The Art of Darkness

Finances of the Undead

April 15th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Last week’s link dump mentioned Law and the Multiverse, and intrepid commenter xJane noted:

Someone got me the Law and the Multiverse book one year (I’m still reading it—it’s hilarious!). Such a great way of looking at imaginary worlds—it’d be fun to do a fantasy one (what are the legal ramifications of stock portfolios owned by the undead…?).

I replied:*

I assume you mean vampires, since I don’t really see zombies playing the stock market. I’m pretty sure half of vampire literature depends on them building up their fortunes over hundreds of years.

And she responded:

I do, yes.

And that’s my point! Usually vampires are super rich and living cushy lives that do not require that they take jobs that require them to see this side of dawn. Does a vampire’s bite suddenly make you a stock market expert? Because you don’t just have to hang onto the stocks for a long time—they have to’ve been the right stocks in the first place. And this seems like the kind of thing you’d have to prepare for—like retirement. If I die tomorrow, I would still need to work if I were going to entice healthy young coeds into my boudoir (although the not having to sleep might mean I’m better at my job, I don’t work hourly), but potentially, if I buy life insurance pre-bite, I could cash in immediately post-bite and then invest, hoping to take night time lawyer-jobs for the next 60 years or so while my investments mature…

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t want to see the legal ramifications of becoming a vampire but the tax and income ramifications.

To which I had to respond:

Okay, well (and I’d like to say here that you’ve inspired me to give this a little more thought than is probably healthy):

1) If you kill your victims, you get to keep whatever you can scavenge off their corpses, plus cars and anything in their homes if you know where they live(d). There’s some capital right up front.

2) Since you can’t be killed by bullets or other normal weapons, and you may not (depending upon the mythology) even show up in security-camera footage, go rob some banks. Eat any cops who manage to track you down. Once you accrue a nice little nest egg, you can stop and lie low for a few decades until the heat dies down (I’m sure that’s what D.B. Cooper is doing).

3) Remember that bit in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where all you had to do was deposit one penny in a bank account in your time period, and when you traveled to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe the compound interest you’d accrued was more than enough to pay for your meal? Same idea. If you’re living several hundred years, you can diversify and enough of your investments will probably make money to keep you in plasma.

4) As technology and record-keeping become more advanced it’s going to be harder to pretend to be your own son/daughter in order to “inherit” your estate every hundred years or so. In this case, you may have to rely on a corporation to manage your finances, and you can just skim what you need.

Easy!

And she shot back with:

> Okay, well (and I’d like to say here that you’ve inspired me to give this a little more thought than is probably healthy):

File under Things I Often Think About When Watching Vampire Fiction…
>
> 1) If you kill your victims, you get to keep whatever you can scavenge off their corpses, plus cars and anything in their homes if you know where they live(d). There’s some capital right up front.

Fair point. I feel like this is mostly beneath your average vampire, but everyone has to start somewhere.
>
> 2) Since you can’t be killed by bullets or other normal weapons, and you may not (depending upon the mythology) even show up in security-camera footage, go rob some banks. Eat any cops who manage to track you down. Once you accrue a nice little nest egg, you can stop and lie low for a few decades until the heat dies down (I’m sure that’s what D.B. Cooper is doing).

Good point. I will tell my nieces and nephs to keep an eye out for D.B. Cooper.
>
> 3) Remember that bit in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where all you had to do was deposit one penny in a bank account in your time period, and when you traveled to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe the compound interest you’d accrued was more than enough to pay for your meal? Same idea. If you’re living several hundred years, you can diversify and enough of your investments will probably make money to keep you in plasma.

Is it, though? I feel like one would still require a more-than-passing knowledge of the markets…
>
> 4) As technology and record-keeping become more advanced it’s going to be harder to pretend to be your own son/daughter in order to “inherit” your estate every hundred years or so. In this case, you may have to rely on a corporation to manage your finances, and you can just skim what you need.

