Well, not yet. And Codex likes the cut of these stories jib@ J.D. Cowan of Between the Wasteland and Sky writes:
Once again we’re back with a new signal boost post, and a pile of new books for you to check out! There’s always something to look forward to these days. Today, we’ve got a few humdingers to talk about.The first is the above Stellar Stories by adventure writer David Skinner! This is a collection featuring new stories as well as pieces published in places such as both StoryHack and Cirsova magazine, as well as the old PulpRev Sampler! It contains eight different tales for your reading pleasure, and there is even a physical edition available on Lulu. He truly went all out on this one!
With the economy being what it is, lots of folks are looking for creative employment opportunities. We at Tempest in a Teardrop have done extensive research in order to introduce you to some odd jobs that are easily overlooked.
If we do inspire a career change, please let us know in the comments!
Have you considered becoming a pirate? Rep. Lance Gooden (R, Texas) introduced HR 6869 which would authorize the President of the United States to issue letters of marque to private citizens who could then legally plunder Russian assets. The last time the US hired privateers was during the War of 1812. That went swimmingly well for the country, so why not give an addle-brained Joe Biden the same power?
Piracy has many advantages. You can set your own hours, cavort with dolphins, tootle around the Caribbean, and dress like every day is casual Friday. You don’t have to be the stereotypical manscara-slathered syphilitic kind. You do have to wear the eye patch. That’s so other pirates know you’re a member of the club. It’s professional courtesy. It’s really embarrassing when pirates accidentally pillage one another.
Be sure and customize your American Flag by re-skinning it with a graphic to strike fear into the enemy before you legally board them. Maybe steal something from Grand Theft Auto V? This one is mine.
Piracy might not be practical for everyone due to the high start-up costs, but being a PIE is accessible to all. The only requirement is having a shoulder. PIE == Pseudo-Inoculation Expert, in case you didn’t know.
First, you need to find a buyer. They are easy to find.
Second, you need to acquire a fake ID in the name of your buyer, but with your face.
Third, head to any drug store and get one of those endless jabs they are constantly pushing on folks.
Fourth, hand over the newly-minted and completely valid vax card to your buyer.
You get to keep any incentives offered with your shot. You can acquire hundreds of dollars worth of merch and gift cards. This is probably, strictly speaking, not legal, but it isn’t like Pfizer is going to press charges.
This guy did it 90 times and lived to tell the tale to the police when they arrested him. If you’re younger, you might want to leave this to a pensioner tired of selling their never-ending supply of free blue pills on the grey market.
Kamala Harris Lickspittle
In case you didn’t know (and why would anyone?) Kamala Harris is the Vice President of the United States. She’s had 11 high-level staff lackeys leave their positions in the 14 months she’s been in office. Yes, she’s a woman. No, I’m not a biologist. Yes, the joke has worn itself out. No, don’t try to put a new spin on it in the comments.
She is a woman. You know it. I know it. Willie Brown certainly knows it. And most of the power brokers in Washington DC do too.
You could consider any one of the top-paying career choices below located at Number One Observatory Circle. They require some skill, but if you can withstand Kamala’s donkey-addled laugh 24/7 you’d be a shoe-in. Tinnitus might help.
Undersecretary of Time Management
You are responsible for appointments, meetings, fundraisers, dinners and the like. Be sure and leave time between events for showers and delousing.
Payoffs Campaign Funds
You are responsible for collecting campaign contributions in a legally-plausible way because The Kamala doesn’t touch money. Her hands are full with… other things.
Undersecretary of Relaxation
You are personally responsible for massaging Ms. Harris’ snood. This requires the highest level of clearance lest you reveal that she is really a lizard person.
You are responsible for the words that exit the Vice President’s mouth at important world-changing events. Here is a recent example:
So, Ukraine is a country in Europe. It exists next to another country. Russia is a powerful country. Russia decided to invade a smaller country called Ukraine. So, basically, that’s wrong, and it goes against everything that we stand for.
Yep. It’s a low bar. If I could work from home I’d apply.
