I'll come up with something in a minute.

Annoying Intelligence

You know what the most annoying thing about being the smartest person in the room is? No, not that. Although that is a good guess.

No, the most annoying thing is explanations. When I have talked to some other people about this a few of them understood what I meant and I labeled them as “Smart as me” so I could say “People as smart as me have this problem” and get away with it. It’s a lame joke, but I like it, so it stays. That joke and the creeping kid, they stay in the picture. Explanations are very hard for me, because I quite regularly understand things on a level where talking about them sort of makes my head hurt.

You ever try to explain something very simple to a child or someone who, until you started trying to explain you hadn’t known was of diminished capacity? Like trying to tell one of your co-workers how to change the toner in the printer or how to reply an e-mail with out sending the reply to every single person that the first e-mail was sent to. You know, simple stuff. Do you ever find that you’re getting annoyed at them because they’re just not getting it? Do you ever get annoyed with yourself because you keep thinking if you said it another way maybe they’d get it but you don’t know how to explain it any simpler? Do you then wonder how this person got to the age of 35 without knowing how to double-click a mouse? Yeah, I’ve done my time in the down and dirty world of the cube farms. I know your pain.

Now imagine that instead of double clicking mice, you just plain GET particle physics. Quarks and the idea of spin one half have no fear for you. You understand the wave theory of harmonics* and the observer changing what is observed as well as changing themselves. BUT! You can’t do… you know… basic ninth grade algebra much less the complex mathematical formula that makes people understand the way the universe ticks. So when you try to express it, you have to turn yourself inside out to explain it without using math or graphs or anything else. You can only use the power of storytelling, which can be a fucked up way to try and explain the difference between spin one and spin one half let me tell you. Actually that wasn’t so hard because I had an egg cup and some jelly beans to help. Anyone who knows what the hell I’m talking about can probably work out how that explanation worked on their own, the rest of you can remain in the dark.
*Which I may have just made up.

The problem is that there are a lot of things like that in life. There are hundreds of things that I just understand but am ill equipped to explain. Worse yet, I feel like trying to explain it is trying to hammer something very simple into a very thick skull and that’s not fair. Most the time, the people asking aren’t stupid, they would understand if I had the patience to explain the minor details and go into the minutiae of the issue. This produces frustration for both parties, doubly frustrating because this can’t be put down to the second party is a moron. Seriously if you’re the person who has trouble double-clicking, you have no idea how much your office mates talk about you. They’re probably talking about you in relation to buggy whips and 2400 modems right now and DAMN do you have to be old to get that joke!

Let’s have a practical demonstration of what I’m talking about, shall we?

Poly, I get very annoyed with the terms and the books and the graphs and the day planners, mostly because it feels to me like needless complication and accessorizing. BUT WAIT! What if it isn’t? Okay, with a lot of people I’ve bumped into it is, but let’s ignore those assholes for a moment. Instead, lets compare to the people who aren’t total dickheads who heard their favorite band is into this hip thing they read about on the internet and focus on intelligent human beings. People who manage to make their poly situation work successfully. Not assholes, decent people. Even the intelligent human beings and I have problems though. It all falls very simply into my head, but as we’ve shown this week, my head is an odd and scary place to try and hang out for more than an hour at a time, and I have to live here. Still, the view is… interesting. Terrifying, but interesting.

Anyway, getting away from mental landscaping and back to mental geography. The problems I have with poly terms are, I’ve been thinking, because I feel disinclined to describe complex structures with simplistic sounding terms. I would never describe someone as a primary, a secondary, a tertiary, or even a quandary. They’re all primary to me, just in different ways. My mind works differently though, I have wheels inside wheels and other such things that don’t put up with pen & ink, 2 dimensional representations on a piece of graph paper. You’d need one of those fancy 5 dimensional computers graphic things they have in the high dimensions where they play Brockian Ultra-Cricket to come close. Boxes are confining, terms are restricting, they rarely really do what I want them to, and for that reason they bug the living shit out of me.

