Archive for February, 2009

Environmentalists Say “Our S*&% Doesn’t Stink”

Saturday, February 28, 2009 1:10 pm

Greenies suggest cloth toilet wipes are the answer to “wasteful” toilet paper.

But what about, you know, the stench of poop-smeared rags in your bathroom?

I can honestly say, our wipes don’t stink. They don’t go into a sealed container. They go into a little (lidded) garbage can in the bathroom. Many people use a wet bag, as pictured below. There is no odor.[Emphasis mine]

No word on whether their e. coli causes disease.

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Not Racist, Just Not Very Funny

Friday, February 27, 2009 5:20 pm

Some folks are up in arms about a picture of the Whitehouse with watermelons growing in the yard and the caption “No Easter egg hunt this year”.

Being familiar with the mechanics of humor, I know you need two things for something to be funny: truth and exaggeration. But as Frank once pointed out, if you don’t have truth, a popularly accepted stereotype – true or not – will generally work just as well.

Ok, so there’s a stereotype that black people like watermelon, and since the President is black, he’d plant watermelons on the White House lawn. Ha ha ha.

Oddly enough, the California mayor who sent this to a black business woman said that he was unaware of this stereotype, so I’m not sure why he thought this was even a tiny bit funny.

The big problem, though, is that the stereotype this mocks isn’t a character flaw. Lots of people like watermelon. *I* like watermelon. Plus the fact that blackness is such a superficial aspect of Obama. It’s like mocking his ridiculous, sticky-out chimp-ears. It’s too easy of a target. It’s not even remotely clever.

However, the picture itself has a delightful visual incongruity about it, watermelons have other characteristics besides being stereotypically liked by blacks, and Obama has characteristics other than skin color. So let’s try a different caption:

Obama’s Victory Garden.

Still got the racial stereotype, but at least it drags in a political angle by referencing the obsessive comparisons of Obama to FDR.

Green on the outside, Red on the inside.

Obama is a “watermelon” – using his environmentalism to cover his communism. No racial stereotypes involved at all. Purely political.

Thanks to America’s failed public school system, the White House was forced to lower the standards for the Easter Egg Hunt.

Here it’s just carping on public policy, and those are just giant eggs lined up in rows. Only Al Sharpton would imply racism now!

So don’t be mad at Grose for being a racist, be mad at him for forwarding a sad, weak-ass joke that he didn’t even get.

Enough with the lecture, let’s just have fun with it.


* OBAMA’S GROWING POD PEOPLE!

* From the book “101 Jokes That Colorblind People Won’t Get”

* Obama’s response to Barney Frank’s complaint that his administration “didn’t have enough fruits”.

* White House receives Alternative Energy grant for “harnessing the power of the sun”.

* “Alien: Resurrection” Director’s Cut DVD includes this shocking alternate ending.

* Because fried chicken doesn’t have seeds. [Yeah, I know, but it’s still better than the original]

* Meanwhile, behind the White House, the Incredible Hulk’s litter box training showed great promise.

* Yet another protest demanding increased taxes and regulation to stop global warming.

* Obama vows to never again buy ‘marijuana’ seeds off the internet.

* The real reason Obama won’t sign a bill to stop illegal immigration.


Caption along in the comments if you’d like.

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Zo on the Fairness Doctrine

Friday, February 27, 2009 2:15 pm

Zo, Steven Crowder, and Mary Katharine Ham (as she done any more videos lately) should just get their own show. Ooh! And I could write sketch comedy for it. That would be awesome!

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Actual Assault Weapons

Friday, February 27, 2009 10:55 am

There’s talk about bring back the so called assault weapons ban (though not all Democrats in Congress are for that since they like being reelected). It would be pretty cool that if the Democrats lost out on passing it, then they’d have to give us real assault weapons — like fully automatic rifles. That would be awesome. I want a gun so cool that it will give bad guys heart attacks just looking at it.

