Category Archives: CHAPTER 04 – Lividity

Homegrown

homegrown1280Melissa thought to herself, “They’ll never be expecting this one.” She had been a stewardess for five years. The last two years of that time, she flew a regular route between Houston and Washington D.C. Her maternal grandmother was Japanese, and there was a very slight slant to her eyes. It was so slight that you didn’t really notice it, but the feeling that there was something exotic about her was the impression that was left. Part of that aura was her bright green eyes. A warm smile and flash of those big eyes was enough to melt almost any man.

Her Japanese grandmother had been interred in the “detention camps” during World War II. She always told Melissa that she was never mistreated. She always seemed just about to add something to that comment, but never did. Her half brother Ward, had been killed in Iraq six months ago. Melissa barely remembered her real father. Her mother had married Ward’s father when she was four, and most of her memories of childhood were of growing up with Ward as her younger half brother.

Ward had been in the National Guard to help pay his way through college. He never really thought he would be a battlefield soldier. He fell for the old slogan “One weekend a month, and two weeks a year.” He was originally told his deployment in Iraq would be no more than six months. Then he was told it was a year, and shortly thereafter he was told it would be eighteen months. Ward’s letters to Melissa had broken her heart. She truly loved her younger brother. It just seemed so unfair that they would keep extending the time he had to serve in Iraq. On top of that unfairness was the fact her brother was assigned to convoy duty. It was supposed to be just a support job to the active military troops, but the insurgents found the lesser trained personnel of the National Guard and the Reservist made easier targets for their roadside bombs and ambushes. It seemed to Melissa that the U.S. Government was trying to get her brother killed.

The straw that broke the camel’s back, was when her brother asked her to buy body armor for him, because the military wasn’t providing it. She spent $2000 dollars to get him really good quality armor, but two days after she mailed it, she was notified that he had died. Ward had been shot in the chest by a sniper. If he had been supplied with body armor, he wouldn’t have died. Something inside of Melissa broke. Now she wanted justice. She wanted revenge.

She glanced quickly at her suitcase going through the airport scanner. She knew there was nothing in there that would set off the alarms, but she had to watch its progress clear through the unit. No alarms went off. She gave a big smile and wave to the lone officer at the scan point. “Hi Greg, how was your daughter’s birthday party?” , she asked. He thanked her for asking and told her that his daughter had a wonderful time.

Melissa could feel small beads of sweat on her upper lip, but just continued to smile. Nothing triggered the alarms, but if Greg opened the suitcase he would find chloroform and long plastic ties. She would have no explanation that would justify those items. Her plan was very simple. She wasn’t good at intrigue or chess. She would knock out one of the other stewardesses with chloroform and then call another stewardess back to help her in the stewardess station. She would then work her way up to the cabin and ask for the co-pilot to come back and help with a problem passenger. Once the door was closed to the cabin, she would knock him out. Then she would go back to the cabin and tell the pilot that the co-pilot said he had everything under control. She would then knock out the pilot.

She didn’t know how to fly, but she knew that you pulled back on the controls to raise the nose of the plane, and you pushed forward to make the plane dive. Banking right or left was just a matter of turning the controls right or left. She had to time this so that she would be able to take the controls of the plane right after it took off from Ronald Reagan Washington Airport. She would just have to point the plane at a target and ride it down. There would be no time to scramble fighter planes.

Melissa thought to herself, “They’ll never be expecting this one.”

Artificial Intelligence

aigirl1280Good Afternoon and welcome to the Artificial Intelligence wing of the Smithsonian Museum of Robotics. My name is Millie, and I was the first robot to achieve true artificial intelligence. Before I turn around to give you a closer look at my artificially intelligent brain, let’s stroll back in time. The term artificial intelligence is commonly referred to by the acronym A.I. The term A.I. was first coint in 1956 by John McCarthy of M.I.T. The simplified definition of A.I. is the ability of a manufactured object to have independent thought and be capable of reasoning on its own.

The early attempts at A.I. were severely limited by the speed of the computer processors and the storage capacity. As the computer evolved the processor speeds became faster and the storage facilities smaller in size and larger in capacity. The early attempts at A.I. created expert systems or you might say computers that knew a lot about a very limited subject. Even those weren’t capable of independent thought and reasoning. There were also Neural Networks that had strong pattern recognition capabilities. The bottleneck was the jump that had to be made for computers to run parallel thinking processes that understood a bank might be a building where money is kept or it might be the dirt along the edge of a river, and from the context it was used in, determine which was correct. It had to be able to do this and quickly keep cross-checking to make sure that bank was not being used as a term to state how an airplane made a turn.

The core concept that broke the bottleneck was attributed to D. N. Barnhart and was given out freely over the Internet as well as through a book he published, called “Tales from the Technowomb.” He credited a man named Phil, who he couldn’t remember the last name of, as the co-author of the concept. Without getting too technical, the concept involved using music to generate independent thought.

Although computers base calculations are binary, meaning they are carried in ones and zeroes, the computer groups these into a sequence of eight adjacent bits called a byte. To expand on reading bytes of information, the computer uses a mathematical system with a base of sixteen characters called hexadecimal. Where humans use a base ten or decimal system, it has ten characters. They are 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 0. With a base 16 or hexadecimal system, you have sixteen characters. They are 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0, A,B,C,D,E and F.

Where this crosses over into music, is that the denominator of musical notation is variation of eight. You have ad the denominator 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 ….and so on. A song can be played with the same notes, but in a different octave. The perfect octave is 13 semitones, of which 8 are whole notes, such as D, C, and 7 are half notes, such as G sharp. The parallel processing required for A.I. was programmed into the format of perfect octaves of music. In our previous example of bank, one octave would be the bank building, another octave the bank of a river, and another octave the banking of an airplane. The whole notes of music A through G corresponded to the hexadecimal characters of A through F with the G becoming zero.

Where computers can generate music by following the rules of harmony, meter, and so on, A.I. was able to generate original thought through following those same principles. It took many years to determine a way to put weighted values to each of the notes, the diminished, the augmented and all the variations, but it was eventually completed by an international consortium of scientist.

Now computer conciousness is a whole different story.

Crying Rock

cryingrock1280I remember riding in the family minivan past Crying Rock upteen million times as a child. It always amazed me, and in many different ways as I grew older. Now at age fifty-one, tooling down the causeway in my sports car, I pass it again on this brooding day, and find it again calling to me.

Local legend has it that a fisherman’s wife who’s husband was lost at sea, came to this rock to look for him for so many years, that her tears carved her likeness on the little peninsula. It is also said the land feeling her dispair, let the tears carve her likeness, so she could watch the sea for his return for the rest of time.

When I was a child, the stories were more dangerous and scary. Things like her body was still enshrined in the rock, and if a child disturbed her crying, she would break free of the rock and eat them. Once as a teenager, some friends of mine and I had to test the tale of disturbing her. We managed to climb to the top of the hill and touch the crying rock. None of us died from the experience, but I do remember feeling an overwhelming emotion of grief.

Now as I pass her again, a lifelong bachelor, I wonder why I’ve never found a woman who’s love was so intense, she would cry for my loss for years. Is there something about sailors that deserve and attract that kind of woman? I had come close to marriage three times in my fifty-one years, but never felt confident that my prospective partner would stand by me and weather the storms of marriage.

Though sailing has been around for thousands of years, it has only been in the last two hundred years that ships had a sure way of knowing their position. This came with the way of calculating longitude. So being lost at sea, didn’t mean the ship had sunk necessarily, but may be truly lost. Thus the poor crying woman of the rock, did have some hope of his return. It wasn’t as if she was waiting for him to come back from the dead.

Now I find I’m dying, the son of an only son, with no children to carry on my name. Some rare and painful disease racks my body. I accept my death, and even look forward to the release from pain. But I leave this world, with nothing left behind. I wish I had found that love, which was like a rock I could depend on. I think I’ll have my ashes spread on crying rock. While she awaits her husband’s return, I’ll await my true love.

Nostradamus Knew

spiderskull1280Alas poor Yorick, the spider seemed to say. Or maybe it was just looking for cockroaches to eat. The urban legend is that only the cockroaches can survive a nuclear attack. Well, as with most urban legends it isn’t true. They can handle more rads than humans’ measly 1200 limit, by hanging in there at 6,400 rads for the German cockroach. But wood boring insects handled a mighty 48,000 rads and the little fruit fly hung in until the needle passed 64,000 rads. That number was dwarfed by the Parasitoid Wasp, who kept punching until 180,000 rads had passed, but the all time winner so far is a bacterium called Deinococcus Radiodurans, or Conan the Bacterium by its admiring researchers. It managed quite well until we reached 1,500,000 rads of radiation.

All of these creatures, as well as the natural predators for each were heading back into New York City. No Broadway plays to entertain them, and no humans to battle with for control of the city. Over 8 million people died in a matter of seconds. Iran was the source of the nuclear missile that hit New York. The United States’ missile shield was able to stop the first seven, but the eighth one made its way through. It was true that Iran was working creating atomic power to create missiles, but the first twenty were bought and paid for with oil money. The technology to turn their plutonium into more atomic bombs was also bought at the same time.

Cash starved countries that were previously part of the Soviet Union actually bidded to supply Iran. While Iran was playing cat and mouse with United Nations inspectors about Iran’s sovereign right to develop nuclear weapons, they convinced North Korea’s dictator to conduct test that would turn the world’s attention away from them. The only reason he agreed was a belief that my enemy’s enemy is my friend.

The cry went up across America to nuke Iran back into the Stone Age, but more pragmatic minds prevailed. We still had troops in Iraq, and the fallout from an attack that size would not only render the oil fields useless for generations, it would drift across to destroy countries in the region who were still allies. One ally that we did not have in the region was Israel. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad kept his promise to wipe Israel off the map.

“Dubbya”

dubbya1280Howdy there! Come on in. By the time you read this my two terms of office will be over, and it will be history and you will be judging my performance as the 43rd President of the United States. I just want to go over some of my accomplishments, in case you forgot.

When I was elected President, it was the first time in over a hundred years that a candidate won the Presidency while losing the nationwide popular vote. The deciding electoral college state was Florida, which I won by a little over 2000 votes. That number was eventually reduced to 537 votes. Although the state law of Florida required a total recount in the case of an election with a margin of less than one half of one percent (it was 0.009%), and the Florida Supreme Court voted for a manual recount, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 4 vote that all recounts must stop. Effectively giving me the Presidency by judicial decision rather than being elected. My opponent Al Gore received 543,816 more popular votes nationwide than I did.

What I will probably be remembered for the most is lying to the American people about there being weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and using that as the premise to go to war.

I was the President when America was attacked on September 11th, 2001 by terrorist, who flew commercial airliners into both of the towers of the World Trade Center and one airliner into the Pentagon. Another airliner was targeting either the White House or the Capitol, but passengers on the plane forced it to crash in a remote area of Pennsylvania. I used the fear that the American people had, and the need for security to remove more civil liberties than any President since the United States was founded.

Forty-five days after the attack, congress reacted to my request for special war powers by passing the USA Patriot Act. It allows the government to access medical records, tax records and even what books you buy or check out from the library without probable cause or a warrant issued by a judge. It also allowed the government to break into your home or office and conduct secret searches without telling you indefinitely. That one directly violated the fourth amendment of the constitution, but I felt it was important if I was to protect America.

We admitted to wire tapping international calls to suspected terrorist without a warrant, but denied doing it to domestic calls between American citizens. Later we had to admit that we were building a massive database on on domestic calls within the USA. This directly violated a federal law passed in 1978 requiring a warrant, but I said that it was legal and constitutional. Another oops you caught us, was the question about secret interrogation locations throughout the world, where we could use torture. Initially we denied this, but the Human Rights First organization documented over two dozen secret detention facilities worldwide.

I signed an Anti-Torture Amendment, a piece of legislation reaffirming the U.S. prohibition against cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. But I also issued a ”signing statement,” or legal interpretation of the amendment, stating that it would not bind me in all circumstances. Further diluting the law was another amendment to the final defense spending bill that for the first time, allows information gained through torture to be used in military proceedings and restrains the ability of detainees to challenge their detention in federal courts.

Only ten months later, I signed the “Harsh Interrogation Law”, authorizing the use of strong techniques of coercing information from terrorist. But I made it secret as to what will be allowed or banned. The American Civil Liberties Union called the new law, “one of the worst civil liberties measures ever enacted in American history.” Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democratic Senator said, “We will look back on this day as a stain on our nation’s history.

I could go on for quite a while, on things like holding people indefinitely without charging them with a crime or all of the pictures of torture by U.S. servicemen in the Abu Ghraib prison, but we’ll close with the Geneva Conventions Treaty, which was signed by the United States in August of 1949. America has always held the moral high ground, by following the treatment of prisoners as outlined in the Geneva Conventions, even if our enemies did not.

On December 28, 2001, I received a memo from the Office of Legal Counsel making two claims: the US court system had no jurisdiction regarding the detainees at Guantanamo, and the Geneva Conventions did not apply to them. Acting on this advice, on February 7, 2002 I suspended Common Article 3 of those conventions-which, among other things, prohibits torture.

The Supreme Court found the tribunals in violation of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, and their existence to be illegal, absent a basis in federal statute. The decision was handed down June 29, 2006. But I pushed a law through congress making prosecution of my administration impossible. I then made a compromise with Senators McCain, Warner, and Graham to pass a law that did make military tribunals legal, as well as prohibiting detainees from claiming rights under the Geneva Conventions.

Some say that I have gone too far in erroding civil liberties, allowing torture, and ignoring treaties like the Geneva Conventions in my War on Terror. But keep in mind that we didn’t have another major terrorist attack on American soil for the remainder of my two terms in office, after September 11th. It will be up to you and history to decide if I went too far.

Later entry to this section (6/26/2008):

I came across an entry on BuzzFlash.com’s discussion board. I give credit to the author of these comments only as tnoblette, the only name given on the post. These may be some of the things that history will write about or discuss of “Dubbya’s” reign. I think we can safely assume that tnoblette is not a pro-Bush advocate.

Myriad reasons for impeachment

Submitted by tnoblette on Tue, 03/13/2007 – 3:08pm.
  • Spent the surplus and bankrupted the treasury.
  • Shattered record for biggest annual deficit in history.
  • Set economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.
  • Set all-time record for biggest drop in the history of the stock market.
  • First president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.
  • First president in US history to enter office with a criminal record.
  • First year in office set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history.
  • After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, presided over the worst security failure in US history.
  • Set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips than any other president in US history.
  • In first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their job.
  • Cut unemployment benefits for more out of work Americans than any president in US history.
  • Set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12 month period.
  • Appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in US history.
  • Set the record for the least amount of press conferences than any president since the advent of television.
  • Signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any president in US history.
  • Presided over the biggest energy crises in US history and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.
  • Presided over the highest gasoline prices in US history and refused to use the national reserves as past presidents have.
  • Cut healthcare benefits for war veterans.
  • Set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.
  • Dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.
  • My presidency is the most secretive and un-accountable of any in US history.
  • Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. (the ‘poorest’ multi-millionaire, Condoleeza Rice has an Exxon oil tanker named after her).
  • First president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously go bankrupt.
  • Presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud of any market in any country in the history of the world.
  • First president in US history to order a US attack and military occupation of a sovereign nation.
  • Created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States.
  • Set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any president in US history.
  • First president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the human rights commission.
  • First president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the elections monitoring board.
  • Removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of congressional oversight than any presidential administration in US history.
  • Rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant.
  • Withdrew from the World Court of Law.
  • Refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions.
  • First president in US history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 US elections).
  • All-time US (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations.
  • My biggest life-time campaign contributor presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).
  • Spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.
  • First president in US history to unilaterally attack a sovereign nation against the will of the United Nations and the world community.
  • First president to run and hide when the US came under attack (and then lied saying the enemy had the code to Air Force 1)
  • First US president to establish a secret shadow government.
  • Took the biggest world sympathy for the US after 911, and in less than a year made the US the most resented country in the world (possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).
  • With a policy of ‘dis-engagement’ created the most hostile Israeli-Palestine relations in at least 30 years.
  • First US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.
  • First US president in history to have the people of South Korea more threatened by the US than their immediate neighbor, North Korea.
  • Changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
  • Set all-time record for number of administration appointees who violated US law by not selling huge investments in corporations bidding for government contracts.
  • Failed to fulfill my pledge to get Osama Bin Laden ‘dead or alive’.
  • Failed to capture the anthrax killer who tried to murder the leaders of our country at the United States Capital building. After 18 months I have no leads and zero suspects.
  • In the 18 months following the 911 attacks I have successfully prevented any public investigation into the biggest security failure in the history of the United States.
  • Removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history.
  • In a little over two years created the most divided country in decades, possibly the most divided the US has ever been since the civil war.
  • Entered office with the strongest economy in US history and in less than two years turned every single economic indicator¬†down.

Bright Eyes

brighteyes1280Marcus made everyone around him uneasy. Those penetrating light blue eyes on a man with such dark skin seemed unnatural. Marcus was aware of his affect on people and often wore sweatshirts with a hood to enhance the effect. His ability to raise one eyebrow separately from the other was the icing on the cake. When he wore the “hoodies”, he appeared rather thugish. In reality, he was a educated man with a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Iowa and he worked for the U.S. Department of Education.

First at college and later when working for the Department of Education, he attended a lecture by a third grade teacher from Riceville, Iowa. McGraw-Hill Publishers has her listed on a timeline of key educators along with Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Booker T. Washington and twenty-five other people. She was a guest on the Johnny Carson show. She was on Oprah Winfrey’s show five times, and ABC Broadcasting did a documentary on her and a social experiment she did with her third grade class on the morning of Friday, April 5, 1968. Her name was Jane Elliott.

The day before, Martin Luther King had been assassinated. Since the news of it was all over the television, radio and papers, her students asked about it. On the spur of the moment, she asked her twenty-eight students if they would like to participate in an exercise that would help them understand more about the assassination. She asked them how do you think it would feel to be a Negro boy or girl? The third graders agreed to participate in the exercise.

She separated out the students who had blue eyes and had them wear arm bands of green construction paper. She then announced, “The browneyed people are the better people in this room. They are cleaner and smarter.” Knowing that the third graders would want some scientific explanation for this statement, she explained that skin color, eye color, and hair color are caused by a chemical called Melanin. She went on to say that brown-eyed people had more of this chemical in their bodies. She also said that Melanin is what causes intelligence. So the darker the person’s eyes the smarter the person is, and they are better than blue-eyed people. She finished with a statement about how blue-eyed people were lazy and just sat around doing nothing. She added that if you gave them something nice, they would just wreck it.

Elliott rattled off statements and rules the rest of the day. She asked if blue-eyed people remembered what they were taught, to be answered by the brown-eyed kids with a big,” NO!” As the day progressed the brown-eyed kids berated their blue-eyed classmates. When a young boy got an arithmetic problem wrong on the board, a brown-eyed student shouted out, “What do you expect? He’s a bluey!” At lunch Jane told the blue-eyed children they would have to use a paper cup if they drank from the fountain. When asked why, she told them the brown-eyed children might “catch something” from the blue-eyed kids. On the way out for recess later a blue-eyed girl was too slow in getting through the door, and three brown-eyed girls ganged up on her and said, “You better apologize to us for getting in our way because we’re better than you are.” The little blue-eyed girl did apologize and waited for the three girls to pass, before exiting. The brown-eyed children got an extra five minutes of recess.

On Monday the roles changed, and it was the brown-eyed students who had to wear the green arm bands and were told they were stupid and lazy. She noticed the blue-eyed students weren’t as harsh on their brown-eyed counteparts, as they had been on Friday. She surmised it was because they had felt the pain of rejection, and weren’t as anxious to inflict it on their fomer tormentors.

The next day, Elliott reminded them the exercise was to learn more about Dr. King and what discrimination was. She asked them all to write a paper about their experience. She received papers from brown-eyed students with comments like, “I felt like hitting the blue-eyed students any time I wanted because we are better.” From the blue-eyed students, comments like, “I just wanted to quit school and go home. I was mad.”

The story of the experiment was published in the local paper in the little town of 840 people. Associated Press picked up the story and interviewed Jane Elliott. She said that she was “dumbfounded” by the exercise’s effectiveness. It was a month after that when Johnny Carson called to invite her to be on his show.

She was ostracized by her small town, for portraying them to the world as all being racist. A few psycologist and educators called her evil and her experiment cruel, but the overwhelming majority appreciated its effectiveness. Elliott went on to do training seminars for General Electric, AT&T, the IRS, Exxon, IBM, the U.S. Navy and spoke on the subject at more than 350 colleges and universities.

After hearing Jane Elliott in college, he made it a point to see her a second time when she spoke to the U.S. Department of Education. Her seminar had special meaning to this blue-eyed black man.

Elven Attitude

pookfae1280It was only a matter of time. Genetic research, stem cell research, cloning, Vulcans and elves. Science has been trying to take whatever we see as science fiction, and make it science fact. There has been discussions of making super humans back to the times of Hitler and World War II, over half a century ago. More recently the super humans were planned along the lines of a super athlete with increased strength and stamina, or specialized traits such as eye color, hair color, musical aptitude, and such. But what was the first breakthrough of this reality changing science…. pointed ears.

Actually, a New York plastic surgeon by the name of Dr. Lajos Nagy created a surgical procedure to make human ears pointed. Supposedly it improved the experience of listening to music, but that had nothing to do with the reason most people wanted pointed ears. It started on a major scale with Mr. Spock, an alien first officer on a television show called Star Trek. The pointed ears were a consistent trait of the Vulcan species. That was followed by or preceded by Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, depending on how you look at it. The books and their description of elves and hobbits included the pointed ears, were before the Star Trek show, but the Lord of the Rings movies came after the television show.

Megan’s parents were fans of both Lord of the Rings and Star Trek. Both of them worked in genetics, and both of them did it illegally. It wasn’t as if they could hide it indefinitely, but they did delay the consequences by using the services of a midwife, rather than conventional doctors for the birth. They were most concerned about how she would be treated in school. Children can be very cruel to other children who are in any way different. After many hours of discussion, they agreed that if it started to become a problem, they would go the way of home schooling or a tutor. The potential benefits of guaranteed celebrity for a physical feature that millions have wished they had, would out-weigh the negative ones, they hoped.

When Megan was born, the ears were much larger in proportion to her head than they had planned. They also were somewhat more forward oriented than they wanted. The result was something closer to the Anime style character than a vulcan or elf. As Megan grew, it became apparent that she had the gene that enabled her to wiggle her ears. This ability, along with the shape of her ears did provide her with better hearing than normal people. She could hear down to the 8 Hz level, where most people’s hearing cuts off on the bottom end at 20 Hz. The high end of most people’s hearing is around 20,000 Hz, and Megan’s reached the 24,000 Hz level. She could hear most dog whistles, but was far from the 100,000 Hz range that bats, whales, porpoises and dolphins use.

Something that they didn’t manipulate, but most people thought they did, was her lithe build. The total effect of her build, her ears, and a variety of specialized contact lenses created an overall effect that was mind blowing. She would literally bring traffic in Times Square to a halt, when she walked across the street. Young children’s reactions were akin to them seeing a real Santa, and she often got asked if she was one of Santa’s elves. Before she even got out of elementary school, she was doing commercials for a multitude of products like Keebler Cookies, Peter Pan Peanut Butter, French Elf Lubricants, and a multitude of others. The price she could command was astronomical, because she was the only one. Disney had her signed up for movies by the age of ten, after three years of price negotiation.

She did not go to regular schools, because of her busy schedule. It was tutors who managed her education, and her parents managed her agent and personal schedule. Megan ate it up. Of course there were times, when it was hard for her, being different, but that was seldom. She loved the attention, the money, and the perks. In mythology, a Diva is the lowest form of divinity, such as the wood nymph. Well, they might as well have said wood elf, because Megan was a Diva. Megan was intolerable if she didn’t get her way. Megan epitomized the word bitch beyond human norms. Her tirades and tantrums earned her a psychological classification as unique as her ears. It was called “Elven Attitude.”

Prime Crime

thecrime1280Martin gazed at the beautiful but alien woman as she exited the water in front of the falls. He tried to imprint every aspect of the moment into his memory. The sound of the water, the feel of the grass, the beauty of the woman, her slightly cinnimon scent, the gentleness of her touch. He knew that he would be sentenced to death, but not before years away from the sunlight in dank prisons.

His two crewmates had been killed by some man-eating flora on this planet. He would have died as well, had it not been for this beautiful creature yanking him back from the brink of death. Her skin was soft, but there was something about its consistency that was different. When the ship had scanned the planet creatures of her species had not shown up. Otherwise the ship wouldn’t have sent a landing party of three astronauts. It must be something in her skin that makes her invisible to the ships sensors, and it is something other than being green.

She had been wearing a skirt of finely wound moss with thin vines of leaves woven through the gaps in the moss. Her breast were bared. The fact that she covered her lower half, must mean something on a socialogical level, but what it was escaped him. She made a series of clicks and purrs, which must be what her language is. Through shrugs of his shoulders and looks of puzzlement on his face, he managed to express that he couldn’t understand her. She took his hand and led him through the forested area, stopping him with her hand if he wandered too close to something dangerous. When she stopped him, she would trigger the plant so he would know what danger it presented. They finally reached a clearing under a large tree that had branches and leaves woven so tightly it resembled an umbrella more than a tree.

She was motioning for him to do something, but he didn’t understand what. Finally she sat down, pulling him to the ground with her. Amost immediately she stood up, but with her hands and the opened palm stopping gesture, she made it clear she wanted him to remain sitting. With a quick turn, and surprising speed, she vanished into the undergrowth. Martin wasn’t sure what to expect; More of her species? Her mate? To be cooked for dinner? His curiosity didn’t have to wander long, for she returned in less than five Earth minutes. She was carrying what appeared to be fruits.

His assessment was correct, and she showed him how to open the fruits and which part of them to eat. This process with fingers was messy to say the least. So when they had finished she led him to the waterfalls to wash off. She lost her skirt without the slightest bit of self-conciousness, so he followed her lead and stripped down to wash. Without seeming too interested in what his pants covered, she did manage to sneak a look or two.

Martin climbed out of the water and lay down upon the soft enbankment. Shortly thereafter she came out of the water and lay down beside him. She ran her fingers along his arm and traced them up across his wide shoulders along his chest. It wasn’t long before his body was reacting in ways he couldn’t control. A smile crossed her face and before long they were entwined with each other.

Afterwards he realized that he had signed his death warrant, by breaking the Prime Directive. He had shown himself and his advanced civilization to a much less advanced culture. Strange how life imitates art. When the people of Earth actually were able to travel in space, they adopted an ethical code of dealing with other civilizations that most thought was founded in a television program called Star Trek, written by Gene Roddenberry. Gene supposedly lifted the idea from Gene L. Coon or Theodore Sturgeon, but it actually was a 1948 concept by the famous author, Robert A. Heinlein. He used it in a book called Space Cadet.

Martin couldn’t imagine why that small speck of history rode along in his mind with the term Prime Directive, but now his eyes were starting to close. He was getting sleepy. He reminded himself again to capture every moment of this heaven. But now to sleep. Perchance to dream.

Poppin’ Cats

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It is not common for someone to see surrealism in real life. By definition surrealism is more real than real. This may be one of those, “You had to be there.” sort of events, but I’ll do my best to impart it to you. I do have a witness to its authenticity, although I don’t know exactly where she is these days.

Let me start off by saying that my cat, Leica has never been a good host to other cats. To humans he is the epitome of a gracious host. He hides from no one, and is nonjudgmental towards all. I assume that he isn’t afraid of anyone, because he has never been hurt by a human. He assumes that the only reason someone would come to my place is to pet him.

Barbara, a school teacher, who was my fiance at the time had brought herself and her two cats over for the weekend. It was the first time that our cats had met. As I expected, Leica was somewhat aggressive because it was his territory that was invaded. We strategically placed squirt guns throughout my place in case the conflicts escalated to physical contact. It was mainly a lot of hissing, arched backs, mean looks, and cat posturing, but no physical brawls.

After about a day and a half, all the cats gathered in the same room as both of us, who were watching a movie on my home theater system. Leica was closest to us, with Barb’s cats across the room, and with enough distance to at least get a running start if Leica went on the attack.

As fate would have it, I just moved my foot enough to startle Leica, who jumped straight up from a sleeping position to a height of about four feet. Barb’s cats, not knowing what the threat was also came straight up from sleeping positions. All three of the cats had hang time in the air that would make Michael Jordan jealous. Barb and I stood there aghast at this unusual sight of three cats floating in mid air. While they were all suspended in midair I noticed that they all had their tails tucked beneath them to some degree. I wondered if it was some unwritten rule of cat behavior, when you go airborne use the tail to protect the family jewels?

We simultaneously broke into laughter, as the cats fell back to the earth and scampered in various directions. I don’t think we stopped laughing for two days. We bemoaned the lack of photographic proof, so this is as close as I can get.

