Abraham Lincoln

Episode 46: An Indictment of Your Pudding

July 5th, 2013 | Robin

We shuttle over to the Gaming Hut to continue our discussion of omnipresent surveillance, this time in the context of your roleplaying group’s tendency to turtle up.

The unveiling of the Word Hut sees us finding our preferences between US and UK words and punctuation. Petrol, anyone?

In Ask Ken and Robin, we respond to Daniel Fidelman’s question on how to pace the unsheathing of knives when player betrayal is on the agenda.

Then we head over to chat with the Consulting Occultist, as part four of our series on Nazi occultism leads us to metaphorically heft the Spear of Destiny.

25 Responses to “Episode 46: An Indictment of Your Pudding”

  1. Listening to Ken discuss Nazi occultism, I was wondering if anyone had quantified to what degree this interest in the occult affected the German war effort? Were substantial amounts of men/material diverted in these arcane pursuits, or were they very much on the margins of the war and had no real impact?

  2. Simon Rogers says:

    No one says pudding fork. Where exactly is it that you are eating that you would have to ask for the correct cutlery?

  3. Simon Rogers says:

    Garbage? Rubbish!

  4. John Stewart says:

    Here’s a possible Ken’s Time Machine segment– if Ken agrees that this was a bad thing, how would he go about preventing Operation Ajax and the reinstallation of the Shah?

  5. Tim Gray says:

    Frothing somewhat over the language section. Slightly mollified that you begin by recognising the British version as “English”…

    “Pudding” is at least partly a regional dialect thing. Soft southerners are more likely to call it dessert.

    You seem unaware of the miraculous life cycle in which small empty bin liners become transformed into magnificent full rubbish bags.

    Also, it is indeed true that curb is the verb. As the song goes.

    And both sweater and jumper are in use here. In the same woolly continuum as pullover and cardigan.

    Finally, yah boo.

    • John F Rauchert says:

      I can’t disparage a piece of clothing (Cardigan) named after the guy who led the Charge of the Light Brigade (not sure he was wearing a Balaclava though).

      Family legend has it that a Great Great Uncle of mine was loading cannon on the Russian side.

  6. Steve Dempsey says:

    I’m looking forwards to the nonante v quatre-vingt-dix debate.

    The problem with parking lot is that lot is what you bid for in an auction not where you park your car. And bandages and garbage are lily-livered gallicisms surely unworthy of freedom fry land. Which brings me to ponder what extreme anglophile Canadians might call poutine.

  7. J Gregory says:

    Interesting to note how Canada tended to side with it’s neighbour in the language smackdown. Hmmm.

    As an Australian, I fear that geographical proximity may have resulted in our Commonwealth brothers going somewhat ‘native’.

    Down here:
    – petrol is liquid; gas is, well, gas (aka LPG).
    – we eat dessert, and pudding is a kind of hot cake with sauce – not some sort of thick pseudo-custard-mousse.
    – we wear jumpers, not sweaters. We sweat enough as it is. (Incidentally, both seem equally daft. The garment in question doesn’t seem too conducive to jumping in, and if you’re sweating then you shouldn’t need one…)

    – I was taught that kerb is a noun and curb is a verb.
    – Poms (as The English are known to Australians) may use plaster rather than Band-Aid (the latter being the norm here), but they aren’t immune to brand-namification: after they Hoover the rug, they might roll on a Durex (which down here is not something you’d want anywhere near such a sensitive part of your anatomy – ie sticky tape).

    So as much as we enjoy laughing at Mother England, I guess we can’t laugh with you this time…

    Vive la difference!

  8. Scott Haring says:

    A little surprised that your discussion on how to manage a group of roleplayers when betrayal is not only a possibility but an inevitability did not include Paranoia. Perhaps it was eliminated from inclusion because it is a comedy game. But for me, two many Paranoia games end up like this:

    1) Create characters
    2) Begin play
    3) Everyone accuses everyone else of being a traitor and opens fire.
    4) The survivor returns to the Computer for debriefing and reports the mission was a complete success.

  9. Tom says:

    From the comments, I was expecting the Word Hut to be awful.
    It wasn’t that bad.
    FYI, “plaster” as in a band-aid is a countable noun, whereas the other senses you mentioned are generally not; by this ingenious method confusion is avoided, although not for people learning English as a second language. Those guys always get a raw deal.

    The UK equivalent of Band-Aid, which has also become a generalised trademark, is Elastoplast.

  10. Tim Ellis says:

    Definitely CURB = Verb, KERB = Noun, although not everyone understands the distinction…

    If you won’t allow “Pudding” because there it can be confused with a dessert* called “Pudding**” then you can’t have “Gas” for the same reason – especially as “Petrol” is a liquid not a Gas…

    *Not all British Puddings are desserts anyway – Black Pudding, Yorkshire Pudding – and Burns called the Haggis “Great Chieftan of the Pudding Race”

    ** I was on a holiday in Southern Brazil where the owner of the Posada spoke no English although his children did. The menu was quite restricted, but one evening we were served a dessert of Creme Caramel. We asked the daughter what it was called so we could ask for it again. She thought for a while and said “We just call it ‘Pudding'”.

    … and what about “Sweet” – so we can have a pudding off the sweet trolley for dessert

    and finally – to add to the Jumper /Sweater /Pullover continuum, don’t forget Jersey – (Cardigan is different, since it unfastens down the front…)

  11. Tim Gray says:

    Moving on to the Spear of Destiny, you unaccountably neglect its use in the Justice Society of America canon to prevent American superheroes entering Germany during WWII.

    PS Tom, we do have Band Aid as well, or used to anyway.
    PPS J Gregory, I suspect “hoovering the rug” may mean something different to you guys… 😛

    • Tom says:

      Yes, we have Band-Aid, but the genericised version – the adhesive bandage equivalent of a hoover or ‘to google’ – is elastoplast. In America and Australia, ‘Band-Aid’ has that status.

      • Tom says:

        … the point of which is, once your trademark has become generic, you can’t claim exclusive usage of it any more. E.g. Bayer no longer has control over its former brand names Aspirin and Heroin.

        Hence why you’ll sometimes see slightly odd wording in adverts and other text to try and prevent this from happening (“Use Velcro brand fasteners!”) . I don’t think it worked for Xerox, but they did try. As did Band-Aid, actually.

    • Michael S. Schiffer says:

      @Tim Gray: Likewise, since Roy Thomas is likely the (or at least a) main vector through which the idea of the Spear of Destiny reached geekdom, starting eight years after Ravenscroft introduced the term.

      In some ways, it’s interesting that it took forty years for anyone to bother explaining why superheroes didn’t win the war. Though it’s arguable that it’s a mistake to do so, since it raises the same question for more contemporary troubles unless you want to hand out magical artifacts to random dictators and terrorists.

      @Tom Bayer’s a special case, since it reportedly lost its trademarks on aspirin and heroin as part of the Versailles settlement. (Band-Aid and Xerox are still legally trademarks due to those companies’ stubborn defense of them, though good luck finding anyone not affiliated with the companies who’ll refer to BAND-AID Brand Adhesive Bandages or the like.)

  12. Terry says:

    RE: Nazi Occultism

    1. The Nazis were unable to build nuclear weapons, but were able to build vril weapons. Einstein never got anywhere with zero-point energy (vril). Is this because the Aryans and Jews are descended from different root-races, and their respective racial sciences are incompatible? Are vril-enhanced nukes possible, or would such a weapon be inherently unstable?

    2. In “The Nazi Occult”, Ken quotes Admiral Byrd as warning against aircraft flying “over” one or both poles. Should that not be “from out of” the poles? That is, from the centre of the hollow Earth via the holes at the poles? How could the United States be attacked by aircraft flying “over” the South Pole?

    3. In a previous podcast, you mentioned the Black Ocean society, Japanese dinosaur-riding samurai from the centre of the Earth. How did the Japanese react to the Nazis at Point 211 being so close to one of their egresses from the Earth’s centre?

