My Pepsi Boycott

Pepsi announced that they were going to advertise in the evening/early-morning sky with cubesats that have reflective mylar sails. They will spell out, like constellations, the image Pepsi wants us to see. This is a horrible idea that will be seen over large swaths of the Earth at a time.

Pepsi may be stupid. They might have missed the cries of foul back in the late eighties when France tried to put up a 100th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower space tribute.

So why could anyone be against advertising no matter the form it takes? After all advertising is the lifeblood of economics, isn’t it?

Imagine two lovers in the twilight. The one might say, “You are as lovely as the stars themselves.”

“Blechhh! The ones that spell out Pepsi and take orders from a mega corporation? Double blechhh!”

Imagine a group of amateur astronomers, pulling an allnighter to see as many of the Messier objects as possible. “Just the M81 and M82 galaxies left and we’ve done it!”

“Oh no!” cries another amateur astronomer. “It’s early morning and the Pepsi logo is advertising in front of M81 and M82. We’ll never succeed now! I’m picking Coke!”

A professional astronomer checks the photographs she has been imaging for a couple hours. She thinks, even with all the space equipment, a surprising amount of astronomy is still done on earth. Anger sets in as she takes the photos from their housing and takes a first glance. There are streaks on the photos all running the same direction, ruining her work of the evening.

With her red light flashlight she examines things more closely. She imagines the streaks as dots placed at the end of each streak. This way she can spell out PEP. Of course. Advertising is much more important than mere science. Imagine once the newness (and expense) of space advertising has settled down. Advertising could be anywhere in the night sky.

Free at last from the way too busy cities, a couple turns out all their lights to see the beauty of the night sky and the milky way.

There isn’t even the glow of streetlights from nearby towns because the couple located many miles from any town or village that had them. They paid a million dollars for this view. And now they have to look at the Pepsi logo constellation even more brightly than it can be viewed in the city.

What is the public to do? We could fund raise to get India to blow up the cubesats. But this creates debris that is dangerous for all the other satellites up there.

A few days after the original article, Pepsi backed out of the deal with the Russian advertiser. But not before getting tons of free publicity once for the announcement and once for the pull back. This free publicity may have been the whole plan.

So to counter Pepsi’s greed, I will boycott products I know are Pepsi made. I will do this for a year, longer if I choose that at the end of the year. This is a huge thing to do because Pepsi makes so much of what is in the stores.

In beverages this means no Pepsi, Mountain Dew, 7 Up or Mug Root Beer. No Gatorade, Aquafina, Lipton or Brisk. No Tropicana juices and other beverages that I have yet to find out about.

Pepsi also owns Frito Lay chips and the host of chip products that company produces. And apparently to get to Gatorade this ravenous company had to buy Quaker, the cereal company.

Now that’s a long list of products I will need to avoid. I have no doubts that I will be able to avoid this company’s products for a year. After all in the early eighties I had a coffee at McDonald’s. It was so grotesquely bad that I don’t purchase or even use coffee from this corporation. McCafe permanently lost a customer. I remember.

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Web of Murder

The “call before you dig” public advertisements got me thinking. What if it wasn’t possible to bury a body in the back yard because there were no spots where that large of a space wasn’t crisscrossed with buried wires.

Indeed lets say that the entire yard was crisscrossed with wires every two or three feet apart. Digging in the ground at these spots would either have the shovel deliver a shock to the wielder or cut out the streetlights near the house and hydro at the house. In other words, it would be obvious who was trying to bury a body.

Alright, but what about gardens? These are spots that all homeowners like to dig up from time to time in the pursuit of horticulture. We could just build the web of murder detecting wires 3 feet deep and make the homeowner stay above this limit.

Of course there might be accidents in the gardens of suburbia, especially with rotor tillers and other heavy machinery involved. So I say the web of murder detecting under the gardens might just be the kind of wires that only turn out the streetlights and don’t shock the transgressor.

Special accommodations would also have to be made for planting shrubs and trees and hedges. First of all a line or fence of hedges had better be in the master plan of the house because there is no way that the web of murder detecting is going to be compromised that many times.

And trees develop phenomenally huge root systems. Again I think the time to add them is in the master plan of the house. If an original tree falls down or dies, a new one of the same size and type of root system could be planted at that exact spot.

Shrubs could be allowed. In this case the owner could tell the city worker where they want the shrubs. The city worker could, after looking at the web of murder detecting, spray small Xes on the grass in the closest spots to what the homeowner wanted.

