27 May 2011

Skin, Fiction, Mushrooms, & Progress

Magic Mushrooms for Your Biggest Organ
It's good that few people read fiction now. If, for example, you've let Jeff VanderMeer tempt you down the dank history of the city of Ambergris, or found yourself rubbing the top of your head while trying to forget Marc Laidlaw's "Leng", you might want to anoint yourself with something containing fungi as enthusiastically as audiences who had just seen "The Birds" wanted to hit the shops the next day, to buy birdfeeders.

In non-fiction literature on information sites and packages, consumers spend their time more wisely than fiction readers, learning that creams and stuff containing stuff from mushrooms have been designed, formulated, tested and proved "amazing"; and not just that, but produced in sufficient quantities that even you can purchase some! And better yet, the mushrooms used for these miracles don't deplete the mushroom-soup population, nor are they called something disgusting like fungus, let alone caterpillar fungus. Not only that, but on an internet site that bristles with Drs and says it is "Recognized by Medical Authorities", it is written: "a mega celeb in the anti-aging skin care market, Dr. Weil, has infused his Origins products —Mega-Mushroom Face Serum and the Mega-Mushroom Face Cream—with an Asian variety of mushroom. Dr. Weil calls this ingredient a major breakthrough."

He isn't alone. Products such as Super Mushroom Miracle that you can buy over the counter promise (under the text's surface) a level of desirability that even prescription drugs haven't achieved, without expensive spells to the peepers of your beholders. No wonder mushroom miracles are popping up all over. Each one is formulated to give you results that are almost guaranteed to be incredibly amazingly unbelievable, but that you can have within days of purchase or in no time.

Birthday candles stop for no one
"Aging is not simply the passage of time marked by lines & wrinkles. Irritation silently simmering within skin's surface may be invisibly aging your skin faster than the candles on your birthday cake. Origins collaborated with Dr. Andrew Weil to create these clinically proven formulas."
Mega-Mushroom products site
How Wrinkles Have Created Progress
Ever since women were capable of getting old enough to grow to witch age, the skin care market has been blessed with Drs.

Primitive cream sellers grew fat on the odd unleavened bread snuck into their hands when the rest of the tribe wasn't looking, not to mention Dr Viper-Oil and his imitators accruing piles of shells that they traded for coins, by 300 BCE or, depending on how a historian counts, 2500 BAK (Before Anyone Knows). A few smart sellers, bored with pouring their piles of coins over their heads, thought of opening new markets, so they used their coins to fund the building of sailing ships. These entrepreneurs sailed north—some, up around the left side of Spain—some, up over the beaches of the Mediterranean and the Confusing Seas, then up the Steppes and still north—all of them ultimately landing up in lands so cold that those brave explorers knew they had hit the (first *) Lands of Promise. For here, women were fair and beauteous for a week after achieving Womanhood, and then winter hit, and they wrinkled faster than a linen suit, forever.

The Progress of the Anti-Aging Miracle-Workers led, as Common People once knew but have forgot, to History—the unsettling of northern Europe, where before that time, prune-faced hags lived from puberty till death, in ignorance of hydration, and their children and menfolk waxed fat and slothful; and the only axes those tribes possessed were used in the winter, to hack portions of frozen strawberry ice cream.

Strawberryicecream Hacker
(Hypoallergenic: Note strawberry pick with huller)
Norðreyjar Bog
, Unknown date

* In Australia (climate: Mars), Drs have fallen to their death, surveying facial crevasses.
" I once left my make up bag at a hotel and had to get them to mail it back to me. It was only when I priced up replacing things that I realised I had ' invested ' thousands of dollars in my face. Sad but true. "
Australian bon vivant "thirty something"

Why Mushrooms?
If you take a look at the typical government-approved picture of skin, you'll see immediately that Government sees your skin as a disgusting cube of busy gunk. It's no wonder soft smooth skin takes experts in beauty to restore it, not anatomists who don't care about how someone looks. Their picture has hairs long as whale harpoons popping through what looks like a lumpy mattress, and in the stuffing, a tangle of rusty springs and clumped dead rats. No wonder your skin sags, wrinkles, and is something to run screaming from. Whose wouldn't?

Now see this mushroom nestling beside a jar of an unnamed Mushroom Cream.

See that the mushroom is like your skin should be, complete with the lovely beauty mark. Here there are no lumpy layers, only such suppleness that the mushroom curves around the jar, like the curves in your to-be-soft cheek, if you purchase now.

Your True Skin Layers

How your skin is really constructed. Two views from noted experts:

Note that in both of these views, the Elastic has been removed. That is because these model skins belong to size 0 women who have had their Accordion Layer sufficiently vacuum sealed, Not to Be Resuscitated. But fat is a cultural issue to be covered another time. Drs have been expert in rich cures for weight gain and loss, accordionly.

