Saturday, July 28, 2012

Part One (Excerpt)

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

There were three of us, and he now made the fourth. We hadn't expected to add to our tight number: cliques and pairings had happened long before, and we were already beginning to imagine our escape from school into life. His name was Adrian Finn, a tall, shy boy who initially kept his eyes down and him to himself. For the first day or two, we took little notice of him: at our school there was no welcoming ceremony, let alone its opposite, the punitive induction. We just registered his presence and waited.

The masters were more interested in him then we were. They had to work out his intelligence and sense of discipline, calculated how well he'd previously been taught, and if he might prove "scholarship material." On the third morning of that autumn term, we had history class with Old Joe Hunt, wryly affable in his three-piece-suit, a teacher whose system of control depended on maintaining sufficient but not excessive boredom.

"Now, you'll remember that I asked you to do some preliminary reading about the reign of Henry the Eighth." Colin, Alex and I squinted at one another, hoping that the question wouldn't be flicked, like an angler's fly, to land on one of our heads. "Who might like to offer a characterisation of the age?" He drew his own conclusion from our averted eyes. "Well, Marshall, perhaps. How would you describe Henry the Eighth's reign?"

Our relief was greater than our curiosity, because Marshall was a cautious
know-nothing who lacked the inventiveness of true ignorance. He searched for possible hidden complexities in the question before eventually locating a response.

"There was unrest, sir."

An outbreak of barely controlled smirking; Hunt himself almost smiled.

"Would you, perhaps, care to elaborate?"

Marshall nodded slow assent, thought a little longer, and decided it was no time for caution. "I'd say there was great unrest, sir."

"Finn, then. Are you up in this period?"

The new boy was sitting a row ahead and to my left. He had shown no evident reaction to Marshall's idiocies.

"Not really, sir, I'm afraid. But there is one line of thought according to which all you can truly say of any historical event -- even the outbreak of the First World War, for example -- is that 'something happened.'"

"Is there, indeed? Well, that would put me out of a job, wouldn't it?" After some sycophantic laughter, Old Joe Hunt pardoned our holiday idleness and filled us in on the polygamous royal butcher.

At the next break, I sought out Finn. "I'm Tony Webster." He looked at me warily. "Great line to Hunt." He seemed not to know what I was referring to. "About something happening."

"Oh. Yes. I was rather disappointed he didn't take it up."

That wasn't what he was supposed to say.

Another detail I remember: the three of us, as a symbol of our bond, used to wear our watches with the face on the inside of the wrist. It was an affectation, of course, but perhaps something more. It made time feel like a personal, even a secret, thing. We expected Adrian to note the gesture, and follow suit; but he didn't.

Pages 4-6
Published by Alfred A. Knopf (2012)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mea Culpa

Note from the Editor of

"Garry B. Trudeau inadvertently mixed up the two boys during the course of the week. While Jeff is threatened by Leo's warrior bone fides, it's Zipper who's had the crush on Alex. Apologies to the many horrified, genealogically astute readers who noticed."

Background Info: Bloodline Relationship between Jeff & Alex

Friday, July 20, 2012

advert: unmexpected (tm)

"Turn Your Fiesta Into A Feasta!" (C)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Consciousness: Excerpt

Mr g by Alan Lightman

Although it had happened quite on its own, I was fascinated to understand how consciousness had arisen in the new universe. What an amazing and unexpected phenomenon! You start with some dull lifeless material, you let it knock about on its own, bumped around and shaken by other dead stuff, you let it change and evolve by haphazard events, and suddenly it rears up on its hind legs and says, "Here I am. Who are you?"

Certainly I understood all the energies and forces in atoms. They were just my laws and principles. But consciousness--this cooperative working together of individual cells to create a sensation of wholeness, of being alive, of existence, of I-ness--was something else. It was a collective performance that went far beyond individual pieces. It was strange. It was wonderful. It was almost a new form of matter. How had it happened? And how many cells did it take to make consciousness?

Page 122
Published by Pantheon Books - 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fallnet Humor

Higgs Boson stormed into the local church gesticulating wildly. "Stop the service!", he yelled. "You can't have mass without me!"


Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Pat Oliphant

Humor Continued:

Mitt's Political Vortex by Gail Collins

Scientific Bonus Round:

Found - A Dozen Invisible Galaxies

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Man List


Monday, July 9, 2012

NY Times: Right vs Left

The Service Patch by David Brooks

Excerpt: "It’s worth noting that you can devote your life to community service and be a total schmuck. You can spend your life on Wall Street and be a hero. Understanding heroism and schmuckdom requires fewer Excel spreadsheets, more Dostoyevsky and the Book of Job."


Alternate: It’s worth noting that you can devote your life to community service and be a total hero. You can spend your life on Wall Street and be a schmuck. Understanding heroism and schmuckdom requires fewer Excel spreadsheets, more Dostoyevsky and the Book of Job.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4th Edition: Column & Paid Advert

The Philadelphia Public Record

Vol. XIV. No. 26 (Issue 648)

Column: The Waffleman (Pg. 10)

Yo! Here we go again with this thought: Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to
pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown , Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: Freedom is never Free!


_Paid Advert_

African Fare

Conspiracy to Change USA Via Sound

Part 78/80

"Ruminations... After years of rumors, Jay-Z will finally confirm that he is a card-carrying member of the mysterious Illuminati elite and that, with [Mayor Michael] Nutter's support (he is a Freemason, after all), Philadelphia will be the first city taken over by the New World Order." --Metro Phila., May 14, 2012

Three Players/Net Worth: Investor Warren Buffett, $44 Billion; Rapper Jay-Z, $469 Million; Publisher Steve Forbes, $430 Million

The drum (rhythm) is the controlling entity in noisy Rock n' Roll. As for noisy Rap, the rapper is the quarterback, or controlling factor with clipped, percussive sounds. The behind-the-scenes questions, are: What are the incremental process how rapper Jay-Z gained a net worth of $460 Million, and (b) Who are the players that opened doors which made the rapper's enormous wealth possible? In 2010, Elvis Presley was eclipsed by the $460 Mil rapper by "having the most number-one albums sold by a recording artist." The question is: Were those albums "music," or "imitation music"?

--Forbes, Oct. 11, 2010

Nicola Argentina (c) 2012

_Paid Advert_

(Pg. 25)


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 2012: Thought For The New Month

"Power always thinks it has great soul and vast views
beyond the comprehension of the weak." -- John Adams