The Alexandrian

The Most Impressive Spam

October 30th, 2013

Someone named “Cynthia” just posted the most magnificent piece of comment spam I have ever seen. It might be an automated script that just blew a gasket, but I suspect it’s actually someone who accidentally copy-pasted their entire text file of vague commentary.

I’ve removed the comment, but I couldn’t bear to destroy something of such horrid beauty. Besides, there’s always the chance that it’s actually a semi-sentient memetic virus seeking to animate its way out of the ‘net. (And that kind of horrific creepiness seems seasonally appropriate.)

Thus, below the fold, you’ll find a complete and utter waste of your time which nevertheless holds all the fascination of the abyss.


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28 Responses to “The Most Impressive Spam”

  1. Yahzi says:

    It turns a bit mean in the middle there, complaining about your load times and how you only had one interesting thing to say. And of course the irony of asking if you know how to deal with spam.

    Then the English gets a lot better – as if the beast were learning! But it goes to pot again at the end.

    It almost looks like somebody put every comment they ever made into that one comment – except too many of them are clearly spambot comments.

    In the old days we’d chalk up to noise & static interference. In the older days we’d call it a vision, and spend years decrypting it to prove why the next door neighbor should be reviled as a pariah, especially with regards to that sidewalk dog poop incident of ’73.

  2. Leland J. Tankersley says:

    Dude, I think she likes you.

  3. longcoat000 says:

    The Black Goat and its Thousand Young speak to me in cacophonous rapture! My eyes! My eyes! My eyes hear the song of the Yellow King!

  4. Neal says:

    Sounds like the Russian/Georgian mafia has their computer scammers targeting various sites and someone less experienced just dumped all the potential spam-bot ‘human-like’ prepared speeches into your mailbox by some kind of mistake, instead of just one set of comments. A bit into the commentary, the first name mentioned as a family member was named, “Tanya,” which sharpened my suspicions for a Russian connection, further.

    Stop reading The Seagull online and surfing Russian porn sites!

  5. Corsair114 says:

    Ho-dear, seems the singularity just had an aneurysm.

  6. Brooser Bear says:

    The missive mentions a Brazilian game site. Brazil is an awesome country for entertainment! They made it illegal to put regional coding on their DVD players, and Sony obliged. If you get a DVD player destined to Brazilian markets, it comes sans regional coding and you can play any DVD from anywhere in the world. Buy it on amazon.

    Seagull, ok, a classic, Chekhov, an extraordinarily scrappy country doctor who saved lives with a steak knife and needle thread. Young Tolstoy looked a bit like Stephen King, and partied like Oscar Wilde with tons of money and Royal Nobility lineage to boot! A serving Imperial Officer with a more distinguished combat record than Lord Byron… and then he got religion. But Russian Author you want to read is Aleksandr Kuprin, short story – Selivan (or Sylvan), if you can find it in English. Now, that Selivan was one bad ass mujik! A Russian’s Russian!

    Neal, Russian women are like the Titular Deities in Tantra. If you are cool and you can walk into any bar, engage any woman you like in a conversation, hold your ground, and bed her later, than you can get a lot more of a good looking Russian woman, than your age, wealth and character will let you among the Americans. However, if you are like an average person, and merely human, then your beauty will turn into an Eisenhower-era demon, an in the in-crowd homecoming queen on steroids – if you are NOT the leader of the pack among the jocks, you are a lower form of life, not fit to be near her… No weakness goes unpunished. A man wears boots and can talk with his gun, as well as his hands.

  7. Ulysses Maniago says:

    Now you have a great compilation of comments spam.

  8. Neal says:

    @ Brooser Bear,

    I’m still not sure where you picked up all this Russian info. Are you of Russian extraction, or did you spend time there?

    I did have an encounter with a Russian woman I met in a bar, once. Whether she liked my biceps, or that makes me a boot-wearer with six guns blazing, I’m not sure. Maybe, because she’d emigrated to the U.S. she probably was a bit thawed, rather than a vicious ubermensch ice princess. I don’t doubt that you’re right about the overall attitude for that culture, is your source from experience, or some place else?

  9. Brooser Bear says:

    @ Neal,

    I am Russian. G.I. Bill paid for my University education. I enlisted to live like my Cossack ancestors so that my boots and six-guns be relevant in today’s world. I practice what I preach to the hilt, and I got the love of one of those drop dead gorgeous Russian Queens half my age, whom I will marry, after she gets through grad school.

  10. Neal says:

    @ Brooser,

    Really! She’s half your age and all. Guess she has a thing for Solzhenitsyn-type leering guys. Make sure you get a pre-nup, regardless of whether you ever think you’ll need it. Something like 51% of 1st time marriages in the U.S./The West, end in 2 years, when the mutual hormone levels begin to drop, and people are no longer under the influence of the amphetamine-like brain chemistry. Hopefully, you never have to deal with anything like that, or if both of you just grow apart, at least it’s amicable. However… it protects both parties, and if one side tries to say that ‘If you really loved me, this wouldn’t be necessary!’ then you better start getting scared you don’t really know who you’re dealing with. Hell, that person may not even know their own mind well enough to know what they are getting themselves into, either.

    However, in her case, she should realize you’re actually Solzinitsyn, and she’s in for a world of trouble, when the KGB finds your memoirs, and she’s listed as an anti-Soviet subversive.

    By the way, during World War I, one of my grandfathers served in the Austro-Hungarian army as a conscript. He was taken as a prisoner of war by the Russians, and I have a score to settle with you Cossack bastards. 1914 may have been almost a hundred years ago, but I have a long racial-memory. And I’m a vicious S.O.B.

    My new advice is DON’T get a pre-nup!

