This is the semi-organized
bin for everything not already covered, and for all the extra pieces I'm
not sure where to place.
Enjoy. – Freydis
Ironic Tales of Terror
Most authors consider fiction to be easier to write than
non-fiction, yet I’ve always found it to be the reverse. Many
years ago I tried to create some entertaining short stories as
practice, or a personal challenge, to create something
different, something purely fiction but with a slightly
different character. Taking inspiration from some of the
better-written Twilight Zone episodes, I present some of
my own short-stories that I like to call Ironic Tales of
Terror. Here are two survivors of computer-crashes,
residence in a defunct file-format, and the general ravages of
The Quantum Key
After a series of high-profile intrusions into sensitive
government computer systems, and the theft of millions of
dollars from several major banks, federal officials became
highly concerned that the financial integrity of Federal Reserve
made the nation’s money supply vulnerable to the next hacking
attack. Nightly news stories fanned the flames of fear over a
break-in to America’s electronic ‘Fort Knox’ and Congress,
always quick to react to when it will help their image, put
pressure on the Fed to take action.
After the Federal Reserve centralized their computer system
controlling all the major banking transactions in the country in
a secure location, they next turned to developing an uncrackable
code to keep it all digitally safe. The famous, and once
infamous, former dR. Z0r0, Saul Cahn, a former computer hacker
now working for the NSA, entered the scene as the answer
everyone was looking for and that only a computer genius could
provide. Cahn rapidly developed a quantum encryption system to
digitally encode all of the nation’s crucial monetary data,
using a brilliant algorithm impossible to ever break.
Soon the big day arrived, and the solution was unveiled in
public before an audience of government and computer industry
big shots. Saul Cahn made a few jokes about avoiding the
Microsoft operating system, adding some levity to an otherwise
tense display. Everything went according to plan, as the
ultra-secure data system finished running the encryption process
questions were taken from the audience.
After the usual routine of soft-ball questions, someone asked
about decryption. Saul’s face turned white, as he realized the
key was accidentally added to the files to be encrypted. He, and
everyone else, is now unable to unencrypt anything in the
Federal Reserve database because no one has the key!
The world’s first unbreakable lock proved remarkably effective.
Unfortunately, it also managed to bankrupt America.
Paul Blake wanted to find himself.
After fifteen years masquerading as a stockbroker he’d seen it
all, the gut-wrenching lows and the dizzying highs. And yeah
he’d made a lot of money in the process, and most of it in the
past six months. Yup, nobody could run faster with insider
information than Paul. He could really wow the amateurs at the
brokerage firm, to them he always seemed to just ‘know’!
But Paul learned the hard way more than once, juicy tips all too
often come with a hefty price tag. Like when everybody else
finds out about it too and you lose your profit edge or when the
tip turns out to be a setup on a meltdown Friday and you manage
to wipe out 80% of your portfolio. Oh, that Lazerquick
Industries was a burn!
Sometimes Paul wondered if he knew anything.
It may have been a phony exterior to portray but hey, everything
in LA is phony anyway and as long as the Feds never found out
about his friends, who cared? Everybody else did it anyway; it’s
just the way the biz happens.
Finally it hit him, what was it all worth if you didn’t have
time to enjoy it? The whole scene was getting too hectic, too
stressful, seconds made fortunes and Paul just wasn’t getting
any younger. So last week he made his last trade and retired
from his senior position at West Coast Brokerage. He went to the
classic car dealership and got himself the rarest and most
expensive silver Mercedes convertible he could find. After that
he hit the road, where else to? Vegas! Paul figured if he was
ever going to learn how to relax and live life he needed to
learn how to lay down a pile of chips roll the dice... and lose
it all without blinking an eye.
But the gambling was really just an excuse. Paul had more money
now then he could lose gambling anyway, he really just wanted to
get away from it all. Drive out in the desert, kick the rocks
and stare at the stars for a few days then go back into Vegas
and play the tables, who knows, maybe he’d even move out here,
build a house...
