[Looney Labs] [Shopping Center]
News Archives

[Guide] [Games] [E-Books] [WTS]

The Humringbird

I hold a little bunny toy in front of Booda's nose, poke it towards him and make little bunny barking noises. "Ruff! Ruff ruff!"

Cool Words

exigent (egg'-zi-jent) adj. 1: urgent; critical; pressing; requiring immediate aid or action. 2: requiring more than is reasonable, demanding; exacting.

Haiku Reviews

Lantana :|

Psychodrama? -- No...
Thriller? Mystery? -- Not quite.
Australian chick flick?

Tirade's Choice

Boxed In

Analysis of State of the Union Address

#12's Webcomic picks
You Wish

"The most fun you can possibly have in 2-20 minutes! Fluxx is the most creative, and innovative game I have ever played. If you do not have fun playing this game, then there is no hope for you. This is the most fun I have ever had, that can be contained in a box!" -- 5 star review of Fluxx posted at FunAgain.com by Yair Oelbaum

Thursday, February 6, 2003
by the Writer's Guild of Wunderland

What's New?

What's Going On? Goodbye Columbia / Congratulations Keith / Outraged about Ed

This week has been a mixture of bad news, good news, and unbelievable news.

First of course, there's that Major Bummer in the Sky. Kristin and I met while working at Goddard Space Flight Center, and even though we both moved on long ago, we still feel like we're part of the NASA family, particularly since we still have many friends and loved ones who continue with the fine work of the space agency. So our hearts our heavy indeed as we mourn this week's loss of Columbia and her crew.

That said, I'm not so blindly devoted to NASA as to be in denial about the Shuttle's obvious flaws. I think this week's tragedy should be the wake-up call that leads to the development of a new generation of space-faring vehicles. In the first 20 years of the space age, we moved through at least 4 generations of rocket travel... but in the past 20 years, spacecraft development has been stuck in neutral. The Columbia might not have been destroyed, for example, if her heat-shield had been redesigned using more modern heat-resistant materials.

Our family has several cars we use to get around, and they're all quite old and increasingly unreliable. The oldest in the fleet had her engine rebuilt a few years back, but even the newest was built in the 80s and he's really starting to show his age. In a couple more years, we'll be able to start calling these cars antiques. And yet, our trio of aging cars is newer than our nation's trio of space shuttles. We can continue to get by with our klunky old cars for awhile yet -- we just have to call for a ride when one breaks down -- but aging spacecraft cost astronauts' lives. It's time to retire the shuttle and build the next generation of spaceflight systems.

There's a hard-hitting article by Gregg Easterbrook in this week's Time Magazine, called "The Space Shuttle Must Be Stopped", and while I don't agree with everything he says, I think he makes some excellent points. The shuttle is a costly and complex all-purpose spaceship whose functions would be better served through specialization: instead we should have a spaceplane designed only to ferry astronauts into space, plus a new heavy lift booster intended only to send up all that big stuff we currently load into the Shuttle's cargo bay. Imagine how much better, faster, cheaper, and above all, safer, such a system might be if NASA could simply scrap the current program and develop something new from scratch with all the lessons they've learned so far?

(By the way, the space shuttle seen in the photo above is actually the Atlantis; I took this photo on August 2,1991, during the first of two occasions on which I got to see a launch in person.)

Next, the rollercoaster of news took us from the horrible to the fantastic: my close friend Keith Baker has been declared the winner of the Wizards of the Coast Fantasy Search Setting contest! Keith beat out 11,000 other hopefuls to take home prize money totaling $120,000 and now gets to watch as WotC brings his world to life in the next generation of their role-playing products. Isn't that amazing?

