Friday, September 30, 2005

Pink Freud

I told a kid at work today that God is mostly a crock of shit. It wasn't particularly well-received.

Come monday, we're going to give the Lego a miss and work on one of these instead. I like to think of it as a sort of controlled, collective traumatisation. And I happen to be good at it. My work is just never done.

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A packet that can snacket


Jesus, the kid is even more street than myself, which is uncanny because it shouldn't be possible. 116 cm of pure attitude coming at you straight from the Coolsville barrio. If you mess with me, this is the last thing you'll see.

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Finnmaercium 23

This elusive substance was first encountered by a team of Finnmärscker lab attendants trying to make condensed water as a party trick.

Even though the experiment has been repeated on numerous occasions, the exact conditions are hard to duplicate without vomiting. For this reason, there is not nearly enough of the stuff to go around.

Finnmaercium 23 tastes somewhat like sugar, only slightly better. In its vaporized state it smells pretty good, and as a liquid it's nice and creamy. It solidifies at room temperature and can be stored easily, e.g. under a bed.

There's only one problem. It's really not good for you. But knowing this about it only makes you want it more, doesn't it? Well, you can't have it. It's mine.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

The meek shall inherit nothing









Theory.









Practice.

Questions? There can't be.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sharkhuggers


Nothing but 'armless fun.

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Monday, September 26, 2005

SNÄFU

Ah. I am back from fixing the lunar space thingy. Now that we have direct access from home, I feel MUCH more balanced, harmonious, etc. At last we have all the derangement of the internet at hand to counterbalance all the homey cosy herbal green things sprouting in the window sill. Back with much less well-written and sophisticated humour than my better half. Yes.

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Honk if you love logic



As you may have noticed, we've been having some trouble getting the lunar space elevator off the ground. The fifty hottest percentages of the SHÄDY ÄCRES staff have been tied up with the technical aspects for a good while, Love & Rockets style, while the rest of us have tried to ignore the explosions and the constant cursing.

I don't fully understand the details, but due to something called "snägs", we've had to modify the design somewhat. Now, finally, the SHÄDY ÄCRES combined space escalator and solar shade (SÄcsess) is ready to launch. The only downside, they tell me, is a global cooling process that may cause the sea levels to drop a bit and maybe trigger a slight ice age.

Tomorrow, while some of us head over to Stöckfisck to pick up a small parcel, the others will most probably be able to report directly from the launch ceremony at the SHÄDY ÄCRES headquarters. Meanwhile, dig the illustration. The medium is MS Paint, and i call it Hæævntancker.

I look forward to observing you all in the humorous papyruses.

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

An interview with Ms. Bell

She’s a surfer, a continental drifter and a merciless street fighter. Recently, she has turned from a life of crime to a life of baking. We all know she looks killer in a pair of tight jeans, but who is this mysterious Norstralian with the notoriously bad taste in men? We at SHÄDY ÄCRES decided to find out.



The constant baking
Why do you bake so many cakes?
Because I quit smoking.
What’s your best cake?
My chocolate cake.
What happens with all the cakes?
You eat them.

The Master thesis
You’re pretty good at Windows Solitaire. What’s the strategy?
Calculation of averages. And I pick from the biggest stacks first.
Do you cheat?
Always.

The pedigree
You’re half Norwegian, half Australian. Which is which, and how?
I make the rules for that. And I can change them when I want to. It depends on the situation. I’m Norwegian when it is to my advantage to be Norwegian, and Australian when it is to my advantage to be Australian.
Do you have any Australian traits?
I like minced pie.
Do you have any Norwegian traits?
I don’t like Australians.

The promiscuity
What’s your best pick up line?
Oh. Good question. Usually, I don’t have to use pick up lines. Ha ha ha.
Then what do you do?
I just wait, and then I pick someone out. Ha ha ha.

The sedition
What about politics? Where do you stand? What do you think? What’s happening?
Ha ha. Even though I have to say I don’t think the left is doing its duty, that’s probably where I belong. Even if they don’t do their job, and mostly act like a bunch of whiners. Unfortunately. I think they have good ideas, but I don’t think they take their task seriously enough.
What’s their task?
To give the forces of capital opposition. Pragmatically, I think the left is there to lessen the abuse the haves inflict against the have-nots. They have to act as a brake against that.

The natives
You like to travel. Have you been anywhere interesting lately?
Yes, in Lüleå.
How is it?
Wet. And inhabited by a strange race of people.
How would you describe the people who live there?
Spoilt. Depressed. Weird.
Do you feel any kinship to them?
Obviously.

The senseless violence
I hear you almost ripped a guy’s ear off with a broken bottle, once. Give us some fighting tips.
My best trick is not to hold back at all. Of course I waited until he turned his back on me before I hit him with that bottle.
What about fair play?
Fair play presupposes some kind of mutual respect before the fight starts. It is one thing if two people who are equally strong fight it out to see who’ll win. But if you’ve already broken the rules of fair play, and mistreated someone, I think you need to be taught that those rules can be broken by anyone. Then you have already given up your own right to fair treatment by the person you have mistreated. That’s something you learn in kindergarten.
What’s the worst fight you’ve been in?
I don’t know if there’s one… The worst fights were the ones where I got beat up.
What’s the worst beating you’ve taken?
I got kicked in the mouth. Hard.
Where was that?
In Stöckfisck.
Who did it?
I don’t want to talk about it.
That’s OK.