All the trappings bug me for that reason, it all feels like these people are trying to make something that is very simple inside my head into something far harder than it needs to be on the outside. Like the inherent complexity of smooching two (or more) people on a regular basis isn’t complicated enough, they’ve got to attach terms and theories and then whip out charts and theories about the charts and the terms and then terms to define the theories about the charts and then chart the terms so that we can all understand this gibberish, except none of us actually can. All the terms, graphs, theories, graphs about theories, terms for graphs and so on only seem to obscure the simple honest truth that we’re all sort of greedy people who like to kiss and have sex with lots of people at once.

Oh sure, you can talk about not limiting emotion, or freedom of movement, expansion of the human spirit and a greater understand of our fellow being and ourselves, but when it all comes down to it we’re just trying to score with someone. It’s just some of us think having a meaningful relationship with five different people is scoring and some of us want to ask anyone with a pulse that they can find if they want to come up for some “instant coffee” if you know what I mean, and I think ya do. I’m talking about fuckin’! Specifically I’m talking about banging someone you just met in a one night stand. That’s what instant coffee is code for. Instead of going up “for a cup of coffee” with someone you’ve been on a date or two with. Instant coffee, see? Yeah, I thought you’d get it.

See how needlessly complicated that made everything?

I suppose deep down I know all that is probably necessary to help some people understand it, but I can’t help but wanting to shout “IT’S FUCKIN’! You do it with more than one person at a time and it’s fun!” which I understand makes me “unhelpful” and something of a problem for the nice helpful folk. Pagan people cringe when I come around too. So don’t worry, I do it to everyone who I sort of agree with but I find to be a bit too fluffy in the head. The thing is, I know when I have my patience about me and I’m face to face with intelligent people, I can break the whole thing down for them in a delicate and elegant manner than either makes them understand everything in a few sentences or freaks them right the fuck out and they stop listening, but at least I don’t spend all day on it.

As I say, this causes me a great deal of annoyance, because I should be smart enough to break this shit down and use the terms or write it out without needing the terms. Problem has been that the last few times I’ve wanted to I just end up feeling like the guy who got asked how to double click. My mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention and it makes coming down to human levels with words and things sort of annoying. It gives me a headache to try and think down to human levels on this subject this week.

Seriously, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to pick up a piece of paper.

The simple parts are still simple though, I probably just need to focus on that and do what I’m doing. Work out what I’m trying to say and say it later. Also, stop telling everyone what a genius I am, it’s getting sort of annoying. I mean seriously.

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Sex? On my internet? It’s more likely than you think.

You know, okay, I get that people are pimping young girls on Craigslist and that’s bad, but to sue Craigslist to try and make people stop? To sue when according to the story Craigslist is working with 43 out of 50 states to crack down on illegal sex trades.

One might mention that if prostitution were legal, inspected, and took place in regulated brothels a lot of these problems would either go away or be greatly reduced. Most of the really nasty shit that takes place in that underworld is supplemented by the fact that the initial act is illegal. I mean if you’re already going to go to jail for selling sex, how much worse can they make it for selling a 15 year old for sex? Or a 10 year old even? If you’re already breaking one law by selling sex, and breaking another by having an underage girl, why not break three and have her sell drugs to the John too? Hell, why not beat the girls and kidnap them and rape them and have your friends rape them so they get used to doing 10 guys a day? I mean, they can only put you in the gas chamber once, right? What am I saying, no one would ever kill someone for raping a 15 year old girl! What nonsense! They’d probably give him 10 hours of community service. Fucking idiots.

And… I’m not sure if it’s the way the story is written or if this sheriff really thinks this way or maybe I’m reading into it, but it reads like this guy thinks prostitution never existed before the internet came along. It’s like no one had ever thought to sell sex before. Then someone looked at a computer and said “HEY! I bet you could sell pussy with this thing!” and then suddenly BOOM there were people taking their clothes off for this new fangled internet thingy (Because hot babes were just DYING for a reason to get naked in front of computer geeks but didn’t know how to broach the subject) and realizing that there was money to be made if they offered to have sex which could be paid for over PayPal.

This whole thing just feels like a publicity stunt, like this one sheriff wanted to get his name in the paper and look like he’s “Really trying to do something!®” by trying to force Craigslist to take down the section where people can get together for the purposes of fucking.

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Missed four

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment




March 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Shallow Thought (because I got tired of deep thoughts)

Sooo, is a wedding ring more like a loyalty card or it is like wearing the branded t-shirt?

