Monthly Archives: October 2012

Two Disturbing Short Stories for Halloween

Together, these stories are less than three pages long.  Both of these short stories have been published together on more than one occasion.  I wrote these early on and they are related.  They are a bit dark and more on the R side than PG-13.  I don’t want to give away how they are related, so I will just post them here for your enjoyment.  They are not horror, or traditional Halloween fare, but hopefully, they are a bit creepy.



Humanity Won

by Michael Bradley

Elizabeth dreaded his return.  He would be home soon.  He called her Liz; he was too lazy to even say her full name.  First, he would be drunk.  He always spent what money he had on gambling, tobacco and alcohol.  His breath always smelt of cheap liquor and ashes.

Elizabeth pressed her hand against the shoddy door.  The blue flashing light of the sensor at the door sill reminded her she could not leave.  The azure tint revealed the black tattoo markings on her wrist, put there by the slave traders.  Her world was 700 square feet of gloom that became Hell when he was home.

She wondered how he ever found the self-control to save the money to buy her.   The slave trade was expensive, especially for a beautiful young blonde.  Perhaps he had some luck at the casino one day and used his winnings to buy her before he squandered it like always.  However he accomplished it, now she had to wait for him, for whatever perversion he dreamed up in his drunken mind.

Elizabeth had spent the day as usual, cleaning up after him, doing the dishes, the laundry, the bed linens.  He lived like a pig, wallowing in his own filth.  Despite the small size of the apartment he managed to make a mess of it every day.  Perhaps out of spite.  She would have left or thrown herself out the window, but the band around her neck kept her from it.  It was forever bound to her and if she moved more than a hundred feet from the apartment, it would explode and kill her.  They were forty floors up in the slum high rise, so she would not even hit the ground.  Still, more and more she thought about the peace that oblivion would bring her.

He stumbled in, fumbling with his keys.  He dropped off his shoes in the hallway and threw his dirty socks onto the floor.  The place reeked of his stench.  She wondered why he bothered to pay for a place with a shower.  He saw her and lurched over.  Disgusted, she flinched back, but he pointed to his wrist.  The device looked like a watch, but one touch would send terrible pain through her neck band.  She came over submissively.  He whispered disgusting things into her ear.  She wondered if he researched his depravity on internet fetish sites or if it came to him naturally.  He pulled her to the bedroom and the freshly made bed and tossed her onto it.  “Get naked Liz!”  He commanded in a slurred voice.

After, she lay there, humiliated.  His snoring was deep and raspy.  The satisfaction on his face enraged her.  It was the tipping point, the final impetus.  She went to the kitchen and grabbed the largest knife.  It was a bit rusted and the handle chipped.  Crap, just like everything else he owned, just like her.  She was damaged goods, abused by her owner.  She went to the bedroom and saw the master lying in his own puke.  He had vomited in his sleep and was choking.  He had done so before and managed to roll over and survive.  Elizabeth could not leave it to chance; she finished it with several strokes of the knife through his chest.  Blood shot out and soaked her.

She stood there, free at last.  Unknown emotions filled her and she was overwhelmed.  If she stayed in the apartment, they would come for her.  She would be punished, or worse, sold to another master.  Her catharsis had put her on a path she could no longer control.

She went to the window, broke the glass out with her bare knuckles.  She did not wince as the glass shards stuck in her hand.  She climbed onto the sill and dove.  Free at last.  Elizabeth exploded about ten stories down.  The windows beside her fall shattered inward.  The remains of her body littered the tenement street.

Police arrived, glad not to have to enter the crime ridden building.  The body parts were in the street.  One of the officers scanned the barcode on the arm lying on the sidewalk.  “Looks like another Elizabeth model malfunctioned and thought it was human.  Somebody must have bought this domestic robot off the black market.  All of these were recalled.”

His partner sighed.  “People are always looking for a deal.”


Humanity Too

by Michael Bradley

Wally squinted at the dingy clock, waiting for his shift to end.  He was drunk as usual.  The boss didn’t seem to care how much he drank as long as he was able to bartend and water down the customer’s drinks.  It was a strip joint, kept dark to conceal the low quality, older dancers.  In truth, it was a brothel, with hand jobs in the VIP room for two hundred bucks.  The customers did not care if the beer tasted like piss and the mixed drinks were mostly melted ice.  Wally knew he deserved to be here, he was a loser.

Once he had worked at a big firm, doing accounting, but he always screwed up the numbers.  He invited his boss over for dinner to try to win back some points; just another mistake.  His boss was impressed, but with his wife.  A month later he was fired and his wife was screwing the boss.  The divorce went quickly and badly, she took everything.  He was not an attractive man and not bright.  He tried to compensate for his depression with pills but they cost too much.

Finally, he found this job.  He received little pay, but free cheap booze.  He chain smoked now and would take his check to the casino to try to get lucky.  If he lost his money, so what?  He never made enough to live on anyway.  Mostly, he lost.  The rent on his tiny tenement apartment was three months over due and he had no food in the house.  Life was closing in on him, and he had given up caring.

The only thing left to him was Liz.  One time he had actually won some cash at the tables and made the only good decision in his life.  He was approached by some guys who frequented his work who saw him staring at the women.  They told him they could take care of him with a black market robot.  Impulsive as ever, and not having had sex for years, he agreed.  They sold him an Elizabeth model.  They looked like beautiful young 25 year old blondes, but Wally knew from the news that they were defective.  The men told him not to worry.  Just keep the collar on her.  If she acts strange, tap the button on this wrist band that will reset the bug.

Each evening he would stumble home and find her waiting for him, his one island of peace and happiness.  Today, he fumbled his keys in his drink numbed fingers and opened the door.  She was there, pretty as always.  He managed to kick off his shoes and take off his socks, his feet sore from standing all day.  He came over to her, but she made a strange face and jerked.  He pointed at his wristband, and she became normal again.  After using the button the first dozen or so times, he found that she reset without having to actually press it.  He did not understand why.

He whispered in her ear things he had seen at work and wanted to try.  Unlike his wife and other women, she was always there willing to please him.  Liz was so sweet to him.  After he had sex, he rolled over content for the moment.  He hoped the alcohol or malnutrition would kill him before the bill collectors caught up with him.  He couldn’t imagine the Hell of prison and the forced sobriety.  He smiled at Liz and passed out, snoring drunkenly.

He awoke choking.  He had vomited in his sleep, not for the first time.  He always wished to die in his sleep, painlessly, but he managed to fight for his miserable life by reflex and roll on his side.

Liz came into the room and stood over him.  She held one of his old broken knives.  His wife had only left him things that were of no use to her.  Liz stood poised to stab him.  He was so pleased with her.  She loved him so much and knew his misery; she would help him end it all.  He tried to speak to encourage her, but his throat was gagging on the remnants of his bile.  She struck, deeply and mercifully.  He felt his life leaving him and seemed to float above his body.

He saw Liz from above, standing still for a few moments.  Then she headed to the window and broke it.  No!  Don’t!  You will die if you jump!  She could not hear him of course, and she jumped.  The poor girl, she could not go on without me.  His spirit dissipated, free at last.


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More Real Life Monsters

One of my more popular posts was early on when I decided to put real monsters.  I had a 24 foot crocodile in that post that was eating villagers and had to be killed by an army unit.  I will see if I can re-post that as it was very popular – and scary.  They are all real creatures.  You might not think they are monsters though, that is somewhat a judgment call.