Now the homeowner isn’t helpless and could easily buy wire detecting equipment. They could work much like a metal detector/stud finder hybrid.

The homeowner with murder in his heart would find that the biggest empty spot in his backyard was a 2 by 3 foot section. He could come up with the idea of burying his victim vertically instead of horizontally. This sounds like a triumphant idea until you realize that you’d have to dig at least 6 feet down. Then might come the realization that you can’t flip a normal shovel over with its payload of dirt in a 2 foot by 3 foot confined space. You would have to come up with another idea that might not prohibit you from successfully completing the hole in one night.

Not being able to bury someone in one night is a desired outcome. It’s true that any lock can be picked or otherwise broken into. The idea is to slow down the criminal enough that someone spots them and reports it to the authorities. The same could be true of our web of murder detecting.

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Please Don’t Make Trump Cute

I imagine most netizens have seen the giant Trump baby balloon by now. I object to this because it sends the wrong message. You see the vast majority of people regard babies as cute. No matter how ugly the baby is it is still regarded as cute. Trump is anything but cute with his actions.

Now, granted, the balloon is an unnatural orange which is a colour a baby can’t be. This is the first point that makes it a bit scary. And yes it is scary to breast feeders with those full adult teeth. And that hair swoop looks scary and unnatural for even a baby with bed head (crib head?).

Still the balloon is enough like a baby for some people to say “cute”. Trump is not cute. A man who in his very first election statement to the public used racist imagery against Mexicans is not cute. A man who kept children from their parents for months is not cute. A man who tries again and again to keep millions of Americans from their health care is not cute.

I definitely see the point that the baby terminology brings up. Trump acts like a baby so often in order to get his way. At his age the likelihood of incontinence is quite high and thus there is the diaper the balloon baby is swaddled in. Then there is the immature way Trump seems to lack filters. He might as well just cry for all the world to see – that’s just as immature an action as other acts of Trump.

Babies have all these qualities and still are considered cute. Let’s not give Trump this free pass.

Still I can’t help but think about the monologue from As You Like It by Shakespeare that starts with “All the world’s a stage…” and describes the seven ages of a man’s life. The seventh and last age is second childhood, indeed “sans teeth” implies it goes right up to second infancy. And that might be where Trump is right now. He is old enough to be in the last age of life. Someday soon he may be “Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.”

Finally I just have this to say. Stop dragging innocent babies down to Trump’s level. It’s unseemly. They don’t deserve the comparison.

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Shadowy Man on the White House

I was watching the news when they pulled back to a shot of the White House. I usually ignore such shots. For all I know it could be a stock photo and not a live feed. But this time I saw something move on the top of the White House. It was a shadowy man walking confidently on the roof.

Then I wondered if I should attempt to call the White House just to let them know that there is a possible perp on their roof. Chances are it’s nothing, but, if it is something then who knows how bad it might be?

Then I remembered who is the person in the White House. That is when he is not out on his golf courses. Only then did it occur to me that I might have things backward. The president’s life might not be at risk, instead he may be preparing a special welcome in the morning.

I tried to look up the itinerary at the White House but had zero luck. Then again the plot may be against everyday people of the White House like staff, security or reporters.

That last one had to be it. Perhaps the shadowy figure was getting a cauldron of boiling oil set up on the roof so the president’s minions could pour it on the unsuspecting watchdog press and Fox News. It’s not like ‘rump hasn’t gone back to old style “solutions” like walls to keep barbarians out.

With “fake news” warnings everywhere from this presidential era, the watchdog press couldn’t truthfully say that they weren’t warned or at least foreshadowed. But I can warn them of my intuitions and perhaps there won’t be a burn crisis on the lawns of the White House.

Still an evil spirit may have been on the roof of the White House. So I think an old time seance or building exorcism might be performed on the whole building. Maybe the evil spirits will leave. It may even take promises of socialism, but, by 2020, those evil spirits may finally be exorcised from the White House.

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Blinking To My Own Beat

The other day I was distracted watching a news broadcast when the interviewing reporter seemed to blink erratically. I came out of my suspension of disbelief (something a non-fiction consumer of news needs to have these days), and thought of all the great possibilities of being a reporter yet getting my own message out by blinking my eyes in Morse Code.

Now I know the power of Morse Code due to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew who it seemed got captured every book and manage to transmit S.O.S. by some means to the rest of the world and thus get freed again. S is three short blips in a row, followed by O, or three dashes in a row, and then back to S.

