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It is a whirlwind in here

A Birthday Day A Century Apart Via Kafka And Me

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When I wrote my novel, Kafka In The Castle, filling in all of Kafka’s missing diary entries, I discovered something  interesting a few months into it. The day/month/year I was writing about, mirrored the day/month/year in which I was actually doing the writing.

For example, if the third of July was a Friday in my year, it was also Friday, 03 July in 1917. It was quite an exciting surprise, and made (I think) for more immediate writing.

Alas, my own birthday of 19 September was already filled in by Kafka, and I had nothing to do.

The following is Kafka’s actual entry for 19 September, 1917.

Following it, is the entry I gave him for  his own birthday, 03 July 1917.

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19 (September 1917)

Instead of telegram: “Very welcome station Michelob is excellent Franz Ottla” I wrote a farewell letter, and once again strongly oppressed agonies.

 

Farewell letter however, is ambiguous, as my opinion.

 

It is the age of the wound, more than its depth and proliferation, which constitutes its painfulness.

 

To be torn up again and again in the same wound canal, the countless wound operated again treated.

 

The fragile moody void essence – a telegram swaying, a letter directs it, animated it, the silence after the letter makes it dull.

 

The game of the cat with the goats. The goats are similar: Polish Jews, Uncle Siegfried, Ernst Weiß, Irma

 

Various but similar strict inaccessibility of the creator Hermann (who has now gone away without a supper and salutation, the question is whether he will come tomorrow), of Fraulein, the Marenka.

 

Basically, they are oppressed on the other side, as in front of the animals in the stable, when they are asked for something and they follow astonishingly.

 

The case is only more difficult here, because they seem so often accessible and quite understandable.

 

It is always inconceivable to me that almost anyone who can write is able to objectify the pain in pain.

 

For example, in misfortune, perhaps with the burning misfortune, and to tell someone in writing: I am unhappy.

 

Yes, I can go beyond it, and in various pranks, depending on the gift, which seems to have nothing to do with the misfortune, simply or antithetically, or with whole orchestras of associations.

 

And it is not a lie at all, and does not nurture the pain; it is simply a graceful excess of the forces at a moment when the pain has visibly exhausted all my powers to the ground of my being, which he scrapes. What is the surplus?

 

Letter to Max. Liar, vain, comedic.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From: Kafka In The Castle

03 July 1917

The date of my birth. Thirty-four years ago in a month I now dread because of the heat. I’m not much for stock-taking (thus certainly not much my father’s son.) What has been done can’t be changed, so thoughts about it are wasted effort. Lessons to be learned – that’s all. But the dreaded “future” – this is the battlefield. I’m convinced the bulk of my life is over, and any work to be done should not be delayed. Perhaps this is why I abandon things, so anxious am I to get on to the new.

In celebration of today, I did not make it my last.

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The Elephant In The Storm

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From: The Elephant Talks To God  

The elephant was lost to the wind.

He stood foursquare against the tumult, head lowered as if ready to charge. It wrapped his body in its flags and banners, and then as quickly ripped them away. He had to close his eyes in some of the gusts, and occasionally his tail stuck straight out behind.     Many of the other animals found shelter, and even the monkeys came down to the lower branches of their trees. But the elephant flapped his ears in ecstasy as the wind battered against him, and trumpeted as loudly as the rowdydow would permit.

“I hear you,” said a frolicking cloud, as it whipped past his head. It turned a somersault back over the elephant’s back, and positioned itself with much dexterity in the elephant’s line of vision. “And I hazard the guess I’m the only one who can.”

“It’s like flying.”

“Now, now. You’ve tried that before.”

“But I’m staying on the ground, this time.”

“Well,” conceded God. “You’re standing on the ground. And it’s probable you will be staying on the ground. But, as you know, nothing in life is certain.”

“It certainly isn’t,” agreed the elephant, who then attempted to nod his head in agreement. But the wind took a particular bend, and not only could he not nod his head, but his trunk got thrown back into his face, hitting him in the eye.

“Ouch,” said the elephant.

“A cautionary God,” said God, “would go `tsk tsk’, and tell you to come in out of the wind.”

“And is that what you’re going to tell me,” shouted the elephant over the roar.

“God, no,” said God. “This is great stuff.”

“You’re a reckless God, then?” asked the elephant.

“Reckless. And cautious. There is a time for both. There is a need for both. Life demands that you run with it. And sometimes you run scared, and sometimes you run joyful.” The cloud was now tangled in the elephant’s tusks. ” And sometimes you get so caught up in it all that you can’t tell the difference.” The cloud shouted. “And sometimes you get hit in the eye. And sometimes you don’t.”

“And sometimes both,” suggested the elephant.

“You’re catching on.”

“But to you,” protested the elephant. “It is all so simple.”

“But …” The cloud sounded perplexed. “It is as simple as it sounds. Everything is everything. What you seem to do is pay too much attention to the individual parts. Concentrate on the whole.”

“I can hardly think of everything when I’m in the middle of this.”

“This is the perfect place.” The cloud played tag with the elephant’s ears. “Race with it. Race with it. Race with it. You will never dance a better dance than here. With me.”

And the elephant watched the cloud tumble around his head, and bounce against his back, and twist around his tail.

And the elephant laughed, and laughed so loud that it broke through even the racing wind, and made the other animals peek from their shelters to watch.

And the elephant bobbed and weaved with the cloud, and the cloud held the elephant in a wispy embrace, and the wind turned to music.

(image)https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/b/african-elephant-rainbow-south-africa-lonely-bull-crosses-grass-plains-dark-storm-clouds-as-background-56027644.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump And Obama Walk Into A Bar

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~ What’s your poison, Donald?

~ Before the election, I thought it was the USA – believe me.

~ And now?

~ It’s my own turncoats – and you.

~ That’s what happens when you bring rats aboard the Ship of State.

~ Now  Old Number 44 is using  a sword and stabbing me in the back.

~ Sword of Justice.

~ And you like to twist it.

~ Look at the Statue of Justice.

~ Isn’t she blindfolded?

~ Yeh – and keep your hands to yourself.

~ A man gets certain thoughts, sometimes.

~ A man keeps them as thoughts, Donald.

~ It is too much fun not to share.

~ You’re destroying yourself.

~ Tweet tweet tweet, Barack-Oh.

~ Silence is more than the Golden Arches, Donald.

~ God, I love me that Twitter.

~ It doesn’t do you much good.

~ I vent.

~ You’re out of control .

~ You think so?

~ Even your own people are cleaning up your mess.

~ Yeh, Barack-Oh. That keeps them busy.

~ That’s what you want?

~ Hop hop hopping around at my whim? Yes.

~ How long do you think you can keep them distracted?

~ Oh, I see a second term with my name on it.

 

It Was NOT The Person From Porlock On The Phone

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My elevator pitch for my current work, There Was A Time, Oh Pilgrim, When The Rocks Were Not So Smooth is “In Xanadu, did Alison Alexandra / a stately pleasure dome decree”. Stolen whole cloth from Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his Kubla Khan.

So, I was startled awake this morning by a ringing phone. Just rang once. I have been attempting to write a dialogue between three characters in a pub concerning a dish of poutine. Although I did not exactly leap from my supine position to write the following, it was damn close.

I look upon the incident as a gift from the Backward Gods of writing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpt from: There Was A Time, Oh Pilgrim, When The Rocks Were Not So Smooth

“I’ve not had that,” says Bridget. “What is it?”

“A heart stopper.” says Amanda.

“Pretty well,” agrees Alison Alexandra.

“They start with a big effing pile of French fries.”

“Excuse her French,” says Alison Alexandra.

“And then they pile on cheese curds and smother that with gravy.”

“Smother,” agrees Alison Alexandra.

“Then they check your pulse and let you go at it.”

“They don’t really do that,” says Alison Alexandra.

“Maybe not,” says Amanda. “But I bet they have a defibrillator handy.”

“Probably,” says Alison Alexandra.

“Well,” Bridget smiles. “It sounds as if a pitcher of draft will go real good with that.”

 

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An Attack Dog Makes An Attack from “The Bonner Prediction”

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In my NATO thriller, The Bonner Prediction, one of my main characters is Louie-the-dog, a Cane Corso trained for both attack and defence.  Here he is in action, and it ain’t for defence.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~     

“Hey! Old man! Stop the fuck there!”

The voice comes from behind General Bonner. He does as he is told, reasoning that if his fate was solely to be shot, it would have happened by now. He also assumes he would have been shot if the voice had seen his machine pistol. He can’t remove the strap from around his neck, but he does shove the weapon under his jacket. He pulls up the zipper then lets his hands swing by his side.

“Are you one of the army guys?” The General does not turn, does not provoke.

“Holy Jesus Invincible.” The earpiece snaps immediately into authority. “Everyone quiet down out there. General, give us clues.”

“They’re swarming all over the ship.” The General makes no motion.

“Never mind me” The voice does not come closer. “Who the fuck are you?”

“Ship’s pilot.” General Bonner guesses the voice is in one of the few pockets of darkness. “They’ve called me to take this ship out of the harbour.”

“Who called you?”

“NATO.”

“But it’s leaving tomorrow.”

“Not any more.”

“Where’s your uniform?”

“They got me getting ready for bed.” General Bonner turns around, putting a hand up to shield his eyes. “With a beer in my hand. Said there was an emergency.”

“Where’s it going?”

“What?”

“The ship. Where are they sending it?”

“I don’t know.” General Bonner sees a form on the far side of the second tier of containers. “I’m just getting it out of the harbour. I disembark at Herring Cove.”

“Why aren’t you in the Wheelhouse?”

“I always pace out the size of the deck.” General Bonner laughs. “I call it walking the dog.”

“Bess!” The earpiece knows that she has heard but what if there is that one in a thousand chance she has not.

“Louie can never get down the stairways fast enough.”

“Then a diversion.” The earpiece wonders how quickly he can get a sharpshooter in place.

“I was just going to the Wheelhouse.” General Bonner touches one of his legs. “Thank God they have an elevator, or this bum knee would be going through hell.”

“Is there an elevator?” Bess takes Louie’s leash from her pocket.

“Yes!” Major Kennett pinpoints it on the Wheelhouse schematic. “It’s on the dock side, at the rear of the central core.”

“Who’s up there?” The voice in the shadows steps closer, but does not come into the light.

“Some ship crew and a dozen army.” General Bonner keeps rubbing his leg. “With more coming, if what I heard is true.”

“Can you get me off the ship?”

“I stand in the Wheelhouse for an hour.” General Bonner chuckles. “I don’t know the rest of the ship.”

“I’ll take you hostage.”

“Good luck with that.” General Bonner speaks for his audience. “They are not going to negotiate with you, son. They want this ship out of here.” He raises his voice. “I can be replaced.”

“Louie and I are in the elevator.”

“Can you get him into the light?” Colonel Bonner has already positioned the best sharpshooter among the commandos. He is in a corner window of the wheelhouse. However, he has expressed concern about the thickness of the glass. It might interfere with the trajectory.

“You think I’m fucked?” The voice is both frightened and angry.

“There’s always over the side.” General Bonner points.

“It will probably kill me.”
“Yup.” General Bonner takes a few steps forward. He stops and spreads his hands. “There is always surrender.”

“They’ll execute me.”

“Not in this country.” General Bonner takes a further few slow steps before stopping. “What have you done, son? Have you rigged the ship to sink?”

“To blow up.”

“Jesus – when?” General Bonner makes some forced laughter. “I’ll get off with you.”

“There’s no where to go with this bomb.” The anger flashes. “Fucking CURACA.”

“What?” General Bonner has found a spot where the deck lights are not directly in his eyes. “We get off and run like hell.”

“It’s an A bomb.” The voice is strident. “Fucking Atomic. There’s no place to run.”

“Calm down, son.” General Bonner puts his hands up in front of him, palm out, as if stopping a car. “If it’s true, that’s what I’m here for. Get the ship out to sea. But you better give yourself up.”

“CURACA is on this ship.” The voice moves forward. “He’ll figure some way to stop these soldiers.” His words race. “That’s why I stayed behind. He’s fucking crazy.” The figure steps into the light. “You’re my only chance to get off here.”

“Then your chance of escape is a dog’s dinner.”

“Louie is loosed!”

Bess’s voice is overtaken by the opening of the metal door. General Bonner goes to the zipper of his jacket as the shooter turns toward the sound of a growling dog. The shooter raises a hand to again shield his eyes as he raises his weapon. General Bonner frees his machine pistol just as Louie barrels past. The shooter manages a scream as he both open fires and turns to flee. General Bonner has the shooter’s wide back as a target when Louie leaps for the man’s weapon arm and hauls him down. General Bonner lowers his pistol as Bess runs past, her own revolver drawn.

“Stand down.” Colonel Bonner says this directly into the marksman’s ear.

Louie has the shooter’s arm impaled as Bess runs forward. She kicks the man’s weapon out of the way. The shooter is screaming and rolling and trying to cover his head. General Bonner strides forward and kicks the man in the face.

“I told you to jump.”

(image)1.bp.blogspot.com/-hdxw8i4YrLI/UTus8tCBsjI/AAAAAAAAITA/BeyS7-885hY/s1600/Cane-Corso-6.jpg

Trump & #Twitter Have A Face-to-FAce

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~ I dunno, Donnie – it’s starting to seem that U R headed for the dumpster

~ That’s what U’ve said before.

~ Never this much – and with as much cause.

~ I’ll be here awhile – believe me.

~ Believe U?

~ Of course.

~@RealDonaldTrump – it’s me.

~ Oh, yes. I luvs ya, #Twitter.

~ I’ve read all that you tweet.

~ Lucky U. & THANKS for letting me use more words.

~ U like that?

~ I’ll tell you something about politicians.

~ Yes?

~ They love using a lot of words.

~ Yeh.

~ And so do I.

~ Politicians use a swamp of words.

~ And I’m draining the SWAMP.

~ There’s no way of bombing it?

~ Not when I’m living there. AND I’M STILL living there.

~ Donnie – that’s starting to seem less likely.

~U mean the talk of IMPEACHING my ass.

~ Wasn’t that the fake news?

~ And the real NEWS, too. Sons Of Bitches.

~ The courtroom is not your friend, Donnie.

~ Crooked juries. Crooked judges. Crooked lawyers.

~ U know about crooked lawyers, don’t U, Donnie?

~ Who knew they could be SO CROOKED?

(Image)http://www.defenseworld.net/uploads/news/big/trump-twi_1485351060.jpg

One Crow Sorrow, Two Crows Joy, 200 Crows A Crow Tree

A tweet flying through my twitter feed tells of a woman who just attained her PhD in … crows. Well, her thesis is more exact than that, but anything dealing with crows catches my attention. And I find she also has a WordPress site. So, why not repost this older “Crow blog“? Whilst I look out at The Crow Tree.

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(image)https://static01.nyt.com/images/2015/10/01/science/01ZIMMER/01ZIMMER-master1050.jpg

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The crows are in The Crow Tree. They have not been there for months. Sitting at the top above the red and orange foliage.

There are 50 and more crows in The Crow Tree. Making a mighty ruckus as if in strenuous debate. They are greatly agitated.

Crows leave The Crow Tree in droves, circle and return. They are clustered on the top branches with constant noise. More arrive.

Stark contrast on The Crow Tree. A ridge of black crows on top of the red and orange leaves against the blue sky. They keep circling.

It is a picket fence of crows on The Crow Tree. When they perch they cast large shadows. They seem less agitated.

The crow discourse on The Crow Tree seems to be over. Most have moved on and the few remaining are silent. I wonder what they decided.

At The Crow Tree, the rest is silence.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

An hour ago my walk took me to a small park/garden across from a church. There are three benches, and I sit there often. Part way through my contemplations, a crow settled into the bird bath. A large crow and a birdbath that would not comfortably accommodate two crows. There had been  a big rainstorm the day before and the birdbath was full.

At first I thought the crow was just drinking from the water. But, within a couple of minutes, he was splashing and cavorting and dousing himself in water from his active dance. Head to tip of tail and all feathers in between. A right good soaking.

Then, with a great shake and some flying sprays of water, he flew away.

Trump And Transgender, In The Military And In Politics

 

1200px-transgender_symbol_color~ Good Day to you, Mr. President.

~ Take it easy, soldier.

~ Sir.

~ You know – at ease.

~ Yes, Sir.

~ What can I get you?

~ I’m not allowed to drink on duty, Sir.

~ I’m your Commander-in-Chief. I can allow it.

~ You’d have to order me, Sir.

~ Would that work?

~ I don’t know, Sir. That’s above my pay grade.

~ Not above mine.

~ No, Sir.

~ I have billions.

~ Yes, Sir.

~ Billions and billions and billions.

~ Yes, Sir.

~ I could pay you to drink.

~ I couldn’t take pay, Sir.

~ It would be a bribe?

~ No other word for it, Sir.

~ So – what do you think of the cross-dressers?

~ Pardon me, Sir?

~ You know – cross-dressers in the military.

~ We’re all cross-dressers in the military, Sir.

~ What?

~We take off our civvies and put on a uniform. Sir.

~ Then that isn’t it.

~ No, Sir.

~ Gotcha. It’s the transgenders.You know them?

~ In truth, I don’t, Sir. Those uniforms keep things private.

~ But you must wonder about them.

~ Not for a second, Sir.

~ You don’t care what’s between their legs?

~ No, Sir.

~ That doesn’t sound natural.

~ Sir, as long as they carry a gun and got my back – I don’t care what’s between their legs.

When The Government And Country Fell, from “Kafka In The Castle”

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Excerpt from Kafka In The Castle

I agreed only to answer questions – that way I could not be accused of fermenting treason.

15 January 1918

This war. They wanted my opinions about this endless war. These earnest, honest men, awaiting the words from the Herr Doktor of Prague.

I agreed only to answer questions – that way I could not be accused of fermenting treason. Even in these troubled times, the law allows a man to answer questions. Assuming that the law prevails.

The law was present in the form of the policeman, attending this questionable gathering while still in uniform. He doffed his hat as he shook my hand. I would rather have him in our midst, than lurking in the hall. We have nothing to fear from him.

“Will the empire last?” This was first from their lips. And they must have needed to hear the words, for even the Emperor must know that all is lost. The Old Order, having fallen into the hands of dull and witless men, must succumb. The complacency of the age must be purged – but that has not yet happened. That awaits the next generation – and the destruction will be furious. But I do not tell them this.

I am skillful in what I do not tell them, for the truth is beyond their power to persuade or control. (Their next questions would have been more difficult had I not curbed the truth further still.) “What will happen to Zurau? What will happen to us?” And they have every right to worry. To suspect. When a society crumbles, it is those at the bottom who get crushed. But I told them that Amerika seemed a just power – not bent on retribution.

I did not tell them that a victor can do as he wants.

And I told them that we live in a secondary part of a secondary empire – the powers of destruction will be concentrated on Vienna and Berlin. I did not tell them that during the death of a snake, the spasms of the tail can be lethal.

And I told them something which could really be of help. I told them, in this coming year, to grow more food: fatten more beasts: prepare, preserve and put away. Fill their cellars and barns to bursting with food and fuel. Buy some things now, which they can use for barter later if the currency becomes worthless. Look after their families and lands.

Look after each other.

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