Trigger Snowflake and the Grand Reopening

By Ingvar: Trigger was just about done with his pre-lunch stroll through Fort Corallium, when an almost out-of-breath Barbara Dimatis came rushing towards him.

“Sheriff! Sheriff! Have you heard?”

“No, Ms Dimatis, I don’t believe I have?”

“The Bistro has re-opened!”

“Bistro Futuristo?”

“Yes!”

“Well, I hope this is after a thorough investigation of all the alleged shenanigans around the dessert stations.”

“The editor’s column in the latest issue of Futuristo Magazine has some commentary around it. I believe Coraline should have a copy.”

Trigger finished off his patrol, then walked back to the office. This was clearly something well worth checking up on.

***

> What I saw in the Bistro over the last year by James ven Sveller

> I have now had time to review the allegations made against Bistro
> Futuristo, both specific and general.

> And I can say with confidence that they are all fabricated. What I
> have seen is a vibrant community of literary people, discussing art
> and curating the buffet in a civilised fashion, ranging from arranging
> or peeling grapes to the intricacies of experimental grammar in the
> works of Snorkly ven Ziploque. I have investigated tens of
> serving-related tools from the buffet, if not all of the thousands
> used to serve, and served from, during the years that the Bistro has
> operated.

> Were there dishes served I would not eat? Yes, some I would not touch
> with a three-metre pole. But, such is taste.

> When I first shut down the Bistro, I was overwhelmed with the love
> that past and current patrons of the Bistro expressed. It is now my
> privilege to re-open Bistro Futuristo again. And to distance the
> magazine from it, I have created a company I call LiteratureSalons to
> manage the Bistro going forward.

> We did make some changes during the close-down. Some areas of the
> buffet that were not well-trafficked (the spiced butter section, among
> them) have been taken out, and some have been moved, to better
> facilitate the serving flow.

> And remember that there are rules in the Bistro. No bringing in food
> from other Bistros. No disparaging the contributors to Futuristo
> Magazine.No pan-handling for causes not previously OKed by one of the
> curators.

> Also, in order to ensure we don’t get any of these blatantly false
> allegations in the future, we have made the Bistro a members-only
> establishment. To enter, you must have purchased a Futuristo Magazine
> in the last Earth year. Any visitor to the Bistro in the last 12
> months has been grandparented in.

Trigger could not quite believe what he just read. Was ven Sveller completely out of touch with reality? Was the clearly documented presence of emetics in the Cleveries not enough of a “there is a problem here” signal?

***

The following week, as Trigger entered the Emporium, for a sneaky afternoon snack of coffee and a danish, he was not expecting the extra item served with his between-meals snack. A letter-of-comment, printed out, next to his coffee cup.

> More Bistro Shenanigans? Leanne Ackie

> You have all heard the news that Bistro Futuristo has re-opened. As
> someone whose visiting privileges was grandparented in, I recently
> paid a visit to the re-opened establishment.

> Like previous times, I took samples from multiple stations and had
> them sent off to a laboratory for analysis. The situation with the
> purple Cleveries is the same. Roughly one in five is covered in
> emetics (and, mind you, this will eventually, through agitation,
> dissipate onto other candies in the same bowl).

> For the chocolate truffles, I sampled in total seventeen, from four
> different truffle plates. Of those, a whole five were now spiked with
> emetics.

> Based on this, I think we can simply conclude that the Bistro
> management were fully aware of what was happening and that they are OK
> with breaches of the “no forcey” rule, if that is in furtherance of
> Sulphurian appreciation demonstration customs.

“Ms Dimatis? Am I reading this correctly? That ven Sveller closed the bistro, only to re-open it and concluding that nothing untowards ever happened?”

“Yes, Sheriff Snowflake, I think that it is the only thing we can conclude. Did you like the latest roasted beans?”

