Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, September 10, 2018


Openers:  "I'd ask what a nice girl like you is doing in a place like this," Gabriel told the brunette sitting at the bar with her back to him.  "But I already know exactly what you're doing."

The brunette spun, reaching for the revolver beside her glass, but Gabriel grabbed her wrists before she could raise it to draw a bead between his eyes.

-- Hunt Beyond the Frozen Fire by Christa Faust writing as "Gabriel Hunt," 2014

Whodunnit:  Who wrote the anonymous letter published in the Op-Ed section of the New York Times last week?  Like many others I suspect it came from the Vice President's office, but that could be wishful thinking on my part.  Many people point to the word "lodestar" in the piece but it is common knowledge that staffers will try to imitate the writing style or phrasing of someone they don't like in order to throw people off the track when something negative about the president or his administration is leaked.  The writer did state that the president's problem was his amorality -- an odd choice of word for a man who is erratic, irresponsible, and egotistic.  This points to a person with a strong (or perhaps, perceived) sense of morality, such as Mr. Pence.  The writer also states that this invisible cadre within the White House will continue to thwart the president's worse impulses until such time that he no longer serves as president.  Pence, it is known, believes that God has singled him out to become the President of the United States.  He is not often in the limelight, biding his time in the shadows, supporting Mr. Trump when called to, and serving as a vanilla substitue to the president when needed.  I'm sure that Pence believes, one way or another, Trump will be forced to leave the office and propel him to the presidency.  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

This is all speculation.  What is not speculation is Trump's reaction to the op-ed.  He calls it treason while others call it free speech.  He is determined to root out and punish the writer severely,  It is all lies, all fabrication, all FAKE NEWS.  As you know, no one has done for this country and as president as Trump has over the past year and three-quarters, he can tell you that.  Everybody except those democrats and those liberals love him an know what he has done, and is doing, to for them.  Okay.  So the guy is unhinged.  That's a given.

What disturbs me is that the writer of this memo appears also deluded.  He states that he and his cronies are no liberals and that they support Trump's agenda, just not the behavior of the president's worse self.  He claims that Trump has done much for the country by rolling back regulations (which has harmed the future of the world, has deleted many of those pesky rules that try to ensure workplace safety, and has hurt the middle and lower class economically), historic tax reform (that does little to help the average person and will hurt him in the wallet in ten years or less while providing a large permanent tax break for the nation's most wealthy), and a more robust military (the verdict is out on that one).  These "patriots" are nothing more than hard-line conservatives, just waiting for Mr. Trump to be out of office so President Pence could act as a less abrasive way to promote their one-sided agenda.  Civil rights could be pushed back to pre-WWII times under a Pence theocracy.  Meanwhile the income gap grows larger and larger and the middle class is on the endangered list.

The administration calls the writer gutless.  They demand he come forward and resign.  Anyone who does not support the president fully (no matter how unhinged Trump may be) does not deserve to work for the president's administration.  Many reporters and news executives have also called for the writer to come forward so the accuracy of his article could be judged, despite the fact that what is in the article has been reported before and Trump's unstable side has been well reported.  Others are willing to cheer the writer on, glad that there is someone will to oppose Trump's more dangerous side.

The writer wants to ensure America that there are grown-ups in the White House looking out for their best interests.  I'm sorry, but there are no grown-ups in this scenario.

Stranger Than You Think:  I love science and I love the fact that we continually discover new and amazing things about our world and our universe.  To wit:

