That's the new game inspired by our Stockholm-Syndrome-prone Main Stream Media. It's kind of like Rock, Paper, Scissors, or Elves, Giants, Wizards, but whereas the Pen is mightier than the Sword, the peace-loving Wahhabis out in Oilswampistan have shown that the Tantrum is mightier than the Pen.
And that is the focus of this precision-guided humor assignment. My debut as a new member of the Alliance.
Sorry, Glenno. Hate to do this to a fellow Vol, but INSTAPUNDO DELENDA EST!
As you may or may not know, I am a master of many languages--a necessary skill in the Intelligence trade. It helps me to blend in, fade out, get lost in the crowd. Infiltration is my specialty. Slip in, slip out, faster than your sneaky neighbor's dog when Fifi is in heat. And in my time, I have left many a puppy for the enemy to clean up after.
That is, until someone discovered how well they fit in a blender. Bastard. That's why I joined the Alliance.
But enough about me. If I reveal too much, I'll have to trace down your IP addresses, and give you all the Cabbage treatment. I can hit an Alaskan Gecko in the eye at 100 yards. And if there were any around, I'd prove it to you.
Now you're wondering, what the hell does this have to do with languages? Or this precision-guided HUMOR assignment?
I'm getting there. Don't get your puppy pooper scoopers in an uproar. One of my contacts from Languedoc-Rousillon, an old friend from the days we were silently putting down Communist insurgencies in the Mediterranean shrimping industry, informed me that the assistant janitor of a certain French tabloid discovered evidence of secret collaboration between their editorial staff and that of the Daily News-Miner in Fairbanks (also a tabloid).
He found it in a message steganographized in a picture encouraging the French to eat more chicken (thereby proving that you are what you eat). Don't bother deciphering it. Even if you had the software, it's written in medieval Bavarian.
A janitor in France. Coded chicken messages in Bavarian. Fairbanks. The connection was becoming clear even before I read the content.
It was a response to a cry for help: How to avoid pissing off the burgeoning militant Muslim population in Fairbanks in light of the cartoon crisis.
Cartoon crisis. That puzzled me. What did the discontinuation of Calvin & Hobbes and Bloom County have anything to do with this? I read on.
Their proposals: Don't publish the Danish cartoons. Do publish articles that call Bush a terrorist. Emphasize Islam as a "religion of peace" and refer to the jihadists as "freedom fighters." Label the war in Iraq "illegal." Use "Quagmire" a lot and keep counting the U.S. death toll.
My contact suggested a little "intrusive investigation," but I was already on the way. I threw my leather jacket on, strapped my holster on my leg, and locked and loaded the Deagle.
Because, you never know when you are going to encounter a cabbage. Or an Alaskan Gecko. Especially in a rough and tumble former Pipeline Boom town.
1.35 a.m. found me outside the Big I Bar, keeping an eye on the News-Miner building, waiting for an opportunity. A few patrons leaving gave my leg-iron a glance. A few asked me how many cabbages I had demolished with that thing.
One walked out with the unmistakeable odor of Osterized canine on his breath, mixed with Everclear 151. I stopped him, and asked him what he'd been drinking.
A Pinscher Colada, he said. Bastard.
Just then, I noticed several vehicles leaving the News-Miner. I checked my watch: the print boys are leaving for the Mecca Bar (yes, true believers, evidence of collaboration can be found everywhere) early tonight. I estimated the disruption would give me 15 minutes to sneak in, download a few pictures, and sneak out.
Of course, I could just log on to the News-Miner's website, but I never believed in doing things the easy way. Besides, it's better to get poop straight from the puppy.
Before someone sticks it in the Hamilton-Beach. Bastard.
It was tense, but I've been in worse situations before--like the time I sabotaged the Iraqi nuclear plant at H3 with help from the Mossad. An early effort to keep nukes out of the hands of Saddam and prevent his erstwhile bed-buddies, the Russkies (yeah, Saddam liked 'em big, stupid, and slavic) from nurturing a homegrown nuke factory in Oilswampistan.
Another story, for another time. But it's interesting how history repeats itself, no?
Going computer by computer, office by office would take too long, so I hooked up my proprietary PDA into the network while lying low in the wiring cabinet. It didn't take long to hit paydirt.
The 80x29 image looked innocuous enough--the smiling face of Fairbanks' friendliest columnist, Dermot Cole. But it had one too many kilobytes, the sure footprint of an embedded message to the French Blunderground.
Bastards. They made Dermot an unwilling player in their sick scheme. I like his column. It's the one bright light in an otherwise lackluster rag (other than the Mallard Fillmore strip they run in the Classified section, usually on the same page as the "129" heading--Guns! Oh, and there's Dilbert, too).
For that, someone would pay...soon. But for now, I had an exfiltration to perform. Happily, there was a vent nearby, and using the HVAC highway, I made my way outside.
The direct way would have been quicker...2 hours quicker, not as dusty, and the way certainly not as laden with the dessicated corpses of the bugs of summers past.
But it would have been messy. Cabbage messy. No way to run a covert op, you know.
Once outside, I blended in, and faded out, like my footprints by the heavily falling snow.
At my forward base of operations, I spent the better part of the morning decrypting and translating the response (how did a newspaper staff learn Medieval Bavarian? I am most certainly not dealing with a hick operation here).
What I learned was bigger than I had expected. Not surprising, but big. It seems that much on Frenchie's to-do list was already in execution, and had been for some time--like, since taking on the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2002.
But there was more. The News-Miner was not acting alone. It wasn't even the main instigator, but a cog in subtle, conspiratorial ululating machine.
Other measures were on standby:
- Include half-page caricatures of George Bush and/or the American Flag, with a complementary book of matches. That way, they can freely burn both in effigy, at subscriber expense.
- Fire up the word processor (a Microsoft product, no less) to replace every mention of Christian with "Crusader," every Jooooo with "Zionist," and add "PBUH" to each of OBL and Al-Zawahri.
- Require embedded female journalists be furnished with new outfits. Assure them that they're not burquas, they're "uniforms."
And that, fellow members, is all I have the stomach to report. It's a sick, sick world.
*** END TRANSMISSION
Disclaimer: This is a lame attempt at dramatic satire. No cabbages were demolished in the creating of this story. And FWIW, The News-Miner, for all its shortcomings, is really a mediocre newspaper.