Russian Weapon Systems Liberation Expert
Apparently the Russians don’t lock their tanks at night and local farmers have been stealing them since day 1 of the invasion. You can tell the Russian ones because they have a “Z” on them. The “Z” is an illegal letter in both Ukraine and Germany so it makes the Russians extra-evil.
There. You just graduated basic training as a Russian Weapon Systems Liberation Expert.
The Ukrainian government is now offering bounties for various pieces of Russian weaponry. If you find yourself wandering about in the countryside, you might keep your eyes peeled.
The payoff amounts, in United States’ Dollars:
- Combat Aircraft – $1,000,000
- Combat Helicopter – $500,000
- Reactive Volley Fire System – $25,000 to $35,000
- Tank, Self-Propelled Ground Artillery – $100,000
- Infantry Fighting Vehicle – $50,000
- Military Vehicle (other) – $10,000
- Ships of 1st or 2nd Rank – $1,000,000
- Ships of 3rd or 4th Rank – $500,000
- Ships of Military Support – $200,000
- Ships of Small Combat – $50,000
It’s unclear where this money is coming from or how payments will be processed.
Some of you might be thinking, “I’ll steal a US tank, drive it to Ukraine, paint a big Z on it, and rake in a cool $100-grand.” Go for it! That’s called ‘arbitrage’ in the finance world and it’s perfectly legal. Congress can easily print a replacement tank, so take all you can.
Propaganda Special Agent
This job isn’t for everyone and it does take some specialized skills. If your soul is still mostly intact after the last couple of years you might want to “next” this one.
This video is 24 seconds long. The vehicle passes by several dead Ukrainians. It isn’t graphic. Watch it carefully.
Did you see that? The non-existent existing for-defensive-use-only secret bio-labs have unleashed Formula Z and ushered in the Zombie Apocalypse! It had to be the Russians! Again! The only other explanation is that they were faking war footage for dramatic and fundraising purposes, but that’s just ridiculous.
This is an example of propaganda. As a Narrative Enhancer, your job will be to produce compelling and irrefutable evidence that unquestioningly supports the Narrative. You’ll have a lot of competition so bring your best editing skills and imagination. As an independent, you’ll only get paid if your product lands at one of the big news outlets. You’ll need a long list of connections or a large social media presence to make this financially viable.
Maybe you could treat it as a hobby to start with.
This is my first attempt:
Not bad, eh?
President of the United States
And finally I’m including this one for completeness. It is not a job I’d want. We currently have an opening for the highest office in the land. You cannot tell me with a straight face it’s Joseph Robinette Biden. Not even his wife believes it.
You’ll have to cut through a lot of red tape and navigate an extensive interview process, but the pay is fantastic and you can drone whomever you like. You can even commission privateers! Laws don’t have to be passed any longer in order to be enforced. That only applied while Trump was President.
If any of you should be lucky enough to survive the process and seat yourself behind the Resolute Desk, would you please do the responsible thing and nuke Seattle?
No comic today – my fault. We have to get the entire library packed up and the bookshelves removed by Sunday. I hate leaving your Friday morning empty with nothing, so I shopped special this week.
This story originates in Denver. “Box of Human Heads Stolen from Truck in Denver.” Hmm. It seems a little sparse on the details, so I put on my ‘sleuthing hat’ and made a few conjectures to fill in the details. Continue reading
This week has been… [terrible]? [challenging]? [a slog]? [backbreaking]?
Pick one. Congrats, you’re a winner.
We have new carpets. Glyph spilled the first cup of coffee on them, which was disappointing because I felt that Codex would for-sure do that. Fortunately, we spent a day-and-a-half covering the new carpets with chopped-up-chunks of the old carpet so there wasn’t as much Dad-crying as there otherwise might have been. Four figures from the bank account is four figures, ya know? Even with the new math.
No energy for a funny Friday post. I would have blasted Ukraine propaganda anyway, and I’ve given up sarcasm for lent. Or is it Lent? I’m not Catholic so after a couple shots of whiskey I’m still me, and the Pope is still Argentinian. Who would have guessed that the Pope and I have something in common? Neither of us is Catholic.