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Maybe, but not for me

Why The Smartest People Have The Toughest Time Dating

Now what I said to popfiend is…
I’m going to go with 3 and 5 but 1, 2 and 4 don’t really work because I put a different emphasis on things than this guy clearly did.

I’ll break it down quickly. Please read the article (Or glance at the bullet points) so you know where I am.

1. Smart people spent more time on achievements than on relationships when growing up.
No. I didn’t much care about QuizBowl or Chess club or any of that lot. I was actually VERY interested in girls from age 0 on up. I never discovered girls, I knew they were there all along.

2. Smart people feel that they’re entitled to love because of their achievements.
No, Nice Guys feel this way. I feel I’m entitled to love because I treat the people I care about in a respectful manner and can cause them to spontaneously orgasm by giving them “The Look”
Maybe other smart people who have achieved great things feel this way. Me? I’ve achieved getting the girls. Girls/love/whatever you want to call it was the goal.

bleep bloop!

3. You don’t feel like a fully-realized sexual being, and therefore don’t act like one.
Is true sometimes. Even for me. Is sad. But then to be fully realized, I think I would need to reinforce the floor to hold all the women my imagination thinks I can please at one go. It’s not realistic, but it’s this dream I have.

4. You’re exceptionally talented at getting in the way of your own romantic success.

5. By virtue (or vice) of being smart, you eliminate most of the planet’s inhabitants as a dating prospect
I believe I covered this subject earlier this week.
Freeze dried version since I’ve been linked: They’re called standards and if more people stuck to them the world would be in a better place! If you’re worried about not getting a smart one, just admit that there are a limited number of smart people in the world and go poly. My rigorous selection process has helped me avoid teh dramas for many years.

Thing is though, I think that broadly speaking this guy has probably nailed it. My difference is that I saw girls as something to achieve so I started studying them right along with Transformers and History.

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

5 Dangers

1. The danger with shouting out “Does anyone understand how I feel?” into the night* is that you just might get someone come up to you and say “Yes.”

2. The danger with extending your hand to offer help is that the other person just might accept.

3. The danger if asking for help is that someone might give it to you.

4. The danger with offering to listen is that someone might tell you.

5. The danger in saying things are dangerous, is that some people won’t understand why they are so dangerous.

*Or internet

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Wonderland (Part Ten)


A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay

Look here for last week’s entry!

Part Ten: Trail’s End


            My only real hope was that I could get Peter away from all this and get someone arrested for the killings without getting my own face put into a meat grinder. How though, that was the question wasn’t it? There was someone I could call, but I didn’t like the idea of that, because I already owed too many favors to people over this stupid case.


            I carefully pulled my wallet out of my back pocket and took the check from my wallet. If I were a normal private eye, this would be a considerable sum of money. However, after the event in December I had quite a few dollars floating around. Money wasn’t an issue here, and really I could just walk away and pretend like I’d never been involved. I could just tear the check up and decide to cash in my vacation days, go to Europe or possibly take that trip to South Americawith the professor looking for the Lost City of Chachapoyas or whatever it is he thinks he wants to find down there.


            I had my fingers on the check, ready to tear and absolve myself from the situation when I stopped. I was going to have to actually get this taken care of, wasn’t I? I set the check down on the desk in front of me and picked up my squeezy ball. I did a few squeezes with it in my left hand and then tossed it into my right and started my exercises. My left hand kept tapping at the check, as if it wanted to get in on the rehabilitation but didn’t know what else to do.


            There was a time when I would have just called up Dee and let LION beat UNICORN all around the town, but that didn’t seem to be a helpful suggestion here. Even if LION did beat UNICORN all around the town, then what? Peter would still be in trouble, Amy would still be psycho for me, Alice wouldn’t get her arrest and I wouldn’t get to see that bouncy dance she talked about. Nope, calling Dee had no foreseeable profit to it.


Sadly, this check didn’t have a lot of good to it either, being written a couple of hours before the Wonderland gang got hit. If nothing else, this check was really a tie, it was something to implicate me. I really should just get rid of it. I looked at all the zeroes, and then at the book of matches I keep for just such an occasion.


