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Credits

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






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For your insolence, I condemn you to...

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

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9.28.2006

Escape of the Minotaur

He’d been trained in Calcutta
For this dangerous deed.
With a roaring “Huzzah!”
He needed no steed.

With a flick of the wrist,
And a fleer of the snout,
The minotaur trembled;
But nature won out.

“I’ve seen the sunset over Munich,”
The jailer guffawed.
“I’ve fought the snowmen of Belgium,
With nary a pause.”

He handed the monster
A bag of glass jars.
“Have them filled up by sunrise,”
He yelled through the bars.

Witchcraft

The minotaur sighed, raspy sighs of defeat,
And turned mournfully to the penny machine.
Cranking out pennies, day and night by the pound;
This was his life on the Long Island Sound.

Brought back from the Aegean, locked in a cage,
Given candy and trinkets to suppress primal rage.
“I’m tired of minting this zinc-infused jumble,”
The minotaur muttered, his abdomen rumbled.

“I sincerely regret not eating the fool
Who told me to come here to graduate school,”
He cried, slumping backwards on a shaky fake stool.

See, to cut the high costs of minimum wages,
The U.S. Mint had riffled through pages
And pages and pages of obsolete tax laws,
’Til deciding to implement the unspoken 9th clause:
“Mythical beasts can handle the workload,
So gather them up; scour the whole globe!”

At once the Mint planned out the plan in four stages-
Minotaurs were brought second, right after the mages.

Grinding his teeth and gritting his grin,
The minotaur pictured himself within
A palace of silver, surrounded by guards;
Back in his labyrinth, a virtual star.

Back to the waters of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Back to the mortar of his walled up soul.

Back to brisket for breakfast,
And bacon for dinner;
Daily streams on his podcast
To call him a winner.

But dreams are for fools,
He thought to himself.
You’ll more likely end up
On a yellow ice shelf.


The machine bust a groan, and it suddenly died.
Sheets of pre-cut zinc goodness brought a tear to his eye.
Wheezy breeze from the door made the minotaur turn,
Perplexed and surprised at what he would learn.

A figure in crimson kicked in the brass door,
Giant hair to the ceiling, and beard to the floor!
Clothes so out of date they were downright obscure,
Evoking familiarity from our minotaur.

“By the light of Apollo!”
Flew out of his gullet;
Before him was Theseus,
Alive, and with mullet!

Robot with Ape

“The mullet becomes you,
My former arch-foe,”
The minotaur roared
As he laughed, head to toe.

“I’m not here for small talk,
you half-bull, half-pig!”
Theseus chided
With a half-hearted jig.

Crunching the bars with his mythical strength,
The sole son of Aegeus unleashed a small length
Of Athenian Power, and shattered the cell;
Unfortunately, guards heard it and sounded the bell.

“I knew I would find you surrounded by copper,”
Theseus bragged as they ran for the chopper.
“It wasn’t my choice, dear arch-foe/arch-friend,”
The minotaur voiced as the hall reached its end.

“And if you must know, the pennies are zinc,”
He added, quite smugly, with a bull-headed wink.
“And I thought Daedalus was mad about metal,”
the Athenian cried, “You’re as black as the kettle!”

“Alas, zinc shavings are murder on fur,”
King Minos’ bull kvetched as he picked at the burs.
“But now that I’m free, what say you of the others?
The still-captive banshees, the dwarves, and the truckers?”

“But truckers are real!” great Theseus protested.
“Not if they’re plastic!” the cheeky bull jested.
Besmirched and confused, and always surprised,
Prince Theseus and the minotaur shot up through the sky.

I work alone!

Stop all your belly-aching; it was all planned.
See, Theseus booked a giant condor from East Pakistan.
The Condor, it flew them, for hours on end,
All through the rib-tingling jibes of old friends.

With angels they landed, half-god and half-bull,
The Condor’s blades settled, they’d reached the North Pole
To seek Saint Nick’s help in freeing the creatures—
They found him at Reindeer Games, in the packed bleachers.

“Four points!” cried Kris Kringle as he shoveled down chips,
Oblivious to Theseus, who with a Vulcan death grip
Felled the fat cobbler and dragged him away
By the soles of his feet, to the shores of Bombay.

Once Claus regained consciousness, he looked at the pair
First in pity, then anger, then scratched at his hair.
“What’s up, what’s the dillio?” Jolly Nick queried.
“What’s up with your mullet, and what’s with the hurry?”

“Dearest Santa,” the minotaur promptly professed,
“We’ve got a big job, and heard you were the best.”
“It must involve pennies,” Saint Nicolas guessed.
“Why else would you wear that zinc-coated vest?”