The partying
So, you’ve quit smoking and started baking cakes instead. What about the booze and the hard drugs?
Yes, I have found out that my cake can run on cake, I mean my body can run on cake much longer than it can on amphetamines, or LSD, or cocaine. Hashish I just think is boring. In many ways, I still think I would like drinking and taking a lot of drugs, but I’ve realized that the same scenario plays out every time. It repeats itself, when you do that. It does not hold much excitement for me anymore. It becomes depressing to duplicate the same party over and over again. There’s no substance. The worst thing about drugs is the bad scene and the stupid people that comes with it. Otherwise, I think I could certainly keep taking drugs if it wasn’t for the stupid people you have to take them with. Because, as we all know, taking drugs by yourself is both pathetic and boring. So that’s, I guess, a good argument against legalization.

The fashion statements
I’ve heard that your next tattoo is going to be a dolphin at the small of your back.
You’re wrong; it’s a big dolphin on the inside of my left thigh, sticking its nose up my ass. It’s something I’ve given a lot of thought. I’ve worked hard on the design, and I’ve decided that it’s going to be a Celtic design in light purple.

The love life
But enough about you. Let’s talk about your boyfriend. What do you like about him?
Today, the best thing I can say about my boyfriend is that I like his T-shirt.

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J.B. and the G. go on a working holiday in Slumberland

Exterior. Landscape. Day.
There are books everywhere. Disorganized heaps as well as neatly categorized stacks of varying size and stability make up the hills and valleys of a vast landscape that stretches beyond the horizon. James Bond and the giraffe are hiding behind a mound of fashion magazines. Bond, wearing his ninja outfit, is hastily getting a Heckler & Koch assault rifle ready for action. The giraffe is perusing the latest issue of Cosmopolitan. A green knapsack is open between them.

GIRAFFE
What sort of lame ass metaphor is this, anyway? I mean, come on.

BOND
Shut up. How many times do I have to tell you to keep your head down? And hand me that magazine.

GIRAFFE
(Holds up the issue of Cosmopolitan)
This one? There’s a killer article called “Ten ways to please your giraffe”. I’ll tell you one thing: Whoever wrote it sure don’t know nothing about giraffes.

James Bond snarls and grabs a rifle magazine out of the knapsack. He loads the weapon.

BOND
Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to keep you around. The double negatives alone…

GIRAFFE
(Puts down the magazine)
Women are insane. Hey, did I tell you, I had that nightmare again. The one where all my ex-girlfriends form a panel of judges? Well, as usual they chronicle my wrongdoings, each in turn, in order to decide whether to send me to hell or not. Only this time they make their statements in the manner of musical numbers. A couple of them even do a little choreographed dance. Then, just as they are making their closing arguments, in walks my mother…

BOND
Telling people about your dreams, camelopard, is like showing them slides from your holidays.

GIRAFFE
That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think?

BOND
Well, you never ask me about my dreams, why would I want to listen to yours?

GIRAFFE
That’s not fair, James. I would love to hear about your dreams. I just assumed… You never talk about those things. You’re too wrapped up in this persona you have created for yourself.

BOND
What on earth do you mean?

The giraffe gives him a look.

BOND
Maybe you’re right. It’s just… I almost never remember my dreams. And if I do, you know, they’re not always pleasant. The line of work we’re in, the constant strain. The killing. Why do you think I drink? Hell, we both drink.

GIRAFFE
True. But I can go without it for long periods of time.

BOND
Because you store it in your hump, idiot. Anyway, today was different. This morning, I woke up calm and light after a very productive night of sleep. My dreams have left me with a feeling of well-structured finality on a whole range of conflict areas. I feel like there’s been a yard sale in my subconscious mind.

GIRAFFE
What a beautiful way to put it.

BOND
And you know what? This was all set off by that horrible Nick Kershaw video we saw on VH1 Classic. It’s true. It must have reminded me of the 5th grade or something. I didn’t even notice at the time, but that song stuck in my head and worked as a detergent on my memories of early pubescence. Every little nagging recollection of humiliation and loss seems to have clicked into position, played out and dissolved.

GIRAFFE
Wow.

BOND
My classmates, teachers and family members have been parading in front of me all night, holding their little speeches, doing their little twirls, like puppets that come alive in a play and afterwards return to the orderly box.

GIRAFFE
That’s the difference between you and me. You are so fucking well adjusted.

BOND
Quiet. Target is approaching.

The sound of sandaled feet running on crisp paper. In one swift movement, without hesitation, Bond lifts the weapon to his shoulder, takes aim and softly squeezes the trigger. There is a loud crack.

GIRAFFE
Did you get him?

BOND
Right in the heel. The tortoise will be pleased.

They get up, pick up the knapsack, and run toward the balloon.

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Friday, September 23, 2005

And now: Sports

We've been getting complaints that we don't cover major sporting events. To address this issue, we bring you a complete German opening move for the board game ÄXIS & ÄLLIES Euröpe. Be advised that the SHÄDY ÄCRES house rules include paratroopers, minefields and active neutrals.

UNTERNEHMEN SEELÖWE
Mission: Conquer the United Kingdom and hold it for one round.

