tomtac: (arresting "Little Green Man" feline)

There is a reason why I am even wondering if readers know who Melody is.

Only a few years ago, I heard her being interviewed on the radio. Of course, there were lots of delightful stories about her time on the show "F Troop", a 1960s comedy about the military in the old West.

Then she started talking about her trips that she made to war zones like Vietnam, and then also like Afghanistan and Iraq. Very interesting indeed. It seems that these days young soldiers, something like early twentysomethings, do know who she is, and what F Troop was, and all that, and these soldiers were terribly excited to meet her, and to have their picture taken with her. She was a terrific supporter of the U.S. troops.

What are young men and women doing watching a show that is fifty years old? Same thing I did -- taking in the culture of my country of a half century before my time. Becoming educated on the history of the society in which I found myself.

And there she was, investing in her 21st Century fans and the U.S.

Salutes are appropriate.

And I think sixty-six is too young, but I guess the decision wasn't up to me.

Oh yeah. Regarding the audition for the TV show, she was underage when she did that, but her mother wanted her to try. Surprise!, she was hired, and her mother said not to tell them until the job was nailed down. The producers adjusted to the news: originally, the Captain was supposed to be interested in the young woman to provide a love interest. But if she was underage ... too much like a "dirty old man". So they rearranged things so that she would pursue him, and he would be hard to get out of shyness, in a comic way. At least for the first season, until she turned of age.

I remember that, her being terribly forward. It made the Captain kind of a nerd-ish geek that he kept his hands off her. And it was strange when, about the last season, he began responding to her advances.

These are instances of something I find interesting -- fiction being shaped by the reality behind the scenes. The actress was underaged, so the character was changed, and something new was brought to television, and at an appropriate time in the Women's Movement when strong female characters were welcome.

(I see also on The Wordsmith's page that Yvonne Craig has passed on as well. The world is a little less happy with her gone, too.)

Juneteenth

Jun. 19th, 2015 06:43 pm
tomtac: (arresting "Little Green Man" feline)
Wishing a "good" Juneteenth this year . . . though with Charleston still fresh in the memory, probably not a pleasant one.
tomtac: (bowtie)
There are a lot of people named Gates.  There is "Pop" Gates, of the Harlem Globetrotters.  Daryl Gates, Los Angeles police chief at the time of the Rodney King incident.

But the most famous "Gates' of them all are Bill and Melinda Gates.

Bill Gates (Harvard University, but dropped out) is an icon, not just in the U.S. but around the world.  Melinda was a newly minted MBA (Duke University) when she joined Microsoft, and her product that I liked best was the "Microsoft Bob" thing.

How did these two get together? Someday, I'd like to write that up.

The title of this romance is already chosen, and I'm copyrighting it as I post this now.

The Great "Gates, B."

Look, I just like the way it sounds.
(You can tell I am stuck at home today. Lauren the Mrs. Alien Cat had a nasty fall last night, breaking a wrist, and I'm taking care of her.)

God's Blessings.
tomtac: (arresting "Little Green Man" feline)
She is an Olympic Decathelon winner. She can assuredly beat you up.
tomtac: "little green feline" (little green man feline)
Tallahatchie Day: Blues from the Mississippi Delta Region

MUSIC: Try this track out. A very subtle version of my annual Tallahatchie Day earwig, but very far in the background the guitar is played by B.B. King, who passed away May 14.
 
It is the third of June. This year, my earworm is a little more somber than in any Tallahatchie Day past.

This year, I took a second pondering of the Ode's first line: "It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty, Delta day."

Of course, the story takes place in Mississippi. The city of Tupelo, MS, is mentioned, about 90 miles east of the Tallahatchie River. You can easily find Tupelo in the northern part of the state. When "Brother married Becky Thompson and they bought a store in Tupelo", they actually had to travel something like 90 miles, because the Tallahatchee River is that far to the west.

So, I had thought, it is the Mississippi Delta. Right? Well, I wondered about that ...... and this week I realized that made no sense at all. The Mississippi River Delta isn't even in Mississippi!

So here is the real deal. We have the "Mississippi Delta", and we have the "Mississippi River Delta". Two separate pages in Wikipedia.

