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Argon -- Editor

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Spindizzy taken onto Space Escalator

After an extended docking and retrofitting on a planet of spindizzies, our muck was brought at last to the entrance of a giant escalator to space Tuesday morning. The start of this escalator, bringing slowly the entire world up to orbit, would begin a three-day journey into space.

Things began shortly after 8:30 am muck time when clockwork tern Kern and its imaginary partner Ing manifested in the Rose Garden announcing that the crowd there would make this all much easier. The baffled crowd asked what would be easier, to which Kern flapped its wings and announced it was the Falling. Ing nodded, "Yes, they'll be falling a lot, hopefully they are not frightened."

Kern's mood improved considerably when Royce, raccoon, entered; Kern noted "we got them all balanced last week." Royce helped guide the crowd to the Spindizzy Control Room, discovered in excavations under Squirrel City shortly before the Landing last year.

Set off on the expedition were Kern and Ing, Royce, Clarisa, Speckles the mink, Beltrami the balloon kangaroo, Dolly the balloon genie, Zach the miniature raccoon, and Skyler the red panda slippers.

The first task, according to Kern and Ing, was the finding of the "stream" which the city was moving on, representing the motion of the city with respect to the ground. Then would be "finding the bumpers for what's out of bounds," which would deflect the city in a possibly violent shaking, which Kern recommended avoiding. That would bring the city to a set of "guiders" and then to a shelf, or stair, on the moving escalator.

Clarisa, Royce, Kern, and Ing went to the Pilot's Room while Beltrami, Skyler, Zach, Speckles, and Dolly went to Astrogation. Zach and Beltrami experimented with the dials until finding a way to understand the planetary maps -- with the bumpers, and the "crackling bumpers". Skyler pointed out a path with a light spot indicating the city was already on the correct stream. To carry this information to the Pilot's Room, genie Dolly created a rubber camera and took an instant picture of the piloting data. Joining them now were elastic coati-rabbit Austin, kangaroo Roofus_roo, and Royce's raccoon companion Reggie.

Meanwhile Kern and Ing explained the technique to Clarisa, who felt confident she was ready for the navigational corrections, or "tilling", when data was prepared. Kern meanwhile balanced Royce's tail, and noted, "Always a balanced ringytail, that's what we need more of. We should plant a bigger crop next season Ing." Royce agreed with this plan.

Kern and Ing were particularly delighted at the arrival of Zach, Reggie, and Skyler, as "They must be good-luck ringytails! Very smart to get them together for this." Zach supposed that was a compliment, and Austin muttered about his own tail, somewhere on Findra.

At this point the birds announced the city approaching the bumpers, and advised "everyone lean centerways so we don't tip over!" Several people rubbed Dolly's belly, for luck. The city entered the bumpers. Austin wondered if we might make multiball.

Violet, toon donkey, arrived at the same time the whole city shuddered. Ing judged it not a bad one, however, and found it curious everything was well within parameters.

The city moved slowly, according to Kern and Ing, onto a "feeder", and as Clarisa analyzed her maps and made minor adjustments to the wobbles. Ing praised the routing and announced everyone deserved a peck on the head.

The city acclerated, with a sensation like the catching of a roller coaster car on the chains. Clarisa watched the dials and gauges and was certain the city was balanced out. There was a sudden additional jolt of acceleration, passing as the city began the long ride on the escalator to space.

Despite the good news work was not yet done: besides gaining altitude and speed the city needed to have the "hums" collected by the birds in recent weeks to be channeled to the spindizzy engines, which provide the protective bubble of antigravity allowing the city to glide effortlessly through space. Matters would continue from there on Friday.

The falling: Spindizzy City finally back in space!

Spindizzy finally reached the top of the Space Escalator and leapt into interstellar space about 11:30 am Saturday 22 July. The process was not without tension, but the work of staging, warming up the spindizzy antigravity drives to normal operational levels, and selection of a new course went without significant hitches.

Kern, clockwork tern, appeared by itself -- Ing, imaginary clockwork raven arrived later -- about 8:30 am in the Rose Garden and announced it was time to get the spindizzies "full of their hums!" Clarisa, Cetan, quickly answered the call and arrived to pilot the city. A party of Kern, Clarisa, kangaroo balloon Beltrami, elastic coati-bunny Austin, silver dragonness Aushae, red panda slippers Skyler, and cybernetic kangaroo-rat Jake set off for the control room deep underneath Squirrel City.

