Friday, August 29, 2008

Two Days Late

But if we translate it into blog days, it's more like seven months. Sorry for the delay.

I'm not normally a big fan of auto-playing embedded doohickeys, but we posted about the new Byrne/Eno collaboration back when it was announced, and their new site for the album is impressively minimalist and slick.

So check it out. Or don't. Doesn't really matter - it won't stop the enemy from pressing forward. But these guys are doing digital distribution well and deserve some accolade for that. The songs are good, too. All of them are streaming from the player above and the song Strange Overtones is even offered as a free download on the site.

Fun Fact: if you play the songs Home and Strange Overtones at the same time... it sounds pretty cool!

Wakiki Boyle


After spending countless man-hours reviewing aerial photography, scrutinizing enemy movements and constructing a massive enigma machine/pipe organ hybrid to discover Boyle's hiding place, DemoWAR was outflanked by the Admiral himself. He managed to hack into the ISP and leave the following message in everyone's inbox like a trail of dirty, dirty breadcrumbs - covered in poison.

The deceptive subject line, (FellAhs, it r3ally w0rk2! MaKe h3r hAppy a11 n1ght l0ng!!!) went undetected for all of seventeen seconds. A pat on the back goes to our resident spam filter, Frank, for some great investigative work and general creepiness.*

Pardon the lateness of my reply, but I am enjoying my time here on [REDACTED] Island, soothing the savage beast with music's charms.
I have befriended the primitive pygmies here, called the "Timanak", who live a backwards, tribal sort of life. I feel that I must have stumbled into some kind of twilight zone, transported through time to this babylonian environ.

I hesitate to call the tribe civilized, but what they lack in propriety, they more than make up for in curiosity.
Just this morning, in fact, one of the young warrior-types was measuring my head with a length of string, showcasing it to his cohorts and hooting wildly. I trust that further observation will unlock many the varied secrets of the tribe, the island, and perhaps even my bamboo cage.

I must now sign off, as I have been invited to join in their repast this evening. No word yet on what dish will be served, but judging by the large bubbling cauldron, it should be quite a feast.

Enclosed, please find my latest submission. Resources are limited in this place, but you'd be amazed what a man can do with coconuts and catgut if he's got the mind.

Yours in confidence—mine otherwise,

What follows is a sequence of ones and zeroes, printed out across seven reams of paper. After chewing on it for awhile, our tube-powered monolith, "ENIAC's Revenge", spat this out:

Dylan's sprawling original lives here: Dylan_Dont_Think_Twice.mp3

*Dear Frank's wife: Don't be disappointed when it does not r3ally work2.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Too Many Secrets

We've been obsessed with codes for the past few weeks. There's been talk of code-breakers, patterns, ciphers, keys, hidden messages, riddles, enigmas, cryptography, cryptology, crypto-zoology, sasquat-chology, wendigology, Wendy Os, Wendy O Williamses, William F Buckleyses, F Murray Abrahameses, Abraham and Isaaceseses. Check the archives - it's all in there, couched in terms too... cryptic to comprehend.

So this week, we're going to focus on one of the hard working cipher-grunts here at DemoWAR HQ. He sits in the basement all day and night, using a Drogen's decoder wheel to decode static-filled triple-scrambled microwave transmissions between two soldiers talking in Mandarin Chinese. I'm referring, of course, to Acting-Ensign Rollie Hatch, code-crackologist extraordinaire and mastermind of Beauty and the RoBeast, a compendium of logic so dense and layered that it makes Godel, Escher and Bach look like a street-preacher's pamphlet.

Hatch's application sits on my desk as we speak,the ink still drying on his barely-legible blue-book essay questions. Well, crayon, I guess you would call it.

The handwriting is abominable, but his prose is stunning.

His first submission is revelatory; a breath of fresh air in these times of cultural whitewash. And taking into account the long, hard hours that Hatch puts in, I'll overlook the fact that it was clearly completed with the help of company time and resources. (disclaimer: I am not planning to overlook this.)


And listen to the original here: FNM_Get_Out.MP3

Stand clear of the closing jaws.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Technology: Binaural Beats

Not a day goes by without some slick salesman (or greasy sales-woman!) offering a new solution in a box. Solution for what, you ask? Oh, anything, really. Being overweight, being forgetful, being gullible. Most importantly, being willing to do nothing at all to get better. Beyond typing in your credit card, that is.

Have you ever found yourself saying, "Hey stupid! I need to find a catch-all, cure-all, do-all that works without all that work!" Well, get on your knees and thank your own personal Jesus, because we've finally got some snake oil you don't even have to swallow!

