C'est écrit - Francis CabrelContinued...
Steel and fire. Hammer and anvil. Fold and file. Tang and spine. Edge and tip. Quench and temper. Shave and shape. Grind and hone. Heel and handle. Sheath and strop.
Sippican Cottage says, "Make Something If You Can. Own Something Someone Made In Turn I've lived a fair bit now. Long enough to see simple commodities that everyone thought were consigned to the ministrations of machines alone on a factory floor being made by hand again."
See it made....Continued...
"6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." -- Ephesians 5Continued...
My eyes collide head-on with stuffed
Graveyards, false gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough, what else can you show me?
And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
A book of the seven seals."
"You know God walked down in the cool of the day
And called Adam by his name
And he refused to answer
'Cause he was naked and ashamed."
.... THE CHRISTIANS
.... THE DARWINS
GETTING OFF ON THE CLUB FOOT: SPIEGEL Interview with Evolution Philosopher Daniel Dennett
SPIEGEL: Professor Dennett, more than 120 million Americans believe that God created Adam our of mud some 10,000 years ago and made Eve from his rib. Do you personally know any of these 120 million?
Really? Let's see, there are currently 311,591,917 Americans. The Spiegel's blunt assertion to which Dennet utterly agrees would mean that one in three American men, women, and children hold to the literal story of Creation -- mud, 10,000 years, case closed. One would assume that everyone would know someone at that ratio. But the number itself seems more opportunistic than true.
I suppose that if you looked mostly at children who were still of the age when the Tooth Fairy is their own personal cash machine, and added them to hard-core evangelicals you might be able to bump the real number up, but I still don't think you get even a sizable portion of 120 million. At any rate, I'd hope the discussion would only cite the beliefs of adults, but maybe the Darwins are so threatened they have to pour in some kids to get to Scary Numberland.
The bald assertion certainly gets the interview off to a big bang, but I for one find it hard to credit it as the cold, hard statistical fact these two want to pound on in their paranoia.
Indeed, if there is any basis for this number at all it would seem to be derived by lumping together young Earth creationism, old-Earth creationism, day-age creationism, theistic evolution, neo-creationism, Jewish creationism, and a few others. Creationism, it would seem, is a house of many mansions, and I suppose the could all add up in the mind of a Darwin to a big, bad threat.
While I accept that a few Christian denominations require their members to swear to the Biblical Creation story on, well, a stack of Bibles, the last time I checked there were any number of churches that had no such requirement, Catholic and Protestant. It is my impression that for most Christian faiths you need to believe in one God and Jesus Christ as His only son to belong. The Unitarians are a bit sketchy on those two things, but hey what's a heaven without some Unitarians in the mix to spend eternity telling everyone else they're still not quite sure?
Of late, I've been attending a wide variety of Christian Services around the greater Seattle area, and there doesn't (so far) seem to be a great deal of rancor within the various denominations. Neither have I stumbled across one that insists on believing in Biblical creation stories or getting out, but I suppose that could come up on any Sunday. I'm sure there are a goodly number of Christians that do believe in the literal truth of the Bible and who handle doubters and snakes with equal aplomb. But 120 million?
I think that says much more about the rigid belief set of Dennett and the Spiegel than American Christians. Of course, I could be wrong. But then again so could Dennett. For while Christians firmly believe they have been touched by the Spirit of God in Christ, Dennett just as clearly believes he has been "touched by some noodly appendage."
UPDATE: AN email alerts me to this Dennett sighting --Darwin. Destroyer of God , which reminded me he'd made a previous appearance on this site in 2003 with The "Brights:" Smug, Self-satisfied and Stupid.
Meanwhile, at an elementary school in Israel…Continued...
"Unserious people have spent all the money in the world.
"Does anyone out there know what John Boener really believes? .... The most prominent Republican in the government hasn't got the slightest idea of what the idea of 'limited government' means.... These are not. Serious. People."
