The Portugal Hoax

Completely made up

I feel today is a good day to at long last come clean.

I know I’ve told you guys — told everyone, really — that I was born and raised in Portugal. It’s time to reveal that this is in fact impossible because there is no such country.

If you think about it for maybe ten seconds it should be obvious, of course. Look, the country is supposed to be an afterthought on the edge of Spain and — to tip you the wink — the profile where it’s supposed to meet the sea looks exactly like the face of a grumpy old man. In fact, precisely the kind of grumpy old man who would make up the existence of a whole country and keep it going to pull your leg and make you believe that it really exists.

We all met men like this. Unfortunately in my case, it’s my dad, who has the world’s worst sense of humor, and who, of course, wasn’t even an old man — or grumpy — when he pulled the strangest pranks on me, such as the time he convinced me that all the extra snot you get when you are sick was because snot is brain lubrication (I swear I’m not making this up. He did) and when you’re sick you make extra lubricant to cool the brain. I was thirty when I casually mentioned this to my husband, and he cracked up. Later, I asked dad how he could have told me that ridiculous story and he looked puzzled and said “I never thought you’d believe it.”

Ladies and gentlemen: I was six. Of course I believed it.

Well, I suspect Portugal started like that. Probably the kings of Spain, France and England were having a rousing argument or something, and getting drunk, and suddenly one of them started chuckling and said, “Hey, Felipe!” (All kings of Spain are named Felipe, by law. No one knows whose law, but there it is) “What if we made people believe there was an extra country at the edge of your country, between you and the sea. Not the whole length, you know, just at the bottom?”

“Are you nuts Henry?” (Almost all kings of England are named Henry, of course. Or were till one of them decided to make a sport of chopping off his wives heads.) “Hey, Henri,” (A lot of the kings of France were named Henri. when they got tired of people confusing them with Henry, because people could never remember to pronounce it “Han-ree” (Like Han Solo, but they never host first) the switched it over to Louis, which they pronounced Loo-eee (Look, the French are very weird people, and I say this as someone who has at least some French ancestry) and ran up quite a number before they chopped the last one’s head. Monarchies and chopping people’s heads go together like…. like axes and a lot of screaming.) “Get that wine away from Henry. He obviously has had enough.”

“No, no, guys, listen,” Henry said. “We can pretend that all the discoveries were done by this tiny little country, who then does nothing of import ever again. And we can have fake wars and stuff, you know? ‘Oh, we’d totally do that, but Portugal won’t let us. And you know, Portugal has a fearsome navy!'”

Henri and Felipeb– who often confused themselves for the other, because they forgot the pronunciation raised the usual objections — “But won’t people notice there’s nothing there?”

“Of course not, Felipe. You just hire some actors and have them talk Spanish with a funny accent, like Russian or something, and tell people they’re Portuguese. No one will never know. Think about it. We can all get together and laugh at them.”

As we know they decided to go ahead with it. And people bought it, improbable history and all. I mean what are the chances that a country the size of your bathmat would discover most of the now known world? And if they had that kind of genius, what are the chances they would never invent anything else ever ever again, and their primary exports would be wine and cork?

Though of course, in later years, the governments that replace the monarchies, made a good thing of it. Portugal became sort of an attraction, an amusement park of a country, displaying whatever ideas were fashionable at the time, from national socialism to international socialism, and being, you know, very colorful and obvious, and theatrical.

It is only now, that Covid-19 has closed tourism, that Spain has realized this was a losing enterprise and it is time to come clean before the world.

Their prime minister wired the French Premier (or the other way around. Their republics have confusing position names) who wired the prime minister of England who said in a grumpy ton, “I guess. Do whatever.”

And so today the world’s newspaper are filled with the exploding of the Portugal hoax.

As one of the actors, raised from birth to play my part, as we said “Para Ingles ver” (For the Englishman to see) I want to apologize to the world for my fractional part in the deceit.

There is no Portugal. Portugal is and was an improbable hoax, piled with an even more improbable history and with a ridiculous explanation for that history and for why they never did anything else worthwhile on the world stage.

Now you know.

Me? I’m just waiting till they come clean about the EU.

249 thoughts on “The Portugal Hoax

    1. Kekistan is real, just invaded and oppressed by the Republic of Norminia and the Kingdom of Woke.

      Which is why we must all stand in solidarity with the Kekistani Diaspora.

    2. Don’t have direct knowledge of Kekistan, but I have battled Krasnovian forces in the desert. Tough opponents.

      1. They have to be. Only the toughest of the tough can operate waffle makers under combat conditions.

      1. Idaho will soon be expanded into a real state when the conservative neighbors successfully secede to Idaho: a once idea of freedom.

      2. Hey now, we don’t need any explaining! Idaho’s fine just the way we are.

        You’re just jealous that we’re inland, have a seaport, and an international border.

        And our governor is more easily nicknameable for cowardace than all y’all’s together.