The "Mississippi River Delta" is in Louisiana, on the Gulf Coast. I doubt it is dusty. And any music from there should sound Cajun. It is the "delta" at the outlet of the Mississippi River -- that is what folks like me think of when I hear that it is a "sleepy, dusty, delta day". Southernmost part of Louisiana, but it is humid and probably not "dusty" at all.

Then, there is "the Delta region of Mississippi". In Wikipedia, that is
 
"Mississippi Delta, not to be confused with the Mississippi River Delta".

This song takes place in the Mississippi Delta.

 
Mississippi Delta Region, a diamond shape shown in northwest corner of the state
Mississippi Delta SVG Map" by Philg88
- US Geographical Survey Data
here
United States Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) map
here.
Licensed under
CC BY-SA 3.0
via
Wikimedia Commons.

Get ready for some southern style weirdness. The Mississippi Delta is not a delta at all. Anyone who knows geography knows we don't get a "delta" anywhere "along" a river. It usually has to be at the "end" of a river, where the water slows down and starts dropping silt, where the land builds up around it.

But what is there in Mississippi is a "flood plain", a region where the big river has wandered back and forth again and again over geological time. It is described as "incredibly flat". The Tallahatchie River is flowing down from the mountains and into that diamond shaped flood plain, eventually joining the Mississippi River.


So, this year, the song is a little more somber for me. Two reasons:
  1. The region was indeed a place where a lot of "chopping cotton" took place and takes place. In the slavery days, a lot of blacks were kept captive there, working for free. Afterward, they were sharecroppers and worked their lives there still. But in the 1900's, there was "the great migration" that took a whole lot of them north to the big cities like Chicago.   .....   That was a lot of pain -- the sites connected to the Emmett Till murder are in that region. The Mississippi Delta Region is one of the most important cradles where the "blues" were formed. Those that moved to Chicago gave the Chicago blues a good, somber start.
  2. The western half of Tallahatchie County lies in the "Delta" plain, and the next county over is Sunflower County. The big town there is Indianola, home of B. B. King. Every spring Indianola has the big "B.B. King Homecoming Festival" in the spring and this year he was going to show up for it. ... But he died May 14, about a week and a half before the festival. So instead of a great get-together, the festival this year was an intense tribute of musical grief.

Finally, I took a look at the water in the Tallahatchie River. You can see it in any of the "satellite photo" services, like Mapquest, or Yahoo Maps, or Google Maps or Google Earth. Try 33°32'38.1"N 90°10'01.4"W or 33.543923, -90.167046

Very muddy. The waters of the Tallahatchee are muddy, just like the Mississippi. That is as described in the last lines of the song, as the string section winds down in pitch, echoing the fluttering fall of those flowers...
 
"And me I spend a lot of time picking flowers up on Choctaw Ridge,
and dropping them into the muddy waters off the Tallahatchie Bridge."
 
God's Blessings.

firefly

May. 25th, 2015 10:53 am
tomtac: (arresting "Little Green Man" feline)
Saw my first fireflies of the year last night. They were much brighter than I remember from last year.

Sometime I will have to sit and figure out just exactly I like so much about them. Maybe because they don't bite.
tomtac: (arresting "Little Green Man" feline)
A few months ago, I found this five and a half hour video of the Sesame Street "Count von Count" (the mathematical vampire that loves to count) reciting the first ten thousand digits of pi and laughing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZXPJyjUINc

Even though there is nothing said but Arabic digits, it always gets me chuckling. Who is that, Frank Oz doing a Bela Lugosi impression? I hope it doesn't get taken down. (Or show up in a Twilight movie.)

For excitement, just about 5minutes in, there are three 1's in a row, then about 6minutes in, a sequence of three 5's in a row.

There is also something called "The Feynman Point" ... From 25:09 to 25:20 is the point where there are six 9's in a row, which is at position 762.

( The Feynman point https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feynman_point )

Twice as far in, position 1,589, or from 52:27 to 52:33, there are four 7's in a row, followed shortly after by three 0's at 52:45 to 52:50. (The wikipedia article mentioned the four 7's at 1,589, and The Count goes at something like thirty digits a minute, so I did not sit there for fifty minutes, but calculated the approximate time. The three 0's were a surprise. Bonus!)

