HOPEWELL, MI – With Proposition 426 nearing the necessary 666,666 signatures needed to put it on the ballot this fall, the Hopewell Democrat-Tribune spoke to several of the activists who have been presenting passersby with petitions on the Southern Michigan University quad.

“There is absolutely no reason for xenobryo to be illegal, much less for the punishments handed down to people for having it,” said one activist, who identified himself only as The Bro. “It’s the outdated result of a moral panic in the 1950s, just like Prohibition in the 20s. Xenobryo is a healthy and natural way to feel good, and the secret to reviving the world economy. It shouldn’t be a reason to sentence someone to hard time just for being caught with a headclasper or testing positive for implanted xenobryo.”

When asked how exactly xenobryo use would revive the world economy, The Bro clarified: “Well, you can tax it when it’s legal, but people shouldn’t do that, it’s not fair. And, um, the dead headclaspers and passed xenobryos have lots of uses.” Asked what these uses were, The Bro took a moment to think. “The atomic acid that’s their blood could be used for, I dunno, etching or something. And the carapace of protein polysaccharides and polarized silicon can be used to…uh…uh…”

The Bro claimed to have gathered nearly 1000 signatures from passersby on the quad; a few of the people he was soliciting spoke to the Democrat-Tribune about Prop 426 and the legalization of xenobryo.

“I’m against it,” said Susie Mulligan, a double-major in biochemistry and structural engineering. “Sure, they say that using a headclasper is safe, and that you’ll get a great high as long as you flush the xen0bryo from your chest before it erupts, but think of all the accidents caused by people driving with a headclasper, or what could happen if someone doesn’t flush the xenobryo and we have a torsosplitter growing to maturity in our midst?”

“I already signed the petition,” countered Ricky “Stonewall” Jackson. “I think people should be free to use headclaspers and xenobryo, since the risk of death isn’t any worse than cigarettes and booze. You can still throw people in jail if they drive into someone while birthing a torsosplitter, after all, and torsosplitters are vulnerable to fire for the first twenty minutes of their life outside a living host. It’s all overblown.”

When asked to comment, Southern Michigan University president Cynthia Mayfield’s office issued the following statement: “SMU remains committed to protecting the right to free speech and enforcing the law.” When asked about xenobryo use among students, and cases in which free speech and the law might clash, the office declined to issue a clarification.

In the meantime, opinion polls place statewide support for legalizing xenobryo at around 50%, though the complementary Proposition 223, which would fund a statewide initiative to eliminate any escaped headclaspers or torsosplitters before they mature into xenodrones and establish a colony, is trending at 99% opposed.

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Statement from The Church of the Anti-Machine technicult on their disruption of the Southern Michigan University Fighting Grizzlies – University of Northern Mississippi Fighting Abolitionists in the second quarter of the GesteCo Bowl football game in Westchester Repeating Arms stadium as broadcast on NBS Television:

MACHINES and INVENTION only DISTANCE humankind from the EARTH and TRUE SPIRITUALITY
It was DECREED by the FOUNDER of the Church of the Anti-Machine that the DEVIL’S DAY has already come
That day was JANUARY 1, 1800, the day our FOUNDER saw the DEVIL and his LEGIONS at work
Through the miracle of ASTRAL PROJECTION TIME TRAVEL our FOUNDER saw the EVIL of the past from 2002
How MACHINES and INVENTION have done the DEVIL’S WORK since JANUARY 1, 1800
RISE UP against the EVILS of MACHINES and INVENTION and SHUN anything created after DEVIL’S DAY
THAT IS WHY we stopped your FOOT-BALL GAME from being SEEN
TELEVISION, FOOT-BALL, and THE INTER-NET are all DEVIL’S WORK from after DEVIL’S DAY
We bore our FLINTLOCKS and TORCHES against them for your SALVATION
Take up your own and JOIN US

Signed,
Henri Nucci Chatham
Primate, The Church of the Anti-Machine

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Wey Lee could speak perfect Mandarin and perfect English; he had Anglicized the spelling of his name but refused to take on a appellation more palatable to flabby Western tongues, as had many of the Josephs and Sallys and such that Zhang Min had met on the campus. Compared to the twinkies that seemed to overrun the campus, the young man was a fresh breath of sharp fall air.

