Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Unknown God - Unmasked

The following snippet from the AP caught my attention:

"We know that the White House possesses documents that contain evidence of an attempt by senior administration officials to mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming and minimize the potential danger," Waxman said.

Question Authority. Change your mind to prove that you have one. Don't trust anyone over 30. Fight the Power.


It's not a surprise at all that the champions of Science are blind dogmatists who violate every principle of the scientific method by establishing as law that which has not progressed beyond theory. These sad crusaders carry the banner of malthus in the vanguard of an army of the unwashed and ignorant - all screaming doom and catastrophe, and all unable to fathom their own drooling and servile obediance to a god of their own making.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

And Again, the Fallen May Rise

It had been fifteen years since that day that everyone said would surely wake them up once and for all.

Fifteen years since the bastion was breached.

Fifteen years.

Floods, famine, pestilence itself: all may come and go, and yet ignorance seems always to prevail. Numbed, crazy...ignorance.

It truly amazed him, how the daft find methods to cope. Adapt.

He would think, "improvisation", but, they were, after all - the daft.

Logical sense would tell you...dictate, really...that when one lives in the lap of luxury, when one wants for nothing, nill, nada - Why on earth take chances with such stylized opulence? Why do anything, anything to chance it; to throw it all away?

What could possibly be more important?

Some said it was the lust that got them. The desire for something that they were somehow denied in this life.

Why turn against a master to have something that by staying in His realm would one day be yours anyway?

It was that way with the fallen. For Les, they'd always been an enigma.

More than curiosity, or academic pursuit, for him they'd become personified. Real.

They weren't just from the realm of legend. They were once angel's. What was Shakespeare's quote? Hamlet, I believe? "In form, how like angels, in apprehension, how like a God!", or some such something.

If only they had apprehension; even a little.

I think this was the intrigue for Les. How not at all unlike ourselves were they, the Fallen.

I once heard him lecture at a local civic club. His ideas were radical, even back then.

Of course, after the great attack, well, things had changed. Now, his ideas have some stock, now that people are once again all concerned with good, and evil.

"Of course they had it all, but they wanted what they had not. They were jealous of God's gift to man (woman)...any angel in the universe was at their call, but they yearned for that beauty given to the lowly man."

It seemed peculiar now. The enemy, it seems wanted in this life to cross to the next to get what the Fallen had come here for in theirs, the creation of evil.


Peculiar (and daft).

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pap's Trees

He babied them so.

Small, yet so much more than meets the eye.

His first set didn't seem to make it.

He'd heard that if kept frozen, that one day they would work. That's what he'd heard (in college or somewhere).

Paps told him once: "Look at how small they are, yet in them are contained the very secrets of the universe: a code that makes them grow into something they today are not. They contain all its features, but these secrets are only unlocked once they become a part of that universe, and then, and only then - when fully rooted in it. It is like being rooted in the infinite, our way.

How can one not believe in God when they witness His genius and yet still, it is so foolishly ignored?".

Unfortunately, he'd used up all the stock in that fifteen years since Paps died, and not one took.

Not one.

Guess the freezer bit doesn't work after all. Damned college.

One night, he got drunk and went back to Pap's house. He couldn't even remember if he was in the right season for a harvest, but drunk, he didn't care. It would be worth going to jail for.

He laughed as he thought of the headline.

Oh well...might get the chance to write letters from a jail cell. Wouldn't this high-minded community of intellect just LOVE that!

He drove right up to the curb, in the middle of the night, hopped out of his truck and on hand and knee he began grasping wildly at the ground, collecting them from a sapling he'd planted years (and years) ago.

Vast handfuls, all he could carry. He loved stealing from the squatters who had stolen so much from him.

Dignity, once taken, can never be returned.

He thought of the trick he'd learned in the fields as a young man...to curl up his shirt and use it as basket; but there wasn't time...he had to do this fast, or the squatters might get him (or the corrupt police, who'd already sold themselves to the tree-loving dark side).

And, so he made his escape. He planted them. It was the beginning of Winter, but he knew he could make them work. He'd nurture them inside under roof, contrived light and warmth.

He babied them, every day. Checking the soil warmth, its moisture content, acidity and food.

Today they germinate (only two of them), and he has beautiful ornamental oaks in infancy.

A pity he can't put them in ground where they belong, on soil that today was his, but tomorrow of unknown "ownership".

A pity.

And now it is his prayer that they will together survive trip and transport to grow in soil, far, far away...these saplings, his only connection to Pap's land, and he'd sooner be damned than leave them behind.

"Make them grow there Father. A part of me, a part of Paps...even a part of bonnie old they will be, in that far-away place that was once the death of ancestor past..." he almost cried as he thought of his relative who was killed in that new land to which he would travel, in a battle to win its independence in a different era, and a far, far different war.

His hopes were all about those blasted saplings, and little else.

"Danged ol' trees. Only thing they good fer is livin' in."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

An Angel's Plea

Once I sat in chamber high.

A prince.

A Pauper.

"A place at the table, dear Lord...a place at the table!".

But when asked there on high...I could not sit silent.

"A volunteer," He said, "we need a volunteer!".

He knew who it would be. He knew, it would be me.

To leave, I must.

This chamber, this retreat, this, my sanctuary complete!

To leave it all, my home, my comfort...I must. I must!

The look in His eyes, it was pure defeat.

He'd lost a good friend; for a long time to once a'gin meet.

Our relations changed, for never would he suspect, to give it all, for meager flyspeck.

But to give, I must, for the Master's plea!

Who am I, to judge one such as thee?

The Son, He lives, and lives so replete.

His food, it is, of pure, good soul. His way, it is, of pure good treat.

My way, is His. To give, and give.

And then when asked, by Father above. "What is your wish, for your service now done?".

"I wish to be free, My Father, the Son. I wish to be free, until done, is done.".

"And amble about, my creation you will?".

"Until that day, when we together will say,'Our time...stands still, and our council...is Won!' ".

Victory in thee, mon liege. Mine Own victory, It...Tis' in Thee!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Barrett Greenfield: Excerpt from Chapter 11 "Heresy"

Far in the south, beyond the Ullnich Sea, is a sparsely populated land where the people are more savages than man, living in rude huts in the midst of sullen jungles, or wandering in tents across endless desertland. Few of us have beheld these lands, for the climate is harsh and unforgiving, and the gods strike down intruders with maladies of an unconquerable nature.

But upon occasion, hardy souls will venture there by sea, or by braving the mountainous isthmus that binds the great lands together. Rarely are these journeys fruitful, and most are remarkable mostly for the wild adventures reported by those who return.

Decades past, a score of men returned from an expedition that had numbered over a hundred. The survivors were soon scattered back in the places of refuse from which adventurers are spawned, but a remarkable tale was heard from some of them.

