Archive for June, 2011

One more Discordian book

June 29, 2011

Here’s an art project / ineffable holy book:

LIGHTBOOK (pdf)

It is one more Discordian opus, as you may have guessed / feared; this one is called “The Manual of the Light Warrior”, that is, most probably a warrior of the light entertainment division. I’m not sure if I’ve managed to say anything in it, though I have included some kernels of serious philosophy, and a good deal of humor, and some bits where I just purposefully tried to mislead and confuse the reader; it is much as any other holy book. (Except that few holy books have had portions of them pre-published as blog posts; o tempora o mores and all that.) If I have said nothing much, I hope I have said nothing much entertainingly for enough of those 193 pages. Of central theme or plot, the book has none: it grew in the telling, and is an anthology as diverse as some other holy books, as clear as some others, and has roughly the same amount of divine inspiration and serious intent as some.

Feel free to copy, distribute, ridicule and re-use as you see fit; there’s too much fun in the wrangling of these for me to deny others the same. If you see a line or a bit that hits you, take it, mix it, have it; there’s no greater honor you could do to anything of mine. Writing a really smashing good holy book is difficult; if I’ve come up with a few good one-liners or fables, that’s enough.

* * *

As for the earlier outpouring, Erisiana, it’s still available. (As if something released online could ever really go away.)

Now I’m back to holiday as hard as I can; I’ve just discovered Jim Butcher and there’s a nude wizard that needs rescuing from a serious shitstorm.

My family

June 25, 2011

Holiday. Spending time with parents and a brother.

As for what this is like, besides nice, consider this. A car, with me, brother, our father in it. On the radio the selkouutiset start — the Finnish version of “News in Simple English”, except in Finnish, and the name translates as “Clear News”. Immediately, simultaneously, all three of us hit on the question of “What’s unclear news then?” and start jabbering and slobbering like crazy, then realizing what we’ve done laughing like even more utterer fools.

Earlier that same drive, we pass the village that’ll go as Nameless, and a sign advertising a folk music thingie called a Namelessfolk festival. Five seconds pass as I fish for the right German word; then my father steals the right quote I was fishing for: “Ein Namelessvolk, Ein Namelessreich, Ein Namelessfuehrer?”

My father’s side of the family is all like this: four ever-cheerful brothers that all can run verbal rings round anyone, and him the oldest and slyest of them. When one of then turns round years, there will be a serenade; and there will be cringing, too.

I spent my childhood looking up at dad, wondering where that quick wit came, how could it be, and why I was so shy, sullen and timid; then at round twenty I began finding bits of the same in me, and all was joy. It feels really nice when you get someone to laugh; even better when you’ve known a time when talking to someone was a chore because the interests you shared were bound to be zero. Turns out absurd humor is a shared interest for nearly everyone; those it isn’t for, I’m not interested in talking to anyway.

But enough sappiness: As for sauna — well, the sauna-bathing today included us three manfolk coming to the conclusion that there was no way to show our country locality wasn’t in the iron grip of fearsome gangster squirrels. Can’t prove a negative, can you? We even went as far as to mock up soundbites from the highly paranoid investigative TV special that’d break the story, half a stentorian Hannu Karpo thing and half a cousin of a History Channel UFO conspiracy special — “In this, a village dominated by fear, silence reigns. It is a decidedly Finnish kind of omerta, the law of silence, and in the fear only one question remains: whose sauna’s going up in flames next?”

The starter for that conversation — in a sauna on the place of one that’d gone up in flames a few years past — was a different alternative hypothesis for the ignition: father had had an oak vasta (usually them’s made of birch), that being the bunch of twigs you beat yourself with while in that 100-Celsius heat…

Why, is this news to you? This is not madness; this is Finland.

The alternative ignition hypothesis being that though birch vastas cannot be reused, them growing all soggy and yuck, the oak vasta could be washed and dried — it was a very nice one, and it was a shame it had been lost in the fire.

To which I commented: “Well, the used birch ones are dried then burned as firestarters. Maybe the oak one had that built in.”

And much fun was had.

While bathing — also, if you need to get a Finn to talk, get him/her naked and into a humid room of 100 Celsius, and get thee alcohol too — the topic of local celebrities also came up.

There has been, as far as we could recall, two members of the Parliament (Eduskunta) out of our big but poor and thinly populated municipality.

One was known for letting loose a torrent of diarrhea on a Parliament sauna suite couch, and in a separate incident literally making a hotel suite’s furniture into fireplace fodder.

To which my comment was: “And at that point, we thought it could get no worse, huh? And then the next guy was a True Finn.”

Helsinki, we have a cabinet

June 21, 2011

Oh hey, before I forget: as of midday tomorrow (Wednesday) Finland will have a cabinet. The six-party negotiations succeeded, which was made public last Friday; the various negotiators weren’t thrown to wolves by their parties; and so with 19 ministers (Americans would call them “secretaries” I think) there’s a cabinet.

I don’t know enough to say much about the actual people involved; and I don’t understand the economics stuff to comment about that part of their common plan; so just a few notes.

