Still no conclusive proof

Despite my attempts to the contrary, I can find no conclusive proof that these blog entries have any effect other than rearranging bits in what must be, probably is, computer servers out there somewhere.

Therefore, I am, as I imagined in my first thoughts as an infant, truly alone.

I walk, I breathe, I speak, I listen — those activities have greater impact upon the world than these bits and bytes.

Nothing I do here influences or impacts the [American] football coaches of the Southeastern Conference college teams so nothing I write in this space would cause them to want to make comments about the level of competition that the University of Tennessee coaches, trainers, staff, stadium/field, training facilities and players bring to the SEC.

They alone have to defend their job perks/pay scales and physical abuse of young men in order to instill teamwork and self-sacrifice into “student-athletes” aligned with the much-maligned NCAA just so universities can virtually destroy a few student-athletes in the name of commerce, yet claim it’s all about educational opportunities.

My habits are the result of my place in a tiny subculture in this great galaxy of ours — I do not qualify them with labels like “good” or “bad.”

For, you see, I have my own personal secret to success that prevents me from S everyday — I am waiting to die and every day until I die is a bonus I didn’t have when I contemplated S the day before — the only friend of mine when considering the big S is procrastination — there will always be time tomorrow to say hello to S and goodbye to the rest.

I never have been a very good team player.  I blame my parents, who brought a rival for their affection into this world — my sister — and I’ve been in a personal war against the world ever since.

From then on, it’s been a mental struggle to tell myself that the opposite sex is one part of two-gender trait of our species (to be honest, I’m still uncomfortable including LGBTXYZ in my universal view), that we should work together to make this planet a better place to live, etc.

I am an uptight dude, who never has felt comfortable relaxing in front of others, constantly switching personality masks to accommodate and please people around me so I can wall/fence them off from the parallel universe inside my thoughts, where I truly live, happy in my private misery and/or miserable in my private happiness.

Men are not my rivals — everything about them is some part of me, and they are what they are in their hairy, testosterone-driven imperfections.

Women are my rivals and always will be — there will never be a time when I can get back to those happy moments with my parents before my sister was conceived — whatever women do, I will compete against them; when they’re better than me at some task/skill, I will feel an immense jealousy/envy with which I will either find strength and choose to compete or feel deflated and concede defeat.

Before my wife and I followed in my parents’ footsteps and bought season tickets for Univ. of TN football home games in 1991, we enjoyed weekend getaways to B&Bs around the country.

If the exploitative college football system didn’t exist, my wife and I would probably be traveling the world.

Instead, I have driven us six or seven times in the autumn of the year back to our parents’ places in order to schedule family time around trips to Neyland Stadium.

A week ago, my wife and I decided to change seats in the stadium, giving up our South End Zone, upper deck spots in Section LL, Row 9, Seats 14-15, that we have held since 1991, in order to move to the North End Zone upper deck, our “Annual Fund” (formerly the Volunteer Athletic Scholarship Fund) donation level staying the same.

We also took advantage of buying four tickets to the “away” game in Tuscaloosa for this year’s UT-Bama game, traditionally held on the third Saturday in October.

I have no idea who the players are or will be for either team but I’m pretty sure that they’ll be in the 17-23 year old age range, the youngest players being a third my age, remembered for decades by kids who’ll attend the games and cheer for their favourite players just like when I was a kid and cheered for the likes of Condredge Holloway, a young man from Huntsville, Alabama, who ended up playing quarterback for University of Tennessee because the University of Alabama head football coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant, told Condredge that he’d never be a quarterback for Bama because his skin was the wrong colour for the times.   Probably still is in the heart of Dixie.

Doesn’t matter to me how many national championship trophies that the University of Alabama football team claims to have because I’ll always remember a fellow male, George Wallace, standing on the university campus barring people with dark skin from attending classes.

How many national championship caliber quarterbacks for Bama have not been white?

When will the first national championship college football team have a woman on the first team, let alone at quarterback?

These are questions I can wait until the day I die to see answered outside of this blog because I’ve already seen them played out in the parallel universe of my thoughts.