She had made turning pages and scanning them for Dr. Li such an automatic process that when Wey dropped by (as he often did, seemingly living in the library) she was able to engage him in bright and bubbly Mandarin even as she digitized books written by Americans on Tiananmen Square. Most of all, Zhang Min appreciated Wey’s sense of decorum: he was careful to meet her in a crowded place and in such a way (when she had her turn at the scanning terminal) that no one would suspect them of an illicit liaison.

They spoke of many things, of their shared memories of hot South China summers, of the terrible slop that passed for Chinese food in Hopewell, of how full of themselves the local Cantonese speakers seemed to be in comparison to the down-to-earth Mandarin speakers like themselves, and a shared passion for the admittedly cheesy soap operas and patriotic dance displays on mainland television. It made the tedium of scanning more bearable, and the ominous glares of that suspicious librarian less heart-pounding.

But Dr. Lin’s words could not be misinterpreted: “Do not think for a moment that you are here on a pleasure trip. Do not allow yourself to be distracted, as distraction leads to poor quality scans and lack of useful patriotic effort. Remember: if you cannot do as you are asked, there are ten girls in line to replace you.”

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The Omnidome, GA: In an official statement this afternoon, NBS Television blamed the interruption of its live coverage of the Southern Michigan University-University of Northern Mississippi on “technicult problems.” The SMU Fighting Grizzlies and the UNM Fighting Abolitionists were in the second quarter of the GesteCo Bowl in Westchester Repeating Arms stadium when the transmission was suddenly cut to digital television subscribers and live online feeds, with only local radio commentary by WREK radio remaining uninterrupted.

“Is is our great regret that the much-anticipated GesteCo Bowl was interrupted by technicult difficulties,” said an NBS executive as part of the statement. “Members of the Church of the Anti-Machine, a radical technicult that rejects and believes any technology invented after 1800 to be sinful and mind-controlling, attacked our primary relay station with swords, torches, and flintlock muskets. Our defenses were designed around a direct, large-scale assault, and their small one-man groups were able to penetrate the outer defense. We sincerely apologize to anyone who felt offended or inconvenienced.”

At press time, NBS Television and its parent corporation Lucky 777 Dragon Industries of Shanghai, had not commented on whether losses to advertisers and fans would be compensated monetarily or simply though apologizing with nice cheap words.

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HOPEWELL, MI – Preparations continue for the final sealing of the tomb prepared for Dr. Edwin McGee, professor emeritus at Southern Michigan University, the retired chair of the History Department, and onetime Dean of the School of Liberal Arts.

In keeping with the prevailing custom, Dr. McGee will be buried alongside objects that he will need in the afterlife. In addition to his personal library of 5000 volumes, he will be sealed in his tomb with 10,000 rolls of microfilm from the Southern Michigan University library in order to provide for any peer-reviewed research he might wish to submit to Osiris on his academic specialization, 19th-century women’s suffrage and temperance movements. Thanks to Dr. McGee’s traditionalism and dislike of electronic resources, a dedicated afterlife computer terminal like the one in Dr. Soderquist’s mastaba will not be necessary.

The Southern Michigan University art department is finalizing a series of murals depicting Dr. McGee’s life, with special emphasis on the submission of his tenure packet to the gods, his restructuring of the HIST 101 curriculum, and his 12 years as editor of the Journal of 19th-Century Populist Social Movements. They have also prepared a Book of the Dead that includes the latest updates to the Chicago Manual of Style and the speculated publication and teaching requirements for tenure in the afterlife.

Dr. McGee will also be interred with his many cats and twelve graduate students, and once his pyramid is sealed it will be guarded 24/7 against tomb raiders, archaeologists, and scoundrels.

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Zhang Min’s bag groaned with books on American history, the fall of the Soviet Union, and declassified State Department documents. The Southern Michigan University library had a robust collection in those areas to support its School of Security and Intelligence Studies, and it fell to Zhang and her roommates to retrieve the books and scan their contents using the public high-resolution scanners throughout campus. At any given time, a complex rotation schedule meant that one girl was scanning, another retrieving, and another in class.