I scrunched the check up in my left hand and dropped it in the metal tray. I then lit the match and touched it to the end of the check. I’ll never understand why, but checks you really don’t want to burn always seem to take longer than other things. I watched the check slowly catch fire and then watched as it smoldered in the tray, only the sound of Debbie’s key board to entertain me.


            When the check was well and truly dead, I picked up the phone and called Cary’s cell. The phone rang, and rang, and rang. Each and every ring was like a dagger of ice stabbing into my back. I got up to ten and hung the phone up, I rushed across my desk as fast as I was able and grabbed my coat off the hook.


            “Call Crammer.” I told Debbie as I put my coat and hat on. “Tell him there either is or was a decapitated head in Mister Rabbit’s warehouse. If he gets there quick he might even catch them at it.”


            “We’re giving up a client?” She asked.


            “Burned the check.” I said and went out the door. I was nearly down stairs when I heard her scream.


            “You burned the check?” Her voice carried from her throat at her desk, through the door, down the stairs and directly to the base of my spine. She hates it when I burn checks.


            I got in the car and despite the fact that I was no doubt being followed, went more or less directly to the motel. I didn’t noticed anyone following me directly, but that didn’t mean they weren’t there, I was sure they were around. That’s the great thing about being paranoid, you never feel alone. Even when you are completely alone, you always think there must be a ghost in the room with you.


            I got to the motel and was going to kick down the door and start shooting. What stopped me was the fact that I had to stop half way up the stairs because my right leg started to hurt. This caused me to decide to just walk to the door and bang on it with my gun. I reached for the gun though and discovered that I had taken it off at the office and didn’t put it back on my belt when I left in a rush.


            So I slowly walked to the door and banged on it with my fist instead. Someone peaked through the closed curtains and a moment later the door opened. Cary was standing at the door, her hair dripping wet, and a towel wrapped around her. She smiled at me with them bleary eyes of someone still in the land of after glow.


            “I said no entertaining.” I growled at her.


            “Let’s see you resist.” She said turning around and letting me into the small room with her.


            “I was very good at resisting.” I said as she reached down and grabbed her panties, stepping into them and drawing them up without showing anything. “I didn’t pinch his ass or anything.”


            “Oh you couldn’t pinch his ass, it’s like marble.”


            “Cary.” I said sternly.


            “Yes Jack?” She asked, too hyped up on endorphins to mind.


            “Where is he?”


            “In the shower.” She said pointing a finger towards the bathroom.


            “Why didn’t you answer your phone?” I asked.


            “I was fuckin’.” She smiled again.


            “Focus.” I snapped my fingers in her face. “This is me being angry.”


            “Sorry Jack.” She laughed like she wasn’t really sorry though.


            “I thought something had happened.”


            “Well it had.”


            “Focus!” I shouted.


            “My O face happened.” She said and laughed.


            “Go in there and tell him we need to go.” I told her. “I was probably followed here.”


            Her demeanor changed suddenly, her face dark  and worried. She shivered a little and walked to the bathroom door.


            “Why’d you just stand there and act like we were just playing?” she asked.


            “I didn’t want to worry you.” I sighed at her.


            “Oh.” She said and opened the door to the bathroom.


            I should have heard him coming up the stairs, I should have heard him walking into the room, I should have heard him breathing. What I heard was the whoosh of his hand as it brought the pistol down. I turned just in time to catch the blow on my shoulder instead of taking the crack across the side of the head. It didn’t matter much because his leg swept put mine and he pushed me down on the bed, putting the pistol barrel behind my head.


            “Just sit tight Collier and this will all be over in a minute.” He said patting my sides with his hand.


            “Red?” I asked craning my head around to see Red’s face.


            “Don’t.” Another voice said from the door, no doubt mistaking what was going on. “We’ve got strict orders against wet works.”


            “Knight?” I asked as I focused on the old man in the doorway. “When the hell did you two start working together?”


            “Back when LION offered me a lot more money.” Red said straightening up and putting the silenced pistol back into its holster.


            “LION’s here too?” I asked.


            “Not officially.” Knight said clasping his hands over his belt buckle. “Officially this area is Church’s domain, but while he’s away Mrs. White wants to make sure things aren’t going to waste.”


