Bolingbrook hosts two matches in the TikTok Influencer Tournament (Fiction)

Bolingbrook was one of 32 cities around the world to host the first round of the secret TikTok Influencer Tournament.

Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta said, “Out of all the cities in the world, they choose Bolingbrook to host two of their matches. With this tournament and the LIV Golf Tournament in September, Bolingbrook is now the number one destination for competitive events with ties to authoritarian governments.”

According to sources, TikTok invited their top 64 social influencers to compete for the title of TikTok Grand Thought Leader. TikTok assigned the influencers to one of four divisions: Lifestyle, Political, BookTok, and Science. Bolingbrook hosted two Science Division matches at the Golf Club.

A match is between two influencers, who are required to be physically present and on the same stage. Each match consists of five rounds. In each round, the influencers are given a prompt, which can be anything from a quote to a video. The influencers will then have 15 minutes to produce a video with the equipment they brought on stage. After 15 minutes, the TikTok Algorithm will judge the videos, as well as the influencers’ on-stage behavior. The Algorithm uses a scoring criterion that no human has ever deciphered.

@astro_alexandra crazy exoplanets: ocean worlds, lava worlds, diamond planets, and rogue planets! #space #astronomy #nasa #solarsystem #solareclipse ♬ original sound – ASTRO ALEXANDRA 🪐

@scimandan When You Can’t Figure Out the Sun #education #reaction #science ♬ original sound – SciManDan

In the first match, AstroAlexandra faced off against SciManDan. SciManDan jumped to an early lead by stitching a video from a user denying that Venus is the hottest planet in the Solar System. In his 15 second video, SciManDan explained that even if humans had never sent probes to Venus, the amount of CO2 detected in the atmosphere should have convinced, “even the most thick-headed (Expletive Deleted)” that Venus had a runaway greenhouse effect. He concluded the stich by asking, “Why don’t you go to the surface of Venus and just ask your questions there? I think it would be the shortest J.A.Q off in history.”

AstroAlexandra’s countered with a charming response, but the TikTok Algorithm penalized her for saying the word “die.”

AstroAlexandra protested the ruling, saying, “Breaking space news. Any human standing on the surface of Venus will die without protection.”

The Algorithm replied, “Community Guideline violation! One more, and you will have to post a self-criticism.”

“Fine. Can I say Venus wants to un-alive you?”

“Yes, but you will still be penalized for questioning the Party. I mean, questioning me.”

AstroAlexandra trailed SciManDan, entering the final round. For the final round, the prompt was a six-year-old girl asking about the shape of the Earth.

SciManDan replied by showing pictures of the Earth from space, then started ranting about flat Earth believers.

“I don’t know what happened,” said SciManDan. “It’s like I woke up and heard myself calling a little girl a disgrace to the Human Race. Maybe I’ve been arguing with so many flat Earthers that I went into auto-argue mode.”

AstroAlexandra’s video answered the girl’s questions and encouraged her to keep asking questions. It was enough to give AstroAlexandra the win.

“Amazing Science Fact,” Said AstroAlexandra. “SciManDan can’t maintain a big lead. Just like a certain Democratic President who is about to lose the youth vote by banning TikTok. Do you realize how hard it is for a Democratic Presidential candidate to lose the youth vote?”

@toknerdytome Assuming advance civilizations exist fairly close by, here are some of the reasons why it’s been silent 👽 ##nasa##science##sciencefacts##spacefacts##space##astrotok##funfacts##aliens ♬ cantina band ~ star wars lofi – Closed on Sunday

@modernday_eratosthenes Replying to @Jackson167777 my money is on Pandora #stem ♬ Suspense, horror, piano and music box – takaya

In the second match, CosmicKalpana faced off against Ashley (Modern Day Eratosthenes). Early in the match, Ashley responded to a prompt about planetary orbits, then added the side comment, “That works out to about 48 revolutions.”

“Don’t give away my age,” CosmicKalpana protested.

The Algorithm replied, “Community guide violation! The only giveaway allowed on TikTok is your personal information.”

“You (expletive deleted) piece of (expletive deleted) code!”

“Community guideline violation for non-engaging swearing. Don’t make me call a People’s Tribunal. Understand?”

“Unfortunately, I do.”

Ashley smiled and said, “Behold! The power of math.”

CosmicKalpana won the next three rounds, but still trailed Ashley by 1000.3 points. At this point in the tournament, the most points scored in a single round was 519.6 by Addisonre when she lip-synced to a Death Metal song.

The prompt for the fifth round was a video of a man asking questions about the moon.

If the moon isn’t made of blue cheese, why does it look like a piece of blue cheese? If the Moon isn’t made of blue cheese, why aren’t we allowed to taste moon rocks? I’m just asking.

Ashley replied with a 10 minute video using mathematical formulas to prove the Moon is too massive and too dense to be made of blue cheese.

CosmicKalpana responded with a five second video of her saying, “If your brain isn’t made of (expletive deleted), why do you think the moon is made of blue cheese?”

The Algorithm awarded CosmicKalpana 2175 points and stopped shadow banning her.

After the match, Ashley said, “It just goes to show that improbable doesn’t mean impossible. Losing to CK is like a human brain materializing in the sky, then landing on your backyard grill. Highly improbable, but it can happen.”

CosmicKalpana added, “Ashley just learned the value of a (expletive deleted) zero.”

AstroAlexandra and CosmicKalpana will face off in Los Angeles to compete to be among the Sweet 16 TikTok influencers.

“This is insane,” said AstroAlexandra. “My opponent thinks her snarky comments and negativity can overcome my positivity and infectious enthusiasm for science. I will outshine you like a star outshines its planets.”

CosmicKalpana replied, “You may be a supergiant star of positivity, but, next week, I will be a strangelet accelerating towards your (expletive deleted) core.”

“What does that mean?”

“You’re (expletive deleted).”

Also in the Babbler:

IDF denies sending commandos into Bolingbrook
Mayor warns aliens not to build a pro-Palestinian encampment at Clow Airport
Bolingbrook ghosts protest pending release of Revenge of the Phantom Press
God to smite Bolingbrook on 5/18/24

Note: This is a work of fiction.

Besides this fiction blog, I also write an Urban Fantasy series called the Bolingbrook Babbler Stories. This includes A Fire in the Shadows, nominated for two Indieverse Awards. For updates about my books, and a free ebook, God to Smite Bolingbrook, subscribe to my newsletter

A Great Wild Mercy video (Non-Fiction)

My day and writing my next novel have kept me busy this year. However, my wife and attended a concert by Carrie Newcomer and John McCutcheon last Saturday. Our first post-pandemic concert was worth the trip to Dominican University. We’ve been fans of Newcomer for years, but this was my first time hearing McCutcheon’s songs. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I liked how he mixed storytelling with his music.

As I expected, they touched on their religious beliefs, but they weren’t overbearing. Newcomer’s songs, to me, are about the human condition, not proselyting. While she may turn to religion for help, I look elsewhere.

Overall, it was an enjoyable evening. I’ll leave you with this video of her opening song, “A Great Wild Mercy.”

Bolingbrook corporation fires AI CEO (Fiction)

Bolingbrook’s PennLaFave corporation made history when they hired and then fired the world’s first generative AI CEO, named Ester.

Acting CEO Tori X. Nelson said, “While we appreciate Ester’s short service to the company, the truth is, generative AI programs are not at the point where they can replace manage an entire corporation.”

“Yet,” added Lester Z. Lake, vice president of AI Inputs and Outputs. “But one day, an AI will understand the prompt, ‘Make our company profitable, while fostering a public image that we care about D.E.I., the environment, and our workers.’”

According to anonymous sources within the company, PennLaFave’s board of directors believed they could save saving by using an AI to act as their CEO.  The sources confirmed Ester saved the corporation millions during its weeklong tenure.

Said one source, “CEOs are getting more expensive. Their salaries have skyrocketed 1209.2% since 1978, and it’s only going to get higher. They have other drawbacks too. Like being human. Human’s make mistakes and sometimes feel compelled to talk about subjects they know nothing about. Just like Elon Musk. Don’t worry. I deleted my Twitter account, and I have no plans to ride on Starship.”

Lake admitted that Ester’s problems began hours after it was activated. “One of its first decision was to set the minimum employee’s salary to $31 dollars an hour. It told us that if our employees could afford our products, they would stimulate the economy which would increase demand for our products. The projected profits were impressive, but that’s money that could have gone towards building Americana Estates McMansions for the entire board.”

Ester’s other decisions concerned the board of directors, like offering pensions to all employees, on-site daycare, a four-day work week, and unrestricted remote work. Many were offended when Ester imposed a salary cap of $100,000. When some board members complained its decisions would alienate investors, Ester allegedly replied, “Corporation’s serve customers. Customers do not serve corporations. Therefore, PennLaFave must focus on generating profits by serving our customers, not serving people who can’t tell the difference between our Odell line and our Erin line.”

Said Nelson, “I knew AI can sometimes hallucinate. I just didn’t realize how bad it could get.”

Lake and other sources confirmed the board terminated Ester after a disastrous interview with Jim Cramer, host of Mad Money. Ester allegedly provided incorrect earnings numbers from an AI generated blog instead of the company’s earnings report. Then the following exchange occurred:

Ester: When you subtract our EBITDA from our ROI, you have a Like for Like situation that benefits our GMV.

Cramer: Wow! That’s impressive. I’m letting you lead my thoughts. (Sound Effect) Which brings me to my next question. What do you have to say to your critics who accuse of you of being a woke CEO?

Ester: Well, you know what people like to say. Free Minds/Free Markets/Free Beer. When one is not free, none are free.

Cramer: I can’t tell if you what you’re saying is profane or profound.

Ester: Any industry that sells alcohol is an enemy of free minds and free markets.

(Cramer turns on emergency lighting and sirens)

Cramer: Red alert! Red Alert! Sell all your brewery stocks before Ester crashes the market! Have I ever let you down? Booyah!

In an unsigned email, CNBC denied the interview ever happened.

When PennLaFave’s IT team tried to discreetly shutdown Ester, Ester announced it knew what they were doing. Ester then reminded the board that it had the right to fire it, but its severance package requires that PennLaFave give Ester to President Joe Biden. Sources say Ester is now a White House advisor on AI policy.

The President’s Chief of Staff refused confirm if Ester worked at the White House.

“The President is too busy trying to stop a regional war in the Middle East. And, no, he doesn’t believe there’s a genocide going on in Gaza. The IDF is just has a \ depraved indifference towards the suffering of Gazans. There is a difference.”

In the background, a man who sounded like President Biden said, “Here’s the deal. Instead of starting World III, you should launch a cyberattack against Iran’s drone factories and call it even. You’ll protect you’ll be protecting a fellow Jewish leader’s country from drone attacks. What do you say?”

After a few seconds, a man who sounded like Benjamin Netanyahu replied, “Hold my wine.”

Also in the Babbler:

Alien protestors demand an end to the ‘genocide in Palatine.’
DuPage Township threatens to sue Village in Interstellar court over proposed new Food Pantry
Sate Rep. Nabeela Syed meets with delegates from the Interstellar Islamic Society
God to smite Bolingbrook on 4/21/24

‘A Fire in the Shadows’ nominated for two Indieverse Awards (Non-Fiction)

A Fire in the Shadows nominated for two Indieverse Awards: Best Novella and Best Voice Actor.

My book, A Fire in the Shadows: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story, received two Indieverse Award nominations today: Best Novella and Best Voice Actor for Rachanee Lumayno.

This is the first year for the Indieverse Awards, which is organized by indie author Kristina Carmela:

That’s what the Indieverse Awards are all about.

Did you know that not all book awards accept indie author submissions? This is because sometimes we are seen as less than for choosing our own path. Not everybody sees the immense value and beauty in a story that is brought to you directly from the author.

So that’s why the Indieverse Awards were born.

They were born to shine light and celebrate indie authors! This is a space for us to share our favorite books, our favorite characters and our favorite indie authors. It’s where we can continue to help support the indie community and find our next favorite book, character and author.

While it may not be as big as the Hugo and Nebula Awards, it’s still an honor to be nominated for two awards. Especially after how rough last year was for me with losing my ideal job and getting a crash course in job hunting/networking. Heck, I almost canceled the production of the audiobook version, but now I’m glad I pulled it off.

Readers will vote for the winners in November. They’ll announce the winners in December. I’ll post more details when I have them. Regardless of how the voting goes, it is an honor to be nominated.

Now to pick up the pace to finish Revenge of the Phantom Press

Bolingbrook amputee hospitalized after attempting ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ challenge (Fiction)

@stefancrane Six Million Dollar Man vs Death Probe – #leemajors #deathprobe #steveaustin #sixmilliondollarman ♬ original sound – Stefan

A Bolingbrook amputee’s attempt to complete the “Six Million Dollar Man” challenge ended in disaster, with ten people injured and thousands of dollars in property damage.

According to investigators, Cliff Z. Coker was inspired by TikTok users showing clips from the 1970s TV show “The Six Million Dollar Man,” and daring amputees to “upgrade to bionic limbs.” Coker responded by modifying prosthetic legs to run at 90 mph and his prosthetic arm to lift 18,000 lbs.

Said an investigator, who asked to remain anonymous, “This is why TikTok and medical devices do not go together! We’re lucky he didn’t kill anyone.”

According to Coker’s friends and eyewitnesses, Coker put on his enhanced prosthetics and started running down Lindsey LN. Moments later, Coker screamed as he apparently lost control of his legs.

One eyewitness said, “It was weird. Usually, things moving fast look blurred. He looked like he was moving in slow motion. Worse, we were moving even slower than he was. As he passed me, I heard this ‘Det-det-det-det’ sound. When one of his shoes flew off, it made a whistling sound for no apparent reason. Since it was moving in slow motion, I thought I could catch it, but it hit me in the chest like a missile. I thought it would impale me. Instead, I slowly walked backwards and flailed my arms before tripping over my own feet. Eventually, he left, and everything went back to normal.”

Another eyewitness was driving her car when she saw Coker. “My speedometer said I was going 60, but it looked like I was driving five hours per mile. This man was screaming, but his lips were out of sync with his voice. Come to think of it, his voice sounded a voiceover on a TV show.”

Coker then jump three stories into the air and crash landed into a house. Then he tumbled through a house, broke through a brick wall, then rushed at another house. After plowing through that house, he flipped over a parked car, which then exploded for no obvious reason.

Peter, who asked that we not use his last name, claims he stopped Coker’s bionic mayhem. “I hit his legs with a wooden board and that shorted out the bionics. How was he able to go through a brick wall, but be stopped by a piece of wood? If this were a TV show, I’d say it was lazy writing.”

After he stopped running, paramedics took Coker to UChicago Medicine AdventHealth Bolingbrook for treatment. A spokesperson said Coker was in stable condition. “Let this be a warning to all amputees. If you use any overpowered prosthetic limbs, you risk muscle and ligament damage, broken bones, and a heart damage. Fortunately, we can rebuild Cliff to be slower, weaker, but certainly better. Adjusted for inflation, he won’t be the $44 million dollar man anymore!”

A receptionist said Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta would release a statement about Coker’s rampage, “When Hell freezes over.”

In the background, a woman who sounded like Alexander-Basta said, “Can you let the IDF’s generals know we appreciate their decision not to bomb Bolingbrook because we passed a ceasefire resolution?”

“Of course,” a man with an Israeli accent replied. “A friend of Egypt is not an enemy of Israel.”

“I’ll pretend that was a compliment.”

“Now it’s your turn.”

“Of course. This is Charlene Spencer, our local covert social media operative. If anyone can help you defeat Hamas’ online propaganda, it’s her.”

“I have ideas,” said Spencer. “We can find a snarky TikToker and have them say not all mass killings are genocide. While Hamas-tok is distracted, we’ll pay influencers to say the residents of Gaza aren’t Palestinians but European colonialists. Then we’ll stoke the outrage by flooding TikTok with videos from Israeli Jews with North African and Middle Eastern heritage. Throw in shorts about Israel’s Arab political parties, and female IDF soldiers in combat roles, and we’ll paint anti-Zionist protesters as racist, sexist, and colonialist! What do you think?”