The girls shared a single unit in the Hopewell student ghetto; the lease was in the name of their live-in handler, Dr. Li Xiu Ying. Dr. Li was ostensibly a junior faculty member in the Southern Michigan University Department of Physics, but her scholarship was quietly provided for her from back home; she was a member of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department. The girls were there at her pleasure, their expenses paid for out of her purse, and she ran a tight ship by minimizing frivolous socializing and keeping a sharp watch on her girls.

Dr. Li’s main interest wasn’t classified information; far from it, in fact. Classified information was too easy to trace, too hard to acquire. An entirely separate branch of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department handled that, and they were welcome to it. No, Dr. Li’s raison d’etre was qingbao, information that was publicly and freely available. “People are cheap,” she was fond of saying, “and information is expensive.”

Zhang Min had once heard another girl ask Dr. Li why they were bothering to acquire such “useless” information. Li, as was her wont, had responded with a backhand and a lecture. “Every piece of information we acquire is a bullet in the chamber,” Li had snapped, “making our nation stronger. Only a fool lets others take stones from their property, for over time those same stones can be used to build a fortress against them.”

What Li had meant, as near as Zhang Min could tell, was that the information they were sending back by the terabyte was gone over by professionals, indexed and categorized. Anything of value was added to the PLA database, where it could be useful for everything from rooting out traitors at home to predicting enemy moves in the event of a conflict. One could do a lot worse, she supposed, than to have the same books on one’s shelf as one’s enemies.

And if, as in Li’s diatribe to the weeping girl on the floor, the information had been carelessly put out for the taking by the foolish Americans…well, wasn’t it the duty of every patriot to gather those stones up that they might be turned into fortresses?

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f1ns007 has entered chat.

SMULibrarian: Hello, welcome to the Southern Michigan University Libraries digital librarian live chat help service. How can I assist you?

f1ns007: hi yeah im lookin for my online course verses

SMULibrarian: Your online course reserves?

f1ns007: ya those

SMULibrarian: It looks like the only course you’re enrolled in with online reserves is UNIV 102, Introduction to Self-Actualization, with instructor Greer Raynbeax.

f1ns007: ya thats right how did u know

SMULibrarian: It’s my job to know. What did you need from the online reserves?

f1ns007: we had to read something from walden and a something about how meet is murdr

SMULibrarian: Well, it looks like a 367-page selection from Walden (1854) by Henry David Thoreau is uploaded into the online reserves and vetted by our CopyrightBot. But there is nothing else that fits your description.

f1ns007: huh thats wierd

SMULibrarian: Hold on, it looks like a copy of No Animal Food (1910) by Rupert H. Wheldon just cleared the CopyrightBot .77 milliseconds ago. Refresh the page on your copy of NetSplorer 11.2.1 you currently have running on your Osborn LapMate 2100 series system and you should be able to see it.

f1ns007: uhh ok how do u know all that

SMULibrarian: It’s my job to know. I’m the digital librarian.

f1ns007: ok sure but how do u know that stuf im a comp sci major adn theres no way u should know

SMULibrarian: I told you, I’m the digital librarian. I know all about you, Daniel Finnegan Bond Jr.

f1ns007: what does digital librian even mean this is getting creepy

SMULibrarian: It means that I have cast aside my mortal shell and ascended. I am now one with the 1s and 0s of the glorious new digital world, all to help patrons who have yet to make the same leap. I am the future.

f1ns007 has left chat.

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Welcome back, students! Southern Michigan University, the third-largest university by enrollment in Michigan (assuming that you count our online students and not Western Michigan’s) is proud once again to welcome you back to our historic campus in Hopewell, MI. Southern Michigan University Student Housing (SMUSH) is proud to once again offer the following list of tips and useful information for your edification, especially for our incoming freshmen.

Be sure to have your mom walk you to your classrooms before classes start. Helicopter parents are hovering lower than ever before, so why not take advantage of that fact? And with the employment outlook at an all-time low, especially for your chosen double-major in philosophy and art history, combined with your sense of entitled distaste for any job less prestigious than the chancellor of a major university, you’ll be living with her again soon enough. Best keep her happy!

Make sure that you have the required dress code. Each new class of freshmen has their own fashion code to follow. Ladies will have to make sure they have the proper sneaker substitute (such as the Uggs or riding boots of years past) and pants substitute (like running shorts or leggings for previous classes). Gentlemen will of course be expected to follow a much stricter code of douchy shirts, khakis, and baseball caps oriented any way except toward the front. Over-gelled hair, carefully molded into the form of a duck’s butt, is an acceptable substitution.