God's Blessings.
tomtac: (arresting "Little Green Man" feline)
(I've had many a chuckle since, remembering it.)

It was on March 23, 1965, that Gemini 3 was the first manned flight of the Gemini capsule.

With three orbits to accomplish, four and a half hours, an inflight meal was planned. Of course, there was supposed to be "space food", but instead Gus Grissom and John Young pulled out a corned beef sandwich that had been packed.

... NOT APPROVED! There was an congressional investigation, and NASA folks had to testify and to promise that U.S. astronauts would never pull a stunt like that again.

Here are the astronaut's own words, from The Miami Herald, April 2, 1965:

Grissom: John had an experiment that he didn't carry off exactly as planned, either -- checking our space food. The meals we took along with us came in plastic bags, and we had to insert a water gun into the bag and squirt liquid inside to reconstitute them. This is a good idea and it works fine, but it takes some doing.

Here, I was sitting over there flying and John was fooling around with the food, and all of a sudden he asked me if I wanted a corned beef sandwich.

YOUNG: Wally Shirra had the sandwich made up at a restaurant at Cocoa Beach a couple of days before and I hid it in a pocket of my space suit. I just pulled it out and offered it to the skipper. I hadn't counted on the pungent odor of corned beef in a closed cabin, but Gus had been bored by the official menus we'd practiced with in training and it seemed like a fun idea at the time.

GRISSOM: I thought John was working with our regular food, and he said, "Do you want a bite?" Then he handed me a corned beef sandwich.


("Wally Shirra" and Tom Stafford were the backup pilots for the Gemini 3 mission, and went on as the primary pilots on the Gemini 6 mission later in the year. "Cocoa Beach" is the Florida town just south of The Cape spaceport and Patrick Air Force Base.)

And yes there were some investigations. (businessinsider.com :: A Congressional Hearing Was Called Because An Astronaut Snuck A Corned Beef Sandwich Into Space)

To get serious a moment, we have this quote from the article:

"What's so bad about having a corned beef sandwich in space? They seemed to make it back home alright, so what's the big deal?

Well, especially for something crumbly like rye bread and corned beef, the low gravity of space causes particles of food to float around in the cabin, and these particles can get into the machinery inside the space capsule.

Actually, in the transcript of the mission, Grissom says he's putting the sandwich away because it was breaking up and floating around the cabin, the exact potential problem that makes corned beef sandwiches banned in space.

After the mission, a congressional hearing was called about the sneaky sandwich, and NASA's deputy administrator George Mueller had to promise there would be no repeats of the apparently-tasty event."


I had read that the corned beef particles would be particularly nasty if they ever made it into the electronics.

Here is an article on Discovery.com about the problems with space food.




My own particular take on this is that I think I may have figured out something that I, and no one else, possibly, had figured out before.

One reason I decided to write up this story is that, just three days ago (well, four, since it just struck midnight here), I had a particularly nice St. Patrick's Day meal including (what else?) corned beef. Still a recent, pleasant memory.

Don't forget that, back in 1965, the astronauts probably had celebrated the holiday recently as well. Wally Shirra may have gone out for a few beers with his colleagues that week, and perhaps that restaurant still had some sandwiches left over, or maybe had plenty of corned beef left over that they made into sandwiches and put on special. And Shirra may have just gotten the idea looking at a stack of marked down sandwiches. Maybe.

God's Blessings.
tomtac: (arresting "Little Green Man" feline)

So it is Pi Day again (that is, month and day form 3 14 when displayed in that order) and people are going to celebrate things mathematical this weekend. For that, I thought I'd mention a few reads that I've found to be pretty good.


The neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote the first one. (Yes, he was in the news a month ago). It was almost two decades ago that someone excitedly recommended a book to me, with the title "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat", a collection from Sacks of descriptions of people who had unusual mental conditions.


For Pi Day, you might want to read the next to the last chapter in the book -- only about seventeen pages, the chapter named "The Twins".  It is an engrossing step into the kind of wonderful alien landscape that mathematicians dream of.


