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Proof of Life as Time Does What Time Does

zytglogge-bern-astronomical-clock-2

What sights indeed are these, that cause the racing clocks to pant their minutes in counterpoint to a life still learning the difference between wretchedness and love?

The swing goes up and the swing goes down, and then goes up again. If you are on that race, with childish yells, and up-down-mess-it-around feelings in the pit of your stomach, they haven’t lowered that coffin lid yet.

No, not yet.

****

What sights indeed are these, that make a heart argue the worth of dying, and ring the bells across the hill when there is no hand upon the rope?

There are happy tunes on the breeze and, yes, even the unicorn lifts its head with twitching ears and mouth agape.

And even (so it has been recorded, in long-ago books) our Lord Jesus God would pause in His ministrations at the wonder of it all.

****

What sights indeed are these, that ease the night’s passage and sow the fields full of restful dawn?

A race against the end is run by all of us; when the kitten kicks and purrs through her ball of string, or when the ancient’s cane tap-taps across the room. Eyes, whether young; or dim; or blind; can still open in amazement, and still marvel at the ever-changing newness.

Marvel and rejoice.

****

What sights indeed are these, that turn all tunes into rhapsodies of joy, and make the moon do gypsy dances through the night sky?

A sky of stars that shower and shake and stream across the galaxies to cram unto the ends of the distant universe. Grains of sand upon the shore would take sensitive fingers, and a lifetime of counting, yet still could never fill this distant space where even numbers stand in awe.

Zeros with mouths agape.

 

(Image) https://wornandwound.com/library/uploads/2017/06/Zytglogge-Bern-Astronomical-Clock-2.jpg

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When Data Takes On A Mind of Its Own

5292_big-data

Green flash – nine dash – dark green in dark room, four flash – minus dash – three flash – six dash – eight then tight then eight. The operator shoves his chair back in fear, things happen too quickly to be surprised. Red left light followed by yellow left light glow beside the numbers, reflect the band of a wristwatch. Eight flash two race one plus one point – decimal moving across the board, hunting.

Fingers, hand, wristwatch reach for the never used phone.

Second and third red left lights glow off the face of the Operator as his lips open before the mouthpiece.

“Get the General and the Director down here fast.”

“But they’re both asleep.” A thin voice in his ear.

“No time – no time. Hurry.”

His hand replaces the phone, but his eyes never leave the wild numbers, doubling and now tripling. Four two flash seven one three dash six six six pause blank plus plus racing decimal three three three three. He takes a fast look around the dim room to see yellow and red lights glimmering from every corner, and the flashing green of disappearing numbers.

His eyes return to his own board. There is a constant series of tiny clicks as the green numbers race from right to left, bottom to top. He moves a sweaty palm across his leg and gapes. Minus minus minus eight zero four three eight zero four three pause eight pause plus pause zero four three three click click click click.

Quadrupling now, simultaneous right to left and bottom to top, green numbers racing click click click click.  The sound of the flicking numbers makes him think of chicken claws scratching in gravel. He notices his hands shaking.

He dimly remembers one lecture where the odds were given of such a thing happening, the smug humour of his instructor. Six six 44 flash two seven 55 click nine two 77 plus 333 point 2864 flash minus flash minus eight seven three three zero.

“My God, they’re in fives now.”

He swivels around with a start, and sees the Director peering over one shoulder, the General standing behind him.

“How long has this been happening?”

“I … I don’t know.” He is frightened and confused. “Five or six minutes – no more than ten. I called you as soon as – ”

“It’s happening with all of them,” said the General. “It’s not a mistake.” As he speaks he looks at the screen, fumbles to straighten his tie. Nine one four two four flash nine one four two 5 pause nine one four two 6 minus flash click click click.

They move like green waves across a dark sea, sextupleting in a rush from the base of the screen. Seven two 2941 flash four one 3384 pause nine zero 7766 click click minus three four 0827.

“More warning lights are on now, Sir.”

“It’s the same with every terminal,” said the Director as he looks over to the General.

“I presume you activated the breaking system.”

“Yes, Sir.” The operator does not look behind him as he answers. “When the triples started. All it did was blow out the switch lights.” His face – like the others – is bathed in a confused glow of green, yellow and red.

“The last warning lights just came on.”

“We can see that!” snapped the Director.

The room has never had so much light in it, yet the green numbers do not seem subdued. Four two 8601, nine five 7350, one one 4499 plus flash four eight 1632 click click.

Green flash, red light and yellow, number after number, 472210 flash 992136 pause 886221 race pause flash green 220011 flash click click click.

“Sounds like hens scratching,” says the General.

The Director took in his breath with a groan. “They’re turning octal,” he said.

The green numbers moved constantly now, covering the whole face of the screen. Click click flash plus 12345678 flash 87654321 pause 20199465 click minus flash 22446688 race click 11335577 green 88990011 click.

“They’re grouping,” said the Operator. “They’re forming patterns.” His voice was no longer scared, but resigned.

The red and yellow warning lights began to shatter, small pops of sound followed by falling glass. Green flickers raced 11223344 slight pause 55667788 flash green wave 99001122 minus flash 33445566 click click

“It’s turning cyclical,” said the Director.

click flash green rush 77889900 pause plus click 00000000 minus flash flash click 00000000 click click 00000000

“What a way to end,” mumbled the General.

(image)normalenew.sns.it/upload/2015/03/5292_big-data.jpg

 

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.

She Had God In Her Feet And Angels In Her Summer Hair

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I visit wharves and gaze out to sea.

It is a pleasure that took hold some ten years ago. I don’t know why, for I certainly had experience with oceans and coast long before that. For some things it seems its time just comes.

I prefer small working ports, gritty and smelling of fish and lobster and ocean. The scurry and comings and goings (though I also like them in the evening when most work is done). I walk the docking between the boats and peer from the end of the wharf. I ponder distant shores or endless sea and screaming gulls with sometimes seals and whales and archaic Blue Herons.

Last night, when I thought the wharf was my own, a man, woman, toddler and dog arrived. They seemed to do much as I was doing, though they knew the owner of one of the fishing boats. The man was gruffly talkative, the dog was rambunctious, the woman apologized for the toddler’s dirty face and the little girl didn’t quite know what to make of me. Friendly and chatty but she wouldn’t take my hand as I offered to walk her up a gangplank.

I left them on the docking between the moored boats and started to walk on the wharf itself.  The fishing boats and the docking were parallel to the wharf.  I was half way along when I heard a shout. I heard the dog. I looked over and this is where life becomes art becomes life. It was a Kodak moment. It was a Motorola moment. It was a ‘freeze frame/real time/fast forward’ moment. It was a composition/edited moment. It was all these things which came to my visual mind. All this and the knowledge that there was no way I could get there if I was needed.

The little girl was going for the gold. She had God in her feet and Angels in her streaming hair as she raced between the moored boats. Her dirty face was wide with excitement and it is probably the happiest she has been in her life. The man was restraining the dog and the woman was in athletic pursuit. They raced between the boats and the mooring lines and the tools of the fishing trade. The dock swayed in the movement of the waves.  I could not believe the swiftness of the child. The woman finally took what seemed to me a runner’s stance and eventually grabbed the exuberant child. I heard, over the water, admonishments of what could happen if she had “gone under a boat.” All – of course – true.

But the dog understood.

Escape From The House of Hell

alh5baf0f_ottla[Franz & Ottla]

Franz Kafka lived way too long with his parents (his discord with his father is famous), and stayed in the city of Prague (which he described as “The little mother with claws”) for most of his life. But his sister, Ottla, escaped both. In my rendition of Kafka’s missing diary entries, in Kafka In The Castle, I show his reaction to his sister’s escape.

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

20 April 1917

Fate laughed up its sleeve, and this morning’s post brought a letter from Felice. A letter of no consequence, except for its arrival.

And I, in fact, have answered it. Perhaps too hastily. Perhaps too truthfully.

I have praised Ottla so much previously that F. has, upon occasion, made comments about my admiration.

That was her word, and I think it was not used favourably.

But the truth is – I have great admiration for my youngest sister. She does not think and think and think.

She does not discuss things for weeks.

She acts.

My God – she got away from Prague!

Trump And A Nazi Walk Into A Bar

virginia-torch-protest-salute

~ Willkommen, Mein Führer.

~ Now cut that out.

~ But we are at your service.

~ You good old boys are giving me a bad name.

~ We support you in your Holy Crusade.

~ To make America great again?

~ If those are the code words you want to use.

~ The words are broad … and vague.

~ You should be more exact.

~ Like ‘living space’?

~ The Volk liked that phrase – they understood we needed land.

~  Old times. Today they understand ‘the wall’. Believe me.

~  We’ll help you build your wall.

~  By driving cars into people?

~  There’ll always be the crazies.

~ Don’t I know it.

~ We can’t keep tabs on everyone.

~ Don’t I know it.

~ We’ll sacrifice the schmuck.

~ Yeh – but. Tell me this one thing.

~ What?

~ Torches?

~ What?

~ Did you morons really have to use torches?

DE

(image)https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/styles/article_small/public/thumbnails/image/2017/08/12/09/virginia-torch-protest-salute.jpg

Trump And A Boy Scout Walk Into A Bar

Trump

 

~ Pardon me, Mr. President.

~ Sure, kid, I’ll pardon you. What have you done?

~ No, I don’t mean that. I mean, beg my pardon.

~ Polite boy. Delightful. Love that. What?

~ I’m not old enough to be in a bar.

~ That’s OK – I don’t even drink.

~ Then why …

~ Anyway – I can still pardon you, if you need it.

~ … are we …

~ It’s good to be the king.

~ Were you ever a Boy Scout, Mr. President?

~ Boy, Boy Scouts are great. They’re boys and they’re great.

~ But were you –

~ Boys make up Boy Scouts – all boys.

~ That’s why they’re called Boy Scouts, Mr. President.

~ Never too young to get those badges. Tie those knots.

~ We have to work to get –

~ I like tying people up in knots.

~ It takes us hours of –

~ I mean with words – tie them up. No real knots. Lot’s of words. Lots.

~ It takes many hours of work.

~ Though you can tie people up with rope. Many reasons.

~ Mr. President?

~ Yup, Scout boy. Nice uniform.

~ If I do get a drink, will you still pardon me?

~ One billion percent. I will. Maybe more. Trust me.

DE

(image)https://content.assets.pressassociation.io/2017/07/25115234/PA-321782861.jpg

A Story Of Frolicking Beavers For Canada Day, July First ~ 150 Years

beaver1

First of all, we know that Canada Day is really Dominion Day. But – that said – there is still no better symbol for Canada than the industrious beaver.  But even  hard-working beavers (perhaps, especially hard-working beavers) need their time at play. This is what I saw.

I was walking along the river and heard the strangest noise.

It was one of those noises which, when I found out what It was, sounded exactly as it should. A beaver was chewing at a branch on the bank of the river. First there were small rolling noises, as the branch went through its hands. Then the ‘gnaw gnaw gnaw’. And then the turning noise and the cycles were repeated.

This went on fifteen minutes or so, until the beaver and I both heard noises in the water.

We both saw another beaver approaching. The beaver-at-gnaw quickly went in her direction (though I can only guess which sex was which). They swam toward each other then rubbed faces. The approaching beaver made small bawling noises like a young calf. They rubbed bodies and seemed to sniff each other. They then swam in different directions.

This performance – the swimming away, the languid circling, the approaches – went on for twenty minutes. A couple of times the ‘gnawing’ beaver clambered over the over beaver’s back, but this lasted just a few seconds. The beaver that had first approached rubbed noses once again, then made the bawling sounds one more time.

I never appreciated how large beavers are until one of them came up on the bank. The water was clear enough to see their feet and tail move underwater (I wonder if the portion out of the water might have the 1/10 proportion of an iceberg). The sun was setting and they became difficult to see. However they decided to part anyway. One began to go down river toward the harbour and one headed to the other shore. For me an experience of a lifetime.

DE

(image)teachershelp.ru/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/beaver1.jpg

Trump And France Walk Into A Bar

flag-of-france

~ Monsieur le Président. What can I get you?

~ I’m guessing it will be wine?

~ It does not need to be.

~ Isn’t that what’s supposed to be civilised?
~ les Français have a much wider civilisation than that.

~ I have a fondness – or is it a weakness – for Charteuse.
~ That is fine, mais …

~ I like the green colour in the glass.
~ Indeed, it is beautiful.
~ Have you another suggestion?

~ Absinthe
~ Uh-oh. That sounds like a baddie, believe me.
~ It has a certain heft.
~ You know I don’t drink?
~  Mais, oui.
~ Then what is the purpose?
~ It is poor diplomacy to drink alone.
~Then have at it.
~ Monsieur Trump, the whole country – all of Europe – would like to thank you.
~ Am I going to get a wedgie here?
~ Not at all – you have saved us.
~ It’s starting to feel really really tight in my butt cheeks.
~ The citizens français have seen what you accomplish.
~ It’s getting hard to sit down.
~ And have voted against something similar happening here.
~ Are you trying to get me to drink this thing?
~ Mais, non. You just keep being who you are.

DE

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