It was a brilliant sun-filled fall day, perfect for a long
drive, especially for one on the back roads. Nothing but open
country, cool desert air and a few trucks to spoil the
atmosphere. Paul had just crested a small ridge and was heading
downhill, the road was empty except for a small shining silver
auto headed towards him in the near distance. The silver color
caught his eye, it was a little odd, but it was a good feeling
as he realized why he wanted a flashy silver and chrome car for
himself – when the sun hits it just right everybody for miles
away can’t miss you!
As the car approached he realized that the other driver had the
same Mercedes convertible. And the driver looked a lot like
Paul. In fact they stared mouths agape at each other like some
sort of comical mirrored image while roaring past each other.
Like everyone who sees something they don't expect to find, Paul
was dumbfounded but quick to rationalize it. “Everybody sees
their car on the road as soon as they get a new one, that’s
perfectly normal. It’s probably just that bad coffee I had at
the truck stop a while back, he didn’t look all that much like
Paul unconsciously began to slow down as he cruised along, lost
in thought for miles. Soon a car pulled up behind him, the angry
driver laid on the horn in a polite and patient request for his
dumb-ass to either pull over or speed up since by now a train of
trucks had effectively blocked the oncoming lane.
“What am I thinking, I’m not in a hurry, I’ve got to figure this
out. And who does this jerk think he is getting a classic
Mercedes just like mine?” Paul pulled off and waited for a break
in the oncoming traffic which by now had obnoxiously gotten
thicker. Paul thought to himself, “So much for the country road
idea. Damn this is going to take forever to catch-up with that
guy. Oh well now I can see just how fast this baby will go!”
Paul put the pedal to the floor only to eventually get stuck
behind a semi truck going slower than cold molasses up a hill.
Paul followed for a few minutes but, like most money-men,
patience was not his forte. Exasperated and more intrigued than
ever about the passing mystery that was festering away in his
mind, he pulled out to pass the truck. It was going uphill with
a curve to the right. Of course every DMV instructor or
insurable motorist would tell you that’s dangerous but Paul knew
his speed would get him past the truck in no time. As Paul
accelerated in the left lane he glanced down to see his
speedometer hit 95, not too bad for uphill.
Then Paul looked up and saw that distinctive silver glint and
another Mercedes convertible headed straight at him. In those
moments of fear and panic, split seconds turn to eternity. Paul
finally discovered the answer to his drive-by mystery. The other
driver did look like him, exactly like him, right
down to the facial expression of sheer terror every unavoidable
life threatening catastrophe will automatically generate moments
before a final conclusion.
Paul Blake finally found himself.
– Freydis, originally written circa 2000
"Honeybees aren't native to North America; they were first
brought to the continent by European colonists in the early
Pet Ownership: Love of Nature or Sadistic Egotism?
19.06.10 - 01.02.13
is taboo to question the supposed sanctity of pet ownership in
western culture – and so it is with all the greater alacrity
that I question! It's
mutually unhealthy and inappropriate to promote or form a
relationship of possession with an intelligent being
otherwise capable of self-direction, just as it is to force or
compel another intelligent life into dependency upon you.
I reject slavery and forced dependence. Animals
are meant to live in their natural habitat, not in cages or in
your home to serve as gratification for an insecure human ego
that projects false emotions onto their subject as justification
for perpetuating captivity.
To counter-argue that pets make people happier,
such as invalids and the elderly, is a specious argument.
Smoking makes those addicted to nicotine happy too, but that
doesn’t mean they should continue consuming a toxic
heart-poison! Certainly, other ways can be found to achieve the
same, or greater, social and psychological benefits from
companionship than through animal slavery.
It’s Time to Reconsider Pets and Pet Ownership
Many people don’t realize that pet ownership is
actually hazardous to the health of not just the pet owners, but the
environment and wildlife as well. For example, cats,
particularly ones that live outdoors, can carry rabies,
hookworm, and Toxoplasma gondii – a nasty parasite that can
cause miscarriages and birth defects, and possibly even
schizophrenia. Feces from dogs and other outdoor pets is loaded
with harmful bacteria and the eggs of parasites that can easily
infect humans and animals, and even when buried the waste
leeches into the water supply and can spread sickness for miles.
