August 24, 2012

  • Once Upon a Time in Grocery Land: A Tale of Woe and Vegetables

    Once upon a time there was a dear little radish named Herckle. Herckle was small and a little bit orange for a radish, but he often thought that he made up for it with a quick wit and a quicker wrist. Herckle had the fastest wrist in the produce aisle at his local grocery store. He was not unpopular, amongst his fellow radishes, but Herckle was also not the most popular vegetable in his little bin. A great long carrot named Arnot was. Arnot had a big green top and long carroty hairs and all the women vegetables swooned over him every time he walked past.

    Normally this did not bother Herckle, who was mostly gay anyway, and thus not tremendously interested in female vegetables. But, sometimes, in the dark after the store shut down for the night and all the other vegetables were sleeping, Herckle would lie awake, watching the twinkling starlight reflect off the lights in the high ceiling. The mystical light patterns would swirl around the firmament of his world and Herckle would stew. He dared not even whisper it in the daylight, but deep in the night Herckle knew that he wanted more out of life. He did not want to spend his days playing second banana to an uppity carrot. He wanted to soar like an eagle. He wanted to dive like a falcon. He wanted to live free.

    There had been rumours for months now about grocery stores in the northwest going rogue. Herckle had heard about pears with guns, rising up against their green-grocer overlords, bravely fighting and dying for the kind of freedom that so excited Herckle’s soul when he dreamt. That was impossible here, though. There simply wasn’t the spirit for it. The leafy greens were wilted and brown, the carrots were soft and limp, even the potatoes were green under the peels. It could never work.

    Herckle knew this, but still he dreamt. Still he cast his eyes away to the farthest edges of the store and dreamt of what lay beyond even the distant meat shelves or the baker’s counter. But each time he did, he turned away, his small, sightly orangey frame wracked with the sighs of the desperate dreamer. Instead, he sought refuge in verse, pouring his heart into haikus and sonnets.

    Fruit above and fruit below
    Rotting in the sun
    dreams abreast and hell to show
    for all that god has done

    He was forsaken. His world reeked of failure and desperation and the smarmy, unctuous voice of Arnot gathered to Herckle a dark cloud of hatred. Days passed and with each month Herckle’s hatred grew. He could feel it inside of him, a worm in his gut that ate away at the sunshine in his heart and replaced it with nothing but cold. Herckle’s thoughts cast a long shadow on the fruit bin and his fellow produce began to feel his shiftlessness. They grew suspicious of one another. Fights broke out often, and grew more brutal as time went on.

    It was in the growing chaos that the evil in Herckle’s heart sought avenue for its desires against the loathsome Arnot. Nobody would notice. Fruits and vegetables were dying every day now. It was a rare morning that the store manager did not open the shop to find a new corpse cast into the aisles, pulp and juice everywhere upon the walls and product cases. Nobody would know. 

    Herckle planned furiously. Gone were the long nights of dreaming. Vanished were the flights of childish fancy that had once danced through his mind’s eye in the quiet under the moon. Every waking moment now was spent fixated on one thing only: scheming.

    Soon, my pretty, we shall find
    the darkest turnings of my mind
    and all you’ve wrought will come to nest
    deep inside that carrot breast

    My hungry blade is quick and sharp, Arnot.

    He thought about leaving threatening messages to Arnot. He traced words lazily in the entrails of a melon, smashed in the hazy fumes of early morning by a gang of rapacious celery. The seeds tickled his skin and his mind wandered. No, it would not be good to warn him. It was more important to have surprise on his side than fear. There would be plenty of time to taunt and torture Arnot later.

    One morning an opportunity arose. It was innocuous at first. So innocent that Herckle almost missed it. One of the delivery truck drivers let slip in conversation to the store manager that the next stop on his route would be to the airforce base down the road. The same company that supplied produce to the grocery store also supplied food to the fighter pilots and the engineers who helped put them in the air.

    It was perfect.

