Friday, June 23, 2017

[BTT023] How Does the Bible Interpret Prophecy?

[BT023] Doing A Better Job

When we look at the Scriptures, we see two ways in which the meaning of a prophecy is revealed:

1). Prophecies which have their meanings revealed almost immediately afterwards.

In other words, the prophet Abrabimilechaham has a dream or vision, he can’t understand it, and God reveals the meaning of the dream within the same chapter.

A good example of this is in Daniel 2, where Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream. In that case, Nebuchadnezzar has a prophetic dream, and Daniel provides the interpretation almost immediately after. There can be no doubt of what God was trying to tell Nebuchadnezzar, because the interpretation follows in the text immediately.

2). Prophecies which do not have their meaning revealed until much later.

In other words, the prophet Enochathan has a dream or vision, writes it down, and it is not until hundreds or thousands of years later that the meaning is revealed.

An example of this is Jeremiah 31:31-34, where Jeremiah prophecies of a day in which God will write His law on the hearts of His people, which Hebrews 10:15-18 says is fulfilled in Jesus. There's a fairly significant gap between these two, so there were hundreds of years where it was not fully understood.

Now naturally, the first type of prophecy takes care of itself. There’s no need to interpret a prophecy that comes with its own interpretation! It’s the second type that we’re concerned with.

For that reason, we’re going to focus on a very, very specific type of prophecy: Old Testament prophecies that are explicitly quoted as being "fulfilled" in the New Testament. This is to filter out literary allusions and references to the Old Testament, leaving only indisputable fulfillments of prophecy.

These limitations were chosen because the New Testament authors were interpreting prophecies from a book – the Torah. This closely resembles our situation today. We are not interpreting new dreams and prophecies received from God directly, but prophecies that have been written down and passed through the ages. We want to see how New Testament authors dealt with this same situation.

Additionally, since we believe that both the Old and New Testament are the inspired word of God, we can have full assurance that when the New Testament says 'this was in fulfillment of prophecy,' this interpretation is correct.

In order to do this, we will limit our study to New Testament passages that use the Greek verb plēroō (πληρόω, "to fulfill") in conjunction with a direct quotation of Old Testament prophecy. Plēroō can also be used in the sense of "fulfilling" or "filling" other things – Jesus fulfilling the requirements of the law, Christians being filled with love/grace/the Holy Spirit. Since we are only interested in prophecy at the moment, we will not look at verses that use plēroō in these other senses.

Additionally, we will not be looking at isolated verses, but the passages in which they appear. This is necessary to understand precisely what actions and events are fulfilling the prophecy in question. We will also look at the Old Testament prophecy in its original context and compare how the New Testament fulfillment compares.

By my count, there are 17 passages in which a specific Old Testament prophecy is explicitly fulfilled (plēroō) in the New Testament. Before looking at these passages, we will look at some examples of passages that were rejected to better explain why we are looking at these 17 passages in particular.

[BTT024] Cut Passages 001

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

[BTT022] Doing a Better Job

Previous: [BTT021] Nothing New Under the Sun

It’s not that Christians get everything wrong when it comes to prophecy. We do a pretty good job with prophecies that have already come to pass. That "born of a Virgin" stuff? Yeah, we got it. "Bruised for our transgressions"? Okay, figured it out. But stuff that hasn't happened yet? We have a pretty terrible track record.

There are many reasons for this, one of which is that it’s easier to understand in hindsight things that have already happened compared to understanding things that have not yet happened. That’s a problem in many fields other than Bible prophecy.

Have you ever played around with day trading? It’s not easy to pick which stocks are going to do well and which ones are going to drop. Economists have very elaborate, convincing models for explaining financial history, but the moment you ask them to pick future winners, the models stop working.

Or take history – it’s easy to look back into history and say, “of course that’s why Rome became a great imperial power” or “Of course the Nazis were bad.” It’s not so easy to predict who the next President will be or who we should choose as allies.

This difficulty is natural in secular disciplines. No one expects a historian to predict the future. But when you’re making claims about future events like prophecy, it’s kind of important to get them right. Otherwise, we punch ourselves in the face – publicly and embarrassingly.

So the question becomes, how do we do a better job?

The good news is, we already know what a bad job looks like – it’s the scattershot, schizophrenic model-less model of the TV preacher and the street corner messiah.

You know what we're talking about. It's the advanced calculus needed to equate "Adolph Hitler" or “Barack Obama” with "666." It’s seeing Armageddon in ever border skirmish and the Bowl Judgments in every hurricane. It’s the desperate desire for any sign of the end that leads well-meaning Christians to match random Bible verses random current events.

But is this the only method of interpreting prophecy available to us? Are Christians forever doomed to arranged marriages between random Jerusalem and Reuters? I'm going to argue that the answer is "no." And we're going to find a different way of doing things by looking at the Bible itself.