            “Church won’t like that.” I commented.


            “I don’t think Mrs. White much cares what he likes and doesn’t like.” Knight said with the calm confidence of someone who could kill you before you knew he’d even moved.


            “What’s going on out there Jack?” I heard Peter’s voice coming from the bathroom and silently cursed him. I could have probably gotten these two out of here without letting it slip that he was here.


            “Red.” Knight said nodding at the door.


            Red unholstered his gun and walked the two steps towards the bathroom. If Knight hadn’t been there, if I had been up to my normal physical standards, and if I’d lost all my marbles, I could have taken Red. Of course if I had done that, he would have shot me easily and with Knight here I had no chance at all. He tried the knob and then knocked on the door. I wondered if Peter was dumb enough to try and wait out his patience by hiding behind a door that would probably splinter if you hit it. Peter was dumb enough to get into this situation in the first place after all.


            The door opened and I was glad to see that Red’s reputation for being a hands on kind of guy remained in tact. The door opened and he gave a good healthy jab into the door and hit someone. It looked about high enough to be Peter’s face, which had already suffered greatly, but could do so a little more for the latest gaff. He then reached into the bathroom and yanked Peter through the door, slamming him against the wall. His gun aimed quickly into the bathroom and then having made its point, swung around training on Peter’s head.


            Peter was, as far as I could see, only wearing his jeans as red patted down his pockets. Peter just stood silently with his hands against the wall, looking like he had done that a few times before. Red grabbed him by the neck and led him to the floor, walked into the bathroom and came out a few seconds later.


            “So, he is here.” Knight said.


            “What do you want from him?” I asked as Red sat down on the single dresser the room sported, which was really so there would be a place to put the TV.


            “We are supposed to bring him in.” Red said putting the gun away. “Dee would like to have him as a bargaining chip. I think Dee’s a little annoyed because Mister Walker was supposed to deliver a large shipment this morning. It would have robbed UNICORN of significant funds.”


            “So you decided to watch me and follow me down here?” I asked.


            “We only found out about this an hour ago.” Red said watching Cary walk through the area around where Peter was lying down.


            “How did you know to follow me then?” I asked patting the side of the bed and looking at Cary. She sat down next to me and gripped my hand.


            “Our man in Rabbit’s group said you were working for them on this.”


            “Bill said that about me?” I asked. “I was only brought on yesterday.”


            “Pat said it.” Knight smiled. “He didn’t say you were only just brought in though.”


            “Well I was.” I looked down at Peter and then at the bathroom as Cary came out fully dressed. “Still, how did you manage to follow me so quickly?”


            “We were just on our way to your office, you can sit up Peter, its okay.” Knight said looking down on the prostrate former porn star. Peter looked up and sat up. “We were on our way to talk to you about what happened when you came out of your office. Red just deiced to follow you on a whim. When you came here we decided to see what you were up to.”


            “Fortuitous really.” Red commented.


            “Not to harp on it Cary,” I said placing my hand over hers, “But its things like this that make me say no entertaining.”


            “Sorry Jack.” She said.


            It was interesting, and highly suspicious that my phone chose that moment to ring. Red looked at me, I looked at him and then turned my gaze to Knight. If I did this wrong, I could get a bullet in my head. If I did it right, we might all get out of this alive.


            “You’d probably better see who that is.” Knight said.


            I nodded and looked at the phone and recognized Alice’s number from what she’d written down for me. I decided on a tactic and looked at Knight when I spoke my first volley.


            “It’s my secretary.” I told him. “She’s supposed to have called someone for me, they must have told her they want to find me.”


            “Okay.” Knight nodded.


            “Hi Debbie.” I said as I put the phone to my ear.


            “What?” Alice asked.


            “Did you call Crammer and tell him about Rabbit’s warehouse like I asked?” I hoped she picked up what I was trying to tell her.


            “That would be why they showed up then.” She caught up quickly, which is nice.


            “That’s good.” I said smiling. “They say anything?”

            “Are you in trouble?”


            “Mmm hmm?” I confirmed. “Everybody wanting to know where I am?”


            “Well…” She sounded like she still hadn’t quite figured the whole game out yet. “They want to see Peter, I suppose you too by extension. They’re ready to offer him immunity of he spills.”


