Daily Archives: December 19, 2016

RIP Zsa Zsa Gabor

Hey 3.5 readers.

Sad news as Zsa Zsa Gabor has passed on at 99.  Perhaps you’ve seen her a rerun of Green Acres, but as a Professor of Pop Culture, allow me to explain her appeal.

She was pretty much the first person to be famous for the sake of being famous.  The first “celebutante.”  Without Zsa Zsa, you wouldn’t have Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and so on.

Feel free to argue about whether or not that’s a good thing, but at least Zsa Zsa carried a sitcom.  What have Paris and Kim done for us lately?

Zom Fu – Chapter 3

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“Perhaps we should discuss this first,” was the last thing Junjie managed to say before his mouth was shut by Bohai’s foot.

Junjie brushed the blood from his lip with the back of his hand, nodded at his opponent and asked, “So that’s how it is, is it?”

“It is,” Bohai replied as he cracked his knuckles.

“So be it,”Junjie said.

The two men paced to and fro like a pair of hungry jackals until Junjie threw a punch. Bohai caught it with his left hand then attacked Junjie with his right. They became locked in an attack and deflect pattern for several minutes until Junjie finally landed his fist on Bohai’s face.

“You have no idea how long I have wanted to do that, brother,” Junjie said.

“Ahh,” Bohai said as he spit blood out of his mouth. “You have no idea how long I have wanted to do…this!”

Bohai lunged for Junjie’s arm, gripped it, and flipped Junjie into the air before slamming him to the floor.

A grounded and dizzy Junjie looked to his right to find Niu sitting perfectly still on the floor, meditating with his eyes closed.

“You’re not interested in becoming the Twentieth Infallible Master?” Junjie asked Niu.

“Oh I am,” Niu answered. “But if I am meant to have the staff…”

“…then you will have the staff,” Junjie said as he leapt to his feet and quickly dodged Bohai’s foot.

“You are daft as you are humongous, Niu!” Bohai shouted.

“Perhaps I am the last one you should be worried about,” Niu said as he pointed a finger toward the ceiling.

Bohai and Junjie looked up to find that Mei-Ling was already five floors above them and easily jumping up to the sixth.

The master laughed. “Hmm. Perhaps the first female Infallible Master’s time has come.”

Bohai performed a running jump to the second floor’s wooden bannister, grabbed it, stood upon it precariously, then jumped up to the third floor bannister. Junjie followed, nipping at Bohai’s heels.

The chase was on. Junjie remained just below Bohai until the tenth floor when Bohai decided to improvise and stomp his foot down on Junjie’s head. Knocked off balance, Junjie let go of the bannister and began to fall until he grabbed Bohai’s leg and yanked him down with him.

The duo fell through the air for a few levels until they rolled to the right and crashed through the fifth floor bannister.

Back on the ground, the master was lecturing his most gigantic student.

“I am disappointed that you are not in this, Niu,” the master said.

“I am in it,” Niu said with his eyes still closed. “If I am destined to lead then I will.”

“Sometimes I think my foot is destined for your ass,” the master said.

“If your foot is meant for my…”

“Silence!” the master shouted. The old man looked up to see Mei-Ling moving higher and higher.

“Children!” the master shouted. “Have you found the toys I have placed around the tower? Play nice with them!”

On the fifth floor, Junjie and Bohai spotted a couple of the toys in question hanging on the wall. Junjie seized a pair of nunchucks while Bohai claimed a wooden bo staff.

“Stand down before I destroy you, Junjie,” Bohai said.

“You are not worthy of the Staff of Ages,” Junjie replied. “Your disrespect of the master has proven that.”

“It is mine by right,” Bohai said. “I am the best!”

Junjie gripped one end of the nunchaku and used it to twirl the other end by the metal chain. “Prove it.”

The pair had a stair down for a while. Finally, Bohai brought his bo staff through the air in a sweeping motion. Junjie cracked his nunchaku against the staff, deflecting the attack just in time.

Attack and deflect. Attack and deflect. Eventually, Bohai managed to get a jab in against Junjie’s chest. Not to be outdone, Junjie answered the hit with a nunchaku smack against the side of Bohai’s face.

Down below, the master and Niu listened to the commotion.

“I have done nothing but show you kindness since we were children and you have done nothing but mock me for it!” Junjie cried.

“How can I make you better if I don’t point out every one of your many, many flaws?!” Bohai asked.

“Hmm,” the master grunted. “Those two have some issues to work out.”

“If they are meant to work them out then…”

The master interrupted Niu. “No one likes a fatalist know-it-all, my son.”

“Perhaps they aren’t intended to, master,” Niu said.

“Ugh,” the master said as he slapped his forehead.

Up above, Mei-Ling was now on the eighteenth and final floor. There she found a bow, an arrow, and a coil of rope. She tied one end of the rope to the bannister and the other end to the arrow.

