistic Mafia-style game:

You, the players, are the President of the USA, his VP, and his cabinet.
You are also all completely and utterly corrupt, and can be forced to resign by someone revealing all your dirty laundry.
Unfortunately for you (but fortunately for the American people), there are a number of traitors in your cabinet (or even the President or VP) who are very willing to reveal people's dirty secrets.
Naturally, nobody except each other know who the traitors are.

The game is divided into week and weekend turns.

On each weekend, while everyone's off on vacation(eyes closed), the traitors collectively decide which non-traitor's secrets to reveal and that person resigns (over the course of this game, there is not time to replace empty positions). They cannot do this to the President unless they have no other choice.

During the week, the President decides who to fire, though that can be blocked by a majority of the rest of the cabinet (including the VP). Or, with a majority of the remaining players, the cabinet can unseat the sitting President.

If at any time, there are no traitors remaining, the Administration is saved (the American public...not so much).

If, however, the cabinet is ever composed of a majority of traitors, then they can discredit the rest of the administration and save the country. Yay!

To set up the game, deal out playing cards face up to determine positions; the highest Spade (ace is high) is the President, the others should decide on their own positions in descending order, suit first (SHDC, of course), then number within suit.

Then gather up the cards and use one card for each player, starting with one black suited card for every 7 players (round up), and filling in with red cards. These cards should be mixed and dealt out face down; if you get a black face-down card, you're a traitor, otherwise you're a loyal member of the administration.

Someone should not play and moderate -- or you can start with a week and just have the President fire someone to be moderator to start (realism is, of course, paramount). See the comments for a sample moderator script.
mneme: (harp2)
2017-02-06 04:13 pm
Entry tags:

Drink up the River Remix

Kathy Mar's wonderful Drink Up the River has long been a mainstay of my filking -- and I've had occasion to bring it back to the forefront given our current troubles. But as much as I love the song, it was pretty clearly written in '88, and while the nativism of this decades echoes that of three decades ago, it's hardly identical; more, while there's plenty of anti-science talk, the universal adoption of the web has clearly changed its focus and tenor.

So I've written an updated version entirely keeping Kathy's first and last verses identical, while switching out the middle verses for ones a bit more suited to our times (which, not that surprisingly, are -still- based around immigration and science/technology). (although it's trivial to add her Technology verse back in if one wants an extra verse, as the two are basically non-overlapping). Feel free to share and use with love.

Drink Up the River (2017 JK remix)
Tune, Chorus, and First and last verses Copyright 1988, Kathy Mar.
Middle verses Copyright 2017 Joshua Kronengold, Kathy Mar, and Lee Gold.

I was sitting by a river, when a thought occurred to me:
There are a hundred thousand rivers that we never even see,
They are the boundaries of all we know--of truth and right and wrong,
And I have written some examples for you here within my song.

Some are bridged and some are forded--some are swollen from the rain,
Some are the ultimate result of all our joys and all our pain,
But when the rivers in your life are full, and starting to wash down,
You've gotta drink up the river,
Before you drown.

[Chorus]
You gotta drink up the river x 3
Before you drown
You gotta drink up the river x 3
Before you drown

Throughout our nation's history, in times of peace and war,
An overwhelming wave of refugees have washed up on our shore,
They fled from death and persecution, and from poverty and pain,
And they made our country greater, as they strove to rise again.

But immigrants are turned away, "they're terrorists" we cry,
Or think they'll occupy our jobs, so passage we deny,
Our nation's based on courage, should we let the helpless down?
No--We must drink up that river, before we drown,

[chorus]

Since we learned to kindle fire, we have sought to understand,
How life began, how lightning works, the sea, the sky, the land,
And our science brings us wonders, as we wage a war with death,
And spin a World Wide Web of friendship nearly limitless in breadth.

Yet some folks are scared of Science, 'cause it means that nothing's sure.
They don't want its doubts and warnings, and they've learned to fear its cures.
We must not close our eyes, but keep on looking all around,
That's how we'll drink up that river, before we drown.