Apparently five of the six parties have agreed to support a marriage neutrality gender-neutral marriage bill (I am an idiot. See here. —M.o.E.) if such comes up in the Parliament; the Greens have promised to introduce it. (The sixth party? The Christian Democrats, who would not have the thing in the official program, as the sniffy old lady voter block would not approve.)

The Prime Minister will be Jyrki Katainen, a he, of the Coalition (Kokoomus), who as the head of the party with most seats led the negotiations. He seems a reasonable fellow. (Elsewhere, the True Finn supporters — their party third with the seats, behind the Coalition and the Social Democrats, and left (thank reason!) out of the cabinet — persist in the loudly expressed delusion that the number of seats doesn’t count, but how many were gained or lost does. What’s that, derivative-based politics?)

The new Interior Minister is Päivi Räsänen, a she… the Christian Democrat headwoman. Also the only CD minister. Bummer.

The new Foreign Minister is Erkki Tuomioja (also here), of the Social Democrats. I kind of like him. He’s an open atheist, and a leftie that I agree with as far as I know and understand what he’s saying. At times I don’t; he has a Ph.D. in political science. He’s written good many books, some history, some biography, some some kinda political stuff; one biographical work he wrote in English, and then translated it into Finnish on his own. He’s the kind of person I’m willing to believe writes his own speeches; and back in the Sixties, he was a student radical, was arrested, and dated the now-President Tarja Halonen. As I said, I kinda like him.

As for the cabinet overall: Coalition (Kokoomus) six seats, Social Democrats six seats, Left Alliance, Greens and Swedes two seats each, and Christian Democrats one: a total of nineteen. The Coalition and Soc Dem seats are equally divided in prestige, I gather; I also hear that the Coalition (center-right) gave in a lot to the Soc Dems (center-left). I can’t say much else; as there is no Finnish Jon Stewart, I’m sometimes better informed about American than Finnish politics. See Wikipedia, why don’t you?

That’s about all I can say; as five out of the six parties are not (general epithet), I’m carefully optimistic.

Previously about the subject: Finnish parliamentary sundae.

How to name things on the Internet

June 21, 2011
  1. Take an up word. Omit the last vowel. Instant coolness! Blastr, Flattr, Tumblr, Flickr, Zooomr, etc.
  2. Take a common word. Take several drinks. Wait. Voicemail the word to yourself. Examples: Renderosity, Listography, Posterous, Blogger (the word “blog”, too, to say nothing of “blogosphere”, was probably a transcribed belch), etc.
  3. Ask your cousin’s five-month-old. If necessary, apply medication first. (Remember to remove the exclamation mark, and any instances of the word “poop”.) Examples: Bing, Reddit, Bebo, Badoo, Digg, Habbo, Knol, etc.
  4. Textspeak, CamelCase and runningwordstogether. It’s not just for fourteen-year-olds anymore! Examples: CiteULike, YouTube, UStream, DeviantART, etc.
  5. Take some sufficiently ethnic expression; but avoid diacritical marks and other weird punctuation. (For extra points, take a word with diacritics, meaning “a beautiful life”, and strip them off for internet, resulting in “necrophiliac excrement”. Dictionaries are dangerous!) Examples: Wikipedia (wiki, Hawaiian), Ovi (“a door”, Finnish; now allied to “the window”!), Ubuntu (African), Slashdot (nerd speak), Sy Fy (Polish), etc.
  6. The cat-keyboard method. Also known as the “where did I put my old D&D character sheets? Those were some good names!” method. Examples: Virb, Genwi, Qaym, Qype, Jeeran, Xanga, etc.
  7. Anything plus “ster”. Examples: Bragster, Blogster, Craftster, Crewster, Elfster, Eurekster, Flixster, Friendster, Glogster, Jobster, and did you notice that’s only up to “J”?

Also, anything plus “.com”, but that is obvious. Or a number plus “chan”, but that… I won’t touch that.

For blogs, one could probably go with (a) mutilated (“cleverized”) proverbs, (b) pieces of sentences, (c) half-witty misspellings, and (d) faux newspapery titles (as in “Moose Jaw Breaking News and Gazette”, with 3 posts and never more; not as in “Moose In Chimney Kills Three!”, which would be a fetching title for a blog actually).

Examples of the other three would be “Nailing Two Birds With Only A Hammer”, “And Bringing The Cleaver Down On His Fingers”, and “Absolute Corectness”.

Not actual blogs, those, though I freely offer the names to anyone needing some.

I’m kind of tempted to go and register the dot-coms for YUSoDead and Cremaster and Funrl and Graventer now, before the internet generation grows to need that kind of services. I could make millions!

Newspaper temptations

June 20, 2011

Hmmm.

A while back the far-out Hasidic newspaper der Tzitung printed a picture of American politicals, with Hillary Clinton removed. Apparently it is their policy to “not include any images of women in the paper because it could be considered sexually suggestive”.

This is horrible.

What, we men are so weak even a single picture of Hillary Clinton would send us running to the bathroom, the paper clutched in a sweaty paw? Surely that is a ludicrously lopsided view of the situation. What about the women, then, that have to look at the paper with its suggestive pictures of male politicals? Are women not tempted?

Do the newspaper-men not realize the plight of their women? Every paper bulges with men, men — Biden, Lieberman, Rove, man after man, all sexually suggestive as any picture of any man will be!