This tale was told to them by a tribe of savages of the jungles, whom their leader had befriended and with whom they had dwelled before making their attempt to return to the known world. They passed this tale on as curiosity, little thinking of its import, for clearly it is merely an admonition to the savages own people.

Deep in the jungle, the savages say, there is a rolling land of sparsely wooded hills, where the searing humidity of the jungle does not take its toll, but the deep rains keep all lush and fertile. Why this land is not settled is never mentioned, perhaps being such an obvious implication of godless mythology that it bears no further comment, but this land is looked upon as something of an earthly paradise.

It is not the land that is so remarkable, but the event that occurs once each century in this place. From within the earth, crawling through the thick and supple loam, emerges at the first full moon a strange and alien people. Each one lies dormant for their allotted time, sustained by unknown powers, and gestating slowly in the womb of the earth. Some common signal, or some rhythm of the earth awakens them, and they crawl upward to emerge, blinking at the light.

These creatures are as like to you and me in physical form as they are different in their nature. Beings more like gods in their beauty, but childlike and naïve. Within the confines of their hidden land, they crawl one by one from their slumber, and ordered by an unknown force, they begin the construction of their civilization anew.

From the strewn stones of the valley they construct their villages, till the land, hunt the game, and gather the fruits of the jungle to sustain them. The women of their race weave beautiful cloth into garments of strange cut, while the men fashion jewelry and statuary to please them.

Once their villages are complete, and the crops prepared, all work is put aside. These people fall to an orgy of feast and copulation that is sustained, unabated, for four months, but in a strangely monogamous way, with these seemingly uninhibited people pairing in a sustained fully consummated troth. At the end of this cycle, the females lay their fertilized eggs in the central chambers of each village, and the following day, they, each with their male partner, take up the eggs and return them to the earth where they are nestled deep within the ground.

The people then return to their amusements, casting aside all relationships in an unbounded series of lustful and gluttonous encounters that continues until, one by one, their bodies begin to fail from the excesses. As they die, the fewer and fewer engage in ever more indulgent acts, until the last of them are consumed.

Peace returns to the rolling hills, and the signs of habitation sink into the earth, the bodies of these aliens moldering and feeding the carrion eaters of the jungle.

This tale is remarkable enough, but the savages added another element. It seems that one year, months after the last of the aliens had died, one more struggled upward out of the loam. This male blinked in the sunlight, as all the others had before him, but when he cast his eyes upon the valley, he was stung to the heart. All about him was the wreckage of the few bright months allotted to his kind. Skeletons and decomposition marked the landscape. The fields were barren from the last harvest, and the game driven from the woods. The trees were picked clean of fruit.

But none of this was such a blow to the alien as the wretched bodies of his race, and the landscape dotted with the buried eggs of the generation that was not to come for another hundred years.

Whether by some fluke of his own internal cycles, or some vicious trick of nature, he had awoken after life had already ceased, and now walked a cold, dead world, moments too late for any purpose he might ascribe to his existence, and decades too early for any reprieve.

The alien considered all of this, and for a long time, walked the lands about the rolling hills, picking out a miserable existence in the plundered land, fingering the trinkets of the great orgy and pondering the cruel joke.

When at last it occurred to him that by the innate logic of his nature, he had survived for over a year in his desolation, he tried to understand how this could be so, when he knew that his urges told him to work, then breed, and then die. Was his continued existence part of the torment of his fate, or were the short lives of his people a needless part of some primal urge, an urge that could be checked, leaving his race to work and breed and live to work and breed again, extending their lives beyond the brief, perfect pleasure of the few months into a glorious march into time?

He wondered and thought, and for a time was eased by this prospect, by the realization that this epiphany could save his people the agony of their brief lives. He grew resolved in his fate, finding satisfaction in the thought that his suffering and loneliness were but a small price to be paid for the immortality that his realization brought him. For many years this buoyed his thoughts, as he marked the time that the next generation would arise from the soil.

But as those years passed, a grim fear began to creep upon him. He saw his skin grow paler, and felt his strength begin to seep away. His reflection in the surface of still water showed lines forming on his face, and his hair grew thinner. Yet only a score of years had passed since his birth.

When he finally realized that he would not live to greet the coming generation with his message of salvation, he wrung his mind trying to find a way to pass the message along. But there was no way to communicate to the future. His race had never needed a written language, as all they had needed to know was bound up within them when they emerged from the earth. The concept itself took years to fully formulate in his mind. He thought of devising marks upon the stones that could be set in communal places like the sites of springs or the bases of trails into the woods, but in the end he knew that when his people returned, they would have no thoughts for deciphering cryptic runes on the stones, if they even recognized them. Their only thoughts would be to work, and breed, and die.

Within a sad year of this revelation, the succor of death came upon him. His body was eaten and rotted away, and his bones were trampled into the earth from which he came. And at the next cycle, his people emerged from the earth. They toiled upon the land, bred in their inconsistent monogamy, and drowned themselves in ecstasy.

As you can see, this story is typical of the tales of savages, for it leaves obvious questions unanswered. For example, how did this story come down to the natives at all, if this alien died alone and without witness in a lost and unreachable land. But to emphasize this is to allow for possible credulity in this story, which is obviously lacking any basis in reality. This story must be taken at its face, as a moral guide for the savages, although its meanings are myriad.

Bain of the Frother Reborn

"Gather, here at my feet, to hear the tale of a chameleon's vapid retreat," the old fellow's eyes were wide and blue, his white beard flowing like river rapids, and his staff was raised to both welcome, and remind.

"Tis the tale of a creature, feared far and wide, for his ability to persuade, to cantor, to chide. His laugh was to laud, his smile abetting fraud, even sin; tis the tale of a glutton, of a monster, maudlin".

"He lived where he wished, and he went as he pleased. His rancor, so fat, his philosophy...diseased!

The Frothers they lived, and lived as they pleased. They stole from each other, and drove wise men to their knees.

This group plagued the land, like locust and frog, of epic proportion, a philosophy of fraud.

They were liars and cheats, these Frothers they were. Filthy and diseased, in both body and soul; they were worse than the leech, more invasive than fleas.

If given a chance, they'd infect all of man, with their poisoned, sick thoughts, their pestilence a machine against man YES! they would wrought.

Together the normals made impassioned plea, to return to the old day, to reject Frother's new way.

But the Frother kept twisting, infecting with sleaze, the hapless good people of virtue and once free.

The Frother enslaves with Lucifer's promise, of a world set free if only they would follow.

'Adopt brave new world, find life even in death, for in killing an innocent, self righteous Frothers find breath'.

And so would go the Frother and his plea.

Vast millions would follow, for their world is so cool, that filthy old Frother, and his maggot-like stool.

They'd take on the form of beauty and lore, to tempt all the hapless, to trick and to scorn.

