The Bran Report

It's good for parts of you that you'd probably rather not think about.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hey America!

Congratulations on your return to being a centre-right democracy!

I am drunk and have to be a t work in seven hours! WOO GO BAD LIFE DECISIONS WOO

Friday, November 10, 2006

It's a delicacy among my people

Not six hours I made a post about having a poor night's sleep. Now I am sat here, reading comics while chowing down on a big ol' hunk of cheese, unadorned with any of your fancy-pants bread or crackers. Just cheese. Also, to wash it down, I have instant coffee.

What is wrong with me guys.

The Crass Knife

A few days ago, Andrea brought home a new kitchen knife. I haven't slept since.

At first I thought "Cool, it's molded from one piece of steel" and thought no more about it. Later that day, though, I needed to cut up a turnip I found by the road which will hold off starvation another week. As soon as my fingers touched the silver handle, I knew something was wrong.

Steel, and anything else natural, has mass and experiences friction. This blade does neither, it just falls through turnips as if they weren't there. Although I think it would fall if you lifted it and let go, that might be a bluff.

It is flawlessly silver and is made from one piece, as if grown. The blade is so flat that it does not reflect any light, not even diffuse light, except when it's at the precise angle of reflection. It is like a shard of obsidian used in some forgotten human sacrifice. Unsettled, I threw it into the draw and resolved to eat everything from now on using only the chopsticks that happened to be on the draining board.

I went into the kitchen that night to get a glass of water. I flicked on the light. It was on the countertop. Balancing on the handle, wobbling slightly, it slowly spun around until the blade pointed at my heart.

I know it's still there.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Religon Week was probably a bad idea anayways

I had a killer post which was pretty much watertight argument against creationism. However, two things happened.

1) A bug in my copy of Avernum III made the end-boss unbeatable and
2) My favourite pen stopped working.

What I'm saying is that I've had my daily fill of frustration and unwinnable fights. Expect a post about cutlery to come your way soon. I'm not joking.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Religion week means hitting easy targets

Time for the next article pulled from that I find risable. I am going to treat it in accordance with that ancient tradition of transcribing passages and my responce to them. I'm going to MST3K it. ("Mystique it?")

If you are already bored by me, then perhaps this is one to skip and so, being the good host that I am, I'm a puttin' it behind a cut. Click here to read on.

Today's object of ridicule isn't just an HTML file, it's apparently also a chapter in a book which suggests a level of commitment to the idea expressed within that I find frankly worrying.

I ehnt going to quote all of it, just the delicious niblets. Feel free to go and read it all if you like, but be advised it has an effect on your brain not unlike working with solvents in a poorly-ventilated room. In summary, the thesis here is that D&D is not collaborative fiction, or a precursor to video games, nor even a popular subsitute for a lovelife but it is, in fact, comprised of rituals for summoning demons.

Stairway to Hell: the well-planned destruction of teens, by Rick James.
Already, the title has given me pause. This guy is going to bad-mouth The Zep, isn't he? I guess this means we're adversaries.

Chapter 10: D & D: Just A Game?

The devil is using many different tools today to trick young people into riding the fast lane down the stairway to hell.

One of the most dangerous and widespread of all those tools is his fantasy role playing game, Dungeons and Dragons.

Produced by Satan in partnership with Hasbro, apprently. I guess this association puts the heat on GI Joe and Monopoly, too.

The headline read, "Boy was driven to kill." A 14-year-old boy who "loved playing the fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons" admitted strangling a 9-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother.

"Timmy, who loved Monopoly, admitted strangling two people".
"Timmy, who loved baseball, admitted strangling two people".
"Timmy, who loved eating ans sleeping, admitted strangling two people".
I could do this all day.
"Adolf, who loved painting and the Bavarian mountains, wrought more suffering than a sane person can comprehend".

What happened? How could a 14-year-old child murder two young children in cold blood for no reason and with no feeling? Simple. He had been playing Dungeons and Dragons for a year and a half and had been a dungeon master for 5 months.
Through D & D, the demons entered his body and drove him to commit the murders.
Yeah, I guess that is a logical connection to make.
I'm not wasting my time reproducing them, but the article is just full of examples along the lines of "Someone played D&D at some point, and later commited a violent crime. COINCIDENCE???" Shootings, stabbings, strangulation... references to boardgames, although D&D has no board... wait, I got it! Rick's thinking of a different Hasbro product..

You say, "I don't believe D & D has anything to so with Satan or religion." Then let's turn to page 25, paragraph 3 of "Deities and Demigods (instruction manual) and see what D & D says about itself. "Serving a deity is a significant part of D & D, and all players should have a patron god."
Alright a), do you mean by this that it is a bad idea to have a patron god? Because I've been inclined to that viewpoint for years now. b) In fact, giving your character a religious heritage is by no means neccesary. Wayland, first-level Paladin, would agree with you except he can't because he's a freakin' fictional character.

