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Friday, June 27, 2014

Poop! (or A Rural Enigma)

{All events in this story are true, only the names are unchanged to protect the guilty. Norma really does email me chores.}

Behind the peaceful facade of the bucolic countryside is a hotbed of intrigue. Consider this email I received from a rural address:

Norma to me---
This is not supposed to be on my patio!  A new fence is     

Things had been slow lately and I was admittedly smitten with Norma's profile pic. --eyes that could melt a heart or electrocute its owner at considerable distance. I immediately made a long arm and hauled my Rural Private Eye Correspondence Course Textbook, by Famous Shamus Gumshoe, down from its shelf, opened its cover and reread what Oscar Wilde famously wrote, "The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."

Visible and smellable. Should be an easy case. I responded by calling to the other room, " Ok, but remember, I get $25 a day plus expenses!" No answer. I took that as a yes.

I am familiar with crap and the size of bricks. This brick is a standard 3 1/2 inches, which narrowed suspects to Hoodle The Hawk, any coyote --of which we have a sufficiency in this region-- or some undetermined dastardly defecator. I gave my preliminary report: "Examination of evidence suggests presence of a wild animal of unknown genetic persuasion. Please keep me informed of unusual feral activities."

Soon another email arrived:

Norma to me--
There's something nasty in the woodshed!

When one finds a opossum nesting in a bag of Styrofoam pellets, it is prudent not to disturb the poor creature in daylight. I advised my client accordingly and suggested we discard the bag after the opossum moved to other lodgings. She asked how I could be certain the creature would move away.

"Madam, my methods are my own."

"I'm paying 25 dollars a day for that?"

"And expenses."

Her eyes amped up to electrocutive magnitude. 

"However, in the matter of my fee, it is a fixed sum which never varies lest I remit it altogether."

"In return for what?"

"Your withdrawal of the proposition and insistence that I build a new fence.


Every man, Famous Shamus Gumshoe graduate consulting detective or not, has a non-aggression pact with wild animals, against whose intrusions fences, old or new, are useless. This saves labor on both sides. It is also helpful, if one is a detective, if one's client does all the detecting. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Conversing With Sub-space Fields

Lately, Google Blogger has contended with a stubborn glitch. I can't consult my dashboard reader list for new posts from those I follow except for the most recent one, and one only. Neither, I gather from visiting their Help Forum, can half the world. The world, in this context, is the closest representative available of the rest of the entire universe. Something tremendous, then, is wrong with the universe. Run!

Where does one run?

To the garden, obviously, because Nature is a universal language. We live in a universe located at the convergence of two continua: one electromagnetic; the other, gravitational. In Normaphoto above, we see a flotilla of sub-space fields passing the lens. Because we already deal with length, breadth, depth and duration in our plenum, the sub-space fields allow the propagation of new plena without engulfing us in an embarrassment of extra dimensions. I position myself at the hedge and address other universes, which I have labeled, A through K and  ??:

Geo.: Hello!

A-K : Hi!

Geo.: Hi, little universes! I have a question.

A-K: Make it snappy, we got our own problems.

Geo.: Like what?

A-K: Like we're so small, people on our planets have to carry long poles to poke other planets back into the sky when they get too close.

Geo.: What happens if they collide?

A-K: Let's just say Life shouldn't be something that only happens when no one is around.

Geo.: I don't understand.

A-K: Maybe you're an idiot.

Geo.: Am not. I been to college. I took English 1-B!

A-K: So what did you learn?

Geo.: That Tennyson is not an antibiotic.

A-K: What's your question?

Geo: Something's wrong with Google, ideas?

A-K: Oh, same thing that's wrong with your whole world. Everything's pinned to the moment and your history's leaking.

Geo.: Leaking? Where?

A-K: We don't know, get a telescope, point it up and look for a really big oily spot.

Geo.: Well, what about the continuum labeled "??". Should I ask it?

A-K: Go ahead, he's an idiot too.

Geo.: What's he like?

A-K: Kind of a loner. By grouping, we assist in his isolation even though we don't approve of it.

Geo.: Ok! ??, what's wrong with Google?

??:  Huh? I don't know. Why don't you ask your grandson?

Geo.: Eh?

??: Your grandson. Just pull back a bit and get the whole picture:
Geo.: Unless I miss my guess, there's a paradox here.

??:  At least! Maybe three or four doxes, but don't take my word for it; the future is where everything really comes from, including the past. Now how do I get past the hedge without popping?

Geo.: Don't know. Never done it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why Insects Glow

In 1968, I was studying insect behavior in Chicago, the site of the Democratic National Convention, and decided it would be abruptly prudent to conduct my studies from a further remove. Twenty four hours later, I was, for no particular reason or offense that I recall, in San Antonio --with a strange sense of relief at no longer being where I was not.

The City Of San Antonio, Texas, was at that time celebrating its 250th anniversary by hosting the Hemisfair. Hemisfair was a play upon the word, hemisphere. It was a celebration of whatever half of the world America was friends with at the time. It was a good fair! I especially remember slow-moving elevated trams and a sculpture garden that invited relaxation. But my entomological inquiries always drew me back to the Paseo del Rio. With the Alamo at my back and the river before me, I saw fireflies.

Fireflies are insects that glow because of a phenomenon called bioluminescence, manifested by creatures that grow to adulthood around little flashlights. A few days later, I was in Sabinal, a town of fewer ecological challenges along the Sabinal River, and there were even more fireflies, everywhere --especially over wet lawns at night. I got swarmed. My next memory is of waiting for a bus outside a diner in Hondo, watching a tumbleweed tumble slowly from one horizon to the opposite horizon and disappear over it.

I was on a bus, a series of buses, heading back to California, confident my studies would continue. Fireflies had identified me as a safe host and infested my person. They knew I would not paw and snap at them like a kitten --despite my practice of rolling around on the rug while batting a ball of yarn. They accompanied me to my home state and intermarried with other insects. Results may be consulted in Normaphoto over this essay. In conclusion, I am certain insects glow because they possess metabolic reservoirs of chemical radiance, but I am even more certain they glow because they like me. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Poppy's Evaluaton

[Time Traveler Evaluation Transcript]
Computer screen went momentarily blank and static fizzed from the speaker. I was not alarmed. That is what one may expect when the cross-time circuit engages in the router.  Still, I hazarded a cautionary sniff, no burning insulation, just a hint of ozone and sea air. I addressed the little microphone: "Poppy, is it you?" Readers wishing to familiarize themselves with Poppy may click here.

A soft, thin voice issued from the speaker. "Geo. It's evaluation time and I might need some help."

"Of course, Poppy. Where are you, and when are you?"

"I'm in my little apartment in San Francisco, looking out the window. It's 1956. I just came back up after checking my mailbox downstairs. One of the envelopes was unsealed and there was just a note inside."

"No address?

"No. No names either. The note was penciled on a little strip of paper.

"Torn or cut?"

"Both. Torn, but on top there's a tiny sawtooth cut. And there are a couple smudges like ink. Oh, I know! It's newsprint --a bit of newspaper margin torn from a page!"

"What's it say, Poppy?"

"It says, 'Sidewalk cafe across the street. See me.' All I need to do is find a person there with a newspaper."

"Very good! Now what do you see out your window?"

"Ten people sitting at the cafe, all with newspapers! Oh gosh, there must be some other identifying feature."

"Hold your communicator lens close to the note and e-mail it through the time-router. It'll appear over this transcript. Got it, thanks."

"I think it only got one word, Geo. Is that ok?"

"It's enough, Poppy. Look at the shape of the three letters. See anything unusual?"

"Yes, all upper case and all either shorter on the left or leaning to the right, as if..."

"As if whoever wrote them is accustomed to leaving room for some other notation. Something that always appears at the upper left corner of... "

"A crossword square number! Yes, out the window, one of the ten people with newspapers has a pencil and is working the puzzle page!"

"Go! and tell me what happens. I'll wait."

Ten minutes passed. Poppy resumed transmission: "Geo., I went up to the puzzle lady and handed her the note. She said, 'Bingo!' Then I asked her if I had passed my evaluation and she said it wasn't her call. Whom do I talk with? How do I find out?

"Poppy, there was more to the exercise than tracing the note. It also tested your readiness to use available resources to solve the problem. I'm sure you'll receive a glowing evaluation."

"But she said it wasn't her call."

"She's right."

"So how can you be sure I passed?"

"Because it was my call, Poppy, and my privilege."


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sweet, Redux And Sugar Pops Pete

I begin with an excerpt from an old post from 2012 :

I am not sweet. My wife told me. She thinks I'm grumpy, always has, probably right. We met in a library in the 1960s. I looked like this:               She looked like this:

Norma was studying a book on physiology in the library in the 1960s. The page she was on had a picture of the human heart. It looked like this:
It was Valentine's Day, so I took out my pen and wrote "Happy Valentine's Day" on the picture. Then I asked her out. She said no.

Ok, maybe that was sweet, but I never got sweet again. Guys learn early on whether or not girls appreciate that sort of thing. Norma consented to go out with me a year and a half after I did that.
                     We now look like this:

But I'm really trying to write about a great hero of the American Old West. Before Norma and I met in the library, there was a breakfast cereal called Sugar Pops. It was advertised on early tv by a rodent called a prairie dog. His name was Sugar Pops Pete and he was ever-vigilant for Bad Guys. Bad Guys were outlaws, belligerents and assorted fusty rustics who refused to be sweet. Pete would pop onto the scene and Bad Guys would yell, "Look out, it's Sugar Pops Pete and he'll tarn ya sweet!" Then Pete would shoot them with his Sugar Popper and they'd be sweet. It was practically a religion. Observe:

Sugar Pops used real sugar, a sweetener that occurred in nature. By and by it was replaced by artificial sweeteners that did not. This political correction made Sugar Pops disappear from the world, and Pete too! Things changed after that. The world was different and more confusing. That's all I know about love, American history, vanishing prairie dogs and religion.