"The Twins" were two old brothers who seemed to be too simple for normal life. They weren't functional, could not get around town and could not even do simple addition accurately. Instead, they just sat with each other and had slow, unintelligible communications. .... When Dr. Sacks studied them to try to help them, he discovered that they were giving numbers to each other.  They'd sit quietly, then one would say a six figure number. After thinking it over, the other would grin. Then, a little later, he'd offer his own six figure number for the first to appreciate.


What were they? Dr. Sacks figured out, eventually, that each six figure number was a prime number!  These two had, over their lifetimes, managed to find a way to find primes on the order of a million.



There are passages that describe beautifully the mental landscapes these two lived in, and that confronted an essential question: Would it fair to teach these twins simple life skills like figuring exact change for bus rides, if it was likely to disrupt their other, astounding knowledge of large primes?



Your library may have a copy.



A second offering is the short story (five pages) of  "The Book of Sand" by Jorge Luis Borges.  (An amateur book collector in Argentina becomes the owner of a book that, amazingly, has an infinite number of pages.)

Happy Pi Day, and God's Blessings.

tomtac: (arresting "Little Green Man" feline)
What to say?

I thought I'd let him say something worthy himself.  (I forget where I got this, somewhere, last year.  No copyrightinfringement intended.)

Spock-gives-teenage-advice-full

So, I thought, Leonard Nimoy did say things that were VERY worthy.  The name "Leonard" means lion, and I think it fits.

Live forever up there, and prosper.

God's Blessings.
tomtac: (arresting "Little Green Man" feline)
Another year into the Space Age, and I remember the ones that paid for that with blood.

The 27th is remembered because of the Apollo 1 fire. Terrible stuff. And there are the other famous ones, of course. Challenger on the 28th, Columbia on the 1st. Cosmonaut Komarov in Soyuz 1 (his story is not told often enough). The three dead from Salyut 1. The list goes on.

This year, we also add another, the copilot that died in the Spaceship Two crash some months ago.

          * * * * *

But I also keep remembering the others, ones that aren't talked about enough. Not just space pilots who died in training.

This morning, I still grapple with the horrible memory of ... well, the very first shuttle launch was in 1981. That flight went okay.

But on the pad, there had been a lot of preparations.

(A newspaper article I've referenced below gives a slightly different version than the one I remember. Sometimes, the immediate accounts hold inaccuracies.Still, I will defer to it, and replace what I had remembered.)

The aft chamber of the orbiter had been filled with nitrogen. Being an inert gas, there would be no chance of a fire starting in there. And before someone went in there, the chamber would be flushed with breathable air.

But on a certain day, somehow the operation got its signals crossed. A small group of technicians opened the panel to that compartment and went in.  Why?  The newspaper quoted a NASA spokesperson with "Right now, we just don't know what they were doing in there".

"Death by Nitrogen" is not pretty to think about. You'd think that they'd realize 'hey no oxygen' and dive for the doorway, but actually there is precious little for the body to sense about it. It is summed up pretty well by saying "the blood to the brain suddenly has no oxygen".

The technicians passed out quickly, while the body tried automatically to get oxygen -- that is, they started to breathe harder. But no oxygen means no oxygen. Breathing harder just made it quicker and they were gone very fast.

If they got a mention on the Evening News I missed it. Just not a big story, a pad accident.

       * * * * *

Still, the path to space cost a lot more than just money. It is dangerous stuff. People in the space station(s) have little trouble remembering it, and I include that guy we saw at the State of the Union address, who is starting a long duration mission.

God's Blessings and watchfulness on them all, and on their families.

(citations: See the second or third comment following -- there is a newspaper from the following day, and a list of other such deaths.  Or rather a list of lists -- first a bunch of astronauts/cosmonauts that died, then lists for non-astronauts that perished in accidents, the first of which is limited to explosions. This particular accident is in the last list, "non-astronaut" and "non-explosion".)
tomtac: (arresting "Little Green Man" feline)
[Writer's Block template moved to bottom: I replied to a question in that section, and it has tried to take over the top page of this blog. Way to go ...]

So, about an unsold 1960s sitcom pilot "We'll Take Manhattan"Read more... )

I have always loved the premise of this show, and was lucky enough to have seen it the one night it was on. An unsold pilot, I understand why they couldn't make a show of it. But I bet the writers here on LiveJournal could come up with plot lines for it.

"We'll Take Manhattan" was a sitcom. The U.S. government had discovered an ancient Native American document explaining the "sale" of Manhattan. Yes, the Dutch had run into some natives and "bought" the island for about $24 worth of beads, but the natives were just visiting from Staten Island and had successfully fooled them. The REAL owners, the indian tribe that lived there, never sold the island ... and, if they still lived there, then they still owned it.

And it happens that there always had been at least one of the tribe living on Manhattan, and that they had never dropped their claim to the land, and currently the tribe's chief lives there.

So the U.S. government realizes that -- he -- is the sole owner of the most expensive real estate in the world. And they don't want the news to get out, so they coddle the guy and protect him as he takes his daily walk through New York.

Oh, and here is that advertisement I mentioned.

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tomtac: "little green feline" (little green man feline)
+++

October 17 - Stupidity Day

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
Albert Einstein

"Stupidity Day". . . My private holiday for spending time contemplating enemies that reap bad rewards in return for doing evil. That is, I give thanks that some otherwise smart but evil people fail at their awful plans because they miss some important details.

Last year's entry focused on someone who treated his best minds badly enough that they left his country and then saw to it that he lost his big war.

This year I want to write about "getting tough" as a ruling technique, as a way of let your opponents know that YOU are the one that counts, and not THEM.


* * * * *

So we have, on the one side, the people in England's thirteen colonies, in the decade of the 1770s.

On the other side, we have the government of England and of her empire. This includes Parliament and the king, George the Third. It also includes the Royal Governors of the colonies that the Empire possessed in North America.

On April 27, 1773, The Parliament of Great Britain passed the Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly on the North American tea trade.  Extra taxes being levied on the tea that the colonists drank.  I think this was supposed to be a very "firm" act that would show who was in charge.

Yes, there were protests, but what could the colonists do? There was an ocean between them and London.

On December, one particular political protest, by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, became known as "The Boston Tea Party".  (I don't suppose the words "Tea Party" carried the same strong connotation then that it does now.  I only know that December in Boston is pretty chilly, and a protest on the Harbor in December impresses me.) It took three cold hours to dump all that tea.

So people were getting angry. Maybe they knew "who's in charge" but they weren't that cowed.

So, why did this happen in Boston? There were, after all, twelve other colonies, and the very same laws were affecting them.

According to Wikipedia's article on the Tea Party, in the section entitled "Standoff in Boston":


In every colony except Massachusetts, protesters were able to force the tea consignees to resign or to return the tea to England.  In Boston, however, Governor Hutchinson was determined to hold his ground. He convinced the tea consignees, two of whom were his sons, not to back down.

Well. A firm man with a firm hand.  How did this work out?

Governor Thomas Hutchinson had been urging London to take a hard line with the Sons of Liberty. If he had done what the other royal governors had done and let the ship owners and captains resolve the issue with the colonists, the Dartmouth, Eleanor and the Beaver [the skips that went to Boston Harbor] would have left without unloading any tea.

I don't know, I guess, if "get tough tactics" were going to be effective.  You see, there was a principle behind the actions of the colonists. (You are welcome to grab a beer, to hoist in salute of a great man, for the next quote):

Samuel Adams ... He argued that the Tea Party was not the act of a lawless mob, but was instead a principled protest and the only remaining option the people had to defend their constitutional rights.   . . .   By 'constitution' he referred to the idea that all governments have a constitution, written or not, and that the constitution of Great Britain could be interpreted as banning the levying of taxes without representation. For example, the Bill of Rights of 1689 established that long-term taxes could not be levied without Parliament, and other precedents said that Parliament must actually represent the people it ruled over, in order to 'count'."
That is, the principle of "No taxation without representation".

Did Governor Hutchinson's tactics work? Showing them who was boss?

There was a repeat performance on March 7, 1774...

Sigh. And a war after that. Oh well ...
* * * * *
Why the Governor of Massachusetts didn't let the colonists work it out with the tea owners is anyone's guess. He had sons in the tea business and might have been thinking of them. He was due to defend himself in England against charges within a year and might have been positioning himself to be viewed favorably there. Or, in any case, he was known as a hard-liner, having written letters about restricting colonist rights, and then having had the letters leaked.