            “Okay.” I said nodding. “Well, he can have an appointment today if he wants. I’ve got Peter with me now.”


            Red shook his head slowly, I glanced at Knight and saw he was just rubbing his white mustache with his fingers. It was a warning from Red, but there was some permission to continue from Knight, so long as I was careful.


            “Where are you now then?” She asked.


            “No, I can’t do that.” I said as if I were excusing us from a lunch date. “I’m tied up with another matter at the moment. We’re still at the hotel and it seems he ran up a bill.”


            “Which hotel?” She asked. “What can you tell me?”


            “Okay.” I sighed heavily and rolled my eyes. “Where is his office? On Woodward, okay up by Mary-Anne street? That by the Liddell Motel? Yeah, I think I know where that is. Well don’t tell him to keep his hopes up, I don’t know how long we’ll have to be here.”


            “I think I’ve got you.” She said. “I’ll see what I can do.”


            “Well no rush, I mean it’s not like they’re pulling guns on us or anything.” I offered in perhaps a more sarcastic tone than I should have.


            “Leave your phone on the line with me, I can have them track you if you leave.”


            “Yep, okay. Bye-bye.” I pretended to press the end button, and then pretended to press it again and dropped it in my coat pocket.


            “Another client?” Red asked.


            “No,” I said shaking my head. “The federal prosecutor wants to talk to Pete here.”


            “Why?” Knight asked, placing his hands on either side of his big silver belt buckle.


            “Because Mister Cat and Miss Heart made him get his prints all over a whole lot of evidence last night.” I said looking at Peter. “While doing that they made him get covered in a lot more evidence, which is why I brought him here to get showered. Nothing I can do about the prints, but I could get him cleaned up in secret. That way the police would at least have to work a little when they got him.”


            “Why was Chester getting me covered in that stuff?” Peter asked, and I had to lie or nothing would work.


            “Because when they told your brother that you led me right to them, your brother decided you were in on it.” I said, which was totally untrue as Amy said that she and cat still hadn’t discussed it with Rabbit. Having already lied, I went with it. “So your brother decided you would have to go away.”


            “So that’s why they’re here?” He asked pointing at Red and Knight.


            “No.” I shook my head and prepared to tell the biggest whopper I’d told since at least Thursday. “Your brother was going to get you sent to jail, these guys thought they were going to kidnap you for ransom, not knowing that Flopston wouldn’t really be that concerned as all he’d have to do is tell the police that the opposition had taken his brother away for safe keeping. There by, he would be rid of you, and fuck LION’s shit up pretty good. The resulting investigation would prove to be a shit storm for pretty much everyone but him for the next few months. With Church scheduled for release by July anyway, LION would barely be able to gain a foothold. Mrs. White might not be worried about that, but Dee knows that Church could crush his head between his nuts while rolling over in his sleep.”


            “Is that right?” Knight asked.


            “That is.” I lied, to a man who could kill me without a noticeable difference to his day. “Let’s face it, Church being away leaves a very tenuous chance for one group or the other to take over. You fuck around too long and when Church gets out he’ll boot both your asses and give you nothing but a plum cake for your effort.”


            Knight stroked his mustache for a moment, Red stood up slowly and looked at Knight. Knight, still clearly thinking, ran his hand over his bald pate and then around the crown of white hair that had remained when his hair line receded. Red didn’t believe me, but then Red wasn’t in charge. Knight didn’t believe me either, but he knew that I might be telling the truth. A lot of the things I’d said were true after all, Church might not be able to take on both groups on a national level, but he could get them both the hell out of Michigan if they didn’t establish themselves quickly.


            Knight was either agree with me, or kill me. I really hate not knowing how things are going to turn out when there is an assassin ready to shoot me in the back of the head.




This is part ten of twelve, come back next week for part eleven and every Thursday until we’re done to see what happens next. If you get lost, one of the tags here should help you. The Wonderland tag will take you to the story while the Jack Tag will take you to Part One of every story we post here.

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment

Swords and Knives

When I did this thing, I found my comment for #5 was unlike a Snickers as in it didn’t really satisfy. I’ve also had a few questions over the years and I’m going to boil them all down here.

