Mixed kNuts: kNick kNames

The”You Make The Nickname” contest is down to four entries: TK, Badger kNuts, Pimpmasta T, and Low Rider. Now VOTE, dammit! Oh, and Teddie Kneutered goes off on Geordie Tait, the Bush administration, his Godawful LD deck, and NeverWinter Nights.

I can already see Ferrett cringing, but I’m going to be straight up with you and let you know that there is no tech to speak of in this article unless you want to know what to avoid. Aside from that, I think I cover basically everything else in the spectrum, including (once again) badgers. I have disclaimed; now on with the show.

Another week, another round of the kNick kName contest. After a ton of nicknames were submitted (with a bunch of you gleefully breaking the two kNick kName submission rule because, hey, that’s what rules are there for), I have narrowed the list down to a lowly five. Your task is to choose the one nickname that you like best and vote by sending an e-mail to [email protected]. If you feel you need to include humorous comments about why you did or did not choose a specific kNick kName, go right ahead. If they are funny enough, I’ll include snippets in next week’s article.

Here are the contendahs:

The Holy Kanoot – Patrick Murphy.

I see this name as sort of a Grand Poobah moniker, which suits me just fine. As The Holy Kanoot, I shall wear a hat made of Elk horns and bestow blessings on all those who would grovel before me. In fact, after I complete my world domination tour (I am officially 10,543,987th in line to become”The Man”), I shall force all of my lackeys and underlings to refer to me as”Holy Kanoot” in their requests.

Of course, Patrick pointed out that”On the downside, it kinda sounds like a bad Robin imitation – ‘Holy Kanoot, Batman, I’ve got a run in my leotards!'” – so the effectiveness of such a strategy may be in question (sort of like my horrible Land Destruction deck from last time… But I’ll get to that later). Who really wants to remind people of Burt Ward? Alas, dear readers, that is a chance I am willing to take.

Low Rider – Robert Driskell.

Playing on the Teddy Roosevelt parallels, Robert suggests that if Teddy can be a Roughrider, I can be a Low Rider. Considering my Magic play of late, I have to agree with him. In a gesture to show my willingness to be a man of the people and do public service, if this kNick kName is chosen, I promise not to wear low-riding jeans that might show off my plumber’s crack. Perhaps I have discovered the next platform for a third-party candidate to win the White House as well.”Prescription coverage for seniors, homeland security, and no more plumber’s crack!”

Pimpmasta T – Steve Hoch.

Steve suggested this nickname as part of a larger e-mail that had something to do with yellow dinosaurs and”B.J.”s, which leant his submission a unique and somewhat surreal flair.

I would ask him what he was smoking at the time, but I’m afraid it would have addictive properties.

One assumes that the whole BJdinosaur thing would have been one of the bad trips that a brotha could suffer, because if it doesn’t get any better than that, Steve’s stuff is certainly to be avoided.

Then again, he could have just been watching PBS.

As for the kNick kName, I must say that I have done some pimpin’ in my time. Back in my earlier days, this brotha had to make a living by any means possible, and the service industry has always held a certain appeal for me. Therefore, I set myself up in a management position to provide the men named”John” of this world with the presence of amenable, friendly, and caring ladies. In the old days we used to call them”fly b!#ches,” but society is much more sophisticated now. I have since moved on to other pursuits – but the saying”once a pimp, always a pimp” remains true in some fashion.

Besides, if this were my kNick kName, I might have to show up in costume to a PTQ, dressed in true Huggy Bear style. Or maybe it would be more of a Payne Stewart type-thing. Now gimma ma money!

TK – Patrick Nguyen.

Simple. Elegant. Initials. Patrick describes the use of such a kNick kName thusly:

Person 1:”Hey! What up, TK?”

TK:”Nothing, my good man, just hangin’!”

Person 2:”TK! There he is, the Teke! (<–a possible alternate if TK catches on)

TK:”You better believe it!”

Anybody who makes my replies sound like Chef from South Park deserves some props. If this kNick kName is chosen, expect to hear the word”cracker” come out of my mouth with some frequency, though requests to lick my chocolate salty balls will probably be turned down.

Badger kNuts -“Badgers? We don’t need no steenking badgers!”

