sandmantv gave me the following list:
1. Keeping kosher and the various rules you follow for high holy days.
It's cultural effects, why you do it, etc.
3. Standards of beauty.
6. Are videogames art?
7. What's your summary of the plot and lore of Warcraft so far.
I am going to go ahead and start with (7), the plot and lore of warcraft (abridged), because I've been on a binge. I promise that future posts will be of more general interest.
There are these two factions, the Alliance and the Horde. They fight each other kind of haphazardly, but often end up working together against common nastier enemies (to wit, the Burning Legion, the Lich King, Twilight's Hammer, the Scourge, and-- in early zones-- random other humanoids like gnolls and murlocs where I'm not really sure why we all pick on them so much). In spite of all this working together to save the world and/or kill gnolls, they still fight all the time and haphazardly try to invade each other's cities. It's a tragic waste really, or would be if everyone didn't reincarnate all the time anyway.
The Alliance consist of:
Humans, ruled by King Varian Wrynn, who was apparently kind of a jerk in past expansions but I don't know why exactly. Live in Stormwind.
Night elves: they used to be immortal and now aren't. They worship the moon goddess Elune. Live in Darnassus, ruled by Priestess Tyrande.
Dwarves: Are exactly what you'd think. They like mining and archaeology, and I forget their king's name (sorry dwarves). Live in Ironforge.
Gnomes: Like engineering and explosions. A little irresponsible. They used to live in Gnomeregan but something happened to that (don't know what) and now they've been taken in by Ironforge.
Draenei: Cool bluish-gray aliens with tails and horns. They worship these light-creatures called Naaru. They fled their original planet to a place called Draenor (now Outland); then fled that because the Burning Legion (and orcs who had been corrupted or something by the burning legion?) was doing nasty things. Their spaceship city, the Exodar, crash-landed on an island near where the night elves live. Ruled by Prophet Velen. Some NPC Draenei got corrupted by the Burning Legion and can no longer sense the light; they are called the Broken or in more extreme cases the Lost. Some of the Broken and all of the Lost are nasty and brutish; others of the Broken have held together pretty well-- though only some of this latter group still identify as Draenei.
Worgen: They come from the kingdom of Gilneas, ruled by Genn Graymane, but it's been overrun. Are basically werewolves but have figured out some way to not go crazy-violent in spite of being cursed. The curse was probably the fault of the scourge or maybe the forsaken? I didn't really follow the details very well. Now living in Darnassus after the night-elves helped them evacuate.
And... the Horde:
Orcs: used to be ruled by Thrall, who is pretty cool and I went to his wedding and he gave me an awesome cloak. But now Thrall is busy protecting the world from Twilight's Hammer, instead, and they are ruled by some other guy (Garrosh?) who was kind of a jerk and thought my boy blood-elf was a girl. Came from Draenor, used to live in peace with the Draenei, then stopped-- probably the Burning Legion's fault, though.
Trolls: in an inversion of Tolkien, they are apparently the precursor of elves. Trolls who aren't PCs (and I guess who therefore aren't in the Horde) are kind of violent and dumb. They must not have a capital city but I forget why? Voodoo. Worship these animal gods called loa-- except for the Drakkari who killed their loa in an attempt to become more powerful to protect themselves from the Scourge. This is pretty understandable because the Scourge goes around turning everyone into zombies. Some NPC trolls have plants living in their hair and photosynthesize, which is neat.
Forsaken: Got turned into undead by the scourge or something. Ruled by Queen Sylvanas, formerly a blood elf. I think they were enslaved by the scourge but broke free! Live in the Undercity in the ruins of Lordaeron. Lordaeron's prince Arthas said he was killing all the people of Lordaeron before they could turn into undead but then it turned out he was undead himself? And also a big jerk.
Tauren: look like cow-people, act like really nice Native Americans. I don't know much about them. Live in Thunder Bluff.
Blood elves: the jerkiest, also the prettiest. Addicted to magic. Also, some of them, to bloodthistle. Apparently only recently joined the Horde; Garrosh doesn't seem too convinced about their worthiness. Their prince Kael'thas betrayed them but I think it was because he was trying to find a way to feed their magic addiction. They used to be the same as the night elves but they went to live on a different continent and their skin turned human-colored*. Live in Silvermoon City, their regent is Lor'demar Thaeron (not positive of the spelling).
Goblins: a bit like gnomes in their love of mechanical things, but with more emphasis on trade and money making and also general organized crime. Organized into cartels. One of the NPC cartels, the Steamwheedle Cartel, is my favorite because they own the pirate town of Booty Bay. I actually don't know that much about the cartel that's part of the horde.
*Addendum: apparently blood elf skin tones are lighter overall than human/dwarf/gnome skin tones. Further addendum: I'm not actually sure now how the dwarf/gnome skin tones compare to the human skin tones, nor whether the range of skin tones given to the "human" species in wow corresponds at all well to the range of skin tones that actual humans have.
I hadn't realized this and had kind of thought that the point was that whatever change happened to the blood elves when they moved continents caused them to have the same skin tone as the species who were native to that continent, which is to say, approximately the same range of skin tones as the wow-humans (and dwarves and gnomes). I in no way meant to suggest that all humans are white.
Anyway, my next installment should be of greater general interest.