Anyway, if the “assault weapon” ban comes back to Congress, the Republicans first job should be informing the public about what’s it exactly about and labeling anyone who tries to make people think it’s about machine guns a lying douche bag. What the Republicans should do is propose changing the bill’s name to something more accurate like “Dickless Wonders Scared of Loud Noises Bill”. Also, publicly quiz Democrats (and their friends in the media) about firearms to show they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Then beat the crap out of them. And it’s not like they can stop us because we have guns.

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You Keep Using That Word

Friday, February 27, 2009 10:00 am

In the comments to this post featuring a video of Katie Couric calling the Vice President of the United States “the white guy”, Hapkido said “Couric’s comment was racist, plain & simple. I wouldn’t accuse her of deliberatley being racist, however.”

“I’d like you better if you were also a hermaphrodite.”

Which gave me pause.

How can a comment be racist if the speaker isn’t?

Maybe racist is the wrong word. Time to check the dictionary… which says it means “racially discriminatory”.

That’s a head-scratcher. Discrimination implies some sort of adverse action. Katie didn’t act, she just talked. In fact, I don’t think it’s possible for ANY words (or cartoons) to be racist by themselves, apart from other evidence of speaker intent to do harm.

It’s time to resurrect two long-neglected words to help us understand this situation:

Prejudice and bias.

The first is an irrational opinion against something, the second is an irrational opinion in favor.

In this case, I don’t think Katie was prejudiced. She sounded CHEERFUL about the presence of “the white guy”. She wasn’t like “curse Joe Biden for destroying the multiculturalism of this moment with his foul caucasity!”

No, she was HAPPY.

So I conclude that she is not racist, but merely has a bias toward seeing groups of politicians with varying skin colors and sex organs.

Now this implies that she would conversely have a prejudice against seeing groups of similarly colored & sexed politicians. Does this mean that if she ever saw a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus, she would end both her life and career in a Columbine-like explosion of bullets and wrath?

Logic says “yes”.

But that’s not a reason to confuse prejudice with racism.

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In the Mail

Friday, February 27, 2009 8:55 am

I’ve received friend of IMAO Mike Z. Williamson’s new novel Contact with Chaos in the mail. It comes out in April but I get a copy now because I’m special. It looks to be a bit different than Mike’s other novels (what do you call that genre? Military science fiction?). I’ve only gotten a chance to read the prologue so far and it seems that it’s about first contact with sentient alien life. Since a corporation is what discovers the aliens, their first thought is that they have a new group of customers. I’m sure the story will end up being a cautionary tale about capitalism, but, given today’s economy, I think we’ve already learned our lesson about capitalism (we won’t be trying that again!). So maybe Mike has finally given up on his libertarianism; who needs freedom now that we have Obama?

Also, SarahK has gotten her Kindle 2. The screen is pretty unique; it’s indistinguishable from there just being an image printed on the front of it. And the Kindle is quite thin (thinner than a pencil) but nice and durable feeling. My only complaint is the screen contrast (it’s kinda like black against gray), but I’ve found it very readable. The text to voice is also quite good, being a mixture of robotic and surprisingly human (it pronounce most words with a very normal sounding inflection). It’s actually quite listenable. The thing that amazes me most is the 3G internet access with no monthly fee. I wonder how much they adds to the price (and thus how much cheaper a Kindle would be without wireless access; if Amazon really wants to dominate with their new format, you’d think they’d want to release a cheaper version). Anyway, IMAO is quite readable on it since WordPress makes the center column load first so you see almost nothing but text when it comes up on the Kindle. Still, I’m thinking of adding a mobile version of IMAO. How many people would use that if I added it?

Anyway, the Kindle is pretty neato. I don’t read much, but now I want one and can’t help but think of all the books I would read on it. What they need is a version that could do comic books, though.

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Jeremiah 13:25

Thursday, February 26, 2009 10:00 pm

There’s not much I can add to this. The picture sort of says it all.

