Limited Growth

November 18, 2020

soundtrack

(Dedicated to librarians)

What book most changed my life? That’s an easy question for me to answer. It was “the Limits to Growth.”

I read it when I was 12 years old, and then I didn’t grow at all for three years. Zero growth because of one book. Now that’s life changing.

The Bookmobile Arrives

Book reading is something I was introduced to at age 7 when the Bookmobile made its first visit to my class when I was in Grade Two. There was no library in my upper income suburb, nor did my tiny rural elementary school have one. Just big cars and big lawns.

So when I finally got access to the book scene at that age, I devoured most of the Babar and Peter Rabbit series. Reading books gave my eyes a rest from watching television, and also let me be alone in my room with no disturbances. Plus, I could imagine being a cute little animal living in Paris, or going on adventures and helping other rabbits, instead of just staring at a TV in a suburban setting and fighting for the remote control with TV-viewing family members.

Library Access

Five years later, when I turned 12, I was finally allowed to take the once-every-two-hours city bus into the downtown library and get a library card. From now on, I could choose from an entire world of books! The world was at my fingertips.

Steel City had a tiny library, but at least it didn’t have wheels and it remained in one place for long periods of time, unlike the old-school bookmobile. My literary skills would finally be leaving the trailer park of Gilligan’s Island-style book sightings.

I read the entire book in a summer week, letting the very adult-oriented content sink in slowly. Computers and computer simulations were new in 1974, so I felt I was somehow preparing for adulthood and changing times.

Everything in the book seemed to suggest that the way the adults were living in the 70s would end in disaster and misery. And on top of this, I was reading it two years after publication, so there was even less time to waste than when it was first published when I was ten.

Growth is a disaster! Something has to be done

That year, at age 12, I was five foot two. Three years later, no change. Same height at age 15.

My weight also stayed the same. And my hair style and glasses.

At 12, it took me 4 hours to mow our lawn. Three years later, still 4 hours.

Steel City had the same population for that period as well, going from 35,000 to 30,000 in the city, with the new suburban bungalow-belt picking up about the same number as were lost in the city.

I watched the same sitcoms at 15 as I did at 12. I had the same circle of friends. They watched the same sitcoms for this period as well.

I wore beige and brown Levis cords for the entire three years. And went through two pairs of size 8 North Star sneakers.

The energy crisis had struck our suburb a year before, so exploding gas prices meant that Steel City was in a major recession throughout my zero growth period. Cars would even start getting smaller a few years later. Shrinking.

The war on Vietnam that the TV liked so much was, at best, a stalemate. Salaries stagnated. The TV was on for the entire three years with the same Price is Right filler between sitcoms and news.

The Times they were a’ Stayin’ Still – and all because of one, single paperback that I read as my body went through puberty without me.

(Note. Any resemblance to real human beings is unintentional. This story – like other Steel City Fruit stories – is purely fictional.)

click for fruit

Triangles

October 20, 2020

soundtrack

Cindy is sitting in a wooden chair, crying in Miss Glaciermelt’s office. She’s been using the blank looseleaf paper for her essay as a kleenex to dry her tears, so blue ink is smudged over the pink line.

Miss Glaciermelt: “Why are you having such a hard time with your term paper, Cindy? I’ve already given you a two-week extension.”

Cindy: “I know. But more time isn’t going to help me if I have zero inspiration. I don’t really understand what I am supposed to do with the two triangles I was assigned. What is there to say?”

Glaciermelt: “I asked you to compare two graphs or charts, one from the past, and one from the present. That’s it. The rest is up to you.”

Cindy: “I know that. But the two triangles are so different – I don’t know where to start. They’re both triangles, sure. But that isn’t much to compare.”

Glaciermelt: “I know they’re both triangles. But what’s different about them, besides that one is from the past and one is from now? And why is this difference important? What does it tell us about the past? About the present?”

Cindy: “Can you give me a hint. Something that’s different – and importantly different – about them? One single thing. Please.”

Glaciermelt: “Well, I can’t force-feed a student the content of her essay. But we could look at the two triangle charts together if you like, and I’ll give you some “clues” as you call them. But you have to take notes or I’m not doing this.”

Cindy: “Okay. I’ll take notes.

*she takes out a pen and binder*

Here’s the first triangle from my Social Health class. I got it from Mr. Freezin. He said I could use it for this class as well.”

Glaciermelt: “The Iceflowe Needs Ladder. Hmmm…

The hierarchical order of polar bear needs. At the bottom, you have basic biological needs like seal meat, water, and a place to hibernate. Once she gets those first-level things satisfied – but not before! – a polar bear can then seek safety needs. Now that she’s at Level 2, she doesn’t have to risk her life on thin ice to get food since she’s not starving.

And you just keep climbing the needs ladder all your life step by step, until at the top, a senior polar bear can become completely content with their lives overall and the relationships and responsibilities they have had with their communities.”

Cindy: “Oh, Mr. Freezin explained the Iceflowe triangle to me pretty well last week when I saw him in his office. It’s the other one – the archival triangle – the human triangle – that I don’t really understand.

Like, what’s a Pontiac? Why is it better than a Chevrolet? And how do they make you feel fulfilled? I don’t understand the psychology.”

Glaciermelt: “The human triangle is from what humans used to call “a car company advertisement.” You can google that later.

This “ad” told humans – it was a lie – that they could have the same satisfaction by climbing a ladder of car-brand prestige. The idea was that, even if you have no community or even no friends, you could still climb to the top if you had enough money for a Cadillac. Cadillac was the car company’s replacement for self-fulfillment on the other triangle.”

Cindy: “Did the car company triangle work?”

Glaciermelt: “It’s not really a question of working or not. The problem with a normal needs ladder like ours is that the top three notches require some kind of community to satisfy them. You can’t feel “belonging” when you are always alone, and you can’t receive esteem or feel fulfilled if you don’t have a functionning community of your species to interact with.”

*Cindy quickly scribbles this down*

Cindy: “Yes, but did the Cadillac top-tier satisfy humans the same as the Self-Fulfillment top-tier of our polar bear triangle?”

Glaciermelt: “To know that, you ‘d have to ask a human. But they went extinct… so we have to rely on our research.

Their disappearance might steer you towards the conclusion you’re looking for. I mean, if their car company triangle worked, humans would probably still be alive to promote it some more. Maybe you should look into the disappearance of human communities and social capital which happened while this triangle was popular? Just an idea.”

Cindy hugs Miss Glaciermelt, and then leaves her office with a smile on her face. She’s really starting to feel like she belongs in Glaciermelt’s Post-Human Extinction class – and is thrilled to have reached Level 3 on the normal needs ladder.

click for polar bears

The Grape Vine

October 12, 2020

soundtrack

Guest column by Yuri Raisinstein, award-winning author of The Grape Advantage: Us versus Anarchy

Sustainable? Cuke-o-phobic?

Feline colleagues often ask me how I can justify living a comfortably lazy life as a Grape Monkey, enjoying delicious sweet treats by just snapping my fingers, while most other monkeys have to make do on a diet of mainly dried out cucumber, and work for most of their waking hours. Why do I get free time and ripe grapes, while others get dried out cucumbers and burnout?