But as I imagine my career as the Morse Code reporter, I realize it is hard to say one thing by mouth and a complete other thing by my blinks. As such I intend to keep my blinks to very simple things. If this means I don’t have to become fluent in all words Morse Code, so much the better.

I will start my career as a lowly roving reporter. That is where I plan to use my first Morse Code insertion. As a shout out to the pioneering Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, I will blink out S.O.S. at random times in my roving reporting. I hope enough people notice that I will be promoted (and thus helped by the S.O.S.) to an in studio broadcaster and commentator.

For the next step, I will learn the phrase, “Blah, blah, blah.” Or if I’m feeling cheeky, “Bob Loblaw” (say this out loud three times fast to hear what it means [It’s an Arrested Development joke.]). I will save blinking out this message until I find the interviewee pontificating too much. Which should be easy as long as the target of news broadcasts, the politicians, are of the usual order.

Then once I have built up my audience and they trust my commentary, I intend to learn one more word of Morse Code. That word will be, “Liar.” I intend to be as honest as I can and only use it when I truly believe the mark is lying. This will allow many, many people to be in on the truth especially during times of campaigning. Can I swing an election? I don’t know but at least I’ll have an opportunity to try.

And finally I will be able to be a truly fair reporter. I’d be calling the politicians on their BS while still keeping my likely slanted broadcaster in the dark.

Of course I could just stay away from reporting altogether and readily say whether the politicians are being truthful or not. But that usually just gets dismissed as random ranting. A long convoluted plan using lots of subterfuge just sounds better.

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Hobbes the Robin

Early on in his schooling Hobbes the Robin learned the expression “the early bird gets the worm”.

While he didn’t enjoy learning that he would have to get up earlier to see if this expression was true or not, still he resigned himself to it.

His parents allowed him to use an alarm and he got up while it was still dark and got himself ready to test the truthfulness of the saying. His Uncle Bob had warned him it’s a matter of statistics, that there might not be more or better worms the first time but if he did it 10 times it should be shown to be true.

Hobbes was out of the house before the sun’s first rays were visible. His head felt a little funny and his eyes burned from getting up so early. Still, when his eyes first adjusted to the dark he immediately saw his first worm and went to it.

The worm tried to go underground before Hobbes got to it but it was too late. Hobbes had his breakfast as quickly and as easily as he had ever had it.

Hobbes loved the saying that inspired him. So much so that he mentioned to Uncle Bob that he was going to try to be the early bird in another way.

“Where did you hear about this other way?” asked Uncle Bob.

“I don’t know.” said Hobbes. “It’s just something that was in the air. In the interest of completeness, I think I must test this to see if it is true, too.”

“It’s dangerous. I think what you heard was just worm propaganda.”

That spring, Hobbes headed north 3 weeks earlier. He had wanted to do it even earlier but his Uncle Bob had insisted. “You might be able to live for 3 weeks without food, but not much longer.”

The flight up to his summer stomping grounds was colder than he expected. At first he flew over patchy snow which is what it looked like when he normally arrived at his destination. This time he flew hours and hours over solid snow before he arrived at his favourite summer tree. It had a notch in it that Hobbes figured would keep him sheltered and warm.

Hobbes hadn’t imagined where the worms would be in any of his thoughts previous to arriving. In the cold winter he was now stuck in, he realized it was probably under the snow. That could wait for tomorrow to find out.

After all the flying he had just did he normally would have slept deeply. Instead he slept fitfully and his alarm woke him up before the sun.

His eyes adjusted but there were no worms to eat. He decided to work on a patch of snow that seemed lower than the rest. He shoveled the snow away with his feet. Halfway through his feet were numb with cold. He warmed up for another couple hours in the notch before returning to his work.

There looked like there were no wormholes at the site when he was finally through. But that was okay. Astute robins would use their beaks on the ground to uncover holes. Hobbes pecked at the ground. It had no give and was frozen solid. He tried for awhile longer before giving up.

The next two days were cold and hungry. The third day was warmish with rain. It was unpleasant to fly in the rain. Still Hobbes did some exploring. At the end of light on that third day, there were other spots where the ground was visible. Hobbes tried pecking at that ground and penetrated a couple millimeters before hitting the hard ground again.

The rain turned to snow the next day and in the stretch of time that it stayed cold, Hobbes vowed to torture the first worm that he found. He would do it worse than when a cat tortures a mouse.

It had been over two weeks and only that one day had it been rain that came down. Light snow came down a couple days but a sunny stretch melted the snow enough that the patches of ground reappeared. Two and a half weeks in it became warm enough that Hobbes beak could penetrate the ground to the depth of the average wormhole.

