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Particle accellerator

Particle accelerator

Geneva, Switzerland – In the wake of doomsday warnings following the completion and commencement of operations at the Large Hadron Collider, some experts now warn of incremental ‘anthropomorphic gravitational waning‘ also termed ‘man-made global gravity change‘.

In a controversial new report, self-dubbed ‘environmental theoretical physicist’, Dr. Herbert Cavorite claims that the growing number of super-colliders and particle accelerators may have devastating long-term effects upon earth’s gravity.

In a lecture at the University of California, Berkeley last Thursday, Dr. Cavorite stated that “each firing of these sub-atomic particles causes micro distortions in the surrounding gravitational field.”  He went on to explain that without further knowledge as to the lingering effects of these distortions, we may be setting ourselves up for a wild ride should these effects accumulate as these experiments increase in frequency.  “Without knowledge of the residual effects, every test at the growing number of these facilities could well draw us toward a global gravitational crisis.”

Gravitational Waning

Possible effect of Gravitational Waning

At least one super-computer model suggested that within 20 years, the cumulative effects of residual gravitational waning could have drastic effects upon the environment, not to mention the global economy.

“The point is we just don’t know for certain,” says Cavorite.  “For all we know, each blast of these lead ion molecules may well be blasting away just a small fraction of earth’s gravitational force.  Right now, the effects are hard to measure, but over time it could potentially be devastating if not irreversible.”

Gravitational anomalies are no stranger to global physicists and fluctuations of earth’s gravitational field have been known to science for some time.  But some critics have pointed out that the super-computer models do not seem to predict present day conditions if applied to historically recorded data from years past.

Despite the on-going debate of these new findings, there are rumors that Cavorite has been invited to speak to a UN policy making committee at the next G8 global climate summit.

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The ObjectOpus

Be sure to check out this and my other works of fiction on the new multi-contributor objectivist fiction showcase:
The ObjectOpus


A man awoke early
determined and assuredly
upon the annual election day,
He looked quite dearly
upon casting his vote yearly
to be sure he had his say.

He hopped in his car
but he didn’t get far
before he ran into trouble,
The engine did choke
and blew out lots of smoke
so he went to the shop on the double.

“I need my car fixed
and please make it quick”
he told the mechanic in haste.
“But time and money are tight,
so if you just might
please sir, my money and time don’t waste.”

The car was pulled in
so the shop could begin
to return the engine to rally.
The mechanic worked fast
until finally at last
he returned from the shop with the tally.

“The plugs were near shot
and engine ran hot,
but I fixed you all up in a jiffy.
But mind you I saved
the money you craved
and made ‘er all brand new and spiffy.

By spraying the coil
and filtering your oil
through some rags I had in the back.
It may sound a bit funny,
but I saved you some money
to help get you right back on track.”

The man pondered the smarts
of not replacing the parts,
but was in a hurry to take part in the election.
So he settled his bill
and had a slight thrill
as he headed back in the poll site’s direction.

He’d made barely a block,
when the engine did knock
requiring his turning around.
So he told the mechanic
with just a slight panic
of this new found troublesome sound.

“I know you’re in a hurry,
so please don’t you worry,
I think I have just the right trick.
I’d noticed the air-filter
appeared slightly off kilter
so I’ll blow it out for you right quick!”

The grease monkey went to it,
then said “that should do it”
and accepted more cash as largess,
A compressed air blast
through the filter fast
with no parts replaced in the process.

But the man was contented,
he thought the guy was just splendid
for saving such time and money.
So off he went again,
until at the next bend
the car resumed acting quite funny.

So back to the shop,
without making a stop,
and the car once again was inspected.
This time the technician
spared no time for suspicion
telling shop hands to do as directed.

They did work and toil,
till all covered with oil
when at last the car was ready for leaving.
Their efforts looked sincere
over belt, hose and gear
to suggest no act of deceiving.

The record was long
of what seemed to go wrong
that the shop had set forth to put right,
“We sprayed down the wires,
put air in the tires
and checked that every bolt was on tight.

The hoses were cleaned,
the belt drums machined,
the radiator fluid was topped.
The list barely finished,
of all they replenished
before their labors had stopped.

Every repair they attempted
in the back was preempted.
Not a single thing found replacement.
Instead they just fudged,
not an old part had budged
from it’s original state of debasement.

Alas he paid once again,
before he began
one more trip to the election station.
Again came the knock
before making a block
this time accompanied with vibration.

‘The time left is waning’
thought the man now complaining
as the engine continued to spout.
So he continued to drive on,
despite the commotion
fearing his time would run out.

Barely making it there,
with time just to spare
he limped into a parking place.
His car loudly wheezed
as the exhaust system sneezed
and the engine finally died in disgrace.

Now you might not believe,
but I would not deceive
when I tell you this last point of concern.
Though it might sound redundant,
his vote was entirely incumbent,
I guess some people will just never learn!

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Making use of BullS**t!