Getting back to skin. Unless you use mega mushroom stuff, never let anyone you want to be your lover get this close:

"[the nipple] was so varied with spots, pimples, and freckles, that nothing could appear more nauseous The fair skins of our English ladies . . . appear so beautiful to us, only because they are of our own size, and their defects not to be seen but through a magnifying glass; where we find by experiment that the smoothest and whitest skins look rough, and coarse, and ill-coloured."
– Captain Lemuel Gulliver

A Salutary Lesson: We all need anti-aging miracles.
They only read fiction.

After only two applications of a clinically-proven miracle cream,
this mushroom looked like this:

Tho' use all miracles with moderation.

11 May 2011

Wanted! The Baker's Dozen Gang

The gang lit out at cockcrow, making a bold but wisely led escape.

"Slow and steady" said their leader. "Just roll along."

Come breakfast-fixing-time back in town, the whoops rang out. "Where're they headed?" asked a visitor.

"Anywhers but here," an expert said.

The posse mounted while coffee boiled, and each man chugged a mug while sitting on his horse and burnt his throat on account of having to catch the gang before High Noon under the pitiless sun, which had a habit of being hot enough to wake the posse's lice in a bad mood, itchy from their own mites, and along with the lice's mites, ready to wolf breakfast. So there was no time to waste in catching the gang, especially as the posse, like everyone in town, had been mightily looking forward to the spectacule when each member of the gang would be broken, as broken as a wild horse.

Bent Jim, the tracker, led the posse, mumbling. Not only was he the expert tracker. He didn't have a horse. At first, he circled the town like a dog with a cold, but finally found what he called a track, and set out. For an hour, he did his famous almost-crawl, verbally lambasticating the gang with increasing creativity.

Then he smiled grimly, pushed his hands against the back of his waist to help him straighten, cracked a couple spine bones or something else, and ran down a hill, hotly followed by 7 jolting, yelling, hat-swinging, sweaty men on 7 tolerant horses, disorderdedly followed by the rest of the posse.

At the base of the hill, the men still had steam to blow off, so they danced those horses till the hills echoed from hooves clipping hardpacked ground, and neighs, and the dust rose to coat the grease on the 15 mustaches, 11 beards with mustaches, and innumerable faces whose dirt and hair were too long married to be separately distinguished.

By the time the dust settled, the posse was left with one hopping mad tracker. What Bent Jim said wasn't polite but the men were used to him. He subsided quickly however, and set off again because he had to because of that pitiless sun, which never stops getting higher or lower for nobody except Daylight Savings Time for whom it either speeds up or slows down, if it remembers which.

So for a while Bent Jim raced around as well as he could, being about as bent as Bent with a capital B gets, cussing better than he could race. By the time he took off in a straight line, he had a frantic glint to his eye, and as was told later by one of the posse (many times): "The words, wild goose chase, excaped old Jim."

But Bent Jim, being the expert that he was, loped along with an easy stride soon enough.

"We've almost got them," he called out at 10:03 AM (by his wristwatch).

At that, the Kid in the posse twirled his lasso, to the laughter of the other men, who spurred their horses in anticipation, earning a lot of enmity (or emnity, which is just as well, for it wasn't spoken).

"Get ready to round 'em up!" Bent Jim yelled at 10:56.

"Were are they?" asked Burtrand who couldn't spell any better than his mother.

"Just over that hill," answered Jim, "I reckon (at 11:48, give or take some punctuation)."

The posse squinted against the sun's glare, out over the open country, but try as they did, they couldn't see over the hill.

11:4856. Bent Jim ran ahead, mumbling and hissing over the baking ground, the posse following behind him, men kicking the flanks of 15 increasingly slow mares, 4 stallions who were preoccupied with their own plans, and a number of other horses who were in no mood to have us remind them of sexes.

"Come on!" he yelled. "Ya lousabouts. Move along now with me, and we'll catch the gang afore High Noon."

11:59 AM (by Bent Jim's watch, but by the sun's time, HN had taken place an hour and twelve minutes ago). Bent Jim reached the top of a long hill going down, and expelled a long, low whistle. The base of the hill was as hidden as a dead man's thoughts. Forest: cool, closed country that would be thickly carpeted with pine needles.

"They've licked me," he said, to himself.

When finally, the posse caught up to him, the horses surrounded him on their own account. He was kneeling about two feet down the long slope. The horses snorted, relieved, as the men slid off.

Bent Jim was peering at the ground, all right, but this time anyone could see what his expert eyes did.

Burtrand clucked his tongue.

"It's too late for this bastard," said the Kid, trying to be tough.

