there will come soft market shares

It was almost lunchtime when the second wave of bombers came.

The first wave had finished by half past ten, which left enough time for Thurston Moncton to sweep the rubble off his desk and find what was left of his coffee cup. This time, the entire eastern wall of the office had been blown out, taking most of the IT department with it.

Kicking a piece of collapsed sheetrock out of the way, Thurston emerged from a duck-and-cover position underneath his desk. The yellowed cathode-ray monitor of his workstation glowed dimly at him as he wiped the dust from the glass with the end of his necktie. An alert from his calendar software binged feebly to remind him of that afternoon’s managerial progress review, set by his boss, Harris. He had never found out if that was his manager’s first or last name.

“Hey Thurston,” A coworker was picking her way over the rubble towards him, “d’you know if Harris wants us to bring copies of our client reports to the review meetings?” Her left hand was clutching the opposite shoulder, which appeared to have been pierced by a large piece of shrapnel and was bleeding heavily.

“Couldn’t say, but I guess it wouldn’t hurt. Have you seen the memo he sent about the reviews?” Thurston rummaged in the upper drawer of his desk and pulled out a sheet of paper with a large, singed hole through it.

“I’ve seen it” she said, taking the sheet of paper anyway. “Madge over in Quality Assurance told me there’s a rumor they might be downsizing us next quarter. I bet that’s why they want to do the progress reviews early.”

“You shouldn’t believe everything you hear, Susan” Thurston scoffed, “besides, Madge is always saying things like that. Was saying things like that.” He corrected himself, recalling last week’s drone strike. “Remember when she was convinced our holiday bonuses would be cut last year?”

The bleeding woman began to reply, but was drowned out by the ceiling of the break room crashing down and a burst pipe forcefully spraying water over the kitchenette. Thurston looked at his watch. The crystal was smashed in and the hands had stopped at 10:13, but he figured it was just about time for his meeting anyway and stood up.

“Oh, I’ve got to run. Put that memo back if you’re done with it?”

The bleeding colleague made no indication she’d heard him. She was now slumped against an upturned desk and had gone very pale, but Thurston hadn’t noticed this and was already halfway to the stairs.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thurston jumped across a hole where the last two steps had been yesterday and emerged from the stairwell on the floor below. He deftly dodged a wire that was hanging out of a gap in the ceiling and sparking menacingly, turning a corner just in time to see his boss standing in front of the copier.

“Good man, Thurston, right on time!” His boss looked at his watch. It was also broken. “We’re in the big conference room. Shall we go in?” He said, gesturing at an empty doorway. The door had buckled in half and was wedged against the opposite wall.

Thurston followed his boss into the conference room and was greeted by the sight of bodies, wrapped in sheets, laying across the broad table. It seemed that the Human Resources department had set up a triage. One man that Thurston vaguely recognized as the CFO was clumsily applying a bandage to an intern’s head wound.

“Hey guys, I hate to interrupt, but I booked this room for a pretty important meeting.” Harris addressed the makeshift medics. “Can someone clear these out?” he said more than asked, gesturing at the shrouded bodies.

There was some grumbling as the wounded began shuffling out. Two IT technicians rolled their eyes at each other and began to carry out the corpses. Harris sat down at the end of the table and gestured for Thurston to sit next to him.

“Listen, first I have to congratulate you.” began Harris, “your client satisfaction surveys are through the roof and your suggestions to streamline payment processing went totally gangbusters with the boys in accounting.”

Thurston smiled and nodded, not bothering to remind Harris that the accounting department personnel were almost entirely women.

“With that in mind-” the manager was cut off as the wall behind his head exploded in a puff of gypsum dust followed by a sharp report.

“Whoops, sniper fire.” he declared calmly. Both men dove under the heavy table as two more shots tore into the back of the chair Thurston had just been occupying.

“Anyway, as I was saying, your reports are fantastic. We’ve had an opening for a sales VP since Jacobson’s office was firebombed and I nominated you for the position.” Harris continued with his knees up near his ears.

At that moment, whatever was left of the window was shattered as bursts of machine gun fire came in over the top of the table.

“THERE’S A DECENT RAISE, AND I THINK THE OPPORTUNITY WOULD BE A REALLY GOOD EXPERIENCE FOR YOU.” his boss shouted calmly over the din of gunfire.

“I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY EXCEPT THANK YOU, SIR” Thurston smiled as he shouted back.

The machine-gun fire suddenly ceased. Harris poked his head above the table.

“Looks like they’ve moved on”

The men crawled out from under the table and dusted off the knees of their pants.

“Anyway, take the weekend to think about it and let me know on Monday.” Harris continued, shaking Thurston’s hand vigorously. “I think we can wrap up here, I’ve got to go and prepare a report for the shareholders. Don’t forget to file your timesheet today.”

“I will, sir”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thurston hummed happily to himself as he stepped over Susan’s body, searching for a phone that still worked. He couldn’t wait to tell his wife about his promotion.

/millibeep

what do Nazis and the world’s favorite ballpark food have in common?

(Note: once again, I’ve put forth a post with quite a few links to Wikipedia to back up my claims. If you can afford to do so, donating to Wikipedia would be a tremendous thing to do.)

The Latin word for fire, ignus, has been derived over the ages into the name Ignatius, meaning born of fire, and later into the Spanish Ignacio and the German Ignaz. During the early 20th century in southern Germany and Austria, this latter name became colloquially synonymous with a backwards, foolish person, similarly to how one might pejoratively use the name Karen today (as far as I can tell, the linguistic similarity between “Ignaz” and “ignorant” is pure coincidence).