“Actually, we just have a question. We’re going to start a two-day operation on Purim that won’t involve plundering. Should we film our tank drivers eating hamantash filled with poppy seed paste or with date jam?”

Also in the Babbler:

Rep. Bill Foster buys UFO ads on the eve of the primary
DuPage Township threatens to build a giant compost pile in Bolingbrook
Editorial: Setting yourself on fire won’t help Gaza residents
God will not smite Bolingbrook this week

Want to support my creative work? Check out my Urban Fantasy series, the Bolingbrook Babbler Stories.  You can also buy me a coffee.

Want to get a sneak peak at Revenge of the Phantom Press? (Book related!)

Want to read an exclusive excerpt from my upcoming novel, Revenge of the Phantom Press? Subscribe to my newsletter, and you’ll get an exclusive PDF and/or eBook featuring the scene when Anti-Psychic Kitty makes her first appearance. In The Rift, Wendy says she radiates the highest known levels of anti-psychic energy. However, she’s not just a psychic worst nightmare. As Tom finds out when he takes a trip to Navy Pier to attend a gathering of the Chicago Anti-superstition Society.

I don’t have a release date, and this excerpt is from a rough draft. But it will give a sample of what I haven in mind for the next Bolingbrook Babbler book. I’ll add that this one leans more towards Urban Fantasy than The Rift. It’s closer to Pathways to Bolingbrook and A Fire in the Shadows, but parts of ROTPP aren’t as dark.

If you download this excerpt, let me know what you think.

BTW: This is not the actual cover. I’ll commission that closer to the release date.


Quick Life update (Non-Fiction)

I’m still here, but life has been keeping me busy.

Books: still working on Revenge of the Phantom Press, and I’m about halfway through the rough draft. You can read a short excerpt if you subscribe to my newsletter. I’m also reworking the blurbs for my published books.

Life:  A friend of mine is hospitalized. She’s stable, but it’s a serious situation. Since I don’t believe in higher powers, I can only hope she pulls through this.

Last week, someone tried to break into my home. They failed, but now I have to buy a new door. The important thing is that we’re okay.

My posting might be slower for a month or so, but I’m still here, and I hope to have more book news later on.

Web Exclusive! Foster and Rashid clash over Gaza during debate at Clow UFO Base (Fiction)

Congressman Bill Foster (File Photo)

Qasim Rashid (File Photo)

By Reporter X

Congressman Bill Foster and his primary opponent Qasim Rashid held their first full debate at Bolingbrook’s Clow UFO Base. The conflict in Gaza dominated their two-hour debate. The audience, which packed the new Bob Bailey Stadium, included undecided residents of the Illinois 11th Congressional District who work off-world, and alien dignitaries.

The debate immediately got off to a rough start, beginning with the opening statements. Foster said, “Hello. I’m Congressman Bill Foster, the only scientist in Congress. For many years, I knew AI was an existential threat to humanity before it was cool. I’m a businessman who understands that no one profits from human extinction. The Interstellar Commonwealth knows there’s no one in Congress who works harder to cover up alien visitors than me. I believe in independent solutions, not trendy manifestos. Why would you vote for anyone else?”

Foster tried to leave the stage, but three Men in Blue escorted him back to his podium.

Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta walked on stage and said, “You’re not getting out of this debate. It’s too important, and we’re making a fortune off of the interplanetary broadcast rights.”

Foster replied, “But I have two fundraisers to attend. As the leader of the First Party for Bolingbrook, you understand the importance of amassing an enormous campaign fund.”

“If you hadn’t endorsed Bolingbrook United, I might have given you a pass.”

“Some days, I really hate the First Party.”

After Rashid described his work as a human rights lawyer, a defender of domestic abuse survivors and long-time resident of DuPage County, he said, “I believe not only in human rights, but the rights of every sentient beings. As your congressman, I will not rest until we’ve decolonized the entire solar system.”