Hmm, I’d not thought of a corporation, but that’s a good idea. I was thinking some kind of a trust, but if you’ve got enough money—in any century—it ought to be possible to buy appropriate documentation (see, also New Amsterdam).
>
> Easy!

haha, How to Be a Vampire: for Fun and Profit!

And that’s the point where I decided to just turn the whole thing into a blog post.

So yeah, there’s the question: When was the last time you saw an indigent vampire? Why is that? Assuming that a vampire isn’t super-rich when they turn, how do they acquire and then hang onto their wealth?

The issue mainly seems to apply to vampires: Zombies, as I mentioned above, don’t really seem to have the faculties to manage convertible debentures, and presumably anybody who gained immortality by, say, a deal with the devil would also be smart enough to make vast wealth part of the package.

So what do you think? If you somehow wound up undead, how would you go about ensuring your long-term financial security? Would you continue to live where you did, go to night school, and try to work your way up the corporate ladder? Would you be able to play the stock market and strike it rich? Or would you become the first vampire to live in a trailer park? Discuss in the comments.


*Did you know that I reply individually to comments left on this site? I totally do.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 12 Comments »

Modern Twilight Zone

April 8th, 2014 by Cobwebs

You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of Instagram and Spotify but of Wikipedia. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of your WiFi signal.

The Twitter feed Modern Twilight Zone offers a splendid glimpse into a world where The Twilight Zone is still being produced and the storylines take advantage of current technology.

Some episodes are technology-dependent:

Others would work just as well as old-style episodes:

Lots of other users have joined the party, offering suggestions of their own:

Some of the synopses are just wonderful and make me melancholy that the episodes don’t really exist. A browse through the feed is a fun, mildly creepy, way to spend an afternoon.

(via Neatorama)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

Blackety Sax

March 31st, 2014 by Cobwebs

When I originally saw this video I thought, “That’s cute. Some black metal guys clowning around between sets.” But no…this is infinitely more wonderful.

The video is by black metal group The Black Satans, for their song Satan of Hell.

A heroic YouTuber changed the music to Yakety Sax. The result is sublime.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

Seen Online

March 25th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Any salad can be a Caesar salad if you stab it enough
Lit Pimp Queen

Seven Deadly Sins (updated): PWN’D, NOM, FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUU, WANT, WANT, WANT, and meh.
sween

“You’re not the person I fell in love with!” is a fun thing to say to anyone who isn’t the person you fell in love with.
sixthformpoet

A good way to make a car dealer uncomfortable is to say, “Tell me if you can hear this,” and then get in the trunk and start screaming.
rolldiggity

I make sure people who claim they don’t have time for my nonsense remember they weren’t doing much when I found them so actually, they do.
JTQuest

Roses are black
Violets are white
I’m a dog
UNTRESOR

SCIENCE FACT: Your throat hurts when you’re sick because your white blood cells have brought out tiny swords and are dueling with the germs.
MaraWritesStuff

It’s weird how after they couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together the King’s men were like “Let’s give the horses a shot at it”
mikeleffingwell

I’m not a cyber-bully but I did change my WiFi network name to “I CAN SEE WHAT YOU ARE GOOGLING STEVE”. Sleep well neighbor. Sleep well.
PaulGibson1963

Yesterday: Used poor grammar on multiple occasions.
Today: Hiding from grammar zombies in the attic.
Tomorrow: IMMMPROPER TENSSSSSSSSSSE.
sween

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

Caption This

March 18th, 2014 by Cobwebs

I’m feeling silly today, so I’m going to resurrect a feature from the old SF site I used to maintain. Each month we posted a screen grab from a cheesy movie and invited readers to write their own captions. One of my favorites was this shot from Dark City:

Dark City

For which Shadow Jack submitted this:

As Freddy stumped wearily through the door after another fruitless day of job-searching, Jennifer couldn’t help wondering, once again, what her life might have been like if only she had married the Goblin King instead.

Get the idea? Want to play along? Submit your own caption in the comments!