Abbreviations:
INF: Infantry
ART: Artillery
ARM: Armor
AA: Anti-aircraft gun
FIG: Fighter
BOM: Bomber
TRA: Transport Ship
SUB: Submarine
CRU: Cruiser
CAR: Aircraft carrier
BAT: Battleship
TRA*: Naval transport w/cargo
BOM*: Air transport w/cargo
*INF: Transported infantry.

You know what you ought to do: Stack up that infantry, spew out those tanks and artillery units, start walking the long way east toward the slaughter, praying your subs will last you long enough to delay the inevitable mainland invasion. But then…

Every German player harbors a not-so-secret dream of once, just once, turning the tables and going for London instead of Moscow. The problem is that even against a mediocre Allied team this is virtually impossible.

The main obstacle is the lack of a robust Baltic fleet. You lost that in the Norwegian campaign, and besides you were too busy building all those nice panzer formations. They served you well in Poland, the Netherlands and France, but they can’t cross the channel, can they? You know there is no way you can pull this off by paratroopers alone, and by the time you get a big enough Mediterranean fleet in position the Americans will be in the game.

So what do you do? You have to build ships. There’s no other way.

Forget the element of surprise. If you want to, you can try to make it look like a clever way of shortening the Leningrad supply lines, which it partly is, but you’re not kidding anybody. As soon as they see those ships in the Baltic, they’ll know what they’re for.


I think this opening gives you a fighting chance:

Special Advance:
TRA Danish Sea

You’re building it anyway, so you might as well get to use it at least once, right? This is where you hope they spend their cash in Africa. Remember, there’s still time to change your mind.

Purchase Units:
BAT, CRU, TRA

Can you actually afford that? Yes you can. Enjoy the allies counting on their sweaty fingers. As soon as they see that battleship they’ll know what you’re up to, but they can’t be sure, so don’t tell them.

Combat Movement:
Remember: Always jumble the order of the attacks. Don’t show them how you prioritize. Keep them guessing.

3 INF Finland – Vyborg
FIG Norway – Vyborg – (Norway)
BOM* Germany – Vyborg – (Netherlands)
*2 INF Germany – Vyborg

This is for the Winter War. Give the Soviet player something to think about.

6 INF, 2 ARM, ART Poland – Baltic States

If your amphibious assault plan fails, the Army Group North will have to put your plan B into effect: A Scandinavian/Baltic States pincer movement on Leningrad followed by a direct thrust at Moscow.

2 TRA* Danish Sea – Baltic Sea
*2 ART Germany – Leningrad
*2 INF Netherlands – Leningrad

You could get more in there if you wanted, paratroopers, a couple fighters maybe. But that would tell them how important Leningrad is to you. Look at the fighter range: The only way they can make air strikes against your beautiful Baltic fleet is by landing or taking off from Leningrad/Vyborg/Baltic States airstrips. Can’t have that.

3 INF, ART, ARM Hungary – Bessarabia
3 INF, ARM – Rumania – Bessarabia

Your Army Group South’s only mission in life is to stir things up and kill Poles or Ukrainians, depending. It’s the holiday front.

BAT, CRU, TRA* Tyrrhenian Sea – Strait of Gibraltar
*INF, ART Northern Italy - Gibraltar

Take out the British destroyer. Put your Italian fleet in position to move north on its next move. Take Gibraltar so they don’t have the range to get planes in or out of the Mediterranean.

2 SUB Danish Sea – North Sea
SUB Barents Sea – North Sea
SUB Denmark Strait – North Sea
SUB Halifax Sea – North Sea
2 FIG Germany – North Sea - (Netherlands)
FIG Poland – North Sea – (Norway)

Take out the main British fleet. A classic move in many German openings, this is no exception.

2 SUB Bay of Biscay – English Channel
FIG Northern Italy – English Channel – (Netherlands)

Take out that destroyer in the channel.

SUB South Atlantic – Celtic Sea
SUB Azores Sea – British Convoy 2 – Celtic Sea
SUB Mid-Atlantic – Celtic Sea
FIG France – Celtic Sea – (Netherlands)

You might as well get a convoy point on the way, right? If you thought they still didn’t see it coming at this point, you could leave their transports unharmed, tempting them to invade. Every British unit stuck in France would be a bonus, right? Right. But how could they not see it coming? Every single British ship must be destroyed.

Non-Combat Movement:
You’ve now got some fighters in the Netherlands and some in Norway. They all have the range for the United Kingdom, but they could also swing back eastwards.

INF, ART, ARM Tunisia – Algeria

Sorry, you have to sacrifice North Africa. You’re a Dönitz, not a Rommel.

2 ARM France – Germany
2 ARM Netherlands – Poland
2 ARM Germany – Yugoslavia
2 ARM Northern Italy – Rumania

Get those precious armor units to the eastern front. You have to be really stingy about them, though. Don’t build stacks. Also keep a few for the Balkans and Italy just in case.

3 INF, ART France – Netherlands
4 INF Eastern France – Germany
INF Netherlands – Germany
INF Denmark – Germany

Leave a single infantry unit in France, tempting him to use British paratroopers.

2 INF Germany – Poland
INF, ART Czechoslovakia – Poland
INF Austria – Hungary
ART Austria – Germany

Keep the infantry flowing east, but get the artillery to the coast. It’s going somewhere else.

INF Southern Italy – Northern Italy
2 INF Yugoslavia – Rumania
2 INF Bulgaria – Rumania
INF, ART Greece – Yugoslavia

Thin out the Balkans, Southern Italy. If he sends an Egyptian task force to invade, you still have enough armor around to cream him.