  11. Brooser Bear says:


    I don’t need a pre-nup, she (as in her family) is wealthier than me and I look nothing like Sol. You got the stats a bit confused though, 78% of all marriages, where one of the partners gets a green card through the other, end up in divorce in 2 years, and the situation does not apply to either of us. Pre-nup is for sissies and I plan to take my screwing in divorce court like a man, doubt it will happen, though.

    Racial memory as in genetic memory does not exist. Cro-Magnon has lost the instinct and gained vicarious learning that made the species dominant. Humanity’s development switched tracks and progresses as cultural evolution, which follow Lamarckian, rather than Darwinian principles. As to your cultural identity-politics, I doubt that you are hanging out at the American Legion hall, listening to the Blue Danube and twiddling your mustache…

  12. Neal says:

    @ Brooser Bear,

    Well, you’ll probably be one of the happily-married-till-you-die ones, then. As far as racial memory, yeah, I don’t actually recall World War I, so I wasn’t confused that any such pseudo-science had any validity.

    Interestingly, though, the divorce rate may not be as high as 50-odd percent in 2 years, but my numbers for divorce rates overall… were about right.

    Here’s what the Center for Disease Control says from their government website on divorce statistics:

    Marriage and Divorce
    (Data are for the U.S.)

    Number of marriages: 2,096,000
    Marriage rate: 6.8 per 1,000 total population
    Divorce rate: 3.6 per 1,000 population (44 reporting States and D.C.)

    According to my calculations that leaves… 3.6 out of 6.8 = >52.94+%. Which is worse than I thought, for first marriages, just takes longer.

    Here’s a quote from a site they link to:

    “In the 1995 NSFG, this type of measure was used to show that 50% of all women’s first marriages end in separation or divorce after 20 years (6). Similarly, the 2002 NSFG showed about one-third of men’s first marriages ended in divorce after 10 years…”

    So my numbers for about 50%, seem to be born out. When you sue her rich family, you’ll be on easy street. They won’t have two rubles left to rub together, and you’ll be swan diving into pools filled with Zolotoe Kolco.

  13. Brooser Bear says:

    Marrid till death doth us part is the idea, and happily is certainly the hope, but it takes a lot of work to maintain a good relationship, and it’s not easy living with another person after a lifetime of really nice solitude, we are talking plenty of space, picture windows looking out on trees, never a need for room-mates, a damn awesome bachelor pad. Of course, loneliness of confirmed bachelorhood, like pain, physical or emotional, can bring it down to pure misery, and it doesn’t help that melancholy is a common cold of the mind, and there are plenty of lonely people in long term relationships, it is still a itch that needs to be scratched, AND IN THE OTHER CORNER – doubts gnawing on your soul to sabotage your own best efforts, writers blocks and your best creative efforts side-tracked into oblivion, gym partners stopping calling you and generally, your personal life on hold… positive mind, steadfastness of purpose, and keen awareness, that when dancing with devil, the devil don’t change, you do! Common wisdom not worth a penny green with algae, states that it is futile change the other person in a relationship, but modern people following that advice or trying to change each other have forgotten all about the transformative power of love, and, come to think of it, loving is a skill, most people are lacking today, so I guess that common wisdom about relationships holds in the absence of love.

    You are correct, the divorce rates in the US that don’t involve immigration issues are around 50%. Pre-nups are strangely popular among people who don’t have estates to lose, bordering on urban legends about tough NCO’s, who eat their guns after they cone home to find the soon to be ex-wife and her new boyfriend, she counts the three kids they have, saying 17.5%, 17.5%, 17.5% (portion of the income going to child support), we will be living in your house and you will be paying for us!!!! Tearful widow would be ex-wife later crying to the police: oh noooo….. I didn’t know he was going to get that upset….. Guess the new beau of hers will have to get a job or two…

    I don’t think mine is a suing type, though, and it’s strictly greenbacks, not rubles. She is farm-raised by brothers, and with her I have more to fear from the bats and bike chains of her brothers going ape and I am not lifting swords against my family.

  14. Morzas says:

    Jesus Christ, that’s all ONE comment?

  15. Neal says:

    Lemme guess… our buddy “Jorge” is one of the Sputnik spam-bots? Extremely vague comments about ‘enjoying the information,’ ‘superb blog and amazing design and style,’ without anything specific as to why ‘he’ enjoys it.

  16. Neal says:

    It’s been a while since Justin posted anything. There were all those commentaries on Monte Cook’s game, and now… silence. Maybe he’s had to find honest-paying work, and given up blogging? “I want an extra large with pepperoni and anchovies in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free, right?”


    With all these Numenera commentaries done, could you write some commentaries on games/products/books/articles, like: Runequest, Call of Cthulhu, Unseen Armies, Gamma World, Morrow Project, Mouse Guard, The Dying Earth rpg, Wilderlands, Jorune, Stonehell, The Dungeon Alphabet, Jon Peterson’s “Playing at the World,” anything on the Edward E. Simbalist article that I can’t find any data for: “Monsters Are People, Too,” anything related to the Old School Renaissance?

    Those would provide some interesting insights, no doubt. Previously you had articles about 4.0 , before it came out. Does anyone in the industry keep you posted, or are you hearing anything about 5.0? They did seem to keep you in the loop about 3.0 before it came out. What do you think WotC should be including in this, one of the many, many, yet to come D&D iterations, that is intentionally designed to never get it right, as that would end the cycle of obsolescence?

    Rob Kuntz, was of the opinion we’d eventually see a D&D 10e, if D&D still had an audience, that many years down the line. It seems absolutely to be an obvious prediction, given this business model. The record companies have to force people to change from vinyl to CDs and onwards with improved, or at least altered technology. The paper and pencil rpg industry, has to find excuses to get people to buy the same technology of printed words on bound paper, over and over, by creating an endless stream of new editions to ‘fix the problems’ and ‘take our time to get it right.’

