The people have spoken. They like Blog Romeo. They like Romantic Newlywed Romeo. What the people really like, though, is The Pi$$ed-Off Romeo. As my man Ray Davies of The Kinks knows, you’ve gotta give the people what they want.
● First off, Travelers’ Nazi filtering software chaps my a$$. In fact, I can’t even cuss properly in writing because of it. I have to write words like a$$ and [email protected] Before any of you turdmunching simpletons mention an idea like, "you could download it to a disc and send it from home," let me say this: If I could, I would. Then, you’d know what this forthcoming word was, you stupid <expletive deleted>.
● Wanna be writers who think that they’re better than me chap my a$$, too. Not because they think they’re better than me. A bunch of them probably are. What chaps my a$$ is that all they do is say it. They never do anything about it.
Do you know why people know my name? Because I write. You wanna get on StarCityGames.com? Write. Find your voice, and write. When I was in New Orleans, I had a conversation with a fairly famous writer. I don’t like name-dropping, and I don’t like wannabes who drop names to make themselves look cool (stories about kissing gorgeous pop singers aside). So, I won’t tell you who he was. You’d know him, though, if you’ve ever walked into a bookstore and looked for more than coffee, hot book babes, and p0rn0 mags. (By the way, I don’t have a problem with any of those things. I met Luanne at a bookstore. We had coffee. I was looking for p0rn0 mags at the time.)
Anyway, he said, "I hate talking to waiters and waitresses who say, ‘I’m waiting tables now, but I want to be a writer.’ You don’t ‘want to be a writer.’ You’re either a writer, or you aren’t. If you’re making your living bringing people their food, that doesn’t mean you’re not a writer. It means you have bills to pay like everyone else. Writing is in your blood and your heart and your soul. You may not be a published writer, but if you’re a writer, you write." Then, he added, "Emily Dickinson," and went back to talking to the smokin’ hot chick to his left.
If you want to write about Magic, write about Magic. Send Ted your stuff. Ted’s job, like any editor, whether it’s for a newspaper, a magazine, or a web site, is to get eyeballs on his or her product. Ted has no bias except toward what he thinks people want to read. If it’s good, he’ll tell you so and put it up because it gets people to the site. If it’s bad, he’ll tell you that, too. [I’ll try to anyway. Sometimes it takes a while, and sometimes things get lost in a landslide of other submissions, but I do my best. – Knut, feeling guilty] If your stuff needs work, don’t whine. Fix it. If you don’t know how, take a class in creative writing. If you’re out of school, take a non-credit night course. (Another sweet way to meet babes. The best kind, too: mature, older babes who don’t have two thousand h0rny college guys pointing wood at them all day. The kind who appreciate a man who wants to better himself and who can spell.)
Get ready for rejection, too. You can’t be a writer or artist of any sort without being able to take criticism because not everyone’s gonna like your stuff. Stunningly, not everyone likes my stuff. (He11, sometimes, even I don’t like my stuff.) I’ve never had a novel published like Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar has. So far, my output is some short stories, newspaper and magazine articles and opinion pieces, and StarCity columns. At least I write.
Now, go write something, [email protected] it.
● You wouldn’t think it, but Affinity chaps my a$$. I don’t mean Ravager Affinity: The Deck. I’m talking about the actual, long-winded, "You get to pay 1 less for this otherwise moronically overcosted spell for each artifact that you control, and, by the way, we created artifact lands to help you out" mechanic. Why does it bother me? Because I hate blinking and then looking over at my opponent’s side of the board and seeing him or her – but, let’s be honest, it’s almost never a "her," [email protected] it – with a 3/2 flier, two 4/4 ground-pounders, and only one tapped land. "Where the he11 did that sh** come from?" I wonder to myself. "Oh, right, Affinity. Money for nothin’, and your spells for free." And me without my Shatterstorm, [email protected] it.
