Sunday, June 17, 2012

Viking Health-care: Ray Bradbury tribute edition

The effect of long-term zero-gravity on astronauts is well-known: the calcium dissolves from their bones. The obvious solution to this problem is to remove the more accessible bones e.g. from their arms and legs before the space journey begins, to be kept in cold storage and re-inserted when they reach Mars or whatever the destination might be.¹

Sadly, the hidebound bureaucrats at NASA have not dignified my e-mails with a response.

This modest proposal has the advantage of explaining how Ivar the Boneless came by his nickname... if we assume that he was actually a long-distance space-traveler who has crash-landed in medieval Scandinavia while transporting an equally-alien war criminal. The minor inconvenience of his re-implanted bones popping out from time to time (a recent documentary did not show this part) did not stop Ivar from leading the Great Heathen Army in its invasion of England and founding the city of Jórvík.²

Space-travelling law-enforcement officers are always crash-landing on Earth and enlisting local help in pursuit of a crash-landed alien criminal. If it's not due to deposits of Narrativium, it must be a tradition, or an old charter or something. The galactic equivalent of Interpol has placed an interdict around the entire Solar System.

An alternative theory, while accepting the "long-distance space-traveller" stipulation, argues that a humanoid nature for Ivar is an unnecessary complication, instead depicting him as a kind of highly-evolved cephalopod with mimicry skills. The multi-tentacled ability to wield numerous swords and battle-axes at once would certainly explain his prowess in battle.³ It was also an asset for any Viking chieftain to be able to escape from a tank by squeezing his body through a 2-centimetre gap.
These days a more common career for a multi-
tentacled boneless monstrosity is as bar-tender
The entire topic is the subject of vexed debate in the Riddled offices. Greenish Hugh is intrigued by the osteogenesis imperfecta explanation for Ivar's sobriquet. This comes from a brittle-bone-pride activist -- he's promoting Ivar as a positive role model that will shift young people with osteogenesis imperfecta away from lying around in the victim role feeling sorry for themselves, and will instead encourage them to develop great skills of generalship so they can rally a Viking army and invade England. Also there are viking re-enactors. It is very cool. Also Greenish Hugh is completely plastered.
AK does not rate for the "Ivar was a contortionist" theory, for he cannot see how the ability to squeeze into a small perspex box would have helped in his feats of valour.
We are balancing plushie flatworms on our heads because it is International Dress Like Philip K. Dick Day. According to tigris they are supposed to be our symbiotic information-energy plasmates, linked to our pineal glands. I am not engaged in the argument; I am calling attention to AK's hat, which makes the balancing easier for him, which is cheating. While Evangeline van Holsteren (head barmaid at the Old Entomologist) and her idiot boyfriend are not listening to anything we say.
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¹ Keeping in cold storage for re-insertion: Ur doin it rong.

² "Ivar, however, stays in England and asked Ella for wergild, claiming that he can not go home without some compensation to show his brothers. Ivar only asks for as much land as he could cover with an ox's hide.
He cuts it into such a fine long string of hide that he could encircle an area large enough for a city. When this is done, he lays the foundations for a city which becomes York."

³ "The head, in its third re-union with that detestable torso, had attached itself in a semi-flattened manner to the region of the lower chest and diaphragm; and during the process of this novel coalescence, one eye had slipped away from all relation with its fellow or the head and was now occupying the navel, just below the embossment of the chin. Other and even more shocking alterations had occurred: the arms had lengthened into tentacles, with fingers that were like knots of writhing vipers; and where the head would normally have been, the shoulders had reared themselves to a cone-shaped eminence that ended in a cup-like mouth. Most fabulous and impossible of all, however, were the changes in the nether limbs: at each knee and hip, they had re-bifurcated into long, lithe proboscides that were lined with throated suckers. By making a combined use of its various mouths and members, the abnormality was devouring both of the hapless persons whom it had seized."

19 comments:

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

And here I was thinking that he was suffering from E.D.

Viking medicine has progressed rapidly- now the "Blood Eagle" can be carved arthroscopically.

ckc (not kc) said...

...do I want to know who Clarisse is?

Smut Clyde said...

he was suffering from E.D.

The flyting tradition is all very well but I suspect that you could only get away with impotence jokes about a ruthless Viking warlord if you're Loki.

Smut Clyde said...

...do I want to know who Clarisse is?

Someone needs to read more Ray Bradbury stories.

M. Bouffant said...

Biggest four-eyed spider skin I ever seen.

Another Kiwi said...

I am calling attention to AK's hat, which makes the balancing easier for him, which is cheating
As any fule kno, those are the old rules.

Sirius Lunacy said...

Who knew that long-distance space-travelers were prone to sea sickness.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

As A.K. appears to be the only one carrying a weapon (and is no doubt soused to the gills, to boot), I would not dispute his interpretation of the rules.
~

mikey said...

AK is soused to the gills, carrying a weapon and has at some earlier point in the day misplaced his trousers.

I haz a disciple?

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I always loved that Bradbury story.

fish said...

They are always knocking a button off when I send my skin suit to the cleaners.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

fish is silly.

skin suits should be laced.

mikey said...

Whoops! Looks like one of the "Falling Skies" aliens might be a little light in his space suit, if'n y'know what I mean, and I think you do...

Smut Clyde said...

They are always knocking a button off

Does your launderer leave cake-crumbs in your skin-suit?

Substance McGravitas said...

A bunch of nonsense from start to finish. Like Ivar could never get into England in the first place if he was too runny to take a decent passport photo.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

bunch of nonsense from start to finish.

Like "Christ, what an asshole" is for New Yorker cartoons, that is kind of an all-purpose universal comment for Riddled threads.

Another Kiwi said...

Just the usual banning ZRM? Coming right up!

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I thought that deserved a special banning.

tigris said...

AK did polish his metal cone bra...