      Herckle would strike from above. He would bring vengeance down upon the head of his most despised enemy. Odium filled his heart and clouded his judgment. The following week during delivery, Herckle waited behind a box of soft taco shells while the delivery man loaded boxes of food into the back of the grocery store. Once he was out of sight, visiting with the manager in the back office, Herckle snuck onto the truck and hid himself in the boxes which he hoped were to be offloaded to the airforce base. It was dark and smelly and the air was thick with mildew and moisture. Sweat beaded on Herckle’s orangey skin. He licked his lips and began to sing to himself in a shakey voice.

    From far above your death draws near
    poor Arnot earns pain most dear
    I’ll rip and render, lash and chew
    pulp and juice and devour you

    He giggled madly and repeated the phrase over and over again until he felt the truck lurch into motion. He felt feverish. The back and forth of the vehicle usettled his stomach. He could feel the delivery driver taking the turns too fast, humming to himself as he went. They were almost there. The base was only a few miles away. Herckle sang to himself, faster and faster. I’ll rip and render, lash and chew, pulp and juice and devour you, Arnot!

    The truck screeched to a halt. They had arrived. Herckle tensed himself. The back of the truck slammed open, and the portly delivery man reached down for the first crate of food. His hairy arms brushed past Herckle, lying wedged between the first crate and the one behind it, but he paid no attention. Once the man turned his back, Herckle got up and cautiously began to follow him. First down one corridor, then up another. Herckle did not know where to go, but he knew what he was looking for, and he needed to get outside to find it.

    At last, he made his way to a broad set of metal doors that led to the outside. Tarmac was all around him. Sunlight burned down and the heat of the ground rose in front of Herckle, glimmering and distorting the light in the way Herckle had seen come off the grills in the meat and deli section of the store. He felt his strength sap and he wilted slightly, but pushed on. He gnashed his teeth and rent his hair and forced himself forward. He needed something specific: he needed a jet.

    There! Before him he saw it, rising up like a behemoth. It glinted metallic and the worm in his heart stopped gnawing upon him long enough to spit approvingly, flagitiously. This would do. This would do perfectly. He clambered up the ladder to the pilot’s seat.

    Herckle had always had quick wrists. He hoped they would be quick enough. He gripped the stick and started the jet. He was not familiar with the specific mechanisms of the vehicle, but he had years of experience living in a grocery store, and the two were not uncommon. In fact, there were more similarities than differences. Intuition took over, and he lifted the jet off the ground, and headed in the direction of the grocery store.

    It was not long before he was very close to it. The aircraft travelled quite quickly. He took careful aim and prepared to send a missile straight down into the very centre of the grocery store. From hell’s heart I stab at thee! But just as his finger hovered over the red button, a roaring blur sped past his window. Another fighter jet! The airforce had noticed the missing plane and had come to reclaim it. 

    His radio cackled. A voice came through. “Interloper! Land the aircraft or I will open fire!” Herckle ignored him and refocused his attention on the store below, but a klaxon alarm broke out; the other pilot had him in a missile lock. “I say again, land the aircraft now or I will destroy you!” The ratatat tattoo of machine-gun fire burst across the nose of his plane. Herckle swore and pulled the aircraft into a dive.

    “I’ll see you in hell, Arnot!” he roared. Down flew the plane. Blood rushed to his head and battle sung in his ears and before him he saw the fields of his birth and felt the seeds of his ancestors and then suddenly there was flame and heat and he felt overwhelming satisfaction in his heart and then he felt no more.

October 26, 2011

October 3, 2011

  • A Blog

    I hate to beat a dead horse, I really do. On the other hand, I hate it when somebody else beats me. So, I’ve got no choice. It’s another blog about @shimmerbodycream! I bet you all knew this, but for those who didn’t, she is CUTE AND SMART. Plus, she’s flossed for the second day in a row now. I’m very proud.

