Monday, 19 September 2016

Bishop Schleimhaut’s Magic Broomstick

Infinity & Beyond + 1 Magazine is proud to present Bishop Schleimhaut’s Magic Broomstick, a submission to the Broomstick challenge. Infinity & Beyond + 1 Magazine, where the rate of change in accelerating progress is rapidly increasing. 

Bishop Schleimhaut was an affable, gregarious character who had excelled at almost everything he had done. While the Bishop was highly gifted at sports, music and the theology of dental practice, one thing he had unfortunately never quite mastered was central banking. This would not normally be problematic for the average scum roaming the nocturnal streets making some god-awful, drunken racket, but Bishop Schleimhaut was head of the central bank at Frankfurt-am-Meer, a glorious coastal town in the middle of central Europe.

In these appalling dark ages, sometimes the only thing a central banker can look forward to is that warm, relaxing shower in the morning:

Weve got the Shower to win
Shower to rule
Come on, Hygienic progression
We have a Shower with joy
It’s more than a Chore
It’s true Showering tradition
We use soap, soap, soap
on a rope, rope, rope
There’s cleanliness in the making
We’ve got the Shower to win
We’re never Stinking
Til the towel is ours for the taking

As the Bishop stepped from the shower and began to dry himself, he was immediately floored by a vision of a burning bush, which is not so bad even if it is the bathroom, but in front of the burning bush appeared an apparition of the ancient prophet Margaret Thatcher.

“Bishop Schleimhaut,” she said, “there is no such thing as the economy!”  


Studies in Maritime Archaeology – Edited by Josepth E. Quantummy                             page 15

and since then, many theories have been put forth to explain the unique tangy aftertaste of certain species of fish caught from a specific patch of sea roughly 400 km north of Frankfurt-am-Meer, over what would have originally been known in ancient times as the long-lost city of Hamburg.

It is of no coincidence that historical records speak of a “Smart” nuclear power plant in this precise vicinity. The Smart Nuclear Adaptive Power plant (SNAP) was a dedicated nuclear facility used purely for supplying energy to an enormous computer complex that ran a highly sophisticated numerical model for the purposes of predicting the weather many months in advance. While this may look like an egregious waste of resources to the untrained eye, one must remember that the ancient central European climate was not a constant 35 degrees Celsius all year round, but consisted of ‘seasons’, one of which was cold enough to deliver snow at Christmas time, whose prediction was critical for determining whether Rudolph’s nose was bright enough for lighting the way.

In order to predict the weather over such a distant time horizon, the numerical model ran a highly adaptive numerical grid able to calculate minute turbulent variations down to the Kolmogorov scale whenever calculations indicated a dynamically complex region of space requiring a finer numerical grid resolution. As the computer complex needed vast, but hugely varying quantities of electricity, depending on the degree of numerical grid adaptation, a power plant of sufficient size was required, while also being able to stand independent from the electric grid existing in those times, as such an enormously fluctuating electrical load would generate prohibitive electrical grid instabilities.

The stand-alone nuclear plant selected to supply the computer complex needed its own modifications to make it both grid-independent and adaptable to the variable energy demands of the computer complex, a refitting which earned the nuclear plant its “Smart” label. A power plant, SNAP or otherwise, generates its own waste heat emitted into the environment, which, depending on the amount of heat, the meteorological conditions and the required forecast horizon, itself needs to be accounted for by the adaptive numerical grid, resulting in a finer numerical grid resolution around the SNAP, more intensive modeling and thus a greater amount of electrical energy to be generated by the SNAP, corresponding in the emission of further waste heat to be included in the numerical model, thus more energy and so on and so forth, etc, etc.

Now modern day readers are likely thinking that “Smart” is an appropriate name for such a risky piece of technology. We must however remind the reader that in those times “Smart” meant ‘intelligent’ or ‘clever’, rather than its modern day definition of ‘Completely Fucking Stupid’. Assuming even the ancient definition of “Smart”, why anyone would call anything “Smart”, especially a nuclear facility, will at any rate still be beyond the understanding of the modern, well-informed reader, since such a label would be falling into the trap of ‘tempting fate’, or even its more psychologically primitive cousin, ‘believing your own propaganda.’ 

On probable causes of delicious but radioactive North Sea fish – by Solomon Bereitschaftsdienst

“Well I don’t care what anyone says, I’ll continue to eat my Fischbrötchen, radioactivity or not,” said Bishop Schleimhaut while flicking through Josepth E. Quantummy’s recently published Studies in Maritime Archaeology – explaining the paranormal, “but I meant the other article, the one about the ‘magic broomstick’. Josepth, my friend, I have an idea!”

Josepth E. Quantummy was a highly valued subcontractor of the central bank at Frankfurt-am-Meer, in large part because of his important ability to defy physical limitations. Sitting opposite in the Bishop’s dentist’s chair though, he was becoming increasingly incensed. Even after 10 minutes of sitting here, listening to the Bishop complain about almost everything, he had still not been offered a drink – not even to wash out his mouth.

