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Ten thousand years of Roboshrub.

Fangs for the memories.

In today’s state, Roboshrub Incorporated is an entity entirely devoted
to the execution of what normal people would refer to as “bad ideas.”

It was the creator’s original idea that all concepts, whether
useful or not, contribute to the global subconscious level of progress
for the human race. Therefore, we contend that no idea is an unfit
idea, and vow to act on each and every one of them.

Roboshrub Inc.
Public Communications Department

Changes may not fully take effect until you reload the page.

For your insolence, I condemn you to...

Suffer the Fate of a Thousand Bees!
(Before they go extinct)

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Product #4999-34s “Shrubquote”

Deep in the steamy jungles of the antebellum Midwest, a 10-pound baby was born in a generic log cabin. The day before, a thunderstorm had rippled across the steppes, a sign of future fortune. And this child, one John Chapstick, would one day grow up to become a living legend. At the tender age of 14, he set out with a bindle o’er his shoulder and a tear in his eye. Bidding farewell to his wife and 7 kids, he trekked across the great plains to spread the message passed down to him by his grandpappy.

But what was the message he spread so well? Way back in 1846, when Johnny’s pappy and two older brothers went off to fight in La Guerra De ’47, he (being a child of 8) stayed home with his mother, his 43 sisters, and his grandparents. When Johnny asked his grandpa why daddy wouldn’t be comin’ home in time for his birthday, the answer was cryptic at best: “’cause they don’t know no spellin’, boy.”

Since that fateful day, Johnny swooped and hollered, hooted at scholars, flim-flammed and blim-blammed, all in the vein hope that by teaching others the importance of good spelling, he could end all wars forever. City by city, he taught the downtrodden miners and schoolmarms, the rich and the poor, the fat and the obese. He showed the masses how to avoid comma splices, the value of a well-drawn dollar sign, and the importance of recognizing diacritical marks. Where Johnny sat his head, the seeds of conjugation took root, springing forth a mighty forest of punctuation.

Johnny loved typography, and through it, people. And the people loved Johnny, whom they affectionately nicknamed “Johnny Ampersand.”

Johnny Ampersand, age 20.

What he couldn’t fit in his 40-volume typographic epic, he would bring directly to the people. Up on a soapbox for ten hours a day, he’d preach and preen, croon and scream, until there wasn’t an ignorant soul this side of St. Louis who hadn’t heard (or could ham-handedly sing) the Ballad of Johnny Ampersand:

Way back in the land of slime,
When space was empty, void of time,
There was a man who took a stand,
Good ol’ Johnny Ampersand.

Rucksack hangin’ ’cross his back,
He left his home to take a crack
At teaching marks right off the rack,
Good ol’ Johnny Ampersand.

His brow was heavy, toes uncurled
To the masses, pages furled.
He tried so hard to hold the world,
Good ol’ Johnny Ampersand.

A master marketer of hype,
The man taught all the world to type.
Unscathed by bath, his clothes were ripe,
Good ol’ Johnny Ampersand.

With him at helm, we won’t despair;
Not under his wrathful stare.
He won the west and fought a bear,
Good ol’ Johnny Ampersand.

Then one day he jumped the shark,
Thought he’d kill the question mark.
They found him raving, mad as stark,
Good ol’ Johnny Ampersand.

As mice and men of knowledge learned,
His work was scoffed at, books were burned.
A platitude of secrets churned,
Good ol’ Johnny Ampersand.

Pen in hand and shoe on foot,
Climbed down chimneys full o’ soot,
Lost his mind and grew the brand,
Good ol’ Johnny Ampersand.

Johnny grew to hate that nickname and sued anyone who used it. As the years rolled on, he gave up his dreams and became very reclusive and erratic. He shot passenger pigeons (ectopistes migratorius) for sustenance, and was reported to have laughed coldly as the last of the specie went extinct in 1914. This led many to believe that he had indeed lost his mind, and that the ballad was a self-fulfilling prophesy. When confronted by psychologists and family, he admitted to hallucinating many conversations with Zizzi, a Micronesian deity who resembles a small tree. In 1918, he became the first human to succumb to typography poisoning during wartime.

The cover of Johnny’s Autobiography, “Treemaster and Diacritics: Refuting the Ellipsis...”

Roboshrub Inc. wouldn’t be half the company it is today without Mr. Ampersand’s subtle artistic influences. That vending machine in the lobby? Designed entirely from Ampersand’s Semicolon Aesthetics. The bathroom layout, down to the red bonsai pots? Explained in painstaking detail in Guillemet or Chevron: A Comparative Study of Angled Quotes. That big tilde over the security desk? Need I say more?!

Long considered the unofficial father of Unicode, Roboshrub Inc. is proud to announce that in honor of what would’ve been John Chapstick’s 168th birthday, we’re unrolling a formerly banned project (not the bad kind of banned. The fun kind). Throw your graduation caps and instruction manuals in the air, and give it up for the Roboshrub Inc. Typographic Memorial Tag Team!

Our new product, Shrubquote, builds on a nonfunctional device Chapstick touched on in chapter 12 of 450 Uses of the Hyphen. The device was originally supposed to convert plain-jane punctuation into spiced-up doodads. We’ve achieved all that, within an acceptable margin of the edges.

Shrubquote successfully converts boring old quotation marks into their curly unseen cousins, making your unseemly “dumb quotes” into socially-acceptable “smart quotes.” This was extremely important to Chapstick, and as his spiritual heirs, it’s important to us, too. Build 202 correctly ignores HTML tags, works (semi)accurately on single quotes, and can convert quotes to their actual curly characters or their cumbersome Unicode equivalent. We hope you continue to buy Roboshrub Inc. brand products, valued at $0.00 per pound. Some users experienced excessive punctuation as a result of this innovative and illustrious product. Consult psychic before use.