Codex is going to try to have our next comic out on Monday but it will probably be Tuesday morning. We should be back to our regular Friday/Monday schedule on Friday.
In the meantime, panic as interest rates rise, the housing market crashes, and gas hits… um… it’s $4.50 here on the way to $7. Yeah. We should all panic. And vote D. Because voting R makes no difference and carries a probable jail sentence because the D’s are… just that way.
We decided to watch Zulu (1964) on Friday night. I thought it was in honor of Black History Month, but it turns out Glyph discovered Sabaton had a song about the events the movie was based on.
Rorke’s Drift was a Swedish missionary & hospital outpost defended by the British on January 22 & 23 in 1879. During the morning of January 22, nearly 1300 British troops had been killed by the Zulu during the Battle of Isandlwana, about six miles away. Survivors made their way back to the outpost, manned by 150 British regular troops and approximately 300 Natal Native Contingent (NNC) African auxiliaries.
While the Zulu King had led the main attack at Isandlwana, his half-brother peeled off about 4000 warriors to pursue survivors and wipe out the garrison.
But this isn’t about the historical events, it’s about the movie.
The film begins in the Zulu camp, with the Zulus performing a complex marriage ceremony that involves a lot of chanting and dancing. It goes on for entirely too long – 15 minutes of film time – in order to humanize the Zulus before they are wiped out during the rest of the film.
The missionary Witt and his daughter are in attendance. They exist for expository purposes and to give the viewer some nice white Christians to loathe. At the end of the scene, word arrives that the British have been decimated, and they escape to warn the garrison at Rorke’s Drift.
Meanwhile, the commander of the garrison (let’s call him Lieutenant Gamma) is shown hunting, sportingly shooting antelope and cheetah in full regalia with cape. Everyone else is sweating to death, but the heat doesn’t affect Lieutenant Gamma. He’s a dilettante and a fop.
Meanwhile, an officer from the Royal Engineers is leading the men to repair the pontoons of a ferry across the local river. Let’s call this one Lieutenant Alpha. He’s a common-sense sort of guy and an expert at bridges and fortifications.
Naturally, their personalities clash. We get to watch the riveting drama for the next fracking hour. I kept thinking back to the first 90 minutes of The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). Was the will of the British officer stronger than the will of the Japanese camp commandant? And it didn’t matter. Nobody cared. It had no impact until the very end when the Japanese commandant loses too much face. Or something.
Eventually, our two Lieutenants compare their medal collections and Lieutenant Alpha got promoted three months sooner than Lieutenant Gamma. Gamma is miffed, and reluctantly gives up command. Somewhere in the midst of all this riveting martial drama Reverend Witt returns. He informs the officers that 4000 Zulu are en route for tea, crumpets, and murder.
As fortifications are hastily built, a large group of Boer cavalry ride to the camp. Huzzah! The garrison will be saved! The Zulu are terrified of three things: cavalry, stacks of medals, and dawn. Alas, the local boys can’t stay. They’ve just fought through the Zulu, they claim, and they have to recover. About this time an extremely drunk, belligerent, and black-pilled Reverend Witt screams a sermon at the African NNP: They’ll all bear the Mark of Cain and be condemned by God as murderers if they fight. First one man looks at the other: Doomed fight to the death is one thing, but death plus hellfire is right out. They skedaddle.
The story so far is not quite what happened during the actual events at Rorke’s Drift. The arriving cavalry weren’t Boer, they were a remnant from the defeated regiment. They stayed anyway. When the Zulu horde attacked, the heroic cavalry charged and fired at the enemy. Exhausted and out of bullets, they were forced to retreat. As the cavalry left, the NNP, who had helped build the hastily-assembled fortifications, left with them.
The real Reverend Witt was neither a coward nor a drunk. He helped make the fort ready, then left with the most severely wounded from the hospital before the battle. He wasn’t a soldier and had a wife and two toddlers at home to protect.
In the movie, Lieutenant Gamma knows both the leader of the Boer and the NNP officers. He doesn’t lift a finger to help. “Lieutenant Alpha,” says our fair-haired boy, “You own this mess.” Gamma is going to prove it even if he himself and everyone else has to die to make the point.