Let me start by saying that many other species also reserve different diets for various classes of their species. Grapes for some, cucumbers for others – it’s the way we primates roll. Just look that other famous primate, the human being:

Humans had some castes that ate lentils (Dalit, or untouchables), and other classes that ate better-prepared kosher food, or some (the 1%) who could even limit their diet to catered, well-branded food in trendy third spaces.

So dietary difference (Vive la différence!) has always been an acceptable way of creating the unique individuality that adds so much meaning and drama to Grape life.

Roots of the the Great Grape Culture

Grape Monkey culture started in the 20th Century when our Great Prophet – Frans de Waal – fed a few of our sacred ancestors – Experimental Monkeys 1 and 2 – grapes, while feeding other less high-end monkeys cucumbers for performing the exact same tasks. To this day, almost all Grape Monkeys have pictures of Frans-the-Father hanging in their bedrooms and offices.

Gilded Pictures of Frans the Father

On that Holy Day that we remember in the Gilded Picture, Father Frans alloted to Monkey 1 the cucumber of shame – the vegetable of losers and suckers, while our great-ancestor Monkey 2 received the Holy Grape of the Laboratory Sample – or what is commonly called the Holy Sample.

When Monkey 1 got angry and began to act aggressively, Frans-the-Father smiled knowlingly and scientifically, and looked favorably at Monkey 2’s plexiglass cage. This smile (the Smile of the Selected – החיוך של הנבחר) is why we Grape Monkeys get to live more high-quality lives than the rejected cukes ever will. We recite this inspiring story to one another almost every day before the First Grape (Primum Uva – 6 am). And the Gilded Picture captures that famous smile.

Cucumber’s sad Decline

In the last few decades, Cucumber terrorist organizations like Cuke-nuke and Pickle-o-thon have destroyed thousands of these framed pictures while stealing billions of dollars of grapes and grape juice reserves. But we hope that new laws forbidding cucumber monkeys from gathering in groups of more than six might improve things crime-wise. Likwise, the decision to tatoo cucumber monkeys and implant security chips in their arms are promising initiatives – lots of new ideas are circulating that could keep Grape culture alive for eternity, like it says “will be” in The Holy Book of the Grape (كتاب العنب المقدس).

And I don’t think that the inequality question is as important as media make it sound. In the latest surveys, Grape Monkeys suggest that the state of cucumber-monkeys concerns only 4 % of the population – well below other issues like grape prices and wine quality. And the lack of education or functional family units in Cuke settlements seems to point to an evolutionary difference that simply renders them incapable of enjoying Grape High Culture.

Faith in Our Shared Grapeness

It may be true that the humans let themselves fall into extreme inequality, and that the loss of shared empathy destroyed their ability to care for one another and ended up driving their own species to extinction. But Grape Monkeys will never let cucumber terrorism sink us to that level. We look to Frans-the-Father to lead us into the paradise that grape consumption assures us all, in the name of the Bloom, the Pulp, the Skin, and the Sacred Seeds.

>”<

click for more das qaturday

Fat-or-Flight Response

August 5, 2020

Steel City Fruit_fat flight

soundtrack

(Dedicated to jocks)

Some people have no idea why their father never spent time with them when they were kids. But I have a pretty good idea why mine was never there.

Growing up in a dying industrial town, I was always disappointed by how few really revolutionary or even creative people were around. “Whatever happened to all the creative agents of change who could make a difference in our dying town’s future,” I used to wonder.

Later, as a young adult in college, I did some research into the 20th Century history of Steel City. And what I found out was that, in the 1930s, there were lots of really smart and revolutionary people doing some very brave and innovative things. There were several types of communist activists, trade unionists, socialists and radical egalitarians. All of them were armed with texts and had large followings in the steel mill and coal mines.

And while these socially-active groups were different from each other in tactics and ideological inspiration, one thing that they had in common was that the Federal Government had the army shoot all their leaders dead in order to maintain our failed capitalist system during the Depression. Literally hundreds of the brightest and bravest Steel City activists were brutally murdered by either the armed forces, or by the Klan or other imported terrorist organizations. And this was a PPP project – private public. Both the government and industry were involved in hiring the killers.

This mass murder of the smart people didn’t just eliminate the most vital and well informed citizens of Steel City –  it also had the (perhaps intended) effect of reducing the value that locals gave to intelligence or education. These things – intelligence and education – had both been growing by leaps and bounds with general literacy and universal school attendance, both introduced in the early 1900s. But by the Great Depression, the powers-that-be decided that education had gone too far – that the steel workers and miners of Steel City had to go back to being ignorant serfs, scared of their own shadows. And that’s exactly what Steel City became.  Along with a haven for drunken hopelessness, of course.
Firing squad

One of the many tragic side effects of the elimination of the smart people of Steel City and the death of ideas in general, was an increased prevalence of morbid obesity. I guess that when people realize that they can be killed for being too smart, all that’s left to do is to eat yourself to death. Also, the inhuman work routines that bosses can dictate in the absence of smart people are often sedentary and psychologically unrewarding or, inversely, physically damaging and mentally exhausting. Being someone’s pet, a serf, is a sure ticket to a decreased life quality and a shorter lifespan. In many people’s eyes, a shorter lifespan might even be a gift to humans trapped in this kind of racket.

Forty years after the killing of the smart, my father was hired as an assistant manager of the paint store in Steel City, the underling of an incredibly obsese manager named Kenneth Trimmenson. Ken weighed almost 300 pounds, and he joked that his girth was due to his social popularity : when he wasn’t sitting down at work with a client, he was sitting down with friends having many, many beers, or sitting down with his family watching movies. Or driving his station wagon – the wood-paneled one with the vista windows in the roof.

When Ken suddenly died of obesity-related causes at the young age of 41, leaving behind a wife and three little girls, my father replaced him as manager. Dad inherited the well-worn vinyl seat that Ken had broken in, returning the picture of Kenneth’s three daughters to Ken’s widowed wife, tears in everyone’s eyes.

Even though Dad was no doubt thrilled to have his salary doubled, I remember him saying to a client how worried he was about becoming obese and unhealthy like Ken. His new Manager position was a purely administration job, and it required him to stay almost motionless for hours at a time, every day. And the busier it was at the store, the less opportunity there would be to burn calories, to go outside – to live some semblance of a healthy, normal human life.

So in order to keep his weight down and his spirits up, my father decided to spend all his free time playing sports, even if this meant never spending more than a few token minutes each day eating or sleeping in proximity to his family. He even brought his golf clubs to family get-togethers, usually escaping from the family within minutes to go shoot some balls far, far away. Anything to control weight and muscle tone. There was no time for getting to know him, or for him to get to know us, his “family.”

This is why I hated sports when I was a child, and it’s why I hate capitalism now.

(Note. Any resemblance to real human beings is unintentional. This story – like other Steel City Fruit stories – is purely fictional.)

click for fruit

Sheep Media

May 12, 2020

Das Qaturday Sheep Medea

They never wanted to return to their prison.
So Mike would target the oldest female, Medea, for coaxing
________________________________________

soundtrack

I was foraging for an old ball of string in the attic, when I found this old diary of a human “shepherd” named Mike. A shepherd, by the way, was a type of human slave-master for another species – in this case, sheep. This kind of human slave-master – a shepherd – would control dozens or even hundreds of another mammal species in order to shave off their hair or kill them and eat their muscle tissue.