This is the question we are going to ask: How did the authors of the New Testament interpret prophecies from the Old Testament?

Next: [BT023] How Does the Bible Interpret Prophecy?

Monday, June 19, 2017

[BTT021] Nothing New Under the Sun

Previous: [BTT020] All Things Made New

Part V: Towards a Model of Prophecy

Nothing New Under the Sun

You’ve probably seen this scene – a bully grabs a smaller child, twists his arm, and starts punching him with his own hand. What does the bully yell out? “Stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself!”

Of course, the smaller child isn’t hitting himself, though he is being struck with his own hand. The bully is forcing him to. It’s an old joke, as old as it is cruel. Maybe Cain did it to Abel – “stop murdering yourself!”

If you saw this happening in front of you, you’d probably break it up, right? Any decent human would pull them apart. But if you pulled the bully and bullied apart, and the bullied child just kept punching themselves in the face, what would you think then?

The bullied punches himself for one year. Four five years. For ten years, thirty years – he’s not a child anymore, but he keeps hitting himself. One hundred years, two thousand years. There’s something wrong with this kid, and not just the fact that he’s apparently immortal.

It’s ridiculous to punch yourself in the face for two seconds, let alone two thousand years. And yet, this is what many Christians do when it comes to New Testament prophecy. No one is forcing us to get prophecy desperately and terribly wrong, harming our testimony in the eyes of the world, and yet we love to do it to ourselves.

I’m sure you already know some examples of this, or at least, I’m sure you can think of some. How many times was the world definitely certainly without a doubt supposed to end within your lifetime? How many “prophecy experts” had definite conclusive biblical proof that the Anti-Christ was living among us?

Unless you’re a newly formed zygote, you can probably think of a few. Within the last decade, we’ve had Ronald Weinland, Jack Van Impe, and Mark Biltz all fail publicly and spectacularly to predict the date of the Second Coming. Go back a few decades and you have books like 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be in 1988 and 1994? (proposed subtitle: No).

And this is far from a recent development in Christendom. The world was supposed to end in 1972, 1935, 1901, 1891, 1861, 1844, 1700, 1673, 1533, 1370, 1260, 1000, 793, and 500. And that’s the short list.

But Christians have been getting the words of Jesus wrong all the back from the beginning, even in the Bible itself. Check out this exchange from the gospel of John:

Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”
Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?”
-John 21:21-23

There were so many people who thought John would live until the Second Coming in the early church that John had to write in a note about how that wasn’t true in the Bible itself. This means that stupid theories about the Second Coming are older than the New Testament. In fact, given the timing of this conversation, it’s entirely possible Christians were formulating bad theories about the Second Coming before they were called “Christians” (see Acts 11:26).

Next: [BTT022] Doing a Better Job

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Distributed Thoughtware: Southern Baptists vs. The Alt-Right

On The Anti-Gospel Of Alt-Right White Supremacy

I'm not going to dive into the text of the Southern Baptist Convention's recent resolution against the Alt-Right/White Supremacy, but if you want to read it for yourself, the link's up there.

Here's my summary:

1). We are not racists.
2). Boy, we sure are not racists.
3). Okay, so we were racists for a while there, but we have a lot of black friends.
4). But boy, White Supremacists and Alt-Righters sure are racists.
5). Boy, are they ever racists.
6). That's bad.
7). But not us.
8). We are not racists.

Note the bait-and-switch in the resolution, though. The title leads with "Alt-Right" with "White Supremacy" being a subset of the Alt-Right. But the resolution itself mentions the "Alt-Right" specifically only twice and "White Supremacy" five times and "Racism" eleven times."

In other words, the title claims this is a resolution on the Alt-Right, but the text is mostly about racism and White Supremacy.

It's a resolution on racism being bad that claims to be a resolution on the Alt-Right. Why? Because the point of the resolution is to paint the entirety of the Alt-Right as goose-stepping 1488ers. Why? So that the Alt-Right might be driven forth from the SBC without trial or (God forbid!) a chance for Alt-Righters to explain their positions.

There's a hilarity in the resolutions listing of all the previous resolutions (1995, 2014, 2016) that have already made their stance on race abundantly clear. The only reason for the 2017 resolution is to attack the Alt-Right, an amorphous entity that they do not even attempt to describe (other than as White Supremacists).

I mentioned in an old post (okay, two or three posts) that church splits were coming. I was probably incorrect in assigning too much emphasis to Trump's performance as a variable. I also was incorrect in assuming the push for division would come from below. It's coming from above, and this is the first major manifestation of it.

How many SBC members voted for Trump? How many identify with the Alt-Right (in its Alt-Light form in particular)? I'd be willing to bet the answer to the first question is "close to, but less than 80%" (reflecting the percentage of White Evangelicals who voted for Trump). The second is harder to say, but low enough that the SBC felt comfortable enough to attack the Alt-Right, but not comfortable enough to go after Trump directly.

Two last comments:

1). I'm sure that the SBC can now look forward to waves of hardened atheists embracing faith in Christ and flocking to their churches now that the SBC has bravely proclaimed that they are quadruple not racists.

2). I will be truly shocked if this ends here. Remember, as Alinsky told us, victory is the worst thing that can happen to these people since their power comes from conflict.


Also of interest: the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America, one of the groups that split off from the PCUSA when they went crazy with ordaining lesbian abortion doctors)  is taking steps towards opening ministry roles for women. As usual, it's being pushed from the top. God have mercy.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The State of the Blog (06/09/17)

You may have noticed that I'm not particularly feeling it lately.

Now that the Rules for Radicals series has finished, I'm going to post a series on Bible Prophecy. There may be some occasional Archetypes Vs. Women stuff. But it was the culture wars stuff that was drawing most of you to this blog, and that's something I've lost my appetite for (at least, for writing about). I think it's right to be upfront about that.

-The Rev

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Rev Reads It For You: The Way Ahead in 1971 (Rules for Radicals)

As we reach the end of Saul Alinsky's 1971 work, we also reach his take on the future. So the fun here lies in seeing how 2017 stacks up with 1971.
"With rare exceptions, our activists and radicals are products of and rebels against our middle-class society."
This was largely true through the mid 2000s, but with the falling out of the Middle Class, it would be more accurate in our times to say "products of and those denied our middle-class society." Those who were raised in the middle class but are unable to achieve that life-style. There's also a fine layer of upper-class shitlibs on top and a crust of lower-class rioters at the bottom.
" is useless self-indulgence for an activist to put his past behind him. Instead, he should realize the priceless value of his middle-class experience...Instead of the infantile dramatics of rejection, he will now begin to dissect and examine that way of life as he never has before. He will know that a "square" is no longer to be dismissed as such—instead, his own approach must be "square" enough to get the action started."
I'm torn on this one. There's definitely still an attitude of "infantile dramatics," but that itself has become part of the middle-class experience. It is dramatics for attention-grabbing rather than rejection of middle-class values. What values are really left with the middle-class anyway?

"Turning back to the middle class as an organizer, he will find that everything now has a different meaning and purpose. He learns to view actions outside of the experience of people as serving only to confuse and antagonize them others. He will view with strategic sensitivity the nature of middle-class behavior with its hangups over rudeness or aggressive, insulting, profane actions. All this and more must be grasped and used to radicalize parts of the middle class."
If anything, effectively communicating with the middle class requires skillful manipulation of rudeness, aggression, insults, and profanity. You want just enough to seem urbane but not so much as to seem uneducated.

We'll continue with the White working class after the jump.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Rev Reads It For You: Lock, Stock, and Proxies (Rules for Radicals)

In this chapter, Alinsky tackles two subjects: first, thinking on your feet; second, using stock shares to put pressure on corporations. This will be a shorter post than usual, as will be the next and final.

Why? Two reasons. First, because thinking on your feet is something that can't be fully taught in a logical manner because at a certain point, you're going to have to go beyond logic. So there's a limit to what you can say on the subject! Second, because proxies are simply one example of many different forms of improvosational tactics one can employ. The point isn't "buy stock to push your social agenda," the point is "have your eyes open for holes to exploit."

"The greatest barrier to communication between myself and would be organizers arises when I try to get across the concept that tactics are not the product of careful cold reason, that they do not follow a table of organization or plan of attack...the tactic itself comes out of the free flow of action and reaction, and requires on the part of the organizer an easy acceptance of apparent disorganization."
Cold reason is wonderful when you have time to plan and prepare and tweak, but it's mostly useless in the heat of battle. Having a manual of Accepted Tactics that you learn by rote and perform by rote is a great way to get your robot ass killed. Think of it in video game terms - no matter how powerful the boss, once you observe and understand their attack patterns, they're basically dead. When you can't think intuitively, you become the boss monster with the flashing red weakness.

So remember, if Alinsky could teach any one thing to your enemies, it is the value of coming up with tactics on the fly.

We continue after the jump.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

[AVW016] Lilith, Demoness of the Night (The Shadow) Part Two

Previous: [AVW015] Lilith, Demoness of the Night (The Shadow) Part One

-Luke Skywalker, The Empire Strikes Back

The Narrative Role

Sora and Anti Form Sora
The Shadow is one of the most common video game archetypes (really, one of the most common in all human storytelling), but it usually does not function as a game mechanic. Usually, the Shadow functions on the levels of character and narrative.

It is so very common. Either the villain is a dark reflection of the hero (Batman and the Joker) or else a relative of the hero (Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader), or else some sort of literal manifestation of dark energy created from the hero's heart (Sora and Heartless Sora, Anti Form Sora, Roxas, and like eleven other characters).

There are plenty of fine examples of female Heroine/Shadow pairs in stories. Ripley and the Xenomorph Queen ("Get away from her, you BITCH!"). Samus Aran vs Mother Brain. The chaste protagonist vs. the sexually aggressive antagonist in pretty much every romance novel/movie/etc. ever (a good gaming example is in Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure). We can expand this list with a few pairs covered in this series already; Inanna vs. Ereshkigal, Paghat vs. Anat, Psyche vs. Venus.

Again, this usage of the archetype is so common that detailed analysis is really not necessary, but a few words are perhaps in order for specifically female Shadows.

First, a Shadow for a female Protagonist works best when the Shadow is also female. The psychological mirroring is less effective when the villain is the opposite gender. It's a case of making the Other too "Other" to function as an appropriate foil. That's not to say that a male antagonist can never work, only that a female Shadow is the most directly accessible setup.

The inner Male aspect of women is more effectively used as the Animus, which is a more positive aspect of the inner Other. This is perhaps why bald faced anti-patriarchy morality fables are so rarely good story-telling (in addition to the usual problems of "party line" fiction).

Second, note that some of the best conflicts with the female Shadow center around sexuality. Ripley and the Queen conflict over their children. Cornet and Marjoly in Rhapsody conflict over the affections of Prince Ferdinand. Psyche and Venus clash over Cupid; husband to the first and son of the second. The Whore/Madonna Complex (or the Lilith/Eve Complex) is not just psychologically compelling to men!

Third, note that there are plenty of conflicts that do not directly center around sexuality. Inanna and Ereshkigal mainly clash over authority and power. Paghat seeks revenge against Anat for her brother's murder. Samus fights Mother Brain for survival. And while a clever sort might find sexual symbolism in these stories as well, it functions on a level more implied than explicit (and really, you can stretch sexual symbolism into anything).

To sum up, on the narrative level, you want your female protagonist's Shadow to be female as well. Otherwise there is less of a sense that they are confronting themselves and growing as a character. The lack of a strong female villain is one of the major weaknesses of the new Star Wars franchise, along with Rei's lack of shortcomings to overcome - and these issues are not unrelated! Without an appropriate, easily accessible foil, the Heronie's inner struggle is harder to grasp.

Not very subtle, but effective as fuck.
We continue with Game Mechanics after the jump.

Monday, May 15, 2017

[AVW015] Lilith, Demoness of the Night (The Shadow) Part One

Previous: [AVW014] Rethinking the Heronie (The Persona)

"I defy you! I hold myself against you! What I choose to be, you cannot change. I will not be what you think me—what you say I am!"

George MacDonald, Lilith, a romance

The Story in a Nutshell

Lilith comes to us from the weird word of Jewish and pre-Jewish Mesopotamian demonology. There are hundreds of individual variations of her story, so we'll look at one generalized version.

When God made Man in the Garden of Eden, He also made a woman from the same dirt. This was the first woman, for as Genesis 1:27 says, "God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." This initial act of creation, however, was not the creation of Eve - she is formed from Adam's rib in chapter 2.

There was another woman before Eve, a first woman named Lilith who was made from the dust of the earth, just as Adam was. She was an equal creation to Adam, and thus chafed under his authority.

"For why," said she, "Should I be subject to this man, who was made from the same dirt as I?" And so, refusing to lie with Adam or bear him children, she instead fled from the Garden of Eden.

Unlike Eve, who sinned and yet may be "saved through childbearing," Lilith chose to lie with the Serpent and became the mother of a race of monsters. She herself became a demoness, reigning over such evils as abortion, miscarriage, cradle death, sorcery, and witchcraft. It is even said that she rapes men at night in their sleep, using their seed to conceive more demons.

The word "Lilith" does actually appear in Isaiah 34:11 as part of a prophecy of the destruction of Edom:
"But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it,
Also the owl and the raven shall dwell in it.
And He shall stretch out over it
The line of confusion and the stones of emptiness."
The Hebrew term translated as "owl" is in fact "Lilith," a name thought to derive from various Mesopotamian demons. It's actually kind of fun to look at the various terms Bible translators have used for Lilith, ranging from "night monster" to "vampires" to "night creature." The Latin Vulgate uses the term "lamia," a similar female monster that drinks blood and has the tail of a snake, and the Septuagint uses "onocentaur," a half-man half-donkey monster.

In modern times, Lilith has become something of a Feminist icon, standing as a symbol of sexual promiscuity and resistance to male authority. The baby-murdering and Satan-fucking are presumably a plus as well.

Join us for more after the jump.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Rev Reads It For You: The Thirteen Rules of Power Tactics

I decided not to let three months go by between posts this time, which must surely be a shock.Today we're talking about the meat and bones of tactics.

"Here our concern is with the tactic of taking; how the Have-Nots can take power away from the Haves."
Smarmy pulpitizing on the immorality of it all aside, this statement betrays something of a flaw in Alinskism: what do you do when your side has become the Haves? When you have won over, say, the majority of the education system, government bureaucracy, and massive influence everywhere else? A legitimate question, and you'll see how these tactics start to break down.
"First the eyes; if you have organized a vast, mass-based people's organization, you can parade it visibly before the enemy and openly show your power.
Second the ears; if your organization is small in numbers, then do what Gideon did: conceal the members in the dark but raise a din and clamor that will make the listener believe that your organization numbers many more than it does.
Third, the nose; if your organization is too tiny even for noise, stink up the place."
We can similar tactics nowadays with sockpuppet accounts (concealing small numbers) and trolls (stink up the place).

The 13 rules alluded to in the title of the post are after the break.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Rev Reads it For You: I Get the Power (Rules for Radicals)

Alright, there's been enough wasted time. Let's jump right the hell back into Rules for Radicals with In The Beginning, a chapter on getting power.

"IN THE BEGINNING the incoming organizer must establish his identity or, putting it another way, get his license to operate. He must have a reason for being there— a reason acceptable to the people."
This is solid advice, and it needs to be said that formal credentials ("I have a Bachelor's in Community Organization!") gets you nowhere and fast. This isn't about proving your credentials, but demonstrating (take a moment to really mull over that word, demonstrating) your value.

The rest is after the jump, and I'mma warn you right now, this is a long one.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Beauty and the Bestial: LeFou and Gay Representation

I saw the live-action Beauty and the Beast on opening night, and my first comment was, "Disney better bless their stars that Malaysia banned this film, or else the gays would tear it apart."

I'd summarize the list of homosexual grievances against this film, but Cracked has already done a good job of documenting it:

Oh, the indignity, the stereotypes! Effeminate gays! Closeted gays! Shall wonders never cease! Perhaps now that Malaysia has caved and the film will air uncensored, the gay community will be able to tear into the Beast. That Cracked dare criticize a former gay martyr to Gay Free Speech publicly is a sign in that direction.

"We have always loved Beauty and the Beast. We have always been at war with Beauty and the Beast. LeFou is a gay icon. LeFou is a gay minstrel. When the homophobes hate a thing, we love it. When they love a thing (or even treat it indifferently), we hate it."

Oppression is strength. No, truly, their only strength is the claim that they are oppressed. And if the Malaysians will not oppress them, then Disney will. An oppressor will always be found, because if there is no oppression, there is no Feed.

It is the disruption of proper societal functioning that releases the energy these vampires feed on. That's literally the whole point of the chapter of Rules for Radicals I have been lingering on for, like, two months.

We will not reach peak Oppression Narrative until the Narrative no longer sells, until no one cares. The gays you will always have with you, but the Grievance Industry is something else. Until there is no fortune in protest, the greedy will stir up contention at every minor point.

Culture wars aside, Beauty and the Beast was pretty good! I prefer the animated original, but the update is well done. Solid cast, great visual effects, and top notch singing. This is one of the least gay pieces of media I've seen in years - less gay than Harry Potter.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Declassified: As Above, So Below

Good morning, Ruineers! We're coming back to the OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual for more tips and tricks on destroying your life and ruining your company.

Today's Tip: As Above, So Below

The chain of command, when properly used, can be just that - a chain of links choking the life out of an organization (or else keeping it shackled in place). But whether you're the top man on the totem pole or a simple squaw, it's your job to tug that chain around the company's neck and pull, pull pull!

Let's start with paperwork - memos and documents can be your worst enemy when they're out spreading information, but with a little skill you can use them to prevent 90% of work from being done on time.

First, demand every request, no matter how simple, be put down into writing before you'll do it. Have people fill out forms for every job they ask you to do - to make sure they have "used proper channels." Refuse to move forward until a mountain of paperwork is completed and approved by three different departments. The more the merrier!

Now that you have a mountain of information, it's time to find something wrong with it. Look for unclear language (or at least, language you can pretend to misunderstand) and write long letters and emails asking for precise clarification.

Why? Because you must never turn in a job on time, whether it's turning in a proposal, shipping an order to a customer or purchasing raw materials from a supplier. Give other people as little time to respond to your demands as possible and then blame them when it all goes South.

And remember, this isn't just about your job. If some busybody needs information from you to do their job, it's time to stall. First, ignore their request. When they remind you, pretend you lost the request (better yet, really lose it). Next, demand more information on why they need this "sensitive information."

For you boys on the factory floor, insist that you need the most expensive, high-quality materials to do simple jobs and warn of dire consequences if the wrong material is used. This gives you an excuse to delay ordering materials! Once a product is finished, insist that it's not perfect enough for your organization's high standards - even the smallest imperfection can be used to delay shipping a finished product.

Now let's talk a little about training and staffing. Even Joe Blow on the street knows better than to train new employees well - after all, they may be competiting with you for a job some day! But have you thought about actively mistraining them? Try giving them contradictory demands - for example "Quality is the most important thing" and "Meeting our schedule is the most important thing." With a little luck, they'll start ignoring big mistakes while shutting the line down for minor ones!

Speaking of which, an untrained, unskilled employee is the perfect choice for important jobs. How else are they supposed to build experience? Heck, make sure that the least competent, most unpleasant people are promoted first.

With these simple tips, line meant to move information from one person to another can instead strangle the organization to the ground. But remember, unlike every other job in the company, killing all forward momentum is your responsibility!

That's all for now, Ruineers. Remember, a noose is only as strong as the knotted, tangled rope at the top!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Declassified: Just Keep Talking

Good morning, Ruineers!

Today we're talking about talking, and talking about talking about talking. And as always, today's talking points about talking about talking come from the OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual.

Now we're talkin'!

Today's Tip: Just Keep Talking

Any good time-waster loves a good meeting, particularly when there's important work to be done. But these wonderful get-togethers are often marred by the presence of people who want to make decisions.

Yes, it's a sad fact that in every meeting, there's going to be one or two good-idea nogoodniks. These slick customers pretend to sit quietly and stay out of your way at first, but they're really coiled snakes, listening to peoples' complaints and formulating plans to fix problems. Jeepers!

By using the following tools, you can frustrate these quiet menaces and tangle up every office interaction, every time. It's hard to keep a good man down, but with these strategies, you can prevent them from getting anything done.

Time is money, and it's up to you to use up as much of both as possible. Every moment that your jaw isn't flapping is time that a good idea may rear its ugly head. Tell stories from your personal life to illustrate "points," whether or not the point is relevant. Voice your concerns about how people not present might feel about the situation. List, at length, every possible option and then why none of them will work.

If someone turns the discussion back on topic, bring up unrelated issues. If the group starts making headway on that new topic, get them "back on track" by switching back to the original topic. By changing the topic as frequently as possible and dragging in as many issues as possible, you'll replace forward progress with horizontal complaining.

Once a meeting is finished, make sure to hunt down the person in charge of writing the minutes. Pick out a sentence (picking at random is just fine) and argue over the precise wording. I'm sure you'll have a fine reason why "decided" is better than "chose"!

Speaking of minutes, you might think at first that they're a dangerous enemy - after all, they provide a record of what was decided.

First of all, you're the schmuck who let something get decided! Don't worry though, even the most vigilant meeting manager sometimes lets a decision slip through. Your goody-two-shoes boss might demand a decision be made, and you may have to oblige him. It's a sad fact of life that some problems require action - action committees, that is!

Start an action committee and pack this "small group" with as many people as possible, whether or not they care about the situation. Remember, nothing of importance ever got decided by a group of more than five people. After all, you're "just being reasonable" and "want to have all the facts" rather than "making a hasty decision."

Second, even if a stray decision gets through, minutes are the perfect tool to roll the clock back. Simply keep a copy of the minutes and bring up any issue that got decided all over again in the next meeting. The frustration of backwards movement is even worse than simply staying in place - it's a great way to keep the organization (and your coworkers) in their place.

There's no situation that can't be made worse with more talking, from preventing a decision, to dragging out the decision-making process, to reversing old decisions. Remember - the work can't start happening until the mouths stop flappening.

That's all for today, Ruineers! It's time to go back to finding ways to avoid work on your own now.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Declassified: Maintenance Tomorrow

Good morning, Ruineers!

Today we'll be talking about the exciting World of Tomorrow - doing it tomorrow! As always, this Sci-Fi future stuff comes from the cutting-edge OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual.

Today's Tip: Maintenance Tomorrow

It's said that Haste makes waste, but Mr. Haste sure could learn a lot from Negligence. Old Haste does good work most of the time, but there's still one mistake he'll make every time: he'll do today jobs that should be done tomorrow.

There's nothing wrong with Mr. Haste when he's ignoring safety procedures or turning a blind eye to shoddy work, but when it comes to maintenance work, it's time to slow down, Hot Shot!