Clearly this is terrible — there can be no pictures of any people in a righteous newspaper.

But there is something yet worse — names. Slithering, seductive foreign names, as if words for sins still uninvented; or familiar names, promising strength, safety, familiarity… and sweaty sin. Who, man or woman, has not felt the thrill of an euphonious name; wondered what angel-bodied and devil-souled sex god could carry such a name? Whisper to yourself: Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu… Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger… do these names not reek of forbidden and exotic places, and the sultry sins of nights fragrant with the lotus-smells of godless temptation?

Such temptation is too much to be presented to frail, easily tempted mortal men and women: to let them fantasize over the allure of these sounds is alike to giving a child a razorblade made of pure evil.

Clearly the righteous newspaper can have no images of people, nor their names; I trust with these modifications such a newspaper would become much better.

* * *

This just in from Righteous Entertainment News: “________, ________ and ________ have been nominated for Lifetime Achievement Academy Awards. Their films are sin; do not watch them.”

Turns out turning out some crazy is easy

June 17, 2011

Also, gleam-eyed lunacies sound frighteningly solid if you spout them as known facts and quickly move to the next black pearl of crazy.

What follows is in exceedingly bad taste, so I probably should not tell it was very fun to write.

* * *

In America, abortion is genocide. The monsters of Planned Parenthood — not one of which was aborted, I remind you! — are fond of quoting all kind of numbers to show how insignificant a problem they’re working with. That alone should ring a huge alarm bell — who goes to mathematicians for an honest answer?

It is well known that abortion is a genocide against the black race. What people do not realize is abortion is a genocide against the white race, and the yellow race, and even Planned Parenthood’s own green-red-eco-commie-freak race! It has been shown by Christian investigators that the American population has grown almost not at all since the beginning of widespread abortion indoctrination and genocide: and most of that growth has been in the criminal classes! It has also been shown beyond all doubt that without abortion the US population would be 90% law-abiding, and equal to that of China. This would be too much to Planned Parenthood and their Nazi backers! As a consequence, three out of four Americans that would be alive now… are dead because of abortion!

Nor is that the limit of that awful crime’s iniquity, for there is worse: abortion kills souls! According to Th.D. Dr. Lawrence Fishkill of the Maudy Bible University (WA), there is a not insignificant chance that the sin of abortion will doom not only the mother but the child as well into the everlasting torment of hellfire! Th.D. Dr. Fishkill has shown that as a child is cosanguineous with the mother for the first nine weeks after the ensoulment, so it also shares the culpability for “mother’s blood”, and thus for all the sins of the mother. This is a horrendous discovery — why do the pedlars of abortion insist on early abortions, during the very period when the child is at the greatest risk? Ignorance… or iniquity? Greed… or the grotesque paw of Satan?

One question that has been raised only recently is this: Where do all the bodies go? After the soul has departed and the body full of hope, love and promise been silenced with a hook and a hammer, where does the body go? Over 90% of the children and over 20% of the parents (over 30% of mothers alone) die during the abortion procedure — yet the beastly providers never dig a single grave for them! In the state of Alabama alone, this accounts for over 500 000 deaths every year… but where do the bodies go? The incinerators smoking next to abortion factories are a familiar sight to all, with their choking exhaust of sin and broken dreams, but even they are not enough to handle even Alabama’s 75 000 daily dead! Where do all the bodies go?

The average American teen has two abortions before turning eighteen (the Christian exception is offset by the constant orgy of murder of atheist “families”) — where do all the bodies go? Not into graves, that’s for sure.

There is an abortion performed, a murder done, in America once every single second, all year round — where do all the bodies go?

There’s a woman in Nebraska that had one hundred abortions before her twentieth birthday. Ask this of Genocide Jenny — where do all the bodies go?

Ask, in reversal: since abortion is the basest, most disgusting evil, what is the highest, noblest, greatest good? The answer is obvious: the holy sacrament of communion. The body given for us that we would not hunger; the blood given for us that we would not thirst.

Ask, in reversal: what is ever the greatest delight of the Satanic atheist, Islamist, Jewist, Buddhaist, Wiccanist, Commie-ist and Naziist? What else but the evolutionary aping and desecration (or “secularization”) of sacred mysteries! Thus the religion of atheism — the holy books of Dawkins — universities as churches, professors as priests — the sodomistic novitiate of the graduate school — the secret rituals of the Ph.D. — and the false Heaven of Sweden, godless and miserable!

Ask, in reversal, this: how might the ungodly mock the holy communion?

Why, the answer is obvious.

Through atheistic, Satanistic, communistic necromancies they raise the dead, and feed on their blood and flesh! The atheist communion is a prancing bacchanal of the living dead, who by Satan’s own foul power march out at the third call, come forth gory and pallid and wan, and in the unlight of demonic glow-orbs orgiastically feed the suckling madness of cackling atheism! Why should they need a grave, that are not quiet enough for one? Why, they live in whispering houses, behind boarded-up windows and glass and steel hulks alike, a teeming muttering avalanche of cold flesh and black blood at the jugular of the living world, to spill forth at nighttime in a street-wide roaring flood of necrous skin and empty eyes, clawed hands and placental parts, a false messiah that feeds to feed its own, that hides in deep cellared wells and above white ceiling wallpapers, tapping and scratching and promising to come out of the closet of horrors to engulf the room and the city and the earth, to show what atheism’s really made of!