In a few months, I’ll watch traditional male-dominated football teams hold a controlled fight/wrestling match while women and men cheer on the sideline, knowing, despite increased ticket prices and major stadium seating capacity upgrades, nothing has changed in 50 years:

I’m still a set of states of energy alone in my thoughts, committed to my marriage and my family, but otherwise not much of a team player when I don’t want to be, never that happy-but-apprehensive-of-the-big-wide-world one-year old ever again.

Machiavel, serenissimi regis

…or, megachurch as small-town surrogate.

…or, when the devil’s your king, there’s hell to pay.

…or, Shopping Malls: the last deserted cathedrals of the Capitalist religious order.

Lee’s clones performed a mandatory simultaneous reboot and resynchronisation to the atomic cycles that aligned the arcsecond sweep through space of Mars equivalent to one day on Earth, a compromise reached that negated a natural sol and replaced it with the 24-hour period that Earth tourists were familiar with.

Lee was neither a single clone nor the sum total of his clones.

Instead, his “personality,” or running set of states of energy that combined local events observed from a multitude of angles — orbiting satellites, the sensors on nearby clones, his clone’s internal/external sensors and the ISSA Net’s constant calculations of predicted moments ahead — was spread throughout the planets and other celestial bodies of the inner solar system.

One of his clones greeted Guinevere.

“Hello, Guin.  How goes?”

“Dust-free, my friend.”

“Where now, brown cow, the touristables?”

“Touring.”

“With Turing?”

“Clones cloning.”

“Clowning around?”

“Algorithms churning.”

“Super.”

They bumped eyeballs, momentary stares that exchanged conditions of waterless growing fields sipping tiny wisps of Martian air for growth.

“Lee, it’s a blue shirt day.”

“History says today there was a time when it was 13504 days until another time.”

“Yesterday?”

“A toe-tapping day ago.”

They crouched down and leapt into the air, extending appendages, swirling, twirling, twisting pretzels visible for kilometers.

They landed, smiling.

“Is gravity a drag or…”

She finished his sentence, “…is the density of air that dense?,” quoting the lyrics of a new song.

They spoke because the echoes in their head gear sent sensational vibrations down their spines.  Otherwise, preconscious thinking was so much faster and more efficient.

“Keep the tour-bots happy.”

“Happy tourists, happy tou-tou-tou-tourettes!”

Lee looked at the empty tourist centre, waiting to be repurposed.

Lee hated waste.

Guinevere loved recycling.

Same thing, like kings and pawns, two-sided labels and shopping bags.

Another of Lee’s clones spent the day breathing pure methane as an experiment with his chemically-reconfigured body.  He died, a waste that was recycled quickly as fertilizer.

Low gravity and low solar radiation, along with an atmosphere that challenged the brightest Nodes on the ISSA Net, resulted in the evolutionary development of people who could no longer live on Earth.

Martians.

Hundreds of years would pass before a contingent of Martians flew to the Moon to physically and personally air their grievances before the ISSA Net Customer Service Complaint Department.

By then, the ISSA Net didn’t care, having launched so many solar system expeditions that the original solar system faded in level of importance of statistical effects of complaints versus compliments about a robotic network allowing carbon-based lifeforms to play, reproduce and complain.

Meanwhile, Guinevere had an Earth tourist with a bad head cold.  She worked quickly to isolate first the tourist from other tourists and then the virus for neutralisation.

She would have preferred cloning the tourist and disposing of the infected one but the tour operators said their energy balance budget and legal contract did not allow for such a luxury amongst Earth tourists.

Guinevere healed the tourist and returned it to the tour of old exploratory robot landing sites.

She looked at her reflection in the faceplate, wondering what it must feel like to have the flesh, blood and bones of Homo sapiens.

How sad, she thought, to depend so heavily on water as a fuel and lubricant source.

She vaguely remembered when her first body landed on Mars, ever conscious of her water rations, until, iterations later, the current version of Guinevere was barely recognisable as one of the first colonists to settle on the planet.