The weak would succumb and the Frother would grow, his multitudes expanding, a kingdom of of sloven rube so demanding.

Would there be any hope for the normals this day? Their hope beyond this lies in their faith, but in this life only Frothers - Frothers who stench of the wraith.

And so go the normals, to here and beyond. They are chased by the devils, for a heart so pure is the envy of Frother, yet the Frother's great quod.

So it is this purity, that stands so opposed, to the Frother's wild ambling, the tweak at his nose.

He will run and he'll chase that beauty divine, but never attain it, a devil's thought like banshee will whine.

Come back to me children, come back one day...and I'll tell you the story of a Frother's last day".

Like a vapor the old man of white he faded in woods, white beard, white robe into white rapids did he fold.

And the children did go on dark, wooded path, with pure fear in their heart of the Frother's wild dance.

Telavitians: One Sleepy Town

"Come here my young son. I have a story to tell," said the greying, old man.

The child ran quickly, as he loved his Grandfather's stories.

"There once was a sleepy, little town that existed in the land of Aire-wave.

Within the town, it's inhabitants would fight over things like slurs. In fact, they would lob slurs at one another in the hopes that the world beyond would take note of these lobs and perhaps see how foolish they were behaving.

After all, it is what adults do to separate themselves from the more child-like behavior of slur-slinging lob slobbers in the hamlet, Tel A'Vizeeon.

This hamlet had achieved some notable world-wide presence when a one, citizen Lucy, first came on the scene with her inter-race marriage (a leader in developing a more refined social conscience). Of course, the hamlet did also have some other noteriety with citizens Cramden (a public servant), a fellow named Caesar (who, ironically, made light of "the man"), citizen Bunker (he was once considered King), citizen Maude and even the trusted citizen's Cronkite and a rather gamey fellow known simply as "Dirty Dan".

All of the citizens of Tel A'Viz (or the more familiar name of "Tel-V") had a more highly developed sense of right and wrong than those people who lived outside the "walls" of their community.

I say "walls" as their community had a peculiar characteristic that made them more protected than civilizations of the past. There community really needed no traditional bastions, fortifications or other ramparts as they had the luxury of being somewhat like a gas (which takes the form of any vessel that "contains" it...if gas can ever really be contained; try pouring it from its container - it escapes at its own will).

The very nature of the community meant that its inhabitants could take virtually any form. Within one season, Lucy for instance, might be an ordinary housewife married to a Cuban exile...a few seasons later, a single mother who works at a Bank.

These citizens are really like shape-shifters and take on what-ever characteristics they deem of a form that needs some sort of re-shaping in the world outside the walls of Tel-V (a world which they sometimes very poorly emulate).

The Maoist would call it "re-education".

I suppose to the Daoist, some form of Nirvana.

To me, they were morons locked inside their own fantasy of grandeur...how important they must be in their minds, yet really only a gas cloud on a mighty wind.

I think the only major difference between Tel-A-vitians and the ordinary, every-day citizen of planet earth is that the Tel-A-vitian considers him or herself to be of a higher intellect and morally superior in every way.

The unfortunate part about the Tel-A-vitian is that he or she is the creation of one of the fallen sons.

The rest of this universe was created by the true God, and are all His children. The Tel-A-vitian exist by decree of a minor creation of that true God; a hapless emulator of that God known as a wraither.

The populus of this land are created in the mind of the wraither, and exist like ghosts...short-lived ghosts.

You see, the Telavitians can only exist if someone from the outside world pays attention to them.

When no one pays attention to them, they begin slinging more slurs in the hopes someone will be offended and once again take note of all the good they do for society at large. If not, they are but past gas.

They pick at one another and point out moral deficiencies in each, that should serve as example to the rest of us to forego behaving as they and choose a more enlightened path.

Trouble is, they never illuminate any path, much less a high one.

So they continue to live in this dank, cold and shapeless world and hurling insults at those poor slobs in the real world who give them credence and I think, are somehow intellectually robbed as the result of watching their antics.

One day, laddy, I'll have to tell you of the day I thought that the real world was going to be swallowed by a Telavitian gas cloud.

It was a good thing the smell was so horrible that it finally woke everyone up before we were all consumed.

But as I said, that is a story for another day".

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sterquilinium Endorsement

The Sterquilinium is proud to announce that it endorses Melanie Huml for the Bavarian Federal parliament. You can donate to her campaign at the following site:


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Barrett Greenfield Chapter 2: "Lydia"

Dell and Dale waited patiently in the winter room of the Greenfield’s townhouse. The white plaster walls of the room were a stark contrast to the dark oak bookshelves that ran along the interior walls. The front curtains were drawn closed, and the myriad oil lamps had been lit, filling the room with yellow effulgence.

Barrett’s two brothers sat in the high-backed chairs at the far end of the room, while his father paced near the window.

“Good,” he said, as Barrett entered the room, “Barrett. Dell and Dale were about to begin where they left off yesterday. It seems they are determined to obey this unnatural habit. Please correct them.”

Barrett nodded and looked sternly toward the two boys. Dell and Dale were alike as possible, despite their disparate ages; Dell was two years younger than Barrett, and Dale another two. Both boys shared the blue-gray eyes of the Greenfield family, but were well on their way toward reaching their father’s immense stature. Now they sulked in their chairs, awaiting their chastisement.

“Dell, Dale,” Barrett began, “When one commences a lesson after a period of reflection, one must never resume at the point of the last conclusion. Rather, one must begin the lesson with the knowledge one has mastered, before proceeding to the knowledge that is yet to be gained. If you persist in inane behavior, let this inane platitude be your guide: take a step back before setting out on a journey, to make sure your house is secure.”

“Well done,” Bartle observed, “Barrett, please begin with politics, then proceed to mathematics.”

“Yes sir,” Barrett answered, and then turned to Dale.

“Dale, define the geopolitical structure.”

Dale breathed a sigh of relief: standing on well charted ground, and stood up.

“The world is divided by the King into divisions.” Bartle frowned at this introduction, but remained quiet. Dale noticed the frown and continued on uneasily.

“The largest of these divisions is the entire Kingdom, which spans the flat part of the globe from the mountains in the east to the ocean in the west. The Kingdom is divided into Protectorates, which are at the big cities, and numbered from Northwest to Southeast. The Protectorates are divided into Sectorates, which are evenly spaced and numbered within a Protectorate from Southwest to Northeast. In some Sectorates there are Villages. In some Sectorates there are no Villages. We are in the Village of Grainger in the Sectorate of Terriad in the Gnolla Protectorate.”

“Good, Dale,” Barrett answered, “but you should use the numbers instead of the names.”

“That is…” Dale corrected himself, “we are in the Village of Grainger in the THIRD Sectorate of the SECOND Protectorate.”