What’s with all the swords and knives and things?

Swords, knives, axes, spears… they pointy! What else do you need?

Okay, okay, I’ll elaborate, since that’s what the idea of this post is. Swords are important in our history and our culture. I can make a blanket statement like that because pretty much where ever you’re from that’s true. When steel was rare and a good sword was rarer than an honest politician is now, the Vikings imbued their blades with a spirit, giving it a name and treated them like single most prized object in the world. It’s such a powerful emblem of strength that our military still presents swords to their soldiers for some occasions and the sword is often seen in Brigade patches and other insignia. In the west, the sword has always been a mark of office. Far more than the gun has ever tried to be, the sword is a sign of bearing. The gun is a popular weapon, always has been, the sword is for the select few.

Samurai attached a near religious status to their swords, treating them as an extension of their bodies. A man with a sword was SOMEONE, someone who was allowed to carry a sword for a start. There were all sorts of rules and regs behind the military class, as there is in all of Japanese society, but a samurai was above the normal people. A man who used to have a sword but no longer had it was less than no one, which is why so many of them would rather spill their guts than risk loosing their samurai status. It’s more complicated than that, all of this is, but bear with me.

The Sikhs are supposed to carry knives as part of their religion. Via Wikipedia… The kirpan is a tool to be used to prevent violence from being done to a defenseless person when all other means to do so have failed. Symbolically, the kirpan represents the power of truth to cut through untruth. It is the cutting edge of the enlightened mind.

Knives and swords are an important part of lots of cultures is my point.

There is a lot about honor, strength, and nobility wrapped up in a blade. The symbolic aspects of blades can, and has, filled several books. I’m not going to relate all of them, because I’m not writing a book today. I do want to talk about a few things though, so maybe you get a few things about my non-movie obsession. I’ll break it down into swords of the western world, swords of the eastern world and knives.

Western Swords
Let’s face it, I’ve got a thing for knights in armor. Not shining armor, dirty, used functioning armor that does a job. Something that gets thrown off and into a closet, not something you stand up in the hallway. I’ve got a dented armor fetish. No, not a sexual one, but if there was an influence on how I try to be with people, the idealized codes of Chivalry have a lot to do with them. Note that I used the word idealized there. Real knights were little more than armored thugs, and even when they had honor it was only honor among the landed classes. Those who weren’t worth a ransom could be killed on the spot, no question. What can I tell you about how I feel about that? My collar is… well missing, but IF I had a collar it would very likely be a sort of pale blue. I’ve been blue collar, I’ve been white collar, and my roots come from blue, white and green collars. I am also an American, so there is a deep abiding feeling of “Fuck! Class! Distinction!” that runs through my veins.

So something got imprinted on me a LONG time ago. A vision of a lone warrior, wandering the land, righting wrongs and pwning evil doers. That sort of always stayed with me, the vision of the strong, noble, true and valiant knight who lived by a code and didn’t take kindly to people fucking with the weak. I don’t care how unrealistic it is, it’s in my head and it won’t leave. Some of you have religion, I’ve got Arthur and Lancelot. Let’s just walk away from there.

Holding the blade, learning how to make cuts, knowing what a sword can and can’t do is a way of touching that spirit. It’s in a sense, proving that in some small way you can live by those principals. Protect the weak, defy evil, stand in the face of a dragon and pwn that fuckin’ n00b. There are things about fealty and honor and other ideals in there too, but we’ll get to that later.

Speaking on a purely weapons angle, the classic cruciform sword of legend (see Oakeshott) is a great sword. A good point for thrusting, a nice edge for cutting, a sharpened edge on each side so you can get mofos on the back swing or turn the sword around if one edge gets dull. The falcata and later decendant the falchion are nice and all, but they’re more for hacking and don’t pull chicks like one of these will.

Eastern Swords
By which I guess I mean the katana. Samurai are more mythologized and bullshitted about than even the knights of old. Again, samurai were very noble and very proper, but only to people who were at or above their level, everyone else they could and did treat like shit. They abused their position, took over the government, stole power from the rulers of the nation, while pretending they hadn’t, and only let the rulers look at it when the Shogun was in a very good mood. HOWEVER! If all you’ve done is read the Code of Bushido* it sounds very nice.
*It’s down below the history lesson.