Cat waste has been found to sicken and kill aquatic animals far
from shore, just by washing into the ocean from streams and
rivers! Lethal parasites from cat feces are killing dolphins,
seals and sea lions in the Pacific Ocean.  This is just a
start of what can easily be a long list. Is it worth it?
How many cats and dogs do we really need?
hazard of pets, particularly exotic pets, comes from the harm
caused to the natural wildlife when these pets are released or
escape. Florida is one of the hardest-hit regions in the world
for invasive pests, many of them former pets. Burmese pythons
are just one example, spreading throughout the south Florida
region and displacing (and eating) native wildlife. According to
the American Bird Conservancy, pet and feral cats kill an
estimated four billion animals each year. But that’s just a
conservative guess, the real number could easily be 10 to 20
billion animals - birds, lizards, anything they can catch -
that's a huge negative stress on native wildlife often
already struggling to survive against urban encroachment.
Another study has found that cats have caused the extinction of
33 species and that more animals are being killed by cats in
the United States than in road accidents, collisions with
buildings or poisonings. 
"Our study suggests that they [cats]
are the top threat to US wildlife."
is that pet ownerships comes with some very serious consequences
that few people are even aware of, but certainly should be, and
most would rather not know simply because pets are an emotional
issue, not one of reason or balanced consideration.
2 lethal parasites team up to kill dolphins, seals, by
Stephanie Pappas, MSNBC, May 24, 2011.
Cats killing billions of animals in the US, by Rebecca
Morelle, BBC, January 29, 2013.
Miscellaneous Film Reviews
Apostle of science
Richard Dawkins explains what science is, what it isn’t, the
hazards of scientific ignorance, and why we should care about it
in Break the Science Barrier (DVD).
Science can’t provide certainties, only probabilities. This is
why so many misunderstand scientific statements, either denying
them outright or accepting them wholesale and feeling confused
and angry when new evidence turns up that changes the story.
Compare this to the religious need for certainty through belief
and you begin to see why ridiculous notions, like faith-healing
or creationism, perpetuate within ignorant cultures.
10.03.10 Fingersmith (2005) directed by Aisling Walsh.
This film is challenging to describe or review without acting as
a spoiler and giving away key events, suffice to say things are
not what they appear to be at first. This is a profoundly
well-written, impeccably delivered, and intriguingly interlinked
story set in 19th century England, focused on the lives of two
young women who become intimately connected but through opposing
motivations. One woman is rich and the other is poor, yet both
are attempting to escape from their own prisons, one from the
prison of poverty and the other from the prison of class and
09.03.10The Room (2003) Widely
criticized as one
of the worst movies made, this virtually unwatchable film
resides somewhere between Ed Wood Jr. and David Lynch. Tommy Wiseau, the director/writer/star, might have been able to make
his thread-bare [romance?] story work if he’d played to his strengths
(ineptitude, or perhaps simply lack of experience and talent)
and made it satire or intentionally ridiculous (perhaps
something like the hilarious Lost Skeleton of Cadavra,
2004), but instead he delivered it serious and it just comes off
as unintentionally funny, a bungling farce.
Drug Companies Manipulate Political System, Kill Poor
The argument in defence of this
system offered by Big Pharma is simple, and sounds reasonable
at first: we need to charge large sums for "our" drugs so we
can develop more life-saving medicines. We want to develop as
many treatments as we can, and we can only do that if we have
revenue. A lot of the research we back doesn't result in a
marketable drug, so it's an expensive process.
But a detailed study by Dr Marcia
Angell, the former editor of the prestigious New England
Journal of Medicine, says that only 14 per cent of their
budgets go on developing drugs – usually at the uncreative
final part of the drug-trail. The rest goes on marketing and
profits. And even with that puny 14 per cent, drug companies
squander a fortune developing "me-too" drugs – medicines that
do exactly the same job as a drug that already exists, but has
one molecule different, so they can take out a new patent, and
receive another avalanche of profits.
As a result, the
US Government Accountability Office says that far from being a
font of innovation, the drug market has become "stagnant".