“Good,” Barrett answered, and looked at Bartle, who nodded.

“Now, Dale, explain to us the Law of Domains”

“The Law of Domains states that the set of all of the dependent variable’s values is the domain of a function, while the set of all the values for the independent variable is the range.”

“Wrong!” Dell yelled, and then quieted as Bartle’s stare came down on him. “You have it backward, Dale. It’s the independent variable whose values are the domain. The dependent variable is with the range.”

“Correct, Dell.” Bartle interjected, “Now explain for us the varying Fallacies of Relevance.”

Dale sat and Dell rose.

“The Fallacies of Relevance are thirteen in number. They are: Coercion, Abuse, Circumstance, Ignorance, Pity, Demagoguery, Irrelevant Authority, Interpolation, Extrapolation, False Cause, Circular Argument, Presumptive Premises, and Irrelevance of Conclusion.”

“Well done,” Barrett concurred. “Now explain the Fallacy of Extrapolation.”

“Very well,” Dell sighed, “The Fallacy of Extrapolation occurs when what is true in a particular specific case is assumed to be true in general, without consideration of whether the specific case is in fact typical or symptomatic of the larger case that is being proven.”

“Poorly spoken, Dell” Bartle began, but was interrupted by a knock at the door. “Damnation!” he cursed, “They’re early as always!” With that he put his marker book down and strode out of the room toward the foyer.

“When does YOUR lesson start, Barrett?” Dale asked him snidely.

“Hush. Who’s here for dinner?”

“You mean you don’t know?” Dell chuckled.

Barrett felt his gut lurch, for after the indulgent afternoon he had spent, nursing his fears and licking old wounds, this was a dangerous time to be confronting anyone dangerous. And that is exactly what he detected in Dell’s tone.

And as he heard voices at the door, his fears were confirmed. It was indeed the family of Lydia Wolfwood, come to call.


She stood in the foyer, with the soft glow of the oil lamps lighting her features. Barrett exercised all of his self-control to remain unaffected. Beside her stood her father, Havoc Wolfwood, and his wife Dana. Havoc was built like Barrett’s father, shorter, but solid and deeply tanned, with a thick mane of gold hair framing a square face and determined chin. His wife, Dana, was older than her years, her hair having gone white. The effect against her pale skin was almost appalling. Dana Wolfwood’s skittish eyes bounced around the room, before falling on Barrett. A thin smile crept across her face.

“Early again, eh, Wolfwood?” Bartle almost growled as he gestured them into the winter room before turning sharply toward the younger boys and barking: “Dell, Dale, fetch more chairs from the storeroom.”

“Dana was confused again,” Havoc Wolfwood explained, as his wife lowered her eyes, “She swore we were late, and wouldn’t give me a moment of peace until we started out.”

“No trouble,” Bartle replied, “we were just in the middle of lessons for the younger boys. We’ll put them off until later.” He walked back into the winter room, Havoc following with his wife and daughter behind. As Havoc passed Barrett, he gave him an appraising glance, much as he might give a breeding stock steer. Barrett nodded in response, and smiled at Dana and Lydia as they passed him.

“Awfully late to be giving lessons, Greenfield,” Havoc said, as he deposited himself into one of the menacing chairs, “You wouldn’t have had this problem if you’d been prompt in your lessons, as we are in the Wolfwood House.”

“An interesting theory, Wolfwood, but we prefer several lessons, staggered through the afternoon and evening, so as to more fully replicate the natural occurrence of problems.”

Dell and Dale bustled in with more chairs, which they placed neatly along the walls. They exited again, and Bartle took his seat by the window, gesturing Dana and Lydia to sit as well.

Barrett studiously avoided looking at Lydia, concentrating instead on the features of her father. Havoc grinned at Bartle Greenfield’s reply, and offered curtly:

“If you want to spoil your boys, that is your affair. Still for all intents and purposes you have done a fair job with this one.” He gestured toward Barrett.

Barrett’s eyes locked into a cold, fixed glare as they guests and his father turned to examine him. He was saved from their scrutiny by the loud entrance of his mother, bursting through into the foyer with her daughters in tow.

“Already! Well, it’s fortunate we were prepared in advance! Havoc, Dana, how are you? Lydia! You’ve grown in the last two days, I swear! Come! You will have refreshment. Just tell my daughters what you would like, and they will bring it.”

Well trained, Rose, Iris, and Clara lined up behind their mother and awaited their instructions. In a moment they were gone, executing their orders as Leda Greenfield joined the guests. When she had taken a chair, Barrett finally joined them, settling onto a seat neither too near or too far from Lydia.

“It has been too long since we have dined together, Dana. I believe that we have not had the pleasure since Clara’s little Leda was announced. Still, it is not unusual with so much work to do that there is little time for the luxuries of the city. We have more to do than socialize!”

“Hah!” Havoc snorted, “You are talking to the wrong woman, Leda. Dana is of the opinion that life is nothing but the social. She neglects the other realms of being in favor of that which is least productive.”

“Havoc,” Dana weakly protested, “You know that is not true.”

“How are your studies?” Bartle interrupted, pointedly drawing attention to Lydia to divert it from her mother. Barrett’s stomach muscles tightened, preparing himself for the onslaught of her voice.

“They are going well,” she answered, “But not as well as they might. I am perhaps hampered by my devotion to disparate majorities of interest. I recognize in myself a failure to adequately apportion my time, which, unfortunately, prevents me from reaching my full potential.”

“Recognizing it is half the battle,” Dana offered, defending her daughter from this unusual confession.

“That remains to be seen,” Lydia continued, “As Barrett can no doubt affirm, our studies of strategy indicate that the plan of attack is indeed critical to success, but continuous re-evaluation and adaptation are likewise crucial.”

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Dana offered.

“Bah! Platitudes!” Havoc spat. “When a thing is done, it is done. Done poorly is done poorly and done well is done well. But I have no fears for Lydia. She merely refers to her desire to join the Court of Nature.”

“It was one of our hopes for Barrett as well,” Leda added. “But he seems to show proclivity toward economics and management. He has a rare eye for cattle.”

“Yes, I fear that only one of our mature class will reach the Court,” Lydia responded.

“You speak of Calvin Applewood?” Bartle asked.

“Yes,” Lydia answered, “although I have no doubt that Barrett could attain that post if he sought it.” She looked straight at Barrett, smiling.

I will tell them!

As the eyes of the guest fell on Barrett once more, he found himself compelled to respond.

“It is a question of maximizing one’s resources, as Lydia indicated earlier. Strategy is not decided based solely on the conditions of the battlefield, or the desired objective, but also upon the resources one has available. It is nonsense for me to seek the Court of Nature if my talents are best suited elsewhere. Where I to yield to my desire to join the Court, I would do a disservice to the Court, this village, and myself. To complete the analogy, if possible, I must seek a battlefield appropriate to my resources.”