Opening Lines Rewritten for a Pandemic — By Filers

Eli Grober’s “Opening Lines Rewritten for a Pandemic” in The New Yorker humorously changes the beginnings of famous books to suit life as we knew it in the plague year of 2020.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

It was a dark and stormy night, so we stayed inside, just like we’d done every night for the last year. In that way, it was a perfectly normal night.

Filers answered the challenge to add to the list. Here is a collection from yesterday’s comments.

Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein

If a man walks in dressed like a hick and acting as if he doesn’t need to wear a mask, he’s a spaceman.

— Bill

Idle Days On The Yann by Lord Dunsany

So I came down through the wood to the bank of Yann and found, as had been prophesied, after seven days of quarantine and a negative virus test, the ship Bird of the River about to loose her cable.

— David Shallcross

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

During a pandemic, these things are ceaseless: case number charts and social distancing.

— Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed, being careful to maintain a distance of at least six feet.

–Nina Shepardson

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

I will make my report as if I told a story, because I was taught as a child during the pandemic that truth is a matter of the imagination.

— Vicki Rosenzweig

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that his eleventy-first birthday party was cancelled due to Covid restrictions, there was much disappointment throughout Hobbiton. Gandalf stayed out of the Shire bubble entirely, so no fireworks, either.

— Andrew (not Werdna)

Casey Agonistes by Richard McKenna

You can’t just die. You got to book an appointment first.

— Jim Janney

Pipe Dream by Fritz Leiber

It wan’t until the mermaid turned up in his bathtub that SImon Grue seriously began to wonder about the possibility of contagion from the Russians next door.

— Jim Janney

The Pride Of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh

There had been something contagious on the station dock all year, skulking in amongst the gantries and the lines and the canisters which were waiting to be moved, lurking wherever shadows fell among the rampway accesses of the many ships at dock at Meetpoint.

— BGrandrath

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

I could have become a mass murderer after a few weeks of lockdown, but I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays and music consumed.

— Lorien Gray

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Do you remember where you were when the Meteor hit? I’ve never understood why people phrase it as a question, because of course you were inside, just like everyone had been for the last year.

— Lorien Gray

Triplanetary (Lensman Series, Book 1) by E.E. “Doc” Smith

Two thousand million or so years ago, two galaxies were carefully maintaining social distancing from each other.

— Steve Wright

Neuromancer by William Gibson

The sky was a color, but nobody noticed which color because they were all indoors on lockdown.

— Xtifr

Dragonsinger: Harper of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

When Menolly, daughter of Yanus Sea-Holder, arrived at the Harper Hall she arrived in style, with a N-95 mask and complete vaccination paperwork.

— Nancy Sauer

Smell Like A Superhero

Is there a science fiction movie character you want to smell like? Forget Swamp Thing, c’mon, he’s not in Fragrance X’s catalog. Otherwise, there’s no end of superhero and genre branded colognes you can buy.

First, here’s a whiff of justice —

BATMAN COLOGNE

Batman Cologne by Marmol & Son, Based on the classic Justice League character, Batman, this heroic scent for boys and men incorporates fresh spicy notes for an aromatic blend. Lavender, bergamot and black pepper open this fragrance. The middle notes contain cardamom, geranium and patchouli, and closing notes include musk and vanilla.

SUPERMAN COLOGNE

Superman Cologne by Cep, Embrace your inner strength with Superman, the aromatic green fragrance for men of all ages. Ideal for wearing throughout the year, this energetic scent has the power to carry you through the day and well into the night. The similarities with its namesake don’t end there, though, because this aroma’s sillage has a commanding presence in any room. The top notes of this powerhouse of a fragrance are sorbet, lemon, ginger and ozonic notes. Within its super heart beat’s the notes of blood grapefruit, nutmeg and green notes. The dynamic powers of aromatic Egyptian musk and amber support the upper layers of the perfume pyramid. This scent made its debut in 2012 for the boy looking for his first cologne or the man who’s seeking to recapture the energy of youth.

In space no one can hear you scream, but you can smell real good while you’re doing so.