U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin salutes the American flag on the surface of the Moon after he and fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first men to land on the Moon during the Apollo 11 space mission on July 20, 1969. -- - PhotoBlog
The moon marked out the edge of heaven.
On this, our scriptures all agreed.
The moon was fixed, it could not fall.
The moon would fill our final needs.
The songs we'd learned were of the moon,
A fitting subject, known to all,
But the songs we sang were of the Earth,
And those that lived before the Fall.
These songs of forests flowing round
The Earth's four corners warmed the frost
That killed our gardens, coming early,
To remind us all of what we'd lost.
"Why wander yearning for the moon?"
We'd ask of stones and ancient trees.
Their silence sang back in the night,
Of lands where all free choices freeze.
"Tranquillity", they promised us,
"Is the highest peak you will attain.
Tranquillity, where your bones will rest
Forever in the airless rains."
Our numbers grew, as did our tongues,
Beside brown rivers, on ancient plains.
We made more gods, we built up walls,
We fashioned towers of dirt and rain.
Within those walls we planted fruit
And flowers bordering roofless rooms,
Wherein we sang the centuries down,
Observing all the phases of the moon.
In time our towers turned to steel,
And their foundations into fire.
The rooms we made were sealed as stone,
And in those rooms we rose much higher.
The moon grew monstrous as we ascended;
In our window it grew larger than the world.
We lowered our ladder gingerly,
Stepped down, a bit of cloth unfurled.
We named the place Tranquillity.
A fitting gesture, all agreed.
We photographed ourselves on site,
Tossed away some junk we did not need,
And left, returning to that place
Where we'd begun beside the plains,
Boasting our footprints would endure
Forever in the airless rains.
Sometimes at night, we still look up
And see the moonrise scrape the sky.
It is the same, yet not the same,
And we know why, yes, we know why.
The hard-core unemployable
Opining in the Washinton Post Robert Samuelson asks, "Is the economy creating a lost generation?" He expands on this by stating at the outset,
This is not a good time to be starting out in life. Jobs are scarce, and those that exist often pay unexpectedly low wages. Beginning a family — always stressful and uncertain — is increasingly a stretch. The weak economy begets weak family formation.
"The bad luck and bad timing of today’s 20-somethings may pass. Birth rates could bounce back.... The economic recovery may strengthen; the retirement of baby boomers will create new job openings; and surveys indicate the young remain optimistic despite setbacks."
Well, as Maverick's grandpappy used to say, "Hope in one hand and crap in the other and see which one fills up first."
A much cannier company dialed this "lost" generation's number directly in this widely aired commercial for Microsoft's new "We're Not Apple" smartphone.Continued...
An extended comment on Side-Lines: "If politicians had any sense decency they wouldn’t be politicians. " from John A. Fleming that deserves fuller attention: It’s a good thing none of us are naturally paranoid individuals, right? Right.]
They've already had the GooHooBingBook hipsters set them up with a data mining operation. Once it's up and running, it doesn't take much to re-purpose. They have lots of money left over. Now they are trying to get their supporters to call up other targeted people and put pressure on the Republican Congresscritters. And so it begins.
Which means they have a list of their reliable people, their potential supporters, and a list of Others. Data mining merges their own data with anything found on the Web. Now that they aren't running a campaign but they still have a war chest, they can grab or buy surreptitiously anything out there, and "there's no controlling legal authority". And Google will be glad to help, Eric Schmidt will personally see to it, he'll sell them the rope.
And when these unemployed hipsters with massive college debt call you up, and you start cussing at the mention of the Usurper and being "uncooperative", well, then you go on the "Other" list. And they data mine you and find out everything about you, and how you can be hurt.
They'll keep track of how often you help them. The compliant ones, who respond to their pleas, will soon start getting bennies. And who the heck is paying for all this? Shoot, no one had the courage to sue them when they were laundering millions in illegal foreign money during both elections. The Courts and the constitutional lawyers mewled that "nobody has standing to sue". Now that they are beyond the reach of election law, the money just magically appears. None dare call it treason.