* * *

Please support Christianity by ordering Th.D. Dr. Fishkill’s books, “God Makes Sense: the Bankruptcy of Human Reason” and “Atheism Explained: Satan’s Own Religion of Buggery, Drug Use and Murder Exposed”.

Th.D. Dr. Fishkill is also the co-author, with Horace Slaighdust MD, of “Diagnosed With Atheism? : Answers, Treatments and the Road To Recovery”. Buy that too, or the atheists win.

About X-Men: First Class

June 16, 2011

So, take the end of the movie; and read on; I am going to blather enough, setting the pieces, that you don’t need to know or remember much.

The genocidal ex-Nazi mutant Sebastian Shaw has been defeated. His plan was to cause a nuclear war, thus accelerating the appearance of mutants (through radiation; “children of the atom”) and getting rid of a whole lot of normal people, thus getting closer to the rule of the former over the latter.

Shaw’s tool in this was the Cuban Missile Crisis: he was pushing the Russians to bring a shipload of nuclear missiles to Cuba, to America’s doorstep; which because of overheated rhetoric had become a matter of “If you do, Moscow will be nuclear dust”.

There was a Russian fleet accompanying the cargo ship, and an American fleet meeting them, just off the coast of Cuba. Shaw had hijacked the cargo ship and was determined to bring it in even if the Russians got cold feet.

Then those meddling X-men came in. (They always do, don’t they?) They beached Shaw’s secret submarine and made the Russians shoot at and sink the cargo ship. To the Reds the action seemed a moment’s madness by one of the crew; actually, it was mind control.

This is where the crisis ends: the X-men and Shaw’s remaining mutants on a desolate Cuban beach, the plane of the former as crushed as the sub of the latter. Shaw dead. Erik (Lehnsherr, Magneto) and Charles (Xavier, Professor X) with their partnership broken over a difference of approaches to human-mutant relations.

Erik is a Holocaust survivor, determined to see that his people the mutants won’t face the same fate as his people the Jews faced at the hands of the Nazis. He’s come to share much of Shaw’s ideology of an inevitable war, and some of what Charles had hypothetisized one earlier, more peaceful day: as Homo Sapiens caused the extinction of the Neanderthals, so the mutant — Homo Superior — will be the extinction of Homo Sapiens. He’s not going to talk or meekly stand while ignorant, hateful idiots are raising their guns and fists at him and his people. He’s hovering between genocide and very muscular self-defense: on one hand what Shaw tried, on the other a dilemma worse that that of American atheists and of Israel in Middle-East combined, and a man with the combative ferocity of the both.

Charles is an Oxford-educated academic of a wealthy background, a pacifist, an idealist, a sort of a mutant Bertrand Russell. He’s sure violence is not going to solve things; it will only teach the human majority to hate mutants with an actual real reason. Mutants and normals must understand and tolerate each other, see their shared humanity and just get over their redneckish para-racisms; what Erik wants is no heroism to Charles, but either folly, crime, or destructive cynicism. It cannot last; if it did, there would be such oceans of blood spilled it does not bear thinking about.

To Erik, Charles’s approach is wide-eyed idealism, the sort of approach that will lead into mutant registration, into armbands and ghettoes and extermination camps: the normals have oppressed every single minority, every single alien group, and they will kill or enslave all mutants once they learn of the powers they possess.

And as Shaw dies, the American and Soviet fleets get a shared command from their leaders, who both know of the existence of unruly mutants, and that there is one faction behind the provocation, and another wild-gunning around. The shared command is to get rid of the immense security risk of the mutants at once, when they are so conveniently beached. (Score one point for Erik.)

The fleets shoot a volley: guns, missiles, the whole shebang, at the dozen or so people on the beach, two whole navies firing — and Erik, seeing his suspicions confirmed, uses his magnetic powers to stop the volley, and to throw it back at the fleets.

This does not agree with Charles, and in the best action movie fashion he uses his fists to persuade Erik; the matter gets ugly, the returning missiles wobble and explode half-way back, leaving the fleet unharmed. (Meanwhile, Charles is telling a Holocaust survivor that the sailors are blameless because they’re just following orders — sheesh.)

During the scuffle, Charles is hit by a stray bullet aimed at Erik and is left paralyzed. The two, Erik and Charles, are beyond working together, so Erik takes the half of the crowd that sympathizes with him and, his crowd including a teleporter, vanishes.

Notice, now, the people left on the beach, and their predicament. Charles Xavier, bleeding and paralyzed; a telepath and a controller of men’s minds. Moira MacTaggert, a normal human being, if CIA agents count as such. The rest of the mutants: Beast, blue, furry and acrobatic. Banshee, a sonic screamer and a flyer with his flying suit in tatters. Havok, a shooter of things.

You may notice none of them have any remaining power that involves quick or special locomotion.

And they’re on a desolate beach.

In Cuba.

