ONE WAY STREET – TODAY’S MISSING-IN-ACTION DAILY PROMPT

ONE WAY STREET?

Time travel, the ultimate addiction. The day I realized the big window in my bedroom was a wormhole, I started day tripping all ever. It started out a day like any other. Coffee. Making sure the dogs had biscuits. Wash those few dishes in the sink. Clean out the drying rack. Look at the sky, wonder if it’s going to clear. Wondering why it matters so much anyhow. It’s just another day, right?

Note: Sorry WordPress, don’t need your single-use, one way machine. I’ve got my own, personal vortex so maybe when you get your technical act together we’ll go traveling, okay? Meanwhile, I’ll stick with my own.

Then there’s the whirling twirling thing in the blinds. A vortex! While I’m standing there, staring and trying to figure out how to get to it, wondering how come they don’t appear at a more convenient location … like at floor level. I’m supposed to leap over my dresser? I’m 67 and arthritic. And — I need a clue how to designate when and where I want to go and return. Because I do want to return!

It turns out (surprise!) the vortex knows. Focus your mind on when, where and how long you want to be wherever. The vortex takes care of the rest, like an exceptionally good travel agent, but much cheaper. The danger is going through the vortex with your brain muddled. You can wind up some strange places … not places a tourist wants to be.

Garry caught this picture of me on my way home from traveling to a favorite spot in Arthurian England. Good catch Gar!

Garry caught this picture of me on my way home from traveling to a favorite spot in Arthurian England. Good catch Gar!

Also, you don’t have to jump or climb into the vortex. Just stand as close as you can and reach into it mentally. Cool beans, right? Like, wow, what a trip. Whatever was the best hallucinogenic drug you ever took? This is better. This is what we were looking for.

If you are one of the lucky ones who’ve had a vortex appear for you, I’d like to offer you some practical advice:

  • Don’t drink, smoke dope, or take other mind-bending substances before you travel elsewhen.
  • Avoid the 14th century. It’s too depressing. Also, you need vaccinations for defunct diseases making it difficult to explain to your doctor.
  • If you have a cool doctor, let him or her in on the secret. Some can be bribed with an excursion of their own. And it’s a good bet you’ll eventually need medical support.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Layer. Sometimes the seasons aren’t predictable. A small carry-on piece of luggage in a natural fiber such as canvas makes a good investment.
  • Take your camera. Take extra memory chips and backup batteries. You aren’t going to be recharging anything.
  • Leave the cell phone home. A ringing cell at the wrong moment can produce unexpected — and unpleasant — results.
  • Tell your mate what’s going on. Nothing upsets a relationship more than your appearing out of nowhere. Why not take your other half along for a couple of rides? Maybe he or she will love it too!
  • Try to land on or near the ground in an open area. Arriving mid-air or inside a wall produces bad trips. Sometimes death. Be clear in your mind so the vortex can read you. Wherever you are going, do a little research. Google Earth and history books can be very helpful in giving you good visualization capabilities.
  • Try not to lose yourself in time. If you overdo it, you can forget who you are supposed to be, who your children are, your friends, family. Everything. Maybe that’s not so bad for some, but most of us want to go home eventually.
  • Don’t tell everything to everybody. You want to keep the press out of it. Far out of it.
  • The future is scarier than the past. Spend time in known history before you venture forward. You’ll be glad you did.

This is the most fun you’ll ever have. Take lots of notes, pictures and have a blast. Talk to people Don’t worry about language barriers. The vortex won’t send you anywhere without the appropriate language skills in your brain. You won’t remember them when you get home, but they will always be there when you need them.

Vortexes don’t last forever. Make the most of your opportunity while it’s available. Enjoy your travels, my friends. Welcome to TIMING OUT of life! It’s the best ride you’ll ever take.

TIMING IN, TIMING OUT, TIMING INSIDE-OUT

One-Way Street – Timing Out or In or Inside-Out?

Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?