"Binaural Beats", a technology guaranteed* to sharpen your mind, ease depression, quell PMS, cure alcoholism, and ease depression brought on by a sharpened mind, PMS, or alcoholism. For the uninitiated, Binaural Beats are the vibrations, or "beats", that you hear when there are two frequencies that are very close to one another being played simultaneously. Other names for this phenomenon include "tuning your guitar" and "Jesus, Matt, get a friggin tuner already!"

Seriously, Matt.

Though knowledge of binaural "beats" has been around since the 1830s, it's taken seventy years for the fine hucksters of The Internet to exploit it for us. Frequencies are available from one such vendor, (yes, a dot-us web address) for their mood-altering benefits - relaxation, alertness, etc. Meanwhile, a competing outfit, (note the "r") specializes in tones of a more... narcotic nature. The nice thing about these "doses" is that they combine all of the risks of buying drugs—sketchy transaction, no guaranteed effects, low return on investment—without all those nasty benefits.

And the comma-laden disclaimer at i-doser is quick to remind you of that.
"I-Doser makes no medical, psychological, physical, or otherwise, claims to the effectiveness of the I-Doser Application, Simulation CDs and MP3s, or it’s included or purchased doses..."
Once again, marketing goons have taken it upon themselves to try and make money off of a scientist's findings that Things Occur Between Two Objects, Probably. (The old TOBTOP theory.)

An actual scientist witnessing the TOBTOP effect.

In related news**, someone took the time to coin the term Cocktail Party Effect, the incredible phenomenon that happens when someone is talking to you and you are listening to them. I shouldn't joke, because this is something I actually have trouble with, as illustrated in this strangely accurate, hardly invented scenario:

A: "Dowd, can I get you another drink?"

B: "Hm?"

A: "I said, would you like another?"

B: "Hm, I doubt it. He doesn't look like my brother... And now that I look a little closer, it's a girl."

A: "I say, do you think we have TIME for another ROUND?"

B:"Well, I hardly think that'll be necessary. She's still alive, you know. Can't go putting people in the ground while they're still alive. It's uncouth."

A: "... "

B: "...not to mention the fact that it's difficult. Sure, the mass graves are easy, but you've seen those zombie movies. They fight back, the buggers."

A: "Fine, I'll be right back."

B: "They sure do."

-Thanks to the Jerusalem Post for bringing this to our attention. Full story here.

*Guarantee valid for store credit only.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Femme Fatale

Attention, recruits! It's time for a good, old-fashioned Bunk Check! I like to think we run a pretty tight ship here at DemoWAR HQ, so get your gear in order, clear out your foot lockers and iron your sock garters. We'll meet in the barracks at oh-ten-hundred. No, it means ten o'clock, lunkheads. How in the hell could it mean a "thousand o'clock"? You know what, skip the timetable. Let's just get this over with right now.

Private Grenier, you missed a button. And a trouser leg. Damn, man, that looks uncomfortable.

Shipley, are those army issue? Funny, I don't remember the dress code allowing cowboy boots covered in...what is that, barbecue sauce? Oh, they're your "bastin' boots," are they? Well, keep them outside if you're not gonna hose 'em off. (...and save me some dark meat.)

Johnson. At ease, boy... I said at ease, what's wrong with you? ...Oh, for the love of... Who duct-taped Johnson to his bunk? Well clearly he's unconscious, don't you think I can see that? Just... god, just get him down before lunch.

Pemberton, Pemberton, Pemberton... What? No, no, nothing wrong. I just like the sound of your name. It amuses me... kind of like the way you're trying to hide something behind your back by putting it in your mouth. That's charming. Hand it over.
Why, it's just a little radio. Nothing to be ashamed of - wait, what's this little button on the back do? *click*

Gods, I recognize that voice. Oh, it can't be.
knowing squint

I thought she was dead. Pull up a chair, little ones. It's story time. You see, way back in DemoWAR Alpha, a lass by the name of Miss DiMenna had a pirate radio program she put together to entertain the troops. She thought that by giving them a little taste of home, the men would be happier, morale would be raised, and the war would be won. Well the unexpected side-effect of that smoky, come-hither voice was that our recruits were reduced to jelly-legged little schoolboys, huddling around their radios for hours at a time.

We lost the war. (Obviously. Just look at the late 70s.) Suspicions abounded, allegations were made and before too long, Miss DiMenna just ...disappeared. Except now it looks like she's up to her old tricks. This vixen - this... temptress of tawdry transistors is akin to the spawn of Tokyo Rose and the best parts of Mata Hari, and what you end up with is like some sort of science-fiction monster that I'll call...Matoharatokyosie.