2 INF Norway – Finland

That’s all you can spare, unfortunately. In fact, maybe it's too much. You're risking half your air fleet.

Place New Units:
BAT, CRU, TRA Baltic Sea

This is what it’s all about. This is your black queen. The Allies will try to act cool about it, but they’re actually shitting their pants. A German fleet in the Baltic is their worst nightmare. Enjoy it while it lasts, though; the Royal Air Force is coming.

Collect Income:
Collect 40 – 43 IPC

On your next turn, buy land units, maybe a transport if you’ve lost one. The Russian player has probably attacked you two or three places. He's taken Leningrad back - for now. The British player has probably bought a heap of infantry, and the American player has landed a fighter and two infantry divisions in the United Kingdom. If you can think of a way to stop him from putting his tiny fleet in the Sea of Azores, good. If not, wipe him out.

Don’t weigh the odds, don’t even think about them. Make a decision based on intuition. If you don't think you have the juice for it yet, wait a round. If you haven't merged your fleets by the third round, it'll never happen, so act quickly.

If you think you're ready, launch a full scale amphibious assault on the United Kingdom.

„Gib mir deine Hand, deine weisse Hand,
leb wohl, mein Schatz, lebe wohl, mein Schatz, leb wohl.
Lebe wohl, denn wir fahren, denn wir fahren,
denn wir fahren gegen Engeland, Engeland!"

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The giraffe works the night shift


Exterior. Ocean. Night.
A dark blue twilight. James BOND and the GIRAFFE are traveling by balloon. They move at an easy pace across the quiet ocean, each of them lost in his own thoughts.

BOND
My head is completely empty. I can’t think of anything.

GIRAFFE
Why don’t you just come out and say it?

BOND
Say what, camelopard?

GIRAFFE
You want me to tell you about my day.

BOND
If you say so.

GIRAFFE
Ok. As you know, yesterday was election day, and of course I had to work a night shift at the plant. When I got there, everybody from the evening shift was sitting around drinking coffee, watching the TV transmission, nobody saying a word. So I ask them, you know, how does it look? One of them stares at me, all confused, and goes, what, are you interested? Yeah, I am. Then one of the others tells me, reluctantly, it looks like a red majority. Oh, that’s good then, I say. The room goes all quiet.

BOND
Shit.

GIRAFFE
Yeah, That’s what I think. But then, it’s not a hostile silence, not embarrassed either. It’s more tentative, I think is the word for it. I realize they’ve been sitting there watching the transmission all evening, a whole bunch of them, nobody showing their colors. I’m still the new giraffe at the plant, but some of these giraffes have worked together for seven, eight years, and they don’t even know how the other giraffes vote. Isn’t that weird? Of course, in my head I’ve got them all figured out, Workers’ Party, Workers’ Party, Socialist, didn’t bother to vote, Progressive Party, Progressive Party…

BOND
I do that too, but I’m mostly wrong.

GIRAFFE
Yeah, I’m not. Anyway, now that I’ve come out and exposed myself, the others start feeling each other out. They’re being completely paranoid about it. It’s creepy, but at the same time it’s kinda sweet. One of them says, hesitantly, well, it’ll be interesting to see how this works out. There is a pause. Nobody makes eye contact. Then another one goes, yeah, and this is probably that party leader’s last election. Again a pause. A third one ventures something about the percentages as compared to last year. Then the first one speculates about who will get the ministry of finance.

BOND
It’s a thriller, that one. What if we get a socialist? Think of the interest. Think of the stock market. Think of the reichsmärck.

GIRAFFE
Shut your cakehole, fascist. The point is, nobody declares themselves.

BOND
I’m just saying. Optimism in the market, man. We need that optimism.

GIRAFFE
What the hell does that mean? Now you’re talking like my colleagues last night. When they finally warm up to it they start making these hollow statements that don’t mean anything, things they’ve picked up from TV, I guess. It’s like they’re back in school, doing a book report on a book they didn’t read. Do you know what I mean? They’re at it like that for like half an hour, until the shift is over and they can go home, the school bell rings and they all clear out. Still none of them has come out and confessed. They’ve been talking about politics for half an hour, and not one of them has told the others how he voted.

BOND
It’s a secret ballot, camelopard. You can’t blame them. It’s their right.

GIRAFFE
Whatever. They’re all nice, hardworking people. Who cares if half of them voted for the Progressive Party? That doesn’t make them evil. It’s just that they’ve been systematically misinformed, like the rest of us.

BOND
Here we go. Adjust your tinfoil hats, people.

GIRAFFE
All I’m saying is, no matter who you vote for, the government will still be in power.

BOND
What the hell does that mean? You’re rambling, camelopard.

GIRAFFE
Do you know how much I hate it when you call me that?

There is a hissing sound. The balloon wobbles slightly.

BOND
The balloon is loosing altitude. Let’s get back to work.

They get back to work.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

How the giraffe spent his make-believe future vacation

It seems Schtültenboobies and his pinkies won the election. It's the best we could hope for, considering the earth shattering stupidity of the general public. Myself, I like to celebrate election victories by pretending to be a screenwriter:





Interior. Basement. Day.
Damp, sparsely furnished concrete basement, perhaps somewhere in the former Soviet Union. SVETLANA enters through double steel doors, cursing and muttering under her breath. She is a large, able-bodied woman of indeterminable age, wearing a gray uniform and a red beret. No, make that raspberry.