“Very true,” Havoc nodded, “Very true. Strategy says just that.”

Barrett nodded at Havoc, and glanced back at Lydia, whose smile was as intractable and simultaneously profound.

Barrett’s sisters returned with a tray of wineglasses, which they distributed to the guests. Barrett’s next youngest brother, Archer followed, bringing two decanters of wine, which he meted out in the wake of his sisters. All were silent for a moment.

“Well then. With such weighty matters as deciding the futures of our young now briefly and insufficiently discussed, let us turn toward the table.” With that outburst Leda Greenfield rose, and gestured toward the dining room, nodding Dell and Dale toward the kitchen to bring out the fare.


Barrett edged his way through the remainder of the evening, savoring each exchange with Lydia, while inwardly trying to tamp down a growing unease at the purpose of this dinner. The continuous distraction of Havoc and Bartle’s aggressive rivalry was poised against the disconcerting silence of Dana Wolfwood. Barrett fought against reverie, placing himself at the periphery of conversation with Lydia, his sisters, and Havoc Wolfwood. But he could not shake the appraising looks that the Wolfwoods gave him, nor the equivalent notice given Lydia by his parents. This was becoming frighteningly obvious, and it stirred Barrett to a near ecstasy of anticipation and dread.

When at last the meal was done, Leda invited Lydia and Dana to view the garden, while Havoc and Bartle adjourned to the winter room. Barrett was left to join his sisters and brothers in clearing the table and returning the kitchen to order.

Working as hard as he could, Barrett tried not to notice the smiles of his sisters and the smirks of his younger brothers. He avoided all efforts to lure him into conversation:

“Lydia is very attractive, isn’t she, Barrett?” Clara asked him.

“Empirically, yes.” Barrett answered, and returned to cleaning the pans.

“You know, the Wolfwoods’ land borders ours on at least eighty percent run on the western side. Doesn’t it, Barrett?”

“Actually it is closer to 60 percent, Archer, but their parcel extends on the southern border as well, and including that part of the perimeter, your figure might be correct.”

“Lydia has her mother’s coloring, doesn’t she, Barrett?”

“That is obvious, Iris.”

The assault continued unabated until Leda, Dana, and Lydia returned from their tour of the Grounds. Upon their entry into the house, they proceeded to the parlor. Leda summoned Barrett after a few minutes.

Barrett walked, stone-faced, into the parlor. Leda and Dana had drawn up chairs around the cold fireplace, while Lydia was relaxing in a stuffed chair by the rear window. Leda gestured Barrett toward the sofa.

“Let your sisters finish in the kitchen, Barrett. The boys have studies to attend to. Your father might be some time in the winter room.”


“Lydia told us the most interesting story about you while we were in the garden.” Barrett’s skin grew cold, and he glanced at Lydia, who only smiled that same obstinate smile.


“I had no idea you had drawn cartoons when you were in Village School.” Leda grimaced as she said the word ‘cartoons.’

“Yes, it’s true.” Barrett responded.

“Why did we never hear of this at home?”

“There was no need. It had no meaning.”

“Exactly. It was a frivolous activity, was it not?”

Dana looked embarrassed, and Lydia’s smile grew a touch harder, but Barrett eased. He had handled this in the past, and it was nothing new to defend.

“Mother, you misconstrue. When I say ‘meaningless,’ I am intending to imply that the drawing of cartoons has no bearing on anything outside of the classroom. What you infer, I believe, is that the activity of drawing cartoons is a meaningless one, which is far from the case. Allow me to provide more background, which perhaps Lydia felt was unimportant to her story.

“You are aware that the practice of artistic representation continues in Village School? I understood that it has been in place since before you attended…”

“Yes, it has,” Leda answered, “but artistic representation is quite different from cartooning.”

“Potentially, yes,” Barrett continued, “but in this instance, it is quite similar. I believe you have committed the Fallacy of Interpolation. In general, cartooning is indeed frivolous. The comic artistic representation of individuals, scenery, or animals is pointless. What has been often overlooked, however, is the practical aspect of the cartoon as a method for rapid depiction. While traditional artistic representation stresses the accuracy of the image, cartooning stresses the recognition of salient features in the target of the image. While the artistic image may convey a truer image, the cartoon conveys the essentials of the image in the most expeditious manner. The benefits are twofold. First, the exercise of cartooning helps to train the mind to quickly recognize salient features. The import of this skill is obvious. Second, the exercise of cartooning trains the hand to produce rapid, meaningful images. This practice could be of great use in communication. For example, in the study of non-stationary animals, the use of cartooning to capture the essentials of the animals mode of movement is of great use in understanding the mechanics of their motion.

“I explained all of this to the Schoolmasters, and they were persuaded by my arguments. Although I agreed to discontinue the practice of cartooning, due to my choice of several Schoolmasters as the objects of my study.”

Leda looked at Dana and Lydia with a look of triumph.

“Dana,” Leda smugly began, “I must show you the new cabinets that Bartle has designed for me.” Rising, she nodded to Lydia and Barrett, and led Dana from the room.

The queasiness returned to Barrett’s gut. He looked after his mother for longer than was necessary, for he could feel Lydia’s eyes on him. Finally, he turned and met her gaze. It was almost physically painful, feeling the dull ache of his heart in concert with the dizzy fear that his mind embraced.

“You amaze me, Barrett,” Lydia said calmly.

“How so?” Barrett whispered. Stunned neither by her words or the full beckoning lips that spoke them, but by the very unreality of both.

“Your mother is no fool, but she utterly failed to see the various fallacies in your argument. For that matter, so did the Schoolmasters.”

“Perhaps you are mistaken.”

“No. I don’t believe I am. And you don’t either.”

Barrett was silent, waiting for her to continue. He had nothing to say to Lydia that would not damn him. He wanted, above all, to throw himself at her feet and declare his love, declare that she could hurt him all she wanted, as long as she forgave him for what he was. But he could not do that. His instinct for self-preservation was paramount, even in the face of her myriad charms.

“Why do you say nothing?” Lydia asked.

“What is there to say,” Barrett answered, “when you have reached your conclusion.”

“I might be wrong…” Lydia replied, tentatively, almost fearfully. Barrett suffered an intense stab of hope, but remained composed.

“Convince me that I am wrong…”

Barrett simply stared at her, taking in her features and longing for something he could say - some way to preserve both hope and survival. But he could think of nothing, because she was right. So he sat there, paralyzed by an unquenchable desire and a resolute fear of destruction.

She might have decided for him, or spurred him to decide, but the door to the winter room opened, and the voices of Bartle and Havoc were heard in the foyer, laughing.

Lydia cast a fixed, pregnant gaze on Barrett, who returned it with cold resolve, before Havoc called for them in the foyer.

