Handsome Joe And His Pals Watch TV

…mostly, Animal Planet


The Doclopedia #964

Weights & Measures: 5 Pounds Genre: Fantasy

Yes, my apprentice, this Sword of Dragon Slaying does weigh exactly five pounds. A full pound of that is the golden inlay of runes that impart an Eversharp Blade to it, while the Jewels of Enhanced Speed in the pommel weigh a quarter pound all by themselves. Oh, no, the actual Dwarven Steel weighs much less than you would think. It seems the Gnomes, after many explosions and several non fatal maimings, devised a process by which the Dwarves could make the steel twice as strong with half the weight. Amazing stuff, really, as I was telling One Eyed Lefty Gnomingomer the other day.

The customer? Oh, that would be Duke Ringust Lantero of Lantieri. If ever there were a man and sword that had a chance at killing the Great Dragon of Tuuv, it is he and this sword. Even so, I give him a 50/50 chance at best. Have you ever heard that dragon described? 200 feet long from nose to tail and breathes White Fire! No, my shillings are on the dragon, lass.”




The Doclopedia #965

Weights & Measures: 10 Cubic Centimeters Genre: Pulp

It wasn’t much to look at, being a mere cube of metal with a few wires protruding, but Doc Tempest, Sally Smithfield and the rest of the crew knew that it had been the “brains” of the giant robot ape that Hurricane Hampstead had used to terrorize Govunga while he had been going after the diamonds in the lost temple.

Boy,” Sally said, “I’d sure like to get a look inside that to see how it works.” She was intensely interested in how Professor Grave had packed so much information into such a small space.

Doc nodded. “So would I, Sally, but I’m pretty sure trying to cut it open would destroy it. Still, we can x-ray it and run it through a few other processes. Maybe that will tell us something.”

It’s a shame Professor Grove chose to die with Hampstead, trying to get those diamonds.” Sally would never understand people who placed greed above science.

Doc placed the small cube into a padded case, which he then shut and locked.

Greed is a sickness of the mind, Sally. It has cost countless lives through the ages. That’s why we must fight to conquer it.”

With that, the seven of them walked back to their airship and set to getting it ready for the trip back to San Francisco.

Not In This Issue: Skunks, Monks or Drunks

…however, we do have some punks


The Doclopedia #963

Weights & Measures: 15.75 Light Years Genre: Science Fiction

That is exactly how far away the earth-like planet Cormish 4 is from Earth. It is also exactly how far Doctor Fred Cormish and the crew of the “Krazy Katey” (named after his 6 year old granddaughter) teleported in order to explore the planet and the Cormish solar system. Despite the idea of teleporting an entire starship and a crew of 200 across that distance being poopooed by most scientists and politicians, the US military funded it and the whole thing went off without a hitch.

Cormish 4 was found to be one of two human habitable planets in the 12 planet system. It was the “warm one” and Cormish 5 was the “cool one”. Both had thriving ecosystems and sentient life forms at about the Bronze Age level. Contact with the sentients was not made on the first trip, but many samples of indigenous plant & animal life were collected using robots. Robots also collected copious mineral samples.

When the Krazy Katey returned on May 11, 2105…two years after it left…the worldwide news media covered little else. Dr. Cormish won the Nobel Prize in Physics and several of his crew also won major science prizes. After doing interviews for nearly a month straight, the Dr. and his crew spent the next two years analyzing their samples. After that, they spent another two years preparing for their second trip to Cormish 4.

As of today, three trips to the Cormish System have been made and a voyage to the newly discovered Molkar System is planned for next year.

Harry, The Armadillo Who Traveled The World

…and he had the passport to prove it


The Doclopedia #962

Movies Not Of This Earth: Quiet Kill (Metro Goldberg Myer, 1998)

In 1995, neophyte director Bethany Collins became disgusted with all of the gun violence in movies and decided to make a very violent action film with not a single gunshot or explosion. The result was “Quiet Kill”, a movie that got heaped with both praise and condemnation. It also made a big heap of money, moving it to the #7 slot on the top ten moneymaking films list. Oh, yeah, it also won 4 Golden Globe, 5 Academy Awards and a basket full of other awards.

The movie opens with scenes of several men and women (all portrayed by top action movie stars) lovingly cleaning their favorite guns. As the narrator tells us who each one of them is, we see them suddenly collapse into unconsciousness.

When they wake up, they are all shackled to the wall of a warehouse, where a man in a mask tells them that they are in an abandoned industrial town in a very remote location. The town is surrounded by landmines of a particularly deadly nature, so escape is only possibly by airlift. He then tells them that in 5 minutes, they and 30 criminally insane killers will be released from the shackles and the object will be to kill everyone else and be the sole survivor. The winner will get top medical aid, if needed, and 100 million dollars.

The big catch is that there are no guns in the town and the whole place is wired with microphones. If any noise reaches a certain decibel level, a small nuclear device will be triggered, destroying the town and everything around it.

The masked man is airlifted out by a blimp and then the shackles open. There are many sorts of weapons scattered around the town and soon the killings are going on full tilt. The film runs two hours long and for 105 minutes of that there is no sound louder than a person speaking at normal levels. The killings are creative, bloody and graphic, all of which got a great deal of protest from various camps. The fact that the masked man called guns “the killing tool of choice for idiots” got the NRA bitching. Still, the film got great reviews for being innovative, well acted and well shot. People flocked to see it and it made money.

This film is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Thames.com.

It’s All Fun & Games Until You Rub The Magic Lamp

…so, be careful with that


The Doclopedia #960

Weights & Measures: 34.25 Pounds       Genre: Science Fiction, Humor

This was the combined weight of the five alien robots that came to Earth from Pollux 2 aboard a spacecraft that was roughly the size of a double decker bus. Once their ship had landed just outside of Kalamazoo, Michigan, they began building several sculptures out of found objects. These sculptures depicted humans doing all manner of sexual acts, from the mild & ordinary to the very kinky & possibly gravity defying. After about a week, the robots finished their artistic endeavor and allowed scientists to measure and study them for several hours. At 6:21 pm, they got back aboard their ship and took off.

The sculptures proved to be indestructible and are now a major tourist attraction.




The Doclopedia #961

Weights & Measures: 17 Meters             Genre: Science Fiction

This was roughly the length of the prehistoric saltwater crocodile that was released from an eons long slumber in a cavern in Northern Australia. Before he made his way into the ocean and headed towards India, he killed and ate 22 people, 9 dogs, 5 head of cattle and an unknown number of smaller crocs.

By the time the giant reptile reached India, he had grown to 20 meters long. Upon arriving on the southern Indian coast, he promptly ate 7 humans and a cow before swimming up a river. Over the next 15 days, the croc ate more humans and other creatures before a team of scientists lured him onto dry land and fed him sedative laced goats. Monitored constantly by veterinarians, he was transported to his new home in a huge enclosure near a seaside resort community.

The croc, now named Rex, is jointly owned by Australia and India and is probably the most studied animal in history. He seems to have finally stopped growing at 23 meters long.

Behold! Groob, The Terror From The Recycle Bin!

…not a real monster from an old Marvel comic


NOTE: For ease of transferring these posts over to my website, I’m going to start including genre tags.


The Doclopedia #958

Alt. Zombies: Giant Zombies         Genre: Horror, Fantasy

It was good that Wizard Nooba Bovarn got out of the Seven Kingdoms as fast as she could after the accident, because if she had stayed, she would have been permanently polymorphed into a dungworm. As it is, she just has to avoid all of the bounty hunters looking to bring her in alive for that two wagon loads of gold that is offered for her capture.

Nooba was always a somewhat dim sort for a Wizard, but really, dumping 200 gallons of a flawed Potion of Gigantism into Skwix Creek, which runs into the Swamp of the Undead? Stupid doesn’t cover that sort of error.

So yes, when 50 huge rotting zombies, each at least 30 feet tall, came out of the swamp searching for humanoid flesh, Nooba started packing her Bags of Fantastic Capacity. By the time they started ravaging the kingdoms, she was probably heading over the Lacewood Mountains on the express coach to Golvania or Atar Dalse. If she has any brains at all, she’ll keep going until she gets to Moonport, then take a fast ship to some far off land.

Fortunately, the Potion of Gigantism wore off after about three days and the zombies were quickly dispatched. Damage to property was enormous and there were at least 340 deaths. Thank the Goddess that it was easy to see and smell a 30 foot tall zombie coming or there might have been thousands of deaths.

Ah, I see that 19 more bounty hunters have signed on, bringing the total to 67. I am hopeful they will bring that idiot Nooba back to face justice soon.




The Doclopedia #959

Alt. Zombies: Chimera Zombies         Genre: Horror, Pulp

Good evening Mr. & Mrs. America and all the ships at sea…Dateline New York City: The evil Doctor Bogenbroom has unleashed an army of undead horrors upon the city! These foul creatures are a horrid mixture of human and animal. They are fast moving and out for the brains of any living human they can catch. Those not killed, but merely bitten, soon die and then change into some chimerical horror. Fortunately for us all, Doc Tempest and his associates, backed up by the military and the New York Police Department, are destroying these hellish creatures even as they search for Bogenbroom’s secret lab. This reporter personally witnessed Doc and David Smalley-Smoot shooting nearly a dozen zombies in the head, the only known way to instantly kill them. Thank God for these great heroes!”

The Journal Of The American Society Of Two Fisted Heroes

…however, it does include several one fisted heroes and one three fisted hero


The Doclopedia #956

Alt. Zombies: Cheese Zombies

It all started when the Bigg Cheese Company, largest cheese maker in the world, began using milk from genetically modified cows who were fed genetically modified grains. The thing that triggered the Cheese Zombie bacteria was the addition of a new chemical preservative to their grated Parmesan cheese and to their cheddar cheese mix in their macaroni & cheese dinners. After eating either of these, the bacteria started changing both the cheese and the human who ate it. In about 12 hours, people started dying and then rising up as Cheese Zombies.

At first, Cheese Zombies are mostly human, but besides eating the flesh of the living, they also seek out milk to drink, which increases the amount of living cheese that replaces their rotting flesh. They can also eat cheese to accomplish this, and many of the first Cheese Zombies took off for grocery stores and cheese shops as soon as they rose up.

Wisconsin and California produced the most Cheese Zombies, but the Canadian love for poutine caused many to thrive in that country. You don’t even want to know how bad it was in France & Italy.

Cheese Zombies ravaged the planet until they were finally destroyed by military forces, civilians with homemade flamethrowers, weather conditions and about 80 zillion rats, mice & other rodents.




The Doclopedia #957

Alt. Zombies: Worm Zombies

So everything was going great on Mars before they built that dome over the Carter Caves. It was going to be a tourist attraction for the 3 million citizens of Mars and the expected million more tourists from Earth and other colonies. There would be a theme park, resorts, lakes and, of course, the 1.5 miles of caves. It would be a goldmine!

Now, to be fair, no investigation in the 75 year history of the caves had ever detected life. A bit of water frozen up in the soil, yes, but no life.

Turns out, the worms were living a very slow existence about two feet deeper down than scientists had ever drilled. They were just burrowing through a wet layer of soil eating bacteria, tiny single celled creatures and, on occasion, each other. Everything was going great until humans started warming Mars up.