Like a pusher or a pimp, they'll next try to get you to graduate to the "hard stuff": direct action. Please, they'll say, we really need your help, show up at this time and place to help the Usurper. They'll loan you a t-shirt to wear (and ask you to buy it). The leaders will have special shirts, and campaign-style buttons, and perhaps cute little hats. And you'll go where you're told, and do what you're asked to. They'll bus you there and give you a stipend. You're One of Them now.
And if you keep answering their call, you go higher on the "One of Us" list, and qualify for more bennies. Free phones, debt forgiveness, extra ration cards. Chevy Volts at an unheard of discount.
Watch for it.
The turning point is when the purple T-shirts disappear, and it becomes button-down shirts with epaulets. Uniforms. Insignia. The hats aren't so cute anymore. You'll be part of the team now, the core of the Usurper's civilian national security force. And you'll go where you're told, and you'll do what you're told, because the bennies keep coming, and you're in for a penny, in for a pound.
And the people you're contesting against? Well, they're the Other, they're just wrong, they're the 1% that's keeping you down and pissing on you all the time. And now it's your turn, your time to rise. Time for revenge, to punch back twice as hard. And when some of your folks start feeling queasy about the hurt you're putting on all those Others, somebody with hard dead eyes will say "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs."
You won't have to worry about the police. They'll be on your side. Their loyalty is to their union and police brothers, not our Constitution. They'll look the other way, and slow-walk complaints. Unless you're on the "Other" list, in which case they'll come on like a ton of bricks. They'll be told who's on which list, and they'll do what they're told. LAPD has shown us the truth of it.
When a sitting President encourages people to vote for revenge, that is a declaration of civil war! Statements like that should not be made, because they take on a life of their own. We the People granted limited powers to our governments to secure some of our Rights, and the Blessings of Liberty for everyone. The Usurper intends to use those powers for revenge of one faction upon another. No rational, moral, civilized, peaceful person would say such a thing. Ever.
The Usurper and his minions have told you all this. He decides how much money you're allowed to make. You don't own what you create. If need be they'll send you to re-education camps. We need a personally-loyal civilian army. Why don't you believe him? Do you believe that he can't possibly want civil war? Of course he doesn't, he wants to so demoralize you, and make you think you are alone, that you won't stand your ground, but give up and give in to the inevitable. But he will not shy from a civil war. He intends to push you to the limit, that you will start it, and he will then crush you before you have time to organize an effective opposition.
Right now the Usurper doesn't give a crap about fiscal cliffs. He doesn't care what any of that will do to the country. His three objectives are to demoralize and destroy the conservative opposition, co-opt and corrupt the Republicans (so easy!), and then break free of the Constitution.
It seems like a dream, a mirage of unbreakable normality.
Like the spring of 1914 or 1939, like the crisp fall morning eleven years ago. Like our exceptional, beautiful country, the rarest gem in all of history, is so big and strong, nothing can happen to it, everything will go on peacefully as before, we are still the shining city on the hill, and our best days are before us. Every day we make plans for next year and the years after, and can't possibly imagine or consider that any set of events will break our idyll of peace and turn all our plans to dust. I fly across the country, and see the vast strength of it and Our People, and think my fears are childish and foolish vapors. And then I remember that all civilizations crumble.
We must make new plans. We must be prepared. We must resist the Usurper and his minions. Now and every day. They have lost their faith in God, and seek to secure their lives by taking ours.
We must remain true to the faiths of our fathers and mothers. The United States of America, the new nation that put its Trust in God, that brought the Blessings of Liberty to the world, must not perish. Today is not that day.
Tolkein is my guide.
Frodo: "I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened."