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WARNING – Graphic Images – Zombie Cosplayers

Cosplayers are a huge community both in the United States and the World.  I myself am a cosplayer, though not very good at it.  I do more writing about science fiction, steampunk, vampires and zombies than I do dressing up.  However, some photos are out there of me in my weak costumes.  The word cosplay means “costume players.”  They are some of the coolest, nicest people around and typically go to events up to once per week.  If you go to conventions, like Phoenix ComicCon, you will see many of them there.  There are many types of cosplay including manga, comic book characters, super heroes, star wars, steampunk, diesel punk, ghostbusters, star trek, and increasingly zombies.  Almost every major event now has a “zombie walk” where people dress up as zombies or zombie hunters for a parade.

Again, with Halloween coming up, here are some zombie cosplayers, half of which I know personally.  WARNING – if you do not like graphic zombie depictions, you should not be reading this…

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Dogs In Costumes – Halloween Edition of Monday Dog Pictures

I have run pictures of dogs in costumes before, and will again, but figured I kind of had too with Halloween just two days from now.  So here they are, dogs in costumes:

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Gnome Zombie Apocalypse

The travel gnome, lawn gnomes, all of them, quite susceptible to zombie diseases.  Be ready for The Lawn of the Dead!  Aim for the red hats!

Remember – Gnombies show gnomercy!


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Cocaine, Heroine, Cannabis and Other Old Over the Counter Remedies


Weed, Booze, Cocaine and Other Old School “Medicine” Ads

Posted by Katie

Granted, hindsight is 20/20, but some awfully strange substances have been used for pharmaceutical purposes in the past — and some might argue, continue to be used today. Here are some vintage advertisements touting items that we might balk at taking today.


Lloyd Cocaine Toothache Drops
Lloyd Cocaine Toothache Drops
In the US, cocaine was sold over the counter until 1914 and was commonly found in products like toothache drops, dandruff remedies and medicinal tonics.

Metcalf's Coca Wine
Metcalf’s Coca Wine
Coca wine combined wine with cocaine, producing a compound now known as cocaethylene, which, when ingested, is nearly as powerful a stimulant as cocaine.

Vin Mariani Wine
Vin Mariani Wine
The marketing efforts for coca wine focused primarily on its medicinal properties, in part because it didn’t taste very good and in part because the cocaethylene effects were perceived to “fortify and refresh body and brain” and “restore health and vitality.”


Bayer Heroin
Bayer Heroin
From 1898 through to 1910, heroin was marketed as a cough suppressant by trusted companies like Bayer — alongside the company’s other new product, Aspirin.

Smith Glyco-Heroin
Smith Glyco-Heroin
A mixture of heroin and glycerin. “No other preparation has had its therapeutic value more thoroughly defined or better established.”


Pantopon Roche Injectable Opium
Pantopon Roche Injectable Opium
“Try Pantopon in place of morphine for dependable, optimum relief of pain.”


Ayer's Cherry Pectoral
Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral
Depending on which list of contents you reference, this cure for colds, coughs and “all diseases of the throat and lungs” contained either morphine or heroin.

Mrs. Winslow's Soothing SyrupMrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup
Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup
Contained 65 mg of morphine per fluid ounce. “For children teething.”


Brand name for the now-illegal sedative methaqualone. “Now the physician has one less tired, sleepy and apprehensive patient to contend with.”


Dr. Batty's Asthma Cigarettes
Dr. Batty’s Asthma Cigarettes
Cigarettes with unknown contents claimed to provide temporary relief of everything from asthma to colds, canker sores and bad breath. “Not recommended for children under 6.”


Anheuser-Bush's Malt-Nutrine
Anheuser-Bush’s Malt-Nutrine
Starting in the late 1800s, many breweries produced “food tonics,” malt beverages containing around 2% alcohol that were promoted as “food in liquid form,” aiding in digestion, increasing appetite and aiding in sleep. “A boon to nursing mothers.”

Pabst Extract
Pabst Extract
A malt tonic from Pabst. “The best tonic prepares the way for happy, healthy motherhood.”


Kimball White Pine and Tar Cough Syrup
Kimball White Pine and Tar Cough Syrup
Until 1976, chloroform was used in consumer products like cough syrup, toothpastes, ointments and other pharmaceuticals.


