A Salute to Winsor McCay
A Salute to Winsor McCay
Dateline, Washington DC.
The Department of Justice reported Monday that it is investigating whether the federal government has fallen victim to an international scam. Since they began intercepting and reading all our email, the NSA has sent over $63 Billion to members of the Nigerian royal family. The Agencies defends these actions, saying they seemed to be sure-fire, safe investments.
To this date, none of the investments have returned any money. Many of the alleged Nigerian royals who orchestrated these exchanges have gone missing.
Officials state they became suspicious when someone from the State Department read a Wikipedia entry on Nigeria. It informed him that Nigeria has a democratic government and not a monarchy. Indeed, there is no Nigerian royal family at all.
Federal officials are blaming the overwhelming amount of information they have to sift through and the speed it requires to read “every… damn… email…” They cite the fact that the average American reads .5% (zero point five percent) of the emails they receive, while the Government reads it all. This often leaves individual agents in a torpid, trance-like state. They become vulnerable to predators and susceptible to suggestion.
As the DOJ digs to the bottom of this case, other departments are starting to take notice and look for evidence of fraud. The General Accounting Office announced they may launch an investigation of their own. They admitted there is a chance one or several of the three dozen Golden Gate Bridges the Federal Government recently purchased may in fact be forgeries.
Moore’s law, put simply, states that computing power will double every eighteen months. This was predicted back in 1965 at the dawn of modern computing and has so far held true. What used to be a precious and costly commodity is now being produced at an exponentially faster rate. Some find this humorous, in a sardonic way. To others it is overwhelming.
The Commodore 64 when it was introduced boasted sixty-four kilobytes of RAM, all within that ‘little’ box. There is the famous quote from one of the pioneers in the industry where he can’t ever foresee anyone needing more than 64k. Only a decade earlier such an extravagant amount of memory would require an entire building. Nowadays memory is so cheap you can easily afford to store a well-stocked bookstore on the phone in your pocket.
It’s amazing how far we have come. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai it took two tablets to hold ten short paragraphs. Nowadays even the most basic tablet or ereader can store dozens, even hundreds, of books in their entirety.
Damn. How did so much time get away from us?
It’s like one minute you are standing in the middle of a warehouse in the early nineties, high on cheap beer, brown weed, teenage freedom and rock and roll; next thing you know it’s a different century and a different world, and everyone is compartmentalized and plastic and isolated.
Yes, we are getting older. Some of us, not all of us survived.
And one has to wonder sometimes, who is the winner in this game? The ones who checked out early? The ones who missed so many years? Those of us left behind? To carry on, to trudge forth even as we see everyone and everything around us crumbling.
These days I’m not so sure.
I crawled out of a cave. I fell asleep sometime in the last century and woke up here. In a museum, in a cheap science fiction movie. Here, we are both the spectators and the spectacle.
This hallway is black. Not dark. Black. Light doesn’t dare traverse it’s expanse. There are glimpses of neon here and there, but it’s impossible to tell if they are real or hallucination. The absence of light makes the hallway feel immense, long, possibly unending. That’s another scary notion. Eternity. The thought that there may be no end to this.
And then we must ask ourselves again, which is worse? The eternal shuffling toward nothing, or the exit too early; the ones we have lost, who have fallen along the way. Are we sad they have gone? Or is it only us growing ever lonelier as they one by one depart?
I looked for you. I looked forward to reconnecting.
You wouldn’t recognize the place. Everything has changed since you left.
We’ve torn down nature and put up a plastic nature replica. It will last forever, and it doesn’t get messy like the real thing. We still aren’t sure if the birth defects are a direct result of the synthetic natural plastic alloy or merely a coincidence, but we aren’t letting it slow us down either way.
The streets are emptier too. You would get along a little better with less traffic, fewer distractions to fight for your attention. You see that’s where there was a bookshop. That used to be a record store. This was a Wags before it was a Perkins before it was a Bakers Square before it was the Sunshine Breakfast Club before it was finally abandoned and left to rot away.
This used to be the beach. Our beach. I wish I could say they left this one alone.
It almost feels the same, the yellow moon peeking down through slivers of cloud. That breeze that always hints of winter, even in August, always reminds you of how cold it could be.
As if it had any idea.
Nothing that lives or breaths or moves really knows anything of the true cold. The freezing. The motionless waiting, staring. Stuck in your tracks. So cold you can’t even feel it anymore.
It doesn’t matter, you wouldn’t recognize this anyway. It is not ours. This is no longer the world we knew.
This. You see this? This passes for sand. I know. It is cleaner. It doesn’t get in your shoes and stuck in every crevice. This is static. This is electronic noise, pixels, bits of information formed to resemble the granules we knew growing up but without all the mess.
Maybe that’s how they’ve done it. Maybe that’s how the rug was pulled out from under us. Maybe they filled up all the hourglasses with this synthetic sand. It bought them all the time in the world.
There was a point I was trying to make. There was something I wanted to say to you, but I seem to be only rambling. I’m sorry to waste your time. You would have laughed at that one. The idea of wasting time. Maybe you had it right all along, you and the Mad Hatter.
Maybe yours was the right move. Maybe I’m worse off for witnessing this. Maybe it is you who escaped and I who am trapped. Imprisoned in black iron, indeed the empire never ended.
Still, I thought there would be more time. I thought we would meet again. Even if it was out here in the fringes of reality. This crumbling pier hanging precariously over the edge, over nothing, a bottomless pit of black frozen emptiness.
©Robert Emmett McWhorter
Our friend Sherry Carroll has a new short story available through amazon. Here is my review:
If you have spent any time in a band or in a music scene, you will recognize the world that Sherry Carroll paints here. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s really like to be immersed in that lifestyle, this is about as authentic as it gets. The style is rambling with rich descriptions, akin to the Gonzo writing of Hunter S Thompson; a slightly distracted stream-of-conscience that might leave your English teacher a little dizzy, but adds a layer of reality to the narrative which I believe is impossible to fake. You can feel the cold night descending on you in the back alley, chatting with the band as they pack up their van, a meandering conversation you can’t always keep up with.
The story here is a quaint tale of girl meets boy, but filtered through rock and roll spectacles and told from the viewpoint of a self-aware and somewhat self-conscious young woman, with a trace of shyness or reserve, but an overwhelming desire to dive headlong into life.
The story is rich in detail and imagery and there are some great, funny moments in the dialogue, and it all just comes together feeling true and real. Well worth the price of admission. An honest little glimpse and a wild, enjoyable ride!
Go check it out for yourself, it’s only 99 cents! It’s a fun romp and a quick read and well worth the investment.
Sherry Carroll: Classically Ever After on Amazon.com
Get out a fresh circle of paper and a sliver of chalk, add this to your parents dictionary, here is today’s new word.
Zudswackxomnebplight /(no pronunciation)/ onomatopoeia v. unable to speak,
having no words. As in “I don’t know what to say, that film left me zudswackxomnebplighted.”
The key to pronouncing this word is remembering that all the letters are
silent; z from zoetrope, rendezous; u from colleague, guess; d from Wednesday,
sandwich; s from island, debris; w from sword, answer; a from artistically,
logically; c from muscle, scissors; k from knife, knight; x from faux pas; o
from colonel; b from crumbs, debt; m from mnemonic; n from autumn, column;
p from coup, psychology; l from would, should; e from breathe, psyche;
i from business; g from gnaw, high; h from honest, ghost; and t from castle,
gourmet. So if you pronounce it properly the listener will think
you have trailed off…
Usually when you see these guys with the extreme low-rider baggy pants, it is two fifth graders, standing one on the other’s shoulders, most likely sneaking into an R rated movie.
In light of some television networks and news agencies publishing Olympic
updates from Sochi before they have been officially aired in prime time, The
President, Congress and the FCC are dropping all other matters to address the national outrage over ‘Spoilers.’
Most citizens agree there should be a Standard National Spoiler Disclosure
Protocol in place, regulated by the FCC, which would force broadcasters to use a ‘SPOILER’ tag or similar disclaimer when revealing sensitive information, or face fines and penalties and possibly have their license revoked for repeated infractions.
Americans are outraged, not only for the irresponsible handling of medal counts
at the Olympics, but for other recent infractions including the Game of Thrones
season ending cliff-hanger, the Breaking Bad finale, and the almost instant
reporting of ‘more trite nonsense’ that accompanies any new Twilight movie
After years of being splintered by national debates on political matters such as
the economy, national security, employee rights, voter rights, civil rights,
entitlements and government spending, it seems the American people finally have
an issue we can all come together on, and rally as one voice for some real,
The Director of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander, addressed the press today, saying, “After reading countless personal emails and private messages, we are aware that the Spoiler issue is the number one priority in the agenda of the average American household, and it should be ours as well.”
Congress announced it is pulling manpower and money away from immigration, the
drug war, maintaining Guantanamo bay with an eye toward its decommission, and
the crumbling infrastructure of the nation, to focus our minds and our finances
on how to properly identify and warn about Spoilers, and other related
matters such as how long is the statute of spoiler limitations? Is giving away
the plot-lines of Firefly, now ten years in the public eye, still a
prosecutable offense? How soon is too soon?
The President, Congress, Senate and other government VIPs are said to be forming
an expert committee to deal with this emergency, and promises to put all other
matters aside until this is dealt with to mutual satisfaction.
Joe Krumpnall, an out of work auto mechanic and ex-vet we interviewed today
seemed to reflect the Government’s and the people’s beliefs. “I have no job and
no money and I’m sick but I can’t go to the doctor because I have no insurance.
And I’m currently playing a sort of roulette game; will my electricity be cut
off before my television and phone service, or will my landlord beat them both with his
ten-day notice to evict? I tell you what, the only thing that keeps me sane recently after a long day of hunting for work and begging for
help is to come home and watch some young girls sliding a rock across the ice
and sweeping it home. Now that’s ruined, since they announced all the curling results and medal winners already on the five o’clock news.”
American officials are consulting with the British Government and the BBC. They specifically want to find out how the Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary Special was handled so adeptly. For the better part of a year secrets were kept under lock and key, even from cast and crew. There were denials and rumors and denial of rumors, but in the end it was kept mostly a secret on a level with most matters of National
Security, until Tom Baker made his return to the show for the first time since
Oh, have I said too much? There’s a helicopter overhead and a black van in the
driveway. Someone is pounding on the door. I’ll be right back…