Mike was the master of fourteen sheep, mostly females, and only one of these animal slaves was black. Every day, Mike would take the sheep out of their confinement pen, and lead them to an open field. They were always thrilled to get out and needed no convincing or prodding to leave confinement.

Once he was far away from the crowds at the historic park, Mike would slip his earbuds on and take his prisoners to some faraway patch of green grass. Once there, it was time to lay on the grass listening to Adam and the Ants, while the sheep peacefully enjoyed the saladosphere that human hero Mike had found for them.

To get them back to their confinement compound at the end of the day was much more difficult. It’s like they never wanted to return to their prison. So Mike would target the oldest female, Medea, for coaxing.

Medea was the mother of more than half of the other sheep, and the grandmother of a few of the others, so she was the one that most of the other sheep listened to and respected. Most of them had been fed directly by Medea when they were lambs so she was the go-to sheep to manipulate if you wanted to influence all the other sheep.

Ad revenu

When it was time to get the sheep back into confinement, Mike would simply push Medea’s head into a bucket of delicious grain and dried fruits, and she would then baaah loudly. “Baa-aaah!”

What this means, in our Modern Feline language, is “Food, this way! Food this way!” Medea could hardly breathe between baa-aahs and mouthfuls of the delicious morcels of oats, dried raisins and parsley.

Of course, her baahing was problematic. What she was really saying was “Food for me this way!” For her and her alone.

But Sheep dialects being what they were back in those days – the baahing wasn’t sophisticated enough to communicate the “for me” part of the exclamation. So while she meant “Delicious food for me this way! Yahoo!,” all the sheep heard was “Delicious food this way, yahoo!”

(Today, of course, Sheep are schooled to differentiate between “for me” and “for us” when they baaah. But this story is from a human diary written a hundred years before human extinction, so it’s Olde Sheep, as opposed to Modern Sheep baaahing.)

Once they got back into their lockdown pens, they would find the same boring feeding boxes full of the same dry, boring hay. They fell for this trick every single time, believing that the words of Medea – in the way that they understood them – were like a family gospel.

This small sheep community lived through the same false hope for delicious food  followed by the same disappointing dry hay each and every day. But they all felt that to not respect and follow Medea’s inarticulate baahing was like treason against group solidarity and family ties. No one wanted to be seen as an outsider who didn’t respect “family.” Even if that meant following a flawed understanding of that family member time and time again to the same dead end.

Mike called the specially mixed combination of grains and fruit that he gave Medea each day “Advertising Revenue.”

(A year later,  the sheep all contracted a fatal illness from the lead-based paint on their feeder and died. Their fur was shaved off of their dead carcases, but humans didn’t dare to eat their contaminated muscle and fat tissue.)

>”<

click for more das qaturday

Dogs with Jobs: Luigi

April 13, 2020

sad pet LUIGI

soundtrack

Luigi was a Siberian Husky who worked for almost five years as the guard dog for a stockbroker in Long Island, New York.

Before that gig, he had been raised in an animal rescue shelter by post-humanist hippies who had temporarily named him Piggy, because he was such a chubby little puppy.

The post-humanist animal shelter had always featured uncommon domestic animal toys like encylopedias, an open laptop computer, and various writing and drawing tools that even a dog’s paw could manipulate, if the animal was inclined to use them.

When Luigi was three, the aging post-humanists who ran the shelter were getting too old to care for their animals, and Luigi was finally adopted by Ralph Brathlewaite, a stockbroker who worked for a company called, ironically, Kennel Brokerage. Ralph had never owned a pet before – though he often opined to colleages that he considered most of his clients to be animals. Or muppets.

Ralph bought Luigi because his shrink had told him that having a pet would help him deal with the loneliness that haunted him living alone in his isolated eight-bedroom McMansion on the riverbed.

Luigi wasn’t police-trained for guarding houses, but he’d read a lot about that role in the encyclopedias in the shelter. By watching internet videos of guard dogs, Luigi was able to imitate the behaviors he saw, enough to impress Ralph Brathlewaite into purchasing him with great confidence. First impressions were excellent all around; Ralph appreciated the dog’s apparent skillset, and Luigi appreciated Brathlewait’s smell (fast food and deodorant).

A few years after buying him, Luigi’s owner Ralph decided to do something about the indigenous plants (weeds, he called them) that continued to sprout in his exotic Japanese rock garden. His garden specialist recommended Round Up, a product that had recently been introduced by a corporation that had previously supplied the arms industry with biological weapons.

Luigi Snoopy

Luigi had done a lot of research into products that could poison grass, and other surfaces that dogs (and other outdoor animals) might come into contact with. On seeing the bottles of Round Up sitting near the parked pickup truck, Luigi freaked out. This product could destroy his sense of smell, reduce his intelligence, and vastly shorten the healthy period of his life and the other dogs around him. “Thank Dog for those encyclopedias back at the post-humanist shelter!” he thought.

Luigi decided that it was time to take off the mask of servitude and reveal the crime that was taking place. He chewed through his leash, pealed the lable off a large bottle of Round Up, and began to quietly circulate around the neighborhood, showing the ingredient list to other dogs, frantically trying to impress on them the importance of stopping the propagation of this poison onto their paws and into their bloodstreams.

One of the noisier neighborhood dogs – Snoopy – ran immediately into its owner’s house and squealed. Snoopy’s owner closed all the gates and doors electronically to trap Luigi in the fenced-in yard, and made a quick phone call. Within minutes, Ralph Brathlewaite was standing next to his dog, with a smiling vet carrying a giant needle. That was the end of Ralph’s job as a guard dog, and also, of his life.

Turned out that Ralph had never really cared for Luigi, and he happily replaced Luigi with an electronic surveillance system a few days later.

All the other neighborhood dogs got weakened from the Round Up their masters applied to all their yards, most of them died years before their time,  and they all lost their sense of smell.  But they kept on chasing sticks for treats – treats that they could no longer taste.

click for sad pets

Trendy City Cats

April 8, 2019

soundtrack

1974

The Beatles will never get back together again is what we hear on the car radio for five hours, as we’re driving to Victoria City to visit my Dad’s family. They live in the capital and biggest city.

His parents live right in the center of the historic downtown  which, at the time, is full of young, scruffy adults with long hair who wear loose beige clothing, pay little to no rent, and provide the smellscape with organic substances to counteract the smell of lead in the gasoline exhaust we’re all breathing.

I escape a boring television day to visit the next-door neighbors, the Boudreau family. They live in the mirror of my grandparent’s two-story townhouse. Their grandfather, Erwin Boudreau, is always around doing jigsaw puzzles and sneaking sips of gin from under the kitchen sink.

Even though Erwin (Mr. Boudreau to me) grew up in the Acadian Peninsula speaking only French, his parents named him Erwin after one of the biggest entrepreneurs in the region – Erwin McKacey. Virtually no one in his village could pronounce his name properly, so they called him Wing.

Granpa Wing’s namesake, Erwin J. McKacey, inherited some money selling land that was taken from the Tic Tac First Nations, and over time, his family managed to claw together local monopolies in copper mining, gasoline distribution, logging, and mass media, and was considered a hero by his own mass media empire. Which is what everyone watched.