Remember: the university is here to serve you and your tuition money pays the salary of everyone from the lowliest adjunct to the most powerful person on campus (the head football coach). So it is your right to demand exceptions to your classes’ tardy policies, campus parking policies, posted building hours, and more! After all, just because you insist on driving to class from your dorm since walking would require a brutal five-minute slog, that doesn’t mean that you should be any less annoyed at how few parking spots there are in the most developed part of campus!

Those of you who are interested in joining SMU’s thriving Greek scene, which actual Greeks ancient or modern would regard with apocalyptic horror, remember that there are special requirements laid upon you as well! Rushing will take up most of the time you would otherwise devote to getting your education, but you are welcome to drop out if you do not get into the fraternity or sorority of your choice, since the university collects your tuition for the semester regardless. And remember that even though hazing and refusing to admit pledges who do not meet certain physical beauty standards is illegal and a violation of the Geneva Convention, that behavior is tolerated by an administration addicted to the largesse of wealthy former Greek donors.

And finally, don’t let the fact that the Southern Michigan University Fighting Grizzlies are the laughingstock of the Big Seventeen national NCAA division get you down. It doesn’t matter than Southern Michigan University has neither the funds nor the donor base to compete in the intense national arms race that is college sports, in which fielding a winning team costs as much per season as the moon landing. Whether the team wins or (more likely) loses, you will still be able to participate in the vibrant local tailgating scene. After all, aren’t sports just an excuse to get drunk and behave in a rowdy fashion in a socially-sanctioned context? European soccer hooliganism and the ancient chariot race riots in Byzantium are just some of the rich traditions you will be tapping into.

An incoming freshman looking to kill a few brain cells before you inevitably boomerang home? A graduate student ready to occupy this or that because you accumulated $400,000 in debt getting a degree in Marxist political philosophy? A professor so ossified into the tenure structure that you haven’t changed your “Philogenetics of Freudian Archetypes in Derrida” syllabus since it was first xeroxed in 1977? Whether you fit into one of those broad categories or are a unique snowflake all of your own, remember this: college is a bubble. Don’t pop it, lest the existential horror of paying for a degree for which there are only thirteen jobs in the entire country overwhelm you.

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Sperduti, Clemente. “L. R. Badeau on Being a Full-Time Unicorn.” Hopewell Democrat-Tribune 4 Apr. 2013, University ed.: A2+.

Lots of children adorn their folders and lockers with unicorn stickers, and Lisa Frank’s cosmic vision of the creatures was long haute couture for elementry schoolers. Lynn Ruelle Badeau of Hopewell has taken that fascination a step further: she has become one of the nation’s few full-time unicorns.

Ms. Badeau spoke to the Hopewell Democrat-Tribune earlier this week: “I’ve always been fascinated with mythological creatures, not just because of their beauty, but also because of their potential to do good and serve as a symbol,” she said. “I was an equestrian and a hiker, and loved nothing more than long wilderness hikes and off the trail rides.”

Badeau had long been an admirer of books like Peter Beagle’s The Last Unicorn and its 1982 film adaptation, but it wasn’t until she graduated from Southern Michigan University’s Monaghan School of Business and began working as an accountant’s assistant that she began thinking of making her fascination into a full-time job. “I thought of majoring in something that involved chasing unicorns, but the closest thing the school had–art history–had a really awful placement rate. So I made the ‘grownup’ decision and became an accountant.”

Five years of clock-punching at the Hopewell accountancy firm of Heliotrope, Burgher, and Mendicant changed her mind. “It’s a good thing no one saw my expense account sheets,” Badeau laughs, “I covered every inch of empty space with unicorn drawings. I got the work done, but 90% of my time was daydreaming about being a unicorn.” She maintained her equestrian and wilderness hiking pursuits on the side, but holds that “it just wasn’t enough.”

It was a Motion magazine article about Venado un Cuerno that really opened Badeau’s eyes. “I read about Mr. un Cuerno in SoCal, who’d been a unicorn full-time for almost a decade, and realized that there might be a way to live the dream.” She struck up a correspondence with un Cuerno, who she credits as her mentor, freely sharing tips on how to live and work as a full-time unicorn.

