Plugs

There is only one pushcart.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that around meal times the service slows down.  I don’t mean the line gets long, although it does.  I mean that when you are at the front of the line and you ask Jimmy or whatever the name is for a chili foot-long or cheese fries he takes a while to respond.  There is hesitation, there may be blank stares, there may be lapses of memory.  All of these are indications of lack of bandwidth. This never happens if you want a double cheeseburger with all the trimmings at 8:26 p.m. That’s a slack time.
I see you don’t believe me. Take this paper.  Don’t look at it! Give it to any pushcart operator: he won’t be able to look away. See, this is important. The pushcart…  Okay, _pushcarts_.  I believe the “pushcarts” represent the vanguard of an invasion force.  I don’t know whether their role is surveillance, sleeper cell, or what. But why would they hide if they didn’t mean us harm?
What?
Maybe so, but if we are experimental subjects and the pushcart represents some intergalactic psychology department, yes, I do object.  I want them out of my brain and off my planet..
So here’s the plan.  Tomorrow, hand this to any pushcart operator.  Then see what happens.  You’ll know if it works.
*
Go ahead, give it to her.  You want me to do it?  Alright, alright, give it here.  Howdy Ma’am, I want to buy a hot dog.  But first, would you take a look at this please?  Thank you.
[Whispers] yes, I know she’s reading it.  She’s still reading. No, maybe you’re right.  She is just standing there, immobile. That’s what I told you would happen.
So the pushcart has flickered out.  Probably all of them have disappeared, except for the single real one.  No, I don’t see anything else that’s changed.  Well, except that all the buildings have disappeared.  And the trees, the pavement, and the sky.
Don’t be such a baby.  You still have me, and this regular hexagonal grid on the floor.  And the face. Look up.  Big eyes, enlarged cranium, it’s the standard tabloid alien.  Who knew they were real? It doesn’t do any good to panic. I was wrong: the pushcarts weren’t the only fakes.  So sue me. Hey, at least we still have each other.
End

Making Divinity
The Cabbage-Patch God
The Dolls’ Crusade
A Natural Attraction
*A Remarkable Reaction

Since she was a small child, Kayla had created gods. In fact, anything she worshipped became a God (if it wasn’t already). For example, for three weeks when Kayla was 5 years old a newly raised Cabbage-Patch God had commanded the fealty of all other denizens of the toy shelves. Kayla had since learned to control her adoration, because it quickly became inconvenient to be trailed by a cloud of transitory deities. As a freshman in high school, Kayla seemed cool, sophisticated, maybe a little stuck up. Supernatural powers will do that to a young girl, no matter how sensible she is.

For a while, Kayla worried that any expression of animosity on her part might create demons, or at the very least destroy the people who angered her. It did not take long for her to realize she could hate anyone she liked: nothing would happen. This was a liberating discovery for a teenager. Life is good when you’re young, and imbued with a power most cannot even dream of. Even if you don’t use it. However, there comes a time in the life of every young person when he or she meets someone whose existence becomes as important as life itself.

The marriage of perfect form with flawless function that was Bradley Jones hit Kayla like a ton of bricks. It would be useless to describe his warm green eyes, his exquisite shell-like ears, or his curly auburn locks that Kayla longed to comb with her fingers. His broad shoulders, flat and creamy stomach, his straight and symmetrical nose; these too can be named, but to no purpose. We cannot truly appreciate the effect Bradly had on Kayla unless we remember the heat that caused our hands to tremble on that day long ago when we glanced at someone and realized for the first time that Beauty had come to earth.

“Bradley,” Kayla murmured as he leaned casually against the wall. Her heard pounded so hard dust particles danced with each pulse.

He raised an eyebrow and turned away.

Kayla would do anything for Bradley. Anything. But lest you fear that she created a monster with the power of a god and the self-control of a 17-year-old boy, let me allay your fears. Kayla loved Bradley with all her heart. She worshipped the very ground he walked on.

The end

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jesus Christ Now Owns Every Major Game Developer

SAN FRANCISCO, January 1 – Playing God Studios (Nasdaq: PGS) today announced its acquisition of the last two major game studios, making its takeover of the video game industry almost complete.