STAR TREK TIBERIUS

Star Trek Tiberius Cologne by Star Trek, James Tiberius Kirk was a fearless leader and a real ladies’ man. His essence has truly been captured in a bottle with Star Trek Tiberius cologne. With this fragrance around your pulse points, you will feel like venturing where no man has gone before. This cologne, which was introduced in 2009, opens with notes of pineapple, pear and citruses. The heart consists of lavender, black currant and melon. Woody notes make up a large part of the fragrance’s base along with moss, musk and patchouli.

Star Trek is one of the most iconic science fiction franchises of all time. The original series lasted for three seasons after premiering in 1966. The show followed the adventures of the starship enterprise, which was led by Captain James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner. In the rebooted universe, James Kirk was played by Chris Pine. The show has influences numerous other properties over the decades.

STAR TREK SULU

Star Trek Sulu Cologne by Star Trek, Add an otherworldly flair to your outfit by wearing Star Trek Sulu cologne. This fragrance came out in 2010, and it features top notes of lemon, petit grain and lavender. The core of the composition consists of juniper berries, coriander and water lily. This warm heart will captivate your senses. The base brings out white musk, amber and sandalwood.

Star Trek has become one of the most iconic properties in all of pop culture. It is a science fiction series that began back in 1966. Gene Roddenberry developed the series to present morality tales, and the original series had cultural significance. The show was noted at the time from its progressive views on civil rights.

This particular cologne derives its name from the original character Hikaru Sulu. He was portrayed by George Takei in numerous films as well as the original series. In the rebooted slate of films, Sulu was played by John Cho.

For the next one I don’t have to make the obvious joke – it’s in the ad copy!

STAR TREK RED SHIRT

Star Trek Red Shirt Cologne by Star Trek, Men wanting a fun fragrance should wear Star Trek Red Shirt. This fragrance derives its name from the “red shirts” in the hit television series, which have become synonymous in pop culture for anyone in a movie or T.V. show who is going to die very soon. The top notes of this cologne include rosemary, lemon, apple and lime. The heart contains a mixture of fruity and water notes along with star anise, lavender and ginger. After all these aromas dry down, you get the base of musk, leather, amber, tonka bean and cedar.

Here are a couple of offbeat selections. I was wrong to assume Minions smell like bananas.

MINIONS

Minions Yellow Cologne by Minions, Offer your child a gift that keeps on giving by offering them Minions Yellow, a light, airy scent made from the popular Minions movie and television franchise. The top notes are designed to add a splash of freshness to any situation, and include tarragon, lemon, lime, lila and iris. The scent’s middle note consists of apple, and base notes are made from a simple combination of vanilla, tonka bean and amber.

Minions became popular through the rise of funny children’s movies such as “Despicable Me,” “Despicable Me 2,” and “Minions.” The fragrance itself was created by the parent company, Illumination Entertainment, which also happened to be the brain behind the movie production. The film “Minions” focused on the series’ most popular little characters, and grossed over a billion dollars in sales, prompting the creation of tons of merchandise like this fragrance.

Deadpool smells like a lot of different stuff – that part I agree with, anyway.

DEADPOOL

Deadpool Cologne by Marvel, Deadpool for men was launched in 2016 and is a musky, woody fragrance perfect for men who need a scent to help them get through the day; whether that means making it through a slew of stressful meetings, or a superhero day of stopping crime. The fragrance starts with the top notes of lavender, orange blossom, rosemary, sweet peppermint, and spicy coriander. The scent then moves into the heart notes of jasmine, oakmoss, and geranium. The base notes are an intriguing combination of warm amber, musk, soothing sandalwood, and woody cedar. These notes all work together to create a scent that is just as powerful as its namesake.

The cologne is moderately long-lasting to make it through the day but won’t become too much, and it has a soft sillage so it will entice without being overwhelming or unwelcome. The fragrance was released by Marvel, who created their first superhero themed scent in 2004.