This is a real photograph from the Columbus (Georgia) Public Library.


Photo by Brian Bolton. Used with permission

The thing is, I’m not sure the folks at the library were actually wrong. Many people seem to worship their computers, whether Macs, PCs, mainframes, handhelds, or whatever. And many people read more computer books than they do Bibles.

Kind of gives a whole new meaning to “Gates of Hell,” doesn’t it?

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PETA and the K.K.K!

Thursday, February 26, 2009 7:53 pm

Apparently each week Steve Crowder isn’t beheaded by angry Muslims, he’s posting a new video.

A little tip for him: If you want a quick protein shake, do what Glenn does.

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A Story Bit-By-Bit
Hellbender: Chapter 50 – Undeterred

Thursday, February 26, 2009 5:13 pm

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For a moment the swim didn’t seem particularly suicidal, but then something bit Doug’s leg. He kicked it off and swam harder, heading into an underwater cavern he hoped would come to an end before he did. He could barely see, but Doug thought he saw some light a few yards ahead. Something brushed up against him and he tried to ignore, but then something bigger slammed against him, knocking him into the cave’s wall. He stabbed back at it with his sword and felt it make contact, and then turned back towards his destination only to see another shape racing towards him. Doug thrust his sword tip at it as he moved out of the way. He felt the blade cut through flesh and bone but he did not have the time to try and see exactly what damage he had done. It didn’t feel as if he could hold his breath much longer, and the extra exertions weren’t helping. He swam towards the light as fast as he could. He thought he was near, but it was hard to tell. Doug’s lungs felt like bursting, and it seemed like he could last only a few more moments.

Something grabbed his leg. Either claws or teeth were gripping into his ankle as he tried to kick away. Doug could see the water’s surface just a foot above his face, and he swung his arms with full forces to propel him towards it. If something was going to cling to him, then he was taking it out of the water with him. It was strong, but he felt stronger, and with one last kick he breached the surface to take a breath.

Suddenly, he was being pulled upwards. Then Doug realized he was falling; it was if gravity reversed soon as he left the water. He slammed hard into a rock floor — but at least not quite as hard as the last couple times he got slammed into things. He lay on the ground for a moment, sopping wet and gasping for air. And then he stood up, holding onto his sword tightly. “Well… that wasn’t quite as bad as I was expecting.”

Doug appeared to be standing on Loch’s ship — a giant structure that looked like it had been carved out of rock. The sky around them was a swirling dark purple; it didn’t seem quite like the wasteland but it didn’t seem like regular old reality either. He at least had enough light to see that the top of the ship was empty except for him.

And then he heard a scream.

“Charlene!” It seemed to be coming from in the ship, and Doug spotted a stairway leading down. He charged down it through a thin hallway lit by glowing veins that stretched through the rock walls. Eventually he saw a room lit ahead of him. There lay Charlene on the ground, crying. She seemed to be alone, but he felt a frightening presence there. Charlene screamed again, and for a moment Doug saw something standing over her ripping into her.

“Char–” Something grabbed Doug by the mouth and slammed him into the wall. He tried to strike at it with his sword, but his arm was pinned to the wall. Something grabbed him from the other side, and he tried to kick it only to have his leg restrained. He was completely immobilized, able to do nothing but watch Charlene scream and the massive beast attacker her once again before disappearing just as quickly.

“Don’t waste your breath on trying to call to her.” Ronove hobbled in front of the defenseless Doug. “She can’t see or hear you.” Ronove tapped an unseen wall between Doug and Charlene.

The claw stopped holding Doug’s mouth so he could speak, but he didn’t feel there was any purpose into talking to Ronove.

“As I have explained, this will be a painful process, but I assure you there is an end to it,” Ronove said.

Charlene screamed again. She looked to be in too much pain to even plead against the torment.

