NSA Nobody Rides Again

Well, sorta. I've just had a story published in the weirdo cultural magazine Unwinnable about the hard life of being a henchman for the National Security Agency. It is a paid magazine, so I can't dump the text into a post here. It's $9 for a single issue or $5 for a subscription, but it's one of my favorite magazines and I even subscribe to it myself. I highly recommend it, and not just because they paid me a few bucks.

Grab your copy here. It comes as a PDF, so I'll leave it to your imagination how to share it with your henchmen friends still inside the subterranean lairs.

Here's a sneak peak at my article. Not sure if I'm actually allowed to show it off like this, but eh, you guys earned it.

I'm also toying with the idea of compiling and rewriting the NSA Nobody series into a short e-book and submitting it to Amazon Singles for publication. If anything comes of that, I'll let you all know.

Thanks for still reading, you crazy sons of bitches.

Election 2016: ORIGINS

The President sat in his leather chair in the Oval Office. A withered gentleman with ruddy cheeks sat across the desk, running a wrinkled hand over his hairless scalp. A small pile of orange fur sat in the bald man's lap. It purred.

"You're our best agent. Please say you'll do this," said President Obama.

"I'm old, Obie," said the bald man, "And I'm retired. I'm done. I'm out of the game. Get someone else."

"There is no one else," said the President. "Please. One last mission, that's all I ask. The country needs you, Don. *I* need you."

The bald man slumped in his seat, and he pet the purring lump of hair pensively.

"One last job, you say?"

The President nodded.

The bald man sighed, then nodded. He grunted as he labored to his feet, holding the orange tabby in one hand and bracing himself on the chair's arm with the other. The President likewise stood up. He saluted the bald man.

"For America, Don. For America," said President Obama.

The bald man took the cat in both hands and slid it over his scalp. The cat curled in a ball and thrust its claws into the bald man's skull. Small lines of red trickled down the back of the man's head. Once secure, the cat fell back asleep. It purred more loudly than before. With the cat secured, the bald man's face suddenly transformed: no longer a tired old agent, but a shifty-eyed, fiery businessman. The President had never seen the transformation up close before. It frightened him.

The cat-wearing man thrust a finger at the President.

"You're sitting in my seat!" he shouted, his voice just loud enough to mask the cat's purring.

"There he is," said the President. "Go get 'em."

The cat-wearing man strode over to the great mahogany door that lead out of the Oval Office and pounded it twice with a balled fist. The Secret Service agent on the other side opened the door and nodded.

"Don," called President Obama.

The cat-wearing man turned. He was scowling.

"Say it just once. For me."

The agent leaned back and drew a deep, dramatic breath, as if though he were about to spit out a hurricane.

"Mister President," he shouted, wildly jabbing the air with his pointer finger.


The 76 Theses of a Christian Videogame Critic

Skip to #40 if you'd rather skip the discourse on theistic cosmogony and theology of the Resurrection.