Still though, reading those codes, it’s hard not to get drawn in. Divorcing the realty from the code is easy and many people have done it. It sounds like all the things that a European Knight is supposed to be really. Boil it down to the basic precepts and you’ve got yourself one noble ass motherfucker. And you get to play with swords too! Hell, if you threw thrifty* in there that reads like the Boy Scout oath. And the samurai approved of buggering pretty boys so the Boy Scout thing still holds, just so long as you do it in secret. Fucking Boy Scouts, fuck those closeted assholes.
*I know, it’s under the Honesty and Sincerity bullet point, but it seems to be a tangent to me because he never talks about honesty or sincerity under that bullet point. So I’m going to say it doesn’t count and besides I like insulting the Boy Scouts of America for their habit of shielding child molesters while claiming gays can’t join because they might become child molesters.

Samurai were very into the ideas of fealty, loyalty, and the weight of that loyalty. You get a lot of talk about absolute right with samurai, a lot of absolute loyalty. Read up or watch a movie based on the Chūshingura which accounts the tale of the Forty-Seven Ronin for what the Japanese regularly see as the ultimate example of samurai loyalty. Once again, using the sword is a way to spiritually touch that world.

Of course the fact that the swords themselves are absolutely gorgeous helps. A properly made katana is like a sandwich of steel. Soft metal makes the cutting edge, while harder steel forms a rigid coating that gives strength and support to the blade. The katana is properly the finest cutting weapon ever made. Maybe not so hot for thrusting, but they had a different view of fighting. When there were samurai needing swords all the time it was like an assembly line. One man would make the blade, then hand it over to a man who would carve the perfect scabbard for it, then it would go to a man who only made the handle, just the handle! That’s all the guy made, handles. Each piece was often made by an expert who was as artist, working on only this one part of the final weapon. I can’t afford a sword like that, I get mass produced stuff. Nice stuff, but not that nice. Actually I still don’t have a properly differential tempered blade yet, they expensive! I do have some nice forged swords though.

If you need a final reason, swords just look nice. They had a good aesthetic to them that I enjoy.

HOWEVER! Cheap swords make the Baby Weirdo cry. Wall hanging bits of crap just make me despair the future of the race. Get something too cheap and you end up with a case hardened piece of crap. Case hardening is when they pour a blade and then only heat the outside so that you’ve only got strength for maybe a millimeter or two and then you’re down to metal you wouldn’t use for a pot. These days though, you don’t even need to be very expensive to avoid case hardened crap, so that’s nice.

Knives are less tied up with honorifics than swords are because they’re more populous. Knives can be decorative, utilitarian, specialized or general purpose. However, a knife can also be seen as a sword that fits in your pocket. A knife can also be a symbol though and a powerful one.

There is sometimes the idea that a knife is the modern sword, which is why in movies knives are so ridiculously big. They want to come as close to swords as they can while still being knives. The bayonet is still around even though one might suggest it’s totally useless based on the simple premise that give the high power rounds that shoot from the gun it’s totally useless. Still, we like to know it’s there. Something about steel. Something about having that last item, if it comes to that.

There is also the point that was raised in the most recent question and comes down to why I started this post in the first place…

When this last VEWPRF came along, I was giving less knives away as I often do and Syd claimed that a knife is supposed to be a symbol of wanting to sever relations. I had never heard this, and I suspect it’s something the Victorians came up with. Victorians were always assigning moronic symbols to things that already had symbolic status and getting it terribly wrong. Fucking Victorians, fucking everything up.

I am not a Victorian though! In truth I am more an antique Norseman than a Victorian*. I have always been more into the idea of a present of a knife as a symbol of trust and fealty. “I am giving you this weapon, and I am now going to turn my back. See? See how much I trust you?” There is also the acceptance aspect of “You are one of us now. You are part of my army and I will arm you.” So it’s like… the complete opposite of that dumb ass Victorian non-sense. Besides, you wouldn’t want to send a break up letter with a weapon attached, that’s just asking for it!
*Three points, who wants ‘em?

So yeah, knives are part of my lexicon and giving them is a big part of my personality. And after four pages, that’s all I have to say about that.

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment