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March 24, 2020

A foggy morning in Charlottesville

March 24, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

"All your base are belong to us" — Origin of a meme

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From Wikipedia:

"All your base are belong to us" (often shortened to "All Your Base," "AYBABTU," or simply "AYB") is a broken English phrase that became an Internet phenomenon or meme in 2000–2002.

The phrase came about as the result of the spread of a GIF animation [top] that depicted the slogan.

The text comes from the opening cutscene [below]

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of the 1991 European Sega Mega Drive version of the video game Zero Wing by Toaplan, which was poorly translated from Japanese.

It was popularized by the Something Awful message forums.

March 24, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Doomsday Bunkers of South Dakota

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The photo up top accompanied a fascinating piece that appeared in the March 17 edition of the Guardian, excerpts from which follow.

Talk about good timing....

Real estate for the apocalypse: my journey into a survival bunker

Doomsday luxury accomodation is a booming business, offering customers a chance to sit out global pandemics and nuclear wars in comfort — as long as they have the money to pay for it.

Not long ago, I travelled to the Black Hills of South Dakota to see the place from which humanity would supposedly be reborn after global civilisational collapse.

The end of the world was trending, and it seemed as good a time as any to visit a place for sitting out the last days.

Over the previous few months, perhaps as a means of sublimating my own anxieties about raising a small child in an increasingly dark and volatile world, I had become preoccupied with the apocalyptic tone of our culture.

One of the more perverse aspects of this obsession was a months-long binge of doomsday prepper content, of blogs and forums and YouTube videos in which burly American guys, most of whom were called things like Kyle or Brent, explained how to prepare for a major catastrophe — your global pandemics, your breakdowns of law and order, your all-out nuclear wars — by pursuing various strategies for "tactical survival."

And this had opened out on to a broader vista of apocalyptic preparedness, and to a lucrative niche of the real estate sector catering to individuals of means who wanted a place to retreat to when things truly went sideways.

I had made arrangements to meet with one Robert Vicino, a real-estate impresario from San Diego who had acquired a vast tract of South Dakota ranch land.

The property had once been an army munitions and maintenance facility, built during the second world war for the storage and testing of bombs, and it contained 575 decommissioned weapons storage facilities, gigantic concrete and steel structures designed to withstand explosions of up to half a megaton.

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Vicino intended to sell them for $35,000 a pop to those Americans who cared to protect themselves and their families from a variety of possible end-time events.

He'd been sitting in a cafe in San Diego last year, he told me, when he received an email from a cattle farmer in South Dakota, informing him about the vast tract of land on his ranch, its former munitions vaults, and how it might be a suitable property for his business to acquire.

The plan came to him instantly, he said, the whole idea for xPoint: he was going to pay the rancher the sum of one dollar for the property, offering him a 50% cut of all future profits from the vaults, which he was going to sell at a reasonable price to people willing to fit them out to their own specs, and it was going to be the largest survival community on Earth.

It was going to be a much more affordable proposition than his other survival communities: an apocalypse solution for consumers of more modest means.

He'd already sold off 50 or so.

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In the end, it was absolutely true that I felt nothing but horror for the product Vicino was trying to sell me, or sell through me.

A civilization that could accommodate a business like this was a civilization that had in some sense already collapsed.

I have some sympathy for the builders of bunkers, the hoarders of freeze-dried foodstuffs.

I understand the fear, the desire for it to be assuaged.

But more than I want my fear assuaged, I want to resist the urge to climb into a hole, to withdraw from an ailing world, to bolt the door after myself and my family.

When I think of Vicino's project, his product, what comes to mind is the anthropologist Margaret Mead's judgment of what it means to secure oneself inside a shelter: a withdrawal from any notion that our fate might be communal, that we might live together rather than survive alone.

The bunker, purchased and tricked out by the individual consumer, is a nightmare inversion of the American dream.

It's a subterranean abundance of luxury goods and creature comforts, a little kingdom of reinforced concrete and steel, safeguarding the survival of the individual and his family amid the disintegration of the world.

March 24, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wegmans Rationing

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March 24, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

In the spirit of l'esprit d'escalier

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For peeps who invariably leave something behind.

From the website:

A godsend for those who forget, this memo pad, strategically placed, will help them remember when leaving in haste.

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Hang the Doorhanger memo pad on the inside of your front door and your notes will never get overlooked.

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Anyone exiting the house is guaranteed to encounter your message.

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Also great as a reminder before you leave the room: "Switch off the aircon" or "feed the fish," anyone?

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Pad of 50, each 9" x 3.75".

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$9.99.

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Note added 9:42 a.m. : you could make up a bunch that are recurrent and reuse them ad infinitum.

March 24, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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