  13. jesse says:

    I’m not even going to enter the pudding-club debate – except to say that anyone who really knows what a pudding actually IS (ie they’ve made a real one) – think “spotted dick” – knows it’s cooked/boiled in a muslin bag and you need some binding agent (such as ‘suet’ which is beef or mutton fat). Puddings, depending on the other ingredients used, can be either sweet (plum pudding) or savoury as in haggis or black pudding. As for “Yorkshire pudding” – let’s not even go there – no matter what the tykes will tell you – the original recipe comes over from France!

    >>– to add (STILL FURTHER!) to the Jumper /Sweater /Pullover continuum, don’t >>forget Jersey – (Cardigan is different, since it unfastens down the front…)

    Absolutely spot on here, mate! – you just forgot the guernsey! The fisherman’s worsted jersey – of course – gets its name from the largest of the Channel Islands – but the “gansey” from Guernsey was from the other island – and was – again a knitted fisherman’s top – worn over other garments and oiled against the spray and wet weather. The guernsey had a straight neck (not a ‘V’ neck) and underarm gussets – for protection from the elements and ease of movement. An Aussie friend of mine once told me that a “guernsey” (not a jersey) is the correct name they use there for Australian rules football shirts. Lots of good sailors (and fishermen) went to Oz – so it may well be true!

    Finally, what’s so funny about ‘sweaters’? Everyone in the US today talks about “sweatpants” – which use synthetic fibres, sound much ruder – and are probably much smellier than your average sweater/jersey/jumper/guernsey too!

  14. Tim Stephens says:

    Love the podcast! May I suggest and or request a Consulting Occultist segment about my favorite Immortal the Count of St Germain?

  15. Tim Daly says:

    Possible question for ask Ken and Robin (if it’s not too specific to GUMSHOE.) I had a situation in GUMSHOE where a player was saying the exact right thing to a witness, but lacked the proper interpersonal skill required. The players with the skill did not say the right things as all. It made me wonder if there should be a “simple search” equivelent for interpersonal clues? “If you say the exact right thing, you get the clue.”

    More generically I guess this question becomes: Do you allow success if the player’s performance or skill is better than their character’s?

  16. Jeromy French says:

    Given the wonderful battles of words in the comments which made for a fun coda to the podcast, I highly recommend having the Word Hut segment repeated at a later date. Plus it was a light interlude from Spying, Vampires, Spears of Destiny, and all the darker aspects of the podcast.

  17. Jeromy French says:


    TV Shows:


    Buechner, Howard A. – Emerald Cup – Ark of Gold: The Quest of SS Lt. Otto Rahn of the Third Reich (stolen from Ken’s bibliography of The Nazi Occult)
    Buechner, Howard A., and Wilhelm Bernhart – Adolf Hitler and the Secrets of the Holy Lance (stolen from Ken’s bibliography of The Nazi Occult)
    God, Jewish Occultists, crazy delusional people (depending on your view) – The Bible
    Kenneth Hite – The Nazi Occult
    Trevor Ravenscroft – The Spear of Destiny: The Occult Power Behind the Spear which pierced the side of Christ
    Richard Wagner – Parsifal

  18. Michael Cule says:

    As a Mancunian and one secure in my own social status (rogue and vagabond according to an enactment of the reign of Elizabeth I) I usually say: “What’s for afters?’

    (Where does Ken get the idea that we British have a paucity of distinguishing terms? ‘Plaster’ in this context goes back to 19th century and earlier usages.)

    And the real problem with American/British communication comes not with vocabulary but with tone and context.

  19. Chris Shorb says:

    Interesting podcast. Noted that it seemed in the discussion of roleplaying in a high surveillance environment, the default was NSA were the bad guys. Would have liked to heard the flip side – what happens when you are a group of NSA agents, used to megasurveillance, and the bad guys slip through the cracks.

  20. Mailanka says:

    “(Where does Ken get the idea that we British have a paucity of distinguishing terms? ‘Plaster’ in this context goes back to 19th century and earlier usages.)”

    Dutch for “band-aid” is “pleister,” which suggests to me that there’s some old-timey linguistic root going on there. A modicum of research suggests that “plaster” derives from the concept of applying a salve to the wound and then covering it up, which would certainly have a plaster-like consistency. The word stuck around to refer to more general bandages, and so there you go.

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