ANOTHER DAY IN MIDDLE EARTH

lotr.png

Summer Festival, Part II

Milkweed:  “Greetings Campanula Chubb, Festival Coordinator.”

Chubb:  “Hey, Rube.”

Milkweed:  “Mayor Whitefoot tells me that you are the one to talk to about addressing all the festival goers.”

Chubb:  “Did he tell you that at a ‘picnic’?”

Milkweed:  “You know about that?”

Chubb:  “Every person with female plumbing in the Shire and beyond knows about him.  We’ve had complaints from all over Middle Earth, but he’s the mayor.  He just keeps pardoning himself.”

Milkweed:  “If we had only thought when we wrote our Shire Constitution to include checks and balances that would prevent those in power from taking advantage of that for their own personal gain.”

Chubb:  “Yes – 34 constitutionally mandated recipes was probably excessive.”

Milkweed:  “In any event, I wanted to address the crowd about – ULMO’S HOLY BALLS, ANOTHER FIRE MONSTER!  RUN!  I’LL HOLD IT OFF!”

Chubb:  “Oh no, its just a symbolic representation of the heatwave we are having here in the Shire at the moment.  It’s harmless!”

Milkweed:  It’s a GIANT FIRE MONSTER!”

Chubb:  “Relax, it can’t hurt you!”

(Low Level PC runs past, on fire)

PC:  “I’M ON FIRE!  I’M ON FIRE!  DON’T LET ME BURN!  KILL ME NOW!  DON’T LET ME BUUUUURN!”

Chubb:  “See?  Harmless.  If you are still worried I can spit some water on you.”

Milkweed:  “What, no I…”

Chubb:  *Spits water*

Milkweed:  “Gaah!  Quit it!  So would it be possible for me to address everyone about the growing threat of Sauron and the darkness which is spreading over Middle Earth?”

Chubb:  “My goodness!  That doesn’t sound very festive at all!  As festival coordinator I’m going to have to ask you to do a few favors to help support the festival before you can do that!”

Milkweed:  “But this is a danger to everyone in the Shire!”

Chubb:  “First I want you to go fly a kite!”

Milkweed:  “Hey!”

Chubb:  “While you are at it, there are some crashed kites that you can pick up and bring back to be repaired.”

Milkweed:  “But this is urgent!  Everyone is in danger!”

Chubb:  “Then, there are some people who have left various objects lying around that you need to pick up and return to them.”

Milkweed:  “I don’t have time to go on scavenger hunts!”

Chubb:  “There are some overheated festival goers that need someone to come by and spit water on them…”

Milkweed:  “Ick!”

Chubb:  “And you need to destroy some heat monsters for us.”

Milkweed:  “I thought they were just symbolic.  Or hallucinations.  Or something.”

Chubb “I’ll need you to carry a heavy block of ice down to Bywater, then bring back : some ice cream.”

Milkweed:  “For crying out loud, I’m about to start crying out loud!”

Chubb:  “And then there are fishing quests, the keg races, horse races, several more scavenger hunts….”

Milkweed:  “So I do all these things and THEN you let me address the crowd?”

Chubb:  “Not exactly.  For each of these you get one or more festival tokens.  If you do enough of them I give you more festival tokens.”

Milkweed:  “Yeah, I know.  Mayor Whitefoot gave me several.”

Chubb (looking sadly at Milkweed):  “Poor, poor dear!”

Milkweed:  “What?  Oh, no – it wasn’t like that.  I threatened to cave his head in with my mace.”

Chubb:  “Oh, good for you!  In that case, when you have done at least seven of these tasks, return to me and I will give you more festival tokens for earning festival tokens!”

Milkweed:  “And I use these for?”

Chubb:  “You can redeem them for cool things that are only available during the summer festival!”

Milkweed:  “Like magical orc-killing swords?”

Chubb:  “Well, more like summer outfits, horses with baskets of flowers on them, or seasonal dyes – peach is all the rage this year!”