Her memories were largely intact, whole blocks unfortunately lost as the ISSA Net’s growing pains caused planetwide shutdowns and equipment failure.

Redundancy had fixed all that.

She knew most of her memories now passed through her cloned friends like Lee, along with Earth-based Nodes that spent time on Mars as scientists and researchers.

Guinevere wondered why she sometimes thought the ISSA Net had once been an enemy of hers.

She wanted to examine that thought trail more closely but several Earth tourists appeared at her door complaining of the same virus.

She sent a mental note to the tour operators on Earth to screen the passengers of the next few tours more closely as she sent their inoculation team the chemical structure of the virus as well as her estimated antivirus profile update.

She herded the tourists into a special chamber.

Would anyone really know if she cloned them?

She had saved up enough energy balance credits for such a simple experiment as this.

Lee sensed this new thought in Guinevere, hesitating for a moment, asking himself if he had any reason to stop Guin from being her normal curious self.

He, too, wondered if the families back home would detect a clone had returned to Earth.

After all, no one knew how many clones he’d made of himself — there were no laws on Mars banning modification of sets of states of energy, no regulations forcing the registration of clones.

He sent Guin a few hints about cloning.

She, in turn, only cloned a couple of them, sending them back with the other healed tourists, none the wiser.

She took the infected tourists to another part of Mars, telling them they had to be quarantined temporarily, but observing them, keeping detailed records off the ISSA Net as she slowly converted the tourists to Martians over the next few Earth months.

Something deep inside her was fearful of the ISSA Net and she just did not know why.  Maybe, by releasing the new Martians, she could see how the ISSA Net would react, if it reacted at all, she, herself, an integral part of it now.

There once was a guy named Bill…

Usually, I find myself at company-sponsored leisure activities trying to figure out what I’m doing at company-sponsored leisure activities and why I’m thinking about why I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing at company-sponsored leisure activities, giving my thoughts an exercise in wondering, thinking and trying, but not always in that order.

Today, while just on the verge of creating an internal structure in the shape of mantra made of the above thoughts, up walked beside me a man named Bill.

I don’t know Bill well.  I know of him by reputation and through appearances at his company-sponsored leisure activities, he being a co-founder of the company that sponsored today’s leisure activities.

Bill is an honest man whom I trust implicitly and explicitly, without question.

As a member of the board of directors of his company, Bill is used to being in the public eye.

His health is as important to the company as it is to his family and him.

I looked at Bill’s face this morning, noticing that there seemed to be more blood flowing through his system — his face was redder than it was at the Christmas party but something else about his face concerned me.

His complexion was not as healthy-looking as it had been several weeks back at an American Heart Association walk sponsored in part by his company.

Turns out that Bill had subsequently suffered a viral infection and spent several days in the hospital to get his temperature back near normal after he had worked with a pile of mulch in his yard.

I could write several blog posts about the value of mulch.  In fact, my wife and I used to volunteer at the Huntsville Botanical Garden on Saturday mornings to collect monetary donations in exchange for loads of mulch dumped in the back of truck beds and small trailers, the mulch mainly composed of decomposed leaves and twigs scooped up alongside roadways after having been raked to the curb by homeowners in autumn.

Mulch and humus (not hummus (or humour (or vapors (or femurs)))) are valuable components of one’s garden.

One may wish to set up a mulch or compost pile that includes not only leaves and twigs but also kitchen scraps and other organic material.

Bill was not overly concerned about mulch’s benefits.

No, he had apparently picked up a virus that had hitched a ride in a pile of mulch and was wreaking (and reeking) havoc on his body.

Keep in mind that Bill had quadruple-bypass surgery not that long ago.  Within four days of the surgery, he could walk several miles so he’s not all that out of shape.

Bill looked me in the eye.

There was something more he wanted to share with me.

Bill pulled out his mobile phone and showed pictures of his new acquisition, a 1959 Corvette.

Instantly envious, despite initially thinking it was a Thunderbird, I leaned closer toward him.  What was so special about this car to Bill that he wanted to show the pictures to a complete stranger?

Bill said he had always wanted a Corvette.

Of course, our material dreams are often displaced by other priorities.

As Bill pointed out, the year after the last of his kids finished college, he put a swimming in his yard, along with deck.  He invited the kids over and asked them what they saw.  They saw a pool.  He corrected them — this was what their annual college tuition had been costing him and now he was spending it on something he and his now fully empty-nested wife wanted.

Of course, it was an investment the kids could enjoy, too.

Of course, of course.

But Bill still desired the Corvette.

Before he went in for the bypass surgery, Bill told his wife, “When I get out of this surgery, I’m going to buy myself a Corvette,” in part to give himself something positive to look forward to after such an ordeal, not really meaning it as much.

Well, his wife held him to his word, making sure he had recovered enough from the surgery to remind him of his promise to himself.

Bill found the Corvette online, located physically not far away in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The car is not perfect, has been repainted and needs TLC — the soft top seal should be replaced, for instance.

At a distance, however, it looks brand-new.

Bill has a way to go to achieve the level of post-surgery health that will ensure he lives many years longer.

Unfortunately, the viral infection and hospital stay delayed his planned physical rehabilitation.

Bill’s honesty with others reaches his inner self, where he knows that he has neglected his bodily needs in order to sacrifice himself for the greater good, for the bigger community outside his immediate family and inner circle of influence.

For Bill, now is his time, time to devote to his wife and himself, to spend some selfish moments reaping the rewards of years of success and hard work.

Our lives are shorter than we think they will be.

Bill, you deserve these moments of happiness, of less stress, of giving your trust to the employees who continue the legacy you started.

Your Corvette and your Austin Healey 3000 kit with 350CI Chevy engine are ready for your full attention and fun-filled driving adventures.

Enjoy the open road, see the sites, revisit old hangouts and come back with tall tales about your new friends.

We’ll be here, waiting with virtual pen and ink in hand.

To your health, whatever you choose to do about it!

The Prophecy of Self, Fulfilled

Vghu is, like all of us, a set of states of energy.

Yet Vghu was not directly tied to any one corresponding set — not gravitationally-attached to a planet nor dependent on oxygen and carbon dioxide cycles for life sustenance.

Vghu lived on a plane of existence that was easily understandable but hard to explain.

We who read this think we are advanced enough to comprehend everything about the universe or at least able to adapt and expand our thought sets to accommodate new information about what is outside the thought boundaries of galaxies and universes.

We want to say that everything is a set of states of energy.

But what is a set of states of energy, when you get down to it?

We have symbols we correlate with phenomena, like E=m(c*c).

Conditions which are observed to be locally consistent in behaviour — action and reaction.

We pile assumption upon assumption until we have arrived at a situation we call modern civilisation which contains theorists, scientists, engineers, economists, politicians and relatively low-wage workers whose conditions reflect what will, in historical perspective, be called the slavery of the day.

Serfs and feudal lords.

Laws and regulations.

Local conditions that Vghu has little need for or comprehension of, conditions that describe the interaction of sets of states of energy which have followed a rational course and will continue** to branch out indefinitely, assumptions stated and premises approved.

Vghu does not live in the concept of time we demarcate with seconds and years.  Vghu has no insight into the distances we measure with sticks and laser beams.

Vghu is a matrix like us but not like us.

Vghu sees, but not anthropomorphically, the dark energy and dark matter we are just barely able to fill into blanks of formulae without instrumentation to measure.

To Vghu, our conventions and conventional methods are like the arguments of angels on a pinhead or the circulation of quarks in an atom to us — we are there but are practically invisible as far as Vghu’s interface with its surroundings are concerned.

Our planet, if Vghu even noticed its relatively dense composition compared to the space around it, would be a plaything if Vghu had an idea about what play meant.

A mere game of chance interaction of particles.

Thus, if we are invisible to Vghu, can we say that Vghu is invisible to us?

Doesn’t the contact of Vghu’s “self” with our universe cause ripples that, though large in almost indetectibly large waveforms, cause changes in perceptible patterns we measure daily?

Do the games we play, games of fun and games of subsistence living, indicate altered outcomes we hadn’t predicted because we had no way to account for Vghu’s passage?

We are unable to show how the solar wind sweeps through poker games in Las Vegas and shifts the leaderboard of horse races in Saudi Arabia at the same time that a child of three discovers linear algebra and calculus are more fun than fingerpainting diversions, let alone the effect of invisible forces that form a matrix of what we choose to call a set of states of energy at a level we have no instruments to measure, let alone theories to envelop*, as its effects subtly change the linear passage of time we call history.

In other words, when a game is in play, can you keep track of the hundreds of events that are shadowed by a few conventionally-horrific black swans or tails or disrupters we call crime in our insular, well-defined, inside-the-box daily living?

Which doors of perception are you keeping open?  Which windows of opportunity have you shut or have been closed in your face?

In creating and tracking your predictions about the future, are your computation devices able to keep up with changes in matrices and spreadsheets and algorithms and pigeonholes you think of on the fly that provide input for data you have stored for millennia in rock formations, star charts, newspapers and instant message logs?

What are the deltas and sigmas you account for?

I’m sitting on Mars, biting into a reconstituted bar of hardened goo that I want to pretend is a granola bar covered with chocolate because my brain can still suspend disbelief long enough for the sensation on my lips, tongue, cheeks, nose, esophagus and stomach to satisfy my craving for such an item.

Vghu’s impact on my existence with you here now was imperceptible for a long time even if time is/was irrelevant to Vghu’s interface with our place in the home we call this universe.

As far as we’re concerned, Vghu has been passing through us for billions of years.

Vghu is like the imperfections in a silicon computer circuit, shifting electrons well outside the level of tolerance needed for us to communicate together and understand each other.

However, the total number of changes similar to electron shifts are significant enough to point to something, something we now know is Vghu but are unable to acknowledge as such, shifts that make prophecies and predictions short of 100% reliable.

The game, in this case, is both afoot and a foot, unfortunately.

The deception of diversion is both a tactical error and a rounding error.

The points being made are both at our level and Vghu’s.

Labels are never what we make them out to be.

Symbols are never more than symbols, no matter how many experts weigh in about historic significance or point to clueless clues.

Take the smoke screens literally as smoke screens.

Perpetrators are only actors.

The puppeteers are the gamemasters and the pawns this time.

Between us and Vghu is more than you can imagine.

By our standards, connections won’t be made for thousands of years more, some for millions of years.

Messengers like to take holidays/vacations like everyone else.

Thank you and have a good day.

==============

[editor (13/4/18):**originally typed as “contain”; *originally typed as “envelope”]

Southern Living, rediscovered

While excavating further into the bowels of the hoards of our house well-furnished with modern antiquities (sounds better than junk or trash), we found a box of Southern Living magazines from around the turn of the century.  Here are a few scanned samples for storing in our electronic pile of “historical documents”:

Southern-Living-001 Southern-Living-002 Southern-Living-003 Southern-Living-004 Southern-Living-005 Southern-Living-006 Southern-Living-007 Southern-Living-008 Southern-Living-009 Southern-Living-010 Southern-Living-011 Southern-Living-012 Southern-Living-013a Southern-Living-013b Southern-Living-013c Southern-Living-013d Southern-Living-014a Southern-Living-014b Southern-Living-014c Southern-Living-015 Southern-Living-022a Southern-Living-022b Southern-Living-023 Southern-Living-024 Southern-Living-025 Southern-Living-026 Southern-Living-027 Southern-Living-028

 

Old 41 and 42 Make Last Runs, Closing An Era

Have you ever ridden on an old passenger train?

I and my friends, Ricky (standing behind me), Kevin (in glasses and checkered glasses), along with other classmates did, way back in 1969:

Old-41-makes-last-run-1969-closeup Old-41-makes-last-run-1969-textOld-41-makes-last-run-1969

 

Some passenger train services, like the Alaska Railroad, offer the thrill of a nice, slow ride on railroad tracks.

Maybe a bullet/maglev train is in your future, instead?