Susan Felhaber jokingly suggested that this might end up being my kNick kName after my earlier Pom Poko raving, and I decided”why the hell not – that could be a classic.” (Statements like that will probably get me off on an insanity plea some day.) Seriously though, Badger kNuts amuses me, as did Pom Poko, so it qualifies as a contendah for the contest. If you don’t like it, well I guess you don’t need no steenking badgers either, which is fine by me. I won’t go crushing you with my huge badger testicles for it or anything.

Honorable Mention goes to Monica Nanda (the kind lady who suggested on Monday that Geordie Tait avoid sticking a Glade Plug-In up his ass because it would adversely affect his ability to think), who is of the opinion that I should be called Mrs. Knutson’s Biatch from this point forward, a name that my wife wholeheartedly endorses. Thanks Monica, but I ahem already have to deal with that kNick kName at home, there’s no reason for everyone else to call me that too.

So there you have them: Five lovely ladies all dressed in white. Take your pick and send in your vote. Results will be posted soon.

Some actual Magic Discussion

Remember the Bridgestone/Firestone deck from last time? Feel free to forget it now, as it sucks. Standstill completely wrecks land destruction, as does Nightscape Familiar. Aside from not accomplishing the task of beating Tog, the deck also relies far too heavily on getting an Ensnaring Bridge out to be effective. My partner-in-crime Jimbo Johnson pointed out before the tournament that Wild Mongrel will kick me in the head until I be dead, and he was proven to be exactly correct. A pathetic 2-2 record later, I vowed to return Black-Green Braids to prominence the next week.

The reason for the switch is simple: My play has been sucking hind tit for the last month now. A change was necessary – and I figured I’d go back and play a deck that I knew to be good, just to check and see if it was my play or my deck choices that were doing me in.

At one point a couple of weeks ago, I was wondering how I could keep writing Magic articles while I was sucking so much…. But then I remembered that Rizzo wrote about his brutal beatings week in and week out, so I should be able to deal just fine with mine. Just because I suck doesn’t mean I should stop writing; it just means I should be honest about where I am at with myself and my readers, and maybe by continuing to write about my suckage I will overcome it.

As for sucking at the writing, Neil Gaiman and Bennie Smith helped me get over my fear of that as well. Gaiman posted in his blog a couple of weeks ago that he occasionally writes material that he loves, but when he hands them over for other people to read, they just don’t work. That is simply part of the creative process, and it has to be expected. Bennie pointed out that everyone produces articles or decks that are complete garbage sometimes, but when you do that you simply have to analyze what made your earlier stuff suck and vow to fix it.

Kai didn’t win the Euro Championships, Zvi thought Domain was still decent in Type 2, and I haven’t gotten a sniff of a winning record in about five weeks. It happens…

It could be worse, though, I could have been Jarrod Bright and basically been booed off of the Premium side of Brainburst. That’s what you get for being consistently creative with your ideas when people are paying money for ideas that will get them results. Feel free to give Jarrod some love; there’s enough to go around.

Anyway, all that was 2 weeks ago, and yesterday I did bring back Black-Green Braids, and I did go 4-0 through the Swiss rounds. I lost in the semis to a R/B Burning Bridge deck that proved to be a tough matchup. The deck had maindeck Terminates to kill off my ‘Mongers, and once an Ensnaring Bridge hit the table I had to find a Pernicious Deed to get rid of it or I’d end up crispy fried.

Lightning Surge is a surprisingly good addition to Burning Bridge – and I keep thinking that Browbeat would be really useful, but then thinking that it may break the whole”discard your hand” synergy. Something to be tested, as is running Breaking Point out of the sideboard against creature heavy decks.

My Judgment cards should be on their way any day now, and until I have some decent decklists with Judgment cards in them, I’m going to stop writing about Type 2, since what I have to say is irrelevant anymore.

Not that I was ever particularly relevant, but you get the point.

News and Notes

It boggles the mind to think that Kyle Rose comes out of semi-retirement to win a Team Grand Prix and get an automatic qualification to the Team Masters event. Don’t get me wrong; Kyle is a great player who occasionally takes a break from playing poker (his full-time occupation) to play in Magic tournaments when money is on the line. I myself have lost to him in a few Top 8s of $1000 tournaments around the state of Virginia. However, there’s a certain irony that he won the TEAM GP, when anybody who has any contact with the guy knows that outside of hanging with Eric James, he’s basically a quiet loner. Just another oddity in the ongoing Magic storyline.