    Greg Costikyan and others, have voiced some of their frustrations about the “iniquities” in the rpg industry, and that it often appeals with insipid formulaic junk to many gamers whom some of it’s designers have actually stated they have contempt for: ” Death To the Games Industry (Long Live Games).” Would you agree or disagree with any of the general line of these thinkers? I’m curious on your take on these things, given some of your similar comments about WotC having a history of dishonesty and being documented as ‘lying through it’s teeth.’

    If the industry was held to higher standards of conduct, would this improve the quality of the games they were expected to offer us, with only a few iterations allowed to ‘correct’ any errata?

  17. Neal says:

    @ Justin,

    That article above, by Costikyan goes after the computer rpg industry, which is another target of his ire. He did write the game: “Violence,” as Designer X, which showed some of his attitudes about many gamers; which anyone can find as a free pdf you can download online, if they’re interested:

    Other critics of the industry were Berg and Dunnigan, and Costikyan on the introduction to that above linked game, mentions their comments:

    “Welcome to Violence TM You Degraded Turd. After many years of laboring in the vineyards of game design, holding aloft the Platonic ideal of what the Ars
    Ludorum can achieve, and working for the time when
    game design shall achieve its place among the pantheon
    of Muses—that fabled 21st-century day when games
    shall be universally acknowledged as the premier form
    of the age, as the 20th century acknowledged film and
    the 19th century the novel—I have come to an unutterably
    grim and depressing realization.

    You puerile adolescent- and post-adolescent scum
    don’t give a tinker’s cuss. Berg was right, when he told
    me, lo these many years ago, that there’s no point in trying
    to write a good set of rules because you idiots can’t
    tell the difference between a good set and a bad set anyway.
    Actually, one is better off writing a bad set of rules,
    because it will take you lot longer to figure out that the
    game itself is an unutterable gobbler.

    Dunnigan had the industry dead to rights when he said
    that games that sold were always about NATO, Nukes, or
    Nazis. Or rather, he was wrong only because he was talking
    about wargaming; the basic sensibility remains.

    Games are about violence. Oh, not Go, say, or Bridge,
    but the kind of games that fly in the dog’s vomit we gaily
    call the Gaming Industry. From D&D® to Mortal Kombat®
    to Quake® to Metal Gear Solid®; from the electronicallyroaring
    arcade to the blaring TV speakers of the console
    gamer, from the tabletops of FRP to the snow-draped
    forests of paint-ball, from the hooligan-crowded stadiums
    of English football to the smash-ups of NASCAR racing,
    from the PKers of online gaming to the hyperkinetic
    spasms of real-time strategy, it’s what really cleans your
    clock, isn’t it? What gets your blood moving? What elicits
    voyeuristic glee? The spray of blood, the intestines spilling
    spaghetti-like onto the ground, the coarse death-rattle
    of your foes.”….

    He has lots more to say, and I’ll let you guys read the introduction from that linked pdf. He’s vulgar, but thoughtful. Certainly Berg’s comments on badly written sets of overly complex rules match my own observations, and it sounds like the iterations of D&D we keep seeing. Any thoughts, Justin?

  18. Brooser Bear says:


    NATO, Nukes, and nazis? It’s on the money. Complexity is elegance, if you get the higher mathematics, or at least the reasoning behind a good set of rules. I write my own rules to run my own game, and out in the real world I dictate the rules of engagement to my opponents and they have no choice but to go along. That’s called combination play in Chess.

    What’s your point in calling Justin out on the carpet? I play and blog D&D for fun. Most other D&D blog is run by current and former writers trying to promote the hobby so that they can sell their own products. In a way, fantasy role-playing gaming is the pulp fantasy and science fiction of today, except that authors of pulp books of yesteryear were progressive intellectuals writing for young adults. I don’t know about the WoTC authors, but most gamers I come across are neither progressive, nor particularly intellectual.

  19. Neal says:

    @ Brooser Bear,

    I’m not calling out Justin on the carpet. I’m calling out Wizards of the Coast, and some other gaming corporations, on the carpet. WotC, is a group whom Justin has also accused of disreputable behavior.

    I’m asking for his take as a free-lance insider, on how the industry would be improvable if more people held these mega-corps to their promises, or insisted that they produce quality products, rather than endless ‘upgrades,’ on something that was Intentionally designed badly, to ensure gamers would need to buy it all over, again.

    Maybe, there should be a movement to collect signatures on the idea that gamers pay for books once, get listed as lifetime members, and any upgrades had to be sent for free, via PDF? Call their bluff, that they are doing these upgrades as a favor to you.

  20. Neal says:

    @ Brooser Bear,

    “I don’t know about the WoTC authors, but most gamers I come across are neither progressive, nor particularly intellectual.”

    Hmm, most of the people I knew from gaming were the types that were into reading science fiction, science fantasy, fantasy books. Right there, you are dealing with people that read for entertainment, which tends towards higher IQs and some slight aspirations towards the intellect as a start. I’ve met some idiot gamers, but most seem to be smarter and better self-educated than average, even if they don’t have formal degrees. Most of them were progressive types, too. I don’t think my experience is unusual in that regard.

    “I write my own rules to run my own game, and out in the real world I dictate the rules of engagement to my opponents and they have no choice but to go along. That’s called combination play in Chess.”

    How do you dictate the rules of engagement to your opponents in the real world? Are you in the Russian Mafia, or is it worse… you extort money from people with a law degree?