At the same time, down in the valley where the gang had holed up an hour and eight minutes ago, XL, the leader said: "Let this be a lesson to you fresh ones. We're always wanted. That we know, like we know we'd make lousy gun slingers. But geniuses we ain't. You can practice all you want. You ain't never gonna learn to gallop."

Meanwhiles back up the slope, objectionably next to Bent Jim, Burtrand burped something long past et. "My stomach's crying out," he whined. "Can I?" He reached down with some embarrassment, but only some–and a lot of fear. Not that he touched anything, yet.

"No!" yelled the Kid, his eyes wide. Men turned their backs on the sight and walked away.

"I get his horse," said one.

Bent Jim straightened up. "I don't rightly know. But you'll probably live if it hain't been on the ground for more than ten minutes."

Live free or fry


These were caught whilst they debated free will vs. determinism.
There is some debate over whether they were caught 'because' they were debating.
'Sadly', they are not available to add their weights to the discussion, 'sadly' having been quarantined in quotes because it has been objected to as so unscientific a term that the use of the word adumbrates the issues.

09 May 2011

Like the days of free bar lunches, without the salt

Meet Iain Rowan at infinities and beyond, where he not only tells about the new free sampler from infinity plus, but also leads you to another freebie, Rowan's unhealthkick-for-weak-hearts "One Step Closer" from Nowhere to Go, his crime collection that is definitely not lounging.

an aside
I hope that Rowan gets the breaks he needs, as there is so much drab and predictable crime fiction around—and I include Ian Rankin in that lot, whose characters make me think of empty cardboard boxes in the rain. I don't usually hiss at books I've read, leaving that to the experts; but I bought one of his bestsellers at an airport for a Sydney—Europe tortureflight, and partway through the book I found myself reaching for the airline magazine to break the boredom.

07 May 2011

Back to earth again

where rain has brought forth fungal flames.

I don't want to bore you with travel pics or tales, so will just report that you might have been treated to the unauthorised, unexpurgated Secrets of the Astroidian *s if I hadn't been caught with my first draft of it as I was leaving. They don't want anything revealed, and as you might know, have recently had a hand in the decision to cut off those SETI eavesdroppers.

But what of me as an author on Asteroid * you ask? Yes, it was hard work holding out samples of fiction all day, for tastings. It's satisfying at times, especially when a customer asks for two measures of yours truly's artisan-created Scientist Fiction (a label that surprised me, but since I've written about scientists a lot, I'm not complaining. The labels also said "chewy", but scientists should not be alarmed, yet). And you might have laughed seeing the result of the equivalent of the Worshipful Society of Anarchists' reverse-shelving of the Healthy-and Junkreads. But it's good to be home again. An author's ego gets malnutrition on Asteroid *. Fiction consumers there are as interested in authors as earthling eaters are, in having chickens sign their eggs.

But looking at earth from beyond gods' heavens does excite the synapses.

Their different classifying of genres made me think of one genre that is overdue for recognition here: Chook Fiction. I don't know why there are so many wonderful stories that revolve around chickens, but there are.

Here are a magic 3 Chook Lit tales to get you started, and I invite you to tell about others:

"Count Poniatowski and the Beautiful Chicken"
by Elizabeth Ziemska
"The Blood-Feud of Toad-Water" by Saki (H.H. Munro)
Love Among the Chickens by P.G. Wodehouse

But we mustn't forget Egg Lit.

Which brings us to Alisa Krasnostein and her fabulous Twelfth Planet Press, where great reads meet creativity cavorting with excellence of execution. I highly recommend TPP's

Doubles Series

This is a book format that has had its times, but has never been popular. All the more covetousness for collectors. Abebooks' current example (if it hasn't been snapped up) is a book that would reek nonsense if it could get that interesting, yet is offered for an astronomical price, for it cuts quite a figure as an up-down-back-forth production, in musty leather. As with the Pope's advocacy of Latin, this book isn't meant to be actually understood or enjoyed, just appreciated. Read Dos-à-dos & Tête-bêche Bindings

All the better to buy a "Doubles" that is a great read whichever way you hold it. And what could be better than a whichcomesfirst Chicken/Egg Double? Not that I'm going to lay that egg.

Instead, here's an effusion of jelly fungus, one of many outbreaks of fungal fruitings that are popping out everywhere around here now.

And before I leave this post today, a few more recommendations.

Steve Aylett's newest must-read novel, Novahead, has just been released, at a must-buy price. I've listed it in my Irresistibles on my newly updated site here, where there are many other new recommendations, and some new great, brave and funny quotes. Spencer Pate caused a problem, though. I only quoted one ioteena of his uproarious thesis, but dearly wanted to cut this and that and slap it into my site. Do read his essay, unless you are a vewy sewious poet.