Issued April 2009. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the wine bar, the Merlot Maniacs burst onto the scene with insipid and sloppy renditions of a noble grape. The MM’s brainwashing technique is to fool the public into buying any Merlot put in front of them. With a sideways glance, Commander Zinskey broke the spell and set the Maniacs adrift to wreak havoc elsewhere. Duty done for the moment, the Commander retreated to visit his favorite little brother, Pinot Boy. Though a precocious lad, Pinot Boy was worrying his parents and showing unpredictable tendencies. But the Commander knew the boy was true and spent all his idle time teaching him the Commanders Creed of Purity and Truth. That is until one sad day when he found copies of the Wine Expectorant and Robert Barker’s newsletter hidden under the floor boards of the boy’s room. The Overblown Pinot Heads had secretly gotten to the Boy in an attempt to turn him to the dark side!
The Commander appealed to his friend, the Governator, for help. In return for his many heroic acts, the Commander begged the big man with the funny accent to declare Zinfandel the official grape of California, hoping the boy would once again look to him as a role model and follow his vows of purity and truth. Unfortunately, the OPH got to the Governator first, convincing the once powerful leader of California to veto the bill with wishy-washy statements about how it was not fair to single out a near native over the more recent grape immigrants. The fate of Pinot Boy still hangs in the balance.
While the Commander was distracted by family issues, a radical faction of the OPH (Overblown Pinot Heads) developed cells of faux terroirists called the Expectorators. They form loose knit encampments and only communicate by score. Their goal is to confuse the public into thinking high alcohol concoctions represent good wine. To gather the mindless hordes, the Expectorators give a high octane Zin a score of 94 points or above. Once the score reaches the cells, number-gushing zombies stagger to the nearest wine bar to consume the numbing libation, mumbling,“Unctuous – Powerful – Inky.” But Commander Zinskey knows the truth and is determined to stop them. He just needs the citizenry to support his quest for cool climate, balanced Zinfandel. But will Commander Zinskey be able to stop the Expectorators before it’s too late?
Issued July 2010. In this episode, we find Commander Zinskey continuing his tireless quest to save the reputation of the real American grape. The Commander, along with his sidekick Pinot Boy, are in the midst of a surprise aerial attack on Brutus Primitivo’s (BP’s) oozing island of syrupy, toxic Zinfandel.
Previously, the evil BP lulled the gullible public into believing their lives depended on high octane Zinfandel. Little did they know the volatile liquid was secretly drilling a hole in the depths of their souls, forever distorting the natural order of the planet. As the public’s thirst increased, BP unleashed a gusher of overwrought Zin, clouding the waters and obscuring the public’s perception of the elegant, balanced wine, Zinfandel should be. Very few original Zins exist to this day. Our hopes and dreams lie with Commander Zinskey. May he succeed in altering the course of history – before it’s too late!
Issued July 2011. After liquidating the rebel leader of the Cabernet Cartel, Commander Zinskey returned to his humble home on Planet Carneros to find his beloved Princess Vin Gris taken captive by a sleeper cell of the once powerful White Zin Supremacists. The nearly defeated WZS, it seems, have regrouped and joined forces with the Muscateers in a quest for world domination.
Can the Commander rescue his love from the enemy while armed with only his persuasively elegant manner and low octane ray gun? Only time will tell if the smooth talking Commander has what it takes to defeat his enemies and remain the last man standing… stay tuned for the further adventures of Commander Zinskey and the Lost Planet Pinot Boys!
Issued June 2012. Commander Zinskey’s lifelong mission is to save the reputation of the true American grape. A real patriot, the Commander became disillusioned that this once classic California wine had been run through the ringer. Years ago, he watched it devolve into a sugary pink confection… and then, just when he thought there was hope, the Pointmen and their greedy brethren pumped it up into an overblown, woody, bottle of rocket-fuel! The Commander is now ready to reclaim his proper place as an American original – a true classic who can sit proudly at the dinner table with the great wines of the world.
Issued July 2013. Sweat launched from the Commander’s brow like rain hurdling off a gutterless roof. The Commander had crossed four hundred light years to investigate an ancient distress beacon launched a millennia ago from a dying planet. A desperate population must have cast it into the ether, like an electronic Hail Mary pass, with hopes that a more technologically advanced people could save them from their date with destiny. Now, the Commander finds himself alone, trudging across a desolate landscape under a relentless, red giant sun.