  21. Brooser Bear says:


    Don’t knock the tort law. It makes the qaulity of consumer goods in the US what it is today, superior to those sold in the rest of the world. The only reason that Volvo is built to the higher safety standard than the cars destined to the US markets, is because if Volvo engineers make an unsafe car (say like Ford Pinto), and somebody burns to death in it, those responsible for bringing the unsafe car to the market in Scandinavia will be held criminally accountable, will be prosecuted and will have to live in the prison system for a while.

    Will you get off the Russian Mafia, already? I took the oath to defend the US Constitution from all enemies, foreign, and domestic, not once, not twice, but THREE times! And I practice law not to extort money, but to see to it that Justice is done in the Court of Law on behalf of People, btw the old Soviet charging documents started too, People vs the offender so and so… guess that makes me a Paladin or something…

    Anyway, I know a lot of people with high IQ’s who read their way through the Lord of the Rings for entertainment and never go the wiser for the colonialist/racist underpinnings of Tolkien’s writings. Compare that with the ghost writers, who ghost written the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries in the 1920’s and before and the folks who did the radio theater of Flash Gordon etc. For that matter compare the personal politics of Franz Lieber (Grey Mouser) a scion of the theatrical family of German pacifists, who fled the growing militarism of their homeland with the royalist conservatism of JRR Tolkien, who drank from the same fountain as Wagner, and whose dreams of the mythical Golden age of the Western Europe were hijacked and perverted by nazis. If you can, find an interview that Tolkien gave on the subject. I mean, the man was almost brought to tears by what the nazi ideology did to his dream.

    Anyway, I don’t like WOTC myself. I think that they are slick, and thoroughly commercialized. They turned the game into the pencil and paper version of the Diablo to shift the marketing appeal to the younger and younger audience. The bigger problem is that they have overshadowed the developments in Indie role playing games, which cater to adults and have moved beyond the AD&D style of wargaming. I have not seen any evidence that WoTC deliberately released products with planned obsolescence. Of particular interest, however, is that an awesome and intellectually engaging CRPG like Planescape Torment was a poor seller and for that reason did not rate a sequel at the time that it was released.

  22. Neal says:

    @ Brooser Bear,

    I haven’t dealt with any tort law attorneys. In principle, having tort law for criminally negligently made cars that burn people to death sounds great to me. I’m against the rest of the legal industry that has used it’s money to get a 1 year statute of limitations imposed for it’s members’ misconduct, among other crimes. Pediatricians, for example, can be sued by a patient’s family (regardless of whether there is any merit to a frivolous lawsuit) from the patient’s age as a fetus, until the age of 21 years later. There’s no way that so many other (all?) industries should have longer statutes of limitations on criminal misconduct/ malpractice than the legal industry does. This is just aristocratic privilege bought and paid for. I’m sure you morally don’t support one group having these privileges, no one else is afforded, to the great detriment of the entire rest of a citizen republic.

    Any reason we can’t have rules for torts like they do in Scandinavia? (Sweden, at least)…

    As for Tolkien being conservative, yeah he was. He loved England, but didn’t like the larger identity of Britain, which contained Scotland. If he was drinking from the same fountain as Wagner, I’d be surprised. Wagner’s fountain probably said “Whites Only,” and Tolkien demonstrated a better if not perfect attitude. While Wagner, was slanderously jealous of Meyerbeer, was a rabid proto-Nazi, and whose music and thinking may have been hugely instrumental in setting the tone for the later nazi party to be inspired by and build upon, Tolkien took a different route. During Germany’s days of nazification, prior to WWII, Tolkien was publishing The Hobbit in Germany. A German bureaucrat sent him a request for information, noting Tolkien’s German last name, wanting to know if he ‘was of Aryan heritage, and not Jewish.’ Tolkien wrote back that it was none of the official’s impertinent business, and that as far as he was concerned the Jews were a people of great talents. Which would make sense for a thoughtful man, since he was a Catholic who worshipped the Jewish rabbi, Joshua of Nazareth.

    “For that matter compare the personal politics of Franz Lieber (Grey Mouser) a scion of the theatrical family of German pacifists, who fled the growing militarism of their homeland”…

    I’ve only read a bit of Fritz Lieber and plan to read more, and hadn’t known his family were pacifists who fled Germany. By the way, that side of my family aren’t fans of “Blue Danube,” they lived in the larger Austro-Hungarian empire, but they weren’t austrians. I think by the end of the empire, it was a “dual-monarchy” at best, and there were something like 11 official languages spoken within its borders.

    I’d agree that WotC has turned their versions of D&D into a paper and pencil version of computer games target marketed at 13-16 year olds.

    Re: Justin’s experiences with WotC being negative, he’s not only called them documented liars, he’s related this in posts on other websites (I think there was one in: DELTA’S D&D HOTSPOT). “Irreparable” April 29, 2011

    His comment is the 7th one down, May 5, 2011.

    In this case, Justin sent in a manuscript listing a new treasure: cursed coins, and their stats for D&D 3e. The editor at Dragon magazine sent a rejection, stating that the numbers for the coins weren’t priced according to the current preferences of WotC design culture, and he needed to rigidly adhere to those preferences. So Justin repriced the magic/cursed coins with the inflated numbers, and the SAME EDITOR sent back a second rejection letter stating the the prices for these treasure items were now too expensive and didn’t make sense! These guys in the larger mindset culture around guidelines, can’t even get their mistaken design-assumptions to match the current rules editions they are using…