An American food connoisseur wanted to travel the world to learn of the best of his favorite foods. After many stops, he arrived on the Island of Java and asked, since this is the namesake of the bean, what was the best coffee? He was pointed to a village elder who told him in broken English mixed with Indonesian that it was by far ‘kopi luwak’. Kopi being the Indonesian word for coffee, Luwak being the word for a civet – a small cat like animal.
After checking his phrasebook to be certain, he inquired further as to this strange combination of words. The wiseman explained that instead of roasting their beans, they instead allow them to be consumed by the civets. He turned to point to a large fenced in area where you could see many of the creatures cavorting about.
After the beans are consumed whole by the civets, they are steeped in their digestive systems and ultimately excreted non-ceremoniously in their feces in an act of marking their territory. At that point, the locals ‘harvest’ the beans, clean them thoroughly before drying them and selling them to coffee officianados around the globe.
The American seemed unconvinced so the old man told him roundabout that he too had once traveled the globe as a young man and he assured him that it was the best coffee in all the world.
With this he gestured to someone nearby and they brought a cup of fresh kopi luwak for the foreigner to try. At first repulsed by the idea, the man considered that he had tried many bizarre foods from around the world, why should this bother him? He tried it, and had to agree, it was by far the best coffee he had ever tasted.
As he enjoyed the brew, he remarked almost to himself but out loud, “That’s amazing that the digestive tract of such an animal could produce a coffee so rich and flavorful!”
Hearing this the ancient Indonesian scoffed. He suggested that their luwak was nothing, and spoke of a bull he had seen once in Kenya that could consume anything you put in front of it. He added that it once broke into the local storehouse and ate up all the currency they had stored there, then went to a barrel of oil and drank it dry, then began chewing up all the tools and goods necessary to the local industry.
“They all have no money and none get paid! Was to them no oil, price of fuel go to sky! And none could work, all industry was stopped. And when it did poop! Oh when that bull did poop!” said the old Indonesian shaking his head.
“Oh,” asked the American, “I assume they made use of it somehow? What did this Kenya bull poop?”
“Oh nothing much,” said the old Indian, “just something they called a ‘community organizer’. They send it to America!”

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The ObjectOpus

Be sure to check out this and my other works of fiction on the new multi-contributor objectivist fiction showcase:
The ObjectOpus


During the late 1980’s, researchers were hard at work on a couple of medications involving vasodilation (opening of blood vessels). In some cases, testing of these medications will result in various side effects. At that time, one such medication was found to increase mental ability and memory recall. Yet another was found to give men an erection. Of course, we have all since heard of the latter (Sildenafil, marketed under the brand Viagra) but very few have availed the benefits of the former.

This is similar to the story of our subject today, the miracle drug Cogitalus™. Seeking a cure for migraines, scientists testing the medication quickly found a number of beneficial side effects. Upon providing the material to test subjects, it was found the capacity for critical thinking in these individuals increased as much as 300%.

Learning from the history of  prior medications, the makers of Cogitalus™ immediately sought to launch an aggressive marketing campaign for their new pill.  Initial attempts lacked sorely in producing the desired results, so the company enlisted the efforts of a handful of pop-marketing firms to increase their sales.

“Our goal was to not only increase our profit share, but we fully suspected that there would be government opposition to our product’s popularity for obvious reasons.” said a company spokesperson, Lydia Wainsworth.  “We ultimately prepared our big marketing push to coincide with the months proceeding the presidential campaign cycle.  Our thinking was that once the product had sufficiently gained in prominence and users, any political opposition would be met with considerable protest.”

Cogitalus™

Thus the makers of Cogitalus™ took a creative approach to marketing their new medicine by way of corporate partnerships.  Known simply as the “Black and White” pill, sales soon began to skyrocket.

“It was the beer partnerships that really gave us the necessary push,” said company CEO, Ryan Smith.  “The idea was to market the medication as a cure to ‘beer goggles’ and it worked.”  Launching this partnership with large scale beer manufacturers immediately led to Cogitalus™ surpassing even the initial sales of Viagra.  “What can I say, sex sells!” added Smith.

Of course there were side effects to this campaign.  Shortly after launching the beer additive, it was found that sports like professional wrestling and Nascar lost a great deal of their viewership.  WWE even claims their bankruptcy early the next year was a direct result of the Cogitalus™ marketing scheme.

The effects of the drug weren’t to be left just to entertainment, however.  As expected, political opposition to the medication came swift and fast.  But as predicted, takers of the medicine weren’t to be outdone.

“Sweeping changes in both the US House and Senate took place the November season of our big push,” said Wainsworth.  “And as you may recall, that election marked the first time in decades that a third party candidate won the presidential election.”

Among some of the other effects following wide scale use of Cogitalus™ included declining ratings on the major television networks during prime time, the mass failures of tabloid magazine publishers and the rapid rise of what is now dubed ‘Cogital TV’ or CTV for short.  Programming that actually has intelligent content.

“It quickly became obvious that the same old bullcrap wasn’t going to cut it,” claims interim CFO of ABC networks Paul McKramer.  “Investors immediately levied their proxies to liquidate the former management as profits began to plummet.  This pattern necessarily repeated itself in all of the major entertainment networks.  It was simply logical.”