With two fleets with their weapons aimed at them, with orders to shoot, and with the perception that though the mutants did stop the first volley, they could do no better than to wobblily toss it back a part of the way.

If you ask me, that’s a recipe for speedy death.

But no, instead the lot appear next at Charles’s mansion.

Mind you, this is the Charles Xavier whose identity is known to the US government, who is a famous enough expert on mutation to be the first call of a CIA agent interested in such, and who surely is of big enough money for his inherited mansion’s location to not be a secret. He’s the guy that has mind-manipulated a number of CIA agents, absconded with a number of other mutants, and, for all that the government knows, almost caused a nuclear war. (Both the Soviets and the Americans don’t know any better: both know the cargo ship was going rogue, possibly under Shaw’s command, and think that it was sunk thanks to a moment of perspective by a Russian officer. The mutants? Why, they showed up and had a scuffle and tried to shoot back before disappearing. Who’s to say they weren’t in the same plot with Shaw?) Charles could fade the recent events from Ms. MacTaggert’s mind (good for her, maybe, but horrible PR for him); but even he couldn’t do anything at the tracks of his identity that his involvement had created.

One supposes the CIA had enough diligence to make notes of the names and origins of each of the mutants Charles and Erik recruited; even if Charles’s lot somehow got off the beach and off Cuba, they all should find their former lives lost to them, Charles the famous scientist and his mansion most of all. I don’t think you get to run away from a fix like that one.

That ending just is where my suspension of disbelief breaks down, which is a shame because I really liked the film; but then again, the alternative ending I envision is nice to the evil little cynic in me. (The cynic that has been reading Wild Cards I, which, dear empty heavens, is a dark take on the superpowered minority scenario; in Cards they’re kicked in the head as if they were black Communist Muslim gay atheist wiccans.)

And so I imagine a second volley, and a third — Charles’s mutants shooting the shells and missiles down, but inevitably taking hits; Charles shouting they must not shoot at the ships, must not kill — until one hit too many comes through, and Havok looses his patience, and the US Navy loses a few ships.

The end result? “One of the bodies was identified as Dr. Charles Xavier. Government sources have said Dr. Xavier is not and never has been a CIA operative, though he has been consulted on mutant matters in the past. His involvement in the Cuban Mutant Crisis is suspected to have been under the influence of Sebastian Shaw, deceased, the crisis’s mastermind and according to recent reports a Nazi mutant war criminal. The whole mutant terrorist group and a kidnapped CIA agent were killed attempting to escape after military intervention foiled their horrific nuclear plot. In other news, the Navy reports that the tally of the mutant battle now rests at 1104 dead and 342 wounded, following the deaths of 72 horrifically plasma-burned soldiers overnight.”

“In other news, an entity named Magneto has taken responsibility for the attack that resulted in the deaths of the entire nine-person Senate Select Committee On Mutant Regulation. The Committee’s chairman, Alfred Hister, was killed only hours after giving the strong statement that ‘mutants are living weapons, and like any weapon, deadly in untrained hands, just an atrocity waiting to happen. It is only prudence that they be indexed, numbered and placed in special detention centers until their risk can be assessed through rigorous medical examination and, if necessary, incarceration.'”

Because while every sane person hopes Charles is right and knows his way is the only one that works… one doesn’t have to be much of a cynic to feel, like Erik, that the world almost deserves to burn for containing the people it does.

Mealtime blessings

June 14, 2011

Probabilistic grace

We could be covered in bees
Or running from a cannibal clan
But instead we’ve got foodies, so
Hey! Yay! Let’s be grateful and eat!

* * *

Explicit gratefulness

Great and mysterious forces have brought us together
Just us, our combination, no else, just us [NUMBER],
By higher powers gathered here, to enjoy this fine
[APPETIZER AND MAIN COURSE]
With a glass, as the world is of glass, of [TABLE DRINK],
And to quench our final thirst after the communion is done,
[DESSERT(S)] — so eat, and be grateful!

* * *

Great circle of life

As we eat, so we will be eaten.
As this cow ate grass, as
He or she will be eaten by us,
So one day we will be wormfood,
And the worms will nourish
Some bits of new grass.
As maggots will boil up
From eyesockets of the buried —
So a blessing boils from our hearts.

* * *

Bee in peace

As this lamb was carved up for our place
So you, oh Lord, were served for our grace
As this wine was scrunched from a grape,
So scrunch us, if we your grace forsake;
Let us eat and thank you in holy peace
And if we stray, in Hell eat only bees.
Amen.

* * *

Mess prayer (to be performed blastissimo)

Christians! Tonight we might dine in Hell!
So come get some, you sorry sinners,
For Hell’s meals are sawdust and shit,
Compared to which this is fucking gourmet!

* * *

Thank you everybody

Thanks to the cook sweating to make this meal;
Thanks to the food shop that enabled his whim;
Thanks to the farmer who nurtured life;
Thanks to the shit and fertilizer he used;
Thanks to the sun for enabling photosynthesis,
By which plants like this rutabaga growed,
Or the hay that this ex-cow used to eat;
Thanks to the butcher, his nailgun, and his knife;
Thanks to the pesticide man for this bounty;
(One hopes there is not too much residue)
Or if an organic pesticide was used,
Thanks for this equal bounty, traced with
Pyrethrum, rotenone, copper and sulfur;
Not that I want to preach or anything, but, eh,
We’ll have table talk now, won’t we, greenie;
And thanks to the unequal world system of today,
By which we feast, while millions die of diarrhea,
Or starve, or die of thirst, or of ebola or e-coli.
Be grateful — dig in — amen — that is all.