  23. Brooser Bear says:

    The reason that you can’t put a CEO in jail in the US, when his or her company kills people through gross negligence, and they do so in Europe, is because of how negligence is criminalized here and in Europe, and also because corporations are considered persons under the US system of law to shield the individuals from the consequences of actions committed by their corporations. If a corporation is responsible for some gross, negligence, say they cut corners and somebody dies, you can not put a corporation in jail, it is not a biological entity, but you can make it pay financial damages. If you want to go after a particular executive, you have to prove criminal intent to show that they knew what they were doing was illegal and that it was going to hurt people, which is extremely difficult. In France, on the other hand, when some AIDS tainted blood got in the blood bank and 256 people died of AIDS as a result of the tainted blood transfusions in 1985, the minister of public health at the time and three other officials were tried and sent to prison, not for long, 4 years, but when have any of the Wall Street types went to prison for gambling with and losing peoples life savings in bad investments? This is one of the reasons that the white collar crime is not punished with jail in the US, the way interpersonal violence against non-family members is dealt with. One argument in favor of the American system is that Europe has socialism and a social safety net, so that you can lock somebody up and the family does not need the blood money for damages, they way families need it in the US, which does not have the comparable safety nets and the survivors of negligence need care for the rest of their lives. Anyway, I fully support the trial lawyers association of America, they keep the corporations and industry in check, even as the corporate world dominates both the public and the political sectors in the US, organized labor has been defeated, and the big business got what it wanted – it gets to police itself, something that it hasn’t been proven capable of. Also, if you get a chance, read Alan Greenspan’s new book, The Map and the Territory.

    Tolkien grew up in colonial South Africa, and even though you are right, Tolkien was neither a racist, nor a Nazi, his writing includes racial assumptions borne of colonial culture, such as racial stereotype as literary character. In South Africa of his time, even before the racist Apartheid that was instituted by the Boers in 1942 with the blessing of the Nazi Germany, you had the British, the German/Dutch, the indigenous people, and immigrants from the Brtitish colonial India, among others, and there existed a colonial hierarchy, that started with the Brits as the culturally supreme, and descended down into a complex social order based on one’s allegiance to the UK and one’s complexion. With Tolkien too, we have a social order with the long lived and magical Elves at the top of the food chain, on down to the worlds of Dwarves, Men, and the sub-human Orcs, who we are told by Tolkien, have Mongoloid Eyes. Incidentally, if you look at any D&D writing from Gygax and on down, you have paragraphs, describing the Elves, Darwes, Halflings, Gnomes, etc, and you have D&D players, using fantasy race as character description. That concept is known as “Race as character”, and is considered stereotype writing when found outside of the fantasy role playing. Incidentally, nazi Germany has produced nazi Jurisprudence, nazi Christianity, nazi Art, during the time that the nazis reigned in Germany, and less well known, nazi Literature. The distinguishing characteristic of nazi literature was the use of ethnic steretypes as character, instead of Elves and Dawrves, however, nazi literature featured heavy set and jolly Bavarians, skinny and aristocratic Prussians, slow witted Poles, money lending Jews, shifty and sneaky Latins and Italians, you get the picture. The high achievement of that writing were the descriptions of the local provincial German color, such as Westphalians etc. Funny how this literary form survives to this day in fantasy role-playing, and both have descended from culture of colonialism.

    BTW, Wizards of the Coast with its D&D is trying to be the Standard Oil of role playing.

  24. Neal says:

    @ Brooser Bear,

    “and the big business got what it wanted – it gets to police itself, something that it hasn’t been proven capable of.”

    The above statement applies equally to the legal industry policing itself, and dismally failing. There’s a good book you should check out, by former Federal Judge, John F. Malloy “Lawyers and Judges in Collusion.” He goes into all the details of the legal industry becoming corrupted by money and power and becoming a ‘bottom line industry.’ He was also a lawyer at one of the top law firms of southern Arizona, so in his words, he was “an insider’s insider.”

    The various state and American Bar associations also get to police themselves, and I have to point out, this is the foxes guarding the hen house. No one has a right to exempt themselves from as lengthy a period of malpractice/misconduct lawsuits, that they inflict on the rest of society. It’s capture-theory corruption at its worst.

    As far as corporations protecting individuals investors or managers from consequences, I was aware of that, and it’s a good thing, as far as it goes. If the heads of the French public health were sent to prison, on the surface of it, it sounds excessive. If there was provable negligence, then ok, throw the bums in prison for a lot longer than 4 years. Doing hard labor. We had chain-gangs brought back a few years ago and they discontinued it, which was a mistake. We’ve got lots of horrible places, like the Mojave Desert, or whatever that prison is in Louisiana in the swamps and heat. Make them break rocks in the sweltering bayous. It’s been commented, that if we’d put a few of the characters on Wall Street into prisons for just 6 months, you’d have much more compliance with Prudent Man rules of investing other people’s money. Instead we have perverse incentives to mismanage money for short term profits with extreme levels of unsustainable risk, and if they lose, there’s no clawbacks of bonuses, or other financial or legal consequences. Way more prisons with hard labor and long sentences.

  25. Brooser Bear says:


    The legal profession might be corrupt as politics, but the issue at hand is that big business is currently wielding a lot more influence on everyday life in America today than the legal profession with all its awards for damages and class action lawsuits. Big business gives a lot of money simultaneously to both parties, while the Trial Lawyers Association of America supports the Democrats only. Tort (suit for financial compensation for damages) Law Reform is strictly a Republican/big business agenda.

    With regards to the Wall Street gambling away the life savings of Main Street, you have to thank the 30+ years of deregulation, starting with the repeal of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, done under Reagan’s administration. As a result of that pattern, almost all of the food you will consume in the US today is sold to you by one only ten mega food corporations sharing members on each others’ board of directors, and a result of the similar deregulation on Wall Street, the investment bankers were diversifying their clients money into what they THOUGHT were five or six investment options, which turned out to be the same high risk derivatives that were masked to look like different types of investments, which lead to one of the recent banking crises.