VENOM

Marvel Venom Cologne by Marvel, Fans who cite Venom as their favorite character will love this unisex Marvel Venom cologne. Inspired by the formidable villain, this scent includes bright, fruity top notes of apple and bergamot orange. Beneath, the heart of the fragrance adds sweet floral notes of jasmine and lily of the valley along with sensual, earthy precious wood. Rich, grounding notes of cedar, musk and amber comprise the base of this franchise-based scent.

Personally, I associate the Hulk with the smell of smashed concrete and twisted rebar – what Marvel thinks is very different:

HULK

Hulk Cologne by Marvel, Unleash your inner Hulk with this cologne based on the famous Avenger. This fragrance first came out in 2004, a year after his big-screen debut in the Ang Lee-directed film. No one may like you when you are angry, but they will love being around the intense blend of notes found in this cologne, which include bergamot, orange blossom, musk, vanilla, woody notes and petit grain.

I’m fascinated that both X-Men Storm and Wolverine are “designed for young fans who might not hesitate to spritz liberally” – the kind of fans who might be the children of those guys in my high school locker room who doused themselves with Jade East.

STORM

X-Men Storm Perfume by Marvel, Feminine and powerful, X-Men Storm is a fresh spicy and floral fragrance released in 2004 inspired by the popular superhero character. The top notes of this fragrance include mandarin and violet, which slowly give way to the creamy heart of hyacinth, lily of the valley, iris, neroli, and freesia. The base is almost an almost undetectable hint of musk. The perfume was designed for young fans who might not hesitate to spritz liberally, so the fragrance isn’t overly potent or long-lasting, but is still suitable for a touch of floral scent on a day out.

WOLVERINE

X-Men Wolverine Cologne by Marvel, Inspired by the classic hero of comics and films, X-Men Wolverine is a straightforward scent with hints of thoughtfulness and ferocity. The simple formula includes a top note of orange blossom, a middle note of vanilla, and a base of musk. Designed for young fans who might not be able to withstand the temptation to spritz liberally, the fragrance is not overly potent. With its keepsake box, this fragrance is ideal for fans and collectors alike. . This fragrance was released in 2004.

This last one, really, you buy it for the helmet, right? Why even open the bottle?

STAR WARS STORMTROOPER

Star Wars Stormtrooper 3D Cologne by Disney, Showcase your inner Star Wars fanatic with Star Wars Stormtrooper 3D Eau de Toilette spray. The scent for boys opens with herbal notes combined lemon and bergamot. Orange blossom, midnight Jasmine and white flower bring a floral essence to the heart. Vanilla, amber and musk deepen the base for a decidedly masculine fragrance that isn’t overpowering. Complete your fan’s collection with matching shower gel. Show off the collectible bottle complete with stormtrooper head gracing the top.

A Star Wars Song Parodies Sampler: Because OGH
Asked For It [1]

[1] As in, in a comment back-and-forth in a previous scroll.

By Daniel Dern: In a comment to Item (7) “DANIELS OBIT. [Item by Danny Sichel.] Country singer Charlie Daniels — who wrote ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’” for “Pixel Scroll 7/6/20 Toss Me A Pixel Scroll, I Think There’s One In My Raincoat” I noted:

A quick site search suggests this hasn’t previously been “itemized”:

The Jedi Went Down to Tattooine

Followed by:

…there’s (unsurprisingly) no shortage of great Star Wars parodies — songs and otherwise. (Hmm, MAD did enough to put out a whole book MAD About Star Wars: Thirty Years of Classic Parodies  (includes covers and fold-ins!).

My favorites include Mark Jonathan Davis’s (aka Richard Cheese) The Star Wars Cantina

(here’s a version with lyrics scrolling)

And The Phantom Medley

— Somewhere I’ve got the CD (includes MP3 versions) of these & 6+ other Star Wars tunes he did. (Mike, happy to do an item or post with more, or we can just add thread.)

To which, in the subsequent comment, OGH said, “A post would be very welcome.” (Which, irrelevantly, calls to mind Ogden Nash’s very-short “Ode To A Baby”.)

So here, per this post’s title, is a bunch of additional Star War parodies, including a few I hadn’t known about. (Found, unsurprisingly, by simple dint of doing a web search (I use DuckDuckGo, BTW) on “Star Wars song parody” — also try using “parodies” for a slightly different yield.)

The videos follow the jump.

Continue reading

Who Was That Masked Man?

The Waukegan Public Library posted a picture on Facebook showing that in the spirit of the times statue of Ray Bradbury has been outfitted with a mask.

They say:

Thank you to Waukegan High School soon to be graduate, Austin Cantu, for making sure Ray Bradbury is doing his part in stopping the spread!

In this case the masked man is riding a silver bullet…

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Disney Masks – What A Bargain

Disney masks

“Disney launched new cloth character face masks—and $1 million of proceeds will go to charity” reports Yahoo! Life. There’s a quartet of designs for each major Disney franchise.

You can now rep some of your favorite Disney characters and movies while keeping yourself and others safe from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Disney just launched cloth face masks featuring Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars characters. Better yet, it’s all for a good cause.

Along with the launch of the face masks, Disney announced that it plans to donate up to $1 million from the sales of the masks to Medshare, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that delivers medical supplies and equipment to communities around the world. Disney is also donating one million cloth face masks to Medshare to be distributed to children and families in need across the U.S.

Would it be uncharitable to deliver the headline in my Alan Rickman voice? Perhaps – they’re only $19.99 for each set of four.

Available for pre-order, shopDisney masks.

PIXAR

STAR WARS

MARVEL

PhiLunaBaltAutoBoskCon 2020

[Editor’s Note: Steve was inspired to create this piece by SF Concatenation’s call for fans to write about a con, but submitted it here because “I don’t like waiting.” Is this quick enough?]

By Steve Davidson: It took a visionary – but then, what other great contributions to human society haven’t?

Oh, I know, I’m using the original name for the world’s first Transmitter Booth convention, now formally designated the Great Eastern Multi Con – GEMCon for short, but I prefer the original for its historical call-outs.

Did you know that it was originally going to be the Great National Multi Con?  Yeah, that was the plan, but time zones got in the way.  Too many people forgetting the zones, showing up three hours late for a physical event and then getting all pissy about it online.  The worst was the west coast fans flicking east at midnight (their midnight) and showing up at room parties just as they were shutting down.  The con started turning into a permanent floating room party.  Nothing really wrong with that, but the hotels.  The hotels started going crazy with the corkage fees, trying to sneak hourly “maintenance” fees into the contracts.  Not to mention the constant visits by Fire Marshals every time some author said something funny or outrageous and their panel got flash mobbed.

History really is the stuff of little things, isn’t it?

Really.  You’d think someone would have twigged to the possibilities offered to conventions by the transmitter booths and it would have been one of the first things everyone thought of.  I mean – SCIENCE fiction fans, right?

Nope.  What it took was Sheldon Kornpett, sitting in a hotel lobby with his friends, lamenting the fact that two conventions they wanted to attend were happening on the same weekend.  And then he looked up from his pocket schedule, saw the row of transmitter booths by the hotel entrance and said “…but we can go to both conventions, almost at the same time…”.

The rest, as they say, is history.  Well, almost.  It did take a couple of solid years of fan feuds to iron out the details – settling on a date, figuring out how membership fees would work, massaging codes of conduct into one sensible mess, coming to a consensus on the font size for name badges, (not to mention dealer’s room tax issues that almost derailed the entire thing), but, well, you already know it worked out in the end.  If you listen closely you can hear a group of Fen marching through the lobby chanting “All Cons, All Cons in One!”

Now if they’ll just get a move on with that dopelleganger-telepresence tech, I’ll actually be able to attend everything on the schedule I want to see. 

And guys, you’ve really got to do something about the pocket program already.  I’ve seen one fan who’s mounted his on wheels….

Command the US Space Force (Or the Russian Space Agency!)

