Friday, June 29, 2007

Pretty Please?

This article destined for the #1 issue of Cashier World Magazine.

A man who thought the clerk at a fast-food drive-through was rude for not saying "please" and "thank you" punched her in the face, police said.

New Word of the Day

Ritch - this is the kind of itch you get when you even think about rich people and want to have what they have, or at least everything in your own home suddenly seems pale and drab, you go online and look at fancy things and want to spend a lot of money.

Squatter.com

If you go to squatter.com, you can find "homes for sale". kind of misses the point, don't you think? if i could buy a freakin' house, would i be squatting? well, maybe i would. there are other things to buy - food, clothing, etc ...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Squatter With a Lexus - Preface

Squatter With a Lexus

When Katie Parsons received a letter notifying her that she had thirty days to present the key to a strongbox or its contents would revert to the state, she realized that either this was a mistake or else her ship had finally come in.

It was a mistake.

When she inspected the envelope she discovered that the letter was addressed to a Mr. Pearson Holmes. She had never heard of any Holmes outside of Sherlock.

"Oh well", she sighed. "easy come, easy go", and tossed the letter into the kitchen garbage pail. It sat there all day Wednesday, all day Thursday, and most of Friday, until her husband, Keith, finally took out the trash. Then the letter sat in the yard beside the garage for the rest of Friday, and well into Saturday morning.

It was retrieved by Freddy the Freegan on Saturday, June 23rd, at 11:47 A.M. That is when our story begins.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Not the News - Perpetual Edition

There's a site for "not the news" items - fark.com - all the crap that isn't news. man, there's a lot of it!

Cashier World

I always wanted to publish a magazine called 'Cashier World'. There seems to be a magazine for everything else, why not one for the millions who work a cash register every day? Of course it would be a spoof of a trade magazine, with all sorts of ridiculous sections:

  • reviews of the latest hi-tech cash registers and their features
  • questions and answers, tips on successful customer interaction strategies
  • secrets of making change
  • best companies to cashier for
  • the art of the void
  • page three cashier girl of the week
  • cash related mp3 song of the week

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Freegans

"Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources".

dumpster diving with a philosophy - I think my "squatter with a lexus" might turn out to be a freegan. Not sure where he found the lexus, though, or where he gets the gas for it. some things are harder to find than others. he also legally changed his name to something without capital letters. capitalization is yet another abomination. truly, the system is fucked.

he holds some truths to be self-evident. maybe not his father's truths, but thruths nonetheless.

he goes native in the summertime.

he does a hell of a lot of rationalizing ("Hitchhiking fills up room in a car that would have been unused otherwise and therefore it does not add to the overall consumption of cars and gasoline.")

i'm thinking it's easier to be a hippie when you're young

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cutout

So much, people seem to think that a father has to be this, that a man has to be that, that a person must do such and such, go this way in life, not that. Sometimes people will tell you that you can be yourself, think for yourself, but we don't really want to do that. Easier to just go along.

Your kids will have a lot of influences but only one father, ever - don't let it be a cardboard cutout of a dad - make it a dad no other kids could ever have, a one and only dad, just you and who you are and who you are with them. All their life they'll carry with them at least one image of one authentic person, if you're lucky.

A father must be this or that - forget about it. You, as a father, must be you. That's the only "must" about it.

Cliques in Space

cyberspace that is - about time this manifested:

The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other "good" kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we'd call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.

MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

The Magic of Failure

A good friend of mine had his application accepted to run in the New York marathon this year. Apparently, the reason for the acceptance was that he had been denied the previous three times in a row; if he had not failed before, he would not have succeeded this time. Try, try again, in this case, is 'try, try, try, try again' - with results guaranteed.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Education

Not everything you need to know can be learned in kindergarden. For example, from 'Therese Raquin', by Emile Zola: She learned that it was possible to be happy without killing your husband

Friday, June 22, 2007

Rated

What's up with this? Some online dating service does blog rating. weird

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2

Mingle2 - Blog Rating

Missing Pieces

All over the news these days - stories about missing pieces and random acts of cutting:

Man's Nose Partially Bitten Off in Fight
Baby Doesn't Belong to Missing Woman
Great America shuts ride after Kentucky accident chops off girl's feet
Barber Stabs Client With Scissors

Pack Man

Some people like to run with the pack, some with the herd.