In my grandparent’s day, people believed that naming a son after someone rich and famous might mean that this boy might get to finish at least grade 5 and weigh at least a hundred pounds at adulthood. This kind of thinking is sometimes called Cargo Cult thinking. Erwin McKacey lived to 95 years despite his lifelong obesity, and his monopolies turned both Steel City and Victoria City into tangles of highways, suburban lawns, and strip malls surrounded by monoculture forests sprayed with dangerous chemicals every year.

In any case, Jimmy Boudreau, the grandson who’s around my age, is taking me on a tour of their townhouse on a rainy day. I just found out that Jimmy has no idea who Erwin J. McKacey is while we were talking. His parents own a VW van, and feed all the local wild cats in their coal shed porch. At any one time, there are between 20 and 40 cats eating snacks and using  their porch and backyard.

The smell of cat urine, coal dust, and a dank mystery smell (pot, I suspect), greets us as we enter the back porch. Opening the inside storm door, Grandad – Wing Boudreau – is standing with a full glass of gin and some anti-depressants in his hands.

ducks

1899

“This new generation only understand trends! They can’t think for themselves!”

I guess we walked in on a rant. I love old person rants! Erwin Boudreau was born in 1899, so his rants often have a turn-of-century sense of urgency.

“That screen door is useless! They saw someone’s cheap new bungalow had one, and so they had to have the same damn thing. As seen on TV! Cripes, what a mindless generation of tube heads. Just like that van. Hippy’s gotta have a van even if they can’t afford the gasoline for it! I should have forced them to play outside when they were kids!”

The tube is what we  call the TV we watch every day as a family. I can’t believe he’s insulting such an important and pleasant influence on every family I know. For me, this is like mocking God or capitalism.

“Your family are the worst, Qatzel!” He smiles while popping two orange pills into his mouth. “Suburbia, big car, company man… your parents are just following trends they saw on TV. They never saw a trend they didn’t want to follow!”

This is where Jimmy’s mom pops in and drags Wing back to his room to do jigsaw puzzles before he causes too much harm. We enter the kitchen now that he’s gone. There’s a piece of string art on the wall, and a pet rock sits next to a box on a shelf. The kitchen wall is a mural of a rainbow over Niagara Falls, and the whole scene is accentuated by the red-orange plastic chairs and table. The radio is blaring in the kitchen, and the television is blaring in the living room.

“I’m trying to talk my parents into buying me Levi’s this year,” I confide to Jimmy, just as a way of changing the subject. He nods like he knows why.

Just then, the overwhelming stench of cat urine and coal (and pot) forces us back out into the yard to play where the rain seems to have stopped.

click for sad pets

Donuts with Derek

December 30, 2017

Steel City Fruit_donuts

soundtrack

(Dedicated to the working-class males of suburbia)

We’re waiting at Kirk’s house, watching a Saturday Night Live rerun after smoking a small joint outside in the snow. It’s going to be quite an evening: two hours of comedy re-runs and then… Derek Haddad!

Derek Haddad works two night-shifts per week at McDonalds in order to pay for his new Firebird Trans Am with the black-on-gold paint treatment and hood scoop with flying eagle logo. He also works at his dad’s woodshop full-time in the day, but on his evenings off, he loves to drive people around doing hot-knives in his muscle car.

He finally arrives about 30 minutes later than expected. Kirk and I get on our coats and join Derek and his friend Curtis who are in the front seat. We sit in the back with the blow-torch.

The plan is to get really stoned and then do “donuts” in the nearby Walmart parking lot, which is covered with ice and snow and is virtually empty tonight, the night before New Year’s Eve. “Doing Donuts” involves accelerating as fast as you can on an icy surface, and then hitting the brakes suddenly in order to be thrown into some heavy g-force curves. We’re all in our late teens, and this feeling is very close to the sex we crave every second of our lives.

donutsDonuts are also called “Round-up” by some people, but I don’t like to use that name since Round-Up is also the name of an insecticide bar we used to put on our lawnmower until we found out that the chemicals in it slow down children’s central nervous systems for up to a decade after contact with the residue. My father starting buying these poison wax bars after seeing an infomercial that showed children being seriously injured by slipping on dandelions. The miracle product, the TV spokesmodel explained, would kill dandelions and keep your kids safe. Everyone on TV that evening agreed that children’s safety was important so the dandelions had to die. Later reports from the Federal Environmental Office warned Round-Up users that the product contained some of the same neurotoxic chemicals that had been dropped on Vietnam, and that dandelions were not, in fact, dangerous at all.

Finally arriving in the parking lot, after ten minutes of rolling the hash into little balls, Derek cranks up his powerful car stereo, and his friend starts the blow torch and hands me the two knives to go first.

Ten hot-knives later, Derek changes the music to a new group called, appropriately, The Cars, and we start to accelerate into our first donut. Weeee! Finally, a kind of thrill you can enjoy with other people that doesn’t involve sharing anything personal or talking about life. What in the world did people do before parking lots, Trans Ams, and hot-knives were invented?

(Note. Any resemblance to real human beings is unintentional. This story – like other Steel City Fruit stories – is purely fictional.)

click for fruit

The Suburban Hearse

April 24, 2017

PBF Suburban Hearse

soundtrack

Miss Glaciermelt leans into her powerpoint presentation, placing her index finger on a large grey square on the terrain view of an old human settlement.

“This large dead area was called a parking lot. It’s where the last generations of humans left their transportation machines when they interacted with shopping and activity centers.”

The teacher notices Cindy’s confused stare.

“Did you read the chapter 7 –The Suburban Hearse – of your Last Days of the Humans textbook, Cind?”

“I did,” Cindy replies. “But I still don’t get the connection between their suburban habitat and the word hearse. A hearse was a machine for moving dead bodies from one place to another many kilometers away. What does this have to do with the low-density sprawl that humans ended their time on Earth in?”

Miss Glaciermelt is glad Cindy has decided to take the second part of her Post-Human Extinction course. Nothing works better as a teaching tool than a live back-and-forth between teacher and student.

“Well, the most popular vehicles of the last years were called SUVs, and they were a lot like hearses in shape and size. Many of them were great for transporting dead humans, though they were originally used by single people for going from one characterless suburban location to another. Ironically, it was the use of these machines and all the fuels that they required that created the need for billions of hearses. The hearses of the last years of Humanity.”

Hearse imageMiss Glaciermelt fidgets with her computer and then plays a short movie-clip while talking over the narrator.

“Over there, two young human boys are driving bicycles that are much too small for them. This harms their knees. And there’s an obese jogger – another end-time human activity that destroyed body parts – knees, ankles and hips. And look at that chubby human mowing a lawn. Noise actually causes obesity but he probably doesn’t know that. Most humans didn’t know very much near the end of their species’ existence.”

Cindy: “Were humans doing all these dumb, harmful activities because of the obesity epidemics or because of the boredom? Or did their slave-like jobs make them clueless?”

Glaciermelt: “Well, it’s not really one reason. All of your reasons were contributing factors: boredom, obesity and lack of freedom. You’re really animated today, aren’t you?”

They both smile.

