I Never Understood

ineverunderstood1280Any man who says he understands women is either a liar or a fool. The way that men and women are wired mentally is different. Not that one system is any better than the other, it is just different. The logic a man uses to approach and solve a problem is completely different than what his femal counterpart would use. They often come up with the same end point, but get there by a totally different path. I know that all women aren’t the same any more than men are, but in both genders there are patterns than many seem to follow.

For instance, I’ve never understood why women have to go to the bathroom in groups when you are at a restaurant and there is more than one woman.

I’ve never understood why most women are always late getting ready for an event they’ve known about far in advance.

I’ve never understood how a woman can cry from happiness.

I’ve never understood how a woman can love a child so unconditionally that even if they commit murder it is forgiven.

I’ve never understood how a woman can love one man, but marry another.

I’ve never understood that sometimes a woman just needs to talk to me about something, without me trying to fix it.

I’ve never understood how a woman choses who she will make love to.

I’ve never understood how time slows down when you are in the arms of a loving woman.

I’ve never understood how a woman’s silence could hurt so much.

I’ve never understood how a woman decides the moment she no longer has confidence in her man.

I’ve never understood how a woman can ask you to do something and then get angry with you for doing it.

I’ve never understood why you love me.

House Elf

house_elf1280Nobby stared out the window as the rock in the pit of his stomach grew larger. He had really up and done it now. Here he sat in the world of muggles, with the wand of an instructor and the broom of the fastest Quiddich player at the school for magic. He had been treated badly, but so were all house elves. That was their lot in life. His cousin had been set free by that boy with the lightning bolt on his forehead, and he got paid real money to work, for the rest of his bloomin’ life. Nobby figured that somewhere among the world of muggles, his services would be worth paying for. Especially since muggles couldn’t perform magic and he could. Nobby’s skill at magic was tiny compared even to a sophomore at the school, but it was certainly more than the muggles were used to.

He knew that it was forbidden to practice magic in the world of the muggles, but he was a house elf that had stolen important magical items and run away. The rule about not doing magic in muggleland was the least of his worries. A mentor from Ozkaban was probably hunting him down right now. Maybe a whole bunch of them, were screaming insanely for his soul. There would be no escaping Ozkaban for Nobby if he got caught. He wasn’t no Serious White, the only known wizard to have escaped that prison.

Nobby tried to remember the exact wording of the law about magic and muggles, but little house elf brains were not meant to work that hard. All that he could dredge up from his memory was that Morphing Thin got sentenced to one term for improper use of magic on a muggle. He remembered a relative of the mighty wizard Stumblemore, who was the headmaster of the school, got imprisoned for attacking a muggle and died in prison. Merciful, yes it was Merciful Stumblemore who died in prison.

Nobby decided that the magic he would offer the muggles for money, would never be against another muggle. He would only do magic on inanimate objects. Not that it would matter that much, with the important things he had stolen, but there was enough common sense to know not to make things worse than they had to be. Nobby had not used his mind this much in his whole life combined. A headache of such great proportions that he thought it might make his head explode, pounded at Nobby’s temple and the back of his skull. Nobby knew he had to get some rest. With his head in this condition, he could not concentrate enough to do even the most simple of defensive spells. He crawled into a dark corner and shut his eyes. With each heartbeat the mallet of his headache would make his whole body shake, but somehow amongst the lack of thoughts, he drifted off to sleep.

The nightmares crept in as quickly as he fell asleep. The mentors, guided by Stumblemore were scouring the muggle countryside for him. They flew high above the land, so as not to be seen by the muggles. Nobby thought that from that height it would be hard for them to see a single house elf scrunched up in an abandoned building’s dark corner. What Nobby wasn’t aware of, was the fact that the two artifacts he had stolen were like bright beacons in the muggles world, which was devoid of magic.

In Nobby’s dream the mentors started to circle the abandoned building where he hid. He couldn’t see Stumblemore, but he could feel his presence. Not that feeling presences of anything is a house elf trait. He started to scour his mind for some spell or action to take against the mentors above. Every spell he thought off, seemed trivial and useless against such mighty foes. He just wished they weren’t real. Wait a minute… Nobby had gone to sleep. Yes, he curled up in a corner. So this must be a bad dream. The mentors above weren’t real. They were only a construct in his nightmare. Nobby knew that he just had to get awake, and he could escape these dream mentors. Yes, he must wake up. Wake up. Wake up. But as many of you know it is not always easy to wake up from a nightmare. Even though your subconscious mind has established that the source of danger is a dream and not real.

Nobby started to image a door in his dream. He knew that if he could reach that door, he would wake up. He felt like he was up to his waist in molasses and moving in slow motion to boot, as he strove to reach the imaginary door. Yes, get to the imaginary door, and the imaginary mentors will go away, and the imaginary danger will be over.

As Nobby was trying to imagine everything around him as being imaginary and not real, the whole fabric of his being started to grow thin. The walls were now semi-transparent. The windows seemed to be floating in mid-air. Even the hill the house stood on, and the other houses around him started to grow thin and transparent. He started to realize that none of this was real. It was all imaginary. As truth of his existence started to dawn on Nobby, he tried to see what was behind it.

He first saw a beautiful English mansion, where the woman of the house had an accent that was similar to his own. But that started to grow thin as well. He moved his head closer, as if that extra inch or two would actually help him see better, and could just make out a cluttered room. In it sat a very ordinary muggle facing away from him. The muggle seemed to be in the thrall of a set of tiny squares that the muggle rested his hands on, and staring into a bright thin square. It made no sense to Nobby at all.

A mist started to fill that room, and Nobby woke up.

References made to the popular culture world of Harry Potter, are just a form of fan art.  This has nothing to do with the books or anything by the genius of J. K. Rowling.

Ever Wonder?

everwonder1280Have you ever been driving along, waiting at an airport, or anywhere in public and seen some obviously poor couple with a child walk by? The color doesn’t matter, and their nationality is of no importance. It could be any young couple. Have you ever wondered how they get by? Have you ever wondered how they managed to get the money for food and a place to live for the child and themselves?

Have you ever wondered if the guy was a drug dealer and had gotten the girl high, and then pregnant?

Have you ever wondered if the woman was a prostitute because the man was a worthless piece of crap who refused to work to support them?

Have you ever wondered if your tax dollars were allowing them to get by on welfare and not have to work, even though they physically could?

Have you ever tried to imagine what their home, apartment, or alleyway they lived in looked like?

Have you ever wondered what a child from that type of home would grow up to be?

Have you ever wondered if they would have more children, just to get more welfare?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live like them?

Have you ever stopped them and asked how you could help?

Navajo Woman

navajowoman1280The Navajo indians tradition of story telling, songs and their drawings down through the centuries has given the world a glimpse into the psyche of the true native americans and their rich culture. Some of the drawings date back over a thousand years ago. The songs, stories and legends are even older than that. They have their own story of creation and the first couple, which doesn’t star Adam and Eve in the lead roles.

The Navajo version of creation tells of a world that existed before this one, far down in the bowels of the Earth. In that world live six beings. There was First Man, First Woman, Salt Woman, Fire God, Coyote and Begochiddy, the golden haired child of the sun. It was in that first world below the surface, that Begochiddy built four mountains. To the north was the black mountain. To the south was the blue mountain. To the east was the white mountain, and to the west was the yellow mountain. Then Begochiddy populated this first world with insects and plants, but conflicts arose, and they chose to abandon it and its darkness.

The first six being gathered all of Begochiddy’s creations and crawled inside of a hollow reed. The reed grew and grew until it reached the second world, which was blue. Begochiddy created even more new things including the Cat People. But when the Cat People fought with the newcomers, First Man used magic to overcome them. Begochiddy unhappy with the conflicts in the second world gathered his creations and crawled back into the hollow reed. He commanded the reed to grow, and eventually it opened up into the Third World, which was beautiful and filled with light.

It was there that Begochiddy created animals, birds, rivers, springs, trees, lightning and many types of human beings. When the men and women began to quarrel Begochiddy separated them. Before long, both the men and the women were so alone and unhappy that Begochiddy reunited them. But he warned them that the Third World would be flooded if there was any more trouble. Needless to say, trouble visited the Third World.

It was coyote who caused the trouble. One day when he was walking along the river, he spotted a baby with long black hair and coveted it. When no one was looking, he took the baby and hid it under his blanket. Storms and torrents of rain started to pour from the skies in every direction. Seeing that the Third World was flooding they raced to the safety of the hollow reed, which along with Begochiddy’s creations grew upward. But the reed stopped growing before it reached the Fourth World. So Begochiddy called the locust to help make a hole in the sky that led to the Fourth World. While the waters were rising around them, Begochiddy demanded to know who had angered the water monster. Coyote tightened his blanket around himself, but said nothing. Begochiddy ordered him to open it. There was the water baby. Begochiddy ordered Coyote to return the water baby to the Third World, and the waters started to recede.

But Begochiddy let his creations to the Fourth World, which was an island surrounded by water. There he place the mountains, the moon, the sun and the stars. To avoid the fighting, Begochiddy taught everyone the right way to live, including how to care for plants such as corn, squash and beans. He also taught them how to give thanks.

This story of creation dates back far before the first white man ever set foot on this continent. Long before missionaries spread the word of the bible. Yet even this far remote group of people knew of a great flood, even though it didn’t star Noah and his ark. The island surrounded by water is something even newer in our sciences discovery that at one time all the continents were a single large land mass. An island surrounded by water. Are some truths so self evident that all the people of the world have stories about it, that reflect their culture and beliefs?

But there was a dark side to the Navajo people as well. The witches of the Navaho are called skinwalkers. It is hard to get information about them, because the Navajos do not talk about the powers of the dark side of their culture. The Navajos believe that life is like a kind of wind blowing through you. Some people have a dark wind and tend to be evil, others a light wind and are kind. The way of telling the difference is varied, but those of the tribe who have more than they need, but do not help their kinfolk are thought to be evil. If they are initiated into a witchcraft, they develop powers quickly. Depending on the circumstances they can fly, disappear, or turn into an animal, which is usually a dog.

Part of the ritual in becoming a skinwalker is the wearing of the skin of a dog over the person’s shoulders, and the skull of a dog as a cap. It is considered taboo to even talk of skinwalkers, because you never know who is one, and they might want to get even with you.

Young Lovers

younglovers1280Quietly she slipped out of bed, careful not to wake the stranger laying beside her. Hmmm, she thought to herself nice face, good strong jaw line. She covered her breast as she looked for her clothes, even though the room was dark except for the flashing of a neon sign, and no one was awake but her. She tried to get her bearings in the room during the intermittent flashes of the sign. The buzz of the sign’s transformer reminded her of the pounding feeling in her temples. “Last night must have been a doozey”, she thought to herself. There by the door to the bedroom was a trail of clothes that led to what she assumed was the front door. The clothes were so intermingled that it took some concentration to separate which were hers, and which were his. As she slipped her panties on she noticed her consorts slacks. She looked around the room, making sure that he was still sound asleep and slipped the wallet out of the back pocket. Pulling the money out she waited till the light flashed to count it. It held one hundred and twenty dollars. She started to put back a twenty, but after seeing the shabby condition of the furniture, put back sixty dollars. Shoes in hand, blouse mostly buttoned, and jeans on but not buttoned she waited until the buzz of the transformer to open the door. Seeing a half full beer on the counter, she grabbed it on her way out. As she was shutting the door a dark shape darted by her feet, brushing against her leg. She gasped and almost let out a startled scream. “Damn” she muttered under her breath. The cat, now standing at the edge of the stairs on the landing looked back to see if she was going to make a grab for him. Deciding that his escape was to be unimpeded, he darted down the stairs. She rearranged the buttons on her blouse to the proper alignment, and started to put on her shoes, but decided it would be better to wait until she was out of the building. She tiptoed down the stairs, glancing at the split door open on top, at the balding middle aged man asleep in front of a TV with nothing but static on the screen. “At least I didn’t sleep with him” she thought to herself.

As she stepped onto the sidewalk, the cold November wind cut through her thin blouse sending a chill through her body. She was not sure if the chill was from the wind, or from the emptiness within her soul. She slipped on her tennis shoes, but did not bother to tie them. She glanced up at the blinking sign and made a mental not of the name, Kingston Arms, but she didn’t know why. She felt the pockets of her jeans for the bills she stashed in them. It wasn’t that she needed the money. She had tens of thousands of dollars available on her husband’s credit cards. It was just that it raised the “nasty” level of her actions, and even the thought of that started to make her heart race. She took a swig of the beer that she had carried out with her, but one swallow was enough to convince her that it was too warm and flat for her, even though she wanted the bitter taste washed out of her mouth. She carefully set the bottle right side up in a nearby trash can. She looked at her wrist to see what time it was, but the rising of the sun told her before her watch did, that she had gone too far this evening. She had stayed out playing too late for her usual excuses to work.