At last, with the film half over, the Zulu show up. They charge the barricades and get repeatedly shot for their trouble. We’ll have to forgive the movie technology of the day but the action is almost comical. The British repel the invasion, and the Zulu expert, let’s call him Sergeant Boer, explains it was just a test.
I didn’t mention Sgt. Boer because this column is as poorly planned as the film. Sgt. Boer is Lieutenant Gert Adendorff, a survivor of the earlier massacre and the only man to fight in both battles that day. In the film, he’s the narrator so the audience can understand the genius tactics of the Zulu, because a casual observer might conclude they enjoyed dying pointlessly en masse.
Sgt. Boer explains that the Zulu chiefs, who we see cheer-leading safely atop their cliff overlooking the fort, were counting the number of British rifles. Their accountants were itemizing every bullet. Their shaman were calculating the medal-to-bravery ratio for each man.
The Zulu soon regroup and attack again. This time, the ferocious spear-wielding warriors are joined by Zulu sharpshooters on the cliffs. Sgt. Boer explains they’d looted the guns and bullets from the dead at Isandlwana. Many British are shot, speared, or drown, carried to the bottom of the nearby river by their own chest awards and ridiculously non-buoyant hats.
In reality, the Zulu couldn’t shoot at all. They pulled the sights as far apart as possible because the resulting shot was harder, and more magical. If they hit anything, it was a complete accident.
Lieutenant Alpha is movie-wounded in the scrum, and retreats to the hospital, telling Lieutenant Gamma he will have to take charge again. Lieutenant Gamma immediately turns into some kind of gay Superman and leads the men from barricade to barricade with complex, meticulously-disciplined firing formations, perfectly executed as every fifth man dramatically takes a spear in their tea-drinking necessities. Secret. Kings. Rule.
Somewhere amidst all this the hospital with all the wounded is invaded by those sneaky Zulu. During the real events, Private Alfred “Harry” Hook and three other wounded soldiers fought the invaders room-to-room, and saved many lives. Hook, a lay pastor, won the Victoria Cross for his heroism.
The movie depicts Hook as a criminal and a drunkard. His daughter was so disgusted by his character in the film she walked out of the theater halfway through the premier. Lucky woman.
Lieutenant Alpha is in a bad way, but he continues to fight. He has no choice. He shares his hospital bed with at least three Zulu warriors. Lieutenant Gamma comes to visit him. Now that they’re bonded by the horrors of war, he encourages his superior to continue the fight. “We need every single man to get through this!”
Movie writers: How stupid are you? He did nothing while 75% of the garrison ran away about 30 film minutes ago!
Finally, the Zulu are ready for a break. They briefly retreat. Sgt. Boer loses all hope and tells anyone who will listen how they’ll all die once the warriors return. Nary a man is left healthy. Even the British accountants and the cook bought it back in the first wave. Nobody knows how many bullets the garrison has left.
The big finale arrives. Zulu warriors line up on all sides. They commence singing, chanting, and dancing. The British soldiers sing back. The movie is resolved with a sing-off. I think that was the third time I’d barfed so I called it a night.
Based on the movie, you’d think most of the British were slaughtered on their way to emptying Africa of its precious natives. In reality, 15 British soldiers were killed along with an estimated 400 Zulu. Possibly 300 more badly-wounded Zulu were killed or perished after the battle.
Hollywood has been ruining our heroes and stories for a very, very long time, and Zulu is a great example. Skip it. You’d have more fun getting another Fauci Ouchie.
I read the novella, All Men Dream of Earthwomen, when it was first released as a freebie. Again, as part of a bookbinding project, and now a third time as it’s released as part of this book (Huzzah!).
It has not palled. If you like science fiction with real science in it, and the sensawunda dialed up to eleventy… AMDoEW is your book. The romantic story – romantic in the Prisoner of Zenda sense – of a clever heavy-worlder-Quasimodo and his weird alien love (alien, because human, like us), is full of swash and buckle and turns of wry humor. The ending is perfect. Continue reading