They spend virtually nothing on the diseases that kill the
most human beings, like malaria, because the victims are poor,
so there's hardly any profit to be sucked out.
Yet moves to
change the current system are blocked by the drug companies
and their armies of lobbyists. That's why the way we regulate
the production of medicines across the world is still designed
to serve the interests of the shareholders of the drug
companies – not the health of humanity. ...
Stiglitz's plan is simple. The
governments of the Western world should establish a
multi-billion dollar prize fund that will give payments to
scientists who develop cures or vaccines for diseases. The
highest prizes would go to cures for diseases that kill
millions of people, like malaria. Once the pay-out is made,
the rights to use the treatment will be in the public domain.
Anybody, anywhere in the world, could manufacture the drug and
use it to save lives.
From: The hidden
truth behind drug company profits, by Johann Hari, The
Independent, August 5, 2009.
Afghanistan and Pakistan Foil Multiple Empires
In 1932, in a series of
Guernica-like atrocities, the British used poison gas in
Waziristan. The disarmament convention of the same year sought
a ban against the aerial bombardment of civilians, but Lloyd
George, who had been British prime minister during World War
I, gloated: "We insisted on reserving the right to bomb
niggers" (Fitzgerald and Gould, pg 65). From:
Ten steps to
liquidate US bases, by Chalmers Johnson, ATO, August 4,
Turn Brains Off in Theater
African poem paying homage to the Leopard
His tail plays on the ground while he crushes a skull
Who puts on a spotted robbed when he goes to his victim
Whose loving embrace splits the antelope’s heart
people permanently enslaved by the tyranny of fear and
superstition. ... Two others facing the future with confidence,
having escaped one of the darker places of the Twilight Zone."
- Rod Serling
narrating. Watch the 'Nick of Time' episode of the Twilight
Zone (1960) to find out why.
Because there's a
very real chance that no one has the answer presently, don't put
artificial limits on the possible - take the limits off of
natural human intellectual evolution. Perpetual contained
turmoil and institutionalized chaos is the answer to the
question of what kind of system of government is most desirable
and strategically useful to human development. Only in this
situation can valid answers and solutions appear on their own.
This is just an informal observation but it seems like driving
abilities are a fairly accurate gauge of regional education
levels. The worst drivers are located in places with the lowest
America isn't the
only country Bush will be running like a business...
The Idea Store (concept)
So many people have great ideas but for a multitude of reasons
they remain unable to turn them into practical products. This is
both frustrating to the source and wasteful to society in
general. The many obstacles in the path of would-be inventors
are daunting to those unfamiliar with the process, but relatively
simple for ones with familiarity and experience. But few
inventor start-ups have the cash to pay for a patent attorney or
the legal knowledge to know how to defend their interests and
not get ripped-off.
So wouldn't it be neat if you could just walk into an office
with your blueprints for an invention or an outline for an
ingenious solution to a contemporary problem and present it to a
panel of experts? Then (if they like it) get a cash payment and
royalties in perpetuity while the office takes care of
everything after that, the patents, the construction, the
marketing, etc. Most importantly you could be sure that the
office makes every attempt to fairly assess your invention
initially but also guarantee an equitable share of the eventual
profits (if any); maybe even allow repurchase rights to the
Basically the 'Idea Store' as I call it would collect and pay
for peoples good ideas then build, license and market them. The
inventors would get paid a cash amount up front for the rights
to develop and a perpetual percentage in royalties if it gets
built and sold. If the invention or idea later proves
unmarketable the creator would still get a modest amount in cash
and the store would simply shelve the idea and retain the patent
to be sold later perhaps or to just fill up a patent 'library'
collection, marketable in its own right.
This concept would be win-win for everyone; it would be a
services type of company with patent lawyers and copyright
specialists mostly, but also marketers and people that know how
this system works. it would vastly simplify the process by
eliminating much redundancy. In other words every person with
good idea wouldn't need a lawyer a marketer and distributor,
etc. but could just go to the store and have it done for them as
a single package. The Idea Store would centralize these
important but banal functions. Indeed this would not even have
to be private company, it could theoretically be a government
office, like an extension of the patent office - wouldn't that
be novel? If done through a government agency they likely would
not want to develop and market on their own but rather the
development rights could be auctioned off like frequency
bandwidth is by the FCC for instance.
