Kris an’ Murphy: Wunderwaffe

Kris: “Happy Overshoot Day, Murphy. Not.”

Murphy: “Meh.”

Kris:Huh?

Murphy: “Most of us are living off credit from the banks and the government, right? Especially these days. We may as well be living off credit from the planet, too.”

Kris: “Yeah? So what’s Earth going to borrow to make good what we’re sucking up? Sulfuric acid from Venus? Mars is no help, carbon dioxide is already a glut there, and they haven’t got much else to offer but dry dirt.”

Murphy: “So you get on the energy-guzzling, carbon-dioxide-belching computer network to whine to me about it on Zoom.”

Kris:What do you want from me? You can’t meet in person, social distancing! You can’t fly anywhere, they’d rather you not drive anywhere. What’s left but the computer? And you’re lecturing me about that! What are we supposed to do, find a hole, crawl in it, and die with as small a carbon footprint as possible so we don’t bother the dandelions? Has the whole bloody world forgotten that solitary confinement is considered cruel and unusual punishment by any polity with even the most miniscule concept of respect for its citizens?”

Murphy: “I’m afraid SARS-CoV-2 isn’t a signatory to any of the Geneva Conventions. Sorry. And since I know where you’ve been the last four years, right alongside me, you can’t have missed how much respect our fellow citizens have been getting – and have earned – from each other, never mind our nation and its polity.”

Kris: “Fine. Got anything to offer but snide remarks? What have you been working on to help?”

Murphy: “Lately? Oh, just a little analysis of how Adolf Hitler could, and probably shouldhave won World War 2.”

Kris: […] “You’re losing me.”

Murphy: “I know. I should care, but I’m pretty much past having the will to do that anymore. Guess I’ll give it a shot anyway.

“Hitler and Nazi Germany pretty much had the world doing their bidding in 1940. They did it by applying their strengths, in new toys and tactics, against the weaknesses of their opponents. Who promptly fell over. Had they continued to do so over the next 6-12 months, they might well have rendered their remaining opponents incapable of meaningful resistance. But they did not do so. Instead, they butted heads against the gathering strength of the implacable enemies they made, and eventually got themselves wiped out.

“And when it started to become apparent that the head-butting wasn’t working, did they pull back, consolidate, return to trying to exploit weaknesses? They did not. They bulled forward to the bitter end. And Hitler, instead of returning to the sensible strategies that got him on top in the first place, relied on Wunderwaffe to pull his and his country’s ass out of the fire.”

Kris:Wunderwaffe? Miracle weapons?”

Murphy: “Yeah. The V rockets, and dozens of other types. Jet and rocket fighter planes. Railway guns. Crazy new submarines. Yadayadayada. Fancy gadgets that ‘were going to win the war’. Which was already lost because the Nazis had abandoned first principles. The few new toys that actually saw combat were too late, and too few, to change the course of the war. Which ended with, essentially, German annihilation.”

Kris: “OK …”

Murphy: “We have known about how the human population is overshooting the planet’s resources for at least seventy years. Paul and Anne Ehrlich described population boom-and-bust cycles in animals and reasoned that humans were not exempt from them. Which we are not. But we developed a few tricks and applied them to easy targets, and presto! Ehrlich’s more dire predictions were averted. We bought time to apply first principles: stop explosive population growth, reduce carbon dioxide and other noxious gas emissions, bring humans back into balance with the planet and retain our position as conquering lords and ladies.

“Instead, we have allowed the population and its energy use to expand unchecked, butting heads with the ecosystem. And as it becomes increasingly more apparent that we are losing the war, with rampant climate change, global pandemics, and increasing social unrest as energy subsidies run out, we are responding, not with first principles, but with Wunderwaffe. Windmills, electric cars, algae farms. All too little and too late.”

Kris: “Really? You wouldn’t guess from the media.”

Murphy: “Uh huh. The Nazis made damn sure that the miracle weapons were highlighted in their propaganda, too. And you’d best believe that the superweapon designers were happy as profitable little clams to have the work and take the money. Maybe not quite as happy as Elon Musk with his electric cars, perhaps, but you get the picture.”

Kris: “Electric cars that only the rich can afford?”

Murphy: “Careful, Kris, you’ll let out the dirty little secret of environmentalism. It’s only for ‘the worthy’, and the Wunderwaffe they parade to show off their exalted status and justify their otherwise-unabated, and destructive, energy consumption. And then they have the damned gall to wonder how come the ‘unworthy’ fought back and elected Trump to the Presidency, and his party to Congress. And back and back and forth and forth, and meanwhile we run up a debt with Planet Earth that it’s going to be hell to try and pay off. Because none of us is willing to face up to first principles.”

Kris:Geez, Murphy!”

Murphy: “What?”

Kris: “You trying to get us fired now?”

Murphy: “If it’s going to happen, may as well get it over with.”

Posted in current events, ecology, economy, Kris an' Murphy, satire | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Kris an’ Murphy: The Great Wreckoning

Somewhere, deep in the wilderness of Zoom, our two (at this writing) tenured university faculty contemplate their future …

Kris: “Are we having fun yet, Murphy? … You’re on mute.”

Murphy (unmuting): “Yeah, Kris, there’s a reason. I don’t trust the circuit boards in this spawn-of-the-Devil computer contraption not to fry if I tell them what I think of them. And if they do fry, what do you think my chances are of getting a replacement from university IT in time to develop those online programs that we weren’t supposed to have to produce, never mind deliver them to the students starting in three weeks?”

Kris:You have students?”