    I’ve been alive for a long time now. Nearly as long as I can count, in fact. You know that’s got to be a pretty long time, because I’ve got several advanced degrees, and so can count pretty high. And in all my time of living, I’ve never met a person as cool as @shimmerbodycream. She radiates cool. She’s practically freezing, actually. It makes me shiver. I wish she’d get me a sweater.

    This is like the time I saw my first husband graduate from college. I couldn’t have been prouder. Of course, that was back before hormonal birth control had turned men into blithering idiots, so it was less of an accomplishment than it seems now. The point remains, though: I’m very proud.

    There’s a funny thing about pride, you know. It starts out like this little worm in your belly. A worm slowly eating its way through your intestines. Eventually, unless a quick crushing blow from disappointment kills it, it grows so large and eats so much of your intestines that it eventually bursts forth from your body. You can’t stop it. It always makes itself known. It’s a messy, gory thing. I think there was a Hitchcock film about that. Or maybe I’m thinking of birds.

September 13, 2011

  • I feel like I should post something again. People keep bothering me to post. A certain specific someone *ahem*. I just need something to say, though. What’s going on on xanga these days?

June 23, 2011

  • Nationbuilding Here at Home

    I knew he was a president with vision. It’s like I’ve been saying since the very beginning. Gobama! We’re going to win these wars, I can feel it. And we’re going to rebuild America, too. We’re all going to be rich and happy and fulfilled. We just need to keep trusting in our Commander-in-Chief to see us through these tough times, and for the rest of his first term and throughout his second, things will just keep getting better.


    Also, faceboooooook!

May 11, 2011

  • Religion as the Cause of War

    There’s been a good-natured discussion on religion and war over on trunthepaige’s site here and here as part of a larger discussion on atheism and “myths.” I’m not particularly concerned with proving or critiquing these supposed atheist myths, but I did want to question a specific statistic brought into play by Paige:

    “It is a fact that religion was the motivator of only 7% of all of histories wars.”

    This kind of thing gets said all the time, but it seems pretty darn difficult to me to prove this so specifically. I told Paige, I would love love love to see how that statistic was made. Has somebody actually got a list of every war in the history of mankind? And then counted them all up? Decided what’s a ‘war’ and what’s… a skirmish/conflict/police action? And THEN decided whether religion was the deciding motivator or cause? Because frankly, I have to admit, I’m hugely skeptical of this.

    There’s no such thing as historical consensus. Professional historians spend their lives arguing over causality. No historian is going to say THIS war was motivated by religion, and THIS war wasn’t. They might say religion was A motivator. But I think it’d be completely impossible to make a list of every ‘war’ ever, and then comprehensively go through them and decide absolutely whether religion was the motivator for each. Isn’t going to happen.

    That isn’t a fact that I could believe without seeing some serious evidence to back it up.

    In response, Paige linked me to a 1400 encyclopedia on war and American society, but couldn’t give me a specific citation, so I was left to wonder… was this is a statistic directly stated in the book somewhere? That book could very well be a valid and worthwhile source, I’m not questioning its historical accuracy, because I’ve never read it. But surely you understand the immensely complicated nature of causation? You can’t just read a list of wars on a chart somewhere and decide that war A was caused by religion and war B wasn’t. Or take the word of whoever made the chart.

    Historians spend a lot of time trying to work through the nuance of these wars… E.H. Carr, a pretty well known historian, wrote in the 1960s that the main job of historians is to decide on causes, and then rank them in order of importance. Obviously, then, (if you believe this to be the main task of historians, which quite a lot of historians disagree with) the causes, and their relative importance, are up to the individual historian to discern and argue for. Does the linked Encyclopedia argue that there exists consensus among historians over the cause of every war? If it does, it’s wrong. Completely and absolutely.

    I can’t think of any war to my knowledge that has ONE cause. Events like those tend to be big, complicated, nuanced things, with multiple possible causes, both religious and non-religious… the only way any of this classification would even make sense is if one said something like x% of wars were in some way related to religious issues.