Kern explained they had only a little while "to get the humming [ stored over the past few months ] into the spindizzies and get the guiders flying up!"

Clarisa, at the instruments table, checked the charts and tools. She said, "I'm used to the computers doing most of the plotting. So tell me, where are these caches and how to we get them to the... spindizzies?" These were in well-protected caches, but Kern explained they needed only to adjust the right valves to turn the flows "into the mixer", and from them into the engines.

Skyler Beltrami, seeking the hum caches, made little progress; Jake suggested, "Perhaps we should just wildly press buttons, that always helps in movies." The valves for bringing hums to the mixer were in the outer control room; the ones from the mixer to the engines was in the Pilot's Room. Kern advised turning both up, slowly, together. Ing arrived, having "checked over items" and finding "they seem to be in the proper quadrants," as the group entered the Pilot's Room.

Clarisa quickly found the relevant valves, earning a beak- petting and a compliment from Kern. "This one's very sharp, must be part bird. Knew where to find the valves for going out to the spindizzy engines are and everything!"

Adjusting the dials required sensor feedback from a piece of "vibrating paper", which turned out to hum at different frequencies to represent different sensed conditions. Throughout the morning the humming stayedin proper tones, and it was speculated Beltrami would try to make off with the paper.

Faux-bunny fairy Leslie then arrived, prompting Ing (we believe) to call out "Alert intruder aboard." The imaginary bird seemed soon satisfied the fairy bunny was there only to help, but went back to check on the gears, that "I need to check the misanthrope to insure all system are within parameters."

Ferret-being Darius and plush dragon Larana joined, and Kern and Ing warned that humming had to be provided to "four baby spindizzies". They were balanced, it was reported, "on the new- north, new-south, new-east and new-west!"

Clarisa nodded and sets about that. "So, new engines for the ship? Or are they actually new land masses attached to the outsides of the existing one?"

Leslie giggled, "Where're the baby valves?"

And Austin said, "Just look for the brass nursery ... "

The falling: From Leslie's point of view

Leslie helped by magically making glow bright the spots that had the caches and valves they were supposed to turn, and the humming pretty soon went into the "mixer". The dials were too heavy for Beltrami to turn though so Leslie helped turning them instead and Beltrami held some vibrating paper.

Steampunk snake Brassfang and centaur Anjil got there just in time as Kern said to "activate the initiators", and that was supposed to be followed by "initiating the activators", like Austin guessed. The initiators were a set of sliders on the wall, near Larana's tail, and she slid them up. That was to "make up new parts for almost all the potentials."

Next to do was getting the "actualators" to pick up, though by the time Kern was ready with it was calling them "acutalizers," and Leslie asked about. Kern announced they used to be actualators, but were growing up "under our own wings." Kern said this device -- used for turning potential things into actual ones -- had to be shifted a complicated way and it was stuck. But Leslie used magic to make it looser and Aushae and Anjil moved the stuck lever into place..

Findra Dolphin, rabbit, arrived, and got told everything that was going on, as Kern announced, "It's mixed up right and making actualness the way it should, and we can go turn the power up to full and be ready to hop off the shelf!"

Darius like he was told to do went around the room tapping all the blue lights twice, and that set the city as ready to fly.

Clarisa picked an orbit, one going into interstellar space for a nice long while. Roofus_roo turned the spinnors up to 65, "cruising antigravity" they said, and the city reached the tippy-top of the Space Escalator. And then:

Suddenly, across the muck, came a strained humming ... it lasted a few seconds, rising and lowering erratically in pitch, until it smoothed out, and softened, fading eventually into an almost silent background.

From the top of the space escalator the small globe of Spindizzy tipped forward ... inside gravity remained as it was, so it appeared the horizon of the planet swung up, and ... the planet suddenly seemed to move toward us, as the city shifted, and fell ...

The planet seemed to swing wildly around, appearing overhead, to the side, underneath the city horizon, above again ... the spindizzies strained louder and over several chords, before they finally caught, and holding steady note, and the tone slowly softened ... the space escalator, and the planet, rose above the city's horizon, towards local north, and held in place ... after a few minutes, the curve of the planet's horizon shrank. The city was back in space.

Strange secrets of past revealed

At the liftoff Friday morning Kern announced this had been one of the most successful planet-side stopovers, landings and "fallings'', ever. Findra dolphin naturally asked how many times Spindizzy had landed and taken off.