By the time construction on the Carter Cave Dome started, the Martian surface was, on average, a balmy 42 degrees most of the year and the oxygen content was about that of the peak of Mount Everest on Earth. In this new warmer, more oxygenated soil, the worms grew from an inch long to a whopping four inches and ventured nearer the surface in search of food. When the dome was finished, it was pressurized to an Earth normal atmosphere mix and warmed to 75 degrees. Down in the soil beneath the caves, the worms had a population explosion and grew to a foot long. It probably took them less than a month to eat all of their natural foods, at which point they went looking for other things to eat. Things like human feces and garbage.

Now, although Martian cities and towns have state of the art recycling of all waste products, construction sites in new domes still use garbage bins and porta potties. The Martian worms found their way into these and had a feeding frenzy. They also absorbed human DNA and the DNA from millions of different bacteria. This combined with their own DNA and new generations of mutant worms were born. By the time they infested the first humans, they were quite unlike their original Martian ancestors.

Anyway, you know the rest: 3,000 construction workers and others in the dome were turned into half human/half worm colony zombies. They escaped the dome and were heading to Marsopolis when the government hit them with a Heat Bomb that killed everything in a 30 mile radius and destroyed the dome.

After that incident, you can bet they did a hell of a lot more checking out of any place they consider building a dome.

Weinerdogs In The Haunted House

…it was hella scary!


The Doclopedia #954

Things You Should Not Do: Travel Back In Time

It seemed like a good idea at the time, you know. Just use Professor Manjitars time machine to go back and prevent the Great Plague of 1799, thus allowing my country to become the greatest power on Earth by the late 1880s. All we had to do was go back to about 1797 and vaccinate all of the villagers where the plague first occurred. Easy peasy, right?

Well, no. See, we didn’t realize that the first version of the plague was substantially different on the genetic level from the samples we had from 1804. Our vaccine not only didn’t stop it, it made it even more resistant to treatment in the mid-late 20th century, when it popped up again in Nigeria. It had also mutated to an airborne form with a survivability of up to 72 hours outside the human body.

The upshot was that we returned to 2056 to find a world of primitive tribes, cities with nearly a century of decay on them and no functioning technology above the bow and arrow.

So, if you are someone in the future reading this after humans have gotten civilized again, don’t even think about time traveling.”




The Doclopedia #955

Things You Should Not Do: Thaw A Monster Out Of The Ice

Really, how many movies were made about thawing something out of the ice only to have it go on a killing rampage? From Frankensteins Monster to The Thing to any number of Kaiju and Dinosaurs, it never friggin’ works out well for humanity.

So what the hell did those dumb bastards from the US Geological Survey do when they found a humanoid frozen in a glacier in Montana? Chip it free and take it to a lab to look at it, AFTER IT WAS PARTIALLY THAWED OUT!

They had it to just about 40 F when two things happened. First, one of the team said “Hey, that thing looks kinda like a Troll from D&D”. The second thing? It woke up about 5 minutes later and killed and ate the five team members, after which it nearly tripled in size!

Naturally, the facility was locked down and the cops were called and when the Troll broke through a wall, the cops shot the crap out of it. That really pissed it off and it it killed cops and civilians and destroyed property until some smart cop tosses a grenade at it and blows it into about a dozen pieces.

You know what happens to a piece of Troll that doesn’t get burned up by fire? It grows damned quickly into a complete Troll! Small, but still a troll. When the cops saw a dozen new trolls, all of whom were eating dead humans and growing larger, they called in the military.

After about three days, the military had managed to round up the now 36 trolls and contain them in a cold storage warehouse where they all got frozen again. Everybody was patting themselves on the backs when one scientist asked how such a creature could exist, since it violated so many laws of biology & physics. The answer, of course, was magic.

And then people and animals bitten or clawed, but not killed, by the Trolls began to mutate into magical beings or creatures. Since each creature was “leaking magical energy”, they caused more mutations in the living things around them. Shit was ON, my friend.

Now, five years later, magic has taken over all of the wild lands on Earth and about half of the developed lands. Cities tend to be magic free zones, but that won’t last more than another decade. After that, our planet becomes a gaming geeks wet dream. And it’s all because they just had to thaw out that damned troll.”

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