* * *

Short and sour

As this chicken leg is in my hands,
So we are sinners in the hands of an angry God.
Gnaw justly, and drink deep. Amen.

* * *

Why? Because this article on CNN’s belief-blog annoyed me. I found it sappy.

Or maybe “powers beyond me” is Katia Heller’s way of saying “complex systems of supermarkets, trucks and farms”; can’t get on much of a high horse when I’m so aware I’m just being grumbly.

I just know that if I ever have kids, I will pervert this ritual —

Me: “Kid! Blood for the blood god!”

Kid: “Food for the food god!”

Both: “Mealtime for Khorne and Slaanesh!”

Special music: or, me is mushy

June 11, 2011

There’s music you like.

There are songs that are good.

And then there are bits of music that tear you apart and assemble you into something better.

Most probably these should be timeless music, Classical or by the Beatles; songs that you could, once I mention them, recall and say “Ha! I am aware of that tune, and I agree. You are not a crazy rabbit-ears type of person.”

Well, I am a bunny-ears lawyer, then.

Accidentally, though nicely, the three examples below are ones where I adore the lyrics (the first), I adore the music (the third), and I adore the singing and the song though I don’t have a clue of the language (the second).

First, let’s start with Iron Maiden, with a song off their Piece of Mind album, out in 1983. That’s a year after I was born — and 19 years before I realized Maiden to be the best band there is. Oh, the shame.

Or let’s rather start with a bit of a song. The song itself, “To Tame A Land”, is based on Frank Herbert’s Dune, and cribs plenty of words off it; but the song is a mediocre Maiden song. But oh, the bit a minute and 58 seconds in is, for 20 seconds or so, the proverbial chill-inducing stuff. “He is the Kwisatz Haderach, he is born of Caladan, and will take the Gom Jabbar.”, oh yes.

(That’s, by the way, how you do a song about a book: you actually say enough for the alert listener to notice what you’re doing. Another favorite band of mine, Blind Guardian, had two songs about George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire on their newest album — I wouldn’t know if they hadn’t said, because the lyrics were so opaque and vague I found no way to tell. I can’t stand people who feel the need to be so subtle their subtlety is indistinguishable from incoherence. It’s not as if Blind Guardian doesn’t know how to make recognizable based-ons; you’ll recognize Tommyknockers even without the title if you’ve read the book and bother to listen.)

Next, a song I discovered as a beginning song for a season of Inu Yasha, a so-and-so anime adaptation of a so-and-so-manga by Rumiko Takahashi, who has done much better things.

But this one song — can’t say why I like it so, and I suspect it’s not all about the music. Could have something to do with a summer, and two brothers in a time and place beyond the statute of limitations watching an awfully codek-ed copy of Inu Yasha, acquired through friends and means best left unsaid. (The third brother was disapproving meanwhile; disapproving of anime, not of the means of its acquisition.)

Anyway, this is Angelus, by Hitomi Shimatani, and it’s a crime if she isn’t big in Japan.

And thirdly, something off the soundtrack of a genuinely great anime. That is Neon Genesis Evangelion, a happy, peppy… no, wait, a horrible show where every single character has a crippling psychological flaw or a truckload of them, and everyone gets more and more broken every single episode until the mother of all “what the fuck?” endings drops. (Just read the introduction on TV Tropes.)

It’s a nice show to watch, if you’re not allergic to not knowing quite what you’ve watched even after a couple of rewatches. I recommend.

This bit of background music, sweet and perfect and almost enough to start me taking lessons of guitar or piano, is called “Good, or Don’t Be”.

Alternate history madness: American Civil War

June 10, 2011

US Civil War won by the South: only CSA remains

  • Has been done so many times already; something different, please.

US Civil War won by the South: both CSA and USA remain

  • Not exactly new either, but let’s have a go.
  • 1889–91, 1909, 1919–21 and 1932–5: the 2nd to 5th American Civil Wars. All won by the Four Horsemen.
  • 1956: President Nixon: “We are not a banana republic, to be pushed around by the crowned heads of Europe!” (to which Premier Churchill replies: “Indeed, the USA is much too cold for bananas.”)
  • 1989: USA President: “Mr. Duke, open this gate. Mr. Duke, Mr. Duke, tear down this wall!” (answer: “Fuck you, Reagan!”)