    Anyway, in this corporate shell game, which is stacked against you, a good ambulance chaser is your best hope in the current environment. So, I wouldn’t touch the power of the legal profession in today’s environment. We have an adversarial system of justice, which in practice means, that when you have someone like Elliott Spitzer effectively policing Wall Street, he WILL BE discredited over some personal peccadillos and WILL be run out of the office. I have no problem with it, all par for the course, but I will make sure that lawyers keep all their power.

    I don’t think that the French officials got too much jail time, and four years in a minimum security prison is abut what Wayward wall street brokers get, when they go to prison for stealing your money. What you need to do, is change the law, so that corporations are not seen as person under the law and money is not viewed as a form of free speech.

    Finally, most people get the criminal justice and rehabilitation all wrong. Any kind of loss of freedom is a punishment that interrupts your life reduces you to doing time. Conditions in American prisons are much better than most people think and the burden is much heavier than it seems. Another misconception is that labor camps were invented as some sort of punishment. That some of the Soviet labor camps became stalin’s death camps is a tragedy and was never the intent as the nazi death camps were. When communists took over Russia, they came up with the idea of socialist rehabilitation through labor. Facing a lot of problems over there that face the families of the incarcerated in the US today, the soviet communists sought to keep the families of the incarcerated together, break the cycle of poverty that incarceration brings, cut the underworld out of the picture, and reintegrate the former inmates into society. In a way, the story of the Soviet Kolyma devolved much like the American Alcatraz. Alcatraz was the cutting edge prison that used the best food, best doctors and best knowledge at the time to cure criminals of their criminality. The incarceration at Alcatraz was more a mind game than the starvation and physical abuse at the Nazi concentration camps, but men, who served time at Alcatraz were traumatized by the incarceration there, and came out more angry and violent than before. The Soviets, on the other hand, have decided to rehabilitate through labor. In a nutshell, criminal inmates would be offered a chance to make a lot of money mining gold in the arctic region. Those, who were willing, had to pass the medical exam, would be properly outfitted for the cold, and would spend their prison time in an Arctic labor camp, where 4 years would count as 5. They would be paid the prevailing wage for working in the Arctic mines, which was a lot of money compared to the average wage at the time in Russia proper. The cost of incarceration would be deducted from the inmates wages, and a large amount of what they made would be sent home as restitution to their victims and to support their families, so that their wives and children can live comfortably while their husbands were locked up. They could honestly say that their men are working up north and would not have to depend on the underworld for any support. After they served their time, the former inmates could settle the North and keeping the full wages, or they can go back home and use their newly developed skills to find good paying work, having been rehabilitated through labor. This all came to a screeching halt, when one day in 1935-1937 a camp warden received a group of former government officials and party bosses, who were out of shape for had labor, had no winter clothing to survive the cold, and had no medical clearance for labor in the arctic. He sent an alarmed telegram to Moscow, warning them that these inmates would not survive the winter, was recalled to Moscow, and shot. The next warden asked no questions. There was no question of paying nay wages to political inmates and Kolyma turned into a Stalinist death camp. The unintended consequence of these events that the actual productivity in the prison gold mines was very, very low, and the use of slave labor in the 20th century Soviet Russia precluded any implementation of any labor saving technology, as it did in ancient Rome.

    A somewhat similar perversion of criminal justice happened in the US in 1990’s across the board. One example, New Jersey had a highly successful JUPITER program for the violent juvenile offenders, who were supposed to go away into prison and stay in and out of them for the next twenty years. JUPITER assigned probation officers to monitor the juveniles every move. They were supposed to attend high school, then play sports, attend church clubs, after school programs, extra-curricular activities, home-work groups. They could not hand out on the street corner, associate with their old friends or spend the night outside their home. The rest of the time they were under house arrest, and any violation meant incarceration for the rest of the prison term. After they finished high school, these offenders left the home town either to go to college or by enlisting in the armed forces. The program was a smashing success. There was almost zero recidivism. In the end Christie Todd Whitman was elected a Republican governor. She donned an army helmet, a flak jacket, posed in front of a police car with lights flashing, babbled something about being tough on crime and not cuddling “young punks”, got elected governor, and promptly got rid of the JUPITER program and the office of the New Jersey Environmental Prosecutor (the enforcement arm of the NJ EPA), citing lack of funds and cost cutting. I am not sure if the suburbanite middle class envy played any part in it, but the JUPITER kids had in the end better life chances than an average suburban kid, whose parents are paying off mortgages and are substituting television and video games for parental supervision.

  26. Neal says:

    @ Brooser Bear,

    Interesting stuff, you’re mentioning here. Some of it, I have my doubts about, but most of it is new to me and informative.

    “The legal profession might be corrupt as politics…”

    From personal experience, I know this to be a fact. I’d go further, and say the legal industry is as corrupt if not more so than practicing politicians, who are also, almost always former practicing attorneys in this country. In China, for example, politicians have better chances of being former engineers, military officers, or professors.

    As far as the Trial Lawyers’ Lobby only giving money to Democrats, I’d never heard of that claim. Officially, that’s probably true, and unofficially, through 3rd party negotiations, where everything is hinted at, if not overtly agreed upon, I’m sure they give money to Caiman Island bank accounts for Republicans, that are untraceable to their original source. There’s too much money and power at stake not to give to the other half of the power brokers that get into office every other election cycle on average. Or maybe 2 4-year presidential cycles one party, and then 2 4-year cycles for the other. It’s 50% of the time for each party in the long run.

    As far as Elliott Spitzer, I’m sure he was a manipulative over-bearing jerk in personal dealings, but he was doing some good, when not taking bribes or sleeping with hookers. You’re right, he was going to be investigated and destroyed for challenging the powers that be. Here’s a question for you, why isn’t the Trial Lawyers’ Lobby, or any group of lawyers bringing a class action lawsuit and a newsletter writing campaign to challenge Wall Street, as Spitzer did? Why isn’t every lawyer writing letters to their local 5 newspapers, every day, talking about how they’ll volunteer their time to pursue this? Call it pro bono work, that is more than window dressing, that ensures the system continues as before.

    “…Wall Street, the investment bankers were diversifying their clients money into what they THOUGHT were five or six investment options, which turned out to be the same high risk derivatives that were masked to look like different types of investments, which lead to one of the recent banking crises.”

    I’ve done more than my share of investments and these massively overpaid investment bankers, mutual fund managers, financial analysts, etc are none of them this NAIVE. They are all part of a good-old-boy’s network of collusion, corruption and privilege. They all belong in prison for massive financial fraud and conspiracy. Same goes for the bullion banks and the FED, manipulating the values of currency and precious metals.

    As far as 30+ years of regulation beginning with Reagan, well, yes it did. And the worst of the financial crisis began with Clinton, who repealed the Glass-Stegall Act, which kept those corrupt Investment Bankers from taking people’s personal savings/checking accounts and putting them into unconscionably high-risk high-return guaranteed-to-bust bubble ‘investments.’ The perverse incentive is that these CEO’s expect to be out of that office in 5 years on average, and they reap the money while they can, till they’re replaced. Then they get a golden-parachute from the interlocking directorship board members, who expect a quid pro quo from other boards, when their turn comes to be fired for accidental (intentional) incompetence/mismanagement. Everyone is part of the same club, and the public gets screwed.

    If the French heads of the Health Board KNEW there was a risk, or should reasonably have known, then, yes… put them in prison. Lots longer than 4 years. Should they have known there was this big AIDS risk?

    Why are American prisons better than people think? If they’re “better” than we think they are, then we’re spending too much money on them, and we should be cutting back on privileges they enjoy to spend the money on the deserving. Or at least on getting potential future criminal-kids towards a better lifestyle before they become unteachable.

    I’d never heard any of this stuff about JUPITER, or the gulags being planned out. JUPITER sounds good, without knowing any of the details. Reform through labor sounds like a socialist-paradise kind of idea, and I think studies show that convicts are almost always unreformable. You can warehouse them until they’re too old to harm people, that’s about it. Seems psychopaths have a change in brain chemistry around 50+ years, and become less violent, if they were violent to begin with. Most of the violent convicts aren’t sociopaths, but react with violence when feeling threatened. The car-thieves, pimps, drug-dealers, addicts, etc, are messed up people and aren’t going to be reformed. The pimps are active psychopaths, and batterers, so I’d lock them up till age 70, or so. Society’s dregs.

    As far as Alcatraz producing angry people, I kind of doubt that’s the whole story. I live near Alcatraz and as a kid we’d go there for birthday parties, etc. Get locked in the cells, that kind of thing. Alcatraz was the prison for the worst of the worst, almost without exception. Al Capone was there. This was a guy who wasn’t angry because he was sent to Alcatraz, but like the rest of them, was that way before he went inside. Capone was known to have business competitors kidnapped and he’d have a drink. When finished, he’d shatter the whiskey glass, grind it in their faces, and then have his thugs throw them out of a high story window to their deaths. Alcatraz was like the Ultra-Max prisons of today. Horrible gang leaders and violent monsters were put here, so they couldn’t run their operations from prison, or harm anyone.

    If JUPITER generated class envy of tax payers, I’m not sure how you can address that. Most people are deeply irrational and easy prey for demagogues working against their long term sustainable interests. Which is one big reason why so much of history, and our own society is so messed up and never gets fixed.

    By the way, where is our supreme leader, Justin? The guy’s been AWOL for weeks. You don’t suppose they got a new inmate in the super-max’s do you? “Don’t give that Justin guy a whiskey glass!”

  27. Brooser Bear says:

    Hmmm, where to begin? Violent offenders tend to mature and become non-violent family providers at 37. Fact that can not be explained by science. 37 is also the cut off age for becoming a cop. Reason for that lies in actuarial statistics. 37 is also known as “maturation age” after which it is a safe bet to parole most people out of prison, except those who become cop-killers. Another mystery of life: a few certain men age 37 and above decide to kill a police officer. They usually set up an ambush and shoot an unsuspecting police officer, usually walking to answer a call. The age 50 or 65+ is the old age in which sex offenders can re-offend, since they are incurable except that there is a type of group therapy called T-type encounter group, which keeps predatory pedophiles out of trouble. Originally set up to keep the post traumatic Vietnam veterans from losing their mind, this type of therapy can also be used to keep the psychopaths honest. You have to pick the experienced therapist for this program to work, of course, and this is beyond the expertise level of most Judiciary systems.

    Reform through labor is not a socialist pipe-dream. A lot of violent offenders, those who get 15-20 years in prison are given every chance to grow up and make something of themselves. You get a six week prison orientation course when you get to where you will serve your sentence, in good facilities, you get a single room-mate, and ID badge, and a magnetic key card that gives you privacy in your room, and the only ones with access are the corrections officers. Eventually everyone grows up and starts getting their act together. Cut now with the reign of the conservatives, you have your chance at union-trade training and advanced degrees and helpful parole officers that will give you the best chance at a living wage when you get out. We are talking jobs like shipyard welder, crane operator etc. Most parole boards know what they are doing and former prisoners get released in an environment where they can sustain themselves economically better than the average suburban C student. Again, this goes both ways. I have seen mature white felons, probably former trustees get good job placement and I seen younger black and brown former gang members not being able to get any jobs because of their prison time.

    You are mistaken about Al Capone and Alcatraz. Al Capone was not the enforcer, his brother was. Alcatraz was a hard prison, not like a modern super-max where you are isolated in a concrete tomb, but actually like a medium security state pen, where the cells are massed in tiers and there was the constant noise of humanity. Inmates got good food and hard physical labor, though meaningless, breaking big rocks into little rocks. They had good warm clothes for working in the outside. Problem was, they were institutionalized without Vaseline, with a boot-camp like head-game to break them down, so that they can be rehabilitated. They were stripped humiliatingly, and even medical treatment (that was ahead of its time), was done with the military regimentation to make it seem humiliating. Great Depression and dust bowl crooks got their teeth fixed by dentists, and venereal disease, endemic in the underworld on both sides of the iron curtain at the time, was treated. A lot of cons had untreated gonorrhea, which interfered with their ability to urinate and their prostate. Incidentally, Peter the Great died from the urinary tract blockage caused by the gonorrhea generated scar tissue. One of the therapies was for the prison doctor to massage the inflamed prostate gland and to dislodge the pus in it. This was done by traditional means with the finger up the behind, and apparently most inmates did not comprehend what was being done to them and reacted to it as if it was sexual abuse. You might want to look at Al Capone’s time at Alcatraz. He was not the man you think he was, the prison experience broke him and speeded the onset of syphillis caused dementia. What broke him were his fellow inmates, who resented his wealth and his desire to shelter himself, and who dogged and bullied him to no end. Don’t give Al that whiskey glass, indeed, but that was likely another myth, just like the myth about white slavery that circulated around that time. BTW, the beer that Al Capone’s organization sold during the Prohibition would be unrecognizable as beer by anyone today. Brewed by the real master brewers from Pilsen, Czech, it was 1/3 Pilsner beer, 1/3 Lemonade, and 1/3 grain alcohol.

  28. Neal says:

    @ Brooser,

    More interesting stuff. I’ve been reading a book about Peter the Great, on and off, so that’s an odd synchronicity. I’d assumed he died from drinking himself to death, rather than a urinary tract blockage due to gonorrhea. I haven’t finished the book, yet, so even though it was almost 300 odd years ago, he’s still alive at this point. But, never goes to sleep sober.

    I’d never heard of the 37 year old maturation date. Don’t know anything about actuarial statistics for cops, but I guess the authorities figure hiring them after that point is overly expensive, considering the years of service vs. the retirement benefits they get. I do know that sociopaths tend to have some kind of biochemical change around age 50, which is poorly understood, where, if they were violent, they become much less so. Not always, but, it’s typical. They’re still bastards that have no problem scamming and verbally abusing people, but the worst ones are less likely to beat and murder you.

    As far as Capone having his other brothers working for him, he did, including, “Bottles,” who ran his legal and illegal bottling plants for booze. If one of his other brothers was an enforcer, that doesn’t make Al, a wilting violet. Capone may not have gone to people’s houses to personally shoot them, but he was known as a hot-head, as evidenced by his behavior at the meeting in Atlantic City, and his threats made to people.

    I’ve been to Alcatraz, lots of times, on tours. There may have been the noise of humanity, but they were in enforced silence at all times, like monks. Capone who wasn’t meek and mild, when he got there, decided he was going to the head of the line. Some psycho murderer, didn’t like that, and told him to go to the end of the line. Capone, being aggressive, told him “Do you know who I am?” and the other convict grabbed some scissors and jammed them against his throat and told Capone, something along the lines of “I don’t care who you are, but I’m gonna know who you WERE.” So, Capone didn’t have backup and couldn’t throw his weight around. But, he was a tiny guy, and was physically aggressive enough to try to bully hardened murderers, where he was by himself. That suggests, he wasn’t above personally jamming broken glass in somebody’s face, when he had power, money, politicians and lawyers doing his bidding, and a room full of thugs, with some guy tied to a chair in his office. He may have sent his brother into dangerous gunfire, but I have no doubt that Capone personally, tortured and killed people with his own hands, in his own environments. There certainly isn’t anything that supports he was too lily-white to do such a thing, and his conduct and psychopathy would suggest he wouldn’t shrink from it. At Atlantic City, he was known to be an angry guy, insisting on his rights.

    If Alcatraz speeded up his demise, he had Neurosyphilus, and he didn’t have thugs backing him up. So, yeah, that would be highly possible. He was no longer in his element with thugs backing him up, and he’d lost control of most of his empire, which during prohibition was bringing in $100,000,000 a year! As a comparison, when he was about 24, or so, he bought a modest house for about $4,000. If inflation in today’s prices makes a modest house in most parts of the U.S. something like $100,000 , then that’s a 25:1 rate of inflation. Back of the envelope figures. So, $100 MM, would be $2.5 B gross. I don’t know what he netted from that, but you can bet it was huge. Today, he’d be a billionaire gangster, or worth 10’s of billions, after a few years of investments in property, stocks, piles of cash buried in the woods, etc.
    If convicts are given training from 15-20 years of hard labor, that sounds good to me. If it doesn’t rehabilitate them, then it warehouses them till they become less likely to be violent. If they’re still violent till age 90, at least they are removed from committing crimes for the duration of their sentencing, which reduces crime on the street, and when they come out, they’re less capable of harming people, effectively. If the time in prison actually last LONG enough to do some good by getting them past 37 years, and they mature, then that’s great. Incarcerate them until at least age 37, and everyone is happier. Make sure they do lots of labor, and if possible give them training for a job that does them good and society good.

    Wasn’t aware that the pilsner brewers worked for the beer prohibitioners, nor that it had lemonaide and grain alcohol. Sounds kind of weird tasting.

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