He dug and dug and dug with his beak until finally seizing something that tasted like worm. He pulled it out and was gratified that it was indeed a worm. He was so hungry that he didn’t torture the worm and gobbled it down.

When the rest of his family arrived in a few more days, Hobbes had had another couple worms.

“Well, did you manage to prove me wrong?” Uncle Bob asked.

Hobbes had seen his own reflection in water. He was still unhealthily thin. If he lied his family would see through it.

“It’s worm propaganda. Now let’s not speak of it ever again.”

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Opposites Attract

I was on the subway, midday, so it wasn’t that crowded. Which I thought was good because I could be anti social and interact with my foldable phone. I did hear the steps that walked up and sat heavily across from me. Between us was a window which was no good in the underground except at the stations.

On reflection, I think this bothered him and thus he let out a loud, “Ahem!” as if he wanted to speak.

Briefly I looked up to check the nearby positions of everyone. There was no one else in easy speaking range so he must have meant that ahem for me. I decided not to get involved and deliberately bent my head to my machine.

“What do you do for a living?” the man asked and I knew that my prized time on my machine was over. “I bet your in charge of people and only approach others with orders never to approach you. Am I right?”

“I’m a doctor.” My eyes darted back to my machine with his pause.

“Specialist? Family Doctor? Surgeon? Philosophy?

I smiled at that last one. “I’m a plastic surgeon.” Noting an in with his mixed up nose I gave him a card. “That is, in case you know anybody.”

He smiled. “I’m the opposite. You fix people’s faces and I ruin them. I know what rhinoplasty is.” He must have read that off my card.

“I give up then. What do you do for a living?”

“I’m a professional boxer.”

“That’s how the opposite thing works, then. I could have guessed it was something like that by the way you carry yourself.”

He smiled and I thought the conversation might end there.

“Of course I don’t dare get my nose fixed until I’m sure of retirement.”

“That is also under the condition it isn’t too hard to fix. I do improvements not miracles. Break that thing too many times or too badly from one punch and there’s nothing I can do.”

“Opposites attract,” he said and got right to the point. “Maybe you and I could work together. For a commission I could ruin faces that you then fix.”

“None of your boxing buddies would go for that.”

“I’m talking the general public. In a one-plastic-surgeon town you would get all the business.”

“But surely you would be arrested each fight you started.”

“Not if I donned a mask, got a police scanner and only punched out criminals.”

“Crime fighting for profit. Why you are in the same territory as the police themselves.”

“And the judges and the jailers and everybody else. Why shouldn’t we have the same lucrative business? And, really ,would you have the obvious criminals profit from what they do? There would be one more layer of responsibility on their backs.”

“What would you do about guns?”

“Can’t a guy just roll around ideas in their head?”

“Good. Because there is no way I’m leaving for a one-plastic-surgeon town.

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Strange as Fiction

Everyone who has seen the movie Alien or any of its sequels knows and remembers the chest bursting scenes. But did you know that this scene isn’t as original as it seems on the surface. That there were a few incidents on Earth that gave arise to this idea.

First of all, the chest bursting thing never happened. That would be ridiculous. A creature bursting through the strong ribs of a human is unlikely. However it is just possible that a creature can burst through the soft walls of a stomach.

What kind of parasite would be able to do such a horrid deed? Why it is no other parasite than homo sapiens sapiens and it does it to its very own mother.

Well that’s a fine, “How do you do?” How could a human do such a horrid thing? Well of course the offending human was a fetus using its most powerful move – the kick.

Pregnant women survive kicks from their fetuses all the time. You see the problem exists with the proficiency of the fetus at kicking.

To find out about such births, we at Many Rants looked at some of the most proficient kickers of all time. We combed through the records of the best football kickers, the best martial artists and the greatest jockeys of all time. You might not know that proficient jockeys kick their rides in the stomach hard to get them to reach maximum speeds.

Sly Stamine is the first football kicker with a troubled birth that we found. Buried in the birth report made by the attending doctors, the birth was labelled as being premature due to “endopiercing of the womb and surrounding torso by the fetus itself. This forced the start of a cesarean section to remove the rest of the fetus.” For those of you who don’t know, endo means inner and piercing means to go through. There can only be one interpretation. Sly Stamine kicked so hard that his leg went right through his mother’s stomach.

I know the Alien didn’t come out foot first but reality is often different than fiction.

For those of you who don’t know, Stamine successfully kicked a 65 yard field goal that won the AFL championship.