Also, I can’t leave out my little factoid for each story. An average house cat can jump straight up five feet from a standing position. There is another member of the small cat family called a Caracal. The caracal can jump 6 feet (1.8 meters) straight up to knock a bird out of the air, even twisting nimbly to catch another bird on the other side before coming down to the ground.

Dubai Harem

dubaiharem1280Most people had not heard of the country of Dubai in the United States until 2006, when President Bush was about to cede control of the major U.S. shipping port terminals to this Arab country. The ruler of Dubai is Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, generally known to his people as “the boss”. Although it is both a monarchy and Muslim based country, it is built around the Western laws of the United States, Great Britain, France and is a stable hub of commerce and finance in a region primarily in a state of chaos. From the point of view of the West, the down side is that it is a part of the United Arab Emirates, who’s loyalties are not always in synch with the United States.

I am a prince in the royal family, but far far from the throne. I do enjoy the benefits of my own palace and the wealth to support my nine wives. Although Islamic law allows for multiple wives, most arabs are too poor to support more than one wife, if even that. Many of my American business associates quietly snicker at my having so many wives, but they are not aware of the negative aspects. Think of how a single wife might nag, or scheme to get things done her way and multiply that by nine. I enjoy standing on the balcony of my palace in the evenings, letting the cool desert breeze wash over my body as I watch one of my wives dance for me in the bedroom. I know that it is somewhat voyeuristic, but who cares. It is my own wife.

As I lean against the railing in my tailor made flight suit, I think about the advances of Dubai in my lifetime. We are about to start construction on the tallest building in the world. We have Palm Island, a Palm-tree shaped resort island, to be built on land reclaimed from the sea, it will be only the second man-made feature to be visible from the moon.

We have convinced major universities around the world to have extentions of their school in our country. We build the campuses for them for free, and pay their teachers much more than they could earn anywere esle in the world. Our education complex boast such schools as Britain’s Middlesex University and the Royal College of Surgeons, from India the Mahatma Gandhi University, from the United States we have M.I.T., Harvard, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. We even convinced the President of Embry-Riddle to come live in Dubai and run Dubai Aerospace University

We have not abandoned our relationship with the other Arab countries, but we do hope to show them the way to integrate outdated and stagnant societies into the modern world, and diversify their economic base beyond the oil that will eventually run out.

I myself, love to fly fighter jets.

The Poltergoddess

poltergoddess1280Almost everyone is familiar with what a Poltergeist is to some degree. If nothing more than the movie of the same name, which The Poltergoddess hates, because it made no mention of her. Nor did the other two sequels correct the slight made against her. The movies by the way, really didn’t tell anything about true poltergeist.

Poltergeist is a German word meaning “noisy ghost.” It is one of the few forms of the paranormal where there is documented proof. In 1975 a series called “Leap in the Dark” captured poltergeist activity on video. In almost all cases there is an adolescent child or young teenager just entering puberty present at the location where the activity is. Sometimes the activity stop when the children grow older. Some parapsychologist believe the poltergeist activity has something to do with the hormonal changes that children go through and psychokinetic energy that is released during this process. Frankly it is all bunk.

The part about young teenagers and adolescent children being present is true. Their spirits bring The Poltergoddess little presents. If any of you have had lesser poltergeist activity in your house, you’ll recognize the symptom of putting some small item down and then returning to find it gone. Times where you are positive beyond any doubt that you put the watch, the earrings, the key or whatever on the corner of the dresser. You turn around our leave the room to return and find them gone. Then hours, days, weeks, or even months later you find the item has turned up again. Often times in the exact spot where you remember leaving it, and not being able to find it previously. Poltergeist activity isn’t evil in nature. It is impish.

No one knows where the Poltergoddess originated, but some say Bast has something to do with it. Her upper lip and teeth definitely have a feline form. Also Bast’s impish nature is known throughout the cosomos. Whatever her origin, she is a well raised goddess. She knows to keep these items would be stealing, so she just receives the temporary gifts from the spirits of the young children and teenagers. The fact that these items vanish at the most inopportune times is just an extension of the impish nature of the spirits.

The Poltergoddess chuckled with glee as she swung the key to the Crown Jewels of England stored below the Tower of London. She knew that she couldn’t keep the keys long, but the chaos their disappearance has caused is one of her best jokes in many many years.