I been eating your crops like a big old locust

We work hard to make sure you pathetic walking hormones get the cold shower you so desperately need. The saltpeter in your food, compulsory wind sprints at dawn, flat-front khakis—and yet despite all our efforts, some prurient thoughts still remain, and they weaken your resolve. No, not that kind of resolve, Shipley, and get your mind out of the gutter.

So I'll just... confiscate this little device. I should destroy it right now to teach you a lesson, to rub your noses it in like the dogs you are, but you'd enjoy that too much. No, I have just the place in my - my office. Yes, my office. Where I keep things like this—dangerous things—away from prying eyes. Ears. Away from prying ears.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Uncharted Territory

One of the main objectives of the new ISP "information pipeline" is to establish contact with Fleet Admiral Joe Boyle, last seen adrift somewhere in the South Pacific, aiding a sea creature in need. The problem with our aim is this - Connecting with someone through the ISP is a tricky process, one requiring a great deal of skill, global positioning know-how, and a general knowledge of where the target person is. We're 0 for 3.

At this point, our intel on Boyle has been reduced to the message-in-a-bottle variety. Literally. Every three or four days we receive a missive scrunched up into a Chilean wine bottle, or some such thing, with a cryptic message that's been scrawled on a bar napkin, etched into wood chips, or in one case, watermarked on the sails of a tiny model ship. Here are a few examples to give you an idea what we're working with:

Swimming upon the Devil's lake. Right next to the Devil's ranch house. Nice horsies.

If planning to sit upon the setting sun, bring some water.

Lucky numbers are 13, 43, 64, 88, eleventy-seven.
The Devil's lake and the setting sun? Land of the setting sun? Boyle could be in the mountains of Tibet by now, a man of his resources. He could be in Tokyo. Dublin. Kenya. Hell, he could be hiding in the back row of this senate subcommittee.

He could be disguised as the clock.

To our not-so-credit.... to our uncredit, to be grammatically esuphegent, we're thwarted by the Admiral himself. He could be leading us along with these messages in bottles, in some messages-in-a-bottle-on-a-stick mind games. And the Gulf Stream could be a little more cooperative. Someone in Greenland is getting some other pieces of the puzzle, and God help us if they get their hands on a corner piece. We're going to need a bigger net... and see if you can't find the cover of the box while you're at it.

I can only assume the hobo's name is Steven.

One bottle we received contained this record, rolled into a perfect tube. The album, when extracted, popped open, blooming like a beautiful vinyl flower, completely intact and sounding like this:

Primary sources can be found here: CatStevens_The_Wind.mp3

We'll need every recruit's help with this one. Boyle is out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. Or he could be, you know... drinking mojitos. Either way, we need more ammo - send your own munitions and submissions to

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Installment: Operation Leapfrog

Everyone knows that in times of war, communication is priority one. Well, in the wake of a recent incident involving our former accounting team and a few Cayman Island tax shelters, DemoWAR budgets have been reassessed.

Updated: DemoWAR HQ Budget Priorities:
1) Pursue, eliminate enemy personnel
16) BoyleHunt 2000 [Ongoing]
23) Start saving for super-cool Acoustic Bazooka
...I'll just flip towards the end of the report:
972-c) Radio Relay Maintenance
See what we're working with? As a result, we're stuck with what I like to call "heirloom" radios, devices of such vintage and antiquity that we live in constant fear that the mobile command unit will turn into a fireball on wheels. Just yesterday, in fact, a high-pitched whine coming from the radio room caught my attention. The volume increased to the point of eyeball warbling before ending with a loud pop and a muffled "Ah Christ!" (Thankfully, earlier that week I had the foresight to call on a friend who slathered everything in my office with a flame-retardant gel. "Good timing!" I thought, as the ensuing shower of sparks bounced off my retardant gel-encased face.)

Another consequence of this mesozoic machinery is that our communiques are oftentimes... garbled. Transmissions get through, but not the way they were intended. This week I bring you one such attempt. The following were transcribed by Acting-Ensign Andreson and myself. Admiral Boyle managed to worm his way in as well, and his input was delivered by carrier pigeon not five minutes ago.

The protocol:
Message must be relayed to a soldier with no previous knowledge of the original. Soldier then reinterprets and passes along to the next recipient.

The original message:
Venus.mp3 by Television

This particular message spread like a virus. That is to say, quickly and with much mutation. It moved from Andreson...

to Dowd...

to Boyle.

And you can collect all three in one handy zip file:
Unless federal belts are tightened to the point of moebius strips, this could very well be a recurring series. Keep your eyes and ears peeled. (More Emma than John.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Technology: Discomfort Through Sound

Well it seems the boys in the lab have been busy cooking up some new forms of warfare.

...Finally! Honestly, how much longer do they expect us to deal in lead, anyway? It's antiquated. If I could look back in time, I would see a family of cavemen eating still-frozen dinners and waving their guns around; grunting angrily while their boring cave-aunt and cave-uncle show slides from their vacation outside the cave. Guns are old news, and it's time to move on.

Fortunately, I just found this sales brochure in the DemoWAR inbox:

Today's modern warrior is faced with more challenges than ever before. Picture this: You fight your way through jungles, deserts, and/or legions of infidels. You hurdle claymore mines and dodged enemy sniper fire. You wail a lonely wail while a brother* lay in your arms, gasping his last breath and longing to see his wife back home just one... last... time. (sniff)

After a long day on the field, do you want to find yourself face to face with the business end of a hardened bunker? Well no more! Now, with the aid of BowelCorp's new Acoustic Bazooka™, enemy personnel will bow down in fear and discomfort as you bombard them with swaths of friendly IBM radiation. [patent pending]

Cross-section of simulated encounter
"IBM" is a proprietary, non-lethal warfare technology capable of incapacitating multiple opponents at a time by causing dizziness, nausea and triggering lower GI functions. Affected enemies will be down for the count, or at least as long as it takes to find a clean uniform.

Our design team paid careful attention to the directional layout of the weapon, ensuring that no ill effects will be experienced by the user. As a precaution, however, ultra/infra-canceling earphones are affixed to the absorbent belt pack, guaranteeing the freedom you need to be active and independent.

Call today for pricing, or find an Acoustic Bazooka™ retailer near you!
*BowelCorp accepts no responsibility for brothers lost, mangled or otherwise misplaced in the line of duty.
To be honest, I stopped reading after "non-lethal." But this pamphlet raises a few questions. The easy questions are, "Just how hardened is this bunker, if there's a huge, jagged hole in its face? Couldn't we just toss a grenade in there and be done with it?"

The more challenging questions are along the lines of, "What gorram planet are we on, fighting Blue Target Blobs (BTBs) who are fueled by symbiotic human hosts?" And, "In the future, is one person in charge of color-coordinating uniforms and weapons, or is it more of a concerted effort?"

Alas, this gun is but a prototype, and my efforts to find a working version have been met with reactions ranging from "Chya?!" to "I see..." (eyes narrow, button is discreetly pressed, security guards arrive brusquely.) My faith in technology, progress, and the whole of mankind is temporarily shaken, and as I rest my head on my trusty ammo box, I flip a 30-06 cartridge across the back of my hand until sleep comes. My dreams are filled with the sound of rifles, mortars, and RPGs firing in 3/4 time.

Thanks to Wired for the original article, found here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

We Emerge Victorious!

Two months ago, staffers at DemoWar HQ undertook a huge... um, undertaking. Our goal was to unite all the countries of the world (read: all God-fearing, freedom-loving countries,) in peaceful harmony. Well it seems this ground was well-trod, and so we adjusted. You do what people do, which is fail. Then you reassess, place some blame, and you better damn well adapt or die. Darwinism. Get on board, or be left in that murky tank with the coelacanth.

As a result, our already irregular posting schedule slowed to a deathly halt. Our new, revised task seemed daunting. It was of such magnitude that the whole HQ was uprooted and forced to go underground - a subterranean side-quest, if you will, that took us on a trip to the coldest place on the planet.

Burbank, CA

From the frosty North, we commenced drilling our new International Subterranean Pipeline, and now that it has been completed, with minor hiccups, setbacks, and just a couple of flipper babies, we are back ONLINE. Now I'm sure you're wondering, "DemoWar, this seems like a lot of power for one entity to hold. What exactly are you using said pipeline for?"

Well, we just wanted to have it, okay? But since you ask, we could use it for anything. We could send medicine to people in aid... Beam NATO liaisons abroad at a moment's notice... Obtain DNA information for every citizen on the pla-
Listen. There are automated shuttle-cars, you see, and jetpack dispensaries. Fiber optics are involved, somehow. Rails have been greased, as have palms. The world is our oyster, though try to imagine an oyster being tunneled through by thousands of tiny, tiny ants.

And their ant-jetpacks.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves, here, and I've said too much. All you, the citizen—the loyal, law-abiding citizen—need to know is that this project has taken years off my life. So many years, in fact, that I find myself prone to bouts of buffoonery, chicanery and the general fuddruckery that comes with old age, leaving myself open to bad jokes and word plays like THIS:

Album art takes a backseat this week.

Get it? I feel OLD. The song has the word "Old" right in the title! And if anyone asks, no one here knows nothing about no severed underseas cables. Capice? Now who wants some hard candy? Peanut brittle? Sour balls?