            1. A rowboat can technically be ‘an ocean-going vessel’ so what does that prove?

              I read that somebody once crossed the Atlantic in a rowboat.

              1. “That year a rich publisher offered a challenge
                that men in a vessel, no matter the size
                couldn’t cross the Atlantic without steam or canvas
                Ten-thousand dollars he named as the prize.

                Now dredgin’ up oysters by hand is no picnic
                and these two Norwegians were tough as a whip
                Says Frank ‘if we row only four miles and hour,
                in fifty-four days we could finish the trip.’

                ‘We’ll see you in France or well see you in Heaven’
                cried Harbo and Samuelson out on the bay.
                Two hardy young oystermen out for adventure
                And no one believed they could row all the way.”

            2. What length, beam, draft, and displacement are we talking about here?

              If nothing worth a torpedo can reach it, it doesn’t count 🙂

                1. Interesting. The largest thing they list is a four-barge tow. It’s been a few years since I’ve been, but I don’t recall ever seeing a container ship above the Port of Portland, are you sure they weren’t barges?

                  1. My knowledge of shipping and water: it’s in the water, it has containers on it.

                    Port of Lewiston is labeled as a seaport. And HerbN deserves some teasing: he seems a bit gloomy of late.

                    1. I know, I’m the “akchually” meme come to life. But I’m still very curious to know if somebody either started bringing smallish container ships inland up the Columbia/Snake system, or transloading containers to barges.

                    2. Also, inland “seaports” are not uncommon in the U.S. Mostly it means that they have Customs facilities and it’s possible to bring sealed containers or bulk cargo up river and land the cargo, and only THEN go through inspection. Mostly, it saves on paying off union goons at the coast, I suspect.

                    3. True, Chicago has a seaport, as does Duluth. A seaport, bang in the center of the continent–just think of that.

      3. A political opponent of an early governor of Idaho was in charge of the boundary-drawing, and he thought it would be funny to make it look like it had a face rather than giving it the land west of the Continental Divide. And Idaho’s been giving us the finger every since.

              1. As I remember it, the anthropologist who reported on the Yanomamo tried a hit of it and “saw” hallucinations similar to those described by the natives. I have often wondered whether the drug affected human eyes, causing them to see into the infrared range and those see air currents.

                The other thing I recall was ‘snot a good high.
                ~

        1. An attempted invasion by Russia using Cuban mercenaries and local, subverted tribes.
          Peter Grant has written some about it on his blog.
          Eventually they succeeded by taking over Portugal and having Africa handed over to their local puppets.

          1. Yeah, I really meant the country AND the movie. The movie, at least, is so wonderfully bizarre that it needs no explanation. Just…a temporary disconnection from your sanity.

        1. Indeed not – it’s a mythical island supposedly in the Atlantic. Originally it was called Hy-Brasil, but someone cut off the first syllable in the 16th century and the change stuck.

        1. Best “apology” ever. Also, an excellent version of The Star Spangled Banner. What it lacks in melodic quality (duh, Heavy Metal) it more than makes up for in volume and enthusiasm.

          1. Considering that it was a drinking song and is much easier to sing when you’ve had a couple drinks under your belt….

              1. For a roaring drinking song, here is Metallica covering Thin Lizzy’s Whiskey in the Jar, live in Ireland:

                1. That there’s a foine auld song, but I dunna know that Thin Lizzy, grand band as they moight be, should ought get credit for it, except possibly the arrangement.

                  I first heard it covered by Peter, Paul Mary (they called it Gilgarra Mountain – the defilers) in the mid-60s, but there’s versions from the Dubliners, the Irish Rovers, the Clancys, and the Grateful Dead

                  Wikipedia advises that it was popularized in America by the Dubliners in the Fifties, but

                  The song’s exact origins are unknown. A number of its lines and the general plot resemble those of a contemporary broadside ballad “Patrick Fleming” (also called “Patrick Flemmen he was a Valiant Soldier”) about Irish highwayman Patrick Fleming, who was executed in 1650.

                  In the book The Folk Songs of North America, folk music historian Alan Lomax suggests that the song originated in the 17th century, and (based on plot similarities) that John Gay’s 1728 The Beggar’s Opera was inspired by Gay hearing an Irish ballad-monger singing “Whiskey in the Jar”. In regard to the history of the song, Lomax states, “The folk of seventeenth century Britain liked and admired their local highwaymen; and in Ireland (or Scotland) where the gentlemen of the roads robbed English landlords, they were regarded as national patriots. Such feelings inspired this rollicking ballad.”

                  At some point, the song came to the United States and was a favourite in Colonial America because of its irreverent attitude toward British officials. The American versions are sometimes set in America and deal with American characters. One such version, from Massachusetts, is about Alan McCollister, an Irish-American soldier who is sentenced to death by hanging for robbing British officials.

                  Some may be more familiar with John Gay’s play in its revived version, as the Threepenny Opera.