● My Y chromosome chaps my a$$. Don’t misinterpret that. It’s great being a guy. Now that I’m married, though, that Y chromosome gets me into even more trouble than it did before. For example, there are a lot – I mean, an inordinate number – of beautiful women in the world, one of whom I’m married to. What that means is that I am not married to the vast majority of the world’s lovely ladies. Still, it wouldn’t be so bad if someone hadn’t invented the cut-off or "baby" t-shirt, low-rider jeans, and the push-up bra. I walk around the mall, bookstore, and city streets trying so hard not to look at all of the various taut and/or tanned and/or round body parts on display that I end up being painfully obvious about how I’m not looking at them. Kinda like when you see a horribly scarred guy, and you’re trying not to look. Except that by not looking, it’s so obvious that you’re not looking that you might as well be looking.
Your wife doesn’t mind if you look at horribly scarred men, though. She does mind when you stare down the cleavage of the sales girl in the tiny tank top wearing the lacy demi-cup bra and whose n!pples you can actually see because of that [email protected] demi-cup bra! Who wears that to work in a retail store, especially when the job requires a lot of bending over? How can you not look at that? She’s bending over to help your wife try on shoes! When we can see actual n!pple, the Y chromosome makes us look.
We can’t even get away. Wives won’t let us go to the game store where, I promise, there are no hot women. So, they make us stay there, trying not to look at the tattoo that tank-top-demi-cup girl has right above her ample, round a$$ and that we can plainly see as she walks away to get the wife yet another pair of shoes. The torture!
Of course, the wife couldn’t pick the matronly old saleswoman who looks like she’s just doing this as a Summer job until the school cafeteria opens back up and she can return to slinging mashed potatoes on top of peas, could she? No, of course not. Women like watching us sweat.
I hate my Y chromosome sometimes.
● Women who wear the baby tees and the low-riders also chap my a$$ when they scowl at me for looking at their chest and/or buttocks cleavage. Come on, now. People dress to look good. You put on clothes that you think make you look good. You feel that you look good. You look good to yourself, anyway. That’s your opinion, though. How can you be sure that you look good? Other people tell you by looking at you. When we look at you, it’s because you look good.
Of course, most people do a p!ss poor job of looking good, myself included. Sometimes it’s the clothes. Other times, it’s just the body they’re on. (Guilty.) Some people end up looking hot, though. Men and women both. Men don’t mind when women look at them with that "I’d lick honey butter off of that" look. Some women, however, actually get angry – or at least get a look of anger – when men look at them.
(Understand what I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about the women who get a look of fear on their face because a guy is leering at them like a lion looking at a wounded gazelle. That’s understandable. Some guys are creepy. When creepy guys stare at you, fear is probably the proper response. No, what I’m talking about are not the ones who go all Jessica Biel in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I’m talking about the ones who actually glare back at you when you notice that their jeans are riding so low that you can tell in what country their thong was made.)
I’ll make a deal with you. Stop wearing clothes that show more skin than I can see in a Victoria’s Secret catalogue, and I’ll stop looking. As long as you look hot, I will look. The hotter you look and the more skin you show, the longer I’ll look. God bless America, you’re allowed to dress hot, and I’m allowed to look at you.
Before this degenerates and I get accused of things that aren’t even remotely true by people who apparently can’t read what I actually write but can somehow read my mind, I want to head something off right now. No, you pinheaded idiot, I do not think that if a woman gets assaulted or raped while wearing skimpy clothes that "she deserved it" or that "she was asking for it." That’s so insulting and ridiculous that if you even think about mentioning that in the forums or in an e-mail to me, I will hunt you down and tattoo the word "jenius" on your forehead.
As far as I’m concerned, a woman should be able to walk into any place she wants dressed in any manner she wants – including completely nude – without being accosted.
Being looked at is a completely different story, though. I would still reserve the right to stare at all of that naked skin. Sadly, though, women are not allowed to be naked in most public places. In fact, it’s even frowned upon when they walk around outside of their homes in lingerie, and lingerie usually covers more than some of the outfits I see at the mall.