US Civil War won by the North, but both CSA and USA remain

  • 1879: USA expresses extreme official disapproval of the unwise anarchist-revolutionary slave uprising in CSA, while smuggling arms in. CSA remains committed to peaceful parliamentary progress and sends in the CS Marines.
  • 1892: CSA expresses extreme official disapproval of the unwise godless-revolutionary woman uprising in USA, while smuggling arms in. USA remains committed to peaceful parliamentary progress and sends in the US Marines.
  • 1914: The British-German War begins; the Entente Cordiale of France, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia against the dastardly English Alliance of Britain, USA and CSA.
  • 1916: As the war moves towards a bloody defeat for the English-speaking side, Canada revolts and joins the Franco-German cause. USA bombs Montreal; Canadian premier quoted as saying “Eh, this wasn’t supposed to happen!”
  • 1917: The European war is finished; the British monarchy flees to CSA.
  • Peace on earth until the beginning of the Americo-Canadan War in 1940, initiated by the dashing young CSA war hero, hero of the Reunification and fanatical Francophobe Alfred Hitley. Bad times follow for the Canadian French — well, for all Canadians, really — until the Japanese Intervention of 1942, but on the other hand after the war no-one will think it polite to speak of mincing baguette-eating French-born surrender monkeys ever again.

US Civil War a stalemate: CSA and USA remain

  • Every USA and CSA election since 1868 won by the candidate seen as “most irredentist, strongest on national defense, and most active in calling for stricter anti-sedition legislation”. Roughly 60% of presidents in both are military men. (Also, no women. Can’t be seen as weak on national defense!)
  • 1888: CSA historian lynched after suggesting the Civil War was not an unmitigated CSA victory.
  • 1889: USA historian prosecuted and jailed for sedition, infamy, slander against the nation, subvertment of national institutions and corruption of the youth after suggesting the Civil War was not an unmitigated USA victory.
  • 1891: the existence of the hamlet of Sweden, USA, (pop. 116) leads to the lynching of a real actual Swede in CSA, and to the fizzly CSA-Swedish War.
  • 1893: Grover Cleveland, USA president, goes down in flames following allegations of leniency on the Confederacy traitor-splitter-bastards. Actual quote, “it’s not like the Rebs aren’t human beings the same as us.”

US Civil War a horrible disaster: both sides collapse, Britain and France march in

  • 1929–36: The Colonies War leaves most of Europe smoking, and the rest of the world smoking and burning. Afterwards the war’s reason was found in the losing party, the Austra-Germano-Hungarian Empire plus Holstein, them and their horrible African legionnaires. Shortly afterwards, all the colonial empires start going down; turns out giving people pep talks on fighting for their country can have them focusing on the wrong bit of country.
  • 1941: Independence of Greater Canada, capital New York, south border the Mason-Dixon line, official languages English and French. French fries served in the Parliament with no interruption, forever.
  • 1946: The Louisianian Civil War begins in the French colony-in-all-but-the-name of L. — capital Richmond, other cities Dallas, Fort Lauderdale and Sacramento. The separatists are strongly Communist, prefer the Spanish language (and enjoy the backing of the Mexican Emperor), are led by a sinister mastermind codenamed “True Man” (wheelchair-bound after the brutal “Dewey beats Truman” assassination attempt of 1948), and would rather have all Louisiana than split away.
  • 1954: After the debacle of Dienne-Bienne Ford (near Le Phoenix) and the loss of a whole French division, the war gets hot; Sacramento falls to the rebels.
  • 1969: Peace negotiations conducted by the Canadian president Hubert Humphrey fail; vice president Johnson heard exclaiming he’s “happy it’s not my mess”.
  • 1970: France-backed Louisiana president and director of the secret police H. W. Bush assassinated by a young Lt. C. Norris, a Sacramento sympathizer… in Dallas. (Where else?) Following army purges prove extremely counterproductive.
  • 1973: French retreat continues until Fort Lauderdale is evacuated with helicopters, and falls. The People’s Republic of Louisiana is triumphant, sea to sea — the president is Richard Marx Nixon.

US Civil War averted: USA remains internally divided

  • 1880: A call for voting rights for slaves is met with hoots of derision and much stomping of feet. The public is less restrained than the Senate was.
  • 1890: The Prohibition begins.
  • 1910: Alcoholism treated with electrical shocks. Not effective, but good PR. (“Mr. Edison’s direct current — cures the madness of liquor!”)
  • 1912: Alcoholism treated with castration. Not effective, but good PR. (“No child deserves this home! This home deserves no children!”)
  • 1920: The Underground Railroad War against Canada over immigration. Follows a rousing speech by J.M. “Wavin'” Cox, future president: “Them Canucks are stealing our expensive slaves and poisoning our men with the demon rum. That’s reason for North and South — I say we kill them all and don’t ask who’s man who’s moose but afterwards!”
  • 1934: The Prohibition extended to include coffee, tobacco and bubble gum. Some rioting, but few can get excited enough with the available excitants.
  • 1965: Famous last words: “No dictator, no white man can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power, governments and tyrants and armies cannot stand.” But for one more century, they do.
  • 2064: A Civil Rights Act passes, much like that of 1964 in a different world. Jefferson Lee, Grand Dragon of Citizens Against Ethnic Perversion, declares the end of civilization. French premier notes the Act puts USA within a fighting distance of the Griefpublic of Lepro-Cannibal Uganda in the One Government’s Freedom Ranking. Mr. Lee resents that, too.