                  Here’s a version sung by Irish Volunteers during the War of Southern Secession:

                  N.B. – the management does not, repeat, NOT, share the song’s endorsement of “Little Mac.”
                  ~

                  1. A decade or so ago we were sitting at an outdoor bar in Bucharest (and you have no idea how odd it feels to realize we did that), when the PA system played a lovely ballad and I was told it was….Metallica? Say what?
                    I don’t know the title and I’ve never heard it again. Does it ring any bells here?

                    1. It was probably Nothing Else Matters from the “Black Album” from the early 1990s:

                  2. Yes, the basic Irish folk-tale/song has been around for centuries but that arrangement and specific phrasing is Thin Lizzy’s.

              2. Someday, i would love to see it sung, at a public event, by a quartet of gents in colonial togs, each with his own tankard of beer. Or cider.

                Just to give the performance the gravitas appropriate to the national anthem of the United States.

      1. I would have liked to hear a little better control over the “metal scream” he used for the high notes, but I would give it a pretty solid B, maybe B+.

        He gets an A+ (and maybe a subscription) for the response though. I almost couldn’t watch long enough to get to the good part though. 😀

          1. I love this song. A friend of mine used to do this song, I did the “male part” sometimes when her husband, who usually sang with her, wasn’t available. Quite a bit different from how this guy did it (closer to the original, with a little metal juice added in), but it was always so much fun.

            1. I’d like to hear Amy Lee sing it WITHOUT that pseudo-rap jabber stuck in. I think it would be a much better song that way.

              Of course, two of my other favorite songs are ‘Ongaku no Kara’ by Angela, and ‘Fate’ by Kokia.

              1. My favorite song is Highway in the Wind by Arlo Guthrie, but I don’t let it get in the way of enjoying other forms of music. Some of the more modern stuff gets a little to explicit for my tastes though.

                I fronted for a Country band for a very short time, and was part of quasi-Punk/metal/comedy band for a short while, but nothing came of either. No recordings of either though. The country band was already starting to break up when I got there, and we never got into the studio. For the Punk band, we recorded a song I wrote called Cat Puncher (about an unfortunate incident at a party), and a punk version of Your Cheatin Heart. Both of which I REALLY wish I had copies of the recordings of, but you know how it goes with bands, not a happy breakup on that one.

                1. I’ve got at least 2,000 favorite songs, maybe 3,000 or more, most of them 60’s through 90’s rock. A couple hundred of them are Japanese rock, which I first encountered through anime. Great music can be found in a lot of places.

                  I don’t really care what color or race the musicians are; only what the music sounds like.

  1. I think it’s silly for people to entertain such notions.

    Especially today, when the United States is busily celebrating Congress Day.

  2. I have never been so betrayed in all my life. Now I must become an N. K. Jemisin fan instead. Farewell.

    1. So sad. I think she should have stayed true to her real self and been a romance author. Her first books (not too bad) were very close. But she’s so invested in the woke identity group bullshit that she had to reject her natural inclinations and hew to the party line.

      1. But I could spend hundreds of pages listening to her rant about whiteness in stream-of-consciousness prose. What more could a reader ask for?

  3. THIS explains why I can never remember if Portugal is supposed to float at the top of Spain like an olive, or sink to the bottom like an onion. Well, of course I can’t remember what’s not there, silly me!!

    1. Whether it’s a Martini,or Gibson, the key thing is a good, well treated vermouth. You can fudge the gin a *TINY* bit. But the drink is UNFORGIVING of poor ingredients. Now, the Manhattan can be bent six (or more) ways from Sunday and still at least be tolerable, if not exemplary.

      As for Portugal… Sander’s Founders Reserve. Worth the extra few bucks.

      1. Well, I suppose if you’re going to have a trace of something mixed into your superchilled gin, then it makes sense to make it a top-quality trace.

        What?

        1. Aye.. and as I have been…assisting,,, a MOST GENEROUS centaur.. I am *sorely* in need of rest. The ONLY thing truly *WORSE* than assisting a centaur… is refusing to. NO, I will ***NOT*** go into detail. You’re welcome. Whatever you just thought, raise it the 4th power. NOW you’re _starting_ to get close. [Ox skull so damn thin…]

        2. Well, I prefer a Martini with detectable, rather than homeopathic, amounts of vermouth in it.
          I tend to make mine roughly 4:1 gin:vermouth, a couple dashes of orange bitters, and three olives.

      2. That’s why I only drink Old Fashions, and real Old Fashions, none of this crap with a cherry or anything like that. Nothing but muddled sugar (or simple syrup), bitters, rye whiskey, one huge ice cube, and a twist of citrus is acceptable.

        1. $HOUSEMATE wouldagrre with your save he uses bourbon, and just a barspoon’s worth of cherry juice. I have also been informed that my next batch of gomme syrup should 1:1 rather than my usual 2:1.