Problems here include the typical legal pitfalls, attempting to
valuate unusual and perhaps complicated inventions and ideas
before they are publicly traded and subject to supply and demand
rules. Also success itself could be a pitfall. Having 1000
people a day trying to visit or send your office ideas could
overwhelm your ability to discriminate and still have funds to
pay for what looks promising.
I'm not aware that anything quite like this exists today but I
would be interested to know if it did; it seems very plausible
and profitable so it would surprise if it didn't exist somewhere
in some form. Anyone else interested in pursuing this idea,
answers or questions regarding this concept, please contact the
editor through the name / e-mail link located in the page
On a pound for pound basis, the U$
Air Force's B-2 stealth bomber (at $13-$15 billion apiece) is
three times more expensive than an equivalent weight of gold!
Ironically, the spate of
carjackings [in England] has been blamed on car security
systems. It's not that car alarms, improved locking systems and
steering wheel locks are not working - it's that they're working
too well. It's getting harder for thieves to steal cars without
the keys, and more tempting for them to buy a gun on the black
market and take a more direct approach. What was essentially a
crime against property has become personal. - New Zealand Herald newspaper
Did you know that ...
Retail company employees
steal more than the shoplifters do?
Statistically, most people
survive airplane crashes, but those ones usually don't
make for exciting headlines now do they?
The Words of Fools
As the Mideast situation very
quickly goes from bad to worse it's important to remember that
anymore not even physical distance is enough to insulate the
citizens of nations from the impact of the venality and
stupidity of their leaders. And in the case of America their
national situation has been significantly worsened by the
influential speech of the Bush administration. But don't take my
word for it, let's hear from the fools themselves:
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
On Arafat: -
"the enemy of the
entire free world," and "an obstacle to
peace in the Middle East" and
"a danger to the
whole region." Could you ratchet up the
grandiose hyperbole any higher?
"We are going to
take all the necessary measures to destroy the infra
structure of every terror element that exists. We decided to
eliminate the terror and its infrastructure."
"I pray for peace," Bush
"I can understand
why the Israeli government takes the actions they take.
Their country is under attack."
"The more progress
we make toward achieving a cease-fire or meaningful security
discussions, the more a killer organization will try to
disrupt the process.''
On Sharon: -
"Israel is a democratically
elected government, and the government is responding to the
will of the people for there to be more security.''
"[Arafat] can do a
lot more [to prevent terrorist attacks]" Yeah he'll
communicate using telepathic rays seeing as how he's already
as evil and by extension powerful, as the Devil himself.
Apparently, it doesn't matter that he's completely cut off
in a basement bunker with only a cell phone and a dead
battery while being surrounded by the Israeli Army.
The diplomatic silence from America
is deafening. Most illuminating of all is the noticeable lack of
American reproach of Israelis duplicitous language and violent
attacks against an elected leader in their illegally occupied
territories. As the Lebanese foreign ministry colorfully stated
"Only hours after the Arab peace
initiative was adopted at the Beirut summit, Israel responded
with a barbarous war and an arrogant savage aggression." But even The "dove" Colin Powell
could only tell reporters that Israel had 'a right to defend
"Let's be clear about what
brought it to a halt, terrorism - terrorism that would target
Continuing the undeniable evidence
is the fact America continues to do absolutely nothing to
intervene beyond the continuing farce of sending mouthpiece Zinni and despite the
powerful authority U$ has in dealing with Israel to include
billions in yearly aid and weapons packages. Whatever American
policy actually is, the view being portrayed to the world is
that America agrees and supports whatever Israel does 100%.
Therefore Israel's aggression is America's, and the innocent
people Israel slaughters are a bloodstain on all of
America as well. At the moment Israeli troops have taken over Ramallah, Qalqilya and Tulkarem in the West Bank and surrounded
several others with their tanks, and this is just the beginning.