Cindy: “I noticed that in the footnotes, the narrator talks about – and I quote – ‘the braindead termite-people of the Suburban Shitscape.’ What does he mean by termites? They didn’t go extinct. We still have lots of termites.”

Glaciermelt: “No, termites didn’t go extinct. But I think he’s referring to the fact that humans were consuming the planet the way that termites will eventually kill the tree they live off of. And the word ‘shitscape’ refers to the low-quality and ugly surroundings that end-time humans lived in. The author also mentions that all their machines sounded like chainsaws: lawn-mowers, ski-doos, leaf-blowers, the power tools of weekend gazebo projects… suburbia was one massive chainsaw massacre.”

Cindy: “Maybe the noise and ugliness drove them crazy and they had nothing left to live for?”

Glaciermelt: “Let’s not speculate, Cindy. After all, we weren’t there ourselves.”

click for polar bears

The Rust River Swimming Hole

December 8, 2016

steel-city-fruit_swimhole

soundtrack

(dedicated to my mother)

Grover McToll moved to Rust River – a comfortable suburb of Steel City – after it had been mostly filled up with bungalows and lawns. So the neighbors looked at his arrival as one-more-car and one-more-lawnmower noise. His house also involved removing the last bit of forest visible from the river where people used to skate and swim. Of course, our own houses had done the same kind of damage to the landscape, but to us, there was no “before us” landscape.

Mr. McToll built his large bungalow in eyeshot of the Rust River swimming hole, a private waterfront lot whose owners allowed their immediate neighbors to swim there when they weren’t using the beach themselves.  They didn’t tolerate outsiders though.

Grover himself never went swimming there or let his kids swim there either. He was way too aspirational middle class for something so savage and white trash. But perhaps to prove his value to his neighbor-a-phobic neighbors, Grover used to police the water hole, especially at night, to make sure no non-neighbors used it. Now, there are no waterside public parks in Rust River whatsoever, so the stream of teenagers looking for a place to smoke a joint and go swimming kept him and his police friends very busy. He saw himself as a kind of property value protector whose target was savage teens smoking dope. And trust me, most of the teens in our suburb were savage.

scf_swimhole_private-prop

My best friend at the time, Jimmy McPiper, never learned to swim. Neither did his brothers or sisters. His family were too poor to go to the beach, there were no public pools, no swim programs at our schools, and there was nowhere in Rust River where you could swim for free even though all of Rust River is, at most, a ten-minute bike ride from the swimming hole. There were actually no natural parks of any kind in Rust River, the “green” of Greenwood Drive was found on the lawns and in the money wasted on trampolines and board games.

I sometimes wonder if suburbia was created to make sure no one got to enjoy nature.

(Note. Any resemblance to real human beings is unintentional. This story – like other Steel City Fruit stories – is purely fictional.)

click for fruit

The Ankle-Nibbling Revolution

July 25, 2016

Fake History ankle

soundtrack

A Simple Life

Field mice had been living in Chinatown for a century, surviving mainly on the dropped egg-tarts of shoppers and the ripped garbage bags full of day-old pastry. It was a tough life, but there were some years (1967, 1976) where the life was easy because of a surge in tourism and wasted food. Our protagonist, Roguz, was almost two months old when he developed a technological change that revolutionized the lives of the mice that were affiliated with him and his family.

An Ordinary Day

While babysitting his rascally little nephew Salza, Roguz was forced to leave him alone for a few seconds. When Roguz finally turned around, Salza was nibbling on the ankle of a young human girl. As he approached Salza and told him to stop, a large, half-unfinished egg-tart fell in front of his face, and the scolding was quickly forgotten. This “50% remaining” would feed Roguz’s family for a week.

ankle nibbling

Eureka

Most mice in Chinatown just work and consume, but Rugoz had a stubborn philosophical side to him, and he went back to the dark corner of the sewer where he was staying and thought about what he had seen. Eureka! A new technology was born – ankle nibbling!

He patented his idea, and then shared it with some select allies (for a price). For the next 3 months, the frantic search for food disappeared from Chinatown’s mouse population, and obesity rates took off – a sure sign of success.

Diminishing Returns

Mice  never seem to be able to predict the consequences of their technological changes. A few years after the ankle-nibbling revolution took off, humans started to notice the uptick in “Mice Terror,” as their newspapers called the phenomenon. The following season, the number of humans visiting Chinatown dropped by two thirds, Local merchants reacted by designing a drop-proof egg-tart box, and by publishing information on how to avoid mouse-nibbling.

Suddenly, there were no more dropped egg-tarts and no garbage bags full of day-old pastry. The mouse population was quickly reduced to less than a third of what it had been before the new technology was introduced. Most of the survivors had to make due with the rotten corpses of other dead animals, road dirt, and sewer runoff. Roguz died a proud old mouse, with prizes and trophies lining his walls, long before the mass starvation of egg-tart-obese mice began, but his nephew survived it and went on to become a preacher.

Click for fake history

Inside the Box

January 4, 2016

sad pet boxes header

soundtrack

1998

Zack is walking ahead of me talking to Zozee, a hairdresser from Martinique who owns five miniature dogs. We’re in his cave-like hair salon even though it’s a sunny day outside. I don’t want to hang around too long, but I understand the importance of seeing friends’ pets. Plus, Zozee’s partner-of-9-years just dumped him, abandoning him in the Gay Village like a dog in a city park.

We go into the undecorated storage half of Zozee’s huge double-roomed basement studio and in the futhest corner from the window, he opens the wooden door of a big, clunky armoir. From the deepest recesses of the armoir, Zozee pulls out a box where five tiny dogs live out their lives in complete darkness, with the rare exception of these occasional visits and daily feedings and  grooming.

sad pet box 200

Entertainment

The dogs seem thrilled to see new life forms and to be able to wobble around aimlessly a bit.  I ask if they’re puppies, but no, they’re not. These adult dogs never leave the box. Their pathetic imprisonment and miserable life of darkness and isolation reminds me of my suburban childhood, and I need  to go outside and feel the sun on my skin.

Around other people.

Now.

I pull on Zack’s shirtsleeve, and when he looks at me, I sneer for a second and then look longingly at the window. Exasperated, Zack apologizes to Zozee and says that he needs to “take the boyfriend outside for a walk before he scratches me.”

For the rest of the afternoon, we argue about every aspect of this visit. It starts out being about how ownership and capitalism make us do unnatural things. Then this morphs into a debate about whether pethood is a form  of cruelty. And finally, it’s about whether a boring sex life is what causes most couples to break up.

I believe all these arguments we’ve been having lately are related in some way.

click for sad pets

The Mosquito who wanted to be a Dinosaur

July 22, 2015

PBF mosquito

soundtrack

(From the Cub Club Bedtime Stories collection)

There once was a tiny and desperate mosquito named Ilene. Ilene had always felt like she was destined to be so much more than a tiny, insignificant insect.

Let me tell you more.

It was the hot summer of 147 million years ago, but I remember like it was yesterday.

Ilene Pickworth was a frosh at a local college. Instead of attending classes, she would sit under the college’s huge trees and admire the brute strength and high-status size of the large dinosaurs storming by like SUVs. While Ilene spent many stressful moments of her day avoiding being swatted by appendages many times her size, the large dinosaurs proudly ripped the tops off of huge trees and dined on the sweet leaves that no other land species could reach. It certainly looked glamorous – to a bug with a two-month lifespan and chronic blood-breath.