  1. The universe exists.
  2. The universe had a fixed beginning in time.
  3. Without a fixed beginning in time, reality would have to cross an actual infinite of time before arriving at the present.
  4. The universe had a cause.
  5. The cause of the universe is external to nature.
  6. Nature, having finite usable energy which is always decreasing, is not causa sui.
  7. An uncaused cause, causa sui, created the universe, and time and space with it.
  8. This "First Cause" has a mind and therefore a will.
  9. The First Cause has properties which may be described positively or negatively (aphopatically).
  10. Amongst these properties is that of love.
  11. Love is relational, between persons.
  12. The First Cause loves between persons.
  13. The First Cause is a community of persons.
  14. The First Cause (hereafter "God") is also creative.
  15. God created the universe, assigning it properties (natural laws) and creating celestial bodies.
  16. God deemed his creation good.
  17. God, out of love, created a relational creature on one planet and placed him within a garden.
  18. This creature he called man, whom he made "in his image."
  19. Man, an image of the Creator, was given rule over lower creatures.
  20. Man was given language, conscience, and free will.
  21. Man's purpose was to enjoy both Creator and creation.
  22. Man rejected his Creator.
  23. To reject God is to reject the only true source of life and light in the universe.
  24. In rejecting life, man suffers the curse of sin, decay, and mortality.
  25. God removed man from the primeval garden.
  26. God revealed his nature, character, and purposes to the descendants of the first man.
  27. God chose a people to become the nation through which his plans would be accomplished.
  28. At the appointed time in history, God the Son (the second person of God, who is a community), entered creation as both divine (supernatural) and man (natural).
  29. The Son died a traitor's death, on the cross, at the hands of an occupying nation.
  30. The Son's death fulfilled the sacrificial laws of the chosen nation.
  31. The Son, blameless himself, bore the sins of all men at his sacrifice.
  32. After three days the Son rose from the grave, breaking the curse of sin over mankind.
  33. Through the Son man once again enjoys communion with God, as he once did in the garden.
  34. The Son appointed his followers to carry the news of his works, perform deeds in his name, and to prepare for the eschaton, or time's end.
  35. The Son gifted his followers the seal of the Spirit, who is the third and last member of God, who is a trinity.
  36. The followers of the Son too become sons and daughters of God, and thus become fellow heirs with the Son of God.
  37. In the Son, creation is redeemed.
  38. The Son has authority over all creation.
  39. Material reality, therefore, is not evil (as the pagan ancients feared).
  40. Creation reveals truth to the nature of God.
  41. Natural works and works created by the hands of men may reveal such truths.
  42. Truth is reality as known by God, who is the omniscient and omnipresent author of reality.
  43. Any truths are God's truths.
  44. A truth revealed by nature, industry, or art, is necessarily God's truth.
  45. Art is any creative expression of man.
  46. Art is material, therefore redeemed and under the dominion of the Son.
  47. As the Son is the divine made flesh, that is, incarnational, art, being truth made material, is an image of the image of God.
  48. Art is the hypostatic union of form and content.
  49. Art communicates via this union.
  50. Art may communicate emotion, experience, or even information.
  51. Art reveals and expresses aspects of creation, human nature, and even the divine.
  52. Art may even speak of that which it does not know, such as the altar to the unknown god at the Aeropagus.
  53. It is commanded, "Be quick to listen and slow to speak."
  54. It is commanded, "Regard others as better than yourselves."
  55. It is commanded, "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
  56. Therefore, when art speaks, be quick to listen, regard the artist with humility, and think of them in love.
  57. Let the art speak its mind on fears, follies, joys, sorrows, frustrations, hopes, and desires.
  58. Criticism too is an art.
  59. Criticism is an art parallel to the medium which it analyzes.
  60. Criticism is literature that attempts to describe the communion between art and viewer.
  61. Much of art cannot be reduced to words. That is why it is expressed in different mediums.
  62. Criticism can only try to render that experience into words.
  63. Criticism is therefore not identical to the art. It cannot replace the art it describes or supersede it.
  64. A videogame is a creative expression of man, and is therefore an art.
  65. Videogame criticism is art dependent upon but distinct from videogames themselves.
  66. Videogame criticism is a literary endeavor that describes what the hypostatic union of a videogame's form and content communicates to the player.
  67. The Christian videogame critic, sealed with the Spirit, in communion with God, understanding God's redemption and sovereignty over creation, understanding that videogames communicate truths that point us towards God, may therefore write on the truths of God which the videogame illumines.
  68. But don't make your criticism an altar call.
  69. Nobody wants to read that.
  70. And videogames aren't microwaves.
  71. Don't rate them on numeric scales based on how much bang for your buck you get.
  72. Numeric scales for qualitative assessments are stupid anyway.
  73. In general, consumer views of videogames are the most boring thing to read ever.
  74. Ultimately, Christian videogame criticism is this: to enter into the videogame as on object of contemplation itself, to listen with a sympathetic ear to what it says through its form and content about the universals of human experience (which, being universal, reveal something of man as seen by God or man's relationship with God), and to record that contemplation, that communion, in your own literary style, understanding that as a critic you are also an artist.
  75. As an artist, people will respond with their own criticism. Receive it charitably.
  76. Above all, love God, and love your neighbor. Criticism, done in this spirit, succeeds in both.