“Dana! Lydia! Come on, we’re going!”

Barrett followed Lydia out into the foyer, where the door stood ajar, and Havoc warmly shook hands with first Bartle, and then Leda.

“A very rewarding evening. We must do this again, soon.”

“Yes,” Bartle responded, “I believe we have come to understanding and have only to cement our agreements.”

“I’m so satisfied, Leda,” Dana agreed. “So satisfied!”

“Well, it’s getting late,” Leda replied, somewhat abruptly, “Dana, Lydia, I appreciate your companionship this evening. Havoc, it is always fulfilling to have you visit our home.”

Barrett muttered goodbyes to Havoc and Dana, and nodded to Lydia, who left without a word, only throwing one cacophony smile back over her shoulder.

The door swung closed.

First International Cognitive Artist's Exhibition

The Cognitive Artist's Guild (CAG) has announced its first International Exhibition, to be held in Knoxville, TN on Saturday, January 20, 2007 at Victor Ashe Park. CAG members must show their CAG ID to be eligible for competition. There will be no registration fee or registration.

The International Cognitive Artist's Exhibition replaces the Cognitive Artist's Jubilee, or Cogjüb, which had been the premier gathering of CAG members for the past eight years.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Up's and down's on Saturday, somber afternoon

New site. What a sight. Outta sight!

Boning up on my "hippie-ese", now that their queen is in control (or is she and the Boxer really outta control, man...like, careening).

Eva-thang kewl, baaay-bee. Kewl jewel.

Numbers galor! Tracking (how nice).

With visitors from Linnie and Mac (obviously a high caliber clientele), and such pretty graphs to keep up with them, welcome them. Get their number and make them feel "to home".

It's nice here in the dung...comfortable, warm. I like that smell of reconstituted straw - earthy, peaty, bohemian even.

It's the devil's domain, baby. "Rot heya".

Installments, installments.

With friends like lil' Timmy, Barett, n' Tisza and the rest...you hardly notice the smell at all.

And all on Al Gore's dime (now there's a stench that'll knock a blister off a bull's ass).

Wow, "ain't it cool" ?

It's as cool as global warmin'.

A convenient lie, for an incongruant teller of "truths". The soothsayer say, or so I've heard.

Thanks cousin Al. Thinks we'll like our stay!

Good Googela-moogel-ah.

The sun, she's a shinin'.

It's time to make the hay.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Great White Mallard: Chapter One: The Timmies


In a forgotton corner of Maryville, Tennessee, stood Timmy the Cow. Timmy was unconcerned that she was given a boy's name. In fact, Timmy was unconcerned about everything but protecting the herd. Timmy was a knuckler. And not just any knuckler, but the baddest-ass knuckler in Maryville... if you were counting only cows in your knuckler sample.

But there was another Timmy in Maryville, and this Timmy, while not a knuckler, was certainly no stranger to fisticuffs. This Timmy, being human, had more than one name (although, to be fair, Timmy the Cow was also known as Timmy Barnabas). Timothy Tyro Timmons hailed from Newcastle, UK, although he buried his Jeordie accent as deeply as Nancy Pelosi's conscience. Not even Timmy's wife Tyra knew he was a Brit. Tyra Timmons was Argentinian - in fact, a third cousin (twice removed) of Eva Duarte (on her mother's side). Consequently Tyra, though one would think her to be in a position to notice subtle variations in Timmy's accent, was deaf to the differences.

Timmy Timmon's route from Newcastle to Maryville was a long one. His father, Dr. Sigmund Timmons, was an earlier pioneer in bovine diseases. From the time Timmy was a toddler, his world was full of the mad mumblings of his father: mumblings about "Crater Hoof Disease," "Lulu's Lupus", and, most tellingly, "Mad Cow Disease."

Dr. Timmons had indeed stumbled early on the first instance of Mad Cow Disease, or MCD, as he often called it. And his horror infected his son in a deep and permanent manner. And thus when Lance Corporal Timmy Timmons of the SAS was deployed to the Falklands during the brief war with Argentina, he knew he was walking into the jaws of hell. For there was virtually nothing in Argentina except cows.

Timmy was a man of duty, though, and early in the conflict, he was able to operate with his squad in the sheep-infested regions of the Falklands themselves. Until one fateful night, when he was deployed on a mission to kidnap the American singing sensation Cindi Lauper, who was staying on her Argentinian ranch while she prepared a benefit concert for the Argentinian cause. By the end of that night, Lauper would be fleeing in tears back to America, Timmy would be AWOL with an Argentinian folk dancer named Tyra, and over 1,000 head of prime beef would be rotting in the Argentinian dawn.

But this escapade will have to remain untold for now, as will the tale of Timmy's unfortunate tenure as a convoy driver for the Bluebell Bus Company in Meigs County. For now we must return to Maryville, where Timmy Timmons was about to come face to face with Timmy the Cow.

Philo - Found!


"11. Philo, the deacon from Cilicia who has been so well spoken of, is at present giving me his help in preaching God's word. So too is Rheus Agathopous, one of the elect, who has followed after me from Syria, and abjured this earthly life"

- Ignatius: The Epistle to the Philadelphians, AD 98-117.

Xavier Martel

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Storyline: The Montenegran

He was a huge man, by the standards of big men, but even bigger than most of them would imagine a large man who they'd like to emulate to be, for he was even bigger than them.

A large, fattened and bulbous foot dangled over the side of the patchwork yellow life raft; toes like over-ripened plumbs dripped the fresh waters of the river Morava and "plunked" in its still surface causing small fish to skip across the water fleeing in fear for their very lives.

His forehead seemed as bulbous and ripend as his fattened toes, except for the rather odd looking wound that looks as if it were left by a tuning fork, or perhaps the odd death star.

The massive frame of Vardar Pannonianium could barely fit in the life raft...in fact, it looked more as if he were surrounded by children's water wings, or maybe floating in the intertube from the left front wheel of a 1957 Eireflite "Shopper" De Soto Station Waggon, the one with the 341 cubic inch engine and 4 barrell carbs...what a motor in such a body, and what a body, in such a life raft.

A dribble of water had run down from the scab on his forehead and he noticed with his good eye, the one that was slowly working its way back in its orbit to once again look forward, rather than up at the wound in his head, (he was becoming bored with the scene, and this a feat for him) he watched with that eye the droplet descend slowly down his bulbuous pig snout an then fall as if from a cliff down, down to his T-shirt below.

"Damn," he thought, "dees ees my good T-shirt".

Yes, a good T-shirt it was, as for once he had one that would cover down to his waste. It still wouldn't tuck in his britches, but most his T-shirts only covered the upper portion of his chest, just below the twin beer barrels that were his pectorial muscles.