The tower was circular in shape, little more than an extra large cylinder. Mei-Ling could see the Staff of Ages hovering just underneath the skylight, but it was much to far too reach with her hands. So, expert markswoman that she was, she took aim at a wooden support beam on the other side of the eighteenth floor, fired, and scored a direct hit.

In doing so, she created a taut tightrope. Now she just had to walk it.

However, as she leaned over the bannister and looked down to see how tiny Niu and the master looked from this height, she realized that the feat she was about to try was easier said than done.

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Zom Fu – Chapter 2

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The Infallible Master released the staff, but it did not fall. Instead, it floated slowly – up, up, up towards the top of the tower. The quartet watched as the coveted symbol of power hovered past the stone figure of Longwei, the clan’s founder and first master. Longwei’s humble nature, as evidenced by his wide grin and thoughtful eyes, had served as a source of inspiration for countless generations of disciples.

The staff continued its ascent, passing a different stone preserved master along the way. The seventh master, the eighth master, the ninth master. Good men but all three presided over the clan during times of peace. Peace makes for happiness but provides little in the way of interesting stories.

Aiguo, the Tenth Infallible Master, was a particularly angry and foul mouthed leader. His scornful, contemptuous visage masked a deep love of his country and emperor. He wasn’t remembered for being very kind, but was revered for the role he played in aiding the Emperor with the resolution a bloody civil conflict.

Eleven, twelve, thirteen…the staff finally rested near Cheng, the Eighteenth Infallible Master and Yaozu’s immediate predecessor. Due to his buck teeth and crossed-eyes, Cheng was also considered the ugliest of the Infallible Masters Past, but he was still very much beloved all the same.

“Life and death,” Yaozu said. “These are the diametrically opposed forces that the Staff of Ages bends to its will. Just as it extended the life of so many masters, so too did it extend my existence well beyond my natural lifespan, thus allowing me to share my wisdom with the clan for many centuries.”

The Infallible Master basked in the sunlight peaking in through the window in the ceiling. “When I expire, a new level will constructed. The next master will use the staff to preserve my remains in stone so that I will be able to join our ancestral leaders in watching over the clan.”

“A well-deserved honor, master,” Junjie said.

The master shrugged his shoulders. “Meh. It’s kind of creepy if you ask me. Personally, I’d rather my carcass be burned but what are you going to do?”

“Very good, master,” Bohai said. “But enough with the song and dance. Let’s get my staff down here so I can stone you up and start running this place.”

The master chuckled. “I’m not dead yet, my son. The staff will still be mine for as long as it chooses to keep me alive. Maybe a few days, maybe a year, maybe a decade. I do not know. All I know is the staff demands a successor and therefore, I deduce that it has selected the day upon which my mortality will no longer benefit from its protection.”

Bohai rolled his eyes, then began to walk away. “Yeesh. Thanks for wasting my time then. Call me when you start to feel sick.”

The master stomped his foot and shouted, “Bohai!”

The cocky fighter stopped in his tracks and turned around to face his leader.

“What makes you so sure that you will be chosen as the Twentieth Infallible Master?”

Bohai snickered. “Why wouldn’t you choose the best?”

“Are you the best?” the master inquired.

Bohai’s head looked as though it might explode with rage. In his mind, he was so clearly the right choice that he could not comprehend the master’s inability to see it.

“Is it not obvious?” Bohai asked. “I train the most. I study the most. I know the most.”

“You are formidable,” the master said. “But no more than your contemporaries based upon my observations.”

“Bah,” Bohai scoffed as he looked away.

The master stepped towards the brash young man and looked him in the eye. “You make a mistake…”

“The only mistake I made was staying in this clan for so long,” Bohai said. “Surely there are other clans that would recognize my accomplishments.”

The master’s face filled with sadness. “There aren’t as many clans as there used to be thanks to Dragonhand, young one. Be thankful you have found a home here filled with people who care for you, despite your best efforts to exasperate them.”

“The Clan of the Mystifying Monkey Slap would be happy to have me,” Bohai said.

The master openly guffawed. “Oh young one. We masters differ in our teaching methods. Whereas I prefer to allow my students to make their mistakes so they may learn from them, the Vengeful Master would have cut out your insolent tongue and monkey slapped you with it by now.”

Junjie butted into the conversation with an “Ouch.” Niu followed it up with, “The fates would almost certainly cause that to hurt.”

As usual, Mei-Ling said nothing.

The Infallible Master paced about the floor. “Now Bohai, before I was so rudely interrupted, I was about to tell you that you make a mistake in assuming that I choose the next owner of the Staff of Ages.”

“Who chooses then?” Bohai asked.

The master pointed a finger toward the high ceiling underneath which the staff was hovering. The ruby was glowing red once more.

“Why, the staff itself, of course.”

The students looked at one another. The master clapped his hands.

“Have at it,” the old man said.

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