      3. Sander’s Founders Reserve????

        Surely you mean Sandeman’s? Absolutely worth the extra few bucks. If you aren’t drinking vintage Port and don’t know any “locals” to tip you off, Sandeman’s Founders Reserve is a good choice.
        ~

      4. Brings back the memories. Manhattans. Would call the FIL when ten minutes out from the house and he would meet at the door and hand me a perfectly made Manhattan. It was the only drinking I did while the kids were little.

        Makes sense on Portugal. Kind of like the historical non existence of Palestine. A people without a country. I recall a story from long ago. Do not remember the author but was in Dangerous Visions. about the gypsies having their own land at one time that was scooped up by aliens and then returned a millennia later when Los Angeles was scooped up in return (we can only dream)

    2. You could think of Portugal + Galicia on top as being the left column of Spain, if that helps. Nah, it probably doesn’t.

  4. Here in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, all three people with internet access now feel betrayed. We will now engage in our national sport of drinking domestic wine until we pass out.

      1. Quadium exists, but its half-life is 139 yoctoseconds, or septillionths of a second. You’d never get a sample inserted into a bomb before it all decayed.

    1. Be careful not to imbibe too much of the Premier Grand Cru vintage, though. There can be…side effects.

        1. No, that was how they powered their moon rocket in ‘The Mouse On The Moon’, with a new element that emitted ‘Janus particles’ and could only be found in the rare Premier Grand Cru vintages.

          They built the engines from plumbing parts. The project was funded by a grant from the U.S. government.

    1. It was inserted there many years ago by a map making company to detect copyright violations, unfortunatly they forgot that they had done it and bragged about having e country that no one else had, so the other companies put it in as well. Currently everyone knows that they made a mistake but absolutely refuses to admit it.

  5. Wait.. isn’t this the same as Chicago? Or is it Milwaukee? Or, yes, both? And maybe all of Indiana?

    No, not Kansas. You CANNOT hide or fake that much boredom.

          1. The irony is having voted and acted on that belief, they are dangerously close to learning it isn’t true the hard, often deadly, way.

      1. Back in the days of usenet, I remember seeing a sig that read “Indiana: a great tradition of keeping Lake Michigan out of Kentucky.” Had a credible ASCII drawing and everything.

        1. Kansas – the state G-d made so Nebraska and Oklahoma can’t go critical. [From back when both the U of N and OU were football powerhouses, and deadly rivals.]

      2. But I’m a resident of an RV, and no I don’t speak the language….one of the few european countries I never visited.

    1. Parts of Indiana are very nice. But never camp your RV at the State Fairground in Indianapolis. Trust me.

  6. I’d planned out a big long pretend news article about all of the coups happening today. Bunch of obviously self-impeaching details, etc.

    Didn’t have the time and energy to implement, sadly.

    But remember, just like January 6th was an insurrection riot, April 1st 2021 was when Trumpists in the military killed Biden, Harris, and Pelosi, leaving alive in the succession only Wayne LePen Haddock, a Trump administration hold over and former acting undersecretary of Veterans Affairs for Venereal Disease Awareness, who earlier today, promptly had the surviving members of Congress pass an Enabling Act in order to supress Trumpism for the duration of the emergency. At the same time, Biden loyalists have seized Facebook, Twitter, and Alphabet HQs, and in order to limit the spread of right extremism, have replaced the respective Facebook, Twitter and Google websites with looped streaming videos of the Green Acres opening, Triumph of the Will, and some Russian ballet.

    1. We got an ad today from a financial institution announcing they were introducing the checks clients crave…bacon-scented.

      1. I somehow managed to get on the Shoes.com mailing list, and the spam keeps coming.

        Looking up “shoes.com reputation” gives a really good idea why they’re resorting to spam. The interesting thing is that they’ve managed to beat the spam filter in my ISP’s email program. I *really* don’t want to change my email address, but setting up an autoforward to the home computer would let me work on that.

        For some reason, I’m reluctant to try the “unsubscribe” link…

        1. If I remember right, shoes.com was one of the very first online stores after Cantor and Seigel destroyed the old internet.

          I thought it was an idiotic idea, given that it generally takes trips to more than one store to find anything that will fit my feet, and I have had to resort to spray paint to de-uglify what little was available. Krylon works pretty good, BTW.

          1. (Looks up C&S–memory refreshed)

            They used to be known as ShoeBuy.com, but judging by the 1 star reputation on a friendly review site (and a 1.09 star average with the BBB), I figure they have some interesting ways to stay in business. Bloody vikings!

            The only on-line order footwear I’ve picked up were size 15 firefighter’s structure boots. First pair lasted 10 years before spring a leak. Barn boots (if I could find them) aren’t much cheaper in Sasquatch sizes.

    2. It’s so hard to do satire these days. Or April Fools. Real life events are just too damn close. “Biden loyalists have seized Facebook, Twitter, and Alphabet HQs”. Yep.

      1. No, those are Chinese information warfare assets.

        Original plan was that the ‘Trumpists’ would have been specific Army units, with enough inside baseball information to suggest that the officer behind it had one of their PAO’s writing the news article.