Noticing that my son loves to run around in a playground with a few other friends, but doesn't like doing things in large groups as much (for example, splashing around in a big pool filled with kids). Just a comfort level thing, I suppose; he's more likely to shy away from team sports for this reason.

I didn't mind getting lost in a crowd - it's one of the reasons I spent at least half my life living in big cities and working downtown. I liked the anonymity. But lately I'm also more of a pack man too. I prefer my little family, our circle of friends, our tiny town in the woods.

Man domesticated dogs, but it worked the other way around too - dogs found man to their liking, partly because of our shared affinity for pack-ness.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Articulate Enemies

If you must make enemies, choose inarticulate ones. Otherwise you will end up reading erudite posts trashing you in ways you literally cannot understand. Better to have an enemy who says, "you, you, you, you suck, man!".

Cultural Traitors

My reaction to this interesting post on "crack-rap"

My reaction to this piece is that this is about cultural treason - these so-called artists who are enabling racists to feel good about their racism are nothing more than traitors. This is not some historically unique phenomenon.

It reminds me of Nazi collaborators, including artists who were happy to profit from fascism and claim, 'hey, it's every man for himself'.

There will always be such 'running dogs', and on the other hand, there will always be people eager to accuse others of acting against the traditions or best interest of their clan or state or race - this is universal. Googling "cultural traitor" can lead as far afield as this: "Sadly, as a Malay performing and promoting Classical Indian Dance, Ramli has had to battle accusations of being a cultural traitor".

As long as people cling to one form of identity or another (and people always will, I believe), they're going to have situations like this.

Research

Science Discovers Language Exists for a Reason and other astonishing developments.

A recent review of Eric Voegelin's work indicates that this historian seemed to think that all of history leads inexorably to the present, hence we can draw conclusions. The reason things are the way they are now is because of the way they were then. From this we may also infer that the way things will be in the future is highly dependent on the way they are now. Thus, as Karl Kraus predicted, history need not actually occur in order for us to know how it will turn out. It will be as it must.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Kinds of Seafood

1. Sea food - food from the sea

2. No-See food - when the lights go out in your restaurant

3. C-food - eating only foods that begin with the letter C (chicken, corn, cucumbers)

and introducing the scientifically produced kind: Labster

A Word To The Wise

To the googler who arrived here after searching for "are bionicles good for christians", I can assure you that the answer is, most indubitably, yes. Bionicles are in fact excellent for Christians. There's nothing better for a Christian than a Bionicle.

I would recommend Vezon and Fenrak.

They're my favorite Bionicle. They have that nice Armageddon feeling about them


Bionicles also make good gifts for any occasion.

Well, maybe not your Golden Anniversary.

or Mother's Day.

Never mind.

Pile On

So tempting to just grab a series of headlines - say, everything that catches my eye in one week's time, or even one day - and then try to graft them onto a fiction together.

For example, Florida Man Strangles Rabid Bobcat would somehow have to fit in with Lab-Grown Designer Vaginas.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Belief System

A friend reminded me that all of us, as part of the nature of consciousness, have a predisposition to possess a belief system of some kind. Consciousness is a framework for making sense of the world (so we can, like, survive without going crazy?), and a belief system is part of the infrastructure. Religion is one of those belief systems, Atheism is also one, in fact almost any coherent group of concepts can serve the purpose. Your belief system may revolve around a card game, the mating rituals of beetles, or any other metaphor or set of ideas that make you feel OK about the way things are. I would only request two elements of any belief system: 1) tolerance of other belief systems and 2) a sense of humor! Puh-lease. Now I understand why atheists have as little sense of humor (as a group) as any other group - because they ARE like any other group.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cryomatic

Nothing funny about a blind guy crossing the street and smacking into a parked car, but come on, the guy was jaywalking! wtf?

ongoing series of people who assume we are jewish. old lady coming out of mcdonald's looks at my smiling son, looks back at me, grins and says, "what a face! what a schmazzer!" i googled it but came up with nothing. wtf part deux?

the boy was introduced to baseball cards at his first day of summer camp today. on the way home he says, "Albert Pujols [poo-jowels]. Do we like him?"

Sometimes a boy just needs his dad to be his dad, like picking him up early on his first day at a new place, taking him out to a playground, and just hanging out while he tries to absorb all the new and strange experiences.

Sir Wha?

Of course the British knighthood business is utterly ridiculous, but they out-parody themselves by knighting a crappy novelist (personal opinion) stupidly reviled by billions of people around the world (fact). jolly good show. what the heck.

why not just go ahead and knight everyone who ever made a headline?

Now, in this article, Britain's interior minister's claim is that the knighting represents a defense of "free speech". "We have a set of values that accords people honors when they contribute to literature even if we don't agree with their point of view"

I don't disagree, but we also have limits on free speech, such as shouting "fire" in a crowded theater, and one could argue that that is equivalent to what they've done.

Post-Weekend Drip

Spent around 22 hours this weekend working at our local summer fair, organizing fundraising activities for the local school. some mehmets (memory units):

"given enough time, anything will turn into contentious bullshit" (mehmet t)

sometimes volunteering is harder than "working"

asking 50 people in order to get 20 people to do something for nothing - the amazing thing is that you can even get 20 people!

everyone each doing a little bit really adds up to a lot

at one point we were watching a guy rocking out on stage, singing and playing guitar and grinning and having a great time. my friend turns to me and tells me, that guy has lung cancer. this is one of his last shows ever ... makes you realize the value of the hippie-ish perspective - to look for the beauty in everything, to enjoy the moment ... on the other hand, there's the problem of the free lunch you don't ever get.

Distance

interesting article on On the vastness of the universe, and why human colonization of other worlds is never going to happen (without a magic wand) (and anyway, wasn't all that sci fi stuff basically just another version of the wild wild west and the american mythology of endless expansionism?)

Scandal Lovers

Anyone who loves a juicy scandal will enjoy this story from Argentina, involving class, sex, adultery, homosexuality, police incompetence, and incest.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

More Stupid Questions

From a BlueButterfly on LiveVideo

How Many Stars?

From a letter in Salon, a very nice summation of the question, "how many stars?" try to imagine this:

Here are the facts, no faith required: in a universe of 200 Billion Galaxies (200,000,000,000) with most galaxies including our own averaging 200 Billion suns apiece, that works out to around 400 Quintillion stars in the universe (400,000,000,000,000,000,000), not counting all the massive and supermassive black holes at the centers of most of those 200 Billion galaxies. The Milky Way has 150-200 globular clusters, and there is one galaxy Messier 87 that has 11 to 13 thousand globular clusters for a total star population in the tens of trillions.

We occupy the third planet of a G-Class Population I star (and there are more than 100 Million G stars in the Milky Way alone) in the Orion or Local Spur arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, one of thirty galaxies in the Local Group, on of the outlying groups which make up thirty of the two thousand galaxies in the Virgo Cluster, which makes up the hear of the Virgo Supercluster, which contains about 100 of these such groups of galaxies and is some 200 million light years across. However this pales in comparison to the thought that these "SuperClusters" are themselves subordinate to gigantic walls or sheets of SuperClusters, also called "SuperCluster Complexes" that can be more than a billion light years in length.

Iffy About God

Atheism gets boost from the comics, in - Opus on Salon.com - he's not quite joining the Atheist Shopping Network, but he is little bit "iffy about God"

Friday, June 15, 2007

touch transmission

in today's "isn't science like woah" category, transmitting data through bones could help disabled people control gadgets

We'll get there when we get there

in today's work adventure, i fill up a server with data, then pull the plug and watch it all drain. it starts out draining rapidly enough, but soon the rate of drainage slows, and keeps slowing, so that everytime i calculate the endtime, it is twenty minutes away. it was twenty minutes from completion two hours ago, one hour ago, twenty minutes ago, and now.

very much like zeno's paradox. if you always go halfway, you will never reach the end

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Squatter with a Lexus

It's actually a sporty Mazda, but Lexus sounds better. You know that housing prices are out of control when Lexus owners resort to squatting in abandoned ghost homes.

