January 2016

“We’re trying to remove the stigma,” says Brian Sargasso, founder and CEO of NaughtyFootnotes.com. “I remember when I was young, taking one of my dad’s magazines on advanced quantum physics and looking at all the long, immaculately formatted footnotes, so elegant and beautiful. Of course, I had to do it furtively, since it ws frowned upon back then.”

NaughtyFootnotes.com boasts a slick and highly organized interface, one that allows customers to customize their experience to view footnotes that are most in line with their personal kinks. Sargasso points out a number of filters: one allows customers to filter by citation type, for instance. “There’s no judgment here,” he says. “We understand some that people are turned on by MLA-style footnotes even if they’re a historian what has grown up looking at Chicago footnotes. It’s not a prejudice, it’s a preference.”

One popular option is footnotes in foriegn citation styles, which Sargasso calls “exotics.” “The Brazilian National Standards are some of our most popular footnotes for discerning fetishists,” he says. “They have a very diverse style that is just what a lot of people are looking for with their citation kinks.” But perhaps the most popular subset of Sargasso’s site is the “Humiliation and Agony” area, which shows footnotes with major errors of formatting, spelling, and style.

“It’s a crossover, really, betweeen my interest in BDSM and my intense fixation on APA style footnotes,” says NaughtyFootnotes.com user HangingIndent66, speaking on condition that only their screenname be used. “I love all footnotes; they’re beautiful and the italics really get my blood pumping. But to see one that’s being humiliated by bad spelling and terrible formatting? Tie me up, I’m done.”

Some, largely in academia and on the political right, have accused operators like Sargasso of exploitation. The authors of the footnotes, for instance, are often paid a flat rate for their work regardless of how popular it becomes. Writers who have done footnote fetishist work say that it has had a strong impact on their ability to do serious academic work. Some even claim that their footnotes, especially ones that fall into the “humiliation” category, are taken from other sites and used without permission.

“Look, we are on the up and up here,” says Sargasso in response. “All our writers are paid and get a percentage of overall traffic as royalties. And if I see an amateur with really good footnotes, I’ll only put their goods up if they sign the waiver and get paid. Some of the other fly-by-night places might not do that, but not NaughtyFootnotes.com.”

In addition to footnote fetishists, a number of sites have arisen to cater to those who fetishize endnotes, like TheBackNineEndnotes.com, or in-text citations, like HotMLAInjection.com. Asked about these sites, and whether NaughtyFootnotes.com would ever expand its offerings to compete with them, Sargasso dismissed the notion out of hand.

“Look, no judgment in my line of work,” he says, “but those people are just sick and wrong.”

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The first one was irksome
The second did annoy
Then a third one did come
And a fourth was ahoy

Lizard they were, lizards all
Skink and gecko, plain and striped
Young and old, monitor and anole
In her bedroom and in her hall

She threw them outside, shooed them away
Sealed up the windows, locked up the door
But in every nook, every cranny they stay
And every day there arrived still more

In time did she ask, “what want you with me?”
And to her surprise, a reply did recieve
“You are our queen and this is homage, you see,”
“We want you to join us and of here take leave.”

So it was then that vanish did she
Searches were futile, no trace did they find
Though locals still swear they see
A large regal lizard, best of all its kind

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The sign to the development read “Egret Landing.” But it was constantly being updated via spraypaint to read “Regret Landing.”

That, though Squid, seemed appropriate enough for the dire 70s architecture decaying along with its inhabitants–what few remained, anyhow.

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The universe is infinite. You hear that a lot, but let’s worm in a little deeper.

Infinite space and infinite time. This means that anything that can happen will eventually happen. Maybe not here, maybe not often. But in a distant corner of the cosmos, or a parallel reality, or wherever. With infinite time, everything will eventually happen.

Let’s focus, then, on our line of work. Stories. The writing and the reading of stories. In an infinite universe, every story will eventually be written. People have been saying that for years, if you remember the monkeys on typwriters. But also consider this:

In an infinite universe, every story will eventually be true.

Again, perhaps not here, perhaps not now, perhaps not in any way we can conceive of. But the fact remains: every story will eventually be true.