We couldn't be happier for Keith. He and I served together in the trenches at Magnet Interactive Studios, and I watched as his brilliant mind was nearly crushed by a epic nightmare of computer game development entitled "Bluestar". After that, he moved out to Colorado where he again toiled away for years in an attempt to get a computer game published. Finally, he wised up and quit that whole scene, diving headlong into freelance writing for the adventure game industry, where he was already starting to make a name for himself, even before winning this amazing prize. Now of course, he's an instant star in our business, but as it always is with those who attain seemingly-instant success, it's actually the pay-off to many years of hard-work.

Congratulations, Keith! Your ship is waiting for you at the dock...

As if the news about the loss of the Columbia weren't bad enough, we also learned this week that Ed Rosenthal was found guilty of growing medical marijuana in California, where the voters declared it legal long ago, and where he was doing so with the authorization of the city government. Astonishingly, he was not permitted to give the whole truth in his defense... the jurors were deliberately shielded from the knowledge that Ed's huge grow operation was explicitly set up to benefit seriously-ill patients, and that he was acting as a deputized officer of the City of Oakland. Now that it's all over, the jurors are learning how much they'd been mis-informed, and they're outraged... half of them have denounced their verdicts and declared that they would have acquitted Ed had they been told the complete story.

This too should be a wake-up call and a turning point in an expensive federal program with a long history of unwillingness to admit of its own faults. Ed Rosenthal is known to millions of stoners as an expert on cultivation, having written numerous magazine articles (his column is called "Ask Ed") not to mention at least a dozen books. He is a classic example of the fact that smoking pot for years does NOT interfere with your ability to think and produce, and I know this firsthand: I've met Ed personally, at a NORML conference, and I was impressed by the clarity of his thinking. I remember well how he asked Kristin and myself a long series of insightful questions about our work in the game business. His conviction is a jackboot in the face of all Californians who voted to legalize medical marijuana, and it's yet another life being ruined by our stupid and cruel anti-marijuana laws.

What kind of a country is this, where a peaceful and intelligent horticulture expert can face 5-40 years in jail for growing plants to help sick and dying people in a state where voters legalized his actions and those who convicted him have since denounced their verdicts? Maybe California should secede from the Union, if that's what it takes for them to have their laws honored.

Once again, I'm incredibly angry... aren't you?
(If you are, you might consider donating to Ed's legal defense fund...)


Have a great week!

the story so far

Thought Residue
"What happened was a travesty and it's unbelievable, unbelievable that this man was convicted.  I am just devastated. We made a terrible mistake and he should not be going to prison for this." -- Juror Marney Craig, who (along with half of her peers) is now denouncing her verdict, after discovering the full range of facts that were withheld from the jury during the trial of Ed Rosenthal

"For 20 years, the American space program has been wedded to a space-shuttle system that is too expensive, too risky, too big for most of the ways it is used, with budgets that suck up funds that could be invested in a modern system that would make space flight cheaper and safer. The space shuttle is impressive in technical terms, but in financial terms and safety terms no project has done more harm to space exploration." -- Gregg Easterbrook, writing for Time Magazine, "The Space Shuttle Must Be Stopped"
"A dope-smoking driver who was caught with a joint in his hand recently beat an impaired-driving charge in Eastern Ontario. Rick Reimer, a former lawyer and multiple-sclerosis sufferer, is one of fewer than 1,000 Canadians legally permitted to smoke pot. That privilege was not thought to extend to driving.  But Mr.  Reimer successfully argued that he can smoke marijuana and remain able to debate law, recite poems, write plays -- and drive a car." -- Colin Freeze, writing for Canada's Globe and Mail, Sat, 01 Feb 2003


Send email to

Mailing Lists

[FAQ] [Mailing Lists] [Testimonials]

Upcoming Appearances

  • Toy Fair (Feb)
  • GAMA Trade Show (March)
  • Origins (June 26-29, 2003)
  • Gen-Con (July)

Play Our Games!

Lost Identities
Cosmic Coasters

Are You a Werewolf?

Our Sponsors, Our Websites
Looney Labs
Contagious Dreams

Related Newsfeeds:


News Search Gift Shop Games About Us

http://www.wunderland.com | contact us