[Chorus]

There's a river of humanity that's passing through your life,
There is a sea of heavy sorrows and a stream of pain and strife,
There is a river of tomorrow that will carry you away,
And there's an ocean full of endless love to fill each passing day,
There are rivers all around you, in the life you have to live--
All the rivers you've been given and the ones you have to give,
So sing out this final message to the people all around,
You've got to drink up the river before you drown

[Chorus] x 2
mneme: (Default)
2017-02-01 02:00 am
Entry tags:

Conflikt, + 2 new songs

Conflikt happened. It was fun! Lots of hugs, lots of music in the hall and in the filkroom, and as seems to often happen, I collaborated on two songs.

The first was the song sung by my instaband, C3J -- consisting of Char, Jim Partridge, John Gray, and Yours Truly. The song was, naturally enough given the time, a protest song, written by Jim with a fair amount of editing and lyric changes by me. And of course, feel free to sing and share, at least as far as I'm concerned; this isn't a song meant to sit on a shelf.

If you didn't know which side -I- was on, you're not paying attention )

The other song might make it into here or on a later post after I clear permissions; it was written by the entire table at brunch, was entitled "The (thing) in the Room", and based on the words "Irredeemable" and "Eloquence", and to the tune and mostly structure of "Unforgettable" by Irving Gordon.
mneme: (Default)
2017-01-11 12:12 pm
Entry tags:

Housefilk! Sunday Jan 22, 2017 (NYMF)

Hear ye, hear ye!

On Sunday, January 22nd, 2017, from 1pm to 5pm, in The (new) Bookery (the one year new home of Josh & Lisa) there will be a housefilk, that being an open song and music circle. All are invited to attend, and, should they wish, join the NYMF meeting held immediately following (there are two accessable rooms, so there will also be somewhere for people to hang out, and if they wish filk some more or get dinner who -don't- wish to attend the NYMF meeting). People are also welcome to show up as early as noon, but if so, may be asked to help make the place presentable. This is an NYMF (New York Metropolitan Filk) Event.

The Bookery: 3920 52nd Street APT GD, Woodside (Queens), NY 11377-3230
Phone: 646-361-3257

Accessibility: We are on the ground floor, but the entrance is up 4 steps. If they are an issue, call ahead and we can meet you near 3940 and let you into the side entrance with no steps.

House Rules:

1. Please do not record; we will be setting up central recording, and once one is available, may provide a cleaned up and edited version on request. You may take photographs, but please get permission of their subjects first.

2. The house has no pets of any kind. Try not to bring feline allergens in if you can. (if you are allergic to anything that we need to know, tell us).

3. The house is not kosher, but we'll try to provide disposable tableware and some amount of beverages. If there's something you must eat/drink, you might want to bring it (there is plenty of takeout in the area if you are hungry and need to order something). Do try to label anything you bring if there's anything non-obvious in it (err on the side of disclosure).

Directions:

By subway: Fastest: Take the 7 to 52nd street, turn North (towards Cafe 52, away from the Filipino place) and walk to, cross, Skillman; turn left and walk back to 52nd street, the entrance is on your left.
Less Fast: Take the R to Woodside, walk south, then make a right at 39th avenue and a left onto 52nd street. Destination is on your right.
Also less fast, but sometimes necessary: Take the 7 to Woodside. Get out and go to ground level. Walk west (numbers go down), turning on to Skillman. When you get to 52nd street, turn right and walk along 52nd street until you get to our place (on your left).

By LIRR: Take the LIRR to Woodside. Follow directions as "7 to Woodside" above.

By car: Go to our neighborhood. (Northern Blvd is probably the ticket, but you likely have a GPS that will give you something better). Find somewhere to park (not entirely trivial, but possible, usually by driving around the nearby park until something turns up). Then go to our apartment.

Do feel free to share this invite to those you think might be interested!