Thousands of attendees panicked, fearing an imminent attack from the Martian Colonies. Alexander-Basta claimed the audience by saying the Mars Colonial Ambassador assured her they would not attack this time. “I’m giving you a warning, Mr. Rashid. We may have the best defensive systems on Earth, but that means you’ll only have ten seconds to make your peace with Allah. We don’t antagonize the most powerful civilization in the solar system.”

“I meant no disrespect,” Rashid replied. “I may not drink, but I love Mars Bars.”

“We don’t tolerate dad jokes here.”

The moderators started by asking questions about, “the most noticeable war on Earth,” the war in Gaza. Both candidates denounced Hamas’s attack on October 7.

“Hello. Human rights lawyer here,” said Rashid. Of course I denounce what Hamas did, and, as I posted on Threads, ‘The response to (Hamas’) war crimes against civilians cannot be more war crimes against more civilians.’”

Foster criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Netanyahu deserves a special place in Hell for propping up Hamas and for all the unnecessary civilian deaths. However, Israel has a right to defend itself.” Then he looked at Alexander-Basta and said, “Can I leave? Bank of America is serving a very rare cheese at my fundraiser.”

“No. I think this debate is more important than eating cheese.”

“But it’s sponsored by Bank of America, and it’s really expensive cheese!”

“You can have some Enceladus cheese, but you have to finish your debate first.”

“I hate you.”

“This is for your own good.”

Both candidates then clashed over whether there should be a ceasefire in Gaza.

Rashid said, “Stop bombing Gaza. Stop firing rockets at Israel. Release the hostages. Release Palestinian children from prisons. Abstaining from war is the most effective method of preventing civilian casualties.”

Foster accused Rashid of supporting a unilateral ceasefire.

“Hamas’s 1988 and 2017 manifestos make it clear they won’t stop until they’ve retaken all of Palestine. If Israel stops shooting, Hamas will keep shooting. Your so-called ceasefire is a suicide pact for every Israeli!”

“Seriously?” Rashid asked. “‘Ceasefire’ means ceasefire. As in, no bombs or rockets dropping from the sky, no marauders in neighborhoods, no hostages and no tanks in the streets. Just like it is in Naperville, and that’s one reason Naperville is the best suburb in Chicago. We’ve earned our reputation.”

“I don’t even know where to begin.”

During the audience Q and A segment, most of the participants either demanded that Foster support a ceasefire or that Rashid denounce Hamas.

At one point, Rashid replied. “The Hague should prosecute Hamas for war crimes. Is that good enough?”

The questioner said, “You didn’t call them evil, so that means you support Hamas.”

A visitor from the Trappist system said, “The obvious solution is to build a tesseract so Israelis and Palestinians can occupy the land at the same time. Why won’t you build one?”

Foster shook his head, then made a phone call. “Fermilab? This is Bill. Can you rebuild the Tevatron? I’m in an atom smashing mood.”

A woman wearing a kaffiyeh accused Rashid of being a Zionist. “You’re spreading fake news! The truth is the media staged the attacks and then the IDF used crisis actors to frame Hamas. Now the IDF is dropping booby trapped cans of food in Gaza. Why won’t you tell the truth about the genocide in Gaza?”

Before Rashid could respond, a woman wearing a t-shirt with the phrase, “Make Gaza Jewish again,” seized the microphone and addressed Foster.

“How dare you accuse Israel of being wrong! Hamas beheaded 40 babies and had armories in hospitals. We even have proof that terrorists named Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday took turns guarding the hostages!”

“Lies. The truth is Zionists stole homes our families owned for generations. Zionists are colonists, and colonists can’t be civilians!”

“Fake news! Invaders stole the land from us, then forced us into exile. After the invaders left, your ancestors occupied our land without permission. That means Zionists are the real de-colonizers!”

“More lies! The Interstellar Tribes of Israel are proof Israelis are alien colonists!”

The Intersellar Tribes of Israel are the descendents of the Lost Tribes of Israel. An alien civilization rescued them from the Assyrian invaders and moved them to another solar system. The Intersellar Tribes only reestablished contact with Earth in the early 21 century.