SVETLANA
The giraffe... That goddamn giraffe.

There is an explosion. The ceiling comes down in a cloud of dust. James BOND rappels down armed with a crossbow and a machete. He is wearing a ninja outfit with a large Union Jack covering the crotch area.

BOND
Hold it right there, sister!

SVETLANA
(Frantically throwing knives at him)
You and that goddamn giraffe... You and him both!

Another explosion. A section of the wall collapses. The GIRAFFE, neck awkwardly bent, enters through a hole roughly forming a circle, only it has jagged edges, sort of shaped like bricks.

GIRAFFE
Möööh!

SVETLANA
Get a life, you 18 feet of pure tedium!

GIRAFFE
Möööh! I woke up to another ordinary day in the year 2055. When I told the computer to open the blinds, I saw that the sun was already up...

BOND
You tell her, camelopard. Tell her about your day.

SVETLANA
Not again. Every time the same goddamn story. I hate it, hate it, hate it.

GIRAFFE
...Oh no - I was late again! Amazingly, möööh, with all the fantastic new technology developed during the last fifty years, they still couldn't produce an accurate alarm clock. As I stepped into the bathroom my robot dog, Skip, started barking up my leg. "Not now, Skip" I said, "I'm late for school!" I distractedly gave him a kick, which really hurt, but did not dislodge him. He's made of titanium you see...

SVETLANA
Shut up, you cud-chewing freak! Do you honestly think anyone believes your ridiculous fabrications?

GIRAFFE
...After a quick ion shower and a breakfast pill, I sprayed on my silver outfit and put on the rocket boots and bubble helmet. It was time to catch the morning shuttle for the moon. Why my parents thought it was, möööh, a good idea to let me commute 376.284 km every day, I don't know...

BOND
Tell her about the aliens, camelopard. Go on, tell her.

GIRAFFE
...Well, the shuttle was full of all the other giraffes, and robots, and, möööh, aliens. Some of the aliens were green blobs with three eyes and seven tentacles, but most of them were from the Balkans. I found a seat and strapped myself in...

SVETLANA
(Pleading)
Shut him up, for the love of God. I'll do anything. Anything.

GIRAFFE
...On my way, I went over my homework. The assignment was to, möööh, calculate Pi to all it's decimals. I wasn't sure I had it right, so I, möööh, I just put "roughly four"...

SVETLANA
(Stabbing herself in the chest)
Aaaaaaaaargh!

BOND
God, I'll miss her.

GIRAFFE
Whatever.

They exit in different directions.

That's all I have right now. As you can see, I'm experimenting with animals that are funny at the same time as they are not moose. The giraffe is just such an animal. Although it possesses many moose-like qualities, it is incontestably neither a moose (Alces americana), nor an elk (Alces alces). My use of the, möööh, diacritical umlaut is purely habitual, and may seem a bit forced in this context: The giraffe lives on the savannah, and does not, as far as we can tell, speak Finnmärscker. That aside, I think we can all agree that if my predictions for the future turn out to be accurate, and the giraffe does in fact get a life, the world will be a better place for all of us.

I would like to add that few, if any, giraffes were harmed in the writing of this scene. Maybe one or two. Eleven, tops.

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There's that word again

Dear reader.


So we meet again. But this time, you have the advantage. By the time you read this, the Finnmärck election will be over, and you will know the result. As I write these lines, I'm still in the dark. Therefore, I've prepared two speeches: A red one and a black one. No matter what the hell happens, you guys are getting the red one. What did you expect? Politics is no joke.

The other night, I was out drinking with my friend the computer programmer and his wife the linguist. On our way from this place to that place we bumped into another one of my friends, the actor/food critic. Now, I love him dearly, but politically we are far apart, and with the election only days away the whole thing quickly turned into an unfair three-against-one squabble. At one time, he threw up his hands and said: Hey, people are different, we just disagree, that's all. We don't even have to talk about it. It's not important.

But that's just the thing, isn't it? It is important. In fact, few things are more important. Political decisions shape our everyday lives on a direct and intimate level. The one to win the captaincy and take the helm will decide the course and destination for all hands - for the vigilant officers as well as the dilligent crew, for the leisurely passengers and their ladies, for the drunken cook, for the slaves in the storage and the rats in the hull.

There is a line in the sand. There is an invisible division and a wrestle for control. Call it class struggle, call it whatever the hell you like. In our present society we may have abstracted it into a neat, civilized little game of tug-of-war, but look underneath, there it is. After the game, the playing cards abruptly come alive, and one is a jack, and one is a jester. The tokens are magically transformed into real means of subsistence, into food, clothes, shelter, shoes and umbrellas. Why? Because it's not a fucking game, and if push comes to shove, you have to take sides.

There was another time, not that long ago, when the differences between those who had far too much and those who had less than nothing increased. Commandeered by ideological extremists, one of the great powers rose to a position of such military potency that it thought it was no longer bound by international law. The boundaries of will, faith and reason became tangled to a degree where it seemed impossible to distinguish between right and wrong, friend and enemy, profit and loss. At just such an uncertain time, when present and past intermingled and the future became dim, all nations had to come to a decision. And there you have it: When the weather is fair and the waters are tranquil, every man is a decent captain. But how does he steer through the looming fog, across a murky, turbulent ocean? In Finnmärck, as in other Scandinavian countries, the decision was postponed to a point where someone else took it for us. It could happen again. Maybe it already has.

If we win the election, there is much hard work to be done, and we need to be reminded of our responsibilities. If we lose, we need to remember those who continued the struggle even though it was lost. I know of no one better to do either than Nördahl Glögg, poet and soldier, a man to turn to in good times as well as in really, really shitty times. This is my humble translation:

Independence Day 1940
Today the flagpole is naked
between the green of the trees.
How strange that in such an hour
we see what liberty means.
A song comes to life in the nation,
with victory in its notes,
although it has to be whispered
under the foreigners' yoke.

We held a newborn conviction:
Freedom and life is one,
as simple and fundamental
as the air which was suddenly gone.
We felt, when slavery threatened,
our lungs gasping for breath,
as if in a sunken u-boat...
We will not die such a death.

More dreadful than cities on fire
is the war that no one can know,
the venomous slime that blankets
the beech tree, the earth and the snow.
With terror and fear of informers
they contaminated our beds.
We used to have different visions,
dreams we cannot forget.

Slowly the land became ours,
we learned how to harvest and sow,
and the labor created a kindness,
a weakness for things that grow.
Our ways became old and outdated,
defiantly building on peace,
and those who thrive on destruction
have reason to scorn our deeds.

We fight for our right to respire.
We know that the dawn is near
when Finnmärsckers come together
in a great exhalation of air.
In the south we were separated
from pale and exhausted men.
To you we offer a promise:
That we'll be back again.

Here we'll remember the fallen
who gave their lives for our peace,
the soldier in blood on the snowbank,
the sailor whose grave was the sea.
We are so few in this country,
each dead is a brother and friend.
We have the fallen with us
the day we come back again.

Nördahl Glögg

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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Language is a virüsch - original post

For a foreigner, especially one who doesn’t understand the language, reading a Finnmärscker newspaper can be pretty difficult. To help you at least skim the headlines, we at SHÄDY ÄCRES have compiled a short glossary. It is with great ydmyykhet that we bestow upon you this next installment of our grand enlightenment project:


The Finnmärck Encyclopedia

Bewilging: A wonder medicine extracted from the antlers of the mighty moose. The shamans of the northern Kväpödder tribes subdue a young bull during the privätischering season, and under the light of the Aurora Borealis they work their ancient craft. By drilling a hole into the horns they are able to obtain a minuscule quantity of powder, which is then mixed with grillkrydder. The Bewilging works as a remedy for any ailment except melancholia.

Bruuker: The village idiot. Also a particularly stupid breed of owl that keeps flying into tree trunks. It is uncertain if there is an etymological connection between the two, and in that case, which is named after which.

Börettslag: The battle of Börett (1762), after which Finnmärck finally gained her independence from the Faeroe Islands.

Effecktivisering: A type of firecracker used on April 1st, Finnmärck Independence Day. Young children try to sneak them into their grandfathers’ pockets, and if they succeed they get a swift knock on the head.

Egenändel: A tithe paid by the villagers directly to the feudal lord’s first concubine, to support her shopping expenses.

Etick: An onomatopoetic word, stemming from the sound an axe makes when you swing it. In olden days, the Etick was the sacred code of the hangman’s guild. Originally an oral tradition, the code was written down in the 13th century by renowned hangman Master Willöch of Stöckfisck. Every hangman had a copy in his possession, on which his apprentice would swear the oath that assured his soul’s salvation. Over time, therefore, the word also came to mean the hangman’s oath itself, which the hangman would often recite during the execution of his terrible duties. When the assembled crowd heard the hangman muttering to himself on the scaffold, they knew that the moment was near. Thus the Finnmärscker saying, usually accompanied by a snap of the fingers: “Det er etisck forsvärligt.” – meaning roughly: A decision has been made on your behalf.

Folckegave: Any exchange that takes place across the social strata is considered a folckegave:

“The mutineers gave their officers quite a folckegave.“

“The king was busy giving his chambermaid a little folckegave.”

Fräschmeckler: One who has left the village to go on a Viking raid. Today almost exclusively used as a colloquialism for an annoying person’s sudden, mysterious disappearance – “sleeping with the fishes”:

“Where’s Sturmbannführer Sölheim these days? I haven’t seen him around.”
“He’s a fräschmeckler, don’t you know it.
“Ah. That figures.”
(From the movie Gütta på grisen, 1943)

Fylckeschkommüne: The second bulwark of a fortress or a castle; a fortification that stands between the outer rampart and the citadel proper; a parapet to which the defenders can fall back in an emergency. In modern warfare, a place close to the front where the field surgeon works, supplies are kept or the train is encamped. Thus, any area connected with logistics or medical care:

“O! Brethren – my weary Brethren!
By the Oath we took
On the sacred onions of Höne -
This day we will surely avenge the Death of a King
Even as the battlements are breached
And the bittersweet blood of Finnmärck
Floweth over the toppled stones
We will rally
Under a heavy hail of spears and arrows
To young Prince Vidkun’s Banner -
Behold!
The Green Piglet waveth from the fylckeschkommüne yet!”
(From the epic saga Stridens Pølse, 1801)

Förlick: Pre-marital oral sex. Thus Förlicksquinde: A person of either sex who engages in Förlick.

Försckriftschwerck: A good scare: “My, that moose sneaking up on us really gave me a försckriftschwerck.”

Grillkrydder: A sacred Kväpödder herb containing monosodium glutamate.

Hjelpeäpparat: An illegal hjelp (bootleg alcohol) distillery. Still very common in many parts of Finnmärck due to an unpopular law which forbids alcohol consumption on weekdays. Those who don’t wish to drink their entire ration on the weekend must resort to the hjelpeäpparat.

Höringsprozess: A constitutional amendment that makes it illegal for the monarch to sign his own name.

Integrätionspolitick: A kitchen appliance that both cuts vegetables and grates Parmesan cheese. Also Stöckfisck slang for a person you suspect got the job because they slept with someone higher up, but then it turns out you were wrong and they’re just gallingly competent and attractive.

Kjønnsdichötömi: An almost risk free surgical procedure, developed at the Sykeland Hønsehus Hospital in Lüleå. It furnishes the recipient with the ability to filter out the sound of a woman who won’t stop talking.

Kolonialdiskürz: Gibberish, mumbo-jumbo, things that would be filtered out by a kjønnsdichötömi.

Konckurränschedycktig: Being in a state of patriotic ecstasy, a rapture induced by the Independence Day celebrations:

“The procession passed the main square, the sound of the brass band merging with the blasts of firecrackers and livid slaps, pulsing and growing to a cacophonous crescendo. The swarming crowd was in an uproar now, fused together like a giant beast with a thousand wet, shining eyes, a thousand flustered cheeks, completely konckurränschedycktig and oblivious to everything but that one, common objective: to reach the food stalls. Slobodan Bondevic (for it was surely him), watching with revulsion from a nearby archway, slowly set himself in motion. He could feel the reassuring cold of the jackknife in his pocket as he made his way carefully, step by step, through the teeming mass of flesh. His eyes were on the woman he had once loved.”
(From the novel Døden spiser blodpølse, 1974)

Konscheckvenschtenckning: A Finnmärck state church dogma. It maintains that Christ the redeemer was both a God, a man, and also a drunken wife beater. The ramifications of this doctrine are too obvious to explain.

Kvälitetssickring: A common brand of painkiller: “Take two kvälitetssickring and call me in the morning.”

Kømpetanschehæving: The Finnmärscker national sport. The contestants, divided into two teams with cross-country skis on their feet, try to lift each other off the ground at the same time. They rarely succeed.

Livsckvälitet: A wave of nausea following a night of hjelp and förlick.

Løschningsörientering: The pep talk a kømpetanschehæving coach gives his team before an important match.

Mennesckerettighet: The banner of the Green Piglet, the first flag of Finnmärck. It was actually supposed to be a black raven or something, but the weaver was drunk and colorblind. The Mennesckerettighet was replaced by the Vext in 1212.

Mennesckeverd: A dreaded Viking tactic that involved using a flock of sheep as cover to sneak into an enemy village. Divided into two columns, the lønnsmöttakere (looters) and the ärbeidssøkere (gropers), the warriors would then proceed to wreak havoc, or at least bafflement.

Meschtring: A naked lunchtime siesta. In the northern district of Kväppland, it is common a belief that this habit is widespread in the southern Duchy of Fnättland, and vice versa. There is, however, no data to support this ancient, mutual prejudice.

Minschtepensjonischt: A rare, mythical creature, akin to the troll, which lives nowhere and roams the land looking for a home. It is said to be stuck between realms, and for this reason you never see more than half of it at any time. You will meet it in the hallway, or staring at you from behind a tree in the park, one side always concealed by shadow. You will see the top of it sticking out of the ground at cemeteries, or the legs protruding from under a sickbed. To encounter the minschtepensjonischt is a strange and wonderful experience. It may grant you three wishes and a radish, or then again it may devour you. It all depends on how you answer the riddle, which is always the same:

“Are you a man or are you a mouse -
Then answer me now: who built the house?
Who built the house, and who built the fence?
It doesn’t make sense.
It doesn’t make sense.”

Næringschlivstopp: Something that is more than just topp (meaning peachy, thumbs up, just what the doctor ordered) is said to be Næringschlivstopp.

Offentlich Zektor: Something that is more than just Zektor (meaning truly horrible, impossible to overcome, something it hurts to even imagine), is said to be Offentlich Zektor.

Omsoorg: Picking your nose in public, on which the Finnmärscker place a disproportionately heavy social taboo. A person caught in the act of Omsoorg is said to have committed omsoorgsswickt. He or she can never again enter a church on Sunday or work in a kindergarten.

Oppføølging: Stalking an animal with the intention of giving it a Försckriftschwerck. A widespread pastime, especially in the rural districts of central Finnmärck.

Perschonvern: An archaic first name that has recently become quite trendy again, mostly due to the popular TV character Perschonvern Gynt in the Storsätsing soap opera of the same name. Combined with the most frequently used last name, it denotes an average Finnmärscker Joe: Perschonvern Datätilsyn.

Privätischering: Sexual intercourse. Unlike most other languages, the Finnmärscker tongue possesses only one word for this particular activity. It does not distinguish between, say, lovemaking, fornicating and mating:

“The young bride awoke, blissfully exhausted from her first night of passionate privätischering.”