Here’s the tricky part, though. Is it your telling of the story that makes it real? After all, we have experience every day of reality that makes stories real. Again, with infinite time and infinite space, it must be so. Sooner or later, commonly or not, in a way we can understand or not…there will be or has already been a time when the telling of a story causes it to come into truthful being somewhere, anywhere.

It’s a mathematical certainty.

Ask yourself this, then: are the truths that are born through the writing of your stories truths that are worthwhile? Are you birthing realities that will endure?

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It’s not they crying that hurts most
The flowing waters cleanse as they sting
It’s when you’re beyond crying
The rivers dammed up and dry
That the blade cuts deepest between ribs
Not just for myself, a selfish hoarded pain
But for those who I don’t know how to salve
Who live and die despite all my efforts
To care is to open your shirt and beckon
For the knife to glide in, sever, keen
Yet the stone cannot choose to feel
Just as I cannot choose to ignore

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“I’ll be blunt, sir. Starting in 1952, we began placing the brains of specially trained cats into homo sapiens bodies tank-grown for that purpose.”

“Why would we ever do such a thing?”

“We needed agents who could be trained but were also capable of independent thought and deviousness and utter amorality. Experiments with natural-born humans ended badly since they were incapable of being trained, and dogs trained well but could not be taught amorality and were incapable of improvisation.”

“Hm. That’s not exactly what I had in mind when you said ‘classified’ but so be it. Why is this an issue? Was the program a success?”

“A smashing success, sir. Some of our best agents came from project Catmatter, though they all invariably went rogue.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“Well, one of our former agents is the current premier of Russia. And we just elected another President of the United States.”

“My God.”

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1899: Haberdasher Hans Geste, originally from Ost-M√ľnchen in Bavaria, begins selling purified chemicals such as mercury and arsenic out of his clothier’s shop in San Francisco. Used in making clothes, the toxins are far more refined than his competitors’ and the business flourishes.

1905: Hans Geste’s chemical business is so successful that he closes his haberdashery and sells it to Macy’s. He moves to Oakland with his seven sons to set up a more professional operation.

1906: The great San Francisco Earthquake results in the detonation and immolation of Geste’s chemicals and incinerates three of his sons. Impressed, the US Army contracts with Geste to provide chemicals and explosives to West Coast military bases.

1915: With the outbreak of war in Europe, demand for Geste chemicals skyrockets. Hans’s oldest son, Lars, incorporates GesteCo as a limited-liability company in June. His youngest son, Klaus, travels on a clandestine mission to Bavaria and incorporates GesteCo as a gesellschaft mit beschr√§nkter Haftun that same year.

1921: With its war profits and international expansion, GesteCo moves into consumer products, launching a line of mercury and radium based pharmaceuticals.

1923: GesteCo begins manufacturing appliances for the home. Its products like toasters are highly competitive due to the use of inexpensive lead paint insteaks of bakelite.

1927: Hans Geste dies of radiation poisoning after a night spent personally supervising the Radiumeal Radioactive Flour division of GesteCo. His son Lars succeeds him as president.

1934: GesteCo’s German branch becomes the largest chemical and home appliance concern in the country. As part of a promotional tour, Lars provides solid gold toasters to key government and Nazi party officials.

1942: With the entry of the United States into World War II, GesteCo expands yet again. The amphetemines provided to US troops to maintain their combat effectiveness are all GesteCo producs. The mustard gas stockpiled at Bari and subsequently released into the atmosphere during a bombing raid was proudly made at GesteCo’s Love Canal facility.

1961: GesteCo inks a deal with Washington and key universities to lend its expertise to the first attempts at genetic engineering undertaken with government funding. The result, rice enchanced with ricin, is used in an attempt to support the Bay of Pigs invasion.

1978: Lars Geste dies after accidentally being exposed to an experimental line of RNA viruses designed to combat bad breath in infants. His son Heinz becomes president, and inks a deal with the Carter administration to provide high-level aid in genetics and chemical synthesis to US ally Iran.