"What the he11 are you staring at?" she asked.
"Um, a naked woman at the pizza buffet? By the way, the spaghetti sauce is really hot."
● Speaking of hot women and the Y chromosome, men who say that Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez aren’t hot chap my a$$. (No, you’re not getting links to cheesecake. I want you focused on me this time.) Yeah, I’m talking about you, mah brizzle. You can say that they aren’t your cup o’ tea. You can say that you’re tired of them and that they’re overexposed. (Oh, how I wish.) What you can’t say is that they’re not attractive. That’s so obviously wrong that it just makes you look like, well, an a$$chapper.
● People who crush little kids and newbies at local tourneys chap my a$$. Do you really think it proves how good a player you are that you could beat a little kid who brought a Mirrodin precon (not Darksteel or Fifth Dawn, mind you, but Mirrodin) to the tourney? Did it cross your mind to even let him win a game? Come on. What’s the harm? Your rating won’t drop if you win 2-1 rather than 2-0. You have a real chance to teach someone the game when you play against a new player. By beating him or her mercilessly and quickly, you may have turned a kid off from Magic. On the other hand, you did win the match. You’re so cool, Bewster!
● Call waiting chaps my a$$. It’s incredibly disrespectful.
"Oh, hold on, I have another call."
"Who’s it from?"
"I don’t know. It’s the other line."
"So, even though you called me and you have no idea who the person is on the other call or what that person wants, they have, by simply calling you at this point in time, become more important than me."
"Well, whoever it was is gone now."
"Me, too. $crew you. Call me back when you learn some manners."
My Mom doesn’t like it when I talk that way to her, though.
● People with tier one tournament worthy deck in the Casual Decks room on Magic Online chap my a$$. Let me give you a hint, dumba$$. If you have a Goblin deck with multiple copies of Goblin Warchief, Goblin Sharpshooter, and Siege-Gang Commander, go to the Serious Decks room. If your deck has four Astral Slide and four Lightning Rift, go to the Serious Decks room. If you have four Arcbound Ravager and at least two Glimmervoid, go to the Serious Room. You’re not A Cool Dude because you can beat someone’s three-color Sliver deck with one of those. You’re just an a$$munch.
You wanna see how good you are? Go to the Serious Decks room. Then again, you don’t really want to see how good you are, do you? You just want to win cheap games against overmatched decks. Makes you feel like a Big Time Stud, doesn’t it? I gotta say that I do a little jig when I beat one of you guys with my cheap decks. You know that feeling you get when you lose to a Twisted Abomination wearing a Whispersilk Cloak? Remember that, you pitiful putz.
● Customers who are a$$holes and then expect you to be nice in return chap my a$$. These are the kinds of people who call you up, cuss you out, and then want you to do something special for them. That takes balls the size of melons. Quick lesson here: If you want people to go above and beyond the call of duty for you, be nice to them. Just because someone works for a living doesn’t mean that they want to be yelled at and called names by deadbeats and criminals. In fact, chances are that they actually don’t like that.
In the South, we have a saying that you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. (Why attracting flies is seen as A Good Thing, I don’t know.) That’s just a way of saying that you’re more likely to get someone to go the extra mile for you if you’re nice rather than acerbic.
For example, let’s say that you’ve called me because your insurance policy got cancelled. Why did it cancel? Because you missed your third freakin’ payment in a row, you knuckledragger. Insurance is important. It needs to be paid. You just la dee dah went along as if you could just pay it whenever you felt like it, though. Now, the state DMV is threatening to take your license. Do you (a) call me and cuss me out about how it’s somehow my fault that you didn’t pay your bills and then ask me for help getting your policy reinstated or (b) say that you’re really sorry about getting behind and you promise that it won’t happen again if I just make this one exception?