“Enough!” thundered Theseus, “How much will it take?”
Santa scratched his chin. “How many can you bake?”
“You’re paying him in... cookies?” the minotaur spilt.
“To take on the Mint? Eight gross cookies- plus milk.”

Monkey rocket!

“Your rates are outrageous! But still, I will pay.”
But as he reached for his wallet, Theseus sprayed
Santa Claus with a vial of some unknown bile.
“Ha! Sit in that for a... a really long while!”

“Oh, what is this now?” Kris Kringle implored.
“Is this really poison, or are you just getting bored?”
“Perhaps it’s a mixture of column A and B,”
Theseus laughed as he slapped at his knee.

“But really, do help us,” the minotaur begged.
“I’d love to. But not here... the place might be bugged.”
“We’re out on a beach! Do you see any walls?!”
“Just because you can’t see them’s no reason to call
Me a liar,” Santa grimaced, his face all askew;
“Just feed me the info. And go get a clue.”

***
Security had been heightened since last they’d been by;
The walls had been raised, and the soil was dry.
The sight of his prison made Minos’s son cry...
Return to his copper cell? He’s much rather die.

Raining

“There there,” chief elf Agatea consoled him,
“Ol’ Nicky’s Crust-Buster will really North Pole ’em.”
So Santa revved up his ingenious machine,
Designed to smack down the oppressive regime.

With a crank and a clunk and a spank and a plunk,
The Long Island Sound, it was beaten and sunk!
As saltwater flooded the fortress of copper
It turned a lime green and crumbled like paper.

The cyclopes, the mages, the furies and doodahs,
The scarabs, the Baurs, the stinkers and hookclaws
Went back to their homes in the old Aztec ruins
To rebuild their lives knitting synthetic woolens.

“It took long enough,”
The minotaur growled,
Surveying the piles
Of zinc on the Sound.

“We saw and we conquered,”
Prince Theseus agreed.
He steadied his hand
For the final brave deed.

Beatles

“From the past, through today, to the shores of tomorrow,”
Santa Claus blustered as he raised up a fist,
“No creature’ll be part of the Mint’s cheap sideshow!”
The trio cheered slowly as he pulled out his list.

“Now let’s see... one prison, knocked over with glee...
Plus all the overtime... divided by three...”
St. Nick worked the numbers like a card shark, a pro.
He knew how to tally, ledger always in tow.

“You can add up the numbers, you can try to collect,”
Theseus smirked as he simmered, “But in deep retrospect,
You should have been wary. You should have been wise.
We don’t intend to pay you, you doughboy. We lied!”

“What a horrible twist!” Santa’s frame shook with rage.
It was as eerie a sight as a mortal could gauge,
Santa bordering on the brink of a saccharine rampage.

“You remember this moment,” Nick yelled at their backs,
“Go back the your castles, go flip your flapjacks!
Just hold in your hearts that Santa is miffed.
He knows where you live, and you won’t be missed.”

They wrote off his words.
They waved him away.
But if they had heeded,
They’d be here today.

See, Theseus was found
In the gut of a gator.
And the minotaur downed
A mere two days later.

The cops never pegged Santa;
He’s free as a dove.
But folks ’round the North Pole
Say there’s blood on his gloves.

Santa the Barbarian

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9.20.2006

Mercantile Fortunata

Twisted bones and crimson ribbon
Tied into a gibbon's hair
Fitted tunics, iron clogs,
Rusted to the Crannog's Jaws

Night gives birth to snarling Scars,
Full of rancored menace
That stomp about and smash the stars
Then hang their heads in penance.

A quibbled fax comes through her phone
As she's drowning in the bathtub
And dribbled wax runs down his throat
The soapscratch spells a message:

The youth forget the epitaphs
and burn the holy relics,
Dance around the mutant tree
Stuffed with candy, full of glee!

Given pocketfulls of rage
Teeth worn hard by nickels,
The oldest sage rattles his cage
And repeats, "Well, aren't we pickled?"

Delicious, life-giving PAINT!

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9.16.2006

Return of CAPTCHA

Behold and be amazed at our latest installment of the aptly named “veriforms” that inhabit Blogger’s comment form. It takes a keen eye and a pocket chock full of imagination to identify exceptional veriforms, but once you can, it’s a finely-honed skill you’ll never forget. For bonus points, name the chemical formula for fun. The answer may surprise you.