  • A ring of black holes or neutron stars has been discovered about 300 million light years away.  It may have been formed when two galaxies collided.
  • Speaking of galaxies, scientists have discovered an ancient "monster" galaxies that is producing stars at a rate 1000 times fatser than the Milky Way.  This galaxy is estimated to have formed 2 billion years after the Big Bang.
  • Saturn's hexagon-shaped jet stream at the planet's north pole has baffled scientists since it was discovered in the 1980s.  Now a matching hexagon-shaped vortex has been discovered in the same spot, only 180 miles higher in the atmosphere.  Is this a separate vortex or are the two part of the same system stretching for hundreds of miles.  What caused this strange shape?
  • Pycnandra acuminata is a South Pacific tree that oozes metal, particularly nickel, which can make up to 25% of its sap.  Normally toxic to trees, the nickel gives the sap a bluish-green color.  Scientists speculate that the toxic sap may be an unusual defense against insect predators.
  • Who knew?  Turns out there are tiny tunnels that link the human brain to the bone marrow of the human skull.  These tunnels may allow the travel of immune cells to the brain as a defense following a stoke or injury; it had previously been speculated that these immune cells travel to the brain by way of the blood stream.
  • Researcher have also recently discovered a "new" type of neuron in the human brain that has not been found in the brains of animals.  dubbed the "rosehip" neuron, this brain cell may explain why humans are different from other animals.
  • Researchers at the University of Minnesota have created a "bionic eye" through 3-D printing.  There is a good chance that this technology could soon help the blind.  Huzzah!
  • Gut bacteria could make blood shortages a thing of the past.  Scientist at the University of British Columbia have found an enzyme in gut bacteria that can strip a blood cell of its surface antigens, potentially turning all blood types into type O, the universal donor, and allowing the blood to be given to persons with other blood types.
  • And speaking of odd and unusual...

Florida Man!:  Florida Man Daryl Royal Reidel had three previous DUI convictions (and one other pending) when he was pulled over by a Monroe County deputy on suspicion of drunk driving.  Thinking quickly, Reider got out of his pickup truck, chugging his can of beer as he approached the deputy.  Beer?  What beer?  Do you see any beer?  All I see is an empty beer can, not beer.  Ha ha, you can't arrest me!

A 38-year-old Florida Man in St. Pete was not as fortunate.  He was killed in his home by an exploding vape pen.  I think this is a first.  Only in Florida, folks.

And an unnamed Florida Man was filmed punching a SUV in a road rage incident in Haileah.  the logical thing to do, I guess.

Another unnamed Florida Man's final honed plan to escape police had a tiny flaw in it.  When police stop you and 3:00 am on a Saturday morning and discover illegal drugs, what's your plan?  that's it.  RUN.  Police chased him across a nearby golf course when Florida Man jumped into a retention pool and drowned.  The human gene pool thanks him.

Speaking of...:  Here's Stephen Boros of Big Tiki & the Mai Tai's singing about Florida Man.

Empress Elisabeth:  One hundred twenty years ago on this date, the Empress Elisabeth of Austria and Queen of Hungary was assassinated.  Princess Sophie of Bavaria wanted her son the Emperor Franz Joseph to marry his cousin Helene but the Emperor fell head over heals with her younger sister Elisabeth, insisting he would marry her or none at all.  Elisabeth was beautiful, intellectual, shy...and she never returned her husband's faithful devotion.  Princess Sophie hated her.  Elisabeth was both melancholy and eccentric.  She developed a fondness for the Hungarian people, whom her husband hated.  One of her great interests was the treatment of the mentally ill, something that may be traced to the lifelong depression that followed the death of her second daughter from (possibly) typhus.  In 1889 her only son Rudolph's body was discovered with that of his mistress in what is generally presumed to be a murder-suicide -- the well-publicized Mayerling Affair.  Elisabeth sank further into melancholy.  In 1898, while walking from her hotel during a stay in Geneva, she was approached by 25-year-old anarchist Luigi Lucheni, who stabbed her with a sharpened four-inch needle which he had converted to a shiv.  Lucheni had come to Geneva to kill a sovereign and claimed it did not matter who that was.  His original intent was the kill the Duke of Orleans, the pretender to the French crown, but the Duke had left Geneva earlier.  Lucheni then read a newspaper article that revealed the Empress of Austria was staying in the city and he switched his target to the 60-year-old Elisabeth.  Despite her many emotional problems and tragic incidences in her life, Elisabeth was more remembered for her concern about the common people and her many charitable works.

Today's Poem:

Rose, harsh rose,
marred and with stint of petals,
meager flower, thin,
sparse of leaf,

more precious
than a wet rose
single on a stem --
you are caught in the drift.

Stunted, with small leaf,
you are flung on the sand,
you are lifted
in the crisp sand
that drives in the wind.

Can the spice-rose
drip such acrid fragrance
hardened in a leaf?

--  H. D. (Hilda Doolittle, 1886-1961), from Sea Garden (London:  Constable and Company Ltd., 1916)