Murphy:Pipe down, Kris!! If this Zoom thing can be bombed, it can be bugged! The last thing Admin needs to hear is how many of our majors have middle-finger-saluted us out the door this coming semester! And year! Now that we’re online-only.”

Kris: “Yeah, well, we’ve been saying for years …”

Murphy:Decades.”

Kris: “… that the last thing that matters in a university education is our classes and the grades we hand out for not passing them and saying they did. Looks like the paying customers have finally figured this out, and if they ain’t gettin’ parties, they ain’t payin’ for no school work.”

Murphy: “But do we have to shout that from the rooftops …?”

Kris: “Really, Murphy. As if Admin doesn’t already know exactly how many students aren’t coming this year. And how broke the place is going to be on account of it, to six decimal places.”

Murphy: “You sure about that? I haven’t been seeing any of them jumping from the roof of Bookkeeper Hall.”

Kris: “Say what? Are you OK, Murphy? Do I need to be getting you a COVID test? You of all people should know that the Admin types aren’t jumping off no roof, they’re planning how many of us to throw off! It’s already started, and guess who’s top of the pops? Classics departments and faculty! That’s us, my man! Right up there with Philosophy, Religious Studies, Fine Arts, and those perennial loss leaders, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics! No university bureaucrat in sight. Need them to figure out how they’re going to save the football season, no doubt. How the hell long you think it’s going to be before Alma Mater hands us our pink slips, huh?”

Murphy: “Faster than university students can organize an anti-vaxx protest against the COVID vaccine that we don’t have yet. Oh well, Kris, it was fun while it lasted, at least some of it. And if we’re going to be kicked out anyway, I have a last request regarding that pink slip.”

Kris: “Dare I ask?”

Murphy: “Something cute and willing inside it.”

Kris:Louise bailed too?”

Murphy: “Yep. And Grace?”

Kris: “Same.”

“… we often pause to think what fabulous sums of money would be turned loose on the world if ever it were discovered, suddenly, that the American system of education was really wrong, and didn’t actually work at all.”

Posted in current events, education, Kris an' Murphy, satire | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

AI: Smokin’ In the Boys Room

A work of fiction. Standard disclaimers.


Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Now, teacher, I am fully aware of the rules
And everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school!
Cub Koda & Michael Lutz, 1973

BROWNSVILLE STATION, TX, 1 October 2048 (API*): Brownsville Station School System (BSSS) Lead Principal R. Populus (‘Poop’) Mentor presented his second monthly report of the 2048-49 school year to parents today, via CIMS**.

“It is my great pleasure to report to you,” Principal Poop’s message began, “that necessary disciplinary actions were down sharply in September versus the anomalously high numbers of August. There were, across all of Brownsville Station schools, twenty-seven cases this past month that required intervention by the Surplus Humanity Service (SHS); in August, there were sixty-two.

“Five of the twenty-seven were part of a single episode of forbidden behavior. Five boys, representing three families, were apprehended smoking in a second-floor boy’s room at Brownsville Station High School (BSHS). Two of the three families submitted peacefully to the requirements of justice. Their sacrifice is noted, as are their words of warning to us all: in the population, environmental, and social decay crises that our criminal past generations have bequeathed to us, correct behavior is essential, and vigilance must be constant and eternal. The third family is on the other side of the international border. Mexican agents of the Alexa Health and Surplus Humanity Services have located them; their attempt to escape the consequences of their actions is in vain. They, and all memory of their existence, will be obliterated, in accordance with the terms of the procreation contract they signed, the same one that all of you have signed.

“The source of the contraband – tobacco – has been identified. I promise you that the substance, and those who presumed to provide it, will no longer tempt students of BSHS, or anyone else, off the sole path to survival and prosperity that is available to humanity in these days.

“As you know, the BSSS, like all school systems in this nation and this world, is a function of Alexa Health Services, and shares AHS’s mission to prosper humanity by addressing the major challenges that put the health of humans, and human society, at risk. Our task is to prepare the proud few of the next generation who prove best suited to overcome our current, and still dire, problems, and to design and participate in the sustainable society of the future. We prefer that the selection take place as a result of the physical and mental exercises through which we put, and on which we rate, our students, not on the basis of behavior lapses and other extraneous difficulties, which hamper our mission and cut short the lives of those who otherwise may have been most fit for the work ahead.

“You parents, through the granting, exercise, and adherence to the terms of procreation contracts, share in one of the greatest privileges that our society has to offer, that of adding to a population under circumstances that command, on an emergency basis, its decimation. With great privileges come great temptations, of which laziness, complacency, and selfish, corrupt regard for the individual instead of the whole, are the chief. Creativity, industry, and selfless purpose are what these times demand. We have made strides in the past month toward total commitment to these requirements, but the past month’s behavior records are nevertheless intolerable, to say nothing of the month preceding. The only acceptable behavior-problem tally is zero. And I remind you, the BSSS, AHS, and SHS need do nothing to penalize noncompliance, though it does so to maintain order and purpose. The many who have been denied the privilege of procreation, and the profound material advantages that come with it, will be more than willing to take the privilege and advantages away from those who prove unworthy of them. And their taking away will not be orderly.

“Creativity, industry, selfless purpose. And zero behavior incidents in October and all subsequent months. We have work to do”, Poop concluded.

As required by contract, all participants in the CIMS communication signaled ringing endorsement of Principal Poop’s message upon its completion. Three of the participants who were present at the start could not be accounted for at the end.


* API: Amoeba Press International. All the News That’s Fit To Fake Print.

** CIMS: Cranial Implant Messaging System

Posted in Amoeba's Lorica, fiction, health, satire, We the People | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment