It’s a long way from home

Two things appear certain: the earth is not as fresh as it was, and our grandfather’s remote sensing equipment has uncovered some new information about some locations that appear to be like earth. The silver seeds are the best hope we have for the survival of you and me, and our millions of friends. Billions, including people we don’t know. None of them have been born yet.

The first thing our grandfather’s did was to send up lots and lots of unmanned pods, ships that contained everything that a small group of colonists in an uncertain location would need to survive, including a variety of ways to create food, to clean our water and air and to secure appropriate shelter. This type of pod changed as new discoveries made things easier. The first bio-sustained systems were rather primitive.

The biggest problem is that the distance from old earth to the new Elysian fields is further than a human lifetime to traverse. They will not have chosen to make this journey. Everyone arriving would have no idea of what its like to live on a planet, they would only know life on a spaceship and now they have to leave that spaceship. And everyone leaving earth would leave expecting and intending to die on the journey and would have to release all hope of ever seeing “home” or “earth” again. Ever. This would be more dangerous to the human spirit than adapting to the necessities of sustaining life on a spaceship.

But its either that or the unthinkable. Run out. Run out and die.

Our grandfather’s people were a small group of explorers and inventors of new tools, and what they found had profound philosophical implications. They would become the folk heroes for generations of kids in the future. This all started off as one-­in­-a­-million matching or corresponding interests in scientific hobbies. These few people communicated with each other and opened up whole new ways of solving problems. They have faith that their discoveries have much value to be realized. They set out to build a path to the promised land, at the very extremes of science. We can travel and we want a place to raise our kids, the land of safety for our children, no matter how far we have to go.

So what will arrive several generations out, when the silver seed of the spaceship comes to the distant shores, when they arrive at their intended destination? What kind of being will emerge from the journey? Born of gravity, and then living with no gravity for generations. Eating different food. When the spaceship lands, does it strut out of the tin can, or does it cautiously gather more information before emerging, or does it come out singing and dancing? It might think that it needs to come out shooting.

An awkward first impression.

What if we have no choice about any of this, surviving the loss of the earth, inter-generational voyages, and circumstances that require an aggressive response (coming out shooting)?

Try to do this or cease to exist. Is there a choice?

Grandfather made a choice. Now we are making the best of it. There is nothing we can do about it, here we are. We have no choice. Grandfather made a choice. We do make our lives better as we live, sometimes new inventions change everything.

As the project continues the data proving the existence of Elysium becomes increasingly conclusive. Which does not matter a hill of beans until the first pilgrim from earth emerges from the mothership, but that does not stop the sound and fury. Political opposition and resistance to this movement is considerable and the friction makes for much prized broadband juice. Inquiring minds need to know, there is a strong reason to get the wider population interested in learning about science. Everyone can participate, its not like there are only a few jobs in a factory. The new life of science will require much training. How quickly can you learn what you need to know?

We must stop training people to be apprentices and increase our supply of innovative managers.

Five independent researchers found that there is a very specific location that humans could thrive in. If we can get there we can reinvent our whole story and live in a more enlightened manner, with all we know now. Speaking for all humanity is a burden. We can escape the poisoned landscape here. We can give our children a fantastic gift. They will have a clean new world. It will be fresh and comforting. Farms and workshops.

So much hope, but the political machine has needs of its own. There is resistance to this new plan.

The Dark oppression of the Elysium Project: 3 years. The notion of dying and sending your grandchildren off the earth is ridiculed and made illegal and the prisons swell. The thought police give loyalty tests, only the pure may thrive on the homeland. There must be no more nonsense about leaving the earth. This becomes unpopular as more people you know are confined for subjective crimes. Change must come. Hope grows and new technologies are privately developed. New ways of detecting Elysium support are discussed but nothing really happens. Except the prison industry thrives.

Then there is a New white house, showing the first official support of the Elysium project. The tragedies of the past three years will be hard to overcome, but we yearn for new hope, there is growing popularity of the Elysium Mission. The people all support finding a new hope for our grandchildren. The surface conditions on earth become excessively harsh. Now the stories of the heros can be told, struggling during the dark years against the odds, surviving through history to become models for the new movement to find a better world for the kids of the future. This is what to teach them in their schools, out there in the future. A sense of history and moral purpose.

Suddenly, science teachers are heroes and hard to find. The market is ready to jump in. The new science reawakening begins!

Overnight there are small companies with a dream, that can fit into the emerging new civilization, focused on the survival of human life. Hard to argue with those guys. So it grew into a type of market place, developing new technology as its needed.

The first space station was a place of incredible freedom and enthusiasm, all kinds of small parts and huge systems for the marketplace of getting us on our way. Everyone is building a little ship in their garages. Garages get bigger.

All this is fine and dandy, but here is the real zinger that troubles this whole enterprise or cult or whatever you want to call it. Nobody alive here today is going to be walking on that new land.

Everyone who walks off of that space ship and feels the warmth of a sun and the smell of the trees in the breeze, you know the whole song.

So it will be our children and grand children who will find out if all these calculations and dangerous experiments, tragic transportation accidents, and the invention of new food that can be bred like calves right there on board the ship. Living creatures that are tasty and popular, as well as nutritious. Should they be cute too? Breed them in your back yard? They say you should not give a pet name to that which you intend to eat.

What are we going to find out there and along the way? Should we prepare for a hard battle or for a long negotiation process?

New sciences and discoveries and inventions. Some provide information to build upon, some are total wastes, some are profitable for a few businesses, while whole new industries based on training these new technology workers pop up overnight. The kids have a lot to learn, and a long way to go.

The first space ships were fantastic one of a kind constructions that would enable a crew of adventurers to get started right away. Eventually mass production of the best designs made it possible for every high school graduate to find their way into exciting new careers. Hope at last!

Getting to and from the space station is eventually a basic commuter nightmare, with traffic jams and patterns you can fit into. Go to work, go home. We are doing this for our kids, so they can find their way to a clean new world.

Nobody seems to ask about the expected situation when they arrive, are we walking into a new America, with a few troublesome indigenous inhabitants to consider. Or will there be resistance?

Or can we find a way to live among the ones who already live in Elysia? Must they go or will we be welcomed there?

The amateurs were followed by the large corporations, like GM for cars, common interests blended to make the whole thing work. Mavericks and drones, working towards the same promised life.

Should we be prepared to enslave them or to franchise with them? Will we be eating them or will we be staying for dinner? What tools should we bring? What about contingencies? What will it take to survive? We are obliged to make the world safe for our children, and that requires some effort.

Soon new methods emerge, instead of odd one-­of­-a­-kind contraptions, resources are pooled, creating gigantic new industries and scales of production. With political and major industrial support soon there are new fleets of identical ships designed to hold hundreds of people, with an eye to increasing to over a thousand souls in a single vessel. There is prosperity in the face of social changes, from discovery to application, to resistance and oppression, and then a new era begins. That is the plan.

Military supply conglomerates begin supporting new businesses and the study of science becomes a very lucrative specialization, a new social trend and way of life. This is a classic Boom cycle, anything could happen, but lots of boats are being lifted together. This is a great time to be a science librarian.

The first prison ship launched. The program expands slowly as the public enjoys the benefits of a crime­-free(r) society.

Now the government is involved in the space 2089: A ritual deportation is underway. There is a much publicized persecution of a tiny handful of individuals. Two or three prisoners among the rest of the earth. Political rivals are loaded up on the rockets and are never seen again. Prisons are soon abandoned forever, and the cities are clean and orderly. Luckily the planet is heavily overpopulated, so this can lead to lots of interest in elite support as well as the cause of space travel itself.

One day it was announced very publicly that this is the end of the space program supported by the government. The spigot has been turned off, but nothing seems to have happened, the launches continue without the government and the movement continues on, as it was before there was government support. The remaining earth-based humans are faced with a gigantic labor shortage, on an increasingly hostile Earth. The land is barren and too cold and too hot. There is no permanent drought but there is increasingly toxic water. The air is changing too. Industrial farming is now all about the highest grade mono crop that can be supplied that is nourishing, and taste matters too. Small personal gardening or micro farming is pretty much universal, everyone likes a good fresh salad. Everyone has a humble window-box or a series of things growing all around the house. Its much celebrated, like good cooking.

The Declaration of the Discovery of Doomsday, or rather, what is said to be the confirmation of the end. The Earth is starting to get very uncomfortable. Going outdoors is hazardous so the food tastes funny now. There is no more fresh water and the air is going bad.

Respiratory diseases are increasingly fatal. The common opinion is that to stay on Earth is fatal. Its too hot, its too cold, its too dry, its too wet, its already dead, earthquakes increase, new minerals are processed.

The actual demise of earth, meaning, when conditions no longer support life turns out to be 7933, which is a long time to be waiting around and miserable. Going outside is unthinkable most of the time, walking in some common areas that are indoors requires protection, and water from the old aquifer system is no longer safe. Food and mercantile needs are the best businesses.

There is another mystery. Let us consider the blessed planet itself, Elysium or the Elysia Belt of possible Class M destinations. What are they doing there now, before we start showing up? What if there are people there, or something living that we can understand? The very notion turns out to be a fascinating source of fiction and elaborate speculation.

What do we say to them? Hi! We come from far away and bring you greetings! Remember 1492.

Until the moment someone actually gets there, nobody really knows what is going to be there. Its sort of like death nobody has come back to say definitively, but one day our grandchildren are going to find out for sure. Its nothing like death, its as natural as finding air to breathe. Grandfather said “We seek a new World.”

Now grandfather is dead and I am stuck on this old spaceship. Its being guided by a robot captain and we sure do hope it knows what it is doing.

That is going to be a big moment. (Wont they be grateful! Wont they?) Walking off the ship on a new land. Live or die in a second. This moment is where opinions collide. Stepping off the boat.

Manifest Destiny is an American tradition. We own a place in that new Sun. All we need to do is grab it and hold on.
All this has nothing to do with the need to get there, and how life will be. This is all before getting there. Getting there is going to change everything. What will they find?

Consider the possibilities. Let us start with the most broad concepts. Will they survive the voyage?

Are the creatures there now going to eat us or are we going to eat them, or are we going to introduce them to the concept of insurance, or get them to join the Union? What can we sell them?

What will we need to keep them from killing us, if they are big and mean? These questions provide lots of speculation.

This will be our sleeping towards our New Reward. Or will it be The continuing adventures of the Donner party? The hearings, trials and larger spectacles will make for much commerce, regardless of what you believe about tomorrow.
Once the journey is underway everything must respond to whatever is found next.

One Day The first vessel intended to carry a human crew lands on Elysium. How can we best plan for this moment? What will these persons find and what will they need? Those two questions are the core of the mission.

Chances are most rockets will arrive empty or lifeless, but the numbers will increase, and some are very likely to survive. That was the plan all along. The survival of the unborn is more important to the mission than the will or the penalty of the ones who left earth on those huge vessels.

One Day The first of the prison parties land. Instead of executing convicts it became increasingly fashionable to just send them to Elysium and in some cases (by definition these are all undocumented) omitting the costly trials. Business increases quickly, with bust and boom cycles at each step.

The program goes from some zealots who abandon earth, to a large scale evacuation of excess population. Maybe they are sent away like England used to send prisoners to Australia, to populate the empty land.

At some point, when thousands of people are being sent into space each week, towards the promised land, the balance tips and we realize that we need to stop exporting our workers, the program slows, and a hundred years go by. After sending a thousand people at a time, in huge mass-­produced vessels, headed towards the new promised land, the whole thing falls out of fashion, and the fate of humanity is thought to be better served by fixing up the old world, cleaning the pollution and bringing back the wilderness, the green trees and fresh water. Much progress is made, but there is so far to go. The earth has lots of poison to clean up. The true brave souls need to stop looking up at the stars and roll up their sleeves and get to work, making our home beautiful.

And the earth responds and things do start looking better. New birds and lush plant life, less harsh weather, more successful crops, after a long drought things appear to be getting back to normal, cleaned up and put right.

Suddenly a disaster dooms the earth itself, and the program quickly becomes the last hope as the earth crumbles and falls into the sun and solar wind, lost. The end of everything. Get on that ship and slam the door and hit the gas, there is no more firmament, and now the only humanity left is the one that is traveling to the promised land.

What is it like from the point of view up there at the New World? Minding your own business, tending to your own disasters and life’s work, and suddenly there are these unmanned pods filled with various wonderful things, food and things they have never seen before. New technologies.

First a few pods, then a few more, then it rains pods. Then the first pioneers land, the grandchildren of the first inventors of the journey.

Were they right about the new earth? Does it exist? What do we find there?

This is the singular most significant moment, the arrival of the originals. The moment they step off of the ship, they would be singing many psalms that probably would have been written on the long voyage, through the long dark nights of the journey to the promised land.

The matter of prior occupants. What is going to happen to the folks there now? Are they folks or are they environmental threats to be overcome? Do we make friends with them, or eat them, or do we anhilate them? Or do we plan to enslave them, as our ancestors used to do? Maybe we sell them insurance, or teach them about the wise old shepherd in the sky who watches over us all.

Either they blend in or they have to fight to survive, and fight carefully. To much time allows for resistance to grow, if we hit them quickly we can have the whole thing to ourselves. Or do we live among them and learn how they have come to thrive, they have solved all of the problems we would need to solve, maybe killing them first is not such a good plan. Will we have a choice?

Do they look like us or are we different?

What might happen to the people on the ship, might their appearance change or might they behave in a whole new way? Like wrestlers, with the biggest meanest one calling the shots for them.

Or maybe there are power struggles on the ship and the next one, and each one of the many ships on the way now.
The first New Ones arrive and are weak and need help, they would not appear to be a threat.

Someone to show mercy to, a helping hand, assistance to bring them from the wilderness into the world of Elysium.

After the first friendly helpless ones so grateful for charity, come the more angry ones, in larger quantities. They do not negotiate, they just take what they need.

Then the old world is forever lost and the new order will have begun.

Are we a force for good or are we brutal and ugly? To live we must be brutal and ugly sometimes.

To live and bring our children, this is enough have in common with our group of individuals.

What is a group?

As these ships begin to rain down, there will now be a flood of the descendants of these large human transportation units. These are aggressive people sent because of their crimes or because they were unlucky enough to represent any form of opposition to the political party in power.

Thousands of space ships launched with the capacity of over one thousand human souls each. The provisions supporting this population will be insufficient. Only a few will survive, but those few will be a powerful force. They will be clever enough to adapt to the changing circumstances. Most wont make it, but a few will. And they are going to kick some butt to earn some of the New Earth..

One day the arrivals of the last human Elysium pilgrims to leave earth.

They are all faced with the same questions. Many questions. One big question.

When we land, what if they are not happy to see us?

Its a long way from home.

Promotions

As of January 15th I have a new job as a writer with The B Company

Gratitude

OLYMPIA WASHINGTON

Every moment holds promise for unexpected productivity, finding the opportunity is the dance.

I am grateful to Maggie LaNoue for providing this website.

I am grateful for the Meloney hospitality that I received during a time of crisis this past spring.

I am grateful to my health insurance for the excellent care they give me.

I am grateful to be here in this residence and to have an automobile.

I am grateful for the support of my friends.

I am grateful for the part time job at the radio station KXXO Mixx 96 FM.

I am grateful to live in a community where I can grow and learn new things.

I am grateful for my own mysterious creative talents and abilities.

I am grateful for history and the lessons available to us by remembering the truth.

I am grateful for all mercy shown to our homeless sisters and brothers, they will teach us how to live without our ordinary comforts.

I am grateful for the off button so that I can turn off the bad news that seems to be increasing constantly.

I am grateful for the ability to create better circumstances every day.

I am grateful for electricity, we must remember that without it we all will have to learn again how to survive the same perils  our ancestors did.

I am grateful to my parents for all they left me with and the upbringing to always see the best in the future ahead.

I am grateful that you are reading this now.

Thank you. I wish you peace and prosperity ahead.

Next I hope to find a great job, even better than the past ones, and to be open for romance. I will learn to help others more. I will lift others up in any way I can.

 

To be an artist usually means that you work all the time and especially when you are dreaming, but you rarely get paid for it.

James De Buchananne D’Orleans, de Bourbon

James De Buchananne D’Orleans, de Bourbon was my mom’s ancestor, grandfather I think. This is his obituary as can be best interpreted from the old newspaper account that remains.

Approximately Late August 1896

A weird scene on board the Cynthia, ceremony according to deceased’s spiritual belief

James De Buchananne, spiritualist lecturer and alleged duke of Orleans, was buried at sea yesterday afternoon at 3:45, within fifteen miles of Galveston island.

The “doctor”, as he was familiarly known among his intimate friends here, had been a sailor for a goodly portion of his 55 years. The sea had borne him upon its broad bosom to many a distant clime, and he had conceived and retained an affection for it which perhaps can be only understood by him who has made his home upon it. The ocean, with its calms and storms, its pleasures and dangers, its smiling surface and its mysterious depths, was typical of the lights and shadows of his own life, and it is said he often expressed the wish that when his spirit had “passed out” his body should find a sailor’s grave in the heart of the great waters. He had been a sufferer for many years, and looked forward to his release from pain for some time past. A short while ago he became conscious that the end was near, and calling together his grand-niece, Miss Ella Cutler and his intimate friend and spiritualist brother, Mr. T. A. Stone of Dallas, the programme of his own burial was mapped out in detail, even to the selection of the hymns and the reading of the address by Mr. Stone. On Tuesday last the end came, and the programme yesterday was carried out in strict accordance with his wishes.

At 1 o’clock yesterday afternoon a few of the intimate friends of the deceased gentleman gathered in the front room which he has occupied since he has been in Galveston, at 2110 Broadway. In one end of the room stood the casket. Its exterior was covered with white cloth. It had silver handles and bore upon the surface a silver name-plate with the  inscription engraved thereon:

JAMES DE BUCHANANNE,

D’Orleans, de Bourbon

L.D.P.

Above the inscription was the square and compass, the emblem of the Masonic order, and below it the coat of arms of the Knights of Pythias. Inside the casket had been placed 100 pounds of lead, 50 pounds at each end. Led by Miss Cutler, the few friends sang “Nearer my God to Thee,” after which the pallbearers carried the casket to the waiting hearse, and the party was driven to the foot of Center Street.

The large and powerful steam tug Seminole was in waiting at pier 21. The casket was tenderly carried aboard and placed upon a raised platform in the stern of the boat, with the stars and stripes enveloping it on every side. The invited guests followed, and the Seminole, casting off her lines, stood out for the jetties and the gulf. The boat’s flag was hoisted half way to the (?) and as the boat slipped past a small skiff belonging to an incoming steamer, the inmates of the skiff rose and bared their heads in respectful salutation.

A strong head-sea was setting in as the Seminole passed through the jetties and considerable water came aboard. The boat rolled and plunged quite heavily, which resulted in no little discomfort to several of the ladies aboard. Especially was this (?) (end of column, the next column has been cropped off, it begins in verse)

 

Oh, these death scenes are sweet, for the soul pens for ages

Vast volumes of thought on unwritten row and

Will be buried the link in life’s mystic chain

Let the harp of the angels be newly restrung

There’s mirth to be made there are songs to be sung

For a pilgrim has passed from the care lands of earth

To the realms of the loved, where the spirit had birth

Twill be joy to stand in that bright world of glory

Where wisdom and love are themes of life’s story

Where the cross shines a crown that to angels is given

With loved ones who glide through the azure of heav’n

 

Miss Cutler then read the following verses:

Clad in thine immortality,

E’en now we hear thee joyful sing

O grave, where is thy victory?

O death, where is thy sting?

Pass on, sweet spirit, to increase

In every bright, celestial grace

Till in the  land of love and peace

We meet the dear one face to face

Rest then, in peace

With blessings on thy head

Pass to the land

Where sinless spirits dwell

Gone but not lost

We will not call thee dead

The angels claim thee

Dear one, far thee well.

Turning to those present, Miss Cutler then said:

Friends: The ceremony that we are about to perform is one that the spirit if him who now lies there longed for. It is the only wish of his heart that has for many years been carried out. It seemed impossible that fate would allow any desire of his to be gratified. In the presence of him, I thank you each and all for all that you have so kindly done for him.

This is not a solemn day; it is a day of rejoicing – rejoicing because we know that his heart wish is realized and that no more pain can rack is body. His spirit is now in the realms beyond, to which we all must pass sooner or later. I could not resign myself to gibe him up if i did not know that he will be with me always and help me more than he did – not more than he wished to, but more than he was allowed to do. For some unknown reason the hand of fate had been set against him and we all know that when fate undertakes to vale our lives we have no power over it. The early part of his life was very successful; everything he did turned in to money. Later in life things turned against him. Today I have lost my dear (lost)

Mr. Stone followed with some lines, in which he gave a history of De Buchananne’s eventful life, closing with some appropriate thoughts to the friends who all tended the services and the loved ones at home.

Friends, perhaps some of you would like to know something of the history of  a brother whom we have come to (?) today, and to give you a brief history of his earth life I will read to you the doctors birthday present, a poem written for him without the writers knowledge of when his birthday would occur and without any intention on his part of its being a birthday present, written and dated June (?), 18(?) and presented to him of the (?) after his birthday.

The Life of an Elder Brother

By T. A. Stone

Near the foothills of the Alleghany

Was born little James De Buchananne

His mother in aguish akin to joy

Gave her own dear life for there darling boy

And James had scarcely reached the age of 4

When father crossed the shore

His baby heart knew not a mother’s love

Though she often came to him from (above?)

And while playing in the woods and meadows wild

She carefully guarded her little child

But by fate as hard as the granite rock

James fell in the hands of the orthodox

The old puritan couple so devout

Nearby wore this bright little Frenchman out

With the household duties and weekly prayers

Long sermons, Sunday schools and other cares

Friends, there is no death; tis only a change. The body we see lying before us is but the vacant house that our brother used to occupy. We love not the house so much as we do those who dwell within. Sweet memories will ever hover around the (?) home of our dear friend and fellow worker, but it is the brother who is absent from his home that we really love. Twas he who gave us counsel, and taught us the beauties of the inner life. It is of him, the sprit, the intelligence, the real man, the ‘I’ who occupied this form that we are beholding, that I wish to speak. His life was one like our own, only more fully developed than many of us, perhaps that any of us. He was industrious, firm, fearless and unyielding in his search for truth and wisdom, ever holding the holies reverence for his highest conception of the good and endeavoring by the power of thought through the law of attraction and desire to draw himself and humanity the most powerful and potent agencies from the source of infinite love.

With what success he labored many of us have seen, and the thought he would continually impress upon us is that we can all reach the goal of our strongest and purest desire if we will carefully follow the pathway that leads up the rugged mountain of experience to the summit of wisdom. Others ca, as he did, point toe way to success, but no on e can do our work for us, and we must reach the summit we wish to achieve by our own exertions. He taught us that the friends in (lost)

(continues)

until the end of the casket overhung the water. Immediately upon the conclusion of his address Mr. Stone gave an almost imperceptible signal to the three men who stood at the end of the plank and at the same time whispered to Mr. Walter Hanscom. The men slowly raised the end of the plank until the weight of the casket overbalanced it. There was a flash of white canvas, a severing of the blue waters, a splash of spray and the wish of the sailor heart was fulfilled.

As the waters received the body into its embrace until such time as the sea shall give up its dead Mr. Walter Hanscom commenced singing the beautiful song which was now the sailors requiem:

Rocked in the cradle of the deep

I lay me down in peace to sleep

Secure I rest upon the wave.

For though, o. Lord, hast power to save

I know thou wilt not slight my call

For though dost mark the sparrows fall

And calm and peaceful is my sleep,.

Rocked in the cradle of the deep

And such the trust that still were mine

Though summer wind sweep o’er the brine

Or though the tempest’s fiery breath

Rouse me from sleep to wreck and death

In ocean’s care still save with me

The germ of immortality

And calm and peaceful is my sleep

Rocked in the cradle of the deep

The singer’s voice vibrated with the pathos of the song, which was further intensified by the solitude which reigned all around, and the knowledge that a once animate and beloved form was yet speeding its way to its “ocean’s care” below. The moment was impressive in the extreme, and the tension of emotion was only relived by the renewal of the propellers throb as it urged the boat from the sailors last resting place.

The return voyage was uneventful and (?) passengers (?) (re)corded in Galveston of a burial at sea of a person who died ashore. That was a Mr. Brewster, who as commissioner of insurance during Governor Ireland’s administration, and who was buried beneath the waters of the gulf in the vicinity of the wreck of the Waco about twelve years ago. A curious coincidence is noted in the fact that in both cases the nieces of the dead men attended the burial alone and conducted the services.

Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste

It all started when we were having trouble getting young Bucky to brush his teeth. He does like candy, and bubble gum is a favorite. So when the Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste came out we bought some and it sat around for weeks before we could get Bucky to even try it. He did eventually, and guess what — he liked it!

Did he ever. Soon it was no problem getting him to brush his teeth, and he began to use larger and larger amounts squeezed out onto his toothbrush. We had to watch him and restrain him from piling on way too much. In no time we went through that first tube. So we bought another. We began to suspect that he was brushing his teeth quite a bit after school. We were buying a new huge family-sized two pound tube of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste every time we went shopping. Soon it was a whole gigantic tube each week. Then it was two tubes. We found a place that sells it by the case. He was just wild about the stuff and was brushing his teeth five and six times a day, sometimes he would have an extra snack so he would have to brush his teeth again.

Normally we give him an allowance; if he saves it up he can buy a new video game, or a treat like candy, or whatever he wants to buy. He has an asthma problem, so if he saves up for three weeks he can renew his prescription for an inhaler. His doctor gave us a prescription for an extra strong inhaler so he can breathe at night and when running around playing with his friends. But it’s his money and he has to decide what he does with it, we are very strict. He must learn about managing his own resources.

We decided to try to confront him about his strange alarming enthusiasm for the Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste, and sure enough he yelled. After school he would break all the windows in the house and car, as well as all the mirrors in the bathrooms, loudly complaining that he just wanted to brush his teeth so he would not have any more cavities. How could we argue with that logic? Dental health is very important of course.

Anyway, we began to suspect something was going terribly wrong when we found piles of dried up empty squeezed out tubes of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste under his bed. He denied everything and began to keep his door locked all the time. I hear its normal for kids to act that way, so we know he is just going through a phase.

We got a call from the Seven Eleven next to the school, he was not buying candy with his allowance, he was buying more and more tubes of the Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste. At this point we were hardly shocked. Right about then a newspaper article came out about a clerk who used to work there but who disappeared one day and was never seen again. Little Bucky just turns red and goes out into the yard whenever we try to talk about it with him. The police were not helpful at all, but they soon stopped coming around so often. They still park out in front most evenings.

Anyway, we just did not know what else to do, and when we tried to talk to him about it he would fly into a rage and demand that we stop bothering him. All he said was that he wanted good teeth and a nice Yummy-bright smile. We would peek at him brushing his teeth and find him sucking it right out of the tube. He would go over to his friend’s houses and have their moms buy tubes of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste, and then secretly suck down whole tubes at a time. We were getting more calls from his friend’s parents. They were alarmed and they wanted us to do something about it, or at least pay them for all the tubes of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste that he gobbled down. Soon they would not allow him to come over to visit any more.

We tried stopping his purchases at the source; we talked to all of the new staff at the Seven Eleven over by his school and told them not to sell him any more tubes of the stuff. At first they were not convinced, but soon they too became concerned about his special appetite. Next he was just stealing boxes of the stuff, walking out with several tubes at a time and taking them to a wooded area where the bigger kids go to smoke after school. After we put our foot down over that he was soon just sucking down whole tubes right there in the store. He really loves the stuff, to this day. Its toothpaste, so what could be the harm in it?

After lots of struggling and much acrimony over the kitchen table day after day, we decided to talk to a professional. We talked to several child therapists and psychologists and they all gave us different explanations of what was going on. We finally found one who told us what we wanted to hear. It was not easy to find this angel. Persistence is rewarded.

Well, to make a long story short, we decided that it was not doing our family any good to be fighting about it all the time. My blood pressure was getting dangerously high and every weekend was ruined by all of the trouble over Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste. All that broken glass was getting expensive but we found a place to buy glass in bulk and I learned to replace it myself. For the bathroom we bought some unbreakable steel mirrors so that problem was easily solved. My wife was constantly sobbing and would lock herself in the bathroom for days at a time. She was on her way to a Nyquil drinking problem and God only knows what else she was doing in there. Something had to be done before little Bucky had one or maybe two dead parents. The neighbors kept calling various social services organizations in the area and we were in and out of court constantly during this time.

For his next birthday we decided to try another approach. His favorite cake is called “confetti”, which is an angel food cake with colorful candy sprinkles all through it. We decided to frost the cake with his favorite flavored sweet goo, Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste, of course. It takes more than one large sized tube for a two layer cake, with extra thick coverage in the middle and on top. Because you can squeeze it directly onto the cake in interesting and decorative patterns, and that makes clean-up so much easier. Have you ever tried to wash a knife with dried Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste on it? Soaking or chipping with a chisel does not help. It takes special solvents that we have to order directly from the toothpaste company, but it’s just easier to throw everything away and buy new cutlery.

The glitter sprinkles really add a nice touch and I bought a special light which really sets off the whole presentation. We are experimenting with different kinds of glitter.

Now we just have large crates of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste delivered directly to our door in bulk each week, and there is peace in our house once again. It’s a family favorite and we always have a cake or two in the pantry, as well as all the ingredients to make more. His teeth have not actually shown much improvement though. In fact, he has so many cavities that we had to shop around to find a willing dentist who offered us a special deal on a full set of juvenile crowns. When his adult teeth do come in they will be immediately replaced with some kind of new special superior designer artificial teeth that the dentist has been telling us about, paid for by the Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste Customer Service Representatives and the American Orthodontic Products Advisory Board, but that is our little secret and we are not supposed to be talking to anyone about all that. Bucky just got a call today about being in some advertisements for their product; it’s quite a lot of money, more than enough for his special new teeth. They want to send a photographer and put his adorable face on the new label design.

 

The original Imagination Decks

Imagination Decks

A deck is a collection of cards. Each card is unique in some way. Each card has a picture or some kind of meaning expressed. Each card is a unit of knowledge. The collection has added meaning because of each of the different card elements and how they all fit together. That is my proposed new art form, the appreciation of collections of images or units of knowledge.

I began with some ideas based on another project, what I do with those ideas has nothing much to do with the original project, but I want to put the whole thing in proper context. I told my ideas to my friend and partner, Lorraine Tong, and she drew pictures for the first Story Deck. The title of the deck, as there can be many different Story Decks, is A Found Story. It shows various characters, drawn with no facial features, doing various things such as riding a horse or standing in front of a door to a castle. There are some characters only seen on one card, and some characters that turn up in various combinations and doing various things. Or not doing anything but in different situations or settings.

Each card can be a springboard for making up a story, possibly even right there on the spot. You can spread them all out and then pick the next card as you tell your story, or you can stack the cards up and try to make up something with whatever the next card turns out to be. You can put them in a particular order or you can shuffle them and see what comes up next.

Lorraine is a poet, so she immediately went to work on a Poetry Deck, the one she made is called The Heart Escapes. The cards contain a single word, or phrase, or an incomplete phrase. The word cards are probably the most simple to make yet they have so much more possible meaning.

I had an idea called the People Deck, the one I made is called Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker and represents people in a village. My idea when I started was people in a traditional European villages, only because that was easy for me to work with. The cards can be used to represent how all the different personalities, jobs or vocations that are represented interact to make up a whole village. In my opinion, the drawings are not as good as the ones that Lorraine draws.

Another idea is more abstract, Points Lines and Space is the first Mosaic Puzzle Deck. There are no words or representational images, just abstrct forms. There is no way to put them together in a larger pattern, its just forms that you can arrange in whimsical ways. The idea of pieces of a puzzle still can be explored, the cards form a natural grid but they can also be tossed around and overlap in spontaneous ways.

The fifth deck is the Collector Deck, a collection of related images. The first Collector Deck is called Leaves of the Pacific Northwest. It contains leaf shapes, there are lots of reasons for the shapes of leaves, they usually have to do with light and the movement of water. Other Collector Deck ideas include Statuary, photographs of faces of statues. Another Collector Deck is the Faces Deck, which is made of photographs of faces that have been altered to show just the element of the face, attempting to remove the identity of the person and emphasizing the shapes of the eyes, nose, mouth and the whole face itself.

As you can see, the idea is very simple and wide open. My secret idea behind all of this is to see what other people come up with for making new card collections. We are all making sets of cards.

When I started there was an interest in using the cards for games. Games need rules. Games have winners. If there are winners then there are losers. It all gets too complicated and distracts from what I am interested in, which is the pictures themselves. I just want to look at the pictures, I think that is enough.

No rules. No limits. Just pictures. How do the different pictures contribute to the meaning (if any) of the whole collection? I love questions, I have no answers to stop the thought process, its all open.

What makes a deck? What if you mix two or more decks? Does each picture mean the same thing to each person looking at the picture?

Story Deck: how many stories are in a deck?

Poetry Deck: do the same words make a new poem if the order is changed?

People Deck: what do the people say to each other? What would a village from another location or time look like?

Mosaic Puzzle Deck: what if there was a larger picture that was cut into parts, can they go together in new ways or should they only go back to the original form?

Collector Deck: this could be anything from baseball cards to flash cards to a stack of photographs from a road trip. Can there be a deck concept with no limits?

A set of five was not complete, I wanted more, I wanted to provide a blank deck so that others can make their own picture cards or poetry cards. So the sixth deck in the set is blank cards.

What next? How can this idea be developed and new contributions encouraged?

Here is another idea for a deck: a Music Deck which is like a Poetry Deck in that it might contain individual notes or phrases or incomplete phrases. You can put then together in different ways and discover new ideas.

Let us take this further! Leave a comment…

Halloween in Schuylkill County

These pictures were taken by me walking around Schuylkill County in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during the Halloween season of 2009. These folks have a very special tradition of celebrating the season, each borough has its own parade and they coordinate with each other so during the week of Halloween the kids can go to a parade every night. That is a LOT of candy. Most of the decorations have been on display for generations. Some of the pictures were taken through glass and have strange superimpositions.

1979

PETOSKEY MICHIGAN 1979

The Theater of Transformations, me with Lorraine M. Tong. This photograph by Jan Nagel was taken in the Spectrum Center located in Petoskey, Michigan above the old Food Coop and Mercado restaurant.

My Colonoscopy

OLYMPIA WASHINGTON

Frank Zappa died because he did not get a timely check up. That does not mean I think of me and Frank, it means the world lost Frank Zappa due to this oversight. Some kinds of cancer have no symptoms until it’s too late, and the early stages are usually most successfully treatable. Frank left way too soon. Now you all are stuck with me instead.

Agreeing to do it was probably the hardest part, I did it because of Frank. I did it because the insurance covered it. I did it because I had no conflicts to argue with. I did it to get it over with.

The next hardest part is the preparation. They gave me two pieces of paper, detailing what needed to be done. Acquire specific and inexpensive laxatives and gatorade, no red gatorade no red dye anything and there is fasting so the system is empty and most easily examined. I put some effort into considering the aftermath, what I would do after the procedure, what I would eat after such a long fast, I do not fast often. I decided on yogurt and nuts and berries for my first meal after its over.

Three days out: no more nuts and berries. Certain meds get discontinued. You tend to wonder what is going to happen, but nothing short of cancelling will halt the countdown. I waited and distracted myself. Working is best for that. There are other options, I tried my favorites. Writing. Sleeping perchance to dreaming.

Two days out: dinner tonight will be the last meal I eat. Sounds final doesn’t it. The Last Meal.

One day out: no solid food, instead drink salty broth. The salt causes water retention, that will be handy later in the laxi-fast when things are flooding out. Next comes the beginning of the laxative regiment. Three PM take the two tiny laxative pills. Four PM mix the powder laxative with the gatoraid. Chugalug one of the two bottles.

The morning of the procedure: There Must be a Designated Driver Present. The patient will not be able to drive or navigate reliably after the procedure, so there must be someone to get The Patient safely home. At 7 AM comes the second round of powder laxative and gatoraid. I felt no specific discomfort, but there was lots of talk to read in my instructions about nausea and how to get that gatoraid laced with laxative down the hatch. I rushed it, it was done in 30 minutes, and they allowed two hours. There was no advantage in chugging it in 30 minutes.

Belly feels full, and there is lots of pooping starting shortly after the first laxatives were taken, and it just keeps on going but not in a messy way. I had no close calls because I stayed close to the you know what. They suggest a moist “wipe” rather than paper to ease the skin around the opening. The Opening. The procedure is to send a camera with special tools up through The Opening. I hope it’s a small camera. What about lights?

The doctor needs a clear view, hence the massive laxatives so things will be clean and simple in there. The procedure I experienced started with a long wait in the waiting room after check-in at the desk. I was light headed from the fasting, so I pity my poor driver, I probably chattered like a nervous monkey between long silent staring trances. They called my name and I went with them.

They put me to bed and attached stuff, most notably a needle and tube taped to my arm, try not to think about bumping it or tearing it out, or having it accidentally caught on someone passing by. They added the drug through that portal and I actually remember the whole thing. The doctor introduced herself, she seemed perfect for the role. She was magnificent. I seem to have survived, unless of course all this is just a dream as I now lie there dying.

I watched it all on TV as I lay on my side and they drove the camera and tool pack up the dark wet tunnel. I felt nothing THANK GOD. To get a better view they inflate the entire chamber (the colon) which is painless but does require extensive expulsion for the next twelve hours or so. Who is counting? It’s noisy.

I got home and enjoyed that yogurt with nuts and berries. I listened to Peaches En Regalia. Now I am all weepy, I miss Frank.

UPDATE Mr Zappa died of prostate cancer, not colon cancer, same neighborhood, different house. The lesson remains, get that check-up! Thanks HMV for this correction.

A very long drive

LIBBY MONTANA

I left Detroit around 3pm on Saturday (the last Saturday of July 2018) after a brief visit with an old friend in Plymouth. Well, he really isn’t old, actually he is younger than me, by about 130 days.

After going over the Mackinaw bridge traffic slowed way down. There was not much time before dark and I will do anything to avoid driving at night these days. This is one of the distinctions of my getting older, which is hardly an excuse.

Looking for a motel on a Saturday night is always tough, but this area has lots and lots of little cheap motels. Pretty much all of them are now closed down and boarded up. I drove on and on into the night.

Until I came to Dreamland. It was perfect (there was a no-show, who for all I knew would be arriving in the wee hours to be turned away, no rooms for 80 miles said the proprietor of Dreamland. I love that name. There never was a peep from the no-show, as it turned out therefore it was all good, I got a room!), and I got my oatmeal at the Dreamland café, where the hummingbirds put on an excellent show of high speed death defying stunts.

Day 2: Michigan to Wisconsin and then deep into Minnesota.

Stayed at a little place in Crookston.

Day 3: Minnesota, North Dakota and into Montana.

Saco is where I landed, the only thing worse than night driving might be driving West at sunset.

Now I am in Libby Montana, home of the ongoing vermiculite disaster. I have always enjoyed visiting this area, nice trails in the forested hills.

Tomorrow, Sandpoint Idaho to visit with my cousin, with whom I spent the summer of 1963 at the home of my Aunt Mary and Uncle Tommy in McComb Mississippi.

From there Home to Olympia, where I will immediately get a job and live happily ever after.

The main thing I accomplished was to close out my storage locker. That was very difficult.

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