Posts Tagged Strongly Implying One is About to Do Something Unethical

In His Defense, the Success Rate is Still 100%

Arnold set his hat by the door and nearly tripped over a pair of black leather size 10s.  “Why are there–Whose shoes are these?

“They ain’t mine,” Cannibal Sherman said, his voice resounding from the kitchen.  “Ask Brett.”  Brett Krinkins had been the one to send out the invitations–it was his house, but he was nowhere to be found.

Arnold untied his laces.  Judging by the state of the shoes in front of him, he imagined he was the only one around who still did so.  The backs were broken down and the only set whose knotted bows weren’t still intact was the glossy black pair by his foot.

“Sorry, hon, nobody’s really that helpful around here.  Let me grab your jacket.”  Britt was the older sibling of the Krinkins pair.  “You might as well be talking to the walls.

Whose shoes are these!” she bellowed from the well-lit foyer.  She wasn’t asking a question anymore; she had turned it into a demand for an answer.

Arnold stepped back slightly.

“Quit yelling,” Brett called down the hallway.  “If we don’t know whose they are, we can just cut them both in half.”

Britt’s face wrinkled in a mixture of confusion and exasperation as her brother clomped down the wooden corridor.  “You do know that’s not how that works, right?  It only works if people are fighting over the item.  You don’t just hack stuff in half and expect to solve the problem.”

“I do,” Brett said, stepping into the entryway, his arms full of cheese wedges and a colorful mix of soda cans.  “And it does.”  He handed the cans to his sister.  “It got people to stop leaving their crap at my house.  Take these into the kitchen please,” he said to her, picking up the shoes.

She took the soda reluctantly, somehow managing to hang onto all of the cans and Arnold’s coat.  “Why on earth do we let you host?  You can’t just misapply one solution to everything you see and expect it to fix the issue!”

“I haven’t been finding tacky bakeware in my kitchen anymore,” Brett said.  “As far as I’m concerned, the problem was solved.”

“That’s the problem with you; you get one tool and you use it on the world!  When all you have is Solomon’s logic, suddenly everything looks like a baby.”

“The better to avoid kid-sitting duties, my dear.”  As he turned the shoes over in his hands, he felt a palm on his shoulder; he spun around to see Abrams’ somewhat irate visage inches from his face.

“They’re mine, thanks.”

Britt shook her head and strode off toward the kitchen.

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Of Pirates and Blurred Borders

Have you ever thought about how improbable the global system of air travel is?

Nearly every country on the planet allows fully loaded jets to enter its airspace multiple times a day, and–even more improbably– land before checking the passengers (I don’t know what the alternative would be), trusting the previous country’s TSA to have done the job.   And some of these transfers involve countries who wouldn’t hesitate to stab each other given the chance.

It just strikes me that any country with the desire to do so could stuff a nuclear weapon in the cargo hold of an international flight and set it off upon landing.  Sure, there have been stories (and movies) where said weapon is sent in by container ship (probably easier) but air travel opens up a great multitude of non-coastal/non-port locations.  And finger pointing would be difficult, though I think it’s possible to fingerprint the country of origin by sampling the fallout.  (The whole reason I’m speculating here is because I’m not in the mood to start googling things like “is it possible to trace nuclear weapons” or “what’s stopping governments from sticking nukes on planes.”)

By the way, if you’re paranoid, don’t read the previous three paragraphs.  If you aren’t, carry on.

In other alternate universes, can you imagine if yesterday’s pirates operated on the same principles today’s do?  Near as I can tell, there would be a giant island outside territorial waters filled with gold, food, rum, silver, and what-have-you, where ships would pull in, fill up on all of it, and leave.  The island’s stockpile would remain completely unchanged.

Mind you, if today’s pirates operated on the same principles as yesterday’s, Disney would be forced to spend part of its operating budget combating raiding parties, Paramount would be resting on the bottom of the sea, and Shawn Fanning would be imprisoned, having murdered a great number of musicians.