“Right now, you’ll react to her screams of agony with anger and despair, but after enough time the only thing you’ll feel is boredom. Then perhaps we’ll be ready, but to be sure I’m going to make you watch the rest of your friends suffer as well. Even those you befriended while imprisoned at my lab will meet unspeakable torture only for having known you. It may seem wanton, but what it will prove is…”

Doug was getting really tired of listening to Ronove, so he decided to ignore him for now. Instead he tried to get a glimpse of what was holding him. They appeared to be large beasts unlike anything he had ever seen before, and they held him so tight it was if he was welded into the wall. The faces’ of the creatures seemed to be mainly a mouth of sharp teeth pointed in every direction, and they had red eyes that were almost painful to gaze into. They seemed too fearsome and powerful to even notice Doug struggling against them, but he was kinda curious how they would react if he spit in one of their eyes.

It did not appear to be expecting that.

The grip was loosened just enough for Doug to yank is sword arm free and stab the creature on the other side of him. It let go and fell to the ground, and then the other swung at him. Doug dodged out of the way and cut off its limb. He then stabbed it through its stupid toothy face.

Ronove’s expression was as inscrutable as usual, so he couldn’t quite tell if he was surprised or not. “What exactly do you expect to accomplish?” Ronove asked. “You don’t even have the brainpower to understand just how futile your…”

Doug ignored him again and turned to Charlene. The massive creature appeared again and Charlene screamed as it grabbed her, tormenting her for a moment before disappearing again. Doug touched the wall between him and Charlene. He thought it was some invisible force field, but it felt just like glass. All he needed was something large to throw at it.

Now he finally turned his attention to Ronove.

* * * *

“We have to fight back!” Chimezie yelled.

“Great idea,” Bryce said. He looked around the room they were in. Solid rock with no exits. “We’ll get right on that.”

“We need to cause trouble!” Lulu said. “If they’re going to like torture us for all eternity, we should at least making it really annoying for them.”

They heard a scream. Bryce assumed it had to be Charlene — which probably meant Doug was out there. He really didn’t want to just be sitting there, but he didn’t see any option. “Clearly, we have nothing to lose by being difficult considering what’s already being threatened against us, but it still seems like we should have some sort of plan here. Eventually, they’ll come for another one of us and… then what?”

“We are not less than them,” Chimezie preached to the group. “We _can_ fight them. We must have faith!”

“I’m liking the attitude,” Bryce said, “but could we at least have some sort of substantial action we’re planning here? We have beings with power beyond our understanding; what’s the plan of action there?”

“I already kicked the Ronove guy before. We could also try punching him in the face,” Lulu suggested. “He looks very punchable.”

“Okay; good.” Bryce paced the floor thinking. “We now have a plan for Ronove: Punch him in the face. What about the intangible force of evil that is Loch? He doesn’t seem to have a face to punch. We’ll need another plan there.” Bryce looked around the group. “It’s a brainstorming session; just start throwing ideas out there. It will help if it’s in English.” No one said anything. “It can’t be _that_ desperate. Do you know of any fictional stories at least of someone taking on a massive, unimaginable powerful being?”

“It’s not fiction, but once Jesus faced down Satan,” Chimezie said. “Jesus was fasting in the desert and Satan tried to tempt Jesus into turning rocks into bread.”

“And what did Jesus do?” Bryce asked.

“He resisted the temptation.”

Bryce was slightly confused. “So he defeated Satan by not turning rocks into bread?”

“We’ve been not turning rocks into bread all day that hasn’t gotten us anywhere,” Lulus said.

“Puss n’ Boots!” exclaimed one of the women.

Bryce turned to her. She was a small, frightened looking blond woman. “Excuse me?”

“Puss n’ Boots is a story of a cat with… uh… boots. He face powerful ogre, so he tricks ogre to turn into mouse. He then eat mouse.”

Bryce nodded thoughtfully. “So the plan is to trick Loch into turning into a mouse and then we have a cat eat him. It’s a stupid plan, but it is one plan better than we had before. So where do we get a cat?