    I’m pretty confident I could list you 150 wars that have religion among their causes. I’m pretty sure I could list you twice as many. The problem with doing so is that it’d be impossible to decide whether it’s THE cause.

    I could say X war had religion as one of its causes, and so was caused, in part, by religion, and thus deserves to be counted. Then, you’d be free to tell me you disagree, and that you don’t think religion was a prime cause. In order to actually come up with some idea of how many wars in human history have been “religious” we have to decide two things:

    1) – what is a war? Do we count the French Wars of Religion, say, as one 30 year long war? Or many wars? If we’re going for a statistic, that kind of thing is very important to decide upon before hand. We also need to decide what is required to be a “war” and what’s going to instead be classified as something else – a conflict/police action/internal dispute/revolution/etc. That’s also going to be important.

    2) – does having religion among the causes for a war make it a “religious” war? A lot of historians will argue it’s basically impossible to rank causes to any event. Take a look at this article. Causation is HARD. The author of that, Michael Stanford, basically argues that it isn’t even worth trying to decide cause for events, because they can’t be accurately discerned. Even historians who agree that causation can be discerned often suggest that it isn’t really possible to rank them. In “Historical Causation: Is One Thing More Important Than Another?,” S.H. Rigby says ranking causes is impossible. If cause A and cause B (say, A = religion and B = politics, if you want) both can be identified as causes, are you going to decide one was 40% responsible and one was 60% responsible? What does that mean? That if A hadn’t existed, the event would have had a 40% chance of not happening? That’s going too deeply into counter-factuals to be accurate to any degree.

    So essentially, we need to decide the parameters of this discussion, something Paige adamantly refused to do. So, I’m putting the question to you, dear readers:

    do you think it’s possible to come up with a statistic for how many wars in human history were “religious” wars?

    If you were to do so, how would you define “war” and how would you decide whether or not to classify it as a religious conflict?

April 30, 2011

  • Things I’ve Done With Shimmer

    Hey, this is nikbv. Hello. I AM NOT AN ALCOHOLIC. Just kidding, of course I am.  I have a tiny, tiny tab button. Mine is way smaller than Shimmer’s who has a big huge long tab button. I am so jealous. Here is what Shimmer and I did.

    watched a hockey game

    eaten chinese food

    taken a city bus

    played hide the hamster with an aardvark

    half a minute of yoga

    did not stare at as many boobies as shimmer did

    ate cheese

March 29, 2011

  • Breaking News: Lovelyish Quality Substandard

    I’ve been blocked! Blocked, I say! Yes, I was as shocked as you are. I’m delightful. I’m fantastic, and friendly, and oh so polite! But apparently that isn’t enough for the braintrust that runs the ever aspiring, loftily thoughtful Lovelyish. Apparently, in their infinite quest to provide the most idiotic content on the web, Jessica’s team of superstar bloggers crafted a post so cunning, so devilishly clever, it couldn’t BUT attract both attention and praise: pictures of random celebrities’ packages.

    Fantastic. Penis-through-the-pants pictures.

    I think if mancouch had done a celebrity camel toe post, they’d get called chauvinist pigs. But, of course, Lovelyish is held to a different standard. Dare I say… a female standard? (I kid, I kid! You know I love the fairer sex). Anyway, apparently slobbering crudity is A-OK for Ms Misener. And yet, what’s NOT ok is pointing out the rampant unprofessionalism of the post.

    They blocked me!

    I! A loyal reader! A friendly and helpful frequent commenter!

    I!

    Clearly, this is part of the same brilliant plan that’s led mancouch, thehardestlevel, thepopsite, tripcrazed, hoodstars, and dollarish (am I forgetting any?) to outlandish success.

    Blog on, ish sites, blog on.

March 24, 2011

  • Here we have bookish dreams, a heart unhinged by theories. Here we see resolution in the first stage, but resolution of a special kind: he resolved to do it like jumping over a precipice or from a bell tower and his legs shook as he went to the crime. He forgot to shut the door after him, and he murdered two people for a theory.