Space is not -entirely- unlimited, and we do want to be able to plan ahead, so please rsvp (if yes) on Dreamwidth(https://mneme.dreamwidth.org/89829.html), on FB(https://www.facebook.com/events/249907088755237/), or by email to mneme AT labcats.org.
mneme: (Default)
2017-01-10 06:12 pm
Entry tags:

Life happens

I don't make a lot of Dreamwidth posts. I should probably make more, but I do try to keep DW a little more bloggy and a little less random/social than facebook, if for no other reason than that its primary advantage is archival and searching.

This means that I'll often go months or even a year or two without updating DW (at least, beyond the periodic "I wrote a thing!" post).

So:

I've gone way up in how much mobile gaming I was doing (to the point that it, combined with trying catch up a bit up to date on Alarums and Excursions apa-hacking, ie old-timey journaling, sort of, massively impacted how much for-fun reading I was doing).

I've also gone way down on the mobile gaming; finishing up Ingress at L16 and going to a "when I feel like it " player, dropping daily play of pretty much every game I was playing daily, and even dropping my commitment to Hearthstone and Words with Friends. This means I've also gotten back into the novel run, and read something like 10 novels in the last 3 weeks or so.

Chessiecon happened and the music didn't suck, so I must have done a decent job. Still stuff to change for next year, but that's always true. Oh, I'll be running music again for Chessiecon (with TJ as music GOH and Ada Palmer as author GOH) next year too, so if you're interested in performing, talk to me.

The other thing I'm currently promoting is Contata, the NJ-area NYC-run filk music convention. And apropos exactly of that, we'll be hosting a housefilk at my house Sunday, Jan 22 (in Woodside, Queens); more details to follow.

We were at GaFilk and it was fun, although there was snow and sick; I'd think I didn't come down with anything except I slept a -lot- and wanted to sleep more, so I'm thinking my body was in overtime defense mode. We'll be at Arisia, Conflikt, Balticon, probably Heliosphere, Intercon, Dreamation, and probably other things. Oh, and we're still planning on making Worldcon and probably NasFIC.
mneme: (Default)
2016-11-11 01:10 pm
Entry tags:

Not all rights are equal

I wrote a thing in a FB comment. Since FB comments are fragile and temporary, it's pretty much necessary that I repost it if I want to keep it.

I was asked (when I said that I think federal voting reform would be entirely appropriate, and we could even throw Republicans a bone with national -funded- Voter ID; ideally, guarantee that all adult citizens are automatically registered to vote and have or can -trivially- get identification proving it; along with establishing standards for polling places and voting machines throughout the nation such that a national popular vote for President is a real possibility; oh, and abolish the Electoral College), whether I thought there shouldn't be artificial barriers to all our rights.

Well, I do think that in general there shouldn't be artificial barriers to our rights; the government should put up artificial barriers to things only when it has a compelling interest in doing so. However, I don't think all rights are of equal value--and our rights need to be balanced against the rights of others.

Of the highest level are the rights that allow a democratic society to function at all: Free political speech (and press, and association), voting, equal protection from the law as it affects self-government. Also sitting here is the right to, as long as our government is republican, not simply pure democratic, ensure the government answers to the people and we are protected from corruption.

One level down from this is the right to life and freedom from undue imprisonment; the right of fairness under the law. Here lies general equal protection under the law, protection against torture and other methods of imprisonment and intrusive search without a plausible indicator of guilt, etc. Here also lies an obligation that the state protect our personal freedom from threats both external and internal, just as the first set of rights obligate the state to protect our rights to think and vote and debate free of external constraint.

On a third tier are rights of personal autonomy--the right to be left alone. Here lies the right to have consensual sex with anyone you want, to undergo any medical procedure you wish that doesn't harm other people, own whatever property you are given by others, hold and practice any religious views you profess, and, yes, practice whatever martial arts and use and own whatever objects you can and do accquire and make (including weapons).

These rights are tiered--they are not of equal importance; nor can they be. So while I honor weapon use as a matter of personal autonomy--the right to be left alone--just as I do the right to abort an unthinking fetus, it must yield (to an extent) to the right of others to live; reasonable background checks are entirely appropriate, as are restricting weapons of mass murder. On the other hand, voting and speech rights are utterly central; one simply cannot make decisions as a free society without them, and it is hard to justify any restrictions on them that are not similarly ensuring the fairness and incorruptibility of elections.