Last week, Geordie Tait had his article about the tools you will meet on Magic Online linked by Penny Arcade. This only bears mentioning because Penny Arcade is so cool – and if you like computer games at all, I suggest you drop by and read it from time to time. Props to Mr. Tait (he loves that) on being the recipient of such PA lovin’. Speaking of gaming comics, for those of you who haven’t tasted the delicious flavah of Scott Kurtz’s PvP Online, you are directed to go here with a quickness. (Be warned that this is”guest artist” week, however, so you may want to check the archives instead – The Ferrett)

On the flip side, Tait also used”rococo” in his article last week. If this were TA, I’d expound upon his use of that word and what it means about Geordie personally, but let’s just say that the dictionary uses the words”light gay ornamentation” to describe rococo and leave it at that. Next thing you know he’ll be talking about wicker and rattan furniture, and what you should be thinking about for your fall fabric selections.

Aside: Who wants to make a bet that Tait zings me back before you find out the rest of the story behind how he did at Canadian Nationals? Who wants to bet that PT: Boston rolls around before he finally finishes his Nationals article series? Perhaps the next Ice Age? Yeah, I don’t think it would be a fair bet either…

I think I finally have a team put together to play in the Team Limited Qualifiers that are coming up. There’s one in DC this week (that I won’t be making it to, since my family will be in town) and there are ones in Columbus, OH (not gonna make ’em), Roanoke, VA (definitely be there), and Philly, PA (big fat maybe) over the next month. For those of you that are social animals and like to play Magic because it allows you to get out, make new friends, and make fun of people with notoriously bad hygiene, I suggest you try this format. The Team Format always seems to create good stories and be a little more laid back than your typical Singles Qualifiers. Besides, a little menage a’ trois never hurt anybody, right?

Has anybody out there coded the Magic computer simulation program yet? I need to figure out how I can tell when Zvi is feeding me a line and when he’s giving me actual gold. Last Friday, he said that he always plays second in Limited these days, and he details his reasons over on Brainburst Premium, but sometimes I can’t tell whether he actually means what he’s saying, or whether he’s trying to tug his opponents around by the nose and make them play the way he wants them to (see PT: Nice and the”I draft white” strategy.) I figure if I could simulate different draft decks and have them play first and draw first again each other 1000 times while controlling for the relative strength of the decks, I might be able to narrow down which method is better through statistical analysis. Maybe. Then again, it may simply be a case of card advantage vs. tempo where card advantage wins out in the end.

Gold or louis friend (my anagrams are showing, Dr. Lecter), I’ll probably end up drawing in Limited unless I find myself playing R/B or R/G with some bombs, but only partly because Zvi told me so.

The Kitchen Sink

Prediction: The editing and quality of articles submitted around the net will diminish over the next couple of months in direct proportion to how well NeverWinter Nights catches on with the gaming community. I know at least two editors of major Magic sites that are currently playing the game (Me and Chedy – The Ferrett), and I suspect that many of you are currently or will soon be playing NWN. The ability to create your own D&D campaigns and DM them online is very cool, and the tools that NWN provides you to do such things are nothing short of amazing. I myself may soon be absorbed with creating new virtual worlds for my friends to play in to the point that my writing magically disappears in a puff of hack-and-slash mayhem.

If you happen to be part of an NWN play group that actually plays at decent hours (read: weekdays before 11 p.m. Eastern or weekends) drop me a line.

Rant on

Is it just me, or has the only thing the Bush Administration has actually done correctly lately been running the war in Afghanistan? Corporate America is literally falling apart around them and taking investor and consumer confidence with it… But there have been no calls from the Administration to make serious reforms in accounting practices or to increase funding for the SEC and crack down on people blatantly breaking the law. Their Middle East policy is the biggest clusterf*** in American foreign policy since Somalia, and it seems like all the people with reasonable ideas (like Colin Powell) are getting shut out of the discussion. Not that I don’t think Yassir Arafat has been directly supporting terrorist actions against the State of Israel, but there are infinitely better ways of going about pursuing Foreign Policy initiatives than the ways Bush’s team has chosen.