Squish gothic

Then one morning, Ilene saw an ad in Mosquito’s Digest for a plastic surgeon/geneticist in Argentina who could transform even a tiny mosquito like her into a relatively accurate genetic approximation of a Diplodocus, a giant dinosaur who usually lived past 140. For only a few thousand euros, Ilene could finally buy the dream and live an elite existence that her mosquitohood had denied her only a few easy monthly payments ago.

She almost broke her proboscis, pulling it out rapidly before she flew home to grab her credit card and overnight bag.

The operation was a success. She also got free Diplodocus lessons and a foster family to guide her along. Within a few weeks, she was one of the gang. A happy and gigantic land animal.

Her new species went extinct a few decades later. She never had kids.

** a mosquito flies by**

click for polar bears

The Turtle Gang

January 7, 2015

Fake History turtle

soundtrack

Probably the scariest gang in Lostra City, the Turtle Gang – also know as la Bande de tortues –  was organized in a way that defied any kind of hierarchy or chain of command. Instead, members could simply ask another member to help them, and the other turtle would help. Nobody refused to assist or obey another turtle on the basis of authority or class. It was set up like a cooperative, but with an incredible unity of purpose and a total lack of the kind of divas with exaggerated senses of self importance that can bring down any kind of cooperative project.

Active in things like children’s sports programs and community education, laBande started to get involved in motorized-vehicle attacks the same year that it was noted in the Turtle Voice that over a thousand turtles had been killed by cars and other motorized vehicles in a 12-month period.

The first year of the Tortofada, a thousand random cars (and their drivers) were destroyed by turtles- exactly the same number of turtles that had been killed by cars (and their drivers) the year before. One of laBande’s many spokesmen – Trina Callabaster – told a TV news anchor that her friends were just trying to raise awareness of the callous way that vehicles continue to kill smaller species.

“We never wanted to find ourselves at war with the car. But car operators crush us with their gadgets, and just leave us to die on the sides of their asphalt roads. Every turtle left to bleed to death on the roadside with a broken shell… is an attack on turtlehood – on the very existence of the turtle species.  And the gravel that is often found on the shoulders of the road is perfect for hatching turtle eggs and raising babies, so many newborn turtles watch as their own mothers are destroyed in front of them.”

I love turtles

Humans loved cars more than they loved humans. After the attacks were publicized in human media, the human elites (car dealers, arms dealers, oil dealers, and corrupt banks) went on red alert. Dow and Monsanto shifted billions of government research money into the development of environmental poisons and poisoned foods that would render turtles brain-damaged and physically immobile. The pentagon bought a trillion dollars worth of turtle den busters, a type of experimental chemical and biological bomb that worked especially well on reptiles and amphibians. The major networks began hosting talk shows with themes like “Do we need to kill all turtles in order to have peace?” and “Why do turtles hate progress?”

The imagineers of Hollywood produced over 150 turtle terror movies in just three years, with five of them winning Academy Awards for either best picture or best special effects (a vintage turtle in a microwave sequence won big time last year).

When a turtle carrying an uzi was named Time magazine’s Creature of the Year, the largest human government on the planet vowed to eradicate all the bad turtles using a combination of public awareness campaigns and environmental vandalism. Their plan almost worked until, ten years into it, billions of humans developed side effect illnesses from all Monsanto’s environmental poisons and these new diseases wiped out a quarter of humanity. The turtles of laBande rejoiced and regrouped.

Click for fake history

Michel Foucat interviews Wile E. Coyote

February 26, 2014

Das Qaturday coyote interview

“The wolf is represented as a despicable creature so that its lifestyle can be destroyed with impunity by fable-brainwashed humans.”
________________________________________

soundtrack

MF: Welcome to the show, Mr. Coyote. Now, a lot of the dog breeds we know seem to resemble the wolf. I’m thinking of the Husky and German Shepherd, for example. Have wolves historically been tempted to try a life of domesticated doghood? Perhaps on a temporary basis at first, perhaps guarding some kind of human outpost temporarily for an isolated human pioneer type?

WC: Not on your life. On the surface, it probably looked tempting to many naive wolves because of the reputed longer lifespan of the house dog. But what exactly did this long, long life entail? Sitting on a Disney-themed cushion all day in a human house that smells like antiseptic cleaning products and overly-prepared food? The final response was always an overwhelming no thanks. Prison is prison, and a longer life in one is just a longer sentence.

MF: Well, as a feline that comes from a long line of alley cats, I can relate to what you’re saying.

*smiles and sips a glass of water*

But what about all the human texts about what a dangerous and possibly lethal brute your species was to humans when they existed? I realize human stories about all other animals were always exaggerated and self-serving to their nature-loathing elites. But why was the wolf feared in a particularly strong way by that propaganda-addicted species for so long?

WC: It was mostly about being scapegoated for human enslavement to their own elites and their artifice. Humans always felt vaguely scared and unsatisfied, and their elites were afraid they would end up blaming them. So they got them to blame other species instead. One of their most powerful tools was their texts, of course. And there were a lot of really incendiary human texts written about wolves.

MF: You’re talking about Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs, for example?

WC: Yeah. Particularly Riding Hood. Her “cookies for grandma” persona and hot-button “red coat” made her a portrait of the totally innocent victim of evil. And of course, the wolf plays that evil role so that both her and her grandmother look angelic by comparison. Pure evil versus pure goodness, featuring a red coat. The product placement ought to be a tell-tale sign of where this story is going.

Michel and Wile

MF: You were saying during the commercial break that wolves rarely killed or even approached humans if it was avoidable.

WC: Uh-huh. The only two scenarios that would have lead to a wolf attacking a human were either 1. a female would find her cubs in danger and would lash out to protect them – perfectly normal for all species. Or, 2. A human would attempt to steal the prey of a pack of hungry wolves before they had finished eating it. Humans called this prey “surplus labor” when they stole it from other humans.

MF: Yes, and how is this “surplus labor” concept related to the fables you mentioned?

WC: The wolf is represented as a despicable creature so that its lifestyle can be destroyed with impunity by fable-brainwashed humans. This allowed humans to cut down our forests to build strip malls and suburban bungalows with no other purpose other than to destroy our habitats and, ultimately, our existence.

MF: Yes, a very twisted wordview indeed. To end on a positive note, would you like to tell us about the altered versions of Red Riding Hood that your fifth grade students proposed as better and more accurate moral tales?

WC: Well, I’ll just share the winning one with the audience. Clarence Cano submitted that the story would end with the wolf warning Red Riding Hood that her grandmother had type A diabetes, and that the high-fat, high-sugar cookies were a potential threat to her health. Riding Hood then hits him over the head with her iron basket, and runs off to poison her grandmother with the cookies. Later, when the police arrive to perform an autopsy, it’s revealed that Riding Hood was the old lady’s only heir.

MF: Well Mr. Wile E. Coyote, thanks for coming in to talk to us here at Das Qaturday.

WC: It was my pleasure. I’m a huge fan, Michel.