You’d be surprised to learn – or maybe not – that the vast majority of folks choose (a). They’re asking me to make an exception for them, to help them get back an insurance policy that, frankly, the company probably doesn’t want to keep. (Actuarial data shows that people with poor payment histories tend to make more frequent and larger claims than people who pay on time. Makes sense, though. Responsible people tend to be responsible in all aspects of their life, from paying bills on time to driving safely.) They must think that the best way to get my help is to call me names because they do it an awful lot.
So, try this next time something doesn’t go your way. Say your order isn’t right at a restaurant, for example. Instead of calling the waitress an inbred, moonpie-eating piece if trailer trash, try being nice and saying something like, "You know, I hate to be a bother, but this isn’t exactly what I ordered. Could I, please, get another one instead?" You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many fewer snot balls you’ll find yourself eating and how much more often people say "yes."
Of course, I blame this on the mindless automatons who make six or seven figures a year back at The Home Office and have never actually dealt with customers. They read a book by someone who has nice-sounding theories with cute names but with no data to back them up. One of those theories is that "The customer’s always right." Which became, in the 1980’s Me Decade, "I’m the customer and can act any [email protected] way I please, and you have to like it."
Newsflash: The customer’s not always right. My very first boss taught me that. I watched as he kicked a guy out of our store for going on and on about the "poor quality" of our sports cards, stamps, and coins.
I said, "Stan, I thought the customer was always right?"
"Not when he drives other customers away, he’s not," he said. "Besides, if the customer was always right, everything in the store would be free. How long would we be in business then?"
Sadly, people who don’t have to deal with customers have decided, over the past two or three decades, that squeezing that last penny out of a customer is more important than the dignity of employees. There are customers who love to lord it over folks because of that.
Still, I have always gotten best results by being nice. While being nasty will make people notice you, they won’t go out of their way to help you. You want excellent service? Be nice.
● Ultra-rares chap my a$$. I know what the official Wizards stance is. There’s no such thing as an ultra-rare or ultra-uncommon. "All cards in each rarity are printed in the same amount." I call "Shenanigans!" I’ve been tracking how many of each rare I pull from the first set of each block. Since Invasion, I’ve held myself at four boxes of each of those sets. (Not all at once, but four total.) In Odyssey, I pulled zero Call of the Herd, zero Shadowmage Infiltrator, and one Mirari. (The Finkel card isn’t hot now, even though CotH continues to be. Finkel was, however, hot, hot, hot for the first few months that it was out. Until Torment brought us a bunch of Black cards to block him.)
In Onslaught, I got exactly zero Exalted Angels, zero Blistering Firecats, and one Rotlung Reanimator. I was very fortunate with the fetchlands, getting two or three of most, and, of course, plenty of [email protected] rares. Five Aven Brigadier (which was okay, because it’s fine for White-based, multiplayer decks), six Death Match, and five Dream Chisel. My heart’s all a-flutter just thinking about all those Dream Chisels.
If something like that happens once, it’s a fluke. Twice, could go either way. Three is a definite pattern. Of course, I know one guy who pulls more than his fair share of the hot rares. Everyone else, though, either doesn’t really keep track or is shocked by how low the numbers are for them, too.
There must be ultra-uncommons, too. Usually, when a new set comes out, I order a players’ set of four each of the commons and uncommons from a guy I know. When Darksteel (Motto: Home of the Skullclamp!) came out, he sent me an e-mail saying that the Darksteel sets would be late getting shipped because of the inordinate lack of a certain uncommon. Guess what it was? ([email protected], you’re smarter than you look. Of course, you’d have to be.) Yes, it was Skullclamp. So, I asked him if this had ever happened before due to an uncommon. "Once," he said. Know what it was? "Invasion and Fact or Fiction." [I’ve pulled six Clamps from two boxes of Darksteel. Chris is obviously a loon with a small sample size, but meh. Preach on, brotha man. – Knut]
So, Wizards can say what it wants about the numbers of cards printed. Until I see differently with my own eyes, I have to go with what I know. What I know is that there are ultra-rares. If Wizards wants to refute this in the best possible and most reputable manner, I suggest that they send me four to six cases of each set as it’s released for the next three or four years. I’ll let them know what I find, and post the results here on StarCityGames.com.
● Calling Tooth and Nail decks control decks chaps my a$$. Okay, maybe "chaps my a$$" is a little strong for this one. It does kinda bother me, though. Control decks actually **gasp** control the board and/or the opponent’s hand. If Tooth and Nail is a control deck, where’s the mass removal? Where’s the hand destruction? Where’s the countermagic? Aside from some artifact destruction, Tooth and Nail runs nothing that would make it a control deck.
What Tooth and Nail does is essentially ignore the opponent (classic combo tactic) until it can get itself into a position that, short countermagic or some major disruption, just wins no matter what the opponent does (more classic combo stuff).
So, remember, kids, the next time your friends call Tooth and Nail a control deck, tell them that they’re full of monkey dung. Tell ’em, "It’s a combo deck!"
● The Boston Red Sox chap my a$$, too. Back in December, they had a chance to have Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciapara. All someone in the organization had to do was realize that, yes, Virginia, you could have both of them in the same infield. You just move one to third (or second, since the Sox were losing Todd Walker). My suggestion, however, was met by a resounding, "We can’t do that." Why not? "They’re both shortstops." Oh, holy sh** on a stick. Get your head out of you’re a$$. I know it’s warm up there, but it’s dark.
So, The Red Sox went into Spring training with two disgruntled superstars (they felt they had to move Manny Ramirez to do the A-Rod deal, too) after the trade fell through. Meanwhile, The Yankees had two future-Hall-of-Fame shortstops on their roster. It’s just that one of them moved to third base! I even predicted that this would so poison the team that The Red Sox wouldn’t even make the play-offs; the Wild Card would come from the West. That was pooh-pooh’d by many folks. I stand by that, especially after the Sox unloaded Nomar to the Cubs.
Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised. Even though the management is all different from the guys that were there fifteen years ago, it seems like the stench of failure pervades the organization. Let’s look back to the end of the 1990 season. The Red Sox really needed bullpen help. So, they turned to The Houston Astros, who had a forty-year-old lefty named Larry Andersen that they could have. Woo and hoo. (To be fair, Andersen pitched twenty-two innings over fifteen games and had a 1.23 ERA. He did help get them to the play-offs.) Who did The Red Sox give up? Well, you see, at the time, they had future Hall-of-Famer Wade Boggs at third base. So, they figured they could give up their minor-league third base prospect, a guy named Jeff Bagwell.
Bagwell is also on his way to the Hall of Fame. Anyone who can hit almost four hundred home runs in the Astro-freakin’-dome is a monster. Of course, The Astros moved him to first base. Gosh, wonder why The Red Sox didn’t see a need for a first baseman in the near future.
I’ll be rooting for The Cubs and A’s for the rest of the season.
● My stubbornness chaps my a$$. I know that I should play the best deck in the format and quit trying to win with my own decks. Intellectually, I know this, but I can’t stop. I like the funky decks, the rogue decks, the decks from out of left field. Yet, I like to win and hate to lose. The best way to cure that would be to play ‘net decks. I can’t seem to pull the trigger on that often enough. I get a hollow feeling when I win with them. Yes, I hate myself sometimes.
● People who tell me that the phrase is "from out of left field" chap my a$$. I know that, you pompous, superior, a$$wipe. See? I even just used it in the last paragraph. The column is called From Right Field because that’s the position I played, and I write about off-the-wall decks. So, it’s a play on words. If you paid more attention, you’d probably have figured out that the writer of the column – someone who often talks about baseball – already knew that.
● People who talk about Fight Club chap my a$$. Do not talk about Fight Club.
Thanks for indulging me there. As usual, you’ve been a great audience. And, remember, in times of a national security crisis like we’re in now, we must be ultra-vigilant. So, if you see any naked women, please, notify me as soon as possible, preferably with pictures. You know, so that we can identify them to the, um, "proper authorities."