The Kickstarter for this set of “United States Space Force Action Figures” has already funded and is galloping through its early stretch goals.

Now you can help win the Space Race with the United States Space Force action figures. Build your own Space Force Red or Space Force Blue team OR combine forces to defeat Putin and make space great again!

The goal set by Chris Gawrych, CEO of Amazo Toys, was $40K and they’ve raised over $45K.

Each 4” United States Space Force action figure has over 14 points of articulation, including multiple accessories and 3 interchangeable heads.

The humor is not subtle — Russia’s Space Agency is headed by Vladimir Putin, a figure whose head is interchangeable with Gregori Rasputin.

The actual Space Force is a new branch of the military established in December 2019,

If they reach their $95K stretch goal, a whole flock of other Presidents’ heads will be added to the line. (If they get to $135K they’ll add the four Presidents on Mount Rushmore!)

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Telepathic? Telekinetic?
We’re Hiring!

Illo by Teddy Harvia and Brad Foster. Reprinted from Corflu publications courtesy of the artists.

By Daniel Dern: If you’ve got mutant, meta-, super, magic, fae or other powers and abilities, be sure you’ve listed them at the top of your resume (and LinkedIn page, under SKILLS)… because, fueled by the responses to COVID-19, healthcare, education, and other industries are hot! hot! hot! to hire you!

* Telekinetics! — There’s never been a better job opportunity window for people who can move things without touching them. Class 5 rating for size, weight and distance who can help move infected patients with beds and respirators — but even Class 1s and 2s will find lots of opportunities for contactless handoffs and deliveries for food, packages and other deliveries, not to mention the health care and medical potential. (But act quick! The drone and mobile robot mobilization will soon snap up many of these positions!)

* Telepaths! — Help medical professionals put the “tele” in telemedicine. Provide remote-work and group conferencing, particularly in areas short on mobile and wired broadband. Help support virtual classrooms! Provide contactless day care management! Be sure to include specialties like meta-language understanding, physiological empathy, and communication with animals, plants and inanimate objects.

* Force-fielders! Depending on how far you can project yours, check out those telekinetic jobs. Also opportunities for isolation zones, first responder and other protection, and more. Persisters (free-standing fields) a plus!

* Healers! — ‘Nuff said! (But be sure to be tested first to determine whether you heal by absorbing illnesses… nobody wants that.)

* Strongers! Speedsters! Teleporters! Fliers! Delivery services want you!

* Glamourers — work with AR/VR to help remote workers, quarantined and stay-in-placers feel less hemmed in. Experience with claustrophia and agoraphobia a plus!

* Shapechangers, weres and size-changers — have we got odd jobs for you! And if your otherself is a non-carrier, or, even better, resistant, additional options (check the Telekinetics and Force-fielder listings for ideas).

* Time control and sleep-makers — help speed up or slow down metabolisms for curve-flattening and for infection testing. Can you put a building or village to sleep or other very-low-energy hibernation? Classified and unclassified opportunities!

* Teleporters, Portalers… help bring stranded travellers hope, and provide mission-critical transport where regular travel has been banned.

* Finders – Can you find lost things? Spot that last can of beans? Suss out caches of toilet paper and sanitizer? Find your dream job now!

* Pyrotics, Freezers and other Energy-Movers! Help cook! Help heat-clean! Provide cryo-food service! Put patients into cryo-suspension! And more!

* Vamps, Zombs, Weres and Other Bite/Contact Spread Conditions! Is your Other Self immune or high-healing for COVID — and is your condition (sorry, “Alternative Identity”) spreadable (in a deliberate, controlled way)? Healthcare providers and researchers want to talk with (and test) you! Help be part of the solution! (And maybe you and we can learn more about management of your Alternate Selfness.)

Don’t see your power, ability or specialty above? Contact 1-pi-aleph-sub-null-planck-I-GOT-PWRS or WeReHiringMetas to talk to our agents! (Telepaths, you can reach us directly at $^%(@*%&#@)