"Vonder vhere I got dees ting? And das n dees headache...feels like dee time Vardar vus hit between dee eyes with zat arrow. Mmmmm....Cle...," he tried to read the letters that bridged his armpits from side to side..."Cleve...Cleeve...Clevland ROCKS !"

"Wow, vonder vhere dees came frohm?"

Vardar was pleased. Here he was in a River that he knew from his youth and no doubt on the Pannonian plains that were named for his ancestors and from whom he derived his last name - Pannonianium (which tranlates, roughly, from the Montenegran to "Mud Head").

"Zee last zing I veemember ees verking out in a Gym in America somevhers? St. Louis, I tink, or maybe Manhattan?".

And he was right, as what little senses he ever had were slowly beginning to return, like some dog that had been previously hit by a car, but who's sense of smell had slowly begun to return and so the dog tries to walk, and hunt and to run on its leg, only to find that its smell is much better than its ability to run on a single good leg.

Such was the case with Vardar, only he had all his legs.

The allusion was meant to point to the fact that Vardar, unlike most humans, operated on a single brain cell. One cell that controlled them all.


The author now ponders on yon reader with a raised brow.

"Hmmmmm...shall I break out the McGuffee reader? NO, I think I'll continue with the plight of dear friend, Vardar, and try and refrain from obscured reference to another's work."

A rather large piece of stone masonry was loosed from its mortar in the main pilon for the bridge.

Vardar's foot had managed to knock it loose as his raft crashed into the stone foundation.

Fortune was always on Vardar's side.

As a boy of ten, it was noted by all the other town's people of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina that the lad was "special". He was a dear boy, slow to anger and quick to help all in need.

Some local "toughs" known to all as the "Hapsburg Boys" had been marauding town, tossing paint on the farmer's barns, and lighting piles of hay on fire. Fearsome they were, and quite the marauders.

One day, Tisza Rusyn (known as "teaser", the worse of the worst), the leader of the Hapsburg Boys had the extreme misfortune of capturing in his bare foot a thorn from a wild rose bush that had been lying in wait in the cold Winter rye. Well, this of course brought a tear to Vardar's eye, who had been watching from the freshly painted barn above.

"Hold on zar," bellowed the beheamouth (for even at ten years of age, Vardar had already achieved the size of most giants).

Vardar rushed to young Tisza's aid "I'll get zee thorn," boomed Vardar.

Of course, Tisza was almost in tears at the thought of what the monster would do to his foot.

"Be careful Vardar, or I'll paint your Mother's garden shed."

"Oh Teesa, you ahhh such da Teas-uh - ah, ha, ha, ha, ha."

Vardar, thinking on his one good cell, found a needle on the floor of the barn and picked it up in his teeth. He used the needle, his massive teeth, and the unique postioning ability of his eye (for his eyes had never been straight, even before the incident with the death star in that American Gym) to remove the thorn.

This would prove fateful for Vardar, and for Tisza Rusyn.

"Vardar, what the hell are you doing in that raft? Don't you know that Winter is not a good time for a cruise?," Tisza yelled from above on the bridge.

"Get out of that damned water and get up here in my waggonere and get dry."

Tisza Rusyn had recieved his education from the graduate program in development in a collaboration between Brown University and the Watson Institute for International Studies. His concentration was in "Complimentary Politics", which he was advised to take after almost being expelled for painting the woodshed behind the Dean's home on campus an appropriate shade of brown.

Complimentary Politics, it was thought, might calm the spirted boy down and get him to focus on his studies.

He had finally accomplished his life-long dream of saving enough money to buy the 1957 Eireflite "Shopper" De Soto Station Waggon he had always dreamt of. With its unique design, three on the column gears, 341 cubic inches of raw power, it was a force to reckon with, especially given the two-cyliner SAAB's that most local police in Vojvodstvo; AND, it was two tone (red on white).

"I would ask rather nicely that you get your rather large rear in gear, climb that river bank and get in the back of the waggonere, Vardar. We have an appointment with Ugrin Čak, and we mustn't keep Master Čak waiting."

Vardar climbed the bank as Tisza recommend in such polite, dare say "complimentary" fashion.

He adjusted the life raft which he was now wearing over his shoulders and wrapped around his neck like a big, yellow suit, his arms "fitted" through the floor of the raft after dreaming that he had been hugging his pet Python, Slinky.

He climbed in the back of the waggon and away they sped, chased by young local toughs trying desperately to flick paint on Teaser's waggon.

"How did Vardar get in dat reever?," Vardar asked in usual quixiotic fashion.

"Vardar, my dear boy, do you not remember when the military picked you up in the Lean-firm Gym in Little Lima-Lima, Ohio? Our good friend from Greenback, Mr. Lester Dong and a cadre of his choicest cadets arrived there not long after some sort of altercation had transpired. All they could find were a couple of dead pallookas, some ultra-thin (and quite tiny cigarillo butts) and you, muttering something about "I deeden't see dat coming", with a damned death star sticking out of your thick skull like a hard pecker.

"According to Dong, there were 9mm shells from a glock all over the place, and some poor bloke had a set of numbchucks sticking out of his ass".

"Dong thought it looked like the work of some Frenchman. Kiss-a-blow or something," related Tisza.

"Zat vould be Quisleau...Herve"

"God bless you !," relayed the most polite Tisza.

"No, no, I deedn't sneezle, hees name, hees name is Herve," said Vardar.

"God bless you !", again confused.

"Herve Quisleau...dat eeze dee name of dee mon in dee Lean-Firm Gym...hee ees dee man dat give Vardar dees headache. He a very bad man.", spouted the enlightened, single-brain celled Vardar.
"Well, we have a mission now," said Tisza. "Let's get ourselves to Greenback."


Lester Dong revved the props on the old airplane. Yeah it was vintage WWII, but so what. It crossed continents and oceans, and it would carry them back to Greenback.

He looked at his watch. 9:30 pm.

Tisza was supposed to be here with the giant no later than nine.

He took another "pull" from the whiskey. It reminded him of home. His mom would always serve whiskey at breakfast.

He looked again at his watch...9:35 "Damn, where are they?", he thought.

The ramp from the belly was extended down to the tarmac and awaited the arrival of the station wagon. He'd transport the whole shoot'n shabang back to the states.

Back to Greenback, where they all belonged.


"Hold onto your life raft Vardar," Tisza exclaimed.

"We are up for one hell of a ride".

The waggonere belched fire as she zoomed up the runway, into the belly of the bird. Its pistons clamored like Usorian sleigh bells, and fire flew from her ass like a Bačkan whore after a night with the huns.

Ugrin Čak and Lester Dong now awaited them for their debriefing.