FWIW, I don't think this style of tiering is particularly in-obvious or controversial. Of course, people disagree vociferously on which categories appear in -- some people think that a 5 day old foetus is covered in tier #2 (which would cause its rights to trump it's mother's tier #3 rights), which I can't agree with, and there are some people who think personal weapons ownership is still part of tier #1 (which, um, sorry, but I can't agree with that). But as long as we agree that not all rights are equal, there is still some room for discussion.
mneme: (Default)
2016-11-09 12:21 pm
Entry tags:

It's not the end of the world, but I feel awful

My Facebook is blowing up with sorrow, despondency, and fear -- my twitter, too (pretty much everyone's twitter).

So I'm not going to do that. This is a terrible loss; I won't downplay it, but...it's not the end of the world. For most of us, anyway.

And anyway, I've lost an Presidential election before.

My first Presidential election (that I could vote in) was 1992, when we voted in Bill Clinton. I didn't really know much about him, but he was the Democratic candidate, so I was going to support him. In the end...it was mediocre, with a military ban on homosexual service replaced by "don't ask, don't tell", dismantling of the welfare system, economic prosperity which only aided the dismantling of protections against catastrophic massively leveraged bank implosions, the Sony Bono copyright extension act, and the Defense of Marriage Act. But at least we had a competent Democratic President pushing down the deficit, presiding over nuclear disarmament, and signing the Family and Medical Leave act. But really read this: https://clinton1.nara.gov/White_House/Accomplishments/html/accomp-plain.html; there just isn't that much there to like; minor stuff like gun control and environmental preservation, while incarcerating thousands and establishing the trade agreement doctrine that helped Trump win the most recent election.

My third Presidential election, though, was 2000, when with machinations aplenty, GW Bush --- the ex-drug addicted playboy who was the laughingstock of Texas liberals--became President. And...it was awful. He presided over the worst economic crash in my lifetime, doubling down on it by massive tax cuts to the rich, starting an expensive and unnecessary (as well as costly in lives and war in the Middle East). He tortured people, may very well have redirected intelligence resources such that they missed the terrorist attacks in 2001, and his wars let him get two terms. Oh, and he borrowed trillions to do all of this. And was planning his wars before he even got into office.

In all this, Obama was a shining light. We were all there, we know what he accomplished, and that (except for Obamacare) was against a hostile congress.

Now? Well, there are awful indicators; Trump is an egotist, an abuser, throws dog whistles to the racist and bigoted crowd all the time, and appears to have superbly bad impulse control. And he'll have a nominally friendly congress for at least two years.

But that said, it's not "Trump the character" who is going to be President--however similar or different they are, it's "Trump the person." Who is hardly a saint (see above), but frankly, if his waffling has shown us anything, it's that we have no idea what he truly believes; just that it changes with what he thinks is going to appeal to his base.

So (almost) anything could happen. He's emboldened the "America First" crowd, and talked about building walls and religious discrimination. Packing the Supreme Court with conservative judges, repealing Obamacare, making it easier for him to sue reporters who say stuff he doesn't like. Ending net neutrality. This is what he got elected on.

He's also talked about public works projects and fixing our infrastructure (which badly needs it), raising the minimum wage, preventing obvious terror threats from buying firearms, and putting measures in place to protect American workers from needless outsourcing. And has talked about replacing Obamacare with something better for the individual, focusing on its flaws--the individual mandate and the way that gives license to insurance to raise rates as long as they can get away with it, the way it doesn't solve the state-based cartel issue, etc. This is -also- what he got elected on.

So I don't know, and frankly neither do you. Which Trump are we going to get? The populist? The demagogue? The fake or real conservative? Secret force for white supremacy? All or some of the above?