On July 30, 1932 the President of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg, invoked article 48 of the German constitution, which allowed the government of the free state of Prussia to be taken over by the Chancellor and subsequently handed to the Minister of the Armed Forces.

This is a mustache that has seen much
Paul von Hindenburg, and the substantial mustache from which he drew his power. By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-C06886 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5432793

The takeover was known as the Preußenschlag, or 1932 Prussian coup d’état. This was a significant event in world history, as it is widely accepted to have been one of the contributing factors (among many others) that led President von Hindenburg to eventually hand the Chancellorship of Germany to this man:

Seriously, it's like a gross little patch of mold on his lip
What a stupid little mustache. By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-H1216-0500-002 / CC-BY-SA, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5780403

This guy, along with his much less impressive mustache, was the then-leader of a right-wing authoritarian political party in Germany known as the National Socialist German Workers Party. The main political rivals of this party were the Social Democrats, often called Sozis, an abbreviation of the German word Sozialdemokrat. These rivals, along with others, sought to diminish the public image of the National Socialists by painting them in the press as backwards, foolish bumpkins. To do this, they started to use the name (you guessed it) Ignaz.

Now, its important to know that the German convention for pet names or nicknames often entails shortening a part of the name and adding an “-ee” (written with an i) or “-l” sound to the end. For example: Michael becomes Michi, Gertraude becomes Traudl, and so on. In this same fashion, the shortened form of the name Ignaz took the last part of the name and added an “i” to become Nazi. The name quickly caught on as a perjorative term for the National Socialists, likely also because it functioned as a snappy abbreviation of the party’s name, similar to the Social Democrats’ Sozi.

One evening in 1940 (the year Nazis invaded France) on the other side of the world, this man was working as a chef at the Victory Club in Piedras Negras. Mexico.

Not much in the way of visible mustachery here, but the spirit is there.
The person who took the photo is unknown, however Ignacio Anaya was the person who purchased it. Luis Ignacio Anaya inherited it after his grandfather’s death. – This file came from Luis Ignacio Anaya, the grandson of Ignacio Anaya. He is the owner of the file and gives Wikimedia permission to use it., CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93017401

This is Ignacio Anaya García, whose first name is the Hispanic-derived version of Ignatius, and he was about to make history of a very different kind. One of the regulars at the Victory Club, one Mamie Finan, had asked Ignacio to make a something for herself and her companions that was new and unique. Drawing on his years of culinary experience, he put together a plate of fried corn tortillas, pickled jalapeños, and melted cheese.

These are a bit historically inaccurate, as they also have black olives and salsa, but my mouth won’t care. By chee.hong from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5329327

Mamie and her friends loved the dish and asked Ignacio what it was called. Thinking quickly, he suggested it be named after himself. In those days, however, he was not generally known as Ignacio but instead went by a common short-form of the name: Nacho. Thus, the dish became known as Nacho’s Special, which we know today as simply Nachos. To this day, the town of Piedras Negras celebrates a Nacho Festival every October in honor of Ignacio’s invention.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve realized a direct, etymological connection between authoritarian ideologies and delicious Mexican food, I’d have two nickels. That’s not a lot but it is weird that it happened twice.

/millibeep

my first ever NFT!

Slave to trends that I am, it has not escaped my notice that Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have taken the cryptographic and digital-asset investment community by storm. For those unaware, an NFT is a cryptographic certificate of ownership that can only ever be owned by one person on the blockchain at a time. In practice, the technology has been used to create a sense of scarcity in the previously post-scarcity environment of digital art (among other things).

The concept certainly has its share of detractors: those who claim that NFTs are horrible for the environment, that they enable art theft, that they are a volatile, speculative asset, that they’re simply a form of artificial scarcity, all of which are correct.

However, here at millibeep dot com, I pride myself in solving complex problems with a few pithy sentences and ideas that come to me in the bath. Therefore, I am proud to announce that I will be selling a unique, physical NFT, minted with novel technology that completely sidesteps all of the aforementioned issues.

This is merely a digital representation of the physical NFT, but it’s pretty darn close. Please don’t right-click -> save on this image. I have no way of preventing it or even knowing if you do it, but it would be pretty uncool of you.

Since I have shrewdly decided to capitalize on two ongoing market trends, the NFT is an image of a tungsten cube. The metal cube enthusiasts (so called “cubers”) are providing the invaluable service of demonstrating that we do, in fact, live in a world that is beyond satire.

This work was created using the novel Ink-On-Paper (IOP) encoding technique that uses a cellulose substrate for long-term information storage. The substrate is manufactured in a climate-neutral manner, which sidesteps the carbon footprint associated with other crypto-minting techniques. In addition, the fact that it is a physical NFT means that this piece is not subject to the artificial scarcity of other NFT types. You can hold this NFT in your own hands and since it’s the only one in existence, it’s subject to genuine scarcity!

Upon purchase, this physical NFT will be cryptographically signed (read: illegibly autographed) by myself, in order to certify its authenticity. The transfer of ownership will be done over a globally distributed, blockchain-like network of nodes known as the “postal system”. This network has an advantage over traditional blockchains in that it is regulated by an international authority.

The starting asking-price for this piece is 160,000, however I will entertain any and all offers, barters, or trades. Inquires should be directed to millibeep@posteo.org.

/millibeep

I’ve done another music

Hey look, another cover! I guess I have a lot of time to hang out and play music over the holidays.

I guess this is a music blog now.

If you have a suggestion for other songs I could cover, let me know in a comment or email or whisper campaign (technically speaking, “stop posting covers” is a legitimate suggestion).

/millibeep