Wasn’t This Resolved in the 80’s?

Some days, media melts my brain. Like when an author does his level best to effectively say that engaging with tabletop RPG games is questionable conduct:

[Judge Clark Allen Peterson] has posted game-related messages under his own name thousands of times, accompanied by a depiction of Orcus, a character described as a bloated, 15-foot-tall demon with ram-like horns, bat wings and a long tail with a poisonous tip […].

Peterson chats casually with other game enthusiasts, punctuating many posts with smiley emoticons. He offers lengthy advice on game rules and design elements, and he has plugged products from Seattle-based Legendary Games, a publishing venture he founded.

I had the hardest time finding a representative quote for the article, since by and large it’s a long, fairly haphazard compilation of facts which are essentially this judge has a hobby we find nonstandard. Litigants who are upset with the results of their cases contend “[t]his activity shows a level of immaturity,” because “[h]ad this judge been doing his job instead of playing games, his mind somewhere else, he would probably have done the right thing along the line.”

Was he rolling dice while on the bench? Did I miss the part where judges don’t get to be human beings when they aren’t presiding over a case?

With the title “Kootenai County judge’s job, fantasy game hobby blur together,” it’s fairly clear what the angle is here. That it’s an angle which wasn’t particularly compelling 30 years ago doesn’t seem to hinder anyone. After exceptionally brief stops to note that the judge has had financial and marital problems during the same period (because, really, that kind of thing is incidental when it comes to the impact on a person, right?), the author plows right in developing a case for just how obsessively this monster game has taken over Peterson’s life:

Peterson has posted more than 2,860 times on Paizo’s forum over the past nine years. Since he joined the bench, about 370 of his Paizo comments were posted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on days that state records show him at work

Literally thousands of posts about this game! It’s clearly taken over his entire life! Big numbers = concern!

Or, we could maybe do a little math, and realize that, over nine years, that turns into an average of 0.87 posts per day. According to the article, Peterson joined the bench in March, 2010, which turns that disturbing 370 into 0.4 posts per workday. Message board posts, mind you, which are often only a few sentences long. So, you know, about how long it takes most people to check the weather on a work break each day OH MY GOD THE NATION IS ADDICTED TO WEATHER!

Yeah, so maybe we stop waving the Demon Games Have Corrupted Justice signs, shall we? I mean, would this painfully overlong article even exist if the judge had been playing fantasy football instead?

(via EN World)

McMath

There are a lot of points worth discussing in the ongoing debate about the minimum wage, especially as it relates to the nation’s fast food workers. But when faced with questions about wage policies, what’s the response of the company’s president?:

“I’ve been here 40 years.”

Let’s give the man the benefit of the doubt, and take his response as an actual answer. He must, then, be trying to let the 10 year employee asking the question know that the real income growth comes in the next 30 years. So, let’s see: our questioner is making $8.25 an hour. If we assume she’s actually getting a full 40 hours a week, that’s around $17,160 a year she’s making now.

According to Bloomberg, Stratton’s predecessor made a clean 2.15 million for a salary. It’s likely safe to assume Stratton’s making somewhere in the same neighborhood.1

So, good news, Nancy! Over the next 30 years, you should expect raises of about $71,000 a year. Amazing! Everyone needs to shut the stuff up about McDonald’s: they have the sweetest deal ever. Manage to make it through a decade in poverty, and you have super-awesome money just waiting. Jeff Stratton just revealed the real secret sauce.

(via Upworthy)

1. Given that Stratton has the advantage of that extra bit between the legs that earns someone about 25% more each year, he’s likely making more than his female predecessor, but for the sake of argument, we’ll pretend that’s not relevant

Sneaky Math

I’m generally a Word Guy. Sometimes I’m a Picture Guy. What I am almost never is a Math Guy. Numbers don’t like me. Or, my brain isn’t a fan of theirs, and they haven’t done much to endear themselves to me. Doing math is a lot like one of those horrible “hidden picture” 3-D art doohickeys that used to be so popular that stores in the mall and whole subplots in a Kevin Smith movie were dedicated to them. Everyone else sees the boat and wanders off; I’m stuck turning my head sideways for another several hours.

You’d think, though, that word problems would be helpful. I know words quite well. Okay, I know English words quite well, with a teeny-tiny subset of French and Latin words that haven’t expatriated themselves from my faulty memory.

“Look: we’re words! You love us!” calls the word problem. And like a dog that always falls for the “want a treat?” tomfoolery when you want to get him out from under the bed, I toddle on in with a dumb grin on my face. Words! Yay!

There’s a weak narrative, but it doesn’t look too long, so we’ll just keep going. But wait. See, all of a sudden trains and relatives and fruit aren’t any of those things. And then not only do I have to do math, I have to translate it out of language first. What the hell? I was all comfortable and reading and now what do you mean I have to solve you?

Hateful, traitorous word problems. Fie on you, I say. A hundred times fie.

Dammit, now I have to figure out what a hundred times fie equals.