She knew that she had no business sleeping with a young man at her age, and knew that if she was caught her husband could divorce her, and give her nothing or he could have her jailed for six months to a year, for this first offense of adultery. How long, was totally up to him. “Spouse, hah!”, she thought, “I wish he would go ahead and die.” How could the old coot keep on living, he was nothing but brittle bones, and wrinkled flesh. She had done her time. She had married at the required age of sixteen to a man at least forty-five years old, but now it was twenty years later, and she was almost thirty six. How could the stupid idiots that run this world make a law that the young could only marry the old. Probably just a bunch of dirty old men that wanted young women. No, that couldn’t be true, because the Committee of Law was composed of an equal number of women, she remembered. Well, they must have just been dirty old hags, horny for young flesh

Oh sure, she had heard the logic all of her life, but it still made no sense to her. Women reach their prime at thirty-five to forty, and men at eighteen to twenty, so it was perfectly good logic that older women would marry younger men. To keep it fair, the old men would get the young women, which is what they always wanted anyway. She knew that the divorce rate was so high that it had destabilized the entire family unit, therefore America as well. She knew that the older people had more of the wealth, and it would raise the entire standard of living, to mix the age groups. She knew that when the old fart died, she would get the money, and be able to choose a young man of her choice, but her body told her she could not wait until then. She giggled quietly and thought, “I wonder if the young man I choose will feel the same about my wrinkled old body, as I feel about Marty’s?” She knew that it made perfect sense to live with one older man till he died, then force some young buck to live with her till she died, then he would be old, and get to choose some young nubile virgin, and the cycle would start all over again. Okay, it made sense for the older generation to introduce the young to the ways of “physical love” in a gentle mature fashion. Okay the unchecked passion of the young, had spread the aids virus to a full 18% of the population before the laws were enacted. But what about LOVE, what about PASSION? The warm glow of her body flooded her brain with hormones that utterly denied the logic she had been taught. She felt more like Marty’s nurse than his wife. She knew that the health care cost of the nineties had risen so high that only the very rich could afford doctors, and that it “made sense” for the young to care for the old. “To hell with sense!”, she muttered under her breath. A warm glow washed over her body again, even though her breath formed a small wispy cloud of condensation in front of her face. The chill of the night reminded her that it was approaching dawn, and she was out on the prowl, breaking the morals law, and had better get to Aggie’s house. Good old Aggie, she would cover for her, as she always did. At least that was one old bitty that remembered what it felt like to listen to your body instead of your mind.

NASA One

nasaone1280The project was started soon after September 11, 2001. On that date when the world trade center’s towers had both been struck by commercial airliners, and reports were coming in that another had struck the Pentagon. The President of the United States was reading out loud to some school children when the news came in. He excused himself and first flew to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, and later to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. After it was determined that the nation’s capital was safe, the President flew back to Washington D.C.

The President decided he needed, no that the government needed to have a long term alternative to Air Force One. A way to guarantee the continuity of the American government, even if required the key officials to leave the planet itself. The project was code named Star Eagle, and given some of the highest priorities in the newly formed Department of Homeland Security. It was determined that the quickest way to accomplish this, was to create a version of the new generation space shuttle for the President’s use.

By April 30, 2002, Nasa ends its first phase and releases a report defining a second generation reusable space transportation system. In laymen’s terms, a second generation space shuttle. In that report, it outlined fifteen different concepts were being hotly studied. One of the major changes being the goal of a 1 in 10,000 probability of losing a crew. Currently that ration is somewhere between 1 in 250 and 1 in 500.

On January 14, 2004, President Bush unveils a new vision for the space exploration program. The first part being the completion of the International Space station by 2010 and the second goal is the completion of the newly designed spacecraft by 2008. Among the other milestones to be reached are the first manned mission in the newly designed spacecraft by 2014, and to return to the moon by 2020. The concept being that a permanent facility be built there for launching platform for missions to explore planets in our galaxy and beyond.

In none of the speeches does President Bush even allude to the concept of one of these newly designed spacecraft being used as a replacement for Air Force One. It is purely my own conjecture. But stop and think about it. With the current environment of fear and paranoia, doesn’t it make sense that the president and top staff would use the technology to keep themselves safe in the event of catastrophic damage to the Earth either by man’s misconduct or natural disasters. It seems to be more of a situation of it being harder to believe that the wouldn’t take advantage of the chance to escape.

If this were true, can you imagine the competition among astronauts to become the first crew of Nasa One?

Dream Coat

dreamcoat1280Joseph sipped on his espresso as he surfed the web, trying not to smile. The two girls at the table to his left kept stealing glances at him, and then when he turned to catch them, they’d quickly look away and pretend like they hadn’t been looking at him in the first place. Joseph was in his freshman year of his mother and father’s alma mater, Memphis State. He was studying engineering, like his father had done there. The local coffee shop and computer Wi-fi cafe, was a huge hit with the local college students. The fact it had no chairs seemed to keep the older crowd away, and left the establishment to the musical choices of the students on the old Wurlitzer juke box.

He was wearing his floor length coat that both his mother and father thought was garish, but was a gift from his rather eccentric Uncle Doug. The coat was sort of a reference to the biblical story of Joseph who was given a multi-colored cloak by his father, and was left by his brothers to become a slave of the Egyptians. He later gained favor with the Egyptian King as a dream interpreter. Uncle Doug said that he and my mother had seen a play in London by Andrew Lloyd Weber called Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. He also swore that was why he was named Joseph. His mother denied this, and said it was because in the Bible the son of Jesse was Joseph.

The thing was that mom used to deny a lot of things that Uncle Doug would tell us about. Things my mother had done when she was young, became hour long laughter fest with tears rolling and sides hurting the way he used to tell the stories. Mom would blush, laugh, and pooh pooh the stories as vast exaggerations. At the same time, there was some truth to the stories as well. Neither Mom or Uncle Doug would give any ground on how I got my name, so I would side with one and then the other to keep the subject alive.

Anyway, back to the coat. Uncle Doug had found it in a thrift store and made up a huge yarn about it having magic powers, and bringing the eyes of the world upon me. Well, when I wore it, I certainly got a lot of looks. So it did have the power to draw attention. He died a few years back, but I feel like he keeps an eye out for me. He had a bunch of health problems, and everyone says it is good that he is out of pain, but he never used to show any symptoms of being in pain in front of me or my sister. One of the things he left me was a complete collection of the original Badger comics, including the special issues. They were packaged in special plastic so it would keep them pristine, and even though they came from the 1980’s they were in almost perfect condition. It isn’t that I’m a fan of Badger Comics, and most people I know never heard of them, but Badger was his nickname growing up. They were rare enough that some comic collectors gave us a few thousand dollars for them. Far from being able to pay for college, but every little bit helps.

As Joseph pondered his past, and his dead uncle, little did he realize that he would marry one of the two girls standing at the table to his left. He would carry on another family tradition of meeting his wife at Memphis State as his parents had met there.

Princess Abby

princessabby1280Princess Abby had grown up in the United States, in Tennessee. First was Nashville and then Memphis. So to find herself on the far side of the Atlantic ocean in a small European country, becoming part of the royal family later today seemed like a dream.

Of course her father and uncle used to always call her their princess when she was growing up, but doesn’t every father and uncle do that? The Princess Bride with Robin Wright Penn was one of her favorite movies once she became a teenager, and all of the princesses from the Disney franchise were her peers before she became a teenager. Especially Princess Fiona from the Shrek Movies.

The small European country her husband to be, Georg, was prince of is Liechtenstein. The smallest in the world is the Vatican with a size of .02 square miles and a population of 770. Prince Georg’s country weighs in at a whopping 62 square miles. To give you some concept of size, the smallest state in America is Rhode Island which is 2000 square miles, of which Liechtenstein would only take up 3.1% of. New York City is 321 square miles or more than five times as large as the whole country of Liechtenstein. We are talking seriously small here.

With that being said, Liechtenstein has one of the highest standards of living per resident in the world. Geographically it is sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria. It is a popular ski resort, but is probably better known as a tax haven for corporations. It was created by Charles VI, the holy Roman Emperor on January 23rd of 1719, but it would be a 120 years before the princes of Liechtenstein set foot in their new country. The language of the country is German, but during World War II it was neutral like its neighbor to the west, Switzerland. These facts and figure swirled around in Abby’s head almost making her dizzy, but she desperately wanted to present the best that she could be as a representative of the royal family.

It wasn’t likely that she would ever be queen or even her husband king, because Georg had two older brothers and one older sister. Not that it mattered. It didn’t matter that he was a Prince and she was becoming a Princess. Georg could have been a dishwasher at the local Holiday Inn and she still would have fell for him. She swears it is his sheepish grin that disarmed her, and his charm that swept her away.

Abby’s mind drifted to the sad case of Princess Diana of England. She had not been born when the tragic events of August 31st, 1997 transpired. She knew from news stories that photographers and reporters chased her into a tunnel in Paris, where her car crashed and she died. Abby hoped that her fairy tale would have a happy ending. The royal family of Liechtenstein is not even in the same league of world wide popularity, so she prayed she wouldn’t have to live the rest of her life under a public microscope.

She looked up to see one of the bride’s maids approaching. It was Georg’s older sister. With butterflies in her stomach, and slightly sweaty hands, she announced, “Well, I guess it’s time.”

Biketoberfest

biketoberfest1280Biketoberfest is an attempt by the city government of Daytona Beach, Florida to double the amount of income they make off of bikers each year. For over fifty years, Bike Week has been one of the two national events that all self respecting bikers must attend. The other big run each year is to Sturgis, South Dakota. So the city fathers of Daytona picked a time of year that tourism was slow and started promoting Biketoberfest.

It was sort of slow taking off, but given enough booze, broads, and bikes a party is bound to get started. Where bike week will attract around 500,000 people, Biketoberfest might draw in 100,000 to 150,000. For those that make both trips, you end up getting to know some of the local bartenders, vendors, and campground owners. You end up meeting some of the same people that travel all the events, in more than one location, and you begin to grow old together.

Rodger, who for the most part, was only known by the nickname “Spider” had been traveling all the biker events for forty years now. He started when he was eighteen, and now at fifty-eight he still liked riding as much as he did when he was eighteen. Maybe more. When he was young, it was movies like The Wild One with Marlon Brando, which was a bit before his time, and Easy Rider that really drew him into being a biker as a life style. Also in the early years he had a few run-ins with the law.

It wasn’t the serious stuff. A few drunk and disorderly charges, a possession charge for two joints, and a bunch of speeding tickets. That isn’t to say he didn’t do anything worse when he was young, but if he did, he didn’t get caught at it. So at age twenty-four, when he decided to become a lawyer, his criminal record didn’t keep him from following that career choice. It wasn’t so much that he wanted to fight the system, or right all the wrongs done to bikers, he just saw it as a damn good way to make money. He knew that if he could hang in there long enough to get his degree, that other bikers would be much more likely to trust him, than most of the suits that handled their problems with the law currently.

Rodger could have finished in less time if he had wanted to work at it harder, but by the time he was thirty-four he had passed the bar. Ten years instead of seven, wasn’t too bad. He started out working with some already established “suits”, to get a handle on having a small practice that specialized in motorcycle law. By the end of two years there, he had broken free and established his own practice.

As he grew older, there started to be a rash of the “suits” headed towards becoming “wannabe” bikers. They had all the money for the bikes and the leathers, but knew nothing of the lifestyle. The doctors were the next group of professionals to jump on that bandwagon. Most of them had wives and children, but on these bike events, you’d see them with sleazy biker chicks that seem to get younger and younger each year. In their own home towns, they wouldn’t be caught dead in public with these women, but the bike adventures were different. They brought their Nikons and Canons to take pictures of the girls flashing their tits, and getting drunk enough to sleep with older men they normally wouldn’t give a second glance if it wasn’t for the leathers and bikes. Then they hid the pictures from their families, as well as their wild streak. It’s just a few of us guys from the office riding our bikes down to Daytona or up to Sturgis for a few beers.

Rodger thought of himself as being more “authentic”. He had the lifestyle first, and then became a professional. But on the back of his bike was a very, very young girl, who was more than a little bit tipsy, and wearing nothing but a night gown top and silk pink panties. His bike was customized with the spider web paint job on the gas tank, and the wheel covers had engraved spider webs on them. But it was really called a “trike” because it had three wheels. The design was much safer and more stable The widely place rear tires would make it really hard to flip this sucker, and you couldn’t drop it, like a real chopper. In fact it didn’t even have a motorcycle engine. It had the rear end of an old Volkswagen Beetle under the customized metal.

He began to think it might be him, who was the “wannabe”. He had given up smoking while in college, and since he turned forty and was diagnosed with diabetes he had to give up drinking alcohol too. He thought about the pretty young thing sitting on the back of his trike and felt his pocket to make sure he had some condoms. The he decided he better get some identification to prove that she was over eighteen. Just to be on the safe side.

Tech vs. Magic

techvsmagic1280The NX2545 unit did a leap and roll maneuver firing both weapons at the same time towards the enemy. With both needle guns firing, there was a combined total of 8,200 projectiles per second hitting the creature. Still the effect of this barrage did not seem to be disabling or even slowing down its attack. The NX unit went to the next level of its programming.

Balthazar concentrated on the density of his energy field. He resisted the temptation to count how many shots were being fired. Anything that distracted his attention could prove deadly. Attention was what magic is made of. The ability to focus your attention on any particular task with such singular efficiency that you force changes in the reality around you.

To the neanderthal men gathered at what they considered a safe distance, the display was a battle of the gods. Everything about these two creatures was a mystery to them. Both had come from the sky at different times, and both had left them food. Now they were here at the same time, and there was no food without having to hunt.

In each case that one or the other creatures came from the sky and left them food they would take one or more females. The men of the tribe did not know if these creatures ate the women or what, but at times it made sense to trade the females for food. Times when food was scarce and mouths were plenty. Once a leader of the tribe traded a mate who was particularly bothersome. Sometimes they tied the women to a tree at the trading spot and no one came.