And logical it was in more ways than one.  Many such stockholder meetings created what are now referred to as CERs – Cogitalus Equivalency Requirements.  These CERs require that, if the programming is not created by takers of the pill, that the company practices should at least adhere to similar standards of reason as those that do.

Some of the consequences of the brand’s popularity were not as easily predicted.  “The sudden spike in divorce rates among our customers was quite unexpected,” claims CEO Smith.  “But early figures indicate that the divorce rate amongst our consumers that married after already taking the pill is more than 400% lower than the population at large.  We also show that the unwanted pregnancy rate, especially amongst teens prescribed the medication, are at an all time low.  Same too with venereal diseases across similar groups.”

Many organizations such as the Cogitalus™ Consumers’ Quality Advocates emerged lobbying government and corporate industry.  “It is not our desire to assign anyone the requirement to take any medication if they do not choose to,” said a CCQA representative.  “Rather, we just wish to collectively express our desires for more logical ways of doing business and representing products to CCQA customers.”

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There’s a great thread going on on craigslist forums at the moment. Someone asked regarding evangelical Christians if anyone has ever been asked the following and how they respond to it. The best responses are listed below:


Topic:Have you heard the word of God yet?”

< the-thought-police > translation: would you care to partake in the ancient superstitions passed down via the worlds oldest game of telephone?

< rgambord > I just start talking to myself, and when they ask what’s going on, I say, “Well, can’t you hear it?

< Got_all_my_tea > No – you people keep interrupting him! 😛

< creanna > I have an uncle who does… He lives in a little padded room and wears this cute jacket with cross-over arms every day. They feed him through a slot in the door.

< Good_Assternoon > Yes! Today it’s “sandwich” [picture of Pee Wee Herman]

My response:

< treii28 > Heard the word? You mean he was found???

My favorite one is “have you found God?” or “have you found Jesus?

This of course begs the obvious response(s).

1) “I wasn’t aware he was lost.” or “Why? did you Christians go and lose him AGAIN???

2) “I didn’t know it was my turn to watch over him. Did he run off again?

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I came up with these almost in a fluid stream of thought once in a powwow chat room that was quickly getting overrun by trolls. There are parallels in some social networking sites and interactive online games.

voyeur‘ class of trolls

pic leech troll – A troll known to download a few pics from somewhere off the net, then using them to coax others into ‘trading’ pictures. In many cases, they do not even have a pic but spend all their time collecting the pics of others all the same.

cam leech troll – an offshoot of the pic leech. A troll that bounces from chat room to chat room trying to get free cam access. They don’t have their own cam or if they do they have a litany of excuses as to why they can’t get it to work. “My dog chewed on it, my brother took it back, I can’t figure it out” etc.

bohemian cam leech – (an occasional variant of the cam leech) They come into the room only long enough to latch on to any open cams and then immediately move on to another chat room.

wanna-be director‘ cam leech troll – A cam leech that keeps pestering the person with the cam asking for ‘tricks’ or for you to do calestenics “please stand up – turn around – show us your [insert favorite body part]”

cyber‘ class of trolls

basic cyber troll – They could be female, but most likely are male. They don’t want to talk about anything of consequence and seldom chat in the room itself. They often start conversations with something like ‘a/s/l?’ or ‘do you wanna play?’

stealth cyber troll – A cyber troll that messages you innocently at first but then quickly diverts the conversation to topics of a sexual nature. This sometimes crosses over with the ‘foot-in-the-door’ troll.

foot-in-the-door troll – A troll that finds some kind of comment to open a conversation, sometimes something positive like a compliment, sometimes something negative like a lame pick-up line, hoping for a response – any kind of response – that might lead to some kind of conversation (even a negative one). Apparently the theory is that if they can keep you talking, sooner or later their wonderful personality or their favorite body part (see ‘look at me’ trolls below) will get you to cyber with them.

sheethead‘ cyber troll – A troll that messages you with an obvious interest in trying to get some kind of sexual response but who is quite obviously from some middle eastern country, pakistan, india or somewhere similar and has very limited command of the english language. These trolls often seem to have large bolded fonts (32 point font troll) and stuck capslock (CAPSLOCK ON troll) keys (also see ‘look at me’ troll). These trolls are infamous for statements such as “LET ME FOR TO SEE YOU CAM NOW PLZ!” or “WILL YOU TO SHOW ME UR TITS?!?!

one-hand-typer cyber troll – At first often confused as a ‘sheethead’ troll due to their atrocious spelling and grammar, these are actually english speaking trolls but one’s who are having a hard time typing because their other hand is ‘busy’ at the moment. Some suspect that their typing is additionally hindered by numerous ‘messes’ that landed on their keyboard whilest ‘one-handed-typing’.

exhibitionist‘ class of trolls

look at me‘ troll – We have all seen various forms of this one. The most popular in rooms like this is the male ‘look at my dick’ troll

look at my dick‘ troll – A troll who either uses a faceless dick pic in their profile, sends you such a pic directly without asking first, or sends you an invite to their webcam that contains nothing but a close up of someones ugly penis.

aren’t I cute‘ look-at-me troll – This is a troll that seems to think that what they are saying, what is in their profile, urls they are posting or other such information is more entertaining, relevant or interesting than anything anyone else in the room is saying. They are known to laugh at their own jokes and toot their own horn. If confronted with how ‘non-interesting’ they are, they often exhibit ‘lycanthropic’ behavior (see below).

better than thou‘ look-at-me troll – Sort of like aren’t-I-cute trolls, this is a troll inordinately preoccupied with their own self-importance. They can be confrontational as well as indescriminate with insults. They may also behave like alligator or lycanthropic trolls depending on the circumstances.

’32-point font’ look-at-me troll – A troll who uses a font size at least 4x bigger than anyone else’s font in the room as though somehow by making their font size larger, it is going to render the pap that they spew out that much more important or pertinent.

CAPSLOCK ‘ON’ LOOK-AT-ME TROLL – Similar to the 32-point font troll, but a troll who types in a continual state of all capital letters as though no one ever told them that the caps lock key turned ‘off’ as well as ‘on’.

redundant scroller ‘look-at-me’ troll!!!
redundant scroller ‘look-at-me’ troll!!!
redundant scroller ‘look-at-me’ troll!!!
redundant scroller ‘look-at-me’ troll!!!
(… you get the idea)

sheethead‘ hybridized look-at-me troll – Not much unlike the sheethead cyber troll, but are very versatile. These are trolls obviously from middle eastern or SW asian countries and similarly have huge, bold faced fonts or all caps (32-pt & CAPSLOCK-ON). They are most known for asking the same question in the chat room, then repeating the question in rapid succession anywhere from three to a dozen or more times (‘redundant scroller), then doing it again a few minutes later (‘can-o-worms’). They never really seem to respond to any chat going on in the room even if directed at them specifically (‘alligator chatter’).

indescriminate look-at-me troll – Men who don’t care what room they are in. (lesbian specific chat rooms for example) They just automatically assume that every woman or near-to-be woman (or any animate or inanimate object with an oriface that fits or almost fits the size of their penis) just wants to… wait… ‘needs to’ talk to them immediately. These types of trolls also seem to think that their penis is of such consequence to the universe that it has it’s own form of gravitational field that attracts any such orifaces to it

‘mystery troll’ – This is not actually an exhibitionist troll, but kind of the antithesis of one. They come into the room with a blank profile – no gender, location or anyother personal information filled in. They seldom talk in the room and sometimes you can’t even find anyone that is talking to them in private. If and when they do say something, it is some obscure reference to something no one ever understands.

can-o-worms‘ class of trolls

basic ‘can-o-worms‘ trolls – Not too unsimilar from ‘look-at-me’ exhibitionist trolls, these are trolls that simply want to start trouble. Either by annoying people to death or by pissing people off. These are basically people with such pathetic lives, that they feel as long as they have nothing better to do, they might as well go screw up the lives of others.

follow fool‘ trolls – The most notorious of the ‘can-o-worms’ trolls, ‘follow fools’ always congregate in packs. One person is chosen as their make-shift leader and everyone else puts that person on ‘follow’ or each put’s one another on follow like some twisted cyber conga line. Then they bounce from room to room making idiotic comments or otherwise disrupting the normal flow of chat.

lycanthropic can-o-worms troll – Sometimes other variations of trolls can become ‘can-o-worms’ trolls if they continually run into people who will not put up with their regular troll behavior. Upon finding their attempts at leeching or cybering have had no success, they lash out at the room by either making derogatory comments at the room members, or by scrolling obscene messages or numerous blank lines in the room. On occasion, this class of troll may even exhibit ‘script kiddy’ behavior (that’s for another list)

alligator chatter‘ troll – These trolls are identified by a very distinct combination of characteristics similar to that of an alligator…… all mouth and no ears. They will talk on and on in the room, many times scrolling or otherwise repeating themselves, but seldom seem to see or respond to people talking back to them. (these are not to be confused with the ‘ad bots’ – yet another item for another list)

poser‘ class of trolls

Cindy Margolis‘ poser troll – A troll posing as a woman (or in the rare case of female poser trolls, posing as a more attractive woman) with a picture that looks so obviously from straight out off some swimsuit magazine that you almost want to laugh.

web girl‘ poser troll – A different variant of the Cindy Margolis poser troll. Similar to the above concept, but the pic they use just screams ‘pay website’. In some cases, this troll even forgets to remove the url from the pic.

‘yeah right!’ poser troll – Along the lines of the Cindy Margolis and web-girl poser trolls. Someone’s who pic appears to be someone that would not have to bother wasting their time in an internet-based chat room for any reason. This poser-troll is sometimes also referred to as the ‘IILTGTBT-IS’ troll (if it looks too good to be true, it is)

as if‘ troll – Not to be confused with the ‘yeah right’ poser class of troll. This person has a pic that is either so obviously some sexual freak from some special porno feature or is so doctored in photoshop as to be a physical impossibility. Such as the pic of a guy with a 18″x6″ diameter penis or the woman with ZZZ sized boobs

pool of pictures‘ poser troll – A mysterious group of posers that seem to use pictures from a small collection of half-a-dozen or so ‘net babes’ that somehow magically seem to show up on hundreds of profiles around the net. Amazingly, when confronted with the fact their choice of ‘fake’ pictures is so ‘popular’, every single one of these ‘pool pic posers’ will swear up and down that they are the one true subject of that picture. (Not suprisingly, many ‘pool pic’ posers are also sheetheads)

name mismatch‘ troll – This class of poser troll sets up a complete female profile that would appear somewhat believable. But then when they download their fake pic to add to the profile, they forget to change the filename on the pic so that it is a mismatch to the name they claim is their’s in the profile itself. Such a troll will come up with any number of excuses as to why the names don’t match “oh, I am a dancer and that’s my stage name” …. “I don’t use my real name on yahoo and must have forgot to change the name on the pic” …. “oh, well that’s the name of the girl that took the picture” Oh well, we’re not buying it!

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I’ve found myself referring to the following two items in similar contexts so wanted to include them to make referencing both at once easier.  Mind you I do not ascribe to Bach’s mysticism, it’s the message of the ‘Pageite Wars’ chapter from ‘One’ that I find poignant.  And it seems to fit well with Emo Phillip’s joke about the man on the bridge:

The Pageite Wars

One by Richard and Leslie Bach

One by Richard and Leslie Bach

…Where we stopped, grass spread around us like an emerald pond cupped in mountains. Sunset flamed from crimson clouds.Switzerland, I thought at once, we’ve landed on a Swiss postcard. Away down in the valley was a sweep of trees, sudden houses, high peaked roofs, a church steeple. There was a cart on the village road, pulled not by tractor or horse but by some kind of cow.

I saw no one nearby, not a path, not a goat-trail. Just this lake of grass, sprinkled with wildflowers, half-circled by snowcapped rocky steeps.

“Now why do you suppose….” I said. “Where are we?”

“France,” said Leslie. She said it without thinking and before I could ask her how she knew, she caught her breath. “Look.”

She pointed to a cleft in the rock, where an old man in a coarse brown robe knelt on the ground near a small campfire. He was welding; brilliant yellow-white flickered and danced on the rocks behind him.

“What’s a welder doing up here?” I asked. She watched him for a moment. “He’s not welding” she said, as though she were remembering the scene instead of observing it. “He’s praying.”

She set off toward him and I followed, deciding to stay quiet. As I had seen myself in Attila, was my wife seeing herself in this hermit?

Closer and we saw sure enough, that was no welding torch. No sound, no smoke, it was a flaring sun-color pillar pulsing above the ground less than a yard from the elder.
“… and to the world shall you give, as you have received,” came a gentle voice from the light. “Give to all who yearn to know the truth from whence we come, the reason for our being, and the course that lies ahead on the way to our forever home.”

We stopped a few yards behind him, transfixed by the sight. I had seen that brilliance once before in my life, years ago, had been stunned by one accidental glimpse of what to this day I still call Love. The light we saw this moment was the same, so radiant it rendered the world a footnote, a dim asterisk.

Then, next instant, the light was gone. Beneath the place where it had been lay a sheaf of golden paper, a scripture in grand calligraphy.

The man knelt silent, eyes closed, unaware of our presence.

Leslie walked forward, reached for the glowing manuscript, picked it up. In this mystical place, her hand did not pass through the parchment.

Expecting runes or hieroglyphics, we found words in English. Of course, I thought. The old man would read them as French, a Persian as Farsi. So it must be with revelation — it’s not the language that matters, but the communication of ideas.

You are creatures of light, we read. From light have you come, in light shall you go, and surrounding you through every step is the light of your infinite being.

She turned a page.

By your choice dwell you now in the world which you have created. What you hold in your heart shall be true, and what most you admire, that shall you become.  Fear not, nor be dismayed at the appearance that is darkness, at the disguise that is evil, at the empty cloak that is death, for you have picked these for your challenges. They are the stones on which you choose to whet the keen edge of your spirit. Know that ever about you stands the reality of love, and each moment you have the power to transform your world by what you have learned.

The pages went on, hundreds of them. We leafed through, struck in awe.

You are life, inventing form. No more can you die on sword or years than you can die on doorways through which you walk, one room into another. Every room gives its word for you to speak, every passage its song for you to sing.

Leslie looked at me, her eyes luminous. If this writing could touch us so, I thought, we from the twentieth century, what effect would it have on people from the whatever-this-was … the twelfth!

We turned back to the manuscript. No words of ritual no directions for worship, no calling down fire and destruction on enemies, no disasters for unbelievers, no cruel Attila-gods. It didn’t mention temples or priests or rabbis or congregations or choirs or costumes or holy days. It was scripture written for the loving inner being, and for that being only.

Turn these ideas loose in this century, I thought, a key to recognize our power over belief, unleash the power of love, and terror will vanish. With this, the world can sidestep the Dark Ages!

The old man opened his eyes, saw us at last, and stood as unafraid as if he’d read the scripture through. He glanced at me, looked a long moment at Leslie. “I am Jean-Paul Le Clerc,” he said. “And you are angels.”

Before we recovered from our puzzlement the man laughed, joyfully. “Did you notice,” he said, “the Light?”

“Inspiration!” said my wife, handing him the golden pages.

“Inspiration, indeed.” He bowed as though he remembered her, and she, at least, were an angel. “These words are key to the truth for any who will read, they are life to those who will listen. When I was a child, the Light promised that the pages would come to my hand on the night you should appear. Now that I am old, you have come, and they.”

“They will change the world,” I said.

He looked at me strangely. “No.”

“But they were given to you….”

“In test,” he said.

“Test?”

I have traveled far,” he said, “I have studied scriptures of a hundred faiths, from Cathay to the Norselands.” His eyes twinkled. “And in spite of my study, I have learned. Every grand religion begins in light. Yet only hearts hold light. Pages cannot.”

“But you have in your hands…” I said. “You must read it. It’s beautiful!”

“I have paper in my hands,” said the elder. “Give these words to the world, and they will be loved and understood by those who already know their truth. But before we give them we must name them. And that will be their death.”

“To name a beautiful thing is to kill it?”

He looked at me surprised. “To name a thing is harmless. To name these ideas is to create a religion.”

“Why?”

He smiled, handing me the manuscript. “I give these pages to you…?”

“Richard,” I told him.

“I give these pages directly from the Light of Love to you, Richard. Do you want to give them in turn to the world, to people yearning to know what they say, to ones who have not been privileged to stand at this place in the moment the gift was given? Or do you want to keep this writing for yourself alone?”

“I want to give them, of course!”

“And what will you call your gift?”

What is he getting at, I wondered. “Does it matter?”

“If you do not name it, others will. They will call it The Book of Richard.”

“I see. All right. I’ll call it anything … the pages.”

“And will you safeguard The Pages? Or will you allow others to edit them, to change what they don’t understand, to strike out what they please, whatever is not to their liking?”

“No! No changes. They were delivered from the light! No changes!”

“Are you sure? Not a line here and there, for good reason? ‘Most people won’t understand?’ ‘This might offend?’ ‘The message isn’t clear?’”

“No changes!”

He raised his eyebrows, questioning. “Who are you to insist?”

I was here when they were given,” I said. “I saw them appear, myself!”

“So,” he said, “you have become the Keeper of the Pages?”

“Doesn’t have to be me. It can be any one as long as they promise no changes.”

“But someone is Keeper of the Pages?”

“Someone. I suppose.”

“And here begins the Pageite priesthood. Those who give their lives to protect an order of thinking become the priests of that order. Yet any new order, any new way, is change. And change is the end of the world as it is.”

“These pages are no threat,” I said. “They’re love and freedom!”

“And love and freedom are the end of fear and slavery.”

“Of course!” I said, vexed. What was he getting at? Why was Leslie standing silent? Didn’t she agree that this was….

“Those who profit from fear and slavery,” said Le Clerc, “will they be happy with the message of the Pages?”

“Probably not, but we can’t let this … light … be lost!”

“Will you promise to protect the light?’ he said.

“Of course!”

“The other Pageites, your friends, they’ll protect it too?”

“Yes.”

“And if the profiteers in fear and slavery convince the king of this land that you are dangerous, if they march on your house, if they come with swords, how are you going to protect the Pages?”

“I’ll take them away! I’ll escape!”

“And when you’re followed, and caught, and cornered?”

“If I have to fight, I’ll fight,” I said. “There are principles more important than life. Some ideas are worth dying for.”

“The old man sighed. “And so began the Pageite Wars,” he said. “Armor and swords and shields and banners, horses and fire and blood in the streets. They will not be small wars. Thousands of true believers will join you, tens of thousands, swift and strong and smart. But the principles of the Pages challenge the rulers of every nation that keeps its power through fear and darkness. Tens of thousands will ride against you.”

At last it began to dawn, what Le Clerc was trying to tell me.

“To be known,” he went on, “to be distinguished from others, you will need a symbol. What symbol will you choose? What sign will you strike upon your banners?”

My heart sank under the weight of his words, but I struggled on.

“The symbol of light,” I said. “The sign of the flame.”

“And so shall it be,” he said, reading history unwritten, “that the Sign of the Flame shall meet the Sign of the Cross on the battlefields of France, and the Flame shall prevail, a glorious victory, and the first cities of the Cross shall be leveled by your pure fire. But the Cross shall join with the Crescent, and together their armies shall swarm in from the south and the east and down from the north, a hundred thousand armed men to your eighty thousand.”

Oh, stop, I wanted to say. I know what comes next.

“And for every soldier of the Cross and warrior of the Crescent whom you kill protecting your gift, a hundred will hate your name. Their fathers and mothers, their wives and daughters and sons and friends will hate the Pageites and the cursed Pages for the murder of their loved ones, and every Pageite will despise every Christian and cursed Cross and every Moslem and cursed Crescent for the murder of their own.”

“No!” I cried. Every word he said was true.

“And during the Wars, altars will spring up, cathedrals and spires will rise to enshrine the Pages. Those reaching for growth and understanding will find themselves burdened instead with new superstitions and new limits: bells and symbols, rules and chants, ceremonies and prayers and vestments, incense and offerings of gold. The heart of Pageism will turn from love to gold. Gold to build greater temples, gold to buy swords to convert the non-believers and save their souls.”

“And when you die, First Keeper of the Pages, gold to build images of you. There will be towering statues, grand frescoes, paintings to commit this scene to immortal art. See, woven in this tapestry: here the Light, there the Pages, there the vault of the sky opened to Paradise. Here kneels Richard the Great in gleaming armor, here the lovely Angel of Wisdom, the Hallowed Pages in her hand; here old Le Clerc at his humble campfire in the mountains, witness to the vision.”

No! I thought. Impossible!

But it wasn’t impossible, it was inevitable.

“Give these pages to the world, and there shall be another mighty religion, another priesthood, another Us and another Them, one set against the other. In a hundred years, a million will have died for the words we hold in our hands; in a thousand years, tens of millions. All for this paper.

There was no trace of bitterness in his voice, nor did it grow cynical or weary. Jean-Paul Le Clerc was filled with a lifetime’s learning, calm acceptance of what he had found.

Leslie shivered.

“Do you want my jacket?” I said.

“No thank you, wookie,” she said. “It’s not the cold.”

“Not the cold,” said Le Clerc. He stooped and picked a brand from his fire, raised it to touch the golden pages. “This will warm you.”

“No!” I jerked the sheaf away. “Burn the truth?”

“The truth doesn’t burn. The truth waits for anyone who wishes to find it,” he said.

“Only these pages will burn. It is your choice. Would you like Pageism to become the next religion in this world?” He smiled. “You will be saints of the church. . . .”

I looked to Leslie, saw the horror in her eyes that I felt in my own.
She took the brand from him, touched it to the comers of the parchment. The blaze grew to a wide sun-white blossom under our fingers, and in a moment we let the bright shards fall to the ground. They burned a moment longer and went dark.

The old man sighed his relief. “What a blessed evening!” he said. “How rarely are we given the chance to save the world from a new religion!”

Then he faced my wife, smiling hopefully. “We did save it?”

She smiled back at him. “We did. There is not a word in our history, Jean-Paul Le Clerc, of the Pageites or their wars.”

They looked a tender goodbye to each other, skeptic to loving skeptic. Then with a small bow to both of us, the old man turned and walked up the mountain into the dark.
The fiery pages still burned in my mind, inspiration turned to ash.

“But the ones who need what those pages had to say,” I said to Leslie. “How can they … how can we learn what was written there?”

“He’s right,” she said, looking after the man until she could see him no more, “whoever wants truth and light can find it for themselves.”

“I’m not sure. Sometimes we need a teacher.”

She turned to me. “Try this,” she said. “Pretend that you honestly truly deeply want to know who you are, where you came from and why you’re here. Pretend you’re willing never to rest till you know.”

I nodded and imagined myself non-stop determined resolute, eager to learn, combing libraries for books and back-issues, haunting lectures and seminars, keeping diaries of my hopes and speculation, writing intuitions, meditating on mountaintops, following leads from dreams and coincidence, asking strangers — all the steps we take when learning matters more than anything. “OK.”

“Now,” she said, “can you imagine yourself not finding out?”

Whuf, I thought. How this woman can make me see!

I bowed in answer. “My Lady Le Clerc, Princess of Knowing.”

She curtsied slowly in the dark. “My Lord Richard, Prince of the Flame.”

The Pageite wars
“One,” by Richard Bach, 1988


The Man on the Bridge

(watch on youtube)

Emo Philips

Emo Philips

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said “Stop! don’t do it!”

“Why shouldn’t I?” he said.

I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!”

He said, “Like what?”

I said, “Well…are you religious or atheist?”

He said, “Religious.”

I said, “Me too! Are you christian or buddhist?”

He said, “Christian.”

I said, “Me too! Are you catholic or protestant?”

He said, “Protestant.”

I said, “Me too! Are you episcopalian or baptist?”

He said, “Baptist!”

I said,”Wow! Me too! Are you baptist church of god or baptist church of the lord?”

He said, “Baptist church of god!”

I said, “Me too! Are you original baptist church of god, or are you reformed baptist church of god?”

He said,”Reformed Baptist church of god!”

I said, “Me too! Are you reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1879, or reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915?”

He said, “Reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!”

I said, “Die, heretic scum”, and pushed him off.

— Emo Phillips

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This story was told to me by my brother.  I believe he claimed it came from one of his partners on the city police force where he works, but may have just come from Police lore in general.

An off duty officer had stopped in one of those ‘full service’ rest stop areas on the interstate.  (the one’s that include a gas station, rest area, gift shop, restaurant, etc.)  While he was waiting in line, a guy in disheveled clothing was ‘working’ the crowd for handouts.  The officer tried to ignore the man but eventually became the target of his solicitation.

“Hey,” said the man, “do you have any money?”
“No I don’t. Leave me alone,” said the officer trying to ignore the man in hopes he would go away.
“Then what was that you were just jingling in your pocket?  It sounded like spare change.  Why don’t you give me whatever that is in your pocket?”

Not realizing he had anything in his pocket or that he had been absent mindfully tapping his hand against his thigh, shaking whatever it was, he reached down in said pocket to remind himself what exactly it was making the ‘jingling’ sound.
Sure enough, along with a few spare coins, the officer came to realize that he had a couple of loose cartridges still there from his service revolver.

Thinking quickly, he pulled out one of them, looked at the man and tossed it in response to the beggar’s request for ‘what was in his pocket’ stating:

“OK, here you go….” and awaited the response.

The bewildered beggar looked at it somewhat confused and partially shocked.  After giving a few seconds for the reality of what he had been tossed to sink into the overbearing man, the officer responded:

“Now if you don’t leave me alone, the next one will be coming a whole lot faster….”

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Every time the politician says:

  • …the phrase “do it for our children
    – think to yourself “at their expense” and drink half your beer
  • …the word ‘crisis
    – say the words “requiring radical change” and drink a shot
  • …some issue or new law is ‘urgent
    – fill in “for our progressive agenda” and drink two shots
  • nothing about the fact that their ‘urgent‘ solution won’t take effect until a year after their current term
    – drink two more shots
  • …something about partisan opposition
    – replace with ‘unpopular legislation‘ and drink from the person’s glass to your right
  • …anything about ‘inheriting a problem‘ from their predecessor
    – drink from the person’s glass to your left
  • … if they blamed their predecessor and they were an incumbent
    – drink from the glasses on both your left and right
  • …’evil rich‘ to support a tax increase
    – add the words “that didn’t donate to my campaign” and shotgun a beer
  • …’revenue enhancement‘ to refer to that tax increase
    – shotgun another beer
  • …anything akin to ‘fairness‘ in justifying the tax
    – shotgun a third beer
  • …the names of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck or mentions ‘talk radio
    – have a jello shot
  • …”everyone must sacrifice” when referring to legislation that does not apply to politicans
    – drink whatever you want and try not to throw up

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Taken from a thread that spun off a friend’s facebook status…..

if you think hiring people with the best qualifications is racist, and hiring someone because they are not ‘white’ is fairness, you might be a liberal.

If you think you are qualified to speak out on political issues because you once played a politician on tv, you might be a liberal.

If you fly around the country in a huge luxury jet telling everyone about the plight of the ‘poor’ and the woes of pollution, you might be a liberal.

If your definition of ‘character’ is one of the guys in your favorite skit on Saturday Night Live…. you might be a liberal.

If you think a joke about a curly hair on a coke can is sexual harassment, but getting blown by a 19 year old intern is nobody’s business…. you might be a liberal.

If you can’t see the similarities between ‘Green’ and ‘Red’… you might be a liberal.

If you think someone that busts their ass for 30 years building a business that started in a garage with three people into one of the largest enterprises in the world is evil, and someone that keeps getting knocked up so she can still get beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets with the money left over from her government WIC payments is good…. you might be a liberal!

If you think the second amendment is outdated because it was written during a time of muskets and black powder not machine guns and rocket launchers, but overlook the fact the first amendment was written when they had hand-operated printing presses, not world wide satellite television and internet…. you might be a liberal!

If you’ve ever caught your 15 y.o. kid having sex and stopped to give them pointers before leaving the room… you might be a liberal.

If you’ve ever shared a joint with your teenage son, you might be a liberal.

If you think anyone working on a lumberjack crew or an oil rig should find a new career, but a teenager working summers flipping burgers at mcdonalds deserves a significant pay raise courtesy of the federal minimum wage, you may be a liberal.

If you think serving in the national guard to avoid the draft is a crime against America, but driving off of a bridge drunk leaving a woman to die and not reporting it until the next morning after you’ve talked to your attorney is completely excusable, you might be a liberal.

If your two greatest political heroes are the grandson of an Opium dealer (FDR) and the son of a boot legger (JFK), you might be a liberal.

If you’ve ever tried to convince someone ‘eating meat is bad’ by offering them a ‘turkey flavored’ hunk of tofu or a ‘beef flavored’ patty of fungus, you might be a liberal.

one inspired by: http://www.comedy-zone.net/jokes/laugh/politics/pol010.htm
If you think Al Franken, Bill Maher and Jon Stewart are funny, and you actually believe Michael Moore when he says “I haven’t benefited from capitalism”…. you might be a liberal.

One borrowed from: http://www.theliberalforums.com/you-might-be-a-democrat-if-vt42.html
if your kitchen pantry smells like the local landfill because of your avid commitment to ‘recycling’, you might be a liberal.

A couple from Robert Harrison:

If you think that the only reason socialism hasn’t worked is because the wrong people have been in charge, ‘you might be a liberal’.”

If you think that the Arts never exiisted before federal funding, you might be a liberal.

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