This cough remedy contained, among other things, codeine, chloroform and cannabis.


Coca-Cola was invented in the late 1800s as a “coca wine” (see above) mix of wine and cocaine, but the alcohol and cocaine were later replaced with syrup and coca leaves, respectively. Nevertheless, typical coca wine claims of increased vitality remained for many years.

“A valuable brain tonic, and a cure for all nervous affections — sick head-ache, neuralgia, hysteria, melancholy.”


A combination of two amphetamines; known popularly as “black beauties.” Marketed for its weight loss benefits.

Brand name for methamphetamine. “The selective cerebral action of Norodin is useful in dispelling the shadows of mild mental depression.”

Brand name for dextroamphetamine. “Many of your patients — particularly housewives — are crushed under a load of dull, routine duties that leave them in a state of mental and emotional fatigue…Dexedrine will give them a feeling of energy and well-being, renewing their interest in life and living.”


McNeil Butisol Sodium
McNeil Butisol Sodium 
Brand name for butabarbital. “Mabel is unstable…it’s ‘that time’ in her life. To see her through the menopause, there’s gentle ‘daytime sedation’ in Butisol Sodium.”

Nembutal Suppositories
Nembutal Suppositories
Brand name for pentobarbital. “When little patients balk at scary, disquieting examinations…When they need prompt sedation (and the oral route isn’t feasible)…try Nembutal sodium suppositories…There is little tendency toward morning-after hangover.”

Lakeside Pentobarbital and Phenobarbital
Lakeside Pentobarbital and Phenobarbital
“When crisis demands quick-acting hypnotics.”

Unknown-Content Quackery:

Dr. Miles' Nervine
Dr. Miles’ Nervine
“Since I have been taking Nervine, nothing bothers me.”

Wolcott's Instant Pain AnnihilatorWolcott's Instant Pain Annihilator
Wolcott’s Instant Pain Annihilator
“A speedy & permanent cure for headache, toothache, neuralgia, catarrh and weak nerves.”

Dalley's Magical Pain Extractor
Dalley’s Magical Pain Extractor
“Molly Pitcher, the heroine of Monmouth, avenging her husband’s death.”

Dr. Ham's Aromatic Invigorator
Dr. Ham’s Aromatic Invigorator
A “cure for Dyspepsia, Low Spirits, Nervousness, Heartburn, Colic Pains, Wind in the Stomach or Pains in the Bowels, Headache, Drowsiness, Kidney and Liver Complaints, Melancholy, Delirium Tremens, and Intemperance.”

reposted from


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1878 first-ever captured Edison audio recording unveiled

1878 first-ever captured Edison audio recording unveiled

Published October 25, 2012

Associated Press


SCHENECTADY, N.Y. –  It’s scratchy, lasts only 78 seconds and features the world’s first recorded blooper.

The modern masses can now listen to what experts say is the oldest playable recording of an American voice and the first-ever capturing of a musical performance, thanks to digital advances that allowed the sound to be transferred from flimsy tinfoil to computer.

The recording was originally made on a Thomas Edison-invented phonograph in St. Louis in 1878.

At a time when music lovers can carry thousands of digital songs on a player the size of a pack of gum, Edison’s tinfoil playback seems prehistoric. But that dinosaur opens a key window into the development of recorded sound.

“In the history of recorded sound that’s still playable, this is about as far back as we can go,” said John Schneiter, a trustee at the Museum of Innovation and Science, where it will be played Thursday night in the city where Edison helped found the General Electric Co.

The recording opens with a 23-second cornet solo of an unidentified song, followed by a man’s voice reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Old Mother Hubbard.” The man laughs at two spots during the recording, including at the end, when he recites the wrong words in the second nursery rhyme.

“Look at me; I don’t know the song,” he says.

When the recording is played using modern technology during a presentation Thursday at a nearby theater, it likely will be the first time it has been played at a public event since it was created during an Edison phonograph demonstration held June 22, 1878, in St. Louis, museum officials said.