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Awards Night

   The auditorium was packed–rows upon rows of nameless faces: conspirators and colluders, perpetrators and abettors.  Lionel von Drath had apparently just left the stage; he was conversing in the corner with a pair of blue-suited henchmen and stroking his carefully groomed facial hair, mutton chops and a neat blond mustache.
Given a guess, Morris Brandeis suspected the man had given the same speech he had given to the crowd in Achany the week before: how he had graduated from the Academy of Villainy as class Maledictorian.  He probably thrilled the crowd with stories of exploding sandwiches and the thousand cheap and replaceable things he had lifted from the classrooms and the charity across the street and the teachers’ lounge on the days he wasn’t setting everything on fire.
He continued to walk down the incline between the left and right seating banks.  Cyrigan Ames was finishing up in front of him, but heads were already beginning to turn in his direction, even as she spoke of growing up in the town of Nicle, once the self-proclaimed “Friendliest hamlet on earth.”
It was a good story, he had heard it before as well–how she had grown with the town, corrupting it and changing it and building a reputation of her own.  It was no longer referred to as Nicle, however.  Ames was renowned for being the woman to single-handedly put the Evil into Niceville.
And yet the crowd was already drawn to Brandeis, who hadn’t yet set foot upon the stage.  Ames was slowing now; she had been winding down as he stepped in the door.  He watched the audience respond warmly as she concluded and stepped down to join von Drath.
Or rather, those who hadn’t noticed Brandeis enter responded well.  Those who had gave perfunctory applause in deference to tradition, even among rogues.
Brandeis approached the podium without a word; the crowd waited as anxiously as could be expected from such a crowd of hardened miscreants.
“My fellow malefactors,” he began.  “I’m certain you have heard your fill this evening of antics and escapades, high class and classless destruction.  I don’t intend to discuss my achievements with you tonight;”  –At this the crowd’s enthusiasm perceptibly sagged–  “I’m sure after two hours of stories the anecdotes begin to coalesce into a formless rush of noise, moreso when as listeners you weren’t the ones to perpetrate any of it.”
He took a short drink from a glass of water that had been sitting on the podium since before the first speaker had presented his case hours prior.
“So I will try to describe myself.”
He began to stroll across the stage, holding the glass in his left hand and drinking occasionally.  Von Drath crossed his arms and listened.
“Imagine a man who fights with nothing to lose, because he understands that anyone and anything can be replaced.  A man who trades in destruction not because of its effectiveness as a currency, but simply because he enjoys the smell.  One who each morning spreads butter made from the tears of children onto toast made from kittens.  A man who in his foulest and most desperate hour would find himself incapable of hurling the earth into the sun only because he would have done so long before that point.”
Brandeis returned to the podium and set the glass back in its place.
“I am that man’s evil twin.”

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Malmisdysification.

In my copious free time this week, I stumbled across a book about Dysgenics.  After skimming page three and assessing the content, I burned the entire book, with the assistance of six gallons of napalm.

Mind you, the subject is the complete opposite of Eugenics, which you may have heard of.  In what is quite possibly one of the most insane and socially unhealthy schemes ever, Baron Gregor Von Nerdblindel sought to use selected breeding of morons, violent uprisings against the “Oppressive iron minds of the intelligent,” and straight-up murder to bring about the creation of a “Vastly Inferior Race.”  His hope was that the development of said nation of morons would allow him to look like a five-sigma genius by comparison.

Apparently he never got the funding; his backers were too busy eating tree bark and drooling large puddles onto their shirts.  He died alone and rather unliked, regardless of who he was compared to.

But his legacy lives on in popular culture.

Random thought…  Would dysgenics be the complete opposite of eugenics?  At the very least it’s one of the opposites.  If eugenics is the promotion of “good genes” by:
A: Murder,
B: Locking the “unfit” in asylums, and
C: Selective breeding,
Then dysgenics, naturally, is the promotion of “bad genes” (I don’t know how many quotes are too many.  Four?  Seventeen?) in the same way.

But I think other opposites of equal magnitude would be:
A: The act of resurrecting people to promote said “good genes” rather than killing them, whatever the heck that process might be called.
B: Handing out free marriage licenses to the residents of an asylum, or
C: Forcing carefully selected pairs of adults to eat babies.

My impression is that the true opposite of a depraved system is probably not itself also depraved, so that pretty much rules every one of those answers out.  In this case, the healthiest opposite of a depraved system is no system at all, and thankfully, that’s the lack of system in use.

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Rollin’ Hogwarts Like a Wizard.

Or: Sorting Your Way to a More Successful Tomorrow

So you got your acceptance letter to magic school.  Congratulations.  You may think the program is so easy a kid with no prior knowledge of the subject could just roll in there and become the best at everything.

You’re probably right.  But with that road comes angst and pain and constant mockery from a smarmy kid who had Miley Cyrus’ look down pat long before Miley Cyrus got into whatever the heck she’s been doing for the past few years.

Real wizards plan ahead.  And there’s really only one subject in which you must be well-versed.

Houses.

There are four of them.  Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Gryffindor.  And when you arrive, you will be assigned to one by a hat.

That’s right, your future rests with a piece of clothing, and if you’re not prepared, you could end up doomed to seven years (or eight movies) of studies with the wizard equivalent of Scrappy Doo, or the kids from Full House.  As you can tell, this is a serious matter.  But if you play the game correctly, you could win the easiest seven years of your life.

“How?” you ask, in your squeaky, ten-year-old voice.  Simple.  Go Slytherin, and look socially acceptable by comparison.

Here’s what you face in each of the four houses.

Ravenclaw: Emos and goths.  Too broody, plus you could probably use the sun.
Hufflepuff:  Theater majors.  This is not Rent.  You are an aspiring wizard.
Gryffindor:  Brown nosers and nerds.  Their life is school.  Memorizing herbology to stay even with everyone else is lame.  And do you really want coursework in sycophancy?
Slytherin:  Sociopaths and morons–the brown ring of scum around the fixture that is Hogwarts.