Is one of your tools making an odd sound? Don't fix it now, put it off till tomorrow. Maybe it's a harmless sound, but if it's a serious problem, it can be made twice as bad by ignoring it. Now that's using your head! This goes double for cars, trucks, and expensive household appliances. Don't get hasty and fix that leaking dishwasher right away - let it leak a little longer and do some real water damage to the walls and floor.

Keep your tools nice and dull too - there's nothing worse than a sharp punch or file for turning out shoddy work. And don't forget to put off calibration checks on instruments - billions of dollars go unwasted every year due to properly calibrated tools. Even a small difference in torque can ruin thousands of dollars of product - now that's what I call "pitching in!"

With just a little extra time spent waiting, those routine repairs can become major headaches. And hey - if tomorrow is good, next week is even better!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Declassified: Clean Little, Clean Later

Good morning, Ruineers!

Welcome to today's lesson on being the waste you want to see in the world, courtesy of our friendly spooks at the OSS.

Today's Tip: Clean Little, Clean Later

Ruineers, I'll be the first to admit it's not easy to live surrounded by filth all the time. But it also wasn't easy to put a man on the Moon or to punch that Hitler fella all the way back to Berlin. So put down that sponge and pick up that remote, soldier; you've got a duty to your Uncle Sam.

Let's come together to pour those cleaning material down the drain (better yet, dump them in your yard), put that vacuum cleaner back in the closet, and find the strength to balance that stack of plates in the sink just a little bit higher.

And this doesn't just go for the house, soldier, it goes for you! Wear that dirty shirt again tomorrow. Throw those underpants on the floor instead of in the washing machine. And don't neglect to neglect your personal hygiene either: the road to Health is paved with soap and toothpaste.

This is important in the home, but it's even more important at work. Factories are filled with expensive equipment that can be damaged or even destroyed by the humble metal shaving or spec of sawdust. And what's the point in leaving the lids off chemicals if there's no dirt getting kicked into the air? So leave that broom on the rack, Jack! Today's cleaning can prevent tomorrow's product failure or even stop a costly line stoppage.

You office workers don't have as many opportunities to stop the line with poor cleaning habits, but you can still lead the way with attitude. "Pitch in" by making the cleaning staff's job twice as hard. Eat at your desk - really get those crumbs into the keyboard. Put that coffee cup as close to the edge as possible, or even on top of an expensive computer. Leave trash laying around instead of picking up after yourself. Cultivate the attitude that cleaning is for the "little people"; dirty work is for suckers. Trust me, those little people will pick up on it quick!

That's all for today, Ruineers. You've done well today - make sure to reward yourself by Cleaning Later!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Declassified: Keep That Trash Around

Good morning Ruineers!

We're back today with more tips for ruining your personal life, career, and the lives of everyone around you with hints and yips from the OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual.

Today's Tip: Keep That Trash Around

Hey! What are you doing, taking that trash out to the bin? Those receipts could be laying on your floor or shoved into corners! That burger wrapper could be tossed into the back seat of your car! That used tissue could be jammed in a jacket pocket! Use your head, dummy !

When you throw paper rubbish in the trash, you're removing a perfectly good fire hazard. Without a nice pile of paper and cardboard to chow down on, Mr. Fire is going to be in for a hungry evening. Let's "pitch in" and give him something to snack on.

And don't forget - random trash strewn around your living area will also make it harder to find things you actually want. That's a double-whammy opportunity you're letting go to the waste bin!

This goes for food scraps too. Leave your food scraps rotting in the sink (or at least in an inside trash can) for as long as possible. The odor will offend human guests, but you'll have plenty of flies, roaches, and rats to keep you company. And speaking of the sink, that's a great place to keep those dishes piled up. Tell yourself you're just going to let them soak a little and walk away. There's nothing easier than forgetting a job you don't want to do!

And remember, this works in the office and the factory too. Pile those fire hazards high, leave dirty dishes in shared sinks, and rotting food in refrigerators too. Without your contribution, an important workplace conflict opportunity will just slip on by!

Above all, remember the Rev's golden rule: it's not hoarding if you're definitely going to use it later.

That's all for today, Ruineers!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Silence of the Puppies

This Rabid Puppies 2017 post on Vox Popoli, calling for what amounts to a withdrawal of forces (if you're already registered, vote; if not, don't register) from the Hugos, racked up a measly 36 comments.

I don't know what's happening, but it surely cannot be good for the enemies of the Puppies. More as it develops.

Update (1/12/17)

Driving home yesterday, my brain woke up and figured it out.

1). The first rule of Vox Day is that Vox Day says what he's going to do, and then does it.

I would highly doubt that there's some sort of secret Rabid buildup going on. The Vox Popoli announcement is legit. Kickers, take a breath. Just one.

2). Even without EPH, it makes sense to switch targets.