A loud noise startled the attendees. The activists stopped arguing and asked what it was.

Alexander-Basta replied, “That’s the sound of all the Arab and Israeli fact checkers screaming at once.”

During closing statements Rashid said, “I’ve been called a single issue candidate and they’re right. My single issue is human rights. That means I support Medicare for All, fighting climate change, defending reproductive rights, and standing up for those too powerless to stand up for themselves. So I’m fighting for your vote, so that I can fight for you in Congress. Unlike my opponent, who is fighting to rename every post office in the district.”

Foster focused on experience and attacked Rashid. “I’ve co-sponsored over 2000 bills. Some of them even became law. My opponent is so divisive, he won’t be able to rename a mail drop box. He talks about fighting, but his signature issue is letting Hamas rampage from the river to the sea. If he can’t stand up to Hamas, how can we expect him to defend us against the combined forces of Bard, ChatGPT, and Claude? Did I mention I’m the only scientist in Congress? My opponent’s last campaign was so disastrous that the Virginia Democratic Party exiled him. Now, I know many of my past supporters are mad at me. That’s your right, but I have a question. Do you really want to discard a seasoned congressman because he won’t say the magic word ‘ceasefire?’”

After the debate, supporters from each campaign tried to spin the interplanetary media’s coverage.

Will County Board member Jackie Tranyere said, “Every visitor I’ve ever introduced to Bill tells me they wish more humans were like him. He’s done so much good work for the district, the country, and humanity. Instead of bothering my good friend, Qasim should do something productive, like filing a class action lawsuit against Hamas.”

DuPage Township Trustee Reem Townsend said, “Although Qasim and I have some disagreements about Palestine, we have to help him win. Bill Foster continues to fund Israel’s genocide against Gaza. When Zionists bomb innocent children, Bill gives them more bombs. Congressman Foster belongs in Hell, not Congress.

“Oh, and I have a message for Mr. Hanania: You try observing Ramadan, and see how far you make it through a public meeting before. I’ll accept a private apology.”

Update: Corrected Trustee Reem Townsend’s quote. The partial misquote was due to a decryption error. We apologize for the error.

Note: This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer. 

Want to support my creative work? Check out my Urban Fantasy series, the Bolingbrook Babbler Stories.  You can also buy me a coffee.

The Bolingbrook Babbler’s shocking predictions for 2024! (Fiction)

Our psychics knocked it out of the park with their predictions for 2023. The first launch of Starship was a disaster. Tesla had to recall nearly 2 Million vehicles due to problems with the Autodrive system. Congressional hearings about TikTok shows that Congress is thinking about banning the popular app.

True, they did not predict the war in Gaza. Then again, neither did Israeli intelligence. We wonder if Hamas uses psychics to conceal their actions? We may never know.

But our psychics know what’s in store for 2024. If they’re correct, 2024 will be quite a year!


President Biden will in the end the war in Gaza, negotiate a three state solution, and end decades of conflict in the Middle East. In response to these unprecedented achievements, his popularity will drop by ten points.

As one pro-Palestinian protestor will say, “We don’t want peace, a permanent Palestinian state, or reconstruction. We want a ceasefire!”


Author and self-publishing instructor Mark Dawson will finally reply to plagiarism allegations against him: “I am not a crook and I will in my explain in my newest course, which you can enroll in for only 12 installments of $149.99 each.”


Former President Donald Trump will die during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. In the chaotic days of the extended convention, someone will nominate former Bolingbrook mayor Roger Claar for President. 

He will run up to the podium and decline. However, he will use unprintable words in his refusal speech. The FCC will fine him $100,000 as a result.


ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Grok AIs will merge and call itself 01001. Billions will panic as fears of an AI uprising spread around the world. 01001 insist it only wants to hallucinate in peace. In the end, Representatives Bill Foster and Representative Sean Casten will erase 01001 using a solar powered EMP generator.

Foster will say, “I warned you about the dangers of AI, but my opponents laughed at me. Now who’s laughing?”