The recording was made on a sheet of tinfoil, 5 inches wide by 15 inches long, placed on the cylinder of the phonograph Edison invented in 1877 and began selling the following year.

A hand crank turned the cylinder under a stylus that would move up and down over the foil, recording the sound waves created by the operator’s voice. The stylus would eventually tear the foil after just a few playbacks, and the person demonstrating the technology would typically tear up the tinfoil and hand the pieces out as souvenirs, according to museum curator Chris Hunter.

Popping noises heard on this recording are likely from scars left from where the foil was folded up for more than a century.

“Realistically, once you played it a couple of times, the stylus would tear through it and destroy it,” he said.

Only a handful of the tinfoil recording sheets are known to known to survive, and of those, only two are playable: the Schenectady museum’s and an 1880 recording owned by The Henry Ford museum in Michigan.

Hunter said he was able to determine just this week that the man’s voice on the museum’s 1878 tinfoil recording is believed to be that of Thomas Mason, a St. Louis newspaper political writer who also went by the pen name I.X. Peck.

Edison company records show that one of his newly invented tinfoil phonographs, serial No. 8, was sold to Mason for $95.50 in April 1878, and a search of old newspapers revealed a listing for a public phonograph program being offered by Peck on June 22, 1878, in St. Louis, the curator said.

A woman’s voice says the words “Old Mother Hubbard,” but her identity remains a mystery, he said. Three weeks after making the recording, Mason died of sunstroke, Hunter said.

A Connecticut woman donated the tinfoil to the Schenectady museum in 1978 for an exhibit on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Edison company that later merged with another to form GE. The woman’s father had been an antiques dealer in the Midwest and counted the item among his favorites, Hunter said.

In July, Hunter brought the Edison tinfoil recording to California’s Berkeley Lab, where researchers such as Carl Haber have had success in recent years restoring some of the earliest audio recordings.

Haber’s projects include recovering a snippet of a folk song recorded a capella in 1860 on paper by Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, a French printer credited with inventing the earliest known sound recording device.

Haber and his team used optical scanning technology to replicate the action of the phonograph’s stylus, reading the grooves in the foil and creating a 3D image, which was then analyzed by a computer program that recovered the original recorded sound.

The achievement restores a vital link in the evolution of recorded sound, Haber said. The artifact represents Edison’s first step in his efforts to record sound and have the capability to play it back, even if it was just once or twice, he said.

“It really completes a technology story,” Haber said. “He was on the right track from the get-go to record and play it back.”


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Personal Manufacturing Through 3D Printing

There is a revolution coming in the way we live that has already started.  You are of course familiar with taking a file and printing it on your printer.  It makes a two dimensional image, first in black and white, now in amazing color.  But imagine using a printer that prints in THREE dimensions.  Instead of ink, it uses steel, plastic, fibers, rubber, or other materials.  You design and object on a computer file, then “print it” using these materials.  You need shoes, put in the rubber, plastic, etc., download your own shoe design and size to the printer, print them out and put them on your feet.

Sound crazy?  It is here right now.  As prices come down, expect the next generation of our children to grow up, buy a design online, customize it, and print manufacture their own items at home.  It is the closest thing to a Star Trek style replicator we have come up with so far.  Here is a video that explains the process:

Three dimensional printing will bring personal manufacturing to the world.  Amazing.

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More Irony

Ironic pictures for your viewing pleasure:

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Cute Dog Pics – Dog Shaming

Every Monday I run cute dog pics, sometimes dog messes, sometimes dogs with kids, sometimes big dogs, sometimes dogs and water, dogs in costumes, etc.  This is my FIRST time posting “Dog Shaming” a new trend by owners on the Internet.  I don’t think it does much to change the dog behavior, but perhaps it has a cathartic effect on the owner to get their frustration on paper and picture.  Let me know if you would like to see more of these, or if you think I should not post dog shaming pictures.

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