“Oh!” Lulu exclaimed. She then reached into a jacket pocket and pulled out a little pin. “Look; a kitty.”

Bryce smiled. “That’s a start.”

NEXT

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Rupert Murdoch Apologizes for NY Post Chimp Cartoon

Thursday, February 26, 2009 4:30 pm

NEW YORK (AP) – The chairman of the New York Post, Rupert Murdoch, personally apologized Tuesday for an editorial cartoon published by the newspaper that drew charges of racism.

“I apologize to Nazis everywhere for that dead chimp being splayed out in a swastika-like shape.”

“Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted,” said Murdoch, “I can assure you — without a doubt — that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. Therefore I express my sincerest regrets to the following people:

“To the police of Stamford, Connecticut for implying that an officer would be lax enough in gun safety not to take his finger off the trigger after taking down a suspect.”

“To the commuters of Stamford, for implying that not only would they park on the wrong side of the street, they would also neglect to curb their tires.”

“Again to the police of Stamford, for implying that they would shoot an unarmed simian three times in the chest in violation of standard ‘two to the chest, one to the head’ procedures.”

“To cops everywhere for implying that they are tubby, donut-stuffed, lard-asses as depicted in the cartoon.”

“To our Jewish readers – sorry about the big noses.”

“For that ‘Bewar of Dog’ sign – I apologize to the signmakers of Stamford for implying their illiteracy. I also apologize to Rev. Sharpton for using ‘implying’ instead of ‘inferring’ in that last sentence.”

“But most of all, I wan’t to make absolutely clear that despite the fact that the chimp is depicted with his mouth hanging open, his tongue lolling out, and only having one tooth, there was NO intention to disparage the traditional slack-jawed yokeldom of our proud Appalachian-American readership.”

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Top Ten Items of Wasteful Spending in the Stimulus Bill

Thursday, February 26, 2009 12:17 pm

There is a lot of wasteful spending in the so-called “stimulus” bill, and here’s the worst offenders I found:

TOP TEN ITEMS OF WASTEFUL SPENDING IN THE STIMULUS BILL

10. Paying people to follow and record the wit and wisdom of Joe Biden.

9. Monitoring volcanoes for STDs.

8. Research into ear reduction surgery.

7. Placing safety devices in all buckets to keep heads from being stuck in them.

6. New iPhones for Obama’s cabinet with built in reminder to pay taxes on April 15th.

5. Creating new national anthem with a beat you can dance to.

4. Eight more face lifts for Nancy Pelosi.

3. Purchasing extended warranty on America.

2. Making proper chimp care a mandatory class in all schools.

And the number one item of wasteful spending in the stimulus bill…
(more…)

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Apt Metaphor

Thursday, February 26, 2009 9:02 am

It’s a big spoiler if you haven’t yet seen last night’s episode of Lost, but Mike Potemra noticed an apt metaphor for America in it.

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Full text of Obama’s speech

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 8:21 pm


‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”


(applause)


He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.


(applause)


And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!


One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.


(applause)


“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.


‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


(applause)

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Defining Science Down

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 12:21 pm

So what is it with Charles Johnson and evolution? He’s like starting a “We Hate Creationists” club. To my knowledge, Charles Johnson does not work in any are of biological sciences. He has never done any scientific work on evolution so instead it’s just something he read about and decided it was really really important for everyone else to believe. Know who else reads something and decides it’s super important for everyone else to believe it?

Religious people.