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Relatively few written works from the 20th century survive, thanks to their preparation on cheap pulp paper bound with cheaper acidic glue into a crude codex. Those that survive are highly prized as sources of ancient knowledge and windows into daily life before both the Deluge and the Picotech Revolution. Most are quite mundane–texts on chemistry, myths collected by the latter-day Ovid known as James Patterson, books on how to achieve a body shape that would appease the goddess known as Jennycraig, and so on. But one book has remained a puzzle to scholars ever since it appeared in a rare book dealer’s catalog in 3077 A.C.E.

The Gygaxian Manuscript.

A few things can be intuited from the thick volume. It was not originally one work, being rather 5-10 shorter books that were bound together at a later date, with their original front and end matter town out. This probably accounts for their preservation, as the resulting binding was high-quality, acid-free, and bore no title or title page. The author is identified in the damaged first pages, added in the rebinding process, as Gary of Gygax. This adds to the mystery, as no such nation or principality existed during the 1970-1980 D.C.E. date established by carbon dating. Soem have argued for an origin in Galicia or Greece, but the manuscript is written entirely in Middle Modern English, seemingly discounting this.

Far more puzzling are the contents, which explain the flora, fauna, and proscriptions for life and (especially) war in a world that bears only a tangential resemblance to our own. Fantastic creatures, some of which appear in earlier works but many of which are wholly unknown, are described in fantastic detail. Their strengths, weaknesses, and how many axe blows they take to kill are described in such detail that Gary of Gygax must surely have had some real-life analog to draw from. Yet no fossil evidence or contemporary accounts support this.

More puzzling still is the manual of arms, which seems to reduce martial combat to pure mathematics, a feat which even modern kinetics cannot manage. Many have toiled to find the constant that Gary of Gygax includes in his calculations, d, but none have succeeded thus far. Though many have claimed to solve some of the equations like d12+10 or 2d6, none have yet stood up to careful scrutiny.

Nevertheless, even with its mysteries unresolved, the Gygaxian Manuscript continues to excite curiosity, admiration, and horror among scholars of ancient papers.

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GesteCo has long been at the forefront of technologies for a cleaner, more sustainable Earth–a process complicated by the fact that many of our consumer products are packaged in compounds so volatile we’re slightly surprised they don’t burst into fire on store shelves more often. After years of dilligent effort, though, GesteCo is pleased to announce our new Terracycle program–a sustainable solution for Mother Terra.

Look for the Terracycle “T” logo on the backs of all of the fine GesteCo products you have come to rely on, from NummNumm-brand snack nuggets to FluroSure indistrial anti-organic solvents. If it’s there, that means that you haven’t just made a smart purchase–you’ve made an Earth-friendly one!

Terracycle products can be recycled at specially designated collection points run by, and on behalf of, GesteCo. You may ask why these products cannot be recycled at existing collection points, or whether the cost of the gasoline needed to transport them there in a post-rail-transit world might still represent a net loss for the Earth Mother. But rest assured, only GesteCo can handle these volatiles in a way that limits the release of explosive and corrosive gasses and byproducts.

Best of all, once the items have been collected, they will be recycled. They said it couldn’t be done, but the smart cookies as GesteCo has hit upon a solution to turn our own toxic byproducts, richer in heavy metal than Scandinavia, to the service of Terra. Your Terracycle refuse will be remanufactured into indestructable Recycloids, using the heavy metals to form toughened alloy armor and the volatiles for fuel and weapons payloads. These Recycloids, which know neither love nor mercy, will then be deployed across the globe to ensure that everyone is doing their part to recycle.

You may ask if using Recycloids to, in essence, make more Recycloids isn’t tantamount to the long-awaited robot revolution. You may even ask if it is not handing over the keys to the globe to a gang of Von Neumann machines that cannot be turned off. But rest assured, GesteCo actuaries have run the numbers and all possible outcomes, from cheerful recycling to robotic armageddon, ultimately serve the purposes of Mother Terra.

The GesteCo Terracycle Program: Save the Earth, or Else!

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Be ye warned!
Cook not these golden nuggets with other meats!
Contaminate them not with lesser foods!
Failure to do so will break the Old Covenant, by which the flesh of the fowl was traded to mankind in exchange for power.
It will invoke the wrathe of Nuggetor, the Chicken God, and he will turn his attention to you.

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