        Just now occurred to me that I should have had a ‘spontaneous’ comment from a senior NCO that directly ripped off that bit with the Centurion from Caesar’s Civil War propaganda.

        Biden loyalists would have been security forces from Edwards AFB.

        Sections were also planned for everyone else; Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Space Force, National Weather Service and that one uniformed epidemic bunch.

        Also roasted: FBI, Secret Service, the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Marching Band and the A&M Corps of Cadets.

        Research required was a wee bit burdensome.

      2. My internal announcements from corporate make every workday April Fools day.

        Today our CEO had to make a statement about voting rights so that he’ll still get invited to the Delta CEO’s cocktail parties.

        I’m sure he’ll endorse those racist vaccine IDs though.

            1. It takes far more security to recall the bastards than to put them in office in the first place.

              By the way, we are all Nazis because we want to vote a rich white guy out of office.
              ———————————
              That is OUR government. Politicians and bureaucrats are just the help.

            2. They also tolerate longer boarding lines than Georgia does voting lines.

              I hope somebody stands up at Delta’s next shareholders’ meeting to ask the CEO whether he had read the Georgia voting bill, precisely what his objections to it are, and what he hoped to achieve by insulting half the population.

              N.B. – Stacy Abrams opposes those corporate boycotts: she may be a nut but she’s bright enough to know who’ll pay the price for that corporate virtue-signaling.
              ~

              1. Byron York rubs salt in it:

                From Delta, a lesson for woke corporations
                Atlanta-based Delta Airlines is taking it from all sides for its latest jump into politics, specifically the company’s stand against the new Georgia voting law. Its experience could be a lesson for CEOs who pander to political activists.

                [SNIP]

                Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio spoke to the company directly, at least through Twitter: “Dear Delta, You are business partners with the Communist Party of China. When can we expect your letter saying that their ongoing genocide in #Xinjiang is ‘unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values’???” On Wednesday morning, Rubio posted a video in which he said of Delta’s CEO and other woke corporate leaders, “They’re hypocrites — complete and total hypocrites.”

                The backstory makes Delta, and Bastian, look even worse. Just last week, Delta released a statement praising improvements in the bill — on absentee voting, weekend voting, poll worker flexibility, and more. Even though Delta conceded that “concerns remain over other provisions in the legislation,” the assessment was basically positive.

                The statement prompted some ugly blowback from the left. Former MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann tweeted, “Do not fly Delta. Do not spend money with Delta. Boycott Delta. Ruin Delta.” The hashtag #BoycottDelta began to fly around on Twitter.

                [SNIP]

                And so Bastian issued his new statement to the “Delta family.” Then Georgia Governor Brian Kemp cut Bastian’s legs out from under him. Delta did engage in the legislative process, Kemp said, and “At no point did Delta share any opposition to expanding early voting, strengthening voter ID measures, increasing the use of secure drop boxes statewide, and making it easier for local election officials to administer elections — which is exactly what this bill does.” Just to stick it in a little, Kemp added, “The last time I flew Delta, I had to present my photo ID.”

                So now Delta is being battered from all sides. What’s the lesson? The lesson is not that the company should be four-square in support of the new bill. It is not that it should be four-square against the bill. It is that corporations like Delta should try to stay out of hot political controversies. Delta is a passenger airline. It flies people around the country and the world. It flies Trump supporters. It flies Biden supporters. If flies everybody. Why not just stick to flying and stay out of politics as much as possible?
                ~

              2. My last flight on Delta was SFO to ATL in ’02 (then to Bavaria via Air France–go figure). I naively asked for a bulkhead seat, since previous flights offered much more room there (various airlines, especially United and American). Got the bulkhead seat, which was cleverly set to have less legroom than a standard seat.

                I wasn’t quite thrilled. Delta was fine years before (late ’80s).

                The return flight to SF was the last I’ve flown. I’ll stay off airliners, thanks much.

              3. Trackpads. Arggh!

                My last flight on Delta was SFO to ATL in ’02 (then to Bavaria via Air France–go figure). I naively asked for a bulkhead seat, since previous flights offered much more room there (various airlines, especially United and American). Got the bulkhead seat, which was cleverly set to have less legroom than a standard seat.

                I wasn’t quite thrilled. Delta was fine years before (late ’80s).

                The return flight to SF was the last I’ve flown. I’ll stay off airliners, thanks much.

                1. The only way I’ll ever fly on a commercial airline again would involve heavy narcotics and a wheelchair.

                  Thirty-five-odd years ago I decided there was no place I wanted to go badly enough to deal with the airlines’ customer disservice and the Feds’ security theater. And that was long before the TSA existed.

                  1. The last trips were for business, with a pay rate good enough to put up with explosive shoe theater. Last two previous trips were for family; wedding and a funeral, Up to a few years ago, I’d drive to visit family, but long hours in the car don’t sit well for me, and I’ve learned to loathe night time driving. If I have to, I can, but not by choice. For family, there’s the phone.