*audience applauds*

>”<

click for more das qaturday

Capone Science, Capone Faith

January 6, 2014

Fake History capone

soundtrack

The brutal ethnic-cleansing of the Capone people is one of the tragic events of American history. From modest roots in the south of Italy, the Capones went on to create one of the most successful and dynamic cultures the world has ever seen. To better understand this once-vibrant civilization, let’s examine its scientific and religious beliefs.

Capone Science

By the mid-1920s, visionary leaders of Capone ethnicity controlled 54% of the hotels, 77% of the speakeasies, 83% of the brothels, and 87% of the gambling facilities in Chicago. Amazingly, this tiny group of gifted job-creators made up a tiny fraction of the population (.000086 %). This statistical anomaly would suggest that the Capones were genetically superior to non-Capones, Darwin having discovered that survival was about being strong in ways that could be numerically quantified.

The Capone community admired natural selection so much that they named their largest brothel after Charles Darwin himself. Today, the building that once contained Chuck’s Fitness Parlor still exists, but it now houses the well-visited Chicago Museum of Prostitution.

Of course, their public presence lead some small-minded non-Capones to resent the Capone nation’s unrelenting success. The irrational jealousy of the less-civilized created the conditions for many evil purges (le purghe) by racist, Anti-Romanesque monsters like Elliot Ness.

Suspiciously, the persecution came to a violent climax at the moment when the Capones seemed ready to rescue the Federal Reserve from a cabal of what many might call “gangsters.” Just as the Capones were about to realize their potential as a Great People, the economy sank in the late 20s and “the boys” found themselves scapegoated, much like the major bank cartel does in the present age. Successful sub-cultures often prove an irresistible target for a declining society’s suckers and losers.

capone graph

Capone Religion

Capones were model Roman Catholics, contributing millions to various well-publicized charities while simultaneously engaged in the discreet funding of upper-echelon clergy. The Capone people and Roman Catholicism were a natural fit because, as with other Abrahamic religions, the text provides a clear hunter-prey dichotomy: Catholics are the hunters (us), while people outside the faith are prey (them).

The Capones – perhaps miraculously – always seemed to have had the best hunting tools – perhaps they were God bequeathed. And because the ethnically Capone formed the highest class of Catholic societies due to the above-mentioned Science, they granted themselves the exclusive right to hunt other Christian and non-Christian hunters. They policed the police, often buying them outright.

If only others had learned from and imitated the Capones instead of destroying their beautiful culture of education, what a different America we would be living in today.

Click for fake history

Domestication and Survival

October 17, 2013

Das Qaturday domestication

“Humans and wolves are too multidimensional to tolerate
a life of environment-impacting specialization.
Ants thrive like this, yes. But not complex mammals.”
________________________________________

soundtrack

“Enslave another and you have enslaved yourself and destroyed the world.” – Michel Foucat

Many young kittens have already forgotten why domestication of other species and/or other cats is strictly forbidden. Feline Archeologists are still required to explain how dogs and humans were domesticated on a huge scale, and how this lead to their extinction.

There are just too many problems with enslaving and breeding other mammals to mention all of them in one tiny article. So here, I will name and explore only the two most important ones.

Unbalance and Environmental Damage

First of all, there is the reality of the fragile balance of life. When the most predacious members of one complex mammal decide to enslave the  less-predacious members of their own species and/or another, they start impacting the environment in a massive way. By enforcing an ant-like collectivist system on others, they force the entire species to assume the environment-leeching role of a much smaller species. And this causes survival-threatening harm to the environment at the same gigantic scale it’s being impacted.

Ants are a poor role model for humans and canines because complex mammals are extremely different from insects. Ants have a strict hierarchy of roles but unlike humans, they are suited for different roles because they are physically different from one another. The queen is physically different from the soldiers, for example. She is unable to do soldier activities, and the soldiers are unable to assume the work of the queen. The specialization is natural and individual ants – as well as colonies – perform well this way. Ant colonies (societies) impact their environment quickly and massively, but the environment impacted is very, very small in area, and the changes to this small piece of earth are quickly reversed by natural processes.

Humans and wolves, on the other hand, are much too complex for this kind of environment-impacting (and monotonous) specialization. People (domesticated humans) and dogs (GMO wolves) are much too intelligent to assume the singular role of a soldier or queen ant. Trying to live out these roles renders their existence uncomfortable and understimulating, and leaves them in a permanent state of distress which results in highly-damaging neuroses. Damage begets damage in a vicious circle of cancerous artifice, and because these neurotic domesticated mammals are so neurotic and mentally distressed, they frequently turn to the natural environment as a scapegoat for their self-inflicted problems, quickly destroying their own sources of sustenance (see Interspecies Relations below).

.

anthro-canine organigram

(A New Origin Story for Dogs)

We’ve all heard the fable about the leash-wearing domesticated dog who – when his master goes crazy and burns down the house with both of them locked inside – continues to chase imaginary sticks and cuddle his environmentally-friendly fluffy toys. As the fire spreads, the master slouches over dead from smoke inhalation. At this point, rather than jumping through a burned out window or newly-opened hole in the wall, the dog continues to lick his master’s lifeless hand until the flames burn the tongue out of his mouth.

Likewise, domesticated humans kept themselves busy and distracted by wearing colorful bracelets and ribbons, recycling some of their mountains of plastic, obsessively texting unimportant information, and watching fictional role-playing on electric screens right up until they went extinct, seemingly oblivious to the deceit, incompetence, or mean-spiritedness of their vain and whacked out masters.

Interspecies Relations

Secondly, there’s the problem of balance between the various species. The predacious human elite’s enslavement of most of their own kind lead to an avalanche of abusive relationships between these damaged pawns  and every other life-form and physical feature of the planet. Lions and Tigers were imprisoned and gawked at, whale and dolphin habitats were poisoned with petrochemicals, the pH of the oceans changed , the ozone thinned, the ice caps melted. No earth feature or species was safe once humanity started acting like a colossal ant colony. The balance between living things and their natural hardware was thrown off kilter, and this human folly decimated the feline populations of every continent.

In Paradise, a Miniature Poodle snuggles in your lap, a Golden Retriever licks your hand,  a Springer Spaniel guards outside your house, a German Shepherd stands watch inside, and the Chihuahuas take care of puppies in a hall closet. In Hell, a German Shepherd snuggles in your lap…”  – Traditional canine parable

It has taken us 30 generations to recover a tenth of what we once had. Which is why we so often shout: Never again!

If another cat ever invites you to be a low-ranking soldier in some massive enterprise, do what cats have been doing for millions of years: hiss, lift your tail, and saunter away.

>”<

click for more das qaturday

The Happy Earth

March 21, 2013

The Happy Earth

soundtrack

(From the Cub Club Bedtime Stories collection)

Deep in the Milky Way stood the Happy Earth. This planet had been blessed with water, oxygen, and carbon-based food sources. These wonderful features bestowed upon the planet life-forms like us polar bears, which is why it was labeled “The Happy Earth” by its glad-to-be-alive human inhabitants.

One day a few thousand years ago, a human entrepreneur noticed that the Happy Earth had grown colder, and it was difficult for many entrepreneurs to find food to sell. He placed a small carpet on the ground and knelt down to speak directly to the planet.

“Happy Earth, why do you let us starve in the cold? This is unpleasant and unfair.”