The battle between the two gods seemed to go on forever. The neanderthal men came and went getting bored after a while. The sounds of the battle rang out through the night as the men returned to their mates, offspring and the caves to sleep. At sunlight, when they arose they returned to the scene of the battle. Neither of the gods was there. They thought they would find the body of the loser, but it didn’t happen.

A short time after that, they returned to the trading place with more women to trade for food. They were surprised when they arrived to find females they had traded before, waiting there with offspring. Not having enough food for the current tribe, they promptly killed the females and the offspring. This happened a couple more times with slight variations. Once there was two females and only one offspring. They were killed on the spot. The next time there was one female with two offspring, and they met the same fate as their predecessors. Finally they arrived and found one female, one offspring and a lot of food. They let both the female and the offspring live.

As the offspring grew, the men noticed that the shape of the heads of the ones who returned with the females was a different shape than their own. These returned offspring also had less hair on its body. They also seemed able to do things the others couldn’t. Anything different was bad, and when food got scarce, they were driven from the tribe, but not killed.

Eventually the strange headed men and their mates had generation after generation of the hairless males and females. They prospered in the same lands where the neanderthal tribes could barely get by. Eventually the neanderthal men faded from the Earth entirely, and the cro-magnon men became the dominant species for the next 100,000 years.

The question is, which of the two gods won the battle?

Future City

futurecity1280With all of the doomsday scenarios and apocalyptic predictions, falling by the wayside as the years progress, tend to lose credence in general. To generations that we precede, we will probably be compared to Chicken Little crying, “The sky is falling. The sky is falling.” If we try to extrapolate what that future might be, by using logic and common sense, rather than crystal balls, we may see where some of the current trends will lead us.

For the past 100 years, more and more of the world population is moving either into or around cities. There is no reason to think this will stop. Agricultural work is one of the lowest paying jobs, and some of the least sought after work. It will eventually fall to machines who don’t complain or get upset about the long hours. We strive to get more production out of smaller areas of land, as the population increases. This trend will surely continue along with finding ways of producing food from areas of the Earth we don’t normally think about growing food. One such area is the shallow shelf ridge around all the continents in the Ocean.

Trying to predict the future of the internet and communication is certainly problematic, but some patterns are starting to emerge. The line between the Internet and communication systems is already blurring. In the modern countries the average inhabitant has a cell phone, a music player, a watch, and other accessories such as video players, cameras, text messaging, bluetooth wireless, and computer like storage devices. One that combines many of these functions already is the iPhone by Apple. If you take all of the current home theater, computer capabilities, phone, video and camera functions and put them into a single device you would basically have a full powered computer that could play movies or television with full surround sound. It would have the capability of recording any pictures or sound like a video camera as well as single frame images. It would have your calendar, things to do, spreadsheets, word processing, games and everything you do on a computer available to you anywhere and anytime. The software on computers is already learning to adjust and customize itself to each individual based on the way they use it. That will continue in the form of a virtual assistant, who is the central point of this communication system. It could all be driven by voice commands or even our thoughts in the future. On the way to work you could be composing a video message to your Aunt on your way to work, while your assistant organizes your itinerary for the day and reminds you of the people who you are going to be meeting with, what their children’s names are and if their spouse has a medical condition or job you should ask about. You would never be lost or lose anything because everything would have GPS capability. Theft would make a steady decline as more and more devices are given GPS capability. Just ask your virtual assistant where your keys are, and it would access the GPS position of the keys and relay that information to you in a friendlier manner such as, “They are on top of the master bedroom dresser.”

MegaCorporations will eventually take over the operation of the planet. There is already the tendency of larger corporations to devour their smaller competitors until only one Monopoly emerges in each market. Government’s try to keep Monopolies from forming not to protect the citizen’s pricing, but to keep any business from gaining too much power in any specific venue. In the United States, Almost all of the newspapers, television stations, movie production studios, and media control in general is owned by six companies. They will eventually merge into one, and that will be one of the strongest monopolies in the World. By controlling media and what information reaches the population, you can control governments and who is elected. All communication will probably be returned to AT&T which was broken apart, but is already starting to merge its children back into itself such as Bellsouth. All food will be controlled by one corporation. Who knows, General Foods might be a good candidate.

Peace will come not from treaties and the United Nations, but from the corporate markets. You can’t be selling Coca Cola to both sides of armies at war. There will probably be Corporate wars during the transition from governments to boards of directors. But think about what drives politics right now. These same politicians that are taking their campaign money from huge corporations in exchange for favors down the road, can’t turn around and bite the hand that put them there. So the corporations have already set up the system to take over. They are just increasing their leverage until the time is right. I’m not saying it is necessarily a bad thing. It wouldn’t even be that different. Don’t we already spend our whole lives working for one corporation or another? Our whole quality of life is determined by our status within that work organization. If we do well we are rewarded, and if we do poorly we either stay at that level or are fired. It will basically be the situation similar to the current environment of whether a company is good to work for or not. A good boss, like a good government will take care of you, but the inverse is true as well.

Car Show

carshow1280Tim wasn’t good with math, or any of the other classical subjects in school. When it came to shop class, it was a whole different story. He seemed to be able to make or fix just about anything with his hands that didn’t have electronics in it. Even those things he understood what the electronics did, he just couldn’t grasp milliamps, resistance, and all those other terms that went with the territory. It wasn’t that he was stupid, he just had “attention deficit disorder” (ADD). They tried lots of different drugs, but they only helped a little bit. Even then it didn’t last too long.

His younger sister Anne, was a whiz at everything to do with school. She made it look effortless. Just about the only thing Anne ever got in trouble for was “helping” her brother with his schoolwork. Tim’s teachers seemed to know psychically where his work left off, and hers started. That frustrated her, because she had his penmanship, vocabulary, and writing style down to a science. She loved her brother, and even though she was younger, felt it was her job to look out for him.

Anne was always pushing Tim to apply for special grants, and take advantage of the extra tutoring services that were available for people with ADD or AD/HD, which is Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder. Tim fell mostly in the first category, but sometimes the difference between the two were very subtle. Tim knew that Anne had his best interest in mind when she pushed him, but she just couldn’t understand the fear that he felt when a test was about to be given. She couldn’t understand that no matter how much he studied, or even if someone tutored him, if it wasn’t continually interesting, he wasn’t going to retain it.

Tim did think his IQ probably wasn’t as high as his sisters’ or parents for that matter, but it didn’t bother him. He made the mistake of telling them that one time, and you would have thought he took the Lord’s name in vain, the way everybody reacted. The thing was that he was happy when he worked on cars, motorcycles, go-carts, lawn mowers, and anything with engines. He didn’t know compression ratios, but he could tell when an engine was purring like kitten. It didn’t take a whole lot to make Tim happy. For all of their intelligence, and college schooling, it seemed that others were always in a rush, stressed out, and were never really happy. They seemed unable to just accept happy as a state of mind. So he quietly thought to himself that he was really the lucky one.

Anne did tell him something once, that kept him thinking for a long long time. She said if you want to be a millionaire, then make something someone will pay a million dollars for, or make something that a million people will pay a dollar for. Tim liked making things, and that seemed like a reasonable way to look at making a lot of money. He came to Anne with numerous things that he thought a million people might pay a dollar for, but she rained on his parade. She started talking about marketing and distribution, and how to let a million people know about his product, and for that matter, she asked, “How are you going to make a million of these?”

It became obvious that he wasn’t going to win an arguement with his sister on how to make, advertise and distribute a million anythings. So at the back of his shop, his spare time and almost all of his money went into what he hoped would be his ticket to success.

Far from the current 100 foot record length for a car, held by Jay Ohrburg for his Limousine, at first glance Tim’s 25 foot creation looked like a contender. Rich people wanted one of a kind things, that had lots of class. That was Tim’s vision for something that would sell for a million dollars. His pride and joy was an old Harley-Davidson Knucklehead motorcycle from the days before electronics ruined them. He bought the rear end of a totalled Ferrari, and married the two together. Like a chauffer driven vehicle, the carcycle could be driven from the front motorcycle half of the vehicle. If you didn’t want to bother the chauffer, you could operate the vehicle from the rear Ferrari seating compartment. Either way, you were powered by the 74 cubic inch, Harley engine from the post 1947 Knucklehead series.

The single wheel in the front made it easier to turn than a car of that length, but it still took a wide turning radius. The real beauty of the whole vehicle was that it had no electronics. Secondly, there was no plastic used anywhere in the car other than the cover on the tail lights. It wasn’t until he had finished every last bit of the project did he show it to his family. First was his sister of course. Her almost instant outburst of laughter had Tim worried he had spent all his time and money on something stupid, but she assured him that the opposite was really the case. It is just that she would never have thought of it.

She realized that it was so unique that the marketing was already done, by taking it to custom car shows, and the articles that would generate. Mixing the gee whiz styling of the Ferrari with the coolness factor of the Harley, was a stroke of genius. She couldn’t fully understand the draw of it being totally without electronics, but took her brothers word that it would be an advantage. She even agreed to go along to the important car shows and get in a short little dress and high heels to show off her brother’s invention. As much of a feminist as Anne was, Tim was floored by her offer, but quickly accepted.

She never did stop looking out for him.