“You privätischering bastard! You’ve been privätischering my wife all along, haven’t you?”

“Don’t go into that part of the woods. The moose are in privätischering season.”

Regjeringskvärtäl: The food committee for the Independence Day party. It is an unwritten rule that as long as the members are able to supply any kind of täl (food), they stay in the kvär (committee). For this reason, the regjeringskvärtäl usually consists of the same people year after year no matter how bad the food tastes.

Rentehöpp: A simple folkdance:

“Let it swing, and let it rentehöpp!
Let it swing and let it rentehöpp, höpp, höpp!
Oh, oh, höpp!
Oh, höpp!
Let it swing, and let it rente –
Swing, and let it rente –
Swing, and let it rentehöpp!”
(From Rentehöpp från Utmyran, Finnmärck traditional)

Rijksrevisjon: The National Gallery. It is located in Stöckfisck and houses the works of, among others, national romanticist Perschonvern Rettszickerhet, world famous female modernist Allianze Terrör Komprömiss, and surrealist Älmennhensyn Overvååking. There is also a small video installation by Natö Politischtaat.

Schpilleregel, den Demöckrätiscke: The National Anthem, composed by Edward Glögg with lyrics by Bjørnstierne Sjøpølse.

Schøpefescht: The annual, televised ball hosted by King Vidar Benito XIII at the Royal Castle in Stöckfisck to commemorate his ascension to the throne in 1975. An invitation to the Schøpefescht is considered a great honor. The king holds an almost identical speech every year, in which he once again explains why he felt it necessary to take the number XIII, when he is verifiably the first king of Finnmärck to bear the name Vidar Benito.

Solidäritet: A rare flower of the Saxifraga genus that grows on the other side of the mountain.

Storsätsing: The Finnmärscker public broadcasting service, often abbreviated SS. They are seldom allowed to show anything but kømpetanschehæving competitions, Schøpefescht footage and antique BBC crime shows.

Störtingschmelding: An SMS text message about something really important:

“Tonight’s concert has been postponed due to a störtingschmelding from the conductor’s pregnant wife.”
(From a sign posted outside the Glögghallen concert hall in Lüleå)

Sübsidie: A kind of Kväpodder wafer, eaten with grillkrydder.

Vext: The proud flag of Finnmärck, the Vext is a yellow cross on a white background. It appeared out of a thunderstorm on the antlers of a mysterious white moose in 1212, and replaced the Green Piglet by consensus.

Välgfrihet: A ridiculously expensive private school for the children of the elite, located in the vicinity of Börett, on one of the many islands of the Bäconbukten.

Væælfæærdsschtaat: Literal meaning: Site of Pilgrimage. A fairytale land that is rumored to exist east of the sun and west of the Væærdisckäping. Many have gone in search of it, but they have all perished. Sadly, this doesn’t prevent others from trying. Every year hundreds of people, both young and old, die on their way to the Væælfæærdsschtaat.

Væærdighet: A type of food poisoning you get from eating putrid moose meat. According to superstition, væærdighet is actually the product of a nasty Kväpodder curse. If a person suddenly gets ill for no apparent reason, is institutionalized or can’t take care of himself, he is said to have væærdighet.

Væærdisckäping: The white moose. With its 2317 meters over sea level, the Væærdisckäping is indisputably the highest mountain in Finnmärck. First climbed by the Wisswass Party in 1897, and again by national hero Fridjalf Tøysen in 1904, it has now become an important tourist attraction:

“May 28th:
We made steady progress again today. The scenery is majestic, humbling. Saw a beautiful spray of Solidäritet along the south ridge, across the ravine. Could not get to it.

June 2nd:
Not much headway today. Mistake to attempt to circumvent the glacier on the eastern side. My decision - feel responsible. We must push ahead regardless, no question about it.

June 7th:
Had to backtrack five hours. The summit seems more distant than ever.

June 9th:
We did it! Discovered a large natural grotto system, entrance hidden on southwest wall, exit on other side of glacier. Named it after myself. Had to leave some of the equipment to be able to pass through narrow, central confine. Unfortunate, but worth it: View from northern plateau breathtaking. God, I love mountaineering!

June 12th:
Serious problems. Canned moose beef bought at the foothills from local Kväpodders has given half the party væærdighet, and we’re quickly running out of bewilging to treat it. Sent Perschonvern to reconnoiter retreat, just in case.
(Later)
Everything is öffentlich zektor. Perschonvern just returned. The tunnel has caved in. No retreat possible. If we don’t forge ahead, we’re all privätischert.

(Several pages missing)

June 17th /18th ?:
Can’t go on like this. Nothing left but dry sübsidie. Älmennhensyn and some of the others want to go back and try to traverse the glacier, find a way down. He is a bruuker, the others too. Lunacy. So close. Plotting against me, am sure of it. Blame me for the death of Perschonvern… (Undecipherable) … Plant the Vext at the peak. With or without… (Undecipherable) …Nothing left down there for me. Nothing. Must keep climbing.

Undated:
(Undecipherable) …Tried to warn them.

Undated:
I am finally alone. The mountain seems to be speaking to me, but I can’t make out what it’s saying.”
(From The Wisswass Diary, 1897, discovered at the summit by Töysen in 1904)

Ydmyykhet: A feeling of utter intellectual superiority: “It is with great ydmyykhet that I assume the position as Foreign Minister.”

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