Gandalf: "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Lincoln is my guide:
“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right”
Posted by: John A. Fleming at December 10, 2012 11:05 PM
Had I left this life when I fell out of it, I'd never have heard this variation on Beethoven -- on Moonlight -- played over there on this electric cello and then over here on that piano, played in this way, vamped with that vision and vogued in this variation far out on those vast Salt Flats of Utah.... even though I have walked those very flats in the searing light of midday-- salt and sun sans cello and notes of moonlight spun into a sonnet.
If I'd left this life when I fell out of it, if I had not been buoyed up out of oblivion's waters by electric shocks and hands compressing my chest 2 inches at a time to the beat of the BeeGees "Staying Alive", I would not have been here for the last two new moons waxing full and passing through the vast shadow of the earth above the bridges that span the golden gates.
If I'd left this life when I fell out of it, kept on going towards unseen horizons, I would have missed my small Thanksgiving with dear friends and not been around to complain, yet again, about the over-commericalization of Christmas on the one hand and the war upon it on the other -- not been around to care and not to care about the preening peacocks of our pathetic politics.
If I'd left this life when I fell out of it, I'd never have had the chance to learn the tempo of the slow road, the pace of the slow down; to learn the inner meaning of the poet's counsel of patience formed from Milton's lines:
"God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."
.... "Who only stand and wait."....
I stand and wait a lot more these days than I did before I fell out of this life. Things do not roll by as fast and, because I must be mindful of how I move, how much, and at what pace, I do not roll by things as fast as I once did. I've had to learn to go slow, much slower, to take things at the pace of prayer; to stand and to wait. And slowly, since things come slow, I come to understand what the wait is about. It is a wait that is without a goal. It is not "waiting for" anything. It is waiting in place, waiting in peace. It is waiting in the afterimage of grace -- mindful of mortality; mindful that, even in this Seattle of highly advanced 911 response teams, out of every hundred people whose hearts, like mine, suddenly stop only sixteen are returned to life.
You can assume, as sometimes people I speak with about this strange state assume, that if you are returned to life you are waiting to find out what God has ordained for you to do with His gift regifted. Surely they assume, as -- for a while -- I assumed, that God would not have pulled me back into life after I fell out of it without a plan for me; that God had some need, some master plan that only I can fulfill. Like some many other things in these slow days -- that thin assumption fades fast into falsity.
Repeat after Milton:
.... "God doth not need" ....
I need. You need. They need. We need.
.... "God doth not need" ....
Hard to understand that "not need" --- but how could it be otherwise? Harder even to comprehend than the notion of an interventionist God; a God that has no needs but yet intervenes in the micro level of His Creation. A God who can from His creation and without need form ....say.... a Beethoven. Form such a soul that Beethoven can -- from somewhere inside himself --- create, in a shadowplay of creatio ex nihilo, a Moonlight Sonata. And then later, if 'later' carries any meaning at all to God, God forms another man -- centuries distant | perhaps intended ages before --previous, previous -- who can see and comprehend black marks on a lined sheet of bleached wood pulp and cause the music, varigated, to bloom on a salt flat half way around the angel-girdled globe; where above such sad and lowly plains they bend on hovering wing.
And if it was not, to my dim understanding, an angel-girdled globe at the beginning of this season, it is so now in the waiting wonder world of second life. The scientists of the continent Cynic would have this globe seen as a "demon-haunted world," but that seems to me to be something they've seen in the fun-house mirrors of their own over-taxed and undernourished intellects. Why would the world need to be haunted by demons when it is populated by men? At the very least it would seem for the sake of symmetry that any haunting must be done by angels. If only to smack down the smuggery. If only to thicken the plot.
If I had left this life when I fell out of it, I wouldn't have heard, at the beginning of my 66th journey around our star, how
"It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old
From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold..."
Nor would I have felt the touch of such harps on my shoulder when I fell out of this life; felt the tap of gold on my chest, the tap of gold on my shoulder, the tapping that turned me around and guided me back into this
"World dimensional for those untwisted by a love of things irreconcilable..."