Kick boxer, Tanu Leesmuh, also had a strange birth. His mother was thought to be murdered by the looks of the hole through her stomach. The police, however, noted that it was unlikely that the foot of the fetus would have made it through the hole if the hole was made exterior to interior. The police I think rightly insisted that the foot itself had exited the womb. His mother unfortunately died as a result but Tanu Leesmuh was known for having the strongest kick in all martial arts.

George Moore, the jockey, also had a tragic birth story. Before he was born his mother had great pain inside her back though strangely not around her back bone. She was quickly scanned and found to have two bad kidneys. His mother was put on dialysis after which the doctors induced George’s birth. They observed problematic tears right to her kidneys They fixed this and then got George’s uncle to donate a kidney to his Mom.

Everything worked out and everyone survived. But it is obvious that it was George’s strong kicks that risked all of them.

As an adult, George got some traction in the jockey world, winning many races but eventually his history followed him. The horses that he kicked to victory were not so good their next few races because they were bruised and sore. Eventually George had to retire.

So there it is. The next time you see a chest bursting scene in an Alien movie, you can say “I know where they got that whole idea.”

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Welcome, From Your Prescient Blog Site

This blog hasn’t always had prescience. In fact I’ve never noticed any signs it could predict the future until a few days ago. And it is only one post out of hundreds that is prescient. But the prescience in the post is undeniable.

In “Hug an Oak Tree Today”, I used my awesome powers of pattern recognition to say that first elm trees, then ash trees were wiped out in my part of North America. There was only one type of tree left that was three letters long and started with a vowel. The mighty oak tree was next, or so I figured.

Oak wilt has spread across much of the eastern United States. It has now been spotted near Detroit. Then the Detroit river is all that is stopping Southern Ontario from getting this tree fungus. It is expected to get to my area in only a couple of years.

After a tree is infected it usually dies in less than a year. I gather that all oak species are affected but some get infected more easily than others. Some oaks may be preserved for years by making sure never to prune them in the spring or making sure that infected trees don’t touch roots with uninfected trees. But I gather that all are going to die eventually.

I’m sorry that I brought this on. Me and my  ) @ ^^ ^ pattern recognition powers that led to this prescience. I apologize. Perhaps I will in the future try to use my pattern recognition skills for only things that might have a positive outcome. That way prescience won’t sneak up and bite me in the @$$ like it has this time.

Maybe some good will come out of this. Well, obviously not for the environment, but for me. I am writing science fiction that I will eventually publish or have published. It wouldn’t hurt to let the fans know that I predicted the future correctly in the past. Most science fiction writers are lousy at predicting the future so this little bit of prescience will seem impressive to many science fiction fans.

Perhaps there is hope for me. Too bad I couldn’t share this hope with the trees.

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Aliens are Humans? – Wait a Minute!

I’ve heard it said that all aliens in science fiction are really humans in disguise for getting the author’s point across about humanity. Apparently the prime directive about writing science fiction is that it must be human centred even when it is obviously not.

All I can ask is WTF are these awful know-it-alls trying to say and who elected them the only purveyors of meaning in fiction? Are words lost on these people? Since when does alien mean human? Does that mean that the aliens I write (which are true aliens) are the first ones that have ever existed in science fiction? Fine, I’ll take that first.

The idea that aliens are humans might work on Star Trek where the aliens are all humans with putty. This might explain the ridiculousness of Spock, where humans and Vulcans can breed with successful offspring. But the idea that all aliens are humans breaks down very obviously in most written science fiction.

The next trick in stealing science fiction from the masses is to say that all planets are really Earth. They exist as dystopias or utopias or alternate reality for the reader to decipher as being a facet of the one true planet. Well at least habitable planet.

If you are going to say that there are no real aliens (just facets of humanity) then you are going to probably say the same thing about characters that are robots or computers, animals, godlike creatures, or lesser magical creatures. So you have compressed my 6 kinds of characters into one all encompassing human category.

If you are going to say that Earth is the one true setting then you are going to compress my 5 basic settings (earth, the divine [heaven or hell], anything hard with gravity, weird and exotic settings [other astronomical objects], and free fall) into the one giant category of “the facets of earth”.

If you agree that there is only one true setting and one true character then congratulations. You have made your universe a lot more simple. You have also succeeded in making it a lot more boring. I’m sorry that the interesting has somehow managed to offend you.

I will never subscribe to that boring universe. Remember next time that those critics, who don’t acknowledge aliens, don’t speak for me.

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