Processing 34×100 Robo-Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous gesticulated...

hahaha.. you have amazing talent for writing interesting things, ill give you that. lol good job and keep up the good work!!

Much Love

7/29/2006 8:45 PM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

Did everyone hear that? We've been complimented.

That's the antonym of criticism! Next up, Mr. Ed vs. the volcano!

7/29/2006 8:48 PM  
Blogger jin gesticulated...



Excellent story
Are you insinuating that midwesterners are backwoods hicks?!!? *GASP!*

*jin raises her eyebrow, puts her hands on her hips and taps her foot impatiently as she stares at gyrobo waiting for an answer*

7/29/2006 11:45 PM  
Blogger Bathroom Hippo gesticulated...

Shrubquote is pretty sweet.

After minutes of fiddling...
I finally figured it out!

I shall use it often*

* The word "often" originated in Greek Mythology when a mighty Potamus slayed Zeus**

** This never happened.

7/30/2006 12:30 AM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

Jin: I always insinuate what skydivers dare not tread.

I got tired of manually replacing quote marks with their Unicodes.

7/30/2006 1:23 AM  
Blogger jin gesticulated...

It's ok, I tend to agree.
However: since I am from the midwest, have lived ALL my life in the midwest & am probably stuck here forEVER (!) I'll just consider myself excluded from your insinuations.

7/30/2006 2:17 AM  
Blogger Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator gesticulated...

Hey it said half a dozen RObo comments! That was cool!

I guess I ruined it with my comment, though.

7/30/2006 11:30 AM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

The pig sails at noon!

Har dee har har!


Dee har har!

7/30/2006 12:09 PM  
Blogger Fred gesticulated...

He had a wife and 7 kids at age 14? Johnny was quite talented.

7/30/2006 1:31 PM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

Back the, the average lifespan was much shorter. If he was alive today, he would've have 130 kids, due to inflation.

7/30/2006 2:07 PM  
Blogger L>T gesticulated...

“Stop!” I yelled, running out & waving my arms as he slowly drove by. “You meany, you rabbit killer!.”

“what in the hell,” he growled, screeching to a halt & staring at my soiled bathrobe. “What are you talking about? you crazy broad.”
Oh yes, this is real nice. It sounds so much better now.

7/30/2006 4:12 PM  
Blogger L>T gesticulated...

hey what happened? I cut & pasted & everything. They didn't stick when I posted.

I want my money back!

7/30/2006 4:14 PM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

What? The quotes are still curly.

Those weird &#xxxx; things get converted into quote symbols when you post, if that's what you meant. Unicode! Yeah!

7/30/2006 5:13 PM  
Blogger L>T gesticulated...

what! wait! They are curly!
I've got to quit reading with out my glasses.
somehow i was expecting something a little more dramatic.

7/30/2006 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Rich gesticulated...

“There aren’t enough Happy Days references in ballards these days” - Ghengis Khan’s Dentist.

7/30/2006 7:10 PM  
Blogger Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator gesticulated...

Gyrobo, since it is the Summer of Compliments I wanted to send you one.

This site is one of the funniest, most bizare sites I've come across on the Internet. Please keep up the keep up the good work.

7/31/2006 1:05 PM  
Blogger A Army Of (Cl)One gesticulated...

At first I thought you we making fun of my spelling, but later I began to understand it was just an attempt to lower my self esteem to make me want to buy your new product.

Shame on you roboshrub, shame on you.

7/31/2006 7:39 PM  
Blogger Professor Xavier gesticulated...

We're in the time warp again!

7/31/2006 8:40 PM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

Cut the lad some slack, y'all!

Hmmmm... I like it! "Y'all!"

I'm going to use the word "y'all" at least twice tomorrow, in honor of our latest derailment...

7/31/2006 10:02 PM  
Blogger Local Henchmen 432 gesticulated...

Hey Gyrobo we miss you at Lgs drop us a line sometime. Dental for all.

Dr.Polaris rules.

8/01/2006 12:44 AM  
Blogger L>T gesticulated...

BTW, love the ballad. catchy tune.

8/01/2006 6:22 AM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

I've been dropping lines at LGS for over ten years.

8/01/2006 8:56 AM  
Blogger Roboshrub Incorporated gesticulated...

Due to the time-warping effects of faster-than-color travel, those transmissions may appear more clustered than they actually were.

8/01/2006 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous gesticulated...


8/01/2006 3:14 PM  
Blogger David Amulet gesticulated...

Surely they are worth more than $0.00. Hell, one sheet of good old-fashioned one-ply toilet paper is worth more than that!

I'll throw a compliment on that steaming heap, too. Call it a special day.

-- david

8/01/2006 5:25 PM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

Every day is special when you've got SPAM! Hooray for spam!

8/01/2006 6:00 PM  
Blogger Professor Xavier gesticulated...

I'll tell you who jumped the shark. Dick Cheney.

8/01/2006 9:50 PM  
Blogger Roboshrub Incorporated gesticulated...

Dick Cheney isn't real.

8/02/2006 1:33 AM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

I'll have to agree with my esteemed colleague.

8/02/2006 12:47 PM  
Blogger Bathroom Hippo gesticulated...

I got shot in the face by Dick Cheney, and all I got was this Roboshrub T-shirt.

8/02/2006 8:37 PM  
Blogger Lee Ann gesticulated...

resembles a small tree?

8/02/2006 9:37 PM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

That's Micronesia for you!

8/02/2006 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Rich gesticulated...

I thought that was when dwarves or as they like to be called ’people of diminished stature’ suffered from Amnesia.

8/03/2006 7:25 PM  
Blogger flatlander gesticulated...

Very impressive!

To quote Shrubquote, " "" ".

8/03/2006 10:03 PM