Essentially, if you choose Slytherin, you commit yourself to a popularity contest against a bunch of disgruntled miscreants who would struggle to match wits with Marmaduke were they allowed an extra seventy or eighty IQ points and a favorable wind.

So go for it.  You can thank me later when you’re Minister of Magic.

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Soliciting Help from Outside.

Last weekend a car had its window destroyed in front of the apartment building where I live.  This isn’t the first time it has happened, and we’ve had a number of eggings (my car and my brother’s old car) as well.

To my knowledge, nobody has been caught.  So in the interest of resolving the matter before these cretins bash in my windows, I am envisioning a sign of noticeable size placed in front of the building facing the street.

To the police and whoever is responsible for the vehicle damage:
The amount of recent vandalism deeply concerns me.
If you are unwilling or unable to solve the problem I will bring an end to it myself.

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One-eyed, One-horned Eater of Flying Purple People
-or-
The Necessity of Clarity in Nomenclature
-or-
How to Profit from Uncle Sam’s Dissipation and Survive on Marginal Writing Ability

So I’ve been back to Popular Politics and Such Science again, in part because there are still occasional science-like updates despite their best efforts.

Article one: Government Should Fund Unpopular Science

Article two: Imposing Restrictions on What Gets Funding Is Bad

The fiscally conservative part of me thinks the idea of cementing the continuation of funding for studies of duck genitals for the sake of whatever it is that studies like that will do for the common good (or for the sake of science, and as we all know part of America has a massive science-related inferiority complex entirely due to us #&$% creationists trying to make children hate all science and entirely not because of one or more systemic problems with America’s education system)–securing funding for that sort of thing seems, to put it quite mildly, frivolous.   Both the government and the American scientific machine have much more important problems to deal with; in the case of the government, funding studies of duck parts might be exacerbating (if only slightly) an increasingly problematic budget issue.

The rest of me has decided that funding that kind of silt is awesome, because I can make money from it.

How, you ask?  Simple.  By writing a grant proposal that somehow manages to stand above research on anatid anatomy.  I don’t foresee much difficulty.

So I will propose an expedition to Bora Bora to answer a pressing scientific question:  Are there suitable ways to distinguish between the varieties of one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eaters? 
As you may well know, in the song from decades ago the eponymous creature happens to eat purple people.  For most of us, this would not present any major trouble.  I am not purple, and I do not know any purple people.

(Why undertake the study in Bora Bora, you ask, though the answer should be quite obvious?
Because it’s for science, and science says exotic things seem to hang out in the tropics.  Also, coincidentally, Bora Bora is what happens when love gets landscaping priviliges.)

However…  The title of the aforementioned song suggests the existence of as many as five different creatures, all essentially indistinguishable by common name.   (I’m unaware of any scientific names for any of them-this would be rectified by the end of the study.   Everyone knows that scientific names for animals are nothing more than a couple of keyboard accidents with –us added to the end.  Unless you’re a toad, or a gorilla, or a bison, or never mind shut up.)

The creature could be:

1.  Purple, having one eye and one horn, known to fly and eat people.
2. One-eyed and one-horned, known to fly and eat purple people.
3. One-eyed and one-horned, known to eat flying purple people.
4. One-eyed, known to eat one-horned, flying purple people.
5. Completely unidentified, possibly amorphous, and known to eat one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people.

Clearly, the last four are unlikely to pose a danger to the general public.  Following the suggestion of Popular Science, however, this fact alone does not render further studies undeserving of public funds.

In fact, such a study could prove useful to society anyway.

A creature known to eat violet, airborne, cyclopean humans with keratin production disorders would have a great deal of trouble locating food.  Any child born in a developed nation with all of these genetic mutations would be sold to the circus; a counterpart in a developing country would likely be removed from the village and burned under a full moon.
The chances that one of these creatures (the specific subspecies of flying purple people eater) would be in the right location at the right time to feed on said child are ludicrously small.   A possible explanation for the creatures’ survival (that doesn’t involve ridiculous odds or the need to feed once every three-and-a-half millenia) would be an innate ability to smell genetic mutations over great distances.  This ability, if harnessed, could be used medically, to provide early cancer warnings or screen for late-onset genetic disorders.

On a separate note, imagine you’re a purple person with two horns.  If one of them is removed and you hop onto a Qantas jet and head to Sydney, are you then vulnerable to attack?
Maybe you’re simply a purple person, and your feet leave the ground.  Is this enough to provoke an eater of flying purple people?  ICBMs operate similarly, leaving under their own power and following a ballistic path back to earth, and I doubt anyone would argue against calling it flight.

Mind you, if that proposal falls through, I have more.

Is it possible to go back in time by standing at the north pole and spinning clockwise?  Would the south pole behave similarly, spun in an unnatural counterclockwise circle?

Maybe you’re still awake at this point.  You’ve no doubt concluded that these are all valid questions meriting public monetary support.
Maybe you’re busy scheming to write grant proposals of your own.   By all means, do so!  Share the idea with your friends!  Write until your hands wear thin from rubbing against so much tree matter or poking all of those keys.

I only expect a place on your expedition if you get funded.

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