They tell me there are no angels in their world of one dimension, in their flatland, in their palaces of no positions, and I suppose if I could hear them clearly I might nod and tell them with Calderon, "Right you are if you think you are."
Out here though, waiting in the world dimensional, I can see the shimmer of angels sliding in and out of human souls like wind riffling within waterfalls. When I fell out of life my angels came at the run with a roar and restored me with two inches of compression at a hundred beats a minute to the tune of "Staying Alive." My angels do 24 hour shifts over at Engine 8 on the top of Queen Anne Hill. On Wednesday I shook their hands.
Commenter John Flemming takes issue with Solzhenitsyn's vision of Soviet repression in "How we burned in the camps later". Fleming says, persuasively, that the Soviet way will not be 'the American Way:'
"It's not gonna be like that. It'll be more subtle, like the LAPD arresting the harmless Moroccan filmmaker for daring to make a crappy movie that disses He Who Must Not Be Dissed [HWMNBD].
"You're a maker. You'll do something... like not pay your ObamaTax on time. Maybe deliberately.
"Or maybe you're paying for things in cash too often.
"Or nobody has a right to make fun of HWMNBD, and you told a joke.
"They'll come and evict you. A moocher family will quickly move in. They'll have lists: takers and moochers. Don't you know, it's payback time? He promised them Revenge, remember? It's somebody else's turn to enjoy that home you have created.
"Will your neighbors defend you and chase the deputy sheriffs away when the come for you at 10PM? Not likely, they'll look out, see the police cars, and close their blinds and wait for their turn with a growing sense of dread.
"Once a week, the cops show up late at night, no flashing lights, and the neighborhood slowly changes.Continued...
Meanwhile... Mitt Romney continued to take his sweet revenge!
Meanwhile.... Better Than Beer: Two weeks after designer Allan Alcorn installed the 1972 video game Pong in Andy Capp's bar in Sunnyvale, Calif., it stopped functioning. Nothing had gone awry with the completely analog electronics inside the table-tennis game. Too many quarters in the machine's coin acceptor were to blame. The easily fixed problem was a sign of the game's popularity and Atari's financial success to come.
Meanwhile... in Afghanistan A M249 machine gunner runs directly towards a hail of Taliban PKM machine gun fire and RPGs, laying down suppressing fire once he makes it to cover.
Meanwhile... Pizza Hut gives back with pizza-scented perfume
Meanwhile.... here are some Thoughts about Consciousness while Cutting in the Brain
Meanwhile... Science robot ends Guinness record-breaking ocean journey After 9,000 miles, the autonomous robot Papa Mau completed its trip across the ocean.
Meanwhile.... The Zapruder Film dissected: The Other Shooter: The Saddest and Most Expensive 26 Seconds of Amateur Film Ever Made
Meanwhile.... When Jackie Kennedy learned the unwelcome truth, she lamented, “He didn’t even have the satisfaction of being killed for civil rights. It had to be some silly little communist. It robs his death of any meaning.”
Murder in America @ WSJ.com Explore an interactive database of killings committed in the U.S. from 2000 to 2010. You can sort by the race and sex of killer and victim, the circumstances of the killing, and many more variables.
A few caveats:
"The FBI collects this data from the states, except for Florida. Florida doesn't use the FBI's guidelines when reporting additional information about homicides. The FBI data don't capture all homicides. The states' reporting is voluntary, and the country's thousands of police agencies aren't consistent in how they report. Some states, including New York, reported no justifiable homicides at all for some years. In recording the circumstances of a murder, the information recorded in the FBI data may capture only the relationship of the killer to one of the victims -- but not other victims -- in a given situation. Because of the unlimited number of scenarios in which a homicide can occur, the coding used in the FBI database may not explain the full set of circumstances involved."HT Links ｫ Gucci Little Piggy
Translation: "Sexiest chef who prepares plum pie."
"Look at my kaake. I vish you cold smell it."
