Glass Ball or Rubber Ball

There are terms for decisions that are often used in business discussions in tech companies in America. Sometimes they are referred to as “one-way door versus two-way door”, other times as “glass ball or rubber ball”. In either case, the meaning is the same. “Is this a decision we can undo later?”

You may see where this is going, if you paid attention to the tags on this post.

First, a few disclaimers. I am not a lawyer, so I am leaning on articles written by those who are. And while I have spent decades around the table top industry, it has never been my livelihood. Nor have I ever published anything under the OGL.

Last week, word leaked of a revision to the OGL from Wizards of the Coast. The most significant part of this was that Wizards intended to revoke (sorry, “deauthorize”) the 1.0a OGL that has been in use for a couple of decades. For an analysis of this by an actual domain expert, look to this article by Kit Walsh

Today, Wizards released a non-apology-apology which, frankly, isn’t that believable on its face. You’ll note that no one is actually taking responsibility for the errors directly, and the spin of “Our plan was always to solicit the input of our community before any update to the OGL” just doesn’t pass the smell test.

I’m going to assume you’ve read the piece by Kit Walsh linked above, because I’m not a lawyer. But, to summarize my understanding, the OGL largely gave publishers rights they already had, and required them to give up some rights they may have had. So, what, precisely, was in it for the publishers using it?

In general, in a lawsuit in America, each side pays their own legal expenses, win or lose. There are exceptions, but they are edge cases. So even if you are within your rights, the cost of establishing that in court can be prohibitive. In effect, the biggest benefit of the OGL was security, the knowledge that this was absolutely authorized and you weren’t going to have to spend far more money than you ever made on a product to defend your right to have printed it in the first place.

The actions Wizards took broke the trust in that security. And that’s a one way door. The glass ball is in shards on the floor, and it looks like the industry will adopt a different license. Who would tie themselves to a business partner they cannot trust, when there are other options?

How badly will this hurt the D&D One (which some angry fans have started referring to as “D and Done”) release is still to be seen. But with the loss of at the very least a significant part of the third party ecosystem support, significant negative brand publicity, and an enormous amount of free publicity for their smaller competitors, they certainly did a lot of damage to themselves.

Santa Claus Considered Harmful

To be more specific, the myth of Santa Claus is harmful. The notion that there is some unbiased third party doling out gifts purely on merit is excruciatingly harmful. Because it is a lie.

For many people, it is a harmless lie. A little shared mythology that you tell to children to try to encourage them to be better.

Those people don’t have to explain to children why Santa likes the rich kids better. Worse, why Santa likes the naughty rich kids better.

The truth is better. Someone cared enough about you to get you a gift, and this was a gift they could afford. Yeah, it sucks that good kids get little while there are entitled little monsters with more presents than they know what to do with. Welcome to the world.

I’ve said it before, the world isn’t fair.

You, the back, stop yelling “Scrooge”. I heard you the first time. Let me finish.

There is a flip to that. It’s on us to make it fair. Or at least, to make it better.

Because while the myth of Santa Claus is harmful, actually being Santa Claus is amazing. And I’m not just saying that because I’m aging into the Santa Claus phenotype.

Right now, if you are in the United States, I guarantee that there are lots of people trying to make sure that we can get presents (and nice presents, good presents, not the regifted chips and salsa bowl that no one has wanted for the last 15 years) to both children and adults who can’t otherwise afford it. There are large organizations running toy drives. There are gift trees in conjunction with local charities, trying to line up wishes with helpers.

Hell, I live on a small rural island, and I’m aware of two different efforts, one which matches specific families with people who can afford to help, and another which is in the process of setting up a “store” (no money required) of gifts so that people in need can come in and pick the right present to give their loved ones.

So if you can (and I stress, if you can afford to, don’t hurt yourself out of guilt here), I’m here to tell you that being Santa is a balm for the soul. Each gift really is doubled. Once for the recipient, who gets something nice in what is, to be fair, a pretty shitty decade. And once for the person who gets to present it to them, and who doesn’t have to dread explaining why there isn’t anything nice for them to give this year.

We can’t fix everything. But everyone can help fix something.

And I fucking love being Santa Claus.

Seven Steps (Two Silent)


was the first

all of us

were together

five of us

carried our father’s coffin

to the grave

two of us

waited for him




était la première fois

on était 

tous ensemble

on était cinq

à porter le cercueil de notre père

à la tombe

on était deux

qui l’attendaient

Macaroni and Cheese

This is my version of my mother’s Mac and Cheese recipe (mine has substantially more cheese).

Equipment Required

Large oven-safe casserole dish
Large pot
Medium saucepan
Cutting board
Large wooden spoon

Ingredients (Casserole)
1 lb macaroni (4 cups)

Ingredients (Sauce)
1 large onion
4 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
A dash of nutmeg
4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 lbs shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Ingredients (Topping)
1/2 lb shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
8 tsp melted butter

Start the oven preheating to 400F.

Cook and then drain the macaroni, and then spread it in the casserole dish.

Mince the onion, and put it in the saucepan with the butter, over medium heat.

When the butter is melted, stir in the flour, mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Slowly stir in the milk. Cook until smooth and hot.

Slowly stir in the 1 1/2 lbs of cheese, carefully making sure the previous handful has melted before adding more. Once all the cheese has melted, pour the sauce over the macaroni, and then fold the mixture with the spoon to blend.

Top with the remaining 1/2 lb of cheese, breadcrumbs and melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until browned on top.