The Commander’s mission – to preserve life in any and all forms – provides motivation but so far, the only evidence that life once thrived on this planet lies in the fossilized sedimentary layers of the rock cliffs before him… a fact that dashes hope as he realizes that this now barren planet, once vibrant and lush with water, suffered a catastrophic evaporation event, taking precious life forces with it.
As the Commander navigates the cliffs, he stumbles upon a shocking site… a solid rock formation organized like a city with “avenues” and “buildings” carved from the red volcanic rock; yet, unlike any city he has known, it is eerily quiet.
He smacks the button on the side of his helmet to release his Goopple* life-seeking goggles. [*almost two hundred years ago, Google and Apple’s “scorched earth, fight to the death” grudge match nearly destroyed the earth when a miracle occurred… the reincarnated Saint Jobs demanded that the two companies form an alliance, more powerful than any government, with a vow to only serve the public good from then on.] This special apparatus, created exclusively for the Commander, collects maps from the solar cloud and superimposes them onto the Commander’s retina as turn by turn directions transmit into his tympanic nerve, while life-detecting heat scanners feed data to his frontal cortex.
With almost all hope lost of finding life, the Commander decides to return to his Space X craft when, out of the corner of his eye, he sees movement. Could his eyes be playing tricks on him? His Goopple goggles have never failed before but clearly no heat signature registered on the device. The Commander quickly runs diagnostics only to be startled as a green “OK” flashes in front of his eyes. Exasperated, he flips up the goggles, entrusting his fate to his own two eyes.
He advances toward a building resembling a repository or a library. It is filled with shelves of ancient books and stacks of boxes, piled floor to ceiling. Dusting off a box, the Commander peeks inside to find seeds neatly organized by type. In another box are illustrations of animals with DNA slides attached. It seems that the Commander’s mission to find life, has morphed from rescue to a DNA salvage job.
Depressed, the Commander leans against the wall and takes a long, hard swig from his Zinskey flask… when… IT MOVES! The Commander leaps as the solid rock wall shudders. Is his mind playing tricks on him? Is this year’s formulation of his Zinskey beverage too potent? He reaches out to assure himself that the wall is indeed solid when it comes to life before his eyes!
Startled, the Commander draws his neutron stun gun as the creature extricates itself from the rock wall. “It” is built like a man – a head, a torso with leg and arm-like appendages – but it is clearly made of mineral… Could it be… a man, born of this place and evolved from rock? Could it be the dawn of a new life form? A Terroir Man!
Issued July 2014. Previously… our hero, Commander Zinskey, answered the call of destiny by responding to an ancient distress beacon cast into space from a dying planet 400 light years from Earth. Just when he thought his rescue mission had turned into a salvage mission, a creature, made of mineral, emerged from the stone wall.
Laser gun drawn, the Commander barked into his Shatner Universal Translator, “Hold it right there!” Then, curiosity got the better of him and he asked, “What are you?”
The creature, with skin the texture of pumice stone, replied, “Not be frightened, sir. I am Terroir Man. I am fair and balanced reporter of fact. They called me from below to convince you to save a dying race.” Tiny grains of sand poured tearlike from his eyes as he pleaded. “The Syrahians have turned on their own kind with W.M.D.’s (Weapons of Mass Dehydration) that make victims feel powerful, yet ultimately lead to a pre-mature end. They were the most elegant race and now their very existence is threatened. Can you help them Commander?”
The Commander had seen this many times before; it had almost happened to his own kind. He knew the Pointmen were behind this calculated attack. But before he could plan his first move, The Parkerbots burst down the walls, consuming everything in their path. Could this be the end? Can Commander Zinskey save the Syrahians before it’s too late? Stay tuned for the further adventures of Commander Zinskey as he roams the galaxy in his quest to save the reputation of the true American grape.
Issued June 2015. They promised to build a new mission control. Their evil plan is the ultimate change order. Could this be the end of Commander Zinskey… or a new beginning?
Issued June 2016. It used to be called Earth, but that was a long time ago. The crisis started slowly, almost imperceptibly. People assumed it was a labor shortage caused by the Great Wall of Frump; however, it was a much more complex and evil force at work. Commander Zinskey, with his intuitive powers, saw it coming but he felt powerless and could only watch as his fellow humans (with decreased mental capacities from watching too much “reality” television) turned into lemmings and let their fear conquer reason.
Now known as the Grand Conspiracy, it was a power play to control the world’s energy and food supplies. After the supreme leader, Ronald Frump, enacted his “Illegal Immigrant Guilt by Association” proclamation and had the means to successfully deport all suspected illegal immigrants and their relatives (he had previously used a similar “Terrorist Guilt by Association” proclamation to depopulate the Middle East and take control of their oil fields), the family farms no longer had the labor to help them grow and harvest their crops.
One by one, farms failed and were bought by Megasanto, a shell company of Frump Industries. Megasanto’s evil plan was to replace farm labor with chemicals and automation. By banning hard working people from the country, no one was available to work the farms. The only cost effective solution was to develop Mega-farms designed to use synthetic sprays applied by drones. Megasanto not only created an endless dumping ground for their chemicals, they regulated the types of foods distributed, practicing nutrient manipulation to control the unsuspecting population through behavioral conditioning. Humans no longer had the nutrients necessary to support higher thought processes and devolved to embrace the base instincts of selfishness and greed.
Nature tried to fight back but Megasanto would just create more powerful chemicals until photosynthesis ceased, turning all vegetation into a strange, unnatural orange color… but Frump, ever the opportunist, renamed all food – Frump food – with the slogan: “Eat More Frump” later shortened to just “Eat Me!”
The Frump oil fields ran day and night, providing cheap oil. The people responded by buying huge Frump Trucks that could crush anything in their way. Roads were no longer needed as Frump Trucks found their own way, destroying all natural vegetation and habitat under their massive, spinning tires.
Glaciers, already melting before the reign of Frump, began to recede at a rate unprecedented in geologic history. Threatened with rising oceans that could destroy the Frump Casinos on the New Jersey shore, Frump drafted a new proclamation that all remaining humans must drink the melting glacial water to keep it from reaching the oceans. Bottles of Icy Frump Glacier water were shipped throughout the world and the waste of the bottles formed islands of plastic in the sea, creating a giant magnifying glass that boiled the oceans.
Coal mines and coal fired electric generating plants were recommissioned, belching smoke and turning the sky orange. Once again Frump took advantage of the branding opportunity by renaming Earth in his image – and the Blue Planet, now the Orange Planet, became known as The Celestial Body of Frump – and Frump, who rose to power as the President of the United States before anointing himself Supreme Leader, became god!
The monster had been released and there was no turning back. Commander Zinskey was horrified as he watched the mass destruction of ecosystems, oceans drying, all plant life dying, and the people turning on each other. First it was along national lines … but then it broke down into smaller factions. People with brown hair began to fight with blondes. Frump, with his phobia of baldness, targeted all chrome domes and banished them to isolated work camps in an attempt to remove their recessive gene from the population. Meanwhile, all gingers were promoted to positions of authority where they created more rules to further segregate and destroy anyone who did not share their self-serving desires.
The Celestial Body of Frump was dying and Commander Zinskey was the only one who could do something about it. Urgently, the Commander gathered his secret team of geniuses to devise a plan. They determined it was too late to repair the damage but a long shot, hail-Mary plan was hatched. The Commander and his loyal companion, the physicist Jenni Whitlock, must leave the solar system before the planet implodes, reach time-bending velocity and return to Earth in the year 2016 – in time to launch a third party campaign to defeat Ronald Frump before he became the president of the United States.
Can Commander Zinskey turn back the clock in time to save humanity from Frump and itself? Will the unsuspecting public rally to support a third party candidate before it’s too late? Will Commander Zinskey become the next president of the United States? Stay tuned as reality is more fascinating than fantasy.
Issued October 2018. In the last episode, our fearless Commander found himself in a blue state of mind as the Supreme Leader, Ronald Frump, implemented “Code Orange” – the grand conspiracy to turn the Earth into a Frumpian nightmare. The Commander could no longer stand by and watch as nature emitted a death rattle of hurricanes, floods, drought, fires, record temperatures and rising oceans. Even the air in the usually pristine Pacific Northwest became orange and toxic.
As the Earth turned from blue and green to an unnatural Frumpian orange color, the Commander became convinced the only hope for the survival of the planet would be to travel back in time to the year 2016, create a common-sense, science-based third party and run for president of the USA… but he did not foresee an oncoming storm!