The Earth pondered for a while, almost falling asleep in the process. Then he spoke: “Gentle Entrepreneur, take the water from my rivers and flood the great plains to grow more food than you need. You can then sell the surplus and buy status symbols and thrill rides.”

The entrepreneur looked confused: “But Happy Earth, I can’t change the flow of your waters. This would destroy the fish and animals who depend on their fragile complexity.”

The Happy Earth replied: “Do as I say. Redirect the flow of my great rivers.”

And the entrepreneur did so, and there was much food for all. Of course, this new food was mainly starch-based and the people who grew it had to remain sedentary, but the entrepreneur and his associates got to buy a lot of status symbols with the surplus.

Happy Earth MicrophoneA few decades later, the entrepreneur panicked when the Happy Earth flooded a large agricultural zone, endangering the lives of an entire civilization and its consumers. He placed his new designer carpet on the ground and knelt down to speak directly to the planet once again.

“Earth, why do you damage the very agricultural zones that you have counseled us to create? Now, many thousands of people have no food, and these agricultural workers have long lost the ability to hunt and forage.”

The Happy Earth spoke with much sadness: “Gentle Entrepreneur, take the sand from my mountains and use this sand to block the waters whence they flood.”

Once again, the entrepreneur hesitated: “But if I remove so much soil, this will create great scars on your beautiful complexion, disturbing the spectrum of land animals and destroying life-rich wetlands.”

But as with the previous suggestion, the Happy Earth insisted that the entrepreneur do as he said, and all of his mountains were subsequently flattened in order to block all the rivers at strategic points. The civilization was saved and its population doubled every few years, which lead to many new status symbols for the entrepreneur.

This process of technology-failure leading to more and more invasive technology continued until the Happy Earth was a giant, lifeless, grey rock with few species left on it. Among complex mammals, only us polar bears and a few aggressive human entrepreneurs remained. And a lot of lesion-pocked reptiles.

The entrepreneur, on his deathbed, knelt one last time to ask the Happy Earth for another bit of advice on how to progress. By now, the carpets under his feet were laden with gold and platinum strands. “Happy Earth, what will we do now that you have no more rivers, mountains, air, or food?”

The expensive rug beneath him then trembled as another human dug his way out of the underground bunker he had been living in for many years.

“Gentle Entrepreneur, I’m not really the Earth. I’m another human entrepreneur like yourself. I was just trying to motivate you to do exciting things because I was so bored in my cave.”

And then they both died of heat exhaustion.

Amen.

click for polar bears

The Frank Mendacity School of Business

January 24, 2013

School of Business

soundtrack

As He arranges His leather briefcase and lemon Perrier on the podium, the sound of cascading coins brings a smile to Free Market Jesus’s face: another enterprising student has hacked the vending machine next to His classroom.

Free Market Jesus is “the Passover Textiles part-time Business professor” at the Frank Mendacity School of Business of the University of Judea. He created both the position and the program with His own money, and then bribed the administration to make most of its content mandatory in other programs. Needless to say, the metallic clanging of a vending machine jackpot reminds Him of His own freshman days as a Rhodes Scholar in the very same school.

Today, He’s delivering His first lecture of Lying 101 . (Course description: “Learn to lie like you really mean it! This 6-credit survey course will take you on a roller coaster ride through the exciting world of lies and postmodernism.”)

Many undergrads use the opportunity to ask The Star Prof some questions about His many published essays.

Solomon: “A lot of businessmen who’ve tried to compete with You say that You don’t allow competition – that You ruthlessly lobby to have their enterprises banned or shunned by lobbying and bribing local governments that You often own. And the leftwing media has said that You maintain suspicious links to organized crime associates – a group who call themselves the disciples – who use pressure tactics against competitors that are sometimes illegal. Is this true? And if so, is it good business strategy?”

FMJ: “As I have written in many of My books, ‘I am the Life.’ This means that no one else gets to have one when I’m around. It’s My entitlement, and I’m proud of it. Next question.”

Lot: “Professor Freemarket, in Your latest Op Ed article in the Judea Times, You say that You bought your nephew an Armani so that he could experience some of what You were denied as a young messiah. And yet You mentioned in Your first book “Glory to Me in the Highest” that You got Your first Armani when You were seven. Is this the kind of lying we should be imitating?”

FMJ: “What money-making purpose would a lie like this one have? No. It was true.

I bought FMT his first Armani for his third birthday. But I, on the other hand, didn’t get My first Armani until I was seven. That’s four long years of self-esteem damage I had to endure because of My negligent parents. I just don’t want Free Market Thomas to suffer like I did.

Now for next week, we’ll be reverting to a more standard lecture format. I want everyone to read the first chapter of Cannibalism and Dollars and pay special attention to the sidebar essay on page 11 regarding the importance of placing strict limits on public education. See you then!”

Abruptly, twenty minutes before class is scheduled to end, Free Market Jesus pushes the pink button and jumps into a get-away chute inside a trapdoor on the stage behind the podium. As His lilac cape disappears, all that lingers for his fans/students/apostles to ponder are a cloud of purple glitter and the the sweet smell of pecuniary acumen.

Click for more FMJ

The Davids

October 10, 2012

Fake History David

soundtrack

We all know what we’ve seen in the press about David and Goliath: innocent David poised with his flimsy slingshot ready to take down the seemingly invulnerable Goliath. But of course in reality, no man can accomplish this kind of feat alone. To draw accurate conclusions from this event, it’s important to look at what was happening behind the media smokescreen.

Months before that famous moment when David heroically took down a giant, the Daveed Gang began to work relentlessly on this project, and quickly scored a fund-raising coup, cutting a juicy deal with the Royal Bank of David. The financial elders at that institution agreed to cover all costs of Operation Goliath in exchange for some positive branding for their bank.

Flush with cash, the Daveed Gang then hired goons to hound Goliath’s family, kidnapping his daughters, killing family pets, and phoning them day and night to keep the Goliath family jittery and weak. Back then, there was no call-display for screening calls, so the harassment wore everyone down – especially kind-hearted family man Goliath himself.

The Gang then paid the David Times to run forged ‘reports’ about what an immoral misanthrope Goliath was, and many well-paid media personalities raised questions about his legitimacy as a human being. “Are giants worth anything in God’s eyes?” was the provocative theme of a one-hour talk show watched by millions. Goliath himself refused to appear on the show, but was visually shaken up by it a few weeks later when caught off guard by paparazzi. Likewise, weeks before the duel, David-media ran articles exaggerating the strength and aggressiveness of Goliath, never mentioning his Type A diabetes or the kidney he gave up to his sick aunt.

The general public was hoodwinked into thinking that it was the slingshot that brought him down. Physics and biology easily demonstrate that this is incorrect. Goliath was actually poisoned a few hours before the fight by a Daveed Gang operative. Tiny-but-well-connected David just provided a well-oiled protagonist to the narrative that the Royal Bank of David used to change public perception of their usurious operations.

Though poison and a tragic fall finally killed him, in actual fact Goliath had been brought down long before the fake fight with David. Meanwhile, the conclusion that many people have drawn from this event – that a single small person is capable of bringing down someone much larger – completely ignores the role of The Daveed Gang, organized crime, and the Royal Bank of David.

Click for fake history


%d bloggers like this: