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Archive for the ‘Regular Features’ Category

More favorite photos I’ve taken over the years.

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If you can convince the lowest white man that he is better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you are picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.

Lyndon Johnson

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The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.

Oscar Wilde

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Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Extraterrestrial societies could be far more advanced than we are, perhaps by billions of years… and they may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.

Stephen Hawking

Johnson

Hawking

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Tune o’ the Day

Graham Nash wrote “Teach Your Children” while he was a member of The Hollies, but didn’t record it until 1969, after he had moved on to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The song appears on the 1970 CSNY album “Déjà Vu.”

Nash said the inspiration for the song was a 1962 photo by Diane Arbus entitled “Child With Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park.” Noting the boy’s aggressive attitude, Nash said society should be more aware of what children learn from adults about war and violence.

Bonus fact: “Teach Your Children” features Jerry Garcia on the steel guitar.

Teach Your Children

By Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, 1970
Written by Graham Nash

You, who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by.
And so, become yourself,
Because the past is just a goodbye.

Teach your children well.
Their fathers’ hell did slowly go by.
And feed them on your dreams,
The one they pick, the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them “Why?”
If they told you, you would cry.
So just look at them and sigh,
And know they love you.

And you (Can you hear?)
Of tender years (And do you care?)
Can’t know the fears (And can you see?)
That your elders grew by. (We must be free.)
And so, please help (To teach your children.)
Them with your youth. (What you believe in.)
They seek the truth (Make a world.)
Before they can die. (That we can live in.)

And teach your parents well.
Their children’s hell will slowly go by.
And feed them on your dreams,
The one they pick, the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them, “Why?”
If they told you, you would cry.
So just look at them and sigh,
And know they love you.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/teach-your-children.mp3

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The Questions…

1. What is the world’s largest known living organism?

2. What online service has the most users?

3. The term living room surfaced in the late 1800s. What were living rooms called before then?

4. When sea otters sleep, how do they keep from drifting away from each other?

5. Fireflies (Lampyridae), known for emitting light through the chemical process of bioluminescence, are classified as what type of insect?

The Answers…

1. The largest known organism is a massive network of honey mushroom fungus (Armillaria ostoyae) that occupies about 3.4 square miles in eastern Oregon. It is thought to be 2,400 years old. Locals call it the “humongous fungus.”

2. Facebook, which has an astounding 2.9 billion users. That’s more than the populations of China (1.4 billion) and India (1.3 billion) combined.

3. Mostly, they were called parlors, from the French verb parler (to speak) because that’s where people sat and talked. In the 1500s and 1600s, they sometimes were called drawing roomsshort for withdrawing, in the sense of withdrawing there for privacy.

4. They hold hands.

5. Fireflies are a variety of soft-bodied beetle.

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AUSTIN, TEXAS — A marble bust purchased at a Goodwill store for $35 turned out to be a 2,000-year-old Roman carving.

Antique dealer Laura Young purchased the bust and thought it might be a Victorian garden decoration. She kept it on display in her home while friends at a London auction house tried to trace it.

After several years of research, they identified the bust as depicting Nero Drusus Germanicus, a Roman soldier and politician. The bust had been on display in a German museum prior to World War II. They think a soldier brought it to the US after the war, either having stolen it or purchased it from a looter.

The bust currently is on display at the San Antonia Museum of Art and next year will be returned to Germany. “He needs to go home,” Young said. “he wasn’t supposed to be here.”

Young had a replica of the bust made on a 3D printer to keep for herself.

PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA — The official news outlet of North Korea claims that burritos and hamburgers were invented by Kim Jong-il, the father of current Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

A North Korean newspaper said Jong-il came up with the idea of “wheat wraps” in 2011, shortly before his death from a heart attack. Some years before that, the newspaper said, Jong-il invented a type of hot sandwich, described as “double bread with meat,” that was the forerunner of the hamburger.

The newspaper described the “wheat wrap” burrito as sort of like a gyro with grated cabbage and carrots — more of a spring roll than a burrito.

Despite North Korea’s claims, the burrito probably originated with vaqueros in northern Mexico in the 1800s. Both Germany and the US say they invented the hamburger, also in the 1800s.

FYI, three generations of Kims have ruled North Korea since it was created after World War II. The first dictator was Kim Il-sung, who ran the country from 1945 until his death in 1994. His son Kim Jong-il took over, died in 2011, and was succeeded by the current wacko Kim Jong-un.

LUBBOCK, TEXAS — When told their luggage was overweight, a couple at Lubbock Airport opened the bag and found their pet chihuahua hiding in a cowboy boot.

The couple was boarding a Southwest flight to Las Vegas when a gate agent told them the bag was five pounds overweight. They had the option of paying a fee or transferring items to their carry-ons. To avoid the fee, they opened the suitcase and discovered their five-pound chihuahua Icky inside.

The gate agent offered to keep Icky until the couple returned from vacation, but they contacted a relative who rushed to the airport and took Icky where she was supposed to be, with the couple’s children and babysitter.

Five years ago, the couple found Icky on a remote Texas road, weak and malnourished. When they took her home, their children said the dog was dirty and “icky,” and the name stuck.

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Fredric Brown (1906-1972) was a master of short-short stories noted for humor and zinger endings. I’ve posted eight — count ‘em, eight — Brown stories on this blog. Oh, this one makes nine.

Brown wrote both mysteries and sci-fi, and he was amazingly prolific. He wrote his first short story in 1938 and, by the end of his career in the mid-1960s, had published several hundred stories, plus a few dozen novels.

I’m not jealous. Just in awe.

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Experiment

By Fredric Brown
Published in Galaxy Science Fiction, February 1954

“The first time machine, gentlemen,” Professor Johnson proudly informed his two colleagues.

“True, it is a small-scale experimental model. It will operate only on objects weighing less than three pounds, five ounces and for distances into the past and future of twelve minutes or less. But it works.”

The small-scale model looked like a small scale — a postage scale — except for two dials in the part under the platform.

Professor Johnson held up a small metal cube. “Our experimental object,” he said, “is a brass cube weighing one pound, two point three ounces. First, I shall send it five minutes into the future.”

He leaned forward and set one of the dials on the time machine. “Look at your watches,” he said.

They looked at their watches. Professor Johnson placed the cube gently on the machine’s platform. It vanished.

Five minutes later, to the second, it reappeared.

Professor Johnson picked it up. “Now five minutes into the past.” He set the other dial. Holding the cube in his hand he looked at his watch.

“It is six minutes before three o’clock. I shall now activate the mechanism — by placing the cube on the platform — at exactly three o’clock. Therefore, the cube should, at five minutes before three, vanish from my hand and appear on the platform, five minutes before I place it there.”

“How can you place it there, then?” asked one of his colleagues.

“It will, as my hand approaches, vanish from the platform and appear in my hand to be placed there. Three o’clock. Notice, please.”

The cube vanished from his hand.

It appeared on the platform of the time machine.

“See? Five minutes before I shall place it there, it is there!”

His other colleague frowned at the cube. “But,” he said, “what if, now that it has already appeared five minutes before you place it there, you should change your mind about doing so and not place it there at three o’clock? Wouldn’t there be a paradox of some sort involved?”

“An interesting idea,” Professor Johnson said. “I had not thought of it, and it will be interesting to try. Very well, I shall not…”

There was no paradox at all. The cube remained.

But the entire rest of the Universe, professors and all, vanished.

Original illustration from Galaxy Science Fiction by David Stone.

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More favorite photos I’ve taken over the years.

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Freedom of the press, freedom of association, the inviolability of domicile, and all the rest of the rights of man are respected so long as no one tries to use them against the privileged class. On the day they are launched against the privileged, they are overthrown.

Peter Kropotkin

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When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent.

Isaac Asimov

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Why should we not honestly and candidly investigate the errors and crimes of our ancestors that we may correct, reform, and avoid them?

John Adams

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We are the product of 4.5 billion years of fortuitous, slow biological evolution. There is no reason to think the evolutionary process has stopped. Man is a transitional animal. He is not the climax of creation.

Carl Sagan

Kropotkin

Sagan

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Lynyrd Skynyrd’s debut album was a long time coming. The group formed in 1964 and performedunder several names before becoming Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969. Because of touring commitments, they didn’t release an album until 1973.

Among the songs on that album was “Simple Man,” which was included over the objections of the band’s producer, Al Kooper. He thought the song was weak and urged the band to drop it.

The band members disagreed. Reportedly, Ronnie Van Zandt escorted Kooper to his car and told him to stay there until the song was recorded. Kooper complied.

Simple Man

By Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1973
Written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zandt

Mama told me when I was young,
“Come sit beside me, my only son.
And listen closely to what I say.
And if you do this, it’ll help you, some sunny day.

“Oh, take your time. Don’t live too fast.
Troubles will come, and they will pass.
Go find a woman, and you’ll find love.
And don’t forget, son, there is someone up above.

“And be a simple kind of man.
Oh, be something you love and understand.
Baby, be a simple kind of man.
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can.

“Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold.
All that you need is in your soul.
And you can do this, oh, babe, if you try.
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied.

“And be a simple kind of man.
Oh, be something you love and understand.
Baby, be a simple kind of man.
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can.”

Oh, yes, I will.

“Oh, don’t you worry, you’ll find yourself.
Follow your heart and nothing else.
And you can do this, oh, babe, if you try.
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied.

“And be a simple kind of man.
Oh, be something you love and understand.
Baby, be a simple kind of man.
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can.

“And baby, be a simple, real simple man.
Oh, be something you love and understand.
Baby, be a simple kind of man.”

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/simple-man.mp3

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