What I do know is that we haven't actually moved backwards long term. We've taken a step back, sure, even a significant one -- but I supremely doubt that Trump is going to reverse (or even try to reverse) all the strides we've taken in the last 13 years. 13 years ago, remember, people couldn't get married to people of the same sex in -any- state, QUILTBG people couldn't serve in the military unless they hid their status (I'm leaving out A because I don't think Asexual people were a problem on -that- score unless they were otherwise queer as well), no state had legalized marijuana and the federal government was threatening to crack down on them if they tried, and plenty of other rights and privileges of my friends were far, far from where they are right now.

Is it likely a bunch of stuff I love will get rolled back? Absolutely -- Obergefell is super-likely to get killed by any Justice Trump puts into the Court; Obamacare is going to get modified and who knows if the result is going to have any of the important parts--public markets, a ban on pre-existing conditions, public financing for those who need it [in states that accept it, anyway] that allow people who need to be able to affordably buy private health care regardless of their personal health to do so. But it's super-unlikely that a Trump Congress will pass all of a trans bathroom ban, another national ban on same sex marriage, another massively over-broad Patriot act, or nationally illegalize marijuana again and re-ignite the drug war. Or even push all our proud trans and non-binary friends back into the closet. We'll lose some stuff, but I have reason to hope we won't lose -everything-.

We've moved massive steps forward in the last 12 years, and every time you move forward, there's a chance of hitting a wall and moving backwards--but our momentum hasn't changed. Not yet, at least. And -if- Trump is more invested in the stuff I liked (or at least didn't dislike) than the stuff I hate, as a Republican President, he's much more likely to be able to accomplish it. Only Nixon could go to China. Only Clinton could end welfare as we knew it (and curse him for it). -If- Trump choses to use some of his power for good, who knows what he can accomplish.

And there's the ironic silver lining -- one of the biggest reasons that the Republicans have been able to take over a massive number of state legislatures, both houses of congress, and now also the Presidency is that over the past 24 years, there's been a Democratic president for 16 of them -- and the party out of power tends to gain downballot. As the party indisputably in control of government starting mid-January, the Republicans are going to be held responsible for everything that goes wrong in the world, and it's up to all of us to hold them to that.

So for good or ill, Trump is going to be my President. Democracy has spoken, and democracy being the way we make decisions about our collective power that, now matter how we choose, many of us won't like, I am honor bound to live with it without even the lingering questions that dodged 2000--up to the point where Trump proves that he's going to abuse the powers of his office or ruin the world. This might come immediately as soon as he does anything--or I might be surprised. I'm not interested in pushing for impeachment from the start of his term; frankly, that would put Pence in power who would be more predictable and possibly worse, but also I don't believe in impeachment as a political tool rather than a last resort when an official actually commits a crime.

In the meanwhile, it's on all of us to keep as much of what we gained as we can, to keep pushing back whenever the government does something unpalatable, to help one another, and to take back the governments of the US in 2018 and 2020. This is the bed we've made, that has been made for us, and most of us are going to have to stay in it for a while--but that doesn't mean we need to lie in it.
mneme: (Default)
2016-07-12 11:26 pm
Entry tags:

Some questions you might find odd if you don't know the context

"I used incense and now there's a cloud of dust around me. Is this normal?"

"If I throw a ball, can I get it back?"

"Where do balls go when I throw them?"

"How do berries work?"

"Why are there clouds of flowers everywhere? Is everyone else just made of money? Or is there some source for flowers I don't know about?"

"Is it true that you can find more water creatures near water? I found some carp and crabs on the dock. But I can't find any creatures in the water; is that right?"

"Why are there always so many rats and bats around?"

"Can I change my clothes? I've been walking around in the same clothes for days, and I'm getting bored with them, but if there's a way, I don't know how to do it."

"I've got great balls. Should I save them until things get hard? Or should I try to use them on everything to save time?"

"Can I use gyms to get stronger? Or do I need to get stronger somewhere else and only go back to a gym when I'll be the strongest one there?"

"What happens if your're actively doing something in a gym when another team takes it over? Is it easier to take over a gym or to go there to train?"

