Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse: Chapter 2

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It’s nearly that most special night of the year: when a gluttonous master of dark magic will invade our homes to grease the palms of the insincerely well-behaved with material inducements. So while you clean your firearms in righteous preparation for a final showdown, please enjoy the full second chapter of MBOTA.


Chapter 2

The next day, the Overloards called.

Super Patriot Boy woke up early, refreshed but still restrained in his crèche. He lay staring at the dark ceiling, watching the crawling shapes through the canopy. Soon, though, the lights would come on, the shapes would flee, and he would be free to do whatever it was that he did in this world. He had never been very sure of what that was. Mostly, he seemed to sleep, wake up, eat, pass the time, pass the things he had eaten previously, and then sleep again. Occasionally, he died and was resurrected, but to Super, that felt a lot like sleeping and waking up.

Sometimes, before the bedtime gas hit him, he liked to imagine that he had some purpose in this world. Maybe he was secretly a hero that had a destiny to fulfill. Or perhaps he would invent something that would make the world not quite so awful. Or—and this was the wish he had never spoken aloud—he might someday write a book or a poem or a brochure that would give others hope. Continue reading

Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse: Chapter 2 Preview

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The holidays always bring to our minds childhood memories of resurrections, preserved foods, and despotic cabals. Those memories have probably been implanted via high-frequency Omega rays from the Black Satellite, but they are precious nonetheless. Please enjoy this preview of MBOTA: Chapter 2.


Chapter 2

The next day, the Overloards called.

Super Patriot Boy woke up early, refreshed but still restrained in his crèche. He lay staring at the dark ceiling, watching the crawling shapes through the canopy. Soon, though, the lights would come on, the shapes would flee, and he would be free to do whatever it was that he did in this world. He had never been very sure of what that was. Mostly, he seemed to sleep, wake up, eat, pass the time, pass the things he had eaten previously, and then sleep again. Occasionally, he died and was resurrected, but to Super, that felt a lot like sleeping and waking up.

Sometimes, before the bedtime gas hit him, he liked to imagine that he had some purpose in this world. Maybe he was secretly a hero that had a destiny to fulfill. Or perhaps he would invent something that would make the world not quite so awful. Or—and this was the wish he had never spoken aloud—he might someday write a book or a poem or a brochure that would give others hope in their bleakest hours.

And then Super would laugh with glee and shake his ugly head as he sucked the gas into his lungs—purpose and meaning were for suckers. Nothing was clearer and more comforting to know than life was a terrible accident full of other terrible accidents that usually ended in a last terrible accident. And no matter how many times Super would be brought back from death, he knew that there would be a last death. And it would be the sweetest one because he would never have to open his eyes on this world again! Continue reading

Harry’s Razors Review

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Derek: Welcome back, Mark! The holiday season is hitting its stride, and that means one thing: our thoughts turn to the awful hair that grows unceasingly from the male face. It looks like the ol’ Chinfest is going literal this time as we review Harry’s Razors. Are you familiar with Harry’s, Mark?

Mark: Of course. Those are the guys that bought a German factory and had it shipped over brick-by-brick so they could employ American workers, right? Good to see the promise of renewed American manufacturing being fulfilled—nobody makes things that cut and slice quite like us Americans!

Derek: Something like that, I’m sure! Anyhoo, I thought it might be fun to test out some of their fine products and review them. We’ve reviewed one movie already, so it’s probably time to expand our horizons.

Mark: Or is it stuff that blows up good that Americans make best? Well, it’s stuff that kills efficiently, at any rate. And I can’t wait to try out Harry’s Truman Set, which includes an ergonomic handle, two blade cartridges, and Harry’s own shave gel. I got the handle in olive green—one of four available colors—because it seems like the sturdiest choice, and I plan to use my razor a lot. Also, I am interested in the allusion to Harry Truman, the only human in history to authorize the use of nuclear weapons, and he was also known to shave, I believe.

Product shot 2 processedDerek: For those not familiar with Harry’s, it’s one of the growing number of direct-to-consumer producers that have emerged in the last few years that offer everything from cosmetics to mattresses to clothing. Companies marketing basic products to men seem to be prominent, something that I suppose stems from the notion that men hate shopping in actual stores for things they don’t like to buy but have to. Like underwear. According to prevailing social norms, I need it, but I hate buying it. I certainly don’t like going somewhere just to purchase it, and honestly, I’d rather wear the same underwear for a decade or more. You can take the unpluralized “underwear” however you want—the point is, I don’t like to buy it.