To master this video will probably take most men ten to twenty viewings .... as well as remember what it is you are supposed to be cooking in the first place. Especially the part where she uses "dis round wood to rall oot der doe."
Presented below the fold in deference to those who may not need to learn -- in large measure -- what this chef has to teach.Continued...
'Black Marble' glitters with Earth's night lights This picture of the night lights of North and South America is just one frame in the Black Marble series, which is based on data from the Suomi NPP satellite and was unveiled today during the American Geophysical Union's fall meeting in San Francisco. The image has been built up from readings made by the weather/climate satellite's Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, or VIIRS.
See it turn after the jump:Continued...
1966 in Germany
Dave Brubeck (1920-2012) - piano
Paul Desmond - alto sax
Eugene Wright - bass
Joe Morello - drums
"After graduating in 1942, Brubeck was drafted into the army and served overseas in George Patton's Third Army.
He was spared from service in the Battle of the Bulge when he volunteered to play piano at a Red Cross show; he was such a hit he was ordered to form a band. Thus he created one of the US armed forces' first racially integrated bands, "The Wolfpack".... Brubeck believed what he saw during World War II contradicted the Ten Commandments, and the war evoked a spiritual awakening. He became a Catholic in 1980, shortly after completing the Mass To Hope ."A fragment of To Hope after the jump.... Continued...
"I just stole a car and robbed a bank. Now I'm rich, I can pay off my college financial aid and tomorrow i'm going for a shopping spree. Bite me. I love GREENDAY!" -- Hannah Sabata from Stromsburg, Nebraska.
York County Sheriff Dale Radcliff said a copy of the video will be turned in as evidence against Hannah Sabata of Stromsburg. The 19-year-old was arrested on Wednesday in connection with a robbery the day before at the Cornerstone Bank branch in Waco. She faces robbery and theft charges.
The video was posted the same day Sabata was arrested. It shows a woman holding handwritten signs that say she robbed a bank and stole a car. The woman then holds a large bundle of cash, what she says is $6,256, in front of the camera. She also holds up what appears to be a bag of marijuana
"They vary one from the other not by the value of the life that was cut short but by column inches of copy they generate. The principal metric of the tragedy of a modern death is its news value. If the death serves a narrative it is tragic. If not, who gives a damn? Here is how it works.
Black Africans killing black Africans with machetes has no news value. White Europeans killing black Africans with machetes has a big news value. Anyone killing anyone with bladed weapons generally has little news value. Anyone killing anyone with a handgun has front page news value, especially where the Second Amendment is concerned. Arabs killing Arabs is page 10 news. A Jew killing anyone is the headline story. Babies dying in their millions from abortion does not even qualify as a story. The IDF killing a stone killer from Hamas is a horror of unimaginable international proportions. Arabs rocketing Israelis is not even reported. Israelis shooting back -- well how dare they." -- Belmont Club » The Assassin's Creed
IDF Pinpoint Strike on Ahmed Jabari, Head of Hamas Military Wing.
The Minimum Web Wage workers at Buzzfeed gathered together what they termed,"The 45 Most Powerful Images Of 2012." Among them was #33 captioned: A Palestinian girl tries to punch an Israeli soldier during a protest against the expansion of the nearby Jewish settlement of Halamish.
What is really going on:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
[Performance after the jump...]Continued...
Meanwhile.... barbarians keep showing up everywhere with their hands out for more Danegeld: Brazilian farmers demand that the government cancels their debt and gives them additional assistance to help offset the effects of a devastating drought that hit the region this year.
Meanwhile... Jennifer Granholm had a worse economic strategy than Lindsay Lohan, and Lindsay Lohan had to beg for money from Charlie Sheen. But did you know that Michael Moore received $1 million bucks in welfare for anti-welfare film?
Meanwhile... is there a Conservative purge in the House Republican caucus? Does a bear.... and is John Boehner a dickless asshole?
