The rules are simple. Each player takes a different volume of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and at the word “go” all open their books at random and start leafing through, scanning the pages. The winner is the first player to find the word “clench”. It’s a fast, exciting game – sixty seconds is unusually drawn-out – and can be varied, if players get too good, with other favourite Donaldson words like wince, flinch, gag, rasp, exigency, mendacity, articulate, macerate, mien, limn, vertigo, cynosure…. It’s a great way to get thrown out of bookshops. Good racing!

“Our report found that the campaign is producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom. Many students worry about being deported.”

That’s the thesis statement for The Trump Effect, a study conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It gets worse.

“In Oregon, a K-3 teacher says her black students are ‘concerned for their safety because of what they see on TV at Trump rallies.’ In North Carolina, a high school teacher says she has ‘Latino students who carry their birth certificates and Social Security cards to school because they are afraid they will be deported.'”

View at

I will reiterate: Apple Music is not automatically deleting tracks out of your Mac’s library, nor is it trying to force you to stay subscribed to the service. In this instance, it appears that Apple Music is an unfortunate scapegoat: The real problem may be a bug with the subscription service’s container application, iTunes.

Based on several Apple Support threads, it appears that the most recent version of iTunes 12.3.3 contains a database error that affects a small number of users, and can potentially wipe out their music collection after the update. The error has been mentioned a few times, primarily on the Windows side, in the weeks since the 12.3.3 update, but appears to be rare enough that it hasn’t previously received major press. Apple did put out a support document shortly after the 12.3.3 update that walks you through some fixes if you find that your local copies of music are missing.

I knew the panic last week was BS.

It’s Tolkien all the way down

More thoughts as I re-read 5e… For some reason it’s just now striking me as kinda absurd how ubiquitous is the presence of Tolkien’s races in so much fantasy media. I’m reading the Races chapter, and the opening bits of fiction from various TSR novels — and the race descriptions themselves — all crib so heavily from Tolkien. Maybe the feeling is enhanced by my having recently re-read Feist’s Magician, which itself is cribbed form D&D (and thus cribbed from Tolkien) and so the presence of these races (save hobbits) and their attendant stereotypes doesn’t even bear explanation; it’s a fantasy world, so of course there are gruff dwarves with Scottish accents* and lithe elves who live in the forest.

I dunno. I’m not sure why this hasn’t stuck me as forcefully before. Why do so many games and stories have these races, and why are they almost universally the same? Is it all D&D’s fault?

I mean, SF has tropes like these as well — warrior races, cat people, aloof races — but I don’t feel like they all draw on the exact same source as do fantasy sources.

I also am now finding silly the idea that each race has very specific behaviors and trope, except humans, who are basically “whatever”. I mean, why aren’t elves “whatever”? It sort of makes me long for Iron Heroes, which was a human-only game, but part of charges was picking cultural tropes/abilities for your PC, essentially rolling your own “race” that reflected whatever the heck you wanted.

I dunno. This seems a day late and a dollar short, and expecting more from D&D is probably unwise.

* Some digging says the Scotts thing actually comes from Poul Anderson’s Three Hearts and Three Lions, which was another primary influence on D&D.