Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, August 27, 2018


Openers:  The cell door crashed open, waking me, and I sat up, sniffling.  Fat round tears rolled down my cheeks as I began to sob again.  I had cried myself to sleep, and for a man as tough as I am that's a little disgusting.

A pair of snarling froggies dragged me from the bunk and hustled me down an onion-smelling corridor.  Froggies are mean to deal with, since their reaction time is incredible.  They know how to use those long tongues of theirs -- and I don't need another demonstration.  I'll stack my speed in unholstering a .38 nitrocharge against any gink in the System, but they'd been faster -- a lot faster.

-- William F. Nolan, Look Out for Space, 1985.  (Nolan's Sam Space character is, as you may have guessed, a science fiction send-up of the though guy private eye.)

John McCain:  I admired John McCain greatly, even though his politics often differed from mine.  He was a man of honor, courage, and conviction.  He felt the country could be best served in a bipartisan manner.  He had a notoriously quick temper but consciously tried to control it.  He made friends of all stripes.  He earned the enmity of President Cheeto.  He had a good sense of humor.  He was a family man.  He cared.

Minority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer is proposing the the Senate's Russell Office Building be renamed for McCain.  The building is currently named after Democratic Georgia senator Richard Brevard Russell, Jr., who served in the Senate from 1933 to 1971.  Russell was a staunch segregationist and an outspoken opponent of civil rights.  Renaming the building would serve him right, removing a stain.

On a personal note, when Jessie's husband died, he arranged for a flag that had flown over the White House be given her in honor of Michael.  The flag now holds a cherished spot in her home.

John McCain embodied was is best of America.  He will be missed.

Another American Icon Will Be Missed:  Playwright Neil Simon was one of many American geniuses who made us laugh; unlike many of those he did it through his writing -- first for Sid Caesar, then through dozens stage and films plays -- Come Blow Your Horn, Plaza Suite, The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, Sweet Charity, and The Goodbye Girl among them.  He won four Tony Awards, four Writers Guild of America Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize.  He also received Kennedy Center honor in 1995 and a American Comedy Awards Lifetime Achievement.  In 2006, he received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.  In return he gave us the gift of laughter.

"Just the Facts, Ma'am":  A 10-year-old fifth grader in North Carolina has been punished for calling his teacher "Ma'am."  The teacher told the boy that if she had had something, she would have thrown it at him.  The big mistake can be laid to the boys parents who taught him to always address elders as "sir" and "ma'am," not realizing that politeness can be punished in North Carolina.  The boy's punishment was to have him write the word ma'am four times on each line of bother sides of a yellow lined paper -- he did and the parents sent it back to the teacher while having their son write the definition of "ma'am" on a separate piece of paper for the teacher.  The school district at first offered no comment and later said that the matter was handle "appropriately" by the K-7 principal.  Perhaps he made the teacher write "politeness four times per line on both sides of a yellow lined paper.

Despite the Above:  I had a great week.  I lay it to the fact that Trump had a very bad, no-good, rotten week.  I'm petty.

And What Will This Mean for Science Fiction?:  Researchers have just announced the discovery of time reversal rays in gamma-rays coming from a forming black hole.  The bright light wave gamma rays are spit out from the black hole one way, then sent out again in the opposite manner.  Not exactly time travel, perhaps, but pretty close.  I am constantly awed by the wonders of the universe which are slowly unfolding before us.

"Negative" Gravity?:  Sound has also been thought of as massless but researchers have determined it has negative mass and it slowly drifts upward.  "A photon -- a particle-like unit of vibration that can describe sound at very small scales" has a very slight negative mask that defies gravity, moving away from gravity's pull.  More wonders.  Yay!

Florida Man:  He don't need no stinkin' election to express his political opinion...just a chainsaw, which he used in Tavares to cut down a sign promoting candidate Jason Paynter for Lake County Clerk of Courts.  Florida Man remains unknown and uncaught, presumably because the Lake County Sheriff's Department has not checked either mental hospitals or trailer parks.  We'll soon know whether Florida Man's political statement has had an effect -- Primary Day in Florida is tomorrow.

Today:  It's the birthday of Ed Gein.  Please do not celebrate accordingly!

Today's Poem: 

History is everything
Everything the rock and word
Record and every god
Who is forever-was as king
Confusion, order, sword
And blood-or-water-letting rod.

And everything and reason read
To the ready feeling of man lost
Where nothing's understood,
To "Tell me, tell me, all the dead
And the living host
The whole, and tell me star and wood."

Then everything's the meaning, more
Than reason, feeling brings to light
And history the most
When heart, which mind can't matter for
Without the dream by night,
Draws in its puzzling greater ghost.

Everything is history
The whole the bushel in the grain
Which seen creates the sense
Of what eyes bodied never see'
Hands membered never gain
But now in tearing ignorance.

-- David Rowbotham (1924-2010)

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