Instead of useful leadership, we instead get distractions like reorganizing 170,000 government employees into the Department of Homeland Security – a department that would magically be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and the Whistleblower’s Act. Glad to see that the Bush Administration still favors accountability from government agencies. Next thing you know, they’ll privatize the military and hassle the New York DA’s office when they start cracking down against investment banks that offer the Military IPO to certain customers in exchange for kickbacks and increased broker fees on other stock offerings.

Before I declare rant off, I just want to point out that it’s a horrible time to be in the stock market and has been for two years now. I think there will be more corporate earnings restatements to come, and for those of you who held stock in Enron, Tyco, Adelphia, Worldcom, Dinegy, Martha Stewart Inc, et al, you got the shaft. I would not be at all surprised to see Nasdaq work its way down past 1300 and the Dow down towards 9000 before we get a sustained recovery, particularly if the trend of corporate malfeasance continues.

At least the Supreme Court has been getting things mostly right lately. Yay for school vouchers! If you disagree, feel free to take the time to convince me they are somehow bad.

Does anybody else think that if Gil Grissom and the gang would have solved the whole Anthrax business if they had been given the case? CSI is cool enough to make me actually think that law enforcement could be an interesting and worthwhile occupation. Damn you, Hollywood!

Martha, Martha, Martha… (Stewart, for those who haven’t been following along). You used to be a stockbroker, so how is it that you get caught for insider trading on 4,000 measly shares of ImClone? Bite the bullet, dahling, and take the loss (which would have been a maximum of $230,000), as I’m sure this scandal has cost you many times that on the value of your company’s stock. This whole story could be retitled”When Smart People Do Stoopid Things.” Not that Martha isn’t still a psycho bitch – because she is – but she used to be a smart one.

Frown. The World Cup has ended, and Brazil came out on top. My predictions (and everybody else’s, for that matter) were garbage, apart from knowing that the U.S. was better than they were getting credit for, England’s run would depend on Beckham being healthy, and…

Actually, only those two stand out.

As for Brazil, Ronaldo is back at the top of his game, and Rivaldo looks as if he still has a few years of incredible skill left in his legs. Ronaldinho will soon be making his way to some huge European side, so that he can showcase his amazing skills while all the marketing people cringe about how unattractive his face is. I personally don’t care how he looks, as his play was amazing thought the month of June.

In spite of the Brazilian win though, Ze Germans now look as if they will be co-favorites for 2006, as they have a solid team, a solid league, and home field advantage, which seems to be a bigger factor in the World Cup than anyone thought.

Now I get to spend the rest of the summer watching the U.S. World Cup stars play in our domestic league, wishing that some American cable network would pick up Serie A so that I can watch Ronaldo play for Inter in the fall, and also counting the days until Championship Manager 4 is released. I know the foreign contingent of readers is aware of exactly what CM4 is – and while I’d recommend it to U.S. soccer fans, I’d be afraid of getting picked up for narcotics trafficking. If you really want to know, drop me a line, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I recently asked for music recommendations – and while I am still working through those, I thought I’d share what I’ve been listening to lately.

“Song Yet to Be Sung” by Perry Farrell is my jam of choice lately. Perry has had some wildly inconsistent work since Jane’s Addiction dissolved, but the title song of this album is one of my favorites of the year. My wife thinks it sounds like a younger Peter Gabriel (considering Pete’s last album was released ten years ago, I suppose that statement could be refined to say”any” Peter Gabriel), but all I know is that I like the primal drum beats and the overlaid harmonies.

Speaking of Peter Gabriel, word has it that he should have an album full of completely new material out by this fall or early next year. I won’t hold my breath, but I may quiver a little in anticipation.

I’ve also been checking out Rusted Root lately and Bob Schneider, both of which are quite pleasant. Rounding out the recent listening exploits have been the new Chris Isaak album and Massive Attack’s Mezzanine, which is highly addictive.

Random non sequitur: Can you believe Jewel once opened for BauHaus and lived to tell about it? Me neither, but apparently it’s true.

That’s it for this week. I’ll be back next time with a new kNick kName, and some legitimate Magic writing, as opposed to the pseudo-Magic stuff I produced this week. If things go well, I might even be back with an interview with some guy whose last name rhymes with learn. Until then, send your votes to [email protected] and try to enjoy your 4th of July without setting the other half of the country on fire.

Ted Knutson