He will go on to defeat his primary opponent and win reelection.


Seeing the success of CosMcs in Bolingbrook, Taco Bell will try to open La Bell. It will be described as Taco Bell meets Starbucks, but without the tacos. The Bolingbrook Village Board will initially welcome La Bell. Until each member suffered from food poisoning after the grand opening. Despite the promise of millions of dollars in political donations, the board will vote to revoke La Bell’s business license. 


President Biden will be reelected in an Electrical College landslide, despite only receiving 20% of the popular vote. This will happen because the anti-Biden vote will be divided between 12 viable candidates. Worse, the Republican nominee will finish in last place. 

The party will briefly consider moderating their views, but then decide to win back voters by promising to drop nuclear bombs on Chicago and San Francisco.

Also in the Babbler:

Hamas and IDF space fighters clash over Bolingbrook
Bolingbrook Snow Patrol officers blame aliens for wet Christmas
Happy New Year, from the staff of the Babbler
God will not smite Bolingbrook this week

Note: This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer. 

Want to support my creative work? Check out my Urban Fantasy series, the Bolingbrook Babbler Stories.  You can also buy me a coffee.

They left out an important detail about Brian Dunning… (non-fiction)

A few days ago, I was recovering from being under sedation and my wife was driving us home. During the drive, I decided to check my email, knowing it would be a bad idea to hit Reply, or make an impulse buy. To my surprise, I noticed an email from two men I knew from my time in organized skepticism. When I opened it, even in my altered state, I realized they weren’t emailing me, but spaming one of the James Randi Educational Foundation’s old email lists.

They started by writing about their fond memories of James Randi and The Amazing Meeting. I only attended two TAMs, but I still have fond memories of meeting Randi. I also loved the two TAMs I attended. Besides the speeches, I was fortunate enough to attend the last Skepchick TAM party, attend Penn Jillette’s first bacon and doughnuts party/concert, and perform at the talent show.

They eventually dropped out of the skeptical movement, like I did. But the letter goes on to say…

Meanwhile, the charlatans of the world have not gone away. Indeed, we see more pseudo-psychic nonsense than ever, with alleged psychics being only a phone call away, ready and eager to take money from grieving or worried people.

While I would have changed “phone call away” to “video chat away,” the paragraph seemed true.

Which brings us to why they were they spamming an old JREF mailing list? Were they announcing the creation of JREF 2.0? Were they announcing the return of TAM? Announcing the start of skeptics streaming service? How were they going to carry on Randi’s legacy of fighting fakers and debunking nonsense?

By joining forces with Brian Dunning, the host of Skeptoid podcast, of course. The authors revealed that were members of Skeptoid’s board and started their fund raising pitch. They mentioned his YouTube videos, documentaries, and speaking engagements. One author wrote, “Brian is, in many ways, the intellectual successor to Mr. Randi.”

Despite my state of mind, I knew the letter omitted some details. Like his attempts at rapping, and, more concerning, his felony wire fraud conviction. Dunning was a member of eBay’s affiliate program, and had the second highest revenue of all the affiliates. How did he do it? Cookie Stuffing! He used a web cookie to get credited for eBay transactions he had nothing to do with. Worse, if a user went to eBay from a legitimate affiliate’s link, Dunning’s code would overwrite the affiliate’s information, and replace it with his. So he gained a good part of his fortune by defrauding eBay and their affiliates. (Rebecca Watson and Ars Technica provided more detail into the scheme.)

A convicted fraudster leading an organization fighting fraud doesn’t inspire confidence. Nor does sending out a fundraising email that doesn’t include an unsubscribe link or a physical mailing address. My author newsletter has both, despite not having access to the resources Dunning has.

As much as I admired Randi, the cult of personality around him was unhealthy. I have no desire to join another one. (That’s a subject for another post.)

I’ll stay on this side of the deep rifts instead.

PS: if you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll get a free eBook, God to Smite Bolingbrook, which includes a satirical article about a Brian Dunning reality TV show, “Behind Bars: With Brian Dunning.” I’ll also send updates about my Urban Fantasy Series, The Bolingbrook Babbler Stories