Razors are probably the same way for a lot of men. I certainly don’t spend much time thinking about it. I last bought razors two years ago when I got an entire crate of Schick Hydro 5 blades for $6 at CostCo. I was down to the last cartridge, so I figured I either had to go to CostCo again or order something off the Internet. And since those were the only options I could think of, and going to CostCo is right below “owning parrots” on my list of things I really don’t want, I tried the Internet.

Mark: Speaking of the Internet, I’m looking at Harry’s website right now, and it looks like that factory is still in Germany. I’m a little disappointed, but if there’s anyone better than America at fashioning implements of death, it’s those crafty Germans. Or, as they say in ol’ Deutschland, the ausgekocht Germans! Even their language is designed to bludgeon one into submission.

What I’m really looking forward to here, though, is a close shave for a decent price, and I have to say that the price, at least, looks pretty good: $15 for the Truman Set with free shipping. I think we should get started on our test!

Park bench_processedDerek: I agree! As you know, Mark, I’m a stickler for an authentic and controlled testing environment. And I’m taking Harry’s woolly mammoth logo seriously—it implies that their product represents a manly, natural process for shaving with German steel, just like our Paleolithic forebears used. Since I don’t have a cave or animal-skin shelter handy, I’m using the next best thing for our trial: a bench in my backyard. I figure this is a pretty good approximation of the male shaving experience through history.

So I’ll be living here for the next five days, shaving every morning with my Truman model razor, my Harry’s shave gel, and my will to survive.

Oh, and before we proceed, just a production note: readers will be able to track our shaving progress with the handy photos we’ve provided. You’ve got a healthy face-full of hair, Mark, so I’ll be interested to see what Harry’s can do for you.

Mark: One of my favorite photos! Let’s go! Continue reading

Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse: Chapter 1

IMG_2183Please enjoy this fully fumigated and strained presentation of the complete Chapter 1 of Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse. And don’t forget to read the Prologue, which provides essential indoctrination and induces the requisite state of wretchedness.


Chapter 1

It was Scavengeday, second day of the week, so Super, Flapman, and Gibson emerged from the Grotto to see what goodies they could find or haggle for or steal out in the ruined world. The entrance to the Grotto was hidden under a collapsed parking garage near the city’s waterfront. Or at least what used to be the waterfront of what used to be the city. There really was no city, per se, anymore. Nor was there an ocean now. Instead, there was the Cromulent Zone—stretching from the entire eastern third of the hemisphere and continuing across the dry ocean basin, until it reached its limits against the Atlantic Mountains—the only portion of the Earth that was not utterly uninhabitable. They were in the northern part of the ravaged planet, and though they had heard rumors that some life continued its miserable existence south of the wobbly equator, they thought it was probably nonsense. Continue reading

Mini-Chinfest! “The Shape of Water”

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From Guillermo del Toro, creator of sci-fi horror classics like Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, and Pacific Rim and executive producer of Puss in Boots and player of Bullboy #2 in something called Bullfighter comes The Shape of Water. Set during the Cold War, it’s the story of a woman (Sally Hawkins) who, while working in a secret government laboratory/fortress, meets an aquatic creature (Doug Jones) that she falls in love with because it really likes eggs, and who doesn’t like eggs? It also stars Michael Shannon, who plays self-righteous, psychotic zealots better than anybody other than Roy Moore.*

And speaking of depraved sex, there are pretty heavy overtones of interspecies nookie here, or at least some interspecies hot-tubbing. Sounds like social commentary to me! Does this make it groundbreaking Oscar-bait? Probably not, unless you thought The Human Centipede was a sensitive treatment of polyamory, and if that’s the case, you should never watch another movie.

With all the water and probably other fluids in this movie, there are some dominant conceits to be on the lookout for. Metaphor alert: the title of the movie appears to be an allusion to water’s shape being defined by that which contains it. Unless it’s a gas or a solid, in which case there’s a lot more latitude. Can water be a plasma? Not sure the molecular bonds would hold together. Anyway, it probably means love is like water, and the fish-man lives in water, and the woman loves the fish-man, and the fish-man loves eggs.

The Shape of Water hits theaters today, and you should watch the trailer first. And you should probably watch Hellboy first, too, since Doug Jones plays a remarkably similar fish-man in that movie and its sequel, which you can skip. 

*Clarification: the Doug Jones named above is not the Doug Jones running against Roy Moore. Rather, it is the Doug Jones who often plays fish in movies. Roy Moore was invoked only to illustrate depravity and does not appear in The Shape of Water as far as we know.