I don't believe that any sane person is going to make the category mistake of confusing reality and fantasy.

[A TV network] concluded that D & D does contain authentic occult materials. Rituals, magic spells, charms, names of demons, etc. were all authentic. They said a list of names of demons and devils that were in a new D & D book kept showing up in the Bible. The conclusion of the study should send shivers up and down the spine of every D & D playing teenager. They found that D & D is "not fantasy."
a) Did you know that the names of saints and apostles in the Da Vinci Code are all also in the Bible? Spooky stuff!
b)Now, I'm no TV Network, and I haven't gone out and compared my Player's Handbook to real magic spells to see how similar they are, but I'm having a hard time with this one.

I'll be honest with you, though, I have left out Rick's knock-down argument.

Authorities are convinced their deaths were related to D & D. The local Police Detective who handled the case, came to this conclusion about the two brutal deaths: "There is no doubt that D & D cost them their lives."

Holy shit, an anonymous policeman believes it? Quick, help me burn my PHB!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I am lazy and weak-willed, but I made this


It's true, you know.

Religion Week starts on Tuesday

Jack Chick. You are either demented or brilliant, but either way you are extremely malicious.

I used to think ol' JC... wait, that's not right. Jack Chick, OK, was a wrong-in-the-head type who puts the "mental" in "fundamentalist". Now, I am seriously considering the idea that he is a phenomenally successful and extremely ruthless opponent of Christianity who is doing his damndest to undermine its credibility. I am a modern allegory of those medieval heretics who suggested that the Devil wrote Ecclesiastes and parts of Genesis to undermine the Bible's moral message.

The jury is out, but for now I continue to work on the assumption that he is sincere- mostly because I struggle to imagine anyone so relentlessly in-character.

As such, cruising is an endless source of amusement of the human-feelings-are-meaningless-so-why-not-smile kind. I am particularly pleased by this gem. Maybe you don't want Jack in your browser history, so let me give you the skinny. One of the favourtie tubs to thump over there is that the only bible worth reading is the King James version (the one comissioned by the mad king of Scotland who was a leading light in the world of hunting witches).

Anyway, that little exercise is what I, with my sketchy grasp of sports, like to call a "home goal". In essence, it goes like this. "The New International Version omits many phrases found in the KJV! it is therefore unreliable!" What is not made explicit is that these phrase are in the NIV, but as footnotes with phrases like "One very late manuscript includes this phrase, but it's in different handwriting from the rest and it alludes to events that didn't happen until the year 350 AD".

The article proves that the NIV is not a good version iff you already accept that the KJV is the definition of a good version. Congratulations! Meanwhile, everyone else is saying "Hey, different groups of well-educated and sincere scholars produce biblical translations that sometimes differ in significant details? I guess I better start TAKING ONE VERSION TOTALLY LITERALLY".

Expect the pointing and laughing to continue tomorrow and possibly all week!

I genuinely don't have a problem with people who have a religion. I don't understand it, but I don't understand a lot of things. Still, that doesn't mean I can't argue with people about their epistemology, ideals or basic good manners. I'm going to come right out and say it, anyone who is offended by my amusement at Jackie is probably not someone I care much about offending. Now I am going to go and eat some turkish delight. This is not a cultured reference to satanism.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Guy Fawkes night is one of my favourite festivals. I think part of the reason may be that it is now 100% hedonistic. No-one will exhort you to remember the original meaning, because the original meaning is bloody horrible. It is, as far as I know, one of only two holidays that were nominally founded to celebrate a miscarriage of justice and a monstrous execution.

If you're not familiar with the story, incidentally, it harkens back to 1606. English policy at the time was to oppress Roman Catholics and war on countires that had a lot of them, and our chickens came home to roost in the form of horrific terrorism. The conspirators were foiled at the last minute, confessions extracted under torture, and with a great hurrah another tedious round of religious persecution started. It makes me glad that in these enlightened days we're above all that nonsense.

Consequently, Bonfire Night is about as unselfconscious as a holiday can now be. And fireworks are awesome.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I don't know why he's an opera singer

Today is the twelth aniversary of the following exchange. See if you can spot the horrible mistake.

"Pete: Hey, it's bonfire night! Let's go to the park and burn Catholics! There's a funfair!
Gabe: Let's hit up those rides! I'll sit next to you!
Me: OK guys, let me just finish this home-made soup! It's 90% fat!
All: Awesome!"

That's right: the horrible mistake was that we all over-used exclamation marks.

The Person or Thing that Saved Christmas

My Hobby
When I see something advertised as "suitable for any family!" I try to think of a family it would be horribly inappropriate for.

Since we had the first frost a few days ago, the weekend newspapers have cracked open their crates of failed Disney christmas movies and family-advertisiing is on an upward slope. I am somewhat in the mood because I have no heating in my wing of the house so I can see Bob Cratchett and say "You and me both, brother".