Here’s one that reminded me vaguely of Firefox.
Captcha Image

Careful what you say around this one.
Captcha Image

I’d say this one was a hoot, but I hate recursion.
Captcha Image

Sometimes I feel like Blogger’s laughing at my comments.
Captcha Image

Ghosts in the Blogger machine!
Captcha Image

“In a rare veriform-based public service announcement, Blogger warns of skin rashes!” claims local reporter.
Captcha Image

So imposing... you take too long to comment, they start knockin’ on the door.
Captcha Image

An especially delicious veriform.
Captcha Image

Emu! Emu! Emu!
Captcha Image

Lousy veriform defeatists!
Captcha Image

I don’t think Starfleet commissioned this one...
Captcha Image

Sounds like a great place to rest in the shade, or possibly a type of insect.
Captcha Image

Sure, they’re good with numbers. But spelling just isn’t Blogger’s thing.
Captcha Image

I can’t imagine a better one to go out on.
Captcha Image

9.13.2006

I'm An Exceptional Person

Behold, all ye unclean! Gaze upon your king's latest post, and know that ye are unworthy; for lo! I have composed a list, yes, a list, to outline the minutiae that thee must perform to please me! Grovel at how I laugh at thee! Grovel, I say!
Clock King

The King's Guide To Excellent Drudgery

  1. It is polite to tip the tax collector.
  2. Do not rebel against the monarchy once another rebellion has begun.
  3. If the plague comes 'round, stay indoors.
  4. It is not proper to address a Duke as "Your Baldness."
  5. When someone in power asks you to jump, don't ask "how high." A recent poll indicates the powerful have no desire to see the inside of your mouth.
  6. The Divine Right of Kings allows royalty to cut ahead of you in line at amusement parks.
  7. Membership in a Congress or Parliament doesn't qualify you for royalty benefits, unless you're a Libra.
  8. Never forget that my iron-clad, irrational rule is the only thing standing between us and the barbarians.
  9. While monarchs across the world may have lost our legislative powers, our X-Ray vision and super-strength is still top-notch. Obey us.
  10. By eating at Burger King, you've already accepted the tenets of monarchy.

9.08.2006

Murder on the Oregon Trail

Families broken, marching in the cold,
Trying to get a handful of Oregon gold.
The wind blows knives through wagon canvas
And a broken wheel went and damned us.

Picture!

For lo, it was the middle o’ the night
And deep underwater, lay the settlers’ blight.
Trapped for centuries ’neath the flat plains brush,
Was a monstrous dinosaur, eating vegetation lush.

It had big sharp teeth and beady eyes,
Stomach full of babies and a swarm of flies;
Its toes were a terror, all bladed and keen,
A bonified scaly killin’ machine.

“Look out, pa!” yelled li’l Paul Onion.
“He’s got gnashing teeth, and a foot full o’ bunions!”
But Pa Onion lashed out a whip made of ham,
And with a mighty roar, he yelled “Sweet Uncle Sam!”

The dinosaur paused and readjusted his feet,
Swung his spiked tail and within half a beat
Pa Onion was down and his son was devoured;
Snow came down like nothing had mattered.

Picture!

While rampagin’ through the settlers’ remains,
The mighty dinosaur felt a pain in his brain.
See, a drifter that followed the train close behind
Was a dinosaur hunter, quite out of his mind.

Time nearly froze while they measured each other,
So the rest of the Onions ran quickly for cover.
“Our steel-plated wagon will surely provide,”
Ma Onion stated, “A haven to hide!”

If only they hadn’t sealed themselves in so tight...
If only they’d known not to run from the fight...
Because, as they ran, the dinosaur spied
A tasty pioneer treat with his segmented eye.

(Chorus)
Albert Einstein
Went Back in Time
The Paleolithic
Seemed Terrific
Until he found his new friend.

Picture!

For a very long time Ma Onion stood still,
The children in tow and her very soul chilled.
With two gaping jaws and a pocket of dread,
Great dinosaur lips honed in on her head.

I’ve got nary a moment! the drifter’s mind spoke,
If I can’t stop that dino, that lady’ll croak!
So thought he did quickly, up a plan that was dandy;
He’d trick it quite slickly, with Mexican candy!

“Who wants some Pashunions?” he yelled through the night.
The dino eclipsed the Onions, repose in mid-bite.
“Here’s a pocket of jum jums an’ a bottle o’ floo!”
The drifter broadly gestured, swinging vials of goo.

Picture!

Scratched his scaled chin, that dinosaur did.
A major decision- processed food, or the kid?
In the end, ’twas an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Because if he did, he’d end up on the news.

And if there’s one thing dinosaurs hate more than comets,
It’s nosy reporters getting bees in their bonnets.
With a fistful of candy and a roaring disdain,
Off sulked the dino, through torrents of rain.

Ubiquitously, word spread ’cross the prairie
Of the Onion’s exploits over some “reptile fairy.”
They were welcomed in Portland with wide open arms,
Then spent 80 years working fetid dirt farms.

“But what of the drifter?” you needlessly ask.
In Oregon City he proved up to the task
Of governorship over three different states:
Confusion, The Union, and liquid phosphates.