      3. We have President Biden, Vice-president Kamala Harris and a WuFlu-Relief bill in which the actual spending on medical care amounted to less than a bad tip. This is the April Fools Administration.
        ~

    3. I thought you were talking about doing an April Fools joke. But here you are, speaking of the real world instead.

  7. I dunno, Sarah. When I was in school in Romania, they took,us to the EU consulate (I think that’s what they called it).
    The male official we talked with was surprisingly blunt about Europe’s population problem (“If we do not (grow), we will become a museum.”)
    But there were also two Romanian ladies who were “ombudsmen,” for the European Assembly, and they spent some time telling us how wonderful it is.
    If they can say that with a straight face (and they did), it may be YEARS before the EU comes clean.

    1. Did you know displaying the Romania flag or discussing Romania is now a sign of extremism?

      And that is not an April Fools joke. Every since I read it, I’ve been looking for it for those solidarity flag things on FB.

      1. All good with me. We liked the Romanians we met, outside the Rom. (Getting cussed out by a 6-year-old boy while his kinfolk stood by and let him has a good bit to do with that).

        1. One of the most fascinating conversations I had on my tour in Hungary was with the academic guide. Let’s just say that his opinion of Roma was . . . poor. (He and I bonded over our frustrations with academia – the US version. It was a wonderful trip, one of the best I’ve done.)

        2. Roma kids in Nis, Serbia told my Ghanian colleague that he was so much darker than they were, how did he deal with it? (translated by our other colleague).

  8. OK, since Portugal came out as a hoax, I have to admit the truth: California is also a hoax. Hollywood is real, but the rest of the state is a special effect – a combination of matte paintings and CGI. The country actually ends at the top of the Sierra Nevada mountains, with Hollywood on an island just east of Catalina.

    All those people arriving in your state and messing up local and state politics are out of work actors, working on scripts by Hollywood writers.

    It feels good to admit the truth.

    1. Can those matte painters and CGI artists clean up my yard, then? I want all the weeds gone, the garden beds build and positioned properly, and heck, let’s get a nicer porch and a gazebo while they’re at it.

      1. I have a request in for the digital art department to do some pruning in my backyard. No response yet.

    2. I think they’re going off of rejected scripts by out-of-work writers. Deservedly out-of-work writers.

    3. Michael Moorcock wrote a novel called “The Wrecks of Time” where Southern California was surrounded by a few hundred miles of empty desert… and that was left of the world. But the residents had a collective aphasia, and nobody realized that.

      It was actually really good, with multiple Earths created by some unknown alien entities, who were shutting down the copies one by one, while a team of scientists was trying to find a way to stop it, and fighting a group of looters using the same technology, who were stripping the dying copies of valuables before they vanished.

      It had me on the edge of my seat and then there was a ridiculous last chapter and the book stopped. Whaaaat? I hate you, Michael Moorcock. And all your loser New Wave crowd too.

      1. OK, go set up an account on FanFiction.com and write a better ending!

        That’s what I’m doing with John Wyndham’s ‘The Chrysalids’ (Re-Birth in the U.S.). A few things about the ending left me unsatisfied, in addition to the helicopter that flew 20,000 miles on one tank of gas.
        ———————————
        “Because we have conscience, because we make the distinction between right and wrong, those like him consider us weak. They never believe we can be just as cold and ruthless as they are when we need to be, and they’re always surprised when they find out how wrong they were.”

      2. I’ve never liked Moorcock. I read a couple of short stories and forced myself to read all the way through the Hawkmoon books (thinking all the while, “Moorcock is supposed to be so great, maybe the next chapter will be good?”). I’ve never read Elric, but all the descriptions sound awful.

  9. Sheesh – you speak as if you believe we didn’t already know. Portugal has always simply been a way of selling wine of such poor quality it required “fortification.”
    ~

  10. Is this the right place to admit that Scotland isn’t really part of Britain? It’s actually an iceberg that’s been there so long it has dirt on the top. That explains the frosty nature of the Scots.

  11. I was raised in a prehistorical mirage – remember when the United States built a canal through what had been a province of Colombia? Oh no, wait, Panama built that canal.

  12. I was trying to think of a good April Fool’s post, the most outrageous one I could come up with is, hey, Joe Biden is the president of the United States!

    Alas the media, the tech lords, swamp creatures, criminal aliens, the insane, the inane, the incompetent and the incontinent beat me to it.

  13. I met my first person who claimed to be from Portugal in South Africa. Her pet name was “pork and cheese” for Portuguese. If you’all were actors, you were really good at it. Better than what we see now.

  14. In other hoax news, there’s a really weird little article on the record March NICS numbers up on Seeking Alpha that appears to be trying to spin the all-time-monthly-high March 2021 NICS Firearms checks as a year-over-year drop (I know, a stock touting site attempting to spin news contrarily to influence stock prices – shocked, shocked…).