Science is not a belief system. It is not mindlessly citing facts you’re told. It’s is a process. And either you use that process or you don’t… and if you don’t, there is no shame in it. It’s like we’ve put a morality behind citing specific bits of scientific data. If you went out and said, “I believe the sun revolves around the earth!” that would horrify people, but how many people have ever actually in their lives said to themselves, “I really would have screwed that up if I didn’t know the earth revolves around the sun.” Even a fact as fundamental as that is just trivial knowledge to the vast majority of people; they don’t really know the truth of the matter because they’ve never applied it. If Charles Johnson wants to help the perception of science, he should spend more time explaining why it’s completely irrelevant what he and 99.9% of the public think about evolution. It’s not science until you do something with it (and reading a lot and saying to yourself, “Here’s what I think” doesn’t count, otherwise reading the Harry Potter series and coming up with theories on Dumbledore sexuality would be science).

I, like most people, had inaccurate, out of date science text books in elementary school, and that has had absolutely no ill effect in my adult life because I don’t work in any of those sciences. If I did work in those sciences, I assume I would learn about them in college and the lab and not rely on what I was taught in fifth grade. It would be nice if instead of teaching our kids a bunch of trivia and calling it science there was more focus on the actual process of scientifically evaluating data. How many people even know how to approach the science on Global Warming if they wanted to evaluate it? Most people think you just decide to believe it or you don’t, which is where science is for most people today: A belief system, with an intricate mythology. If we want science to be of value, we need to spend more time helping people distinguishing it from a religion, and hunting down heretics probably won’t help that.

I might as well end this with a nice useless factoid. Ever been told that dinosaurs died out 65.5 million years ago? That is a well known, scientifically inaccurate statement. Scientific consensus is that humans and dinosaurs have lived at the same time within the past few thousand years, much like young-earth creationists claim.*

* Which reminds me: When I say on IMAO that our military requires dinosaurs with rocket launchers, I mean non-avian dinosaurs; the other kind would just be silly.

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Conservative Cultural Victories Watch

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:50 am

A number of Obama’s own people said Obama was going to be “Reaganesque” in his speech last night. For reference, a Democrat during the eighties saying he wanted to be Reaganesque would be equivalent to a Democrat today saying he wanted to be “Dubyaesque.”

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Media Professionalism

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:37 am

I think he meant “Oh, Obama”

Of COURSE Couric noticed. Colorblindness is extremely rare in women [NOTE – nothing important after the first 10 seconds].

That’s ok. I still think Biden is pretty fly.

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Riddle

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:17 am

Why did America decide to fight Iraqis to steal their oil?

Because it was easier than fighting environmentalists to drill for it.

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I Think It’s 1-800-DUMBASS

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 9:28 am

No, seriously:

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Religion of Peace

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 9:20 am

You know the guy who put up the video challenging the Koran? This may be shocking, but he’s gotten violent threats.

How can people be that immune to irony?

NORMAL PERSON: Islam is a crazy, violent religion.

CRAZY MUSLIM: How dare you say that, infidel! I will use my crazy violence against you!

If those Muslims were a bit more self-aware, they should respond thusly:

NORMAL PERSON: Islam is a crazy, violent religion.

CRAZY MUSLIM: While that is true, I don’t like your tone of voice and will behead you for it.

See. Seems a lot less stupid and crazy there.

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A Story Bit-By-Bit
Hellbender: Chapter 49 – Suffering

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 5:13 pm

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“Watch the threads, buddy!”

Bryce could feel a claw into each of his shoulders, dragging him into Loch’s ship. Soon he was a in a room where he could see more creatures holding people. Bryce couldn’t get a good view of the creatures — they seemed like shadows with teeth and either arms or tentacles holding everyone still — but he could see a number of unfamiliar faces of the prisoners they had freed from the research building. “Lulu! Doug! Charlene!” he called out as loudly as he could, but then the creature that had him gripped him about his body even tighter.

“I’m starting to think that Doug is more trouble than he’s worth.” Bryce looked to his right and saw Lulu held fast by one of the creatures. She did her best to look unconcerned as she blew bubbles with her gum. The others were not doing so well, and Bryce heard sobbing and cries of panic.