Milkweed:  “You’re aware that we are all about to be overrun by bloodthirsty cannibalistic orcs, evil men, and deranged Dwarves, right?”

Chubb:  “Oh pish tosh!  I’ve been hearing those rumors for years.  Eleven years to be precise.  Nothing ever comes of it.”

Milkweed (sighs):  “Question?”

Chubb:  “Yes?”

Milkweed:  “Will there be elk?  Or spiders?  Or bears?”

Chubb:  “Nope, just imaginary completely unreal, but don’t let them get too close or they will light you up heat monsters.”

PC:  “Please, I beg of you!  End my suffering!”

Milkweed:  “Are those things canon?”

Chubb:  “Not really, but since they are wholly imaginary it doesn’t matter.”

Milkweed:  “And when I get enough of these festival tokens?”

Chubb:  “Then go talk to the Events Prize Coordinator – he’s right over there – and purchase the ‘Address the crowd about something dreary and definitely not at all festive or party-like’ prize.  I think it’s 80 tokens.”

Milkweed:  “That sounds like a lot.”

Chubb:  “Well, if you wanted to address the crowd about something fun and festive it would only be 40.”

Milkweed:  “Okay.”

Chubb:  “And at the same time you can pick up some fireworks from the fireworks vendor!”  THAT should get the crowd’s attention.”

Milkweed:  “Fine!  Fine!  I’m a level 43 adventurer!  Mordor is about to show up and kill us all.  Of COURSE I have time to run around fishing and flying kites and betting on keg races.  I’ll be back!  Away!”

(Mayor Whitefoot steps from the shadows).

Whitefoot:  “So – did the plan work?  (Heh)?”

Chubb (kneeling):  “Yes, my lord High Mayor.  We have managed to convince large numbers of independent adventurers that these old New York Subway tokens are extremely valuable.  They are now rushing around on pointless and repetitive tasks like hauling ice and fishing, while the forces of darkness mass in safety.”

Whitefoot:  “Excellent!  EXCELLENT!  The Dark Lord will be pleased!  Ha!  Ha ha!  AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!”

Chubb:  “Can I please have my children back now?”

(Lightning flashes in the distance.  Thunder rolls)

 

[Yes, there really IS a quest where you go around spitting water on people.]

 

Advertisements

Another Day in Middle Earth

[Being the continuing saga of Milkweed Thistledown, Intrepid Burglar and Assassin of the Shire]

Image result for Lord of the Rings Online summer festival

Summer Festival:  Part I

Milkweed:  “Will Whitefoot, Mayor of Hobbitown – I have urgent news!”

Whitefoot:  “Greetings, Milkweed the Cuddly!”

Milkweed:  “I have been beyond the confines of the Shire, to the land of Bree and beyond to wait, what now?”

Whitefoot:  “I just said ‘Greetings Milkweed!’ (Hee)”

Milkweed:  “Okay.  I have been to the land of Bree, to the Lone Lands, to Rivendell, and as far as the Lonely Mountains.  I have found orcs, goblins, and evil dwarves massing in each place!  Their hosts grow in number by the day!  Fell spirits roam the lands!  We must prepare the Shire for their onslaught!”

Whitefoot:  “Lovely!  Would you like to have a picnic? (Heh heh)”

Milkweed:  …

Whitefoot:  “A lovely picnic would be just the thing, don’t you think, Milkweed the Lovely?”

Milkweed:  “That isn’t a real title, not even a stupid one.  Didn’t you just hear me?  There are evil creatures lurking everywhere!  The Shire is in danger!”

Whitefoot:  “Bah!  It’s the Summer Festival!  No time for worrying about trivialities now!  (Heeheehee).  Lets go have a picnic!”

Milkweed:  “But I’m…”

Whitefoot:  “Picnic first, discussion of impending doom later!  We’re hobbits after all – there’s no problem that we can’t solve with good food, good company and a roofie.”

Milkweed:  “What?!?!?”

Whitefoot:  “Nothing, nothing – don’t worry your pretty little head about it.  Now, I have important mayor stuff to do, so you just take this pack horse here up to the very top of Lonely Hill – the part that is completely unobservable from the road.  I’ll be waiting for you there.  (Bwa ha!  Bwa ha!  BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!)”

Milkweed:  “Where are you – hey, come back horse!  Come back!”

[20 minutes later]

Milkweed (gasping):  “Giant.  Flaming.  Turtles.”  (pant, gasp)  “Giant.  Flaming.  Drakes!”  (wheeze).  “Giant.  Flaming.  Flamey things!” (gasp, pant, choke, wheeze, gasp).  “CARROTS!”

Whitefoot:  “Hello Milkweed!  I am done with my mayor stuff – what took you so long?”

Milkweed:  “Mayor Whitefoot, for the love of the Vayar RUN!  The entire area is infested with giant flaming monsters!  They’ll kill you!”

Whitefoot:  “Nonsense!  Everythings fine and you aren’t suffering from hallucinations due to the Spanish Fly I dosed you with.  Oops!”

Milkweed:  “You.  Did.  WHAT???”

Whitefoot:  “No time for that now – we must protect the picnic!  And by ‘we’ I mean ‘you’!”

Milkweed:  “What?  Oh no – Ravenous hobbits!  Level 40+ insect swarms!  Rain monsters with gigantic rain swords!  Back!  Back!”

[Battle ensues]

Milkweed:  “Okay, that was interesting.  Now tell me about what it was you dosed me with?”

Whitefoot:  Certainly.  I – but wait, you are all wet.  I think you would be more comfortable if you took off some of those damp garments!  (Hoot!)”

Milkweed:  “I have a level 43 mace and a level 41 dagger that think otherwise.”

Whitefoot:  “Look, you can’t blame a randy old Hobbit politician looking to exploit his power to take advantage of someone younger for trying, can you?  Here – I’ll give you these summer festival tokens if you don’t tell anyone!”

Milkweed:  “What do I do with these?”

Whitefoot:  “You can redeem them at the summer festival for pretty dresses and such!”

Milkweed:  “Don’t you understand, Mayor?  The forces of Mordor are massing!  Soon they will come here and destroy everything and kill everyone and there WON’T BE ANYMORE FESTIVALS!”

Whitefoot:  “Pish tosh!  I’ve been hearing that for eleven years now and things in the Shire haven’t gotten one bit worse!  Now sign this nondisclosure agreement and the festival tokens are yours!”

Milkweed:  “I must go to the festival@!  I must warn the rest of the Shire!  I must protect the innocent against the onslaught of these heat monsters that Tolkien never mentioned or even alluded to.  Away!”

(Gallops off)

Whitefoot:  “Sucker.  Oh well, back to peeping through windows at Hobbit holes!  EEEEE HA HA HA HOO HOO HA!”

[The daily instance for the summer festival involves Mayor Will Whitefoot asking your character to go to the top of a hill to have a picnic with him.  Once you agree he mentions that he has stuff to do and will meet you there – leaving you to escort the pony with your picnic to the hill.  On the way you have to fight flame creatures, which are supposedly hallucinations brought on by the heat.  There are flaming drakes and flaming turtles and a flaming ogre, etc.  Once you make it to the top of the hill, your picnic is beset by ravenous hobbits who want to eat your food, level equivalent bugs who also want to eat your food, and even these creatures that are supposed to represent rain, but look like translucent wights carrying misty gray swords.  When all this is done, you get some festival tokens, which are special tokens that allow you to purchace items only available at the festivals.

Given the supposed situation in Mordor, and the fact that Milkweed had actually MET Frodo and Sam at Rivendell, it seemed a bit incongruous to me that the Hobbits in the Shire were blithely dancing and having picnics., so I invented this story.  In the actual game Will Whitefoot does not try to roofie your character on top of a secluded hill for nefarious purposes.  Still, the plot seems a little rapey to me.  Be warned.]

Cupcake

download (4)

Asian woman – late twenties, hair dyed blonde, wearing a dark hoodie and sweatpants that say “Love Pink” over an obviously swollen belly. Her eyes are tired. So tired. As if she is carrying the world.

Black man – tall, tall; wearing a work shirt, pants, and a stocking cap. He stands straight, putting his dignity into his broad shoulders and back. He’s late twenties or early thirties. His eye holds mine on several occasions. I wish fleetingly that my beard looked as good as his.

Four children – three on foot, one in a carrier. Milk chocolate and honey. Little heads peeking over the counter. They move around but never stray far, never make much noise, only talk quietly with the man every once in awhile. Their eyes are bright and inquisitive, but I can already see a touch of the exhaustion that the woman wears.

We’re all at Safeway and I am several carts behind them. It’s the Sunday before the Fourth of July. The store is packed. The lines are long. People, including me, are irritable.

The woman is working with the checkout clerk to make sure she gets the most out of her foodstamps. Pricing items, running them down the conveyor to the man, who bags them, and then frequently asking them to be taken back so that a different configuration of groceries can be tried. I don’t see any really outrageous items. Two Safeway cupcakes in their plastic boxes are the only luxury I spot, though I’m not paying much attention and I don’t have a great view anyway.

I stand there as the tiny drama unfolds like a Chekov tragedy. We don’t get to see, but we can imagine it happening somewhere sometime soon,

There are two cupcakes.

They can only afford one cupcake.

It’s that or put back something else.

No matter how hard they try, no matter what they take out of and put into the cart, the math always seems to be coming out the same. One cupcake.

One.

People in the line are getting angry. Hell, I’M getting angry. I after all have places to go and things to do. But the Asian woman just stands there at checkout, and the black man just stands at the end, bagging and rebagging.

And during the seventeen minutes I wait behind them, listening to the grumbling and complaints, and feeling them myself, the woman never – not once – glances back at the line, looks around, or in any way acknowledges that we are there. She looks at the cashier. She looks at her foodstamps. She looks through her coupons. She looks at other Safeway employees who wander in and out of the drama wondering what the holdup is. She is fighting to wring every last penny worth of nutrition out of her foodstamps and her money. And by God she is going to do it if it takes four hours of standing in that line.

And she’s fighting for the dignity that goes with being able to afford a luxury, no matter how small. Is it for the kids? Is it for the adults? Is it a pregnancy craving?

Does it matter?

Poverty in America is clawing and fighting and holding your ground and trying everything, everything you can do to make it work – and coming up one cupcake short.

Epilogue: I wish I had been able to solve this dilemma. I don’t have much money but I could have afforded one cupcake. I didn’t learn what I know of the story until I got to the checkout counter. The cupcake was still sitting there. It was $2.99.

“Can you believe it?” asked the checkout clerk (trying hard to be friendly and chatty to the people who had to wait). “All that over a cupcake?”

Another Day in Middle Earth

Image result for lord of the rings online logo

[NOTE:  I hadn’t really planned on writing another installment so soon, but Rivendell proved to be pure comedy gold.]

The Sword that Was Broken – Part I

Milkweed:  “Hail Aragorn, son of Arathorn, known as Strider”

Aragorn:  “Greetings Milkweed Pie-Runner!”

Milkweed:  “Don’t start.”

Aragorn:  “My friend, a momentous decision is at hand!  It is time for the blade that was broken to be reforged!  For the good of the Free Peoples and Middle Earth I need you to…  to…”

Milkweed:  “Yes?  Yes?”

Aragorn:  “Take this note over to the smith of Rivendell and get an estimate.”

Milkweed:  “Oh.  Okay.  But I happened to notice your Fellowship companions Legolas and Gimli just outside this room.  Why don’t you have one of them do it?”

Legolas:  “Elk.  So tired of elk.  Every day – elk, elk, elk.”

Gimli:  “Spiders.  Spiders. Spiders.  Spiders.  Spiders.”

Aragorn:  “They’re busy.”

Milkweed:  “Very well then, it shall be as you desire.’

(Whistles for horse.  Rides to Rivendell)

Milkweed:  “Greetings, um, Hemeldir – forge master of Riven…”

Hemeldir:  “OCH!  STATE YER BUSINESS YE FOUL AND WRETCHED MURDER HOBO OR BE OFF WITH YE!”

Milkweed:  “What?  The forge master of Rivendell is a Dwarf?”

Hemeldir:  “WHAT OF IT YE GOBSHITE HOBBIT?”

Milkweed:  “Nothing!  I just thought that Dwarves and Elves didn’t get along.”

Hemeldir:  “AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, YE FLEA-INFESTED COCKSCOMB!”

Milkweed:  “Right.  Anyway, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, known as Strider needs Elandil, the sword that was broken, reforged and would like a price estimate, including labor and parts.”

Hemeldir:  “BEGORRAH!  AS I’VE BLOODY WELL TOLD THE LAST 127 MURDER HOBOS WHO HAVE ASKED I CANNAE REFORGE THE SWORD WITHOUT…  A MAGUFFIN!  TELL THAT LAZY BASTARD ARAGORN…”

Milkweed:  “Son of Arathorn, known as Strider.”

Hemeldir  “…  THA HE’LL NEED TAE FIND A MAGUFFIN BEFORE I CAN REFORGE HIS STUPID SWORD, AND I HAE NO IDEA WHERE TO FIND ONE!  NOW BEGONE!  I HAE OTHER MURDER HOBOS TO BERATE!”

Milkweed (mounts horse.  Rides back to Aragorn son or Arathorn known as Strider)

Milkweed:  “I bring news from Hemeldir forge master of Rivendell!”

Aragorn:  “Greetings Milkweed of the…”

Milkweed:  “No.”

Aragorn:  “Greetings Milkweed!  What news?”

Milkweed:  “Hemeldir says you can’t reforge the sword without a maguffin.”

Aragorn:  “There are few who have the knowledge of such elder things.  You must go at once to see L.  Ron.”

Milkweed:  “Don’t you mean…?”

Legolas:  “Elk steak.  Elk ribs.  Elk burgers with elk fries on an elk bun.  Elk sandwiches.  Fried elk.  Baked elk.  Elk tartar.”

Gimli:  “Spiderspiderspiderspiderspiderspiderspiders….”

Milkweed:  “Never mind.  AWAY!”

(Gets on horse, rides to Rivendell, goes to Last Homely House)

Bilbo:  “So there we were – goblins to the left, goblins to the right, goblins in front, goblins everywhere.  Gandalf was ready to give up, but I says to him, I sez…”

Milkweed:  “Out of my way you old coot!”

(Goes to library)

Elrond (writing):  I’m going to make you as happy as a baby psychlo on a diet of straight “Oh what is it!”

Milkweed:  “Oh mighty Elrond, I…”

Elrond:  “That’s ‘L. Ron!”

Milkweed:  “Oh what the hell…  Greetings mighty L. Ron.  I have come on behalf of Aragorn son of yadda yadda.  He needs to know where to find a maguffin to reforge his sword.”

Elrond:  “Aragorn has far too many thetans.  He needs to be cleared.  Let me share with you the good news of Scientology and how it cleared a man named Estel.”

Milkweed:  “Oh boy.”

Elrond:  “We were in Tinnudir, near the ferry…”

Milkweed:  “Uh huh.”

Elrond:  “The ferry to Tul Ruinen cost one copper piece…”

Milkweed:  “Yeah, yeah.”

Elrond:  “I had a piece of Huorn heartwood tied to my belt – it was the fashion in those days….”

Milkweed:  “We know, grandpa.”

(End of Part I)

Another Day in Middle Earth

Milkweed:  “Hail, Glorfindel of the elves!  I have been sent by a different, random elf to aid you in your battles on behalf of the free peoples!”

Glorfindel:  “Greetings Milkweed Slug Squasher!”

Milkweed:  “Beg pardon?”

Glorfindel:  “Slug Squasher!  It’s your title!  Right there – above your head.”

Milkweed:  “Whups!  Lets see, open character window, go to titles…”

Glorfindel:  “Greetings Milkweed, Apprentice Forester!”

Milkweed:  “Wait a minute…”

Glorfindel:  “Greetings Milkweed, Easily Lost!”

Milkweed:  “Hang on…”

Glorfindel:  “Greetings Milkweed, Purveyor of Odd Things…  Expert Forester…  Spider Smasher…  Firecracker…  Executioner of the Wicked….”

Milkweed:  “There we go.”

Glorfindel:  “Greetings Milkweed, Executioner of the Wicked!  The Free People have need of your blades!  We face a dire threat – elk!”

Milkweed:  “Elk?”

Glorfindel:  “Elk.”

Milkweed:  “This is like that ‘spider’ thing again, isn’t it?”

Glorfindel:  “No, brave Milkweed, for these are no ordinary elk!  These elk are…”

MIlkweed:  “Undead Barrow Elk?  Goblin Elk?  Elk who have fallen victim to the seldom mentioned 37 rings forged to bind the elk to the power of the Dark Lord Sauron?”

Glorfindel:  “No, no.  They’re just elk.”

Milkweed:  “So what’s so threatening about these elk?”

Glorfindel:  “They’re level 37.”

Milkweed:  “WHAT???  THAT’S INSANE!”

Glorfindel:  “You see the problem.  Should even one of these elk get loose in a lower level area such as Thorin’s Hall, Bree, or he Shire it would effortlessly slaughter every man, woman, and child, leaving behind only high level questgivers.  These Elk MUST BE CULLED FOR THE SAFETY OF MIDDLE EARTH!”

Milkweed:  *SIGH*  “How many?”

Glorfindel:  “Ten.”

Milkweed.  “Got it.  Ten.”

Glorfindel:  “And bear in mind the quest is repeatable!”

Milkweed:  “Repeatable.”

Glorfindel:  “AND while you are out there you should also kill some bears.  The dwarves need blankets.”

Milkweed:  “Why not just use the elk?”

Glorfindel:  “Dwarves don’t like elk blankets.  The’re not dour enough.”

Milkweed:  “I hate this job.”

Joe

[NOTE:  reposted from Facebook, with some additional photos]

Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, people sitting and child
Top Row:  

Now here’s a handsome and happy fellow – a good father surrounded by his children, upon whom he dotes, his wife, whom he loves – a big, happy family. His children are well-behaved, he has a good job, he is an excellent host at social functions, and overall he is considered by his friends to be witty, urbane, clever, a good conversationalist, and a nice person to socialize with.He even took in one of his wife’s children to help raise. His name is Joe.

That’s short for Joseph. Joseph Goebbels.

I’m using Joe, though he is, admittedly, an extreme example, to point out something I think it is important for people to know.

Image result for goebbels family photoIf you know who Joe is (or rather, was) your opinion of him is likely something along the lines of “Joe was a bad person.” (or perhaps a more colorful variation thereof.). While you may also think of all the activities that he participated in prior to poisoning all of his lovely children and his doting wife before shooting himself, you may also think “Joe did bad things”. But if I were to ask you “Hey, what do you think of Joe?” you would probably respond with something along the lines of “He was a bad guy.:”

The point of this is that in our language and social thought patterns, there exists a line. On one side of it saying “Joe is a bad person” is a logical fallacy – Joe’s actions or beliefs may be bad, but to call Joe bad is attacking his character and should be avoided.

Related imageOn the other side of that line we have decided that the things that Joe said and did in his life were sufficiently odious that calling him “bad” is just shorthand because he did so very many bad things, and bad things of such magnitude, that it is OK to label him as a bad person and skipping the whole process of separating his activities into good and bad and measuring them against one another.. Weighing his lovely family and social life, love for his wife, etc. simply do not compensate for being Reichminister of Propaganda for the Nazis and there is no need for social gymnastics to determine that yes, Joe was a bad guy despite his love for his family..

So why all this?

IImage result for goebbels family photot’s not to compare anyone to Nazis. I am using Joe here as an example because he demonstrates the idea I am expressing well. Despite the fact that Joe had many good qualities almost nobody will jump to defend him as “basically a nice guy, even if he did have some wrong ideas.”