"I know how to take pictures, but how do I find them and look at them afterwards?"

"Are there ways to get money without spending money on it?"

(Mostly a collaboration between YT and [livejournal.com profile] drwrong)
mneme: (Default)
2016-07-05 12:36 am
Entry tags:

For those following Namesakes

I kinda dashed it off, but so it goes.

Trying to Forget

I gorge on poppies, stamens down to roots.
They fill me up, and yet I do not sleep.
My magic spent on hats and jumping boots,
But in my mind, the fears and doubts still creep.
I know my past: my sisters, ere the fall
(Despite my pain, my eyes no longer weep)
Before their deaths, that we created all.
I wish for death, and so this tea I steep.
Forgetfulness can't last, but it might ease
The weight of all this past, but it's not cheap:
My eyes, my magic, bounties that might please,
The folk of Oz, but truly it's no leap
To see that it's my sorrow that's the cause
Of everything that's wonderful (and terrible) in Oz.

Prompts: What's most recently been happening in the Namesakes webcomic (http://namesakecomic.com/comic/trying-to-forget), and the first post, "Forgetfulness, sleep, poppies...", which I decided to take as a poetry prompt.

(Edit to fix the punctuation and clean it up a bit; the original poem was very much a single stream of consciousness in less then 10 minutes, with occasional pauses to find a rhyme word).
mneme: (Default)
2016-06-16 02:22 am

On Maho Shoujo anime/manga

So, I was asked by an acqaintance if I had any reccomendations for magical girl anime/manga. Since I've been (in between everything -else- I've been doing), working on a magical girl Apocalypse World game (with some collaborators, who have been doing great work while I'm in a fallow "working on everything but" period), I wrote back...maybe a bit too much. Fortnately I'm tired, or I might not have stopped at 5 recomendations.

Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon are in some ways the best and most central of those I've seen. Sailor Moon of course established the "Magical Girl fighting" manga/anime genre; Cardcaptor is very different in many ways (it's Clamp, for one thing; one of their few non-tragic series), but in both cases, the series brilliantly mix home life, school life, and the magical world, making all of them important, and in both series, love is central. Cardcaptor is pretty long; around 72 episodes for the first two seasons [which are really one story]; Sailor Moon is super-long, with something like 300 episodes over 5 seasons, but they use the length not just for variable length stock footage transformation/attack sequences (actually, Sailor Moon does this a lot; Cardcaptor goes against type and comes up with an excuse for the heroine's costume to change every episode, so while the poses are stock, the outfit is different every time), but for building up character development and relationship notes that can be gloriously cashed in later. Of course, every series has its own arc and mini-arcs within those, but there are definately notes that are saved up until the end before being cashed in.

Nanoha is a very odd but good mix; a series that's designed for an adult audience despite fairly young protagonist. It's still basically about love, but they spend a lot more attention than the average making the fight scenes and magic make in-world sense rather than just moral/emotional sense. It has 3 series; each one has its own unities, but each is very different from the next; in the first, you've got a semi-typical "young girl gets powers, alies" opening; but in the second the relationships are all mixed up and it's more of a mystery plot. In the third series, the main characters are grown up and training their own proteges, so the action is bigger and the training and secondary characters get to take more central stage, while the established characters show off their more mature strengths and get to act against powerful foes while they are at their peak, rather than the more typical "growth character faces off against dark lord; wins via luck, aid, and moral certitude".

Madoka and Revolutionary Girl Utena are great examples of the postmodern side of the genre. Madoka is very short, very dark, and brilliant; there's not that much more I can say about it without spoilers, but it's great on many levels. Revolutionary Girl Utena is...the emotional side of the genre broken down to its base level; from its central genderfuck (key premise: A young girl is saved by a prince; she grows up to teenager-hood and decides she will accomplish her goal in emulation: She will become a prince too!), to the core formula of someone's central emotional crisis resulting in them challenging Utena to a duel, which, naturally, is far more about arguments and metaphor than actual swordplay.
mneme: (Default)
2016-05-07 03:45 pm
Entry tags:

Meanwhile, a con report: Rainbowcon

So as long as I'm doing a touch of backed up blogging before doing the necessary things (which is to say, upgrading our cleaning supplies and other things hilight by the recent plumbing disaster; see the last post), I might as well do a short con report -- because Rainbowcon, last weekend, was -amazing-.