They explained to poor Vardar that they had rescued him from the Gym in America and were administering first aid on the flight back to Vojvodina, when he awoke, exclaimed "Vyoule neva take me alive, you commie peegs", grabbed a life raft, pulled the inflate string like a rip-cord and jumped out the door of the plane yelling "YEEE-ron-OH-MO".

"Our prayer was that you'd hit the river," said Čak. "And it looks like you did !".

They all had a good laugh.

This contingent, now reunited, soared across the dark Croatian night and with them carried a new day across the planet and to Greenback beyond and their peerless leader, Platu.

Ode to a Fallen Beast

Oh beheamouth so dark and grey
the skies above weep this day
in thy honor, fallen tear doth say
in thy honor, your life now slain.

Thy hooves while dirtied,
silver haunch now stained;
once steamed breath
now...gone away?

Metal-clad ribs
and iron soul beneath,
your countenance, your measure
against you, no enemy relieved.

Is there life in this heart?
Any spirit or soul?
You legs once like pistons,
Your drive a million fold.

For you no kind words,
no heroes reward.
Your life disassembled,
any accolade, untoward.

So charge on silver beast,
on this final ride.
Your undiscovered country,
only it scars grey hide.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Storyline: The Mushroomy Transformation of Juan-Henri Mcgill, continued.


Juan-Henri found himself in a dingy backroom of Wong's Fungi, sitting across the table from the muttonchopped man. For a couple of moments, "Muttonchops," as JH thought of him, said nothing, only staring evenly across at Mcgill, who stared back. Finally, after an interminable silence, Muttonchop spoke.

"Do you know why you are here?"

"Let me guess... it's because I asked for Loppy-tan mushrooms."

"Oh yes... yes Dr. Mcgill. But it's so much more than that."

"What do you mean? And how do you know my name? And how do you know about the doctorate?"

"We know a great deal about you, Doctor. We've been following your studies for some time."


"Yes. And now let me ask you: Does the name Artie Schopenhauer mean anything to you?"

Mcgill paused. He felt a rushing sensation at the back of his skull, as the humiliation and degradation of his Yale days came rushing in upon him. Finally he answered.

"Yes. OK - so you know about the whole Kierkegaard/Schoppenhauer thing. Big deal."

"Quite an embarassment for you, wasn't it?"

"Let me answer you this way... suppose you had just completed your doctoral dissertation on Kierkegaard's delight in the traumatic descents of the elderly, when you happened to look up the event in Philosophical Anecdotes, only to discover that it was Schopenhauer, not Kierkegaard, all the time? How would you feel, you muttonchopped limey bastard?"

Muttonchop seemed unperturbed by Mcgill's vitriol, and merely replied,

"But, Doctor, what if you found out you were right?"

"Right? Don't toy with me."

"Let me put this a different way... we would like to hire you, Doctor."

Juan-Henri was stunned. Why would they want to hire him, knowing his great error. He thought for a moment.

"Why would you want to hire me, knowing my great error?"

"Again, Doctor, as I said before, it is not that you are wrong, but that you are right."

"Now I know you're some crazy mushroom addict... I'm wrong! Dead wrong! And not just about Kierkegaard, but about everthing! Neil Simon did not write "A Doll's House," it's not Heisenberg's Special Theory of Relativity, and Shiela E is not the drummer for Rush!"

Muttonchop pushed a paper across the desk at Mcgill. After scanning it for a moment, Mcgill's eyes widened.

"Can this be true?"

"Yes, Doctor - it is true. And it is one of the great secrets of Philosophy. Though Schopenhauer was born twenty-five years before Kierkegaard, their lives overlapped. In fact, as you know, Kierkegaard died five years before Schopenhauer. But the real trick came fifteen years after Schoppie's own demise, when a polish graduate student named Gherkin Mahamot transposed their names in his own doctoral thesis. For some reason, which our organization has never been able to uncover, the entire literary and philosophical establishment was in on the conspiracy, and every extant copy of Kierkegaard and Schopenhauer's works were edited to reverse responsibility for this one anecdote."

Mcgill sat in silence. If this were true...

"You see, Doctor, where you have gone your whole life thinking that you are cursed, it is in fact that you have a rare gift. It is called meta-gnosis. A secret, hidden knowledge of truth, even when all evidence is to the contrary. So you see, it was, in fact, Heisenberg that divined the special theory of relativity, and it is in fact Shiela E who plays the skins for the Canadian power-trio."

"So... what do you want me for?"

"It's simple. Our organization, Her Majesty's Royal Mounted Marines Special Urban Combat Commando Squad, needs men like you. Or not just men like you, for there are indeed no others, but you in particular. We are in the midst of the most terrible conspiracy, a world-shaking enigma whose twists and turns confound the most gifted of logicians. Disinformation is everywhere. Have you ever heard of Earl Platudinor?"

"Who hasn't? My graduate advisor Dr. Menlo has even met him. He's Warren Buffet's financial mentor, and the guy who told Steve Jobs to start Microsoft."

"Precisely. Now, a second question. Do you have any idea why your employer, Taibachi-san, would send you into Kalamazoo for a load of Loppie-tans?"


"Are you familiar with Sentosa Island in Singapore?"

"Yes - it's a sort of garden island across from the port. If I am correct (and I never am), it's also the only home of the Spindly Legged Wombat."

"Exactly, and do you know what is the only food for the Spindly Legged Wombat?"

"Let me guess," Mcgill said quickly, "the Loppie-tan mushroom".

"Again, precisely, Doctor," Muttonchopped answered, in a satisfied manner. "Now, Doctor, let me fill you in on current events. Four days ago, we discovered that the last remaining Loppies had been destroyed by a one-armed, red headed scandinavian named Hansel Daggerfjord. This is unfortunate, not only because it threatens to extinguish the Spindly Legged Wombat from the earth, thus damaging our biodiversity, but because an excretion from the Spindly Legged Wombat's pituitary gland is the primary ingredient in the deadly nerve agent XZ-27."

"I see... but why do you want me?"

"Look at yourself, Doctor. You are the perfect weapon. A man who is the sole avatar of meta-gnosis, who also holds degrees in philosophy, sociology, and psychology, as well as an undergraduate degree in quantum physics. A man who is skilled in Brazilian Judo, Tai-kwan-do, Jujitsu, and Karate. A man who was a demolition specialist in the Navy SEALS, and who pilots experimental aircraft as a hobby. In fact, your only weakness is a lack of experience with corporate accounting."

Juan Henri coughed, and Muttonchop looked at him suspiciously.

"Have I missed something, doctor?"

"Well," Mcgill said reluctantly, "I suppose I should tell you that to bring in extra cash, I have been moonlighting doing compliance audits for Arthur Andersen."



Two hours later, Muttonchop was on the phone.

"He bought the whole thing."


Her Majesty's Royal Mounted Marines Special Urban Combat Commando Squad had a new recruit, and Sultan Zhpat had a new minion.