“I was sick and tired of games not realizing their potential,” said Jesus Christ, CEO of PGS. “Dumbing down titles for the console market just makes me want to scream. I’ve been playing games for a long time. Realizing the futility of fighting the supernatural is good! Sure, Halo hooked me on consoles like everyone else, but it’s just too easy to take down the gods in games these days. Don’t whine if a game is too hard. RTFM, guys.”

In addition to taking over all phases of game ideation, testing, and production, PGS will host multiplayer servers in its proprietary Heavenly Cloud.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” Jesus said. “No worrying about ratings boards, rehashed ideas, lag, crashed servers. Gamers get better games, parents can be sure their kids will learn how to kill responsibly and in keeping with Christian tradition, and I get richer than Carlos Slim. I am the alpha and omega, concept and gold master. Every phase, it’s all about me.”

Industry heavy-hitters agree these purchases will help PGS acquire millions of new users and bring them into the light.

Square Enix is thrilled. PR director Tsuyoshi Watanabe said, “Finally, someone else understands that infinite complexity makes games better, and offers more opportunity for hundreds of spin-offs and downloadable content.”

“Not like we can do anything about it,” said Jacqueline Ortega, spokesman for Activision Blizzard. “He’s the son of God. He’s got good lawyers.”

What’s next for PGS? How about banishing of inferior game designers to Hell to beta Duke Nukem Forever?

Jesus offered one piece of advice: “If you see me online, don’t challenge me. I only play in God mode. I will fucking smite you.”

Founded in 2011, Playing God Studios was formed by Jesus Christ and a number of angel investors. A long-time gamer, Jesus has become the most sought-after alpha tester in history, coming up with so many good ideas he’s been called the “savior of the game industry.”

If you would like more information, or to schedule an interview with Jesus, call (555) 888-1480 or email jesusfuckingchrist@playinggod.com.

SOURCE: PGS, Inc.

[O]n the contrary, everything in it is both head and tail, alternately and reciprocally….  We can cut wherever we please…. Chop it into numerous pieces and you will see that each one can get along alone. — Charles Baudelaire, “To Arsene Houssaye”

It was that great modernist monk of the late fourteenth century, Baudelard, who first codified the principle of spontaneous generation.  He had stowed away a porcelain saucer of skunk meat high in a cupboard where no animal–including the human kind–could reach it.  In truth, he had set it aside like manna, afraid that one day the countryside would be barren of meat if he and his fellow monks kept hunting as they had been all that blustery fall.

When Baudelard removed the meat from the cupboard a week later on the occasion of dusting, he rediscovered the meat writhing with worms and quilled his findings in his thirty-pound volume of observations.

Yet Baudelard was no one-trick pony of a natural philosopher who folds his hands to rest on laurels.  He understood that this principle had to be developed to its fullest extent, for “To understand nature,” as he was so fond of informing his fellow monks spraying a mouthful of his sibilant noon meal: day-old bread, goat cheese and wine, “was to understand the mind of God.”  So Baudelard cut worms at varying lengths to see if life might sprout again.

And, lo, they did grow full and wriggling blood-red with both head and tail intact, whichever was the original of which.  The confusion brought him to recall a minor poet friend of his, the Englishman Geoffrey Chaucer.  He had started a series of semi-bawdy, semi-humorous tales of wanderers mocking the Old English tales of heroes, using the vulgar, common English tongue.  Chaucer and Baudelard both saw the stories–pale imitations of Boccaccio–as best fit for lining refuse bins.

To test just how far the principle of spontaneous generation went, they took his original manuscript, mulched it, stirred in earthworms, water, and ink, and let the rotting mass germinate for several months.  Chaucer was probably over-eager and exhumed the manuscript prematurely.  The Canterbury tales were still unfinished and a bit raw, but Chaucer corrected the earthworms’ grammatical errors and found ways to punch up the bawdiness.

The triumphant success of Baudelard’s literary experiment, logically lead him to human beings as his next test subject.  The rest, as you know, is history–eternal glory springs from temporary gore.  Even now, a century later, Baudelard’s achievements remain the high-water mark of natural philosophy and letters.

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