“Joe, you know how everyone around here is obsessed with composting. Always with the composting. I am honestly sick of hearing about it. I asked the central bank’s chief economist Rosy Pete the other day for suggestions on how to stimulate the economy and it was all about ‘planting more turnips’. Now I am all for planting turnips, don’t take me for some fascist, but it is not quite the sort of impact I was after. Anyway, we are in the middle of the jungle here! Haven’t these people ever heard of the modern day agricultural marvels of slash and burn?”

“Ha, good luck convincing them Bishop,” said a staring Quantummy at the Bishop’s well-stocked collection of exotic, chilled liqueurs from Scandinavia, “remember the slogan of the NCA, the National Compost Association, ‘from my charcoaled, dead hands.’ I don’t really like turnips anyway.” 

“Careful Joe, you are starting to really sound like a fascist. But this ancient magic broomstick described here, I think, could revolutionize compost collection as it is currently conceived,” suggested the Bishop. “All this sweeping and piling organic waste about just seems beneath us. I know you are the expert here in eluding all materialistic prejudices, but, in my opinion, a magic broom could be the answer to all our problems.“

Josepth E. Quantummy now took a dirty, empty glass from the Bishop’s desk and coyly circled its rim with his index finger while looking slightly sideways with a raised eyebrow at an unimpressed, but fully ordained Bishop in the church of dentistry. 

“Plus, I need to get out of the central banking industry. Setting interest rates as an occupation is hopeless. Honestly, whatever I do seems to make market matters worse. If I am out and about, but feeling a bit grumpy, a bit down in the dumps, maybe I had an argument with a colleague, or perhaps I had a horrifying vision, then word quickly gets out and this sends markets into turmoil!”

Josepth E. Quantummy now simulated finishing the last sip from the used glass with an exaggerated slurp and then letting out an “ahhhh”, before slamming the empty glass back on the desk after wiping his mouth clean along the entire length of his sleeve.  

“The other day I thought, Bishop Schleimhaut, you don’t have to be such an Arschloch all the time. Every now and then, you can at least greet people you pass on the street, smile during interactions with the common man and even look them in the eye. I was then at the bakery, paid for my bread, thanked the baker with a wink and a smile and you know what? He completely flipped out! He closed the shop, kicking us all out then and there, and sprinted the entire way to the stock exchange to sell every last one of his shares!”

“Doesn’t sound so bad,” said a depressed Quantummy, “how much stock can a baker possibly own?”

“Josepth, Josepth, Joey boy, I think you’ve had much too much to drink again. If someone is sprinting the full length of the town to sell off all their shares, what type of cascade do you think that will trigger, if this is also spotted by the butcher, florist, doctor, and so on and so forth, etc, etc? That’s why they’ve condemned me to my basement office here, to shield the public from any untended head-of-the-central-bank induced market chaos. If we can somehow get this magic broomstick on the market though, I can finally retire to my garden to meditate on deep, but unsolved problems in the theology of dentistry.”

“Interesting, I had honestly believed you had answered all the big questions,” said a Josepth E. Quantummy through gritted teeth, violently rocking back and forth on the dentist’s chair while clasping the hand rests, as if someone was pulling his wisdom teeth. He was now starting to get the shakes.

“Very close Joe, but not quite. As you know, major breakthroughs, in any field, really can’t be forced. You have to relax, take your time and let the solution come to you. I would even say the most important discoveries have been accidental. Joe, are you feeling ok?”

Josepth E. Quantummy had closed his eyes; now meditating for a brief moment before levitating above the dentist’s chair. The dimly lit basement office was now brilliant from light radiating from the weightless Quantummy and his glorious white lab coat. Josepth hovered slowly toward the small fridge light at the end of the tunnel emanating from Bishop Schleimhaut’s hamster powered ice-box, where awaiting him within was some ice cold, refreshing Scandinavian coconut juice.

“Woooah Joe, hold on there son, I don’t know how that is even physically possible, but you almost fell out of the dentist’s chair,” screamed the Bishop after diving across his desk at full length to catch hold of a shaking, semi-conscious Josepth E. Quantummy. 


Studies in Maritime Archaeology – Edited by Josepth E. Quantummy                            page 68

curious devices excavated from a sunken ship, thousands of years old, recently discovered a few hundred kilometers off the coast of Frankfurt-am-Meer. Since the entire ship was found to have been filled with these strange devices, it is unlikely to have been the product of a twisted fetish from some isolated cult as has been suggested (see Quantummy, 7551), a study which has previously been criticized as having been written by a “drunk” (Bereitschaftsdienst, 7552).
An important clue was recently uncovered from the recesses of the ship after it had been refloated and toed to Frankfurt-am-Meer Harbor for closer inspection, where a perfectly preserved contract for the order of 5,000 “leaf blowers” was uncovered. Why and for what purpose such a large number of “leaf blowers” would be required remained a mystery until it was suggested that the “leaf blower” could have actually been some baroque Ersatz-Broom type of technology.