US Civil War averted: slavery wins

  • Fun times will not be had.
  • 1900: 25% of population unfree.
  • 1940: 35% of population unfree; failure of the Compulsory Sterilization Act.
  • 1948: 40% of population unfree; failure of the Mobile Act, trying to restrict hereditary slavery to children of two slave parents.
  • 1950: Senator Joseph McCarthy brandishes a paper: “I have in my a hand a paper — a paper containing the names of 207 escaped slaves working illegally in the State Department, posing as free men —” An “escaped slave” is, by legal and colloquial definition, someone that ought to be a slave but isn’t; no actual prior enslavement or even awareness of one’s unfree ancestry is necessary. (Hit film of the year — the controversial horror classic “I Married An Escaped Slave!”)
  • 1955: A state senator of Alabama outed as having a slave grandmother; flees country. Much rioting. President Russell calls for patience and the National Guard. As the riots go on, and then down, the death (in an Alabama jail) of the slave-loving brothers Kennedy troubles the nation. Unfortunately, one half is troubled by this: “Why didn’t I notice before that of course them Catholics are in league with the Blacks?”
  • 1956: Estes Kefauver elected president; begins investigations into graft and corruption by the Kennedy family and “other agents of the Papal State.” Ex-president Russell opines: “Personally, I have always considered the Irish and South European swarthy type to be a race to its own, a combination of the African and the Slavonic, characterized by low intelligence, low moral standards and Catholicism.”
  • 1969: A race war begins, as foreseen by the brilliant religious visionary and later Lord God of California, Charles Willis Manson. (The Beatles say they had nothing to do with his prophecies, but the suspicion persists, and record sales soar as the cities burn.)

US Civil War averted: abolitionists win

  • There will be much rejoicing.
  • Also seven presidents assassinated by white supremacists; a legacy of the Southern Deconstruction, no doubt. The Deconstruction Era is declared ended by president Hayes; a week later he is shot by an abolitionist.
  • The hunt for abolitionist radicals in the North and for Klannad radicals in the South leaves no-one happy. The Federal Militia surpasses the Internal Revenue Service as the most hated branch of government in around 1880.
  • 1882: President Grover Cleveland disbands the Congress after his attempt at repealing the Third Amendment fails. Subsequently, troops are quartered. Those that protest are… drawn and quartered.
  • 1889: A massive popular revolt against the embattled third presidency of Grover “Red Hands” Cleveland, aka “Caligula” Cleveland; C. flees to France and then to Russia to avoid a trial over the Philadelphia and Mobile massacres. The new government of United Independent States of America is miffed, but hunting for the Groverists distracts it from a civil war.
  • 1914: The First World War begins; eventually, 34 of 55 UISA states join it. 12 support the Allies, 5 the Central Powers. Alabama supports just the Ottoman Empire, “our brave Abrahamic brothers”, following a spat with the dirty German-loving creeps of Northwest Alabama. The remaining 17 states declare they’re following a policy of “Muscular Neutrality” to create a “Buffer Zone for Peace”, and invade Canada.

US Civil War stopped by alien invasion

  • 1864: Coats gray and blue discover their shared humanity fighting the tentacular foe, then unite in putting down the black foe. (Inauguration speech, Pres. Stuart: “If this past war has taught us anything, it is this: we are all equal before our Lord God, arrayed in a decent society, in a pattern of decency that must hold, lest forces devilish and inhuman consume us all. To upset our world order would be to fall prey forces cold, ruthless and inhuman, waiting to enslave us all. The rampart of democracy stands on the pyramid of orderly society.” Then as an aside, to dazzled reporters: “That’s what Lincoln didn’t see, the little fixated bigot!”)
  • 1870: The aliens conquer France. There is much sniggering in Washington.
  • 1903: The Second French Revolution — “Liberte! Fraternite! Xenophobie!” — rises, and reaches its peak with the brave Dutch-German-Swiss Wright brothers piloting their way up to the alien mothership, and killing the Alien Overlord… after which they declare themselves Lords Paramount of All Earth.
  • 1904: The Wright-American War lasts three hours; ends with Washington a hole in the ground.
  • 1944: The World Revolution expels the aging Wrightian Tyrants from the surface; they pilot their ship, and their remaining cybernetically controlled flunkies, to Mars and settle it.
  • 1945: Orville Wright dies in a tragical spacesuit-related misunderstanding (“We’re on the bloody surface aren’t we? Open the door!”); Wilbur Wright is consumed by thirst for revenge.
  • 1967: The global Summer of Love — following the establishment of the One World Government, capital Kittenville (formerly London) — is rudely interrupted by the arrival of the six-hundred-feet-tall cyborg Wilbur Wright, who touches down at Kitty Hawk and proceeds to terrorise the surrounding countryside until met and shot dead by the Texan lawman Lyndon B. Johnson.
  • 1970: The Earth-Mars War begins, and goes on; Johnson, widely criticized as too lenient, resigns as Lord Supreme Warleader of Earth soon after: “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many Martians didja kill today?”

US Civil War stopped by invasion of Russian zombie were-bears from Alaska

  • 2011: Michael Bay is an award-winning director of historical documentaries.

* * *

Why yes, there’s a Babylon 5 quote up there somewhere. Also, have seen CSA: Confederate States of America and read For Want of A Nail (which Wikipedia calls “a novel”!), and read a pile of Turtledove.