Israeli officials now claim Arafat is hiding 'wanted men' in the
few rooms he still controls at his headquarters in Ramallah.
Although the U.N. Security Council
issued a resolution calling on Israel to pull out its troops
from Ramallah on Saturday, there were no signs of any plan to
comply. Apparently this demand has no deadline attached to it,
but it's still pretty convenient that Iraq has to obey UN
mandates at the drop of a hat but not Israel.
Finally, concerning Israel's latest
action to "isolate" Arafat, "the US ambassador to Beirut offered
only that violence was no solution to political problems." I think he missed the irony.
"The problem is, he's got to decide
if he wants to live or die. If he wants to die, he's going to
die here. Or he's going to fucking spend the rest of his short
fucking life in prison. It's his decision, man. We can only help
the guys who want to talk to us. We can only get the Red Cross
to help so many guys." - The highly professional
interrogation by CIA agent 'Dave' struggling to convey the dire
nature of Walker's situation. The Mazar-i-Sharif prison
was subsequently the scene of a bloody uprising culminating in
U$ air-strikes on the compound and a quickly forgotten massacre.
We're told not to stereotype, yet
loan administrators, rental managers, police and any number of
other people in positions of authority do it on a daily basis.
We're told life has no price yet lawyers and insurance agents
calculate it every day.
Life in the house of
vice and virtue:
dichotomy of the sacred and the profane,
positive, negative, heaven and earth; images of
the dirt floored thatch shack with a stereo and a
TV. Islands gripped between natives compelled by
capitalist competition and Paul Gaugin-esque
urban refugees ironically seeking rudimentary
lifestyles the natives don't want anymore. Human
comedy, human tragedy, the endless search for the
free lunch, the technology without the trouble...
I think fiu from the south Pacific islands is a
great concept it's when a worker becomes tired or
bored they simply leave, not bothering to explain
or even ask for a last paycheck.
U$ consumers spend $2.5
billion dollars on golf clubs each year.
I just love the
marriage of Wal*Mart and McDonald's. Truly they
were made for each other!
Three sure signs you
have no class:
words as adjectives
means not wearing a shirt in public
parts outside the car while driving
American Coin Tricks:
It used to be that
any stingy consumer could put three cents into a Wall
Street Journal newspaper machine and get
themselves a copy; the secret is in the
mechanical device that stacks the coins. Three
cents is the equivalent to the same height as two
quarters. I can't say as I've ever tried this
trick simply for lack of convenient opportunity,
and because I have no interest in reading a WSJ. Anyhoo, speaking of coins, Susan B. Anthony
dollars are often marketed as being rare and/or
collectible. I doubt it, but if you think so I
know where you can get all the dollar coins you
could possibly want. Go down to the Post Office,
don't stand in line for an hour to buy your
stamps, go to the vending machine and put in a twenty dollar bill. Buy your book for a few
bucks and you'll walk away with a handful of
dollar coins in change. Most of them are Susan B.
Anthony dollars, but increasingly you can get the
new Sacajawea gold-tone (electroslag) coins.
Lightning burns down
many of the Amish's buildings, but they refuse to put in lightning
rods as they 'run counter to God's will.
Each NASA Space
Shuttle launch costs $400 million dollars.
The most aptly named food. Who would eat this
shit but an American? (or possibly Canadian) Its
not even cheese, it's just oil mixed with artificial flavorings and
colors with a horrid rubbery texture to it. Mmmm!
The Microsoft effect:
the simpler it's intended to be the more
complicated it is to actually use.
|The Drinking Starts Early
First you open the bottle
Clean a glass
Nice and fast
Next you just tip that bottle
Let it pour
A little more
Into that glass from the bottle
Down the side
Now you set down that bottle
Lick yer lips
Let er rip!
Hey, hey, hey wheres the
Walk down the hall with the
Sit right down
You speak hanging on to the
Radio sees no bottle
You are bombed
Courage comes in a bottle
This is war
Have one more
Celebrate with the bottle
Its all done
We have won
Satirical poem, author unknown.
Original source: the defunct comedy site timmybighands.com
audio editorial response