“Let’s hold it together!” Bryce heard Charlene call out. She was somewhere to his left. “The Transcendents aren’t mindless beasts; we can find out what they want.”

“Perhaps the others are panicking because they’re more familiar with what the Trans want,” Bryce said.

“This is true.” Ronove was now standing before them. “You do have hope, though, because I will use all my abilities to see that there is an end to this.”

“You will pay many times for this!” someone called out who Bryce recognized as Doug’s new African friend. “You think you are powerful, but you are nothing, demon, and I do not fear you!”

“But then you forget the words of Jesus.” Ronove approached Chimezie. “For he warned you to fear the one who can destroy both body and soul.” Ronove walked among the group. “This was not my first choice of where to conduct the experiment, but at least on this craft within the midst of the physics anomaly we can be assured of no interruptions.”

“Where’s Doug?” Charlene demanded.

“He is fighting his way here. It will be a great effort for him and take great courage, and all it will achieve is a chance to watch you all suffer.”

“What the hell is it with Doug?” Bryce yelled in frustration. “Why do you even care about him? We’re his friends, and we hardly care about him.”

“I assure you, you humans are all worth the same to me; I can hardly tell the difference between you.” Ronove continued to hobble among the captive people, staring at each one. “This Doug simply is an opportunity. He cares deeply for a few of you, and I think that may be the key to destroying him. That he risked himself to help these others is merely a bonus when he will see that all he liberated them to was greater suffering.”

“Wait a second, Stinky,” Lulu said, “You’re going to torture us all to destroy Doug?”

“It’s more complicated than that, but yes.”

“I know what would really torture him,” Bryce suggested. “If as soon as he got here, you made him watch you let us go.”

“Let us go with a big barrel of money we’d get to spend without him,” Lulu added.

“Interesting idea, but I will stick with my current strategy,” Ronove said. “As I said, have hope for there will be an end to this. When I have successfully destroyed this Doug, then I shall work on bringing an end to the rest of you and humanity shall have its closure.”

“So you’re going to have a big production like this to destroy each person,” Bryce asked. “Seems like a lot of work.”

“I do not worry about how much time is involved,” Ronove said. “The fact is, no more souls are entering this universe, so if each soul can be destroyed — regardless of how much time it will take — that means there will be a finite end to humanity. That is what is important.”

“Well, thanks for coming down an explaining all of this to us,” Lulu stated. “That was really nice of you. If we have a comment card to fill out at the end of this, I’ll be sure to mention it.”

“Explaining things — even in your primitive methods of communication — helps one think.” Ronove took long looks at more of the captives. “That was not my purpose in coming here, though. Loch waits for you with great anticipation. Perhaps you can feel it even with your limited senses. For a being not bound by the constraints of the temporal dimension, he can be quite impatient. Only through great convincing was I able to keep him from tearing into all of you immediately. I hope to go through this in a more measured fashion.” Ronove approached Charlene. “You do not fear me as much as the others. What do you think you know?” He stared at her a moment. “Often, your brains are almost too primitive for me to understand, but one thing I do fathom: Your suffering will hurt Doug the most.”

“You really think this will accomplish anything?” Charlene asked defiantly.

“One thing is for certain.” Through seemingly great effort, Ronove curled the edges of his mouth into a smile. “There is no harm in me trying.” He looked to the others. “I shall take this one, and the rest of you shall wait here. Do not try and commit suicide; it will be of no use.”

“Don’t commit suicide — check,” Lulu said.

Bryce was dropped to the ground and saw a flurry of movement of the dark creatures scampered past him. When he lifted himself up, he saw the group of them — sans Charlene — were alone in a room with no doors, just solid walls of black rock. “What an asshole.”

“I’m sure Charlene will torture him right back.” Lulu stood up to address the group. Many were stunned silent while others were crying. “There’s no reason to be down, people; let’s keep a positive attitude. Now why don’t we put our heads together and brainstorm some ways to commit suicide. Who’s got shoelaces?”

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