When a little dog is kidnapped from his fenced-in yard, and shows up the next day at an animal shelter thirty miles away, it's probably because of a love triangle.

Plants recognize their siblings. And steal their toys.

"A man's got to know his limitations" (still my all-time favorite movie line, from Dirty Harry in 'Magnum Force'), or "a book is like a mirror. If a monkey's looking in, don't expect to see an apostle looking out" (Georg Christoph Lichtenberg) -

Something that is entertaining along the way, but doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, and doesn't have much emotional impact, if any - this is pretty much my genre.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

evolution wars rage on

hundreds of comments on this vox populi post rejecting evolution, noting that most Republicans reject evolution while most Democracts accept it, but, oddly, stating that most Republicans are also wealthier and happier than Democrats, which apparently proves something (other than that rich people tend to be Republicans and also that rich people tend to be happier than poor people). But woah, hundreds of comments! The war rages on! Just when you thought it was safe to crawl out of the water!

another "only in america"

Monday, June 11, 2007

done and done

after coming across Denzel Washington as a "time traveling federal agent who falls in love with a woman fated to be murdered", I am officially done and done with time travel forever. i am even considering going back in time and unwriting my two time travel fictions and unrecording my "tedious time traveler" videos.

didn't know you could go fishing for frogs with a fishing pole and a plastic worm. another lesson from our local 9 year old superman.

moths hatching in droves around the live oaks - it's that time of year again.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Robot Toddler

Science strikes again: A group of scientists in Japan have developed a humanoid that acts like a toddler to better understand child development.

Which reminds me, I was going to bake some mechanical cookies to find out how cookies taste!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

New Standards in Miracles

Forget about the Virgin Mary, now you can see the face of a dead mayor in a tree trunk

History of Kindergarten

Friedrich Froebel, the romantic motherless son who started the first kindergarten in Germany in 1840, would be horrified by what’s called kindergarten today. He conceived the early learning experience as a homage to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who believed that “reading is the plague of childhood. . . . Books are good only for learning to babble about what one does not know.” Letters and numbers were officially banned from Froebel’s kindergartens

from this interesting Times magazine article

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Pet Peeve of the Day - Dental Edition

"you can never go to the dentist once" - they always find some reason to make you come again

Halal and Haram

Entertaining article about a Muslim TV Sex Talk Show where doggie-style is verboten and women are different and never need to masturbate and homosexuality is like alcoholism and the Koran commands foreplay. Hey, it's almost the 1950's all over again with Cosmo and a Muslim Helen Gurley Brown (although without the 10-step blow job manual).

It's very simple, she says, this is good and that is bad.

I remember reading in a Jewish religious text (during a boring bar mitzvah) about God ordering how many blue threads should be woven into the fringe of a scarf, as opposed to how many white threads, and it made me think, woah, that God is pretty neurotic, not to say micro-managing, but who knew He was also so particular about sexual positions and who can fuck who and how!

Headline of the Day

"Bush says Russian won't attack Europe" - Oh, Mr. Know-It-All is at it again! Has he "looked into the heart" of Putin one more time? What a fucking moron.

So after they cooked up this whole 'war on terror' to keep the defense industry booming after the end of the cold war, BOOM, the cold war is back! dang. next they'll be telling us that we've always been at war with the commies, and the muslims are our friends. no wait, it's the muslims we're at war with, not the commies. oh it's so confusing!

meanwhile, four men in a kitchen plan to blow up new york and the headlines scream NEW YORK BLOWN UP! these guys will turn out to be as dangerous as the guys from buffalo who took a trip to pakistan, or the guys in florida, who wanted to wear uniforms and march, or the guys in lodi, or the so-called american taliban, or the 15-year old in guantanamo. keep the fear coming. if it isn't terrorists it's communists or martians in their freaking space ships.

fear is the glue that makes america feel strong.

in america we think that if it didn't happen on "our soil", it didn't happen. it didn't happen that we installed and/or supplied and supported a whole series of brutal dictators throughout the world, including the middle east, including the shah of iran, including saddam hussein, including the so-called royal family of saudi arabia, or that we've been the enemy of all arab states in every war with israel, oh no, none of that stuff ever happened, but 9/11 happened! out of the fucking blue, no less.

bumper sticker - america, your shit doesn't stink!