Kern said, "The important parts of the city landed 45 and a third times now, and it took off 34."

Findra hmmed.

Clarisa ahs, and nodded. "Ok, interesting..."

Aushae hated to know what caused the discrepencies...

Austin said, "Anyone surprised?"

Wings to be issued

Following the successful launch of the city into interstellar space, Kern and Ing announced they had abundant parts left over that proved not to be so needed. From this slightly distressing origin the clockwork birds intend to build wings for the "unbirds". Kern demonstrated this by picking out its first "volanteer" (sic), mink Speckles.

Kern dragged out a sack from the rose bushes and spread out pieces, enough to fit a pair of mechanical wings on the back of the mink. As Speckles experimented with the new attachments cybernetic kangaroo-rat Jake asked for the same treatment, and received his own pair.

Vassily, sloth, noted it was kind of the birds to share the power of flight with wingless beings, and asked what would be done with creatures which fly but which do not have wings. Kern considered that a "mighty strange idea." Vassily withheld comment and floated into the air.

In Step With: Rown


This week, we have a chat with Rown, local centaur (Picture, by the way is by Alpha Centauress)

Rown has arrived.

Rown says, "Um, you mind if Anjil joins us?"

Ba'ar growls, "Go ahead."

Ba'ar growls, "As I understand it, she's our newest Centaurette."

Anjil has arrived.

Ba'ar smiles at Anjil "Greetings!"

Rown says, "Okay. I know Anil might like to be here too."

Rown hugs Anjil!

Ba'ar smiles at Anjil "The more Taurs here in Spidizzy..the merrier.

Anjil smiles at Ba'ar.

Anjil hugs Rown! Rown Hugs you back.

Rown says, "Specially cute ones like Anjil."

Ba'ar giggles "I feel a relationship coming on."

Anjil blushes lightly and smiles again.

Rown says, "Well slap it down son, we have an interview to conduct here!"

Ba'ar giggles

Ba'ar growls, "Okay let's start. Our readers know about you and some have even met you 'in the pelt' as it were. For one thing, how long have you been here in Spindizzy?"

Rown says, "Hmmm. I believe it's been around 8 or 9 years now."

Ba'ar growls, "So you've been with Spindizzy since the beginning?"

Rown says, "As SpinDizzy? Not exactly from the beninning but not too long afterwards."

Rown says, "Make that beginning."

Ba'ar nods "What brought you to Spindizzy? "

Rown says, "A mush client."

Ba'ar giggles "You know what I mean."

Rown says, "Well, it's been widely thought that I'm quite intellegent but a mind reader? Heh! Only the females think that."

Rown hugs Anjil!

Ba'ar growls, "I understand you're a centaur. Were you born one or did you change into it?"

Anjil grins a bit and hugs Rown.

Rown says, "Well, I was born human but semi reborn as a centaur. You could say I was experimented on."

Ba'ar growls, "Experimented on? In what way? (If you'd care to reveal to our readers)"

Rown says, "Well, a little over ten years ago me and my li'l sis were abducted after a wild party. We were taken to an argan harvesting place where they pretty much gutted me. They then placed me into an incubator chamber and introduced the genetic material to "grow" an equine body to my upper (and empty) torso to create a centaur."

Rown says, "This is not to say that my head is empty mind you. Of course some might think that."

Anjil smirks.

Ba'ar grins "No..I'd say you have a lot of HORSE SENSE"

Rown avoids Argon's "horselike but not horse" speach.

Anjil playfully groans at that.

Ba'ar growls, "Ever learn the purpose of why that was done to you?"

Rown says, "Well, the primary purpose for the organ removal was for organ donations. Turns out they thought we were orphans or something and had no home but the centaur thing was made quite clear to me. It was for military purposes, some sort of behind the lines work of something."

Rown says, "make that "or" something."

Ba'ar growls, "Human Intelligence plus animal strength equals a better warrior?"

Rown says, "something like that. They weren't ready for me rescueing li'l sis though. Made a real mess of the place."

Ba'ar nods "What are the advantages of being a centaur? Disadvantages?"

Rown says, "Well, outside of having an excuse for not wearing a shirt or pants, I can run faster, carry more and I'm much more handsome."

Anjil wears a shirt.

Ba'ar smiles "I know that Anjil thinks so."

Rown says, "The disadvantages are pretty apparent. I can't fit in a lot of places size wize and there's the spring shedding problems."

Anjil opens her mouth to protest then blushes and nods.

Ba'ar nods "What have your family and friends said about your new form? "

Rown says, "well, my father had died right after the abduction took place and didn't know what happened to us but Mom? Well, she just took it in stride. She makes me sit outside in the spring when I'm shedding but makes me all kinds of goodies to eat. It's when she makes me cut the grass when I kinda wonder if she's exploiting me in some way."

Rown says, "Friends? Well, they were shocked... Very shocked. They don't visit much anymore."

Ba'ar nods "Has your diet changed any since you've adopted centaur form?"

Rown says, "A whole lot. I've had to change my diet to a more vegetarian diet with more grains and a lot less meat. I do enjoy a good steak every now and then though."

Ba'ar nods "If you were given a chance to change back to human form, would you ?"

Anjil looks up at Rown curiously.

Rown says, "At first I really wanted to. You know, loss of friends, family thinks you're their new hack line horse etc. I got to liking it though once I realized the advantages and hoe much fun I can have this way. The feeling of galloping across an open field, charging up hills and jumping things is so good, especially having the wind in my hair."

Ba'ar nods "What's a typical day like for you? "

Rown says, "Well, I go to work, which is a trip because I drive a bus. The kids are fun, espcially the elementary ones. After work I usually come home and care for my dog Ceilidh and my chickens. On weekends I like to go out in the evenings and hear area bands, have some wine and pretty much live the centaur life. It's nice if I have a pretty centauress to enjoy them with too."

Ba'ar growls, "Who do you admire the most-centaur or otherwise?"

Rown says, "Hmmm. Well I kinda think Chiron ( the original Greek centaur himself) is a great centaur. he was learned, skillful and wise in so many matters. He was also a blacksmith, teacher, wine maker and philosopher. "

Rown says, "I have great admiration for those who are multitalented you know."

Ba'ar nods "I've heard of him..now then..Who do you admire the least?"

Rown says, "This one's kinda tough. I'd have to say Benedict Arnold. Anyone who would sell out to save his own skin really sucks. I can add Judas Ascariot to that too."

Ba'ar nods "Do you have any plans for the future?"

Rown says, "To keep breathing... Heh! Well honestly, I do plan to keep traveling and seeing things. I'm hoping to find enough time to start writing again and to revamp my web site (shameful plug)."

Ba'ar growls, "What secret fact or desire about you would surprise our readers?"

Rown ooos! "I can't say, there's minors reading."

Anjil raises a brow and grins a bit.

Rown hugs Anjil!

Ba'ar nods "Just one more queston before we go....Do you have any words of wisdom for our readers?"

Anjil hugs Rown! Rown Hugs you back.

Rown says, "Yes. Never play leapfrog with a Unicorn!"

Anjil winces.

Rown says, "Get the point?"

Ba'ar snorts at the centaur pun.

Ba'ar nods "Good advice. With that in mind, this concludes our interview. Once again, thanks for letting me to that.

Rown says, "My pleasure."

Anjil giggles softly.

Gilead's Criminal Attempt At Puns

Q: Why couldn't they convict Christine the car for all the murders she committed?
A: The detectives couldn't find precedent to establish an auto-motive.

Q: Why was the skunk never charged with a crime?
A: Because of his obvious inno-scents.

Q: Why did the aphid get away with stealing from an ant colony's tree?
A: She worked up a real sweet as she ran away.

Q: Where do they lock up little criminal birds?
A: Sing Sing.

Q: What do they do to a centaur convicted of cattle rustling?
A: Tie his neck to a tall tree, and slap his behind.

Q: Why do ursines make such good prison guards?
A: They help keep the inmates behind Ba'ars.

Q: Why did Patchy suddenly disappear?
A: Cat burglars.

Q: What do lemur convicts wear in prison?
A: Their tails.

Q: Why did the mink get arrested.
A: An anonymous informant overheard something about "the mink stole."

Q: Why did McDonalds sue Wendy's over their new commercial?
A: They saw the masked characters stealing food, and figured it was copyright infringement on Hamburglar.

Q: What did they charge the perp with after he took a baby goat?
A: Kidnapping, of course.

Q: What is a kangaroo's greatest fear on the subway?
A: Pickpockets.

Q: Why was the ladybug named Alphaline?
A: Because she neutralized aphids.

Q: Why did the streaker keep his clothes on around attorneys?
A: He didn't want to expose himself to a lawsuit.

This week in history

Back issues from a year and more ago. Remember when...?

Newspaper Circulation Report

@Action News, SpinDizzy's weekly paper, apparently has a fairly healthy circulation, so we figured we'd show just how healthy it is.

Each week, as long as there's room. I'll show the 'hit graph' for the @Action News website.

Just as a note, this makes a full year @Action News has been showing our circulation numbers. Yay!

Graphic of @Action News website hits.

Bearing Up

Bearing Up logo.

Welcome to the latest edition of Bearing up, the advice column where Ba'ar (That's me!) has answers to your most challenging questions.

Dear Bearing Up:
Who do you think is the best Willie Wonka, Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp?
- R. Dahl

Dear R. Dahl:
I'm rather partial to the Willie Wonka on the candy packages.

Dear Bearing Up:
My husband is a bull who can't stop charging. What to do?
- Cow

Dear Cow:
Take away his credit card.

Dear Bearing Up:
With Scotty dead, how am I going to beam up to the Enterprise?
- Captian Kirk

Dear Captian Kirk:
Beam yourself up!

Dear Bearing Up:
I have a dummy who talks. Why is this?
- P. Winchell

Dear P. Winchell:
The only reason why your dummy talks is that you're holding his control stick and manipulating his controls.

Dear Bearing Up:
What do you think of Rap Music?
- P. Diddy

Dear P. Diddy:
I think it's an oxymoron.

Dear Bearing Up:
Do you believe in the idea that you should love your neighbor?
- F. Rogers

Dear F. Rogers:
Speak for yourself! Mine's a regular jerk!

Dear Bearing Up:
How can I keep my hair from falling out?
- T. Savalas

Dear T. Savalas:
Hold it in with glue!

Dear Bearing Up:
My money is soiled, what to do?
- A. Capone

Dear A. Capone:
Launder it! (Just make sure you be careful or the police might arrest you.)

Dear Bearing Up:
My doctor wants to put me on a diet. Which one would you choose?
- R. Simmons

Dear R. Simmons:
My favorite is the "SEA FOOD" diet. You SEE food and you EAT IT.

Remember possums (to steal a term from Dame Edna ;-D), if you have any questions,please page mail me (Ba'ar) online or send mail to big_bear@operamail.com. Thanks.

Weekly Survey

Argon doing the survey.This week Argon is asking, I'm doing a survey for @Action News. The question this week is,"How many steps from the end of the escalator do you start walking?"

  • Findra - If I can, I start walking from the bottom of the escalator.
  • Darius says, "I walk from the beggining, if possible." Darius rode them up and down all the time at AC.
  • Tzolkin hasn't been on any escalators in a long time.
  • Anjil says softly, "I start walking on the last step."
  • Gilead chirps, "I usually start walking right at the end. The front end. And continue padding along down the entire thing."
  • Windwhistler says, "I do as well."
  • Tzolkin softly squeaks, "From what I recall, I usually start walking at the last second before the end of the escalator tries to eat my footpaws."
  • Rown jumps just before the step disappears.
  • Austin - I don't start walking on the escalator until it's at the top, unless I should happen to walk the whole way up it.
  • Andrew - Being a centaur I find it difficult to use the escalator.
  • Kinsor skritters, "Say? Well we do have an escalator in the lab, but its there for the guests. The bats just fly down whenever they need to."
  • Tanuki barks, "I'm not sure how to answer that question, because the steps are always moving."
  • Leslie - Oh uh on escalators I don't ever start walking except I'll jump off the last step to the floor then.

The Doze Garden

The centaurs were sympathetic to the raccoons' desire to go to Wendy's but had to refuse to loan them the keys to their van.

The Doze Garden Comic Strip

Guidelines and Procedures for Submitting Articles

Submitting a story or artwork for @Action News is easy! Just send it to newspaper@spindizzy.org or qmail or page Argon, Carl or SDN about it.
@Action News is published weekly on or after 12:01 AM Eastern Time on Sunday. Most any type of story or article will be accepted. Generally, we'd prefer things that aren't out and out lies or flames about other folks, and have a basis in the reality of SpinDizzy. Things that occur in public areas are fair game. The things reported don't have to have actually happened, (any more than anything that happens here does) but make sure you don't overstep the social boundaries and rules of interaction that we have. These are pretty broad guidelines, but we expect good sense to apply.

Thanks! Argon, Editor @Action News