But the other 12 governors had let the issue go and had gotten relative peace in the other 12 colonies as a result.  Only Hutchinson had gotten a ship's cargo lost.

He did sail to England in June 1774, and defended himself, keeping the favor of the king and the prime minister. But he also was relieved of his post, and found himself exiled. He never came back from England, and he died there.

It was said that, for the next month after the Tea Party, the water of Boston Harbor tasted of tea.  Because drinking tea now seemed unpatriotic, and the people began to prefer coffee, the tea trade suffered.

We fought one more war with England, in 1812. For the rest of that century, our relations were up and down somewhat, but for the last 100 years, it has been relatively cooperative.

The Tea Party became a symbol for people; of what, that seems to depend on the person.

For Mahatma Ghandi, the man most responsible for breaking India away from Britain, the Boston Tea Party seemed to stand for a combination of "no taxation without representation" and "breaking away from Britain". London had been taxing salt in the Indian Colony, in similar way to the taxes on tea in the 1700s.(wikipedia):
When Gandhi met with the British viceroy in 1930 after the Indian salt protest campaign,
Gandhi took some duty-free salt from his shawl and said, with a smile,
that the salt was "to remind us of the famous Boston Tea Party."

God's Blessings.
tomtac: "little green feline" (little green man feline)
. . .  was yesterday.  But the fact is, these last few years, the fact that real pirates are patrolling off the Horn of Africa, and that they don't go yo-ho-ho or y'arr because they are starving and want to feed their families, and because that might have something to do with western countries overfishing their waters and the like . . .  It is not that much fun making with the dumb pirate jokes.

I am glad that enforcement has gotten somewhere with prevention. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piracy_in_Somalia#2013_collapse_of_piracy . )  But still the region is struggling.
tomtac: "little green feline" (little green man feline)
At times in my life, I have lived in the vicinity of Worcester, Massachusetts (a region in North America). But my friend John (who manages the writings and papers of the late "Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat" 1) posted about Elizabeth Bishop in his LiveJournal, and I have gotten to know a bit about her. I was able to visit her grave recently.

It is at Hope Cemetary in Worcester, about one hundred feet south of the graves of Dr. Robert Goddard, the inventor of the liquid fuel rocket, and his wife.  When one sees the Bishop Family grave monument, there is no sign of Elizabeth.

Bishop Family Plot Monument

"William" is at the top of that, as you see. (Sorry the next name is not so clear.)

It is on the back that we find her.

BACK_of_monument

They didn't add the epitaph until later. I like it quite a bit, sometimes my life is like that, too.

Elizabeth_Bishop_close_up

As for this poetry, I happen to like this poem of hers quite a bit. Worcester may have been on its way down back then, but I think it bottomed out since and is quite a nice place in many ways. (And no, I won't tell you how its name is pronounced.)

In the Waiting Room


Elizabeth Bishop, 1911 - 1979
In Worcester, Massachusetts,
I went with Aunt Consuelo
to keep her dentist's appointment
and sat and waited for her
in the dentist's waiting room.
It was winter. It got dark
early. The waiting room
was full of grown-up people,
arctics and overcoats,
lamps and magazines.
My aunt was inside
what seemed like a long time
and while I waited I read
the National Geographic 
(I could read) and carefully 
studied the photographs:
the inside of a volcano,
black, and full of ashes;
then it was spilling over
in rivulets of fire.
Osa and Martin Johnson 
dressed in riding breeches,
laced boots, and pith helmets.
A dead man slung on a pole
--"Long Pig," the caption said.
Babies with pointed heads
wound round and round with string;
black, naked women with necks
wound round and round with wire
like the necks of light bulbs.
Their breasts were horrifying.
I read it right straight through.
I was too shy to stop.
And then I looked at the cover:
the yellow margins, the date.
Suddenly, from inside,
came an oh! of pain
--Aunt Consuelo's voice--
not very loud or long.
I wasn't at all surprised;
even then I knew she was 
a foolish, timid woman.
I might have been embarrassed,
but wasn't.  What took me
completely by surprise
was that it was me:
my voice, in my mouth.
Without thinking at all
I was my foolish aunt,
I--we--were falling, falling,
our eyes glued to the cover
of the National Geographic,
February, 1918.