Monday, June 04, 2007

One Question

My wife posed the problem, if you could ask a presidential candidate one question, what would it be?

Her own question is excellent (i paraphrase) - do you think it's fair that the quality of public schools should depend on the property tax base of their locations, creating such great disparities for our children, and if not, what do you propose to do about it?

Our child is in a very small rural school district and compared to some just over the hill (in the very wealthy communities of Portola Valley, Woodside and Palo Alto) our schools seem to have almost nothing, really. No extracurricular activities, no sports, no fancy learning centers; nothing but an incredibly dedicated and brilliant staff, and parent volunteers who all together try to make as much of a difference as they can.

And yet, compared to schools just a few more miles down the road, in East Palo Alto, for example, or Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, our schools seem positively luxurious. We have heaters, we have windows, we have books.

It isn't fair at all. The concept of 'public education' doesn't seem to translate. Every school seems 'private' to its locale, they get only as much as they can afford. I certainly don't have the answer, but it is a question I would like to see addressed.

Must Be Hard

Jim Carroll wrote in a song, "it must be hard to work in a bookstore, constantly surrounded by the memories of your true loves". Different to browse in a cluttered old used bookstore, the kind with piles of teetering paperbacks on the floor and barely organized sections on the shelves. If you have the time, you look at every book in a given area. Many of them you recognize (especially if you are someone who for many years worked in bookstores) and many more you do not. Each and every title was somebody's true love once - the author's. Each of them was a dream, a labor, an achievement, and now they sit there, yellowed, falling apart, available for pennies on the dollar for one more chance at becoming discovered.

I picked up a few the other day. One I had read before (Therese Raquin by Zola), one I had long meant to read (A Redous by Huysmans) and one I had never heard of (which shall remain nameless here). This last one was the second novel by a writer who had had a big (monetary) success with his first; it was even made into a famous movie, and the second one had excited blurbs all over the cover, so I thought I'd give it a chance. It was terrible. On page two the author started talking about 'Oedipal urges'. How embarrassing! I felt sorry for him, because I also knew he never had another book published after that.

Whereas the Huysmans book pulls no punches: "Already he had begin dreaming of a desert hermitage equipped with all modern conveniences, a snugly heated ark on dry land in which he might take refuge from the incessant deluge of human stupidity."

(and yet without all of that stupidity, there would be no modern conveniences, and without all the stpuid books there would be tthere would be no bookstores with the few good ones )

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Moving Target

once again, 'golden' has been majorly revised (see the previous post). is there no end? usually when i write a story i write it and it's done. this one just won't stop.

and yet, i think it's getting better all the time

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Synopsis

We begin in a small bookstore. The bookstore owner (Wolff) is seated behind the counter reading PK Dick's "Ubik" when a man (Ronson) comes in, shows him a picture of another man and asks if he has seen him. In that moment, the two men seem to partially become each other, but the transaction becomes a normal sale as if nothing unusual just happened. The 'customer' (Ronson-Wolff) leaves the store and the 'owner' (Wolff-Ronson) remains where he was.

Two men (Jimmy and Riley) come rushing in, looking for their leader, Ronson, but not recogonizing the partial Ronson-now-Wolff as that man. Told he has just left, they rush back out onto the street but see only a family - a father, teenaged son, and young daughter. The two men decide to return to 'the station', as the teenaged son comes into the bookstore, says goodbye to his family. The young man is reporting to work.

The young man (Myron) and the bookstore owner (Wolff) later go to lunch together, at a restaurant where Wolff has a legendary crush on a waitress (Lacey), but on this day, he doesn't even seem to remember her, and acts strangely. Myron and Lacey collide in a drink-spilling accident as a thunderstorm begins.