Steve Savitsky and company held a tiny house filk convention (a tiny convention; not a tiny house; just to be clear; the convention was in the house) last weekend. I'd known about it for a year, after it was announced in the wake of the wedding in the same site last year, but we'd dragged our heels on committing, given that it was across the country and also likely to be tiny. And it was going to be expensive, given that it was fairly last-min, and we were low on cope after our move. On the other hand, I'd been an unofficial advisor, encouraging the organizers to go super-low on programming to accomidate the gap in "filk relaxacons" that can let filkers hang out together without a lot of must-make programming.

And you know? It was -amazing-, and I'm glad we went. The con guests were Decadent Dave Clement (who I admit I've always been somewhat intimidated by, but who is -amazing-, both personally and as a performer) and Tim and Annie Walker (who we've seen back and forth at different filk cons over the years when our across-the-pond paths crossed, and got to connect with, finally, at Loncon in 2014.

We decided to go out on stupid-early Friday morning (ie, a 4AM flight, without more than an hour of sleep between us before the flight), so we spent a bunch of time recovering before making it over to the con itself; at the con, I voted in (and was mostly outvoted, which was fair, since I didn't attend much programming) the programmed workshops, had something dinner-ish (con-provided in the excellent kitchen con suite by Colleen; extremely impressive given that it was, for most, a free con), listened to, danced to, and sang from the audience at Dave's concert, then chatted and socialized until the evening filk -- a modified poker chip bardic where you got three chips (blue > red > white x 2), and weren't limited to not using your later colors until after the early colors were used up; instead, earlier colors were higher priority and would "trump" later colors, but you had to use your colors in order rather than saving your blue chip until you -really- wanted to go. I loved this format, and loved this circle, however short; we'd intended to tuck in early, but as it happened we ended up sticking around until we'd each used up, IIRC, 3 chips (ie, gone 3 times) and it was after 1AM.

On Saturday, we slept in (this might be a pattern), missing the early workshop session; I don't remember much of this session, but I know it involved a Stan Rogers singalong by Dave, Annie leading a vocal/harmony workshop (where I decided to sing soprano--because I could (the soprano part was pretty low and my head voice is reasonably strong) and because we were heavy on basses and tenors and light on sopranos, Tim and Annie's excellent concert (we didn't dance as much as we had at Dave's concert, but this was mostly due to being too relaxed), much socializing and food, and the evening concert (which was a bit of a low-ebb, although still pleasant; it started late enough that the announced format; cats cradle, was way overkill; we barely had enough performers to maintain a chaos filk, so we mostly never got a queue of more than 2 people (and that only by effort), and eventually stopped passing around the yarn ball entirely before the filk ended.

Sunday? Sunday, well, we also slept in (who didn't see this one coming?), and hung around, mostly chatting with a bit of filking, until the jam/closing ceremonies started. The Jam was a lot of fun; we had just enough instrumentalists that it was solid, but not so many that it felt like (as you do at OVFF) that you're lost in the crowd and your individual contribution cannot be heard, much less be a full part of the ouvre. We'd planned at this point to slink into the night, since we had a red-eye going back to NYC (after all, this is how I manage other-coast conventions without losing more days of work than I want to), but it turned out that the dead dog dinner was near the airport, so we were able to spend a precious few more hours with people before we had to drop off our bags and wait for our plane (particularly Stephen Schwartz, who I've been second order connected to for -years-, but only briefly bumped into at a few events for the last 18 years or so we've known the other exist; also planning to do a 4 player online Fiasco game that we really should set up and plane).