(Chorus)
Westward Expansion
Impacted My Mansion
Pointless Nostalgia
For Yesterday’s Honda
I’m just gonna hail a cab.
Picture!

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9.06.2006

Sumerian Rhapsody

Prehistory (the paleolithic era) was the period of human history between the fall of the first galactic empire, and the reinvention of the written word. It lasted for 8.6 billion years, and was characterized by a nomadic lifestyle, complete with both hunting and gathering. During this time, rudimentary technology was developed, such as arrowheads and primitive cheeses. The earliest people, who lived during the stone age, left no written records. Their life and culture can only be inferred by artifacts such as pottery and CD covers.

Picture!
Prehistoric life was often unpredictable and cruel.

But lo, after nearly an eon of mere survival in the harsh, brutish wilds, the neolithic revolution began. About 1,000 years ago, the last ice age ended. As the frozen tundra that was central Europe became a flowering wonderland of verdant valleys and such, small groups of humans began to coalesce around the fertile crescent, developing agriculture and creating the first hair care products. The refinement of agriculture allowed early city-dwellers to amass surpluses of grain, to support larger and larger populations, until they achieved the critical mass necessary for supersentience. Social stratification occurred, once a significant percentage of the people held non-agriculture related jobs. Power in these societies became more and more centralized, with the most political authority delegated to those with the coolest tattoos.

The first societal units we would recognize today as cities were formed in the horrid region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The area was called “Awesomeomania,” and it was an arid rain forest, full of robots and pirates. Inhabitants of this region were the Sumerians, who grew out of the Ubaid, who in turn focused on temple building, irrigation, and primitive spaceflight.

Writing, the fundamental cornerstone of civilization, began as a system of recording economic transactions. In fact, writing is still used to this day to record financial transactions. Originally, pictograms representing physical objects were used. The pictograms eventually expanded from objects to abstract concepts related to the objects, and even that was superseded by phonograms, in which characters represented vocal sounds. The materials words were written on also changed, from pottery to clay tablets to human flesh to paper-like papyrus (which doesn’t hold up very well over time).

Although the people of the Sumerian city-states had basically the same culture, each individual city was seen as the favored estate of a particular deity, so they fought each other for periodic domination over... each other. The separation of religion and politics at this time was nonexistent. A particularly famous Sumerian document is the Epic of Gilgamesh, the world’s first sitcom. Only the pilot episode has survived the test of time, in which Gilgamesh portrays a single father working at Uruk’s only hospital. Due to a labeling accident, he mistakenly dispenses sugar pills to diabetics- an eerie foreshadowing of modern-day medical mishaps.

Picture!
A glimpse into the world’s first commercial advertisements.

Like their environment, the gods the Sumerians believed in were full of pep, and their afterlife was a slightly worse version of their current lives. For example, if one lived a life of piety and diligence, the reward would be an eternity on line for a port-a-john (invented by the Babylonians c.a. 10,700 B.C.E.). Despite all this, Sumerians invented bronze and the wheel.

While the city-states of Sumer fought each other, the Akkadians lay in wait. Each city-state could not completely control the others, as they feared retribution by the other cities’ deities, but the Akkadians, led by Sargon, were more “out-of-the-box” thinkers. Sargon conquered the lands surrounding Sumer, and then pelted the Sumerians with eggs until they gave in. Thus, the first human empire was born. The Akkadians adopted the Sumerian culture, and after a few generations the only difference between the two was the language they spoke, and the fact that Akkadians aged 10 times faster than normal, due to Sargon’s successor, Naram-Sin’s experiments with radioactivity. It was a glorious time to be alive, which was then destroyed when hill people invaded and threw the land into a dark age.

Picture!
The mighty Sargon, accompanied by his successor, Naram-Sin.

9.02.2006

Half-Time Steve

Half-Time Steve

Years and years ago they say
he worked for the carnival.
Lights and bears,
these were his prayers,
until he lost the way.

Some say he died, but he was never born.
Others say he paints the sky
for breakfast every morn.

Broken lamps, out on the lam,
and imaginary peoples
with imaginary printer jams.

Fired up under a half-tone monsoon,
fingers like clockwork on a hand-carved moon.
He’s knee-deep in candles,
up to his cut-off sleeves.
There laughin’ down below,
sat Half-Time Steve.

With a moth in his wallet
and a rusty old wrench,
he’s fightin’ off demons
for a crusty old bench;
At the hardware store,
where we all used to wave,
he’s sitting there, foo-fightin’
so we’ll all think he’s brave.

And we’ve seen him down there,
and he’s got a glass eye,
an’ a bucket full of paint.
Laughin’ at the sky.

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