To test this hypothesis, we constructed a prototype leaf blower, from scratch, based on the inspection of some of the recovered materials from the ancient devices. For fuel for the prototype, we were able to source gratis some of Josepth E. Quantummy’s patented crocodile oil, despite vigorous protests. A number of tests were performed comparing the ‘sweeping’ effectiveness of a standard broom with the hypothesized Ersatz-Broom, where we have used a normalized leaf density to compare the two technologies:
While standard brooms are useful for grouping leaves into a ‘pile’ at the desired location, the experimental results conducted here showed that the “leaf blowers” could not form such ‘piles’ and could not have possibly had any practical function, since they blew the leaves about randomly, reducing on average to a perfect normal distribution. One interesting quirk was the ability of the leaf blower to even send leaves backwards, in the opposite direction of the intended ‘sweeping’ direction.

Another fact pointing against the practical utility of the leaf blowers is that during operation, the prototype leaf blower made an unbearable amount of, as one colleague phrased it, ‘Needless Fucking Noise’. This lends further weight to the idea that the leaf blowers served rather some higher religious ceremonial purpose, perhaps serving as a host technology, albeit noisily, for the transmutation of the soul. Other colleagues are more skeptical of this theory, suggesting ancient industrial peoples were, in fact, “lazy” (Bereitschaftsdienst, personal communication).

The Myth of Magic Broomsticks – fact and fiction – by Gerhard "The Iceman" Johannssen


“This is what I meant,” said Bishop Schleimhaut referring to The Myth of Magic Broomsticks in Quantummy’s Studies in Maritime Archaeology, “if we can somehow fix those leaf blowers, compost collection will never be the same.”

“Fix them?” asked a fully recovered Josepth E. Quantummy of the Bishop, “well, I know this is a controversial view, but the ancient leaf blower, in my opinion, does not need fixing.” A shot of Scandinavian coconut juice for Quantummy did, as always, the trick.

“Well, of course the leaf blower needs fixing,” responded the Bishop, “I’m not going to tolerate any more noise. I wasn’t able to get any sleep last night. It sounded like the whole of Frankfurt-am-Meer was out partying. Everyone had probably liquordated their stock and was out celebrating. How the internal proletariat handles their capital-gains tax, I’ll never know.”

Quantummy continued: “But Bishop, these are really magical broomsticks. I am convinced you can use them for divination. Not half bad for central banking! You can trust me on this Bishop, I am a practicing alcoholtist.”

“Joe, as you know, we already have our own esoteric methods here at the central bank for predicting markets and setting interest rates. What can you possibly teach us about that?”

“Let’s first look at an average broom. What it’s designed to do and what it does quite well, is take leaves that are initially scattered about and collects them together in a pile. But this is useless. You don’t want that. Now your leaf blower takes a bunch of leaves, either scattered about or piled up, it doesn’t matter which, and redistributes them in a perfectly random fashion. You can then group leaves into various ‘bins’ so that bins with an even number of leaves leaves you with a dot, and an odd number you get two dots, I forget which is which, tally all the dots and you have yourself a perfect and practical method for the art of Geomancy.

Now your standard broom is rubbish. It just groups the leaves together and they overlap and sit on top of one another and so who’s to tell which leaf belongs to which bin? You simply can’t divine a thing!”  

“Well that is our recent experience here at the central bank Joe; divination is a tricky business best left to fully trained economists armed to the teeth with theories. You then do the opposite of whatever they say. Chief economist Rosy Pete says plant more turnips, I plant more sweet potatoes.”

“Bishop, I propose we put your new magic broomstick to the test. Ask me anything. Do you have any particular, burning questions you would like answered?”


Later on in the central bank’s courtyard, dark clouds had gathered above, the air was filled with a pre-storm electric tension. Josepth. E. Quantummy fired up the magic broomstick powered by Josepth E. Quantummy’s patented crocodile oil. The magic broom made a horrific, earth shattering noise; there was thunder and lightning. Leaves and all manner of debris were ejected into the air by the magic broom.

The Bishop let out a scream which would have sounded blood-curdling if it could have been heard above the leaf blower. "His eyes shall be red with wine," screamed the Bishop quoting Genesis 49:12, "and his teeth white with coconut juice!"

‘Is there such a thing as the economy?’ he wanted to know. 

Quantummy then switched off his magic broom, sectioned off the distributed leaves into 16 blocks, and proceeded to count the number of leaves in each block. Bins containing an odd number of leaves got one dot and an even number two. You know what I mean.

“Please help me with the counting Bishop. This is why it is Smart to cast a chart in a storm. The wind comes and blows the leaves around and it can ruin your whole divination. Ok, now we have it!“

“Populus,” said Josepth, “the economy is the people; ‘society’ if you will.”

“Can I have a go Joe?”

“Sure! Here. It's yours.”