Meanwhile.... Muslims a 'culture of peace'? Cut The Crap, Culture Of Peace
Meanwhile... Obama's in the basement mixing up the medicine....Recipe for Violence in the Middle East... but I'm on the pavement thinking 'bout,"More rubble less trouble."
Meanwhile... who was surprised when Susan Rice just disclosed that she is worth considerably over $30 million? Not Victor Davis Hanson.
Meanwhile... Mary Granville Delany was an an artist that bloomed at 72. so all is not lost.
Meanwhile... speaking of Lost, the story of how 'Lost' got found: "The island has to be a character in the show, and something's wrong with the island."
Meanwhile... the Church that baptized Ben Franklin considers selling 1640 psalm book for $20 million to $25 million. “It’s the most famous unknown book in the world.”
Meanwhile... The Russian Rush Limbaugh observes: I heard that soon the word "Woman" will be banned for sexual discrimination, and replaced by "Vaginamerican".
After a decade of high flying prosperitythe American economy fell to earth and began tunneling to an awful volcanic core of despair, food riots, cloying folk songs, and lava ....
The text of Hodgeman’s documentary comes, of course, from his book The Areas Of My Expertise, as do so many things. The full text is behind the jump.Continued...
Original at January 1951 : Poetry Magazine
"In the not so distant future an over-populated planet requires that every birth be balanced by a death. When Edward K. Whelig, Jr.’s wife births triplets he needs to find three people willing to enter a local suicide booth and give him the receipt…"
Everything was perfectly swell.
There were no prisons, no slums, no insane asylums, no cripples, no poverty, no wars.
All diseases were conquered. So was old age.
Death, barring accidents, was an adventure for volunteers.
The population of the United States was stabilized at forty-million souls.
One bright morning in the Chicago Lying-in Hospital, a man named Edward K. Wehling, Jr., waited for his wife to give birth. He was the only man waiting. Not many people were born a day any more.
Wehling was fifty-six, a mere stripling in a population whose average age was one hundred and twenty-nine.
X-rays had revealed that his wife was going to have triplets. The children would be his first.
Young Wehling was hunched in his chair, his head in his hand. He was so rumpled, so still and colorless as to be virtually invisible. His camouflage was perfect, since the waiting room had a disorderly and demoralized air, too. Chairs and ashtrays had been moved away from the walls. The floor was paved with spattered dropcloths.
The room was being redecorated. It was being redecorated as a memorial to a man who had volunteered to die.
A sardonic old man, about two hundred years old, sat on a stepladder, painting a mural he did not like. Back in the days when people aged visibly, his age would have been guessed at thirty-five or so. Aging had touched him that much before the cure for aging was found.
The mural he was working on depicted a very neat garden. Men and women in white, doctors and nurses, turned the soil, planted seedlings, sprayed bugs, spread fertilizer.
Men and women in purple uniforms pulled up weeds, cut down plants that were old and sickly, raked leaves, carried refuse to trash-burners.
Never, never, never—not even in medieval Holland nor old Japan—had a garden been more formal, been better tended. Every plant had all the loam, light, water, air and nourishment it could use.
A hospital orderly came down the corridor, singing under his breath a popular song:
If you don't like my kisses, honey,
Here's what I will do:
I'll go see a girl in purple,
Kiss this sad world toodle-oo.
If you don't want my lovin',
Why should I take up all this space?
I'll get off this old planet,
Let some sweet baby have my place.
Or listen to audio reading to the story:
The people keep a comin', but the train done gone.
All landings at San Diego International Airport on Black Friday Nov 23, 2012 between 1030am and 300pm condensed into 26 seconds:Continued...
By the time we cut to the lighting of the filterless cigarettes,
the first glimpse of our hero's face, as it happens, and also a slice of the red carnation in his suit pocket, his dark red tie, the sky is a blue-slate grey with clouds, the surf continues to churn in the background and the weather is turning decidedly foul. Fire is introduced. The wick is lit. -- The Decline of Western Title Sequences @ finem respice where you will want to read the entire thing.