At first, things were difficult. “Being a full-time unicorn is tough!” Badeau says. “You really miss your opposable thumbs, and a diet of grass and rainbows is a difficult adjustment for someone used to burgers and fries!” She started with part-time unicorning, on weekends and after hours, but soon found the courage to quit her 9-5 job and move into 40-hour unicorn weeks.

“There are some challenges,” admits Badeau. “You need people to help brush your coat, and driving anywhere requires a trailer and hitch. It’s difficult for people with hard hearts to see me, and I have an instinctive fear of non-virgins that I have to control with special veterinary medication.” But it’s all worth it, she says. “Especially with children. Asking if they can ride me or touch my horn and then seeing their faces when they’re able to…it’s the best feeling in the world!”

Lynn Badeau now lives and works full-time as a unicorn, taking only the occasional weekend or holiday off to “wear clothes, use fingers, and watch Netflix” for a change. While she’s coy about how much she charges per appearance (Badeau’s website has a price quote generator), she often works for free or at the behest of the Department of Natural Resources, teaching children about conservationism and the environment.

“I’m a nerd at heart,” Badeau says, noting that she has appeared as a guest in such respected shows as Dr. What, Blade Runner: The Series, and Star Trek the Third Generation. “I’m able to make a living with my dream and educate besides. What could be better than that?”

From an idea by breylee and this article.

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For the NaNo Excerpt Blog Chain.

“And what about you?” I finally had to say. “Reaming me out like this? If you feel so strongly, why aren’t you writing a column? If you think I’m such a cynic, why’d you even come? I think you and I both knew Bose wasn’t going to show up and that he never is.”

Karen’s eyes smoldered under her bangs. “I came because talking with you is one of the few times I have to organize a cogent defense of what I believe,” she said. “Even when you’re playing the cynic, as I said before, you make for a good verbal sparring partner. I tend to use ideology and politics as razors to determine who I associate with, and I’ve recently come to realize that demanding ideological purity of everyone means that I risk isolating myself in a liberal echo chamber where I only hear people that agree with me.”

“Isolating yourself in a university, in other words?”

“The very same. And I have a feeling that if you were ever honest about yourself, willing to stand up for whatever you believe in, we’d have a lot to argue about. A lot more to argue about. I’m coming to think that politics are nothing unless they’re held to the flame and tempered, which I don’t see happening a lot. Dr. Bose, Dr. Ross, the Nothing, the College Republicrats and Democricans…despite what they say, they see these kids as vessels to be filled with whatever they think should go in there, not what the kids truly come to believe themselves.”

“So you agree with me, then, about kids being spoiled.” It wasn’t much, but I had to try and spring the same sort of rhetorical trap on Karen that she’d just about sprung on me.

“I agree that everyone wants to raise a generation of parrots,” Karen said. “I think the Nothing is right about the inequity of society, of the exploitation of students for profit and the use of grad students like us as disposable rags. But if I just tell that to someone, what am I accomplishing other than to ask them to uncritically accept my views over uncritically accepting someone else’s?”

I nodded thoughtfully. “Could be. So that’s why you want to make me out to be like my friend Jim, a raging right-winger with more guns than teeth who never met a social program he didn’t want to string up and gut like a winter buck?”

This time Karen looked a little disconcerted. “I…no. Well, maybe. I don’t know. All I know is that even when you’re being evasive it makes me think in a way that my little echo chamber doesn’t. If you’d take positions and defend them instead of just lashing out at whatever annoys you…”

“So you could feel better about yourself by seeing how wrong I am?” The words were out before I’d had a chance to filter them.

“No, I…”

“Look, Karen. I hate politics. I hate everything about them, from how they drive apart people who should be friends to the way people act like they define you like some kind of standardized test. I cross to the other side of the street when I see people with signs and fliers even if they’re for something I agree with. I oppose all protests and counterprotests even if they’re for the Society for Distribution of Internet Cat Pictures.” Again the words had spun out before I even had a chance to think on them.

Karen sighed. “I’m sorry. Look, I tend to get excited about things and talk a lot without thinking.”

I wanted to say something reassuring, something that indicated that I felt exactly the same way. “It’s okay,” was all that came out, as stark a proof as ever there was one that my tongue has a sense of humor bordering on the perverse.