Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, September 23, 2019


Openers:  Half an hour after Tim Jamieson's Delta flight was scheduled to leave Tampa for the bright lights and tall buildings of New York, it was still packed at the gate.  When a Delta agent and a blond woman with a security badge hanging from her neck entered the cabin, there were unhappy, premonitory murmurings from the packed residents of economy class.

--  Stephen King, The Institute (2019)

This opening paragraph sets off a spur of the moment decision that will alter Tim Jamieson's life forever.  After the first 40 pages of the novel, the focus shifts to 12-year-old Lucas Ellis and we don't meet Tim Jamieson again for another 300 pages.  Lucas has very minor -- almost unnoticable -- telekinetic ability: he can move things with his mind -- small things for very small distances, and he is unaware that he is causing this.  One night a team disables his house alarm, enters it military-fashion, murders Luke's parents, drugs Lucas and kidnaps him.  Luke wakes up in a near replica of his bedroom, not knowing what has happened.  He is in the Institute, a mysterious place deep in the Maine woods, far from his home in Minnesota.  The Institute has been operating in the shadows for seventy years.  There are other children there, all kidnapped, all with their families murdered, and all with very minor telekinetic or telepathic abilities.  Here the children are tested, brutalized, and tortured in an attempt to increase their powers.  Each child is kept for a few weeks, maybe a month, until their brains begin to deteriorate and they are shipped to another part of the Institute, never to be seen or heard from again.  The Institute wanted Luke for his TK potential,; they did not care about his genius-level intelligence.  That was their mistake.

King's latest novel is a sweeping tale of good versus evil and innocence versus corruption, and a story of misintended motives and ethical quagmires.  Told with readable details, convincing characterization, and the author's trademark anthing can happen to anyone plotting,  The Instituteis one of the best books Stephen King has ever writen, and that's saying a lot.

Speaking of Corruption:  The Ukraine.  And Trump.  According to credible newspaper reports from the "fake news" liberal media, President Trump tried a number of times to have the leader of the Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden's business dealings in that country.  Hunter Biden is the son of presidential hopeful Joe Biden.  Supposedly Trump dangled a military aid package for the Ukraine as an incentive.  Trump did not get his dirt and the Ukraine did not get the needed military aid (which they probably wouldn't have anyway because Vladimir Putin was opposed to it for obviou reasons.  If true -- and I have not reason to doubt it -- this could be the tipping point that destroys Trump's presidency.  But there have been so many such tipping points before and our venal, lying president is still in power, so who knows?  Trump and his cronies are a cancer on America.  How long, I wonder, before this cancer reaches Stage 4?

Cleansing My Palate: 

And so it goes.  People are doing extraordinary things all the time.  Kindnesses, both small and large, are around us all the time.  You have to appreciate what is happening all around you and, perhaps, become part of it yourself.


A Bit of History:  Today is the anniversary of Harvard's first commencement way back in 1642 when it was still Harvard College.

And this gives me an excuse to post this:

And on this date in 1980, Bob Markey played what would be his last concert.

Which gives me an excuse to post this: (recorded, coincidentally, at Harvard Stadium)

Today's Poem:
Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon these boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after summer fadest in the west,
Which by and by black night doth taake away,
Death's second self, that seals up all the rest.
In me thou seest such glowing of the fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum'd by that which it was nourished by.
This then perceiv'st which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leve ere long

-- William Shakespeare

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