TimeTravel

First of all, no one can travel to the future unless they are returning from the past. Everyone who’s anybody knows that. It hasn’t happened yet, so you can’t go there. You can’t go sometime if it never occurred.

nasa time machine

One-way time travel sounds ominous to me regardless of direction.

You mean … I can’t come home? Ever? I have to go forward or backward and it’s a final decision? Without hope of returning to my time, my friends, family? My world?

In which case, no thank you. That’s way too high a price to satisfy a bit of curiosity.

With all the issues of the present, this is my time. It is where I belong, for good or ill.

NOTE: As of this writing, it’s another zero response day at WordPress. I’m not even going to report it. I’m fed up and I’m on vacation. WordPress: FIX YOUR SOFTWARE or replace it with something that works consistently and dependably. Stop dicking around.

NOTES

Make It Count – You’ve been given the opportunity to send one message to one person you wouldn’t normally have access to (for example: the President. Kim Kardashian. A coffee grower in Ethiopia). Who’s the person you choose, and what’s the message?


I’m totally blank. I can’t think of any message I could send once to anyone in time or space that would make a difference.

Send a note to Julius Caesar and tell him to skip the senate that day? They would have killed him on a different day.

How about: “Hey, Ulysses. Don’t get involved with those girl singers.”

“Achilles, don’t brag about your invulnerability and how you came by it. And cover those heels!”

hyannis boat flag harbor

“Oh Chris? Yes, you. Columbo. Turn back. Your crew is carrying disease and you are going to wipe out millions of innocent people. Oh, you like that idea do you? Come closer. Let me kill you myself.”

“Mr. Lincoln, don’t go to the theater tonight. And get the Secret Service on that Wilkes guy. He’s more than merely a bad actor.”

“Mr. Kennedy, sir! Please do not ride through Dallas top down today. In fact, call in sick. Get a pedicure. Take a nap. Anything but a drive through Dallas.”

A couple of timely notes to myself could help. “Go to a better surgeon. Don’t let that hack anywhere near you with a scalpel.” I’d need to send at least two such warning notes. I am apparently a slow learner. Or, I could fix my own life. I could send a note to my Mom warning her not to get involved with my dad. Oops, but then there would be no me to send the note — and we get into all kinds of time travel-related complexities.

Or how about “Don’t buy the condo in Lynn. Wait. Garry’s going to ask you to marry him and you can get a place together!” That might have made a difference!

I’m just going to not say anything to anyone. You know about the butterfly effect? Anything I want to do would probably cause the world to end. I’ve got enough on my plate. I’ll leave world breaking to someone else

THE UNAPPRECIATED EXORCIST – MIKE CAREY’S FELIX CASTOR SERIES

The Devil You Know | Mike CareyThere was rumor going around on Amazon a few months ago that Mike Carey was going to publish another Felix Castor book. I hoped it was true and maybe it will happen yet, but so far … there are five books and no more. I own all of them, but if there should ever be another, I’ll be first in line to buy a copy. I love this series.

I discovered Mike Carey because I reviewed a Jim Butcher book and someone suggested I’d like the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey. I’d never heard of Mike Carey, but I was out of new authors to read at the time and I was ready to try anything that sounded good. I got what I hoped for plus a whole lot more.

As a writer, Mike Carey is better than good. He is hyper-literate. He uses words like a rapier. His prose is beautifully crafted, often lyrical, yet never treacly or sappy. He is crisp, witty, intelligent. He does not repeat himself. He never uses the same descriptive passage twice, nor does he — as many popular authors do — copy and paste sections from one book to another to (I presume) save writing time. Mike Carey doesn’t use short cuts.

The result is a style that is richly descriptive, a delicious combination of gritty street slang banging head-on into literary English. Liverpool guttersnipe meets Jane Austen. It gives the narrative a rare and rich texture.

What’s it all about? Felix (Fix) Castor is an exorcist. He sees the dead and the undead. They see him. He is no wizard who magics his problems away with the wave of a hand or wand. He can send the dead away when they linger and cast out demons who possess humans.

Where do the dead go after he sends them away?  He’s not sure, an issue that looms successively larger as the series progresses. His weapon is music in the form of a tin whistle, a thin armament in the face of some of the perils he faces. He has a few allies — human, formerly human plus one demon in recovery.

The series consists of five books, each building on the previous one to form what is essentially a single story in five parts. Best to read the series in order. All the books are available as paperbacks, for Kindle, and from Audible.com.

In order, the books are The Devil You Know, Vicious Circle , Dead Men’s Boots, Thicker Than Water and The Naming of BeastsNone of his books are a lightweight romp, but the first three are much lighter in tone and funnier — Carey has a sharp, ironic sense of humor– than the last two, both of which are pretty intense.

Mike Carey (writer)

Mike Carey (author) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fix Castor works hard for short money, is rarely appreciated by the people he helps, has more than enough of his personal demons, not to mention some very real, otherworldly demons who are seriously out to get him.

It’s a unique series, unlike any other I’ve read. I wish there had been more of them, though I suspect the author is done with this series.

There are so many surprises in this series. The characters constantly surprised me by growing and changing, developing in unexpected ways and not doing the obvious.

Mike Carey can be very funny. His subtle and elegant humor contains no belly laughs, but irony pervades his prose. None of the books are traditionally funny nor are the situations humorous or light-hearted, but the author’s writing style is wonderfully cynical. The stories, pun intended, are dead serious. Darkness notwithstanding, you can count on Mike Carey’s plays on words and twists of phrase to keep the dread from becoming too heavy to handle.

The plots are gripping and creepy. Any or all of the books would make great horror movies. I’m surprised no one has grabbed them yet. Maybe they will. Sooner or later, someone is bound to notice, right?

THE ALL-KNOWING DOME OF DOOM

As Under The Dome ended last week, the dome was shrinking. For no particular reason, at the start of this week’s episode, it stopped shrinking. But — the girl who came back from the dead started dying all over again and anyway, the dome stopped shrinking for almost the whole episode. Why did it start shrinking? Why did it stop? Why did it get so cold? Why did it warm up again?

Only The Dome Knows. Garry calls it the Holy Dome, All-Knowing Dome. “Praise The Dome,” said Garry. I nodded. The Dome is clearly God, all-knowing, all-powerful, entirely irrational. Bloodthirsty. The qualities every deity needs.

She's dying. No, wait, she's miraculously saved. Oops, dead again.

She’s dying. No, wait, she’s miraculously saved. Oops, dead again.

Anyway, the Chosen of The Dome join hands to save Melanie (the previously dead but resurrected girl) and — A MIRACLE! She comes back to life. Again! From the dead she rises one more time. Dang, but these Mainers are hard to kill.

“It’s so beautiful,” she says (I’m assuming she means the world is beautiful) … but before the words have entirely left her lovely lips, a whirlpool-like vortex appears. Poor dead-resurrected-dead-resurrected Melanie is sucked into it. Dead again. Swallowed by a vortex. Where are the alligators when you need them?

What? “What’s happening?” they cry. “We don’t understand!” Someone says something about quantum physics and Garry says “WHAT????”

I’m laughing too hard to answer and anyway, I have no idea what’s going on. Commercial break, news promo. Sometimes reality and fantasy are weirdly similar.

Back on the show, everyone is saying “What’s going on? The Dome is shrinking again, but faster this time.” If they don’t understand, you can bet no one watching the show does either. By now, I am yelling at the television. I want giant alligators to come and eat the cast, but instead, Big Jim is beating the crap out of someone. I must have missed something

Music up full. A folk singer is howling “Turn, Turn, Turn” and Garry looks at me, one eyebrow raised.

“What could possibly happen next?” Garry asks. He’s kidding of course. Anything could happen. I’m still voting for alligators but someone told me last week it would probably be a giant spider. I don’t like spiders. Anything but spiders.

There’s only one more show this season. The coming attractions suggest they are planning a third season. That seems outlandish, but this entire season was absurd, so why not another 13 ridiculous episodes? I don’t remember if The Dome was still shrinking when they ran the credits, but there weren’t any alligators. Pity.

LIVING IN THE WORLD OF THE MARCHING MORONS

Curve Balls – When was the last time you were completely stumped by a question, a request, or a situation you found yourself in? How did you handle it?


At my age, I am baffled much of the time. Life is a giant curve ball, full of unanswerable questions. Young people assume it’s because I’m old and getting senile, but it’s exactly the opposite. Old, yes. Senile, no.

marchingn moronsYou see, time has made me cagey, wily, more cunning. But at the same time, it has hardened me. Made me more cynical, skeptical, and ultimately, puzzled by human behavior.

“How can anyone be that stupid?” Garry and I ask each other as we watch a movie, the news, or sports. “Why would anybody do that? What do they think is going to happen?”

From the manager who lets the star pitcher stay in the game until his minor injury accelerates to a major one that will keep him out all next season. To teenagers who think not learning in school is somehow beating the system. To people texting while driving. And seniors buying expensive luxury cars they can’t afford to run much less pay-off on their fixed incomes — all to impress other seniors who don’t care one way or the other — it’s a world of marching morons.

After the irreversible deed is done, someone will inevitably ask us: “So. What do you think about … (fill in the blank) … ” and we are left speechless. What do we think? Why are you asking us now? Wouldn’t the time to ask have been before you did it?  Is it okay for me to say “I think you’re a moron?”

Can I answer honestly? “You are screwing yourself and you will regret it for the rest of your life.” Would that be cruel or worse, politically incorrect? Can I ask, “And how’s that working out for you?”

Probably we should just keep doing what we always do. Smile. Say something bland and hope they leave before we find ourselves saying something we actually mean. Something memorable and likely unforgivable.

It’s a baffling world out there. I used to worry about the march of evil in our midst, how the bad guys keep winning. These days, I don’t so much worry about the bad guys. They have always been with us and always will be. I worry about the morons who follow them. Marching to the beat of a drum they don’t even hear … but marching, ever marching.


The Marching Morons is a science fiction short story by C.M. Kornbluth originally published in Galaxy in April 1951. This dark and prescient story of a future devolved to idiocy remains one of the most frightening visions to have emerged from the science fiction of that decade.

Proposing a future United States overwhelmed by a population of low IQ citizens — a consequence of over-breeding amongst the stupid — Kornbluth was writing of his observed present. The steady, inexorable descent of human intelligence obsessed Kornbluth. It was one of his major themes and reached its truest statement in this novelette.

And sometimes, sixty years later, as I look around me, I get a shiver of recognition down my spine and wonder where the line can be drawn between science fiction and the world in which I live.

UNDER THE DOME – IT’S SHRINKING!!

Everyone nearly froze to death on tonight’s episode, but were saved by … something. The besieged citizen’s of Chester’s Mill are facing starvation, but I guess freezing is off the table. Because it warmed up.

It’s like the Perils of Pauline. Every week, another climactic crisis with no explanation. No motive, no reason. Stuff just keeps happening. And apparently will continue to happen. Do they give awards for the most illogical show of the year? If so, Under The Dome is the hands down winner.

Garry looked at me. “What could possibly happen next?” he asked.

under-the-dome21

I was laughing so hard I had trouble speaking. “Alligators,” I said. “It’s going to rain alligators. Huge alligators will fall out of the sky and start eating people. But don’t worry, because no one will really die. After that, moose. It’s Maine, so moose will fall out of the sky. The moose will be very confused by this … “

That was when the dome started to shrink and they said there would only be two more episodes this season. Which means they intend to run this show another season. Another year of pointless catastrophes, false climaxes. And miraculous, last minute saves. Everyone will continue to return from the dead.

One more season of weird shit happening. I’m not sure what the point of the show is, but I have to admit, I haven’t had such a good laugh in quite a while.

I think Under The Dome is now officially … (wait for it) … a comedy!