    The real story is in this Bloomberg article:

    (Bloomberg) — Gunmakers Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson rose Thursday after the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) showed U.S. unadjusted criminal background checks rose 25% to a record in March from a year ago.
    .
    Unadjusted checks climbed to 4.69 million from 3.74 million in March 2020, and gained 36% from 3.44 million in February. Six days in March made the list of the top 10 highest days for background checks since 1998. The week of March 15, 2021 to March 21, 2021 was the top background check week on record, while March 22, 2021 to March 28, 2021 was the fourth best week.

    .
    So obviously lots and lots of people are buying all the guns so they will be able to turn them in to unquestionably vastly popular FICUS China Joe’s door-to-door confiscation teams.

    Heh.

    Well done, America. Well done!

    And since so much of the country was locked down in April last year, I’m expecting an ever greater % year over year increase this month.

    1. March 17th being the highest day on record and also the day when most of the gibs checks cleared indicates that Americans still understand when they need to do the right thing.

    2. NICS is not one-per-gun either, it’s one-per-purchase, and a lot of people buy more than one gun at a time. If the NICS applications represent an average of 1.5 guns apiece, the March numbers indicate that total gun sales this year could surpass 84 million.

      If EVERYBODY only bought one gun, that reduces the total to just 56 million guns.
      ———————————
      They got a building down in New York City called Whitehall Street where ya go and get injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and seeee-lected.

      1. Even at only one firearm per check, which as noted is unlikely in the extreme, if the current run rate were to be sustained (i.e. 4 * ytd total NICS checks of 12,452,319 = 49,809,276), 2021 would end up with one new gun for every four adults in the US.

        There have been 372,699,381 NICS checks since the system started in November 1998. The latest (2019) US Census estimate of US population 21 and older is 242 million, so since the start of NICS there have been 1.5 NICS checks for every adult in the US.

        1. A lot of those po’ folks who didn’t get guns probably tried to, but they were out of stock.

          There were only about 200 million adults in 1998, so the actual proportion is about 1.7 NICS checks for every adult, averaged over those 22 years. About one NICS per 13 adults every year.

          That’s a lotta guns. All the ‘Gun Violence!!’ the Leftroids scream about is infinitesimal compared to how many guns we have. Anything else with such miniscule negative impact would be touted as an overwhelming success, but not those Eeevul guns!

          Like…communism. The negative effects of communism are close to 100%, but it’s still presented as a great success.

          Obviously, the solution is more guns, and less communism.
          ———————————
          If everybody is thinking the same thing, most of them are not thinking.

      2. I’m still wondering if that Cimarron Arms revolver at the local Fun Store needs a good home . . . I’d be supporting a Texas business, after all. Two Texas businesses, actually.

        1. I have also been pondering revolvers of late: No need for possibly difficult to find magazines, reliable even given unreliable ammo, and they can be darn pretty.

          Wheelguns, along with lever guns, have been the subject of much thought.

    3. But just recently the Narrative said that “gun culture” was dying out…

      I don’t think their sympathetic magic is working.

      1. Not fictional, mythical. There’s a difference.

        For one thing, myths typically are a result of lots more drinking.
        ~

  15. That would explain how Wellington’s armies were able to hide out from Boney’s marshals in there. With the sudden fall of the monarchy and all the Revolutionary disruption, nobody was around to tell Bonaparte, Soult or the others that there was no Portugal. The English armies were probably enjoying R&R in Greece while a few light forces played whack-a-mole with the French to keep up the illusion.
    ~

  16. And on a serious note, today is Maundy Thursday for those of us not of the Orthodox persuasion. God be with us, now and forever.

  17. So, are you saying that Portugal is just the UK and Spain out-doing Germany (a few hundred years ahead of time!) in creating a whole fictional country, rather than creating a fictional city (i.e. the Bielefld Conspiracy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bielefeld_conspiracy )?

    …actually, that’s pretty impressive. Could we create a country to lure all the woke to travel to, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, and just…leave them there?

    1. Could we create a country to lure all the woke to travel to, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic

      What, you hadn’t heard? Atlantis has risen.

      It still wants some drying out and sweeping up, but it us everything the Wokerati want. Geothermal and solar power, sustainable living at its finest.

      I expect that once the cruise ship industry is again up and running there will be ample news coverage of the discovery.
      ~

      1. Hmmm … there was supposed to be an accompanying picture. It was a jpg file, so it ought to have appeared.

        Perhaps having been culled from Tumblr caused it to not appear? If so, this alternate source should work.
        ~

    2. I’d rather just send them to France. They and the French deserve each other.
      ———————————
      Frenchmen are miserable because they live in France, and France is miserable because it’s full of Frenchmen. — Mark Twain

    1. Yeah – and just look at the absurd animal life they claim to have: kangaroos, platypus ducks, wombats, koalas and more poisonous critters than the rest of the world combined.
      ~

  18. All well and good and I yield to your superior knowledge of the inner workings of European royalty.
    But who in heck were the bloody parody team who came up with the Azores?
    Who thought “Hey let’s make up a group of islands that look a little like Hawaii but not as warm and without those distracting hula girls. It’ll be a hoot!”