Will we be back next year? Well, it's still an open question; a lot depends on how Contata planning is going; we'll either be at the end of our rope or really, really need the break, I'm guessing. But assuming we have the budget? Absolutely. When you get down to it, this tiny con gives you -more- than you get from a larger con. Of course, if enough people decide that this is a good idea, maybe some day it won't be as small a con, but as long as the concept stays largely the same it will likely have a lot more of a "small con" vibe than a con that's designed to be a larger filk convention cut down a few sizes (like the NEfilks, which as much as I love them, tend to go with "yes please" on programming).

Pros: Yes, there are some. With an intimate setting like this, you get to spend more time with more of them individually, so there's less of "traveling to hang out with people you hang out with all the time"). The hosts were amazing and gracious. The con was in many ways far more relaxed than a larger con (even GaFilk, which tries to be as "filk reclaxicon as it can given its size) can ever be. I had lots of chances to also rock a shaker egg and my bass voice (I even ended up walking over near Dave, who was singing a bass line on a song, at one point, so we could hear each other better and choose different lines) rather than accidentally colliding all the time)

Cons: Yes, it was one. Next year there will probably be a slightly smoother way of disseminating the program, since there was one even if it was relatively minimal. I brought my little harpsicle SE, rather than a fiddle--which would normally be the right decision except that as I'd forgotten, they'd rented a lovely 36 string Dusty Strings for Annie which she was totally willing to let me use whenever she wasn't using it, so if I'd brought a fiddle I'd have been able to play fiddle -and- harp as appropriate. It was too short, and we weren't able to attend the dead dog filk. On my way out of the dead dog, I had a brain fart and forgot Dave's name (because my brain does stuff like this), so ended up skipping over saying goodbye (and circled back and did so a minute or so later after my secondary search engine had gone online and searched, appropriately, against "Decadent.")); whooops/ack.
mneme: (Default)
2016-05-07 02:51 pm
Entry tags:

My morning

Woke up at 10AM--had a rest of three or four hours.
Woke up at 10AM--was just pulled out of my bower,
I wished I was sleepin'--or at least wearing shoes,
I've got the backed up plumbing, first floor apartment blues.

I started bailing; filling up buckets and plastic cans,
Yeah, I started bailing, gross as it was, it all-hands,
It was unavailing--I was Sisyphus--doomed to lose,
It was the backed-up plumbing, first floor apartment blues.

I thought it was our fault--that we'd left the water on,
Yeah, I thought it was our fault; our home insurance would be gone,
Then I saw the bathtub, it looked just like a big loo,
We had the backed-up plumbing, first floor apartment blues.

We called the super, he took one look and went away.
Yeah, called the super, but with our problem he wouldn't stay,
I cursed that pooper, then it flowed like a transfus-ion
He'd cleared the blockage--that caused our first-floor blues.

It wasn't over--the floor was covered in dirt,
No, it wasn't over; my back was starting to hurt,
He brought back a hoover, and sucked up most of that dread stew,
It was finally ending, our backed-up plumbing blues,
All done, but the cleaning--our backed-up pluming, first floor apartment blues.

....


Yeah, this morning was a bit interesting. I knew people said that first floor apartments were prone to flooding, but nobody mentioned the idea that it wasn't -outside- flooding you had to worry about (we're actually above the garage, so that's not such a big deal for us) as that you're the early warning signal when the plumbing goes haywire. Also, gross.
mneme: (Default)
2016-03-25 03:14 pm

This post was too long, but like Cruz's bible, this is just the good parts

Since nobody else seems to have beaten me to the punch (and why not? Even if his sex life is none of our business, his platform -makes- it our business, as do his Princess Bride impressions):


People keep wondering how Cruz got 5 women to sleep with him that weren't his wife. I'm guessing he took Miracle Pills. Or maybe they had the wine in front of him (Sorry, tried really hard to not make this a rape joke, but it writes itself :( )

Cruz keeps talking about "family values." I do not think those words mean what he thinks they mean.

Before this scandal broke, Cruz's campaign was only mostly dead. Now the only thing we can really do is go through it's pockets for loose change. Like these jokes.