Now thirty years later, Golden is a middle-aged African-American man, teaching his contemporary social studies college class, going home, stopping on the way to say hello to old friend, going home and making dinner for his depressed, agoraphobic sister (Ledge) - whom he has raised since childhood - cleaning up, and then going out for a jog.

While jogging, Golden meets a strange dog, a golden retriever named Ruby, and follows it for awhile, into the woods and a clearing, and discovers he is 'not in Kansas anymore'.

He is in some kind of a ghost town at dusk. Looking around he realizes it is his own town but in some other time, a deserted and abandoned town of the future. Exploring, looking for a way back home but finding none, he eventually falls asleep on the bench at a train station.

Next morning he looks around some more and opens the front door of a house - inside there is another world, it seems, of horse-drawn carriages and people from another time. the dog runs in but he does not. Alone now, he looks around some more, opens more doors, sees more scenes, but does not go in. Eventually returns to the station, tired and confused

The dog returns, and this time it has a bone. Golden realized that he can go and come back, and that he can also bring things back. Golden decides he might as well follow the dog into a house and take his chances.

He does follow the dog into a house and finds himself in the wild wild west. Jimy and Riley are also there, still searching for Ronson. Looking around for something to eat, Golden goes into a general store and finds something, discovers to his amazement that he has money of the time in his pocket. He is also dressed appropriately for that era. Unfortunately, he cannot eat the 'food' he bought, and gives it to the dog.

Finding no way out, Golden and Ruby eventually fall asleep and wake up in the desert - now there is nothing man-made but he can tell he is in the same geographical location. distant past or distant future, he cannot tell. They walk around and find they are surrounded by an invisible force field through which they cannot pass. They return to the approximate spot where they awoke and are suprised to see a weird sort of opening pulsating in the air before them, making a crackling sound. Ruby rushes to it, and Golden follows, and finds himself back in the ghost town.

Golden looks around through more houses, convinced he can find his way back to his own time. he does find his own apartment building, enters it and goes into his apartment, only to find his best friend (Wolff) older and dying in his own bed. the friend tells him that he - Golden - has been missing for days, and in the meantime a weird disaster has been wiping out the city, people are vanishing, dying, even buildings are disappearing. Wolff is one of the last to go. Golden's sister (Ledge) has already vanished. Wolff tells him to get away quickly since no one knows what is going on. it might be in the air, in the water, in the dirt. After witnessing a full city bus fade and vanish in mid-ride, Golden leaves and returns to the ghost town.

At this point, Jimmy and Riley are in modern times, wandering around the city in search of 'the perfect burrito'. they have a strange adventure, in which one of the men (Jimmy) nearly becomes a different person entirely, saved only at the last minute by the return of the other man. They see Golden walking down the street, recognize him, and decide to try and contact him, believing that he knows about the whereabouts of Ronson.

Walking around the ghost town, peeking into doors, Golden comes across a scene of his sister as a little girl, walking with their father, and himself as a youth. It is the very same scene, the very same day, that we first met Wolff and Myron. Golden enters the scene and follows them to the bookstore, where the young self (Myron) enters and goes to work. Inside, Golden meets his old friend Wolff as a much younger man and talks with him. Wolff had given Golden his first job as a teenager, in his bookstore. Myron's father had died soon after that, and Myron had had to raise Ledge (ten years younger than himself) and work himself through college.

Back in the ghost town, Golden starts to make a life for himself. After all, a man's got to live. He finds that he can go to a time after the plague when stores were still stocked, and buys himself some necessities of life (a generator, gasoline, seeds, books and medicines) with a credit card he finds in his pocket. The two time travelers show up at Golden's new home and become friends as fellow adventurers. Jimmy and Tiley tell him what little they know of the whole time warp experience, that most people just merge into someone who exists at that time, and that there are very few who can ever go and come back.

Golden is getting more comfortable and more confident. He decides to visit more and more 'times' by going through various front doors. He begins to meet people from the past - laborers at the train station, a pastor and his flock, and then once again he sees Ledge as a little girl. It is earlier on the same day that we have already seen twice before. She's such a happy little girl, and recalling what a miserable life she ended up having, concluding with her death of the plague, he impulsively decides to bring her with him into the future ghost town. He leads her to the station by telling her that he was a friend of her mother (who died giving birth to the girl) and can show her her mother's house. Ledge follows him and they pass through the time warp only to return at the same house - he has taken up residence in the ghost town in the same house where they lived as children.

Ledge is not happy about being tricked and Golden has to bribe her with shopping expeditions to keep her under control. He also has to find children for her to play with and in the process, they visit more and more places and encounter difficulties unique to 'time traveling while black'. A restaurant seats them in a segregated booth and then doesn't serve them. They can only play with other colored children in 'colored-only' parks. Policemen move them along when they attempt to ask white people for directions to a playground.

The other two time travelers are also having more adventures, sort of. Stuck in Ancient Rome, Riley is complaining about the food, and is bored with the whole thing. He tells Jimmy he's had enough of this stuff and plans to find some place and time and just lose himself there.

After Ledge is denied a chance to play with a white girl (incomprehensible to her) she breaks away from Golden and runs off by herself into the past. She finds herself way back, around 1910, surrounded by a group of white boys who mean her no good. Golden and Ruby catch up with her and have to fight their way out, getting pelted with rocks as they make their escape. Golden is furious with Ledge for having run away and gotten into trouble, and they argue. Ledge is unhappy, bored and restless and homesick, and not even shopping for clothes can snap her out of it. Golden is also unhappy - he was getting used to the ghost town and doesn't remember that raising a child was such hard work.

In the ghost town, Golden enters Ledge's room to find her dancing to some raunchy music video he never would have let her buy. They have a screaming fight, he accuses her of lying to him, she yells at him to leave the room, and slams the door behind him. Jimmy shows up just then and Golden expresses his frustration with Ledge, not knowing what to do with her. He feels he can't continue the way things are, and yet he cannot simply throw her back in time - for one thing, there is the plague, and in times before that, there is the fact of segregation, discrimination, and racism promising a difficult life for her. He also tells Jimmy that he has seen a picture of the long-lost Ronson, only he was a black man who had died in World War Two.


Golden and Ledge are in a park in the 1990's; there are people of different races mingling at a birthday party. Ledge runs off to join some kids playing a game of tag. Golden is invited to join the party but declines. he watches the kids from a distance for a little while, then gets up and walks away. He makes an effort to just keep going, to leave her behind in the best situation possible (even with the plague - it's the lesser of the evils), but he just can't do it. He hesitates, and finally returns to the party.

It's a thunderstorm in the ghost town, and young Myron and the waitress, Lacey, have somehow found themselves there. Golden sees them running in the street and shouts out for them to come over and get inside, get warm and dry. Ledge is ecstatic to see her brother, Myron (she has never recognized Golden as her brother), and Myron is puzzled to see her. She has been in the ghost town for a month, and yet she has never been gone at all from her original world. They are all in at least two places at the same time. Golden and Myron are the same person but not the same.

Golden, Myron, Lacey and Ledge get to know each other. Ledge confides to Myron that she's often gone off with the dog into the past and come back. Golden does not tell Myron who he really is, but tells him as much as he can about their situation. They are all still stuck, and they have no idea how to get out, and then Riley comes to visit. He has given up the search for Ronson, and found the paradise he's been looking for. It is far distant in the future, and he can take them there.

The next morning they all gather at the train station - an unusual time warp comes rippling up the tracks and takes everyone away, everyone that is, except Golden and Ruby, who remain behind in the ghost town.

Special Mask

Overheard, one kindergartner explaining a game to the other: You put the special mask on, and you're so filled with knowledge, you die.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Carbon Credit Emporium

Here you can trade in those pesky carbon credits your mom got you for Christmas in exchange for tupperware, grillware, and other fine carbon products.

Test Of Faith

Test your faith by answering the following questions, true or false:

1) I believe in the number three

2) I believe that cats like me

3) I believe that heavy cream falls faster than light cream

Any combination of answers is correct. After all, faith is a personal matter.

EyeDrag

When browsing through a bookstore, there are authros whose mere presence on the shelves is annoying - they've wasted your eyesight by having to see their names