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 4 Comments »

Seen Online

February 12th, 2014 by Cobwebs

If you fall in the forest and there’s nobody around to hear it, then what just pushed you? You aren’t alone in the forest. Run, if you can.
WstonesOxfordSt

I get the feeling Helena Bonham Carter travels by bursting into a thousand crows when she doesn’t feel like walking.
SamGrittner

endless breadsticks. bottomless fries. yawning abyss of onion rings. HOWLING DESOLATE CHASM OF POTATO SKINS
nice_mustard

Joseph’s head broke off my Nativity figurine. Gave me a nice feel for what the Bible as written by George RR Martin would be like.
Aimee_B_Loved

Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Give a man a radioactive fish that bites, HE BECOMES FISHMAN!
sucittaM

I like how the kids in E.T. keep pedaling the whole time they’re on the flying bikes. Just in case.
KenJennings

Home is where the heart is. We found it one day in the sink. It hums things late at night, but they are not songs.
NightValeRadio

Damn gurl stop undressing me with ur eyes haha wait no stop ARGGHHHHH HOW THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THAT WITH YOUR EYEBALLS HELP OH GOD HELP
Fred_Delicious

I bet owls love Sympathy for the Devil.
thesulk

It’s probably good Mythbusters isn’t literal. “Could Zeus *really* have impregnated Leda in the form of a swan? Adam’s gonna try!”
sween

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 4 Comments »

Haunted by Drones

February 10th, 2014 by Cobwebs

(That was the BoingBoing headline for this; it’s actually a remote-controlled toy helicopter, but that doesn’t sound as funny.)

Anyway.

“Corporate Comedian” and prankster Tom Mabe uses a flying Grim Reaper to swoop down on unsuspecting passersby and scare the everliving hell out of them. It’s the sort of thing that’s hilarious happening to somebody else and would definitely make you want to punch the perpetrator if it happened to you.

There’s also a “behind the scenes” video:

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 3 Comments »

“Horror Film Trailer” Baby Announcement

February 3rd, 2014 by Cobwebs

When they discovered she was pregnant, Brandon Pitts and his wife made this clever video to announce the news to friends and family. I love the twist ending.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

Danger: Humans

January 27th, 2014 by Cobwebs

The Insidious Bogleech recently asked why so much science fiction treats humans as the boring, weak, dumb ones.

I want to see a sci fi universe where we’re actually considered one of the more hideous and terrifying species.

How do we know our saliva and skin oils wouldn’t be ultra-corrosive to most other sapient races? What if we actually have the strongest vocal chords and can paralyze or kill the inhabitants of other worlds just by screaming at them? What if most sentient life in the universe turns out to be vegetable-like and lives in fear of us rare “animal” races who can move so quickly and chew shit up with our teeth?

Like that old story “they’re made of meat,” only we’re scarier.

Tom Scott took that idea and ran with it, producing this educational safety video for alien interstellar travelers:

(via Neatorama)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

Seen Online

January 22nd, 2014 by Cobwebs

As terrifying as being attacked by a mugger would be, it’s not often that you get an excuse to try to blind someone
bridger_w

Next time your kid won’t eat carrots, scream: “Snowmen had to DIE for this meal!”
AaronFullerton

“It’s A Wonderful Life” would be WAY darker if when George sees life without him, there’s 30 kids alive in town who had died mysteriously.
rolldiggity

3-year-old: Let’s play zombies
Me: OK
3: You’re the dad zombie, I’m the mom zombie & this is the baby
She tricked me into playing house
XplodingUnicorn

Heads will roll. Torsos will kind of roll. Limbs will roll a short distance. Jawbones just kind of hit the ground & flip once.
NightValeRadio

The worst thing about losing your glasses is having to drive to work with your head out of the window, beeping like a bat.
ChribHibble

The worst thing about the 1978 Lord of the Rings cartoon is how they plan to destroy the ring by melting it in fondue.
KenJennings

My daughter’s fortune cookie was empty and now we’re all sitting around waiting for her to die.
scottsimpson

For me, “You can’t please everyone” isn’t a lament or an excuse. It’s a mission statement.
kierongillen

‘Better than Laurie Strode’ probably isn’t the best way to market my skills as a babysitter.
gordonshumway

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

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