This brings us around to the current US policy of separating asylum seekers from their children at the border.

There are people who absolutely love this policy

There are people who support this policy.

There are people who don’t care about this policy.

There are people who dislike this policy.

And there are people who find this policy reprehensible, harmful, and terrible.

I am one of the latter.

Image result for goebbels family photoSo when I say something like the people who support this current policy are bad people (and yes, I almost certainly use more colorful language) I don’t mean it as hyperbole or character assassination or insult. I mean that in my ethical world there is little or nothing that these people can be doing – not being nice to their families, not taking in stray pets, not donating to charity, not being loyal to their friends – that can counterbalance the fact that they are okay with, and often seemingly even gleeful about, 4-year-olds being taken from their parents and put in housing units that are run like prisons.

I think such people are shit people, no matter how nice they may be in other ways. They are on the far side of my moral line.

Image result for goebbels family photoI understand that not everyone feels that way – particularly about those who they consider to be friends, or who they have to work with every day. While I might advocate for these people to change their minds elsewhere, I am not going to do it here. Instead I want to make it clear that my critiques and labels for such people are not over inflated, rabble rousing hype. No – they are NOT Joe. On the other side of my moral line is a space almost infinitely deep. And the people happily supporting our current policy don’t stand anywhere near Joe.

Image result for Goebbels Concentration campBut they are still on Joe’s side of my line. And I make no apologies for that, any more than I expect those of you who have friends who support this policy and see them on the other side of the line “basically a good person, but with some wrong opinions.” to change your minds about them.

What I want is simply for you to understand, not even agree with, but understand what exactly I mean when I make reference to them as bad people.

P.S. I was not entirely accurate regarding the fate of the Goebbels. The son at top (dressed in black), Harald Quandt, survived. His decedents are now the richest family in Germany

Image result for Concentration camp child

Another Day in Middle Earth

Image result for LOTRO logo

[Author’s note:  lately I have been playing a lot of Lord of the Rings online MMORPG.  It’s certainly fun enough, but often relates rather strangely with both the original books and the movies.  Milkweed is my Hobbit Burglar, who is really more of a Hobbit Assassin who steals things, given the frequency with which she has to kill stuff.  I haven’t met Galadriel in person yet, but I imagine that the conversation will go something like this (though probably with some other type of critter replacing spiders)]

Galadriel:  “Come [MILKWEED], look into my scrying pool.  There you will see many things that may come to be, and may learn much!”

Milkweed:  “Um, okay.”

[Milkweed gazes into the scrying pool]

Galadriel:  “What do you see, heroic hobbit?  What does the scrying pool foretell?”

Milkweed:  “I see…  I see…  spiders?”

Galadriel:  “Indeed,  brave hobbit, it is your fate and your charge to slay ten of these creatures.”

Milkweed:  “Slay ten spiders?”

Galadriel:  “Yes.  Slay ten spiders.”

Milkweed:  “Is it important?  I mean, there’s that thing with the black riders and…”

Galadriel:  “And my elven wisdom reminds me that Celeborn is seeking spider poison glands.  If you remove them from the spiders you kill and bring them to him, you will be given a reward!”

Milkweed:  “But isn’t all of middle Earth in danger from Mordor?  Shouldn’t we focus on…”

Galadriel:  “Wait!  There is more!  Cut the legs off the spiders and bring them to a mysterious stranger at the local inn, and you will gain renown with the elves of the forest!”

Milkweed:  “What?  Ick!”

Galadriel:  “I also foresee that while you are battling the spiders, you should scour the land for wood and deposits of metal, so that your crafting abilities may increase!”

|Milkweed:  I don’t recall reading about Frodo doing this stuff.”

Galadriel:  “Frodo is 105th level.  You’re barely level 30.  Maybe by the time you are done with the spiders you will ding 31.  Now get out there and bring back some spider poison sacs.  Celeborn is making a bisque!”