  19. Had a couple of nutty observations about theoretical genres, one anime, one Chinese webnovels.

    Kerberos/Jin Roh (over the top infantry), and Dominion Tank Police (Armor) have often led me to wonder about Artillery police, or combat engineer police. Gunslinger Girls, and Rail Wars are some slightly adjacent anime flavors. Rail Wars is an example of the ‘high school/middle school where students are somehow sanctioned to be engaged in combat’ flavor. The recent riots and ‘unarmed’ invasion columns are examples that prove a ‘police’ case for use of artillery or close air support such at the AC-130.

    Beyond the utter insanity, the problem with a police deployment of such munitions is the need for forward observers. If your forward observers are heavily armed enough that the rioters cannot roll over them, why can’t they just shoot their way through without bombing the city to rubble? Ergo, stealth, ergo a highschool that trains teens as plainclothes forward observers.

    On the web novel end, I’m mad for a genre involving a concept translated as ‘cultivators’. Basically, kung fu wizards. One key element is that they slowly cast spells that are ‘become level one’, ‘become level two’, but it would ruin the flavor if people used those terms. Level two cultivators beat level one cultivators, level three beat level two etc. When thinking about Real Estate Brokers, I noticed that pretty much every occupation in the cultivation world has an absurd credentialing body, complete with professional skill levels matching up to overall cultivator power levels, and examinations able to accurately assess these skill levels.

    Cultivators, if you look at them very closely, have a society that one might expect of a bunch of criminal conspiracies. This implies it should be possible to write a cultivation novel about drug traffickers and wars between competing gangs.

  20. Xianxia?

    Xianxia stories often have evil cultivators. But my admittedly sparse understanding of the genre is that selfish desires will slow an individual’s progression along the path of cultivation. No doubt that’s why the heroes always triumph in the end.

    On a loosely related note, there’s a video game about running a school for cultivators. The Amazing Cultivation Simulator, which was released on Steam several months ago, has you taking a handful of survivors from a school that was destroyed by outside attackers. You need to establish a new school, and help your members follow their paths to full ascension. It’s a building and management game with some adventuring and combat.

    As for your Artillery Police, Tank Police already touched on the topic of “how much firepower do the police need?”. But the forward observer problem has a relatively simple and modern solution – drone mounted cameras.

    1. Any use of drones that don’t incorporate self-directed AI (Hi Skynet!) end up devolving into an electronic warfare arms race: Jamming the drone data link, then outpowering or frequency hopping or spread-spectruming the link signal to get past simple jamming, then hacking into the link to effectively jam from inside the carrier signal, then using antiradiation missiles to kill the jammers/hackers, and so on.

      Human FO can use wired phone line or lasers or directional microwave thingees or text messages or shortwave morse or flashing lights or flags to call in and correct fires while not being dependent on that data link for basic function. Remote-controlled air vehicles can’t.

      1. Drones are also obvious, unless you postulate a world with ridiculous numbers of them.

        I’ve also seen too much handwaving on the data processing end. Right now, omniscient technological surveillance hits my WSoD a bit too hard.

        1. How obvious a drone is depends on the level of detection available, and how good the stealth on the drone is. The Mark 1 Eyeball can already be beaten by drones that fly higher than humans can see or hear unaided. There are also satellites in orbit that have the needed level of resolution. So I suppose before you can figure out the FO, you need to know what sort of opposition needs rounds fired at them.

          1. Yeah, and I mentioned Gunslinger Girl, which is a on close examination a fairly ridiculous policing scenario.

            If I don’t want the remote sensing algorithms to be good enough to replace my human forward observers, I don’t need to make that world building choice.

            The flavor of the subgenre is contrived nonsense with a thin veneer of policing, not a mix of hard sci fi and military sci fi.

            I apologize for the angry tone, I’m not sure what is wrong with me.

  21. selfish desires will slow an individual’s progression along the path of cultivation

    This is where the ‘Hahaha, no.’ goes. There are some stories that go with that, sure. In most cultivator societies, generally, the rate limiting factor is resources. General assumption is very limited resources rationed among a few of the many would be successful cultivators. Cultivator organizations are heavily oriented towards cultivation resources, and deciding who gets favored to succeed.

    This is part of why cultivator organizations often have behavior similar to criminal gangs, why orthodox, righteous sects have so often have members who are evil cultivators.

    No doubt that’s why the heroes always triumph in the end.

    Freak lucky events are what most Xianxia plots start from, or run on. There are xianxia protagonists who are morally the same as their opponents, there are xianxia protagonists who are morally worse.

    Thank you for the heads up on the video game, even if steam isn’t my usual thing.

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