While the Commander prepared his spaceship for the journey back in time, one of Frumps Amazonian concubines, Stormy Spaniels, broke free of her contractual shackles and, with just her gaze as her weapon, began to destroy everything Frump in sight. Thinking she had stumbled across one of Frumps Space Force rockets, she focused her laser eyes upon it. The Commander could only watch in horror as the last candle of hope prematurely ignited. Will the Commander get to Stormy in time to convince her to join forces and become his running mate before the rocket explodes? Tune in next vintage to find out!
Issued July 2020. In the last episode… our hero – Commander Zinskey was preparing to travel back in time, start a new political party and run against the evil orange overlord. As you recall, the Commander believed the world needed a hero to directly stop the orange demagogue before he could irreparably damage democracy, destroy the environment, anoint himself a god and turn the planet into an orange wasteland.
The Commander, while preparing for his time leap, decided to pay a visit to the eccentric, inventor-billionaire, Elliot Tusk. The commander heard rumors that the crazy billionaire had developed an Alternate Reality Society Engine – A.R.S.E.! The mind bending device allows a preview of an individual’s actions before they commit to them… allowing one to see how different scenarios or actions alters the future. As Mr. Tusk placed the A.R.S.E. helmet on Commander Zinskey, he whispered in his ear – “Your life will never be the same!” The Commander, somewhat confused, closed his eyes and went for the ride.
The first “if-this, then-that” scenario the A.R.S.E. played for the Commander was – If he went back in time, could he save the world from the evil orange overloard? As the scenario played out, he saw that he could prevail but quickly realized his own militaristic background wasn’t the best fit for the civilian government of the 21st century. Much to his chagrin, and a blow to his ego, he saw that he would be replacing one demagogue with another (himself) and he would alienate a large part of the population and the country would devolve into chaos. He realized a true hero, who loves his country, must decide between ego and the people he serves – his presidency would end in resignation.
He then decided to let the A.R.S.E. show him the future as it would naturally play out. To his surprise, he saw people come together in protest. He saw young and old – male, female, trans – straight, gay and pan – black, white, yellow, brown and even a few migrant alien green people, stand up to have their voices heard. He saw a young girl address climate change to a large, adoring audience. He saw the people protest for equal rights for all. He watched as the people demanded – and got – change. It was then that the Commander remembered the vow he took which ends with “…liberty and justice for all” and realized the people don’t need a hero – THE PEOPLE ARE THE HEROES!
Knowing the world was back on the right track, he turned to Mr. Tusk and asked if he could take his new Starship for a test drive.
Issued July 2021. In this episode, we find Commander Zinskey slingshotting the Elliot Tusk starship around the sun as he attempts to set a new speed record of 0 to 60 million mph in 3.2 seconds. Enthusiastically, the Commander pushes the lithium powered starship’s throttle to the ludicrous max and barks commands for his companions to hold on.
As they arc around the sun, the Commander faces a horrifying sight. The blue planet is gone! In its place – an orange rock. The Commander failed to recognize that his unprecedented speed folded time and slung him toward earth 200 years in the future!
“What have they done!” the Commander shrieked in horror. “They did not heed the warnings of the scientists… they’ve cooked the planet!” the Commander put the starship in auto–landing mode while donning his protective suit as Pinotboy prepped his zingun. “We must look for survivors.”
The ship landed on the dark side of the planet in what looked like a dried ocean bed. As the starship doors opened, he was surprised by three women running toward the spaceship screaming “They’re coming… help us!” The Commander drew his zingun and assumed a defensive posture as a giant rock lobster burst from the ground and grabbed one of the women in its massive claw. He fired a zinshot direct into the beak of the beast causing it to release the woman. “Into the ship and buckle up for immediate departure” the Commander ordered. As they headed to the door, the mountains behind the ship started to move and a giant eye opened on one of cliff faces. “It’s the giant octopus!” shrieked one of the women.
The Commander shut the starship doors and punched the launch button. The engines strained and roared as the ship rose from the dry sea bed when momentum suddenly stalled. On the big screen, the Commander could see the giant octopus’ tentacles wrapped around the starship – dashing his hopes for a quick get away.
Can the Commander escape the clutches of the giant octopus, achieve time altering speed and return to Earth in time to educate the masses on the horrors of climate change before it’s too late? Will he survive to lead a revolution and heal an ailing earth?
Find out in the next episode of Commander Zinskey and his continuing mission to save the world… and the reputation of the true American grape!
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