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Man On The Moon And A Step Beyond

1moon

 

In my novel, The Rags Of Time, travel to the outer edges of Earth’s solar system has been accomplished. But the Moon still holds its sway – literally.

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It is a navigator’s moon.

That is how Eric the Red thinks of it, as his space craft enters Earth’s solar system. He is called Eric the Red for his facial hair, and his ancestry. But behind his back, his romantic notions of the ancient ways is more the reason for his name.

Even when they fly past it, Earth’s moon generates little influence upon their return. A minor compensation of the thrusters, and its only effect on the ship, is the ritualistic kiss which crew members bestow against the aft window for the man in the moon. However, as soon as his gravity sensors register the distant presence of Pluto, Eric the Red enhances their output to catch the faintest twinge of the Earth’s moon.

His navigator’s moon.

Tomorrow, Eric will alter course to sweep past Pluto’s satellite, Charon. He plans to use the combined gravity as a sling to amplify his own trajectory, although he will lose some directional control to achieve speed.

Opportunities to observe this unknown planet are still scarce, and he makes adjustments to confront the dual gravity. He decides to attempt the `Film Technique’, which met with success among the moons of Jupiter. The Technique is named after the way film had been threaded in the antique movie projectors of the Twentieth Century.

He plans to wind through the gravities of the various moons, in such a manner that each helps accelerate his ship around the next. There are many factors to consider which affect the interplay of gravities between solar bodies. And they will, in turn, exert their control over his vessel. At times like this Eric wonders how much really has been learned since the existence of gravity was acknowledged.

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Is There A Warehouse In Hell For Telemarketers?

robot-telemarketer

Here we go again. Almost the same scenario this morning, although the speaker was a female. Same cover-tossing on my part, same worry. that something was wrong. My response was so abrupt, however, that I was the party hung-up upon. At least these incidents have been reduced.

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

The phone rang too early for decent folk this morning, but that can mean there is a problem, so I tossed off the covers and answered.

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

Hello?

[jumbled static, tweeps, gurgle, hollow and distant voices]

Hello?

Heelooo. Heelooo.

Hello?

Heelooo. Eeeestay. Is there Eeeestay?

What do you want?

Eeeestay [static and hollow voices in the distance] Eeeestay, danger to your computer. I can save.

You are lying through your teeth. You know nothing about my computer.

Wha… Eeeestay. I can save your computer.

You are lying through your teeth.

Idiot! [abrupt hangup]

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

All of which put me in mind of a blog  I wrote a couple of years ago of a conversation I had with – possibly – this fellow’s brother

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I have a degree of sympathy for telemarketers. I spent a couple of months training to work in a call centre.  I was mainly to deal with customer complaints. It was the least offensive such job I could find. But I could just not remember all the stages I was supposed to go through, or keep track of all the various information tabs on my screen. I did not make it through ‘training’.

My modicum of sympathy, and not being totally sure when I first answered that it was a marketing call, made me embark on the following conversation. No, it is not verbatim (I didn’t record it for quality control). And it is condensed. I admit, a certain fascination of just experiencing it, kept me on the line.

To anyone else without a writer’s perversion, do as I say and don’t do as I do.

Hang up.

Telemarketer: “Hello.”

Me: “Hello.”

[long pause]

T: “Hello there.”

M: “Hello.” [another long pause] “Hello. How can I help you?”

T: “Help me?”

M: “Yes. What do you want?”

T: “Are you the Lord?”

M: “The Lord?”

T: “That you can help me.”

M: “Good Lord. What do you want?”

T: “I have the Lord. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.”

M: “You make your Lord annoyed.”

T: “Ha ha ha ha ha lo lo lo lo lo lo moo moo moo.”

M: “You’re speechless.”

T: Moo moo moo moo maa maa maa.”

M: “You sound drunk.”

T: “I’ll put my dick on your ass.”

M: “What?”

T: “And show it to your wife.”

M: “It would give her a laugh.”

T: “And I’ll do your dog.”

M: “That’s fine. My dog bites.”

T: “Your wife will have a big smile.”

M: “What about my dog?”

T: “Lick a dick.”

[At this point I begin to feel I am as bad as him. I stop.]

T: “Here is dick. Moo moo moo moo. Hello. Where’s the wife?”

[Silence]

T: “Hello Hello. Got my dick out.”

[Silence – though I still wonder where this might go. Then he starts talking to a voice I can’t hear.]

T: “Sorry, Sir.”

T: “It’s a real call.”

T: “The number is … [my correct phone number]

T: “He is [the wrong name]

T: “I am calling [correct city].”

T: “He lives at .”

T: “It is in [correct country]“.

T: “I understand, Sir.”

T: “It is time.”

T: “No, Sir. You don’t have trouble.”

T: “Yes, Sir. I can do that.”

T: “I’ll phone back in fifteen minutes.”

[There are no further phone calls.]

(image)http://www.toptenz.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/robot-telemarketer.jpg

Kafka And Technology

Kafka at the helm.

Franz Kafka had little use and no affection for that new-fangled invention – the telephone.

Kafka probably also wished he had never seen a typewriter, though he pecked away on it daily.

However,  no doubt to his chagrin, Kafka has been credited with devising the first ‘safety helmet’ or hard hat. He was also awarded a medal for this feat. Now, I knew Kafka had been awarded a medal by the Austro-Hungarian Empire for some services rendered. The beauty of this (something even Kafka appreciated) was that it never happened. By the time the bureaucracy  of the Empire had chewed its way through the procedure, the Empire no longer existed. Empire and Emperor were both gone as a result of the First World War. The Empire had disappeared before Kafka ever got his medal.

For a writer seemingly outside the ‘real’ world, Kafka was acutely aware of it and how it functioned.  He was  the first person to describe for popular consumption, through a newspaper article, the flight of that newfangled device, the aeroplane. He attended an air show in Italy where there were stunts and races. He wrote an account, “Die Aeroplane in Brescia,” which was published in the Prague newspaper Deutsche Zeitung Bohemia. I would say he was impressed, if not exactly pleased.

DE

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