I said to myself: three days
and you'll be seven years old.
I was saying it to stop
the sensation of falling off
the round, turning world.
into cold, blue-black space.
But I felt: you are an I,
you are an Elizabeth,
you are one of them.
Why should you be one, too?
I scarcely dared to look
to see what it was I was.
I gave a sidelong glance
--I couldn't look any higher--
at shadowy gray knees,
trousers and skirts and boots
and different pairs of hands
lying under the lamps.
I knew that nothing stranger
had ever happened, that nothing
stranger could ever happen.

Why should I be my aunt,
or me, or anyone?
What similarities--
boots, hands, the family voice
I felt in my throat, or even
the National Geographic
and those awful hanging breasts--
held us all together
or made us all just one?
How--I didn't know any
word for it--how "unlikely". . .
How had I come to be here,
like them, and overhear
a cry of pain that could have
got loud and worse but hadn't?

The waiting room was bright
and too hot. It was sliding
beneath a big black wave,
another, and another.

Then I was back in it.
The War was on. Outside,
in Worcester, Massachusetts,
were night and slush and cold,
and it was still the fifth 
of February, 1918.


Yeah, life in war time is not pleasant, and by 1918, the United States had gotten into the World War. I don't enjoy wars, and I guess Ms. Bishop didn't, either.

God's Blessings.

1
The Life and Works of Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat -- A factotum as well as editor.
tomtac: (arresting "Little Green Man" feline)
"Time Heals" by J.J Leander.

(Okay, first thing I should say, somewhere, that "Leander" is a pen name, and the book was written by a close friend.)

(Another thing, Amazon has the Kindle price down to zero. Don't know why. If they fix it, the price should go back to $2.)

It is a "female warrior riding a dragon" sort of thing, and it is also pretty spiritual. Do those go together?

The main character gets out of scrapes and talks about the main trends of future human history, while her dragon whisks her from one society to another, oh, and teaches her how to be extremely civilized.

( http://www.amazon.com/Time-Heals-Nexuses-J-J-Leander-ebook/dp/B00KY2FEIC/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404508027&sr=1-1&keywords=j.j.+leander )

I don't have a Kindle, but did install the free Kindle-in-a-PC reading app. Maybe that is why the book price dropped to zero.

I know the lady, and she knows her stuff. When she writes about bows and arrows, it shows. She goes turkey hunting with bows and arrows. But she got older and doesn't kill anything anymore, by choice.
tomtac: "little green feline" (little green man feline)
(cue up Radiohead's "No Surpises")

Yesterday was June 25, Surprise Day, and an uneventful one. (I guess it was, although maybe the U.S.A. soccer team's successes this month may count.)

As the old saying/blessing goes, then, "may you all live in uninteresting times".

God's Blessings.
tomtac: "little green feline" (little green man feline)
The firebugs have been triply interesting this past month, and they are still going strong.

I still remember the very first one I saw at the end of May. I happened to be looking towards the north, and caught a flash halfway between the two Bears (right in Cameleopardis). It was so fast that I actually wondered if that green flash was from out beyond the atmosphere. ... Of course, I decided later that week that it was "just a firefly, nothing going on in Cameleopardis". And then, there actually was an announcement of a meteor shower to take place there.

Fireflies. Since then, I've gotten a good germ of a story idea about fireflies, which is soon to be all written down.

Yesterday, a pretty nice display happened while I was working in my basement. A firefly landed on my screen door, and didn't care that I was standing right inside. All the time I watched, he sat there with his underside facing me, and lit up every five to ten seconds just a coupld of feet away, sitting on the screen.

These evenings, in the dark, we've had a tremendous number of them sliding around in the air. And I've seen a lot of "double flashes", that is, a *blink* and a *blink*, and then a pause of about five seconds, and then another *blink* and a *blink*, and I wait, and then further away another pair of *blink*s. And I can't see well enough in the dark to tell whether that would be one fly with a double blink, or if it is a pair of flies chasing each other.
tomtac: "little green feline" (little green man feline)
I told you JUNE THIRD was my earworm day.






(from the November 10, 1967 issue of Life magazine, Gentry strolls across the Tallahatchie Bridge)









I told you this was my earworm day.
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