 This is basic OODA/terrorism/guerrilla warfare stuff. Never hit where they expect you to hit, because then they can harden defenses and repel more effectively. Spread out and hit soft targets, thus stretching defensive resources, thus weakening the real targets' ability to defend themselves.

In other words, it makes sense to switch targets now that the Kickers are used to getting hit at the Hugos.

Btw - I'm certain that the Puppies could make life Hell at the Hugos this year, even under EPH. The question is, "is there a better use for those resources?"

3). The Hugos are a tainted brand (Space. Raptor. Butt. Invasion.). 

Maybe it's still an ultimate goal for the Puppies, as a final proof of victory, but it offers little tactical value. Particularly when the Dragon Awards loom like an unplucked jewel over the horizon.

4). This is a chance to neutralize the Kickers without fighting them.

Now that the Rabids are effectively withdrawing from the Hugos, the Kickers are going to feel a tremendous sense of relief, happiness, gloating, and calm. The demons what pissed in their Cheerios since 2013 are gone! EPH worked! 2016 is over! Let freedom ring, baby!

So the withdrawal trick isn't to drop defenses at the Hugos. The trick is to dangle a psychological carrot - just claim victory and retreat into the Hugos and a stick - do you really want to keep fighting this fight? - and let the enemy's will to fight collapse. Meanwhile, your forces hit a completely different, undefended, more valuable target. Good stuff.

5). Memetic warfare

This is spittballing, but I expect something along the lines of "Dragon Award winners sell more books than Hugo winners" / "Dragon Award winners make more money than Hugo winners" to make the rounds after it's too late for the Kickers to marshal effective opposition at Dragoncon.

6). Kickers will read this post, deny that they're going to declare victory and retreat into the Hugos safe space, then retreat into the Hugos safe space and declare victory.

Then, in a surprisingly short amount of time, they'll start whining about how no one cares about the Hugos anymore.

And they still, still, still won't see why that's funny.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Declassified: Get Sloppy and Stay Sloppy

Good morning, Ruineers!

Today we're going to start looking at some tips and tricks for Ruining your life, Wasting your time and Money, and Destroying your company from the OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual. Your Uncle Sam uses these same techniques to wear down the Krauts, Japs, and Ruskies overseas, so they're field tested for ruining your life here in the Good Old US of A.

Today's Tip: Get Sloppy and Stay Sloppy

Here's a neat little trick for around the house! Whenever you're working on a project, makes sure to leave your tools where they lay once you're done with them - tables and counters are great for this. When you need to use that table later, just shove those tools out of the way. Out of sight is out of mind!

And if leaving tools on the table is good, leaving them outside or under a sink where they can rust up is just dandy. Just make sure to never ever put them back where they belong, and you'll be on your way to Staying Sloppy! Tools that are easy to find and in good condition are a terrible setback on your road to a ruined life.

Staying sloppy doesn't stop with tools, either. Remember to also stay sloppy with your personal finances. Ignorance is bliss, and that goes double for your income, savings, and expenses. Knowing how much money you have going in and going out can lead to saving, delaying purchases, or cutting down on wasteful spending. Jeepers!

And there's no better place to be sloppy than the office. A messy desk is the perfect place to lose important paper and assignments. Once they're buried under a fine carpet of old, unfiled memos, you're on the fast track to face time with the boss, as he chews you out good.

This goes double for the factory floor. A tool in its proper place is a tool that can easily be used to do work. But there's fat chance of that when your socket wrench is jammed on a shelf somewhere! Then it's just a short trip to your neighbor's workbench for some "five-fingered shopping." It's good to be sloppy for yourself, but it's better to be sloppy with everyone's property.

So add a little sloppiness into your attitude and surroundings today - it's a great first step on the road to ruin.

That's all for today, Ruineers!

Monday, January 9, 2017

State of the Blog: 01/09/17

1). First, thanks to John and Zaklog for posting workarounds for the Kindle copy limit that slowed down the Rules for Radicals series. Unfortunately, the job search is interfering with that series now anyway (along with some large projects at the current job - we're always feast or famine).

2). The job hunt is proceeding well - I had my first interview seven days into the search, which isn't a bad turnaround time. Got another today.

I'm thinking about doing a series on job hunting/resume writing/cover letter tips. It's something most of my friends still don't know how to do, no matter how many times I show them. Maybe a written series would work better? Worth thinking about.

3). As mentioned, the job search is taking up a lot of time. Starting tomorrow, I'm posting a series I tinkered around with a few months back, The working title was Declassified: Ruining your Life, Wasting your Time and Money, and Destroying Your Company. It's a tongue-in-cheek Self-Harm series based on  OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual. I hope you enjoy not putting its advice into action.


-The Rev