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28 August 2010

Good News From Earth! a Perseid at Stellafane in Springfield, Vermont USA / Now with Lots-o-Cool Links!!! / also Promise Keeper's gf is now Randi Lou

Click images for larger.

The Zeta Beam is busted again, so I'm stuck on Earth for the time being. I've ordered two vacuum tubes (valves) which I hope will fix the problem. One is from a manufacturer in the Peoples Republic of China, the other from Russia. This is whom you must do business with if you want top-quality audiophile-grade vacuum tubes in 2010.
(For screwy batteries of screwy sizes, shapes and voltages, Cuba is the go-to place because the USA trade embargo has effectively prevented Cubans from entering the Solid-State Age of transistors and chips, and the ancient vacuum-tube portable radios Cubans still use required really screwy batteries to generate the high voltages vacuum tubes need.)
The Soviet Union's military had made itself the world leader in vacuum tubes, but not for gizmo hobbyists with $3000 stereo tube amplifiers. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the Top-Secret Soviet Military Vacuum Tube Factory went looking for cash customers, and realized that Western Europe and North America were populated by Strange People -- mostly, but not entirely, Male People -- who hate music which is brutally yanked through Solid State electronics, and only want to listen to music gently and lovingly guided through Vacuum Tubes, because transistors block music's higher harmonics, while vacuum tubes let all the higher harmonics pass, from source through tubes, out the speaker or Sennheiser headphones, and into the music-lover's ear. 
This magical property of vacuum-tube stereo equipment is best appreciated by German Shepherds, Weimaraners and Basenjis, but audiophiles (who keep warm in winter by burning piles of money in the wood stove) insist their ears can perceive the difference almost as well as Fido and Rex, and will not listen to music unless it floats through vacuum tubes.
Last-Gen military tech also positioned the PRC as a Player in high-quality vacuum tubes. So it's China and Russia you deal with to keep your $3000 tube amp, or your vintage Dynaco tube amp alive. There are also a shitload of Yen-incinerating Japanese audiophiles who keep the vacuum-tube manufacturers prosperous.

But until the tubes get here from Vladivostok and the International Trade Zone adjacent to Hong Kong -- and I pray that at the end of their journey, FedEx Todd doesn't hurl them on to my wood porch or brick walkway -- I am stuck on Earth and must make the best of it.
As The B52s sang: This planet's a mess.
I have much to say about the mess, and the shame, and the embarrassment, and the dysfunctional failure, the unecessary suffering, the stupidity and hatred, and the human-made meltdowns of Earth circa 2010 -- the reasons I keep paying through the nose to keep the Zeta Beam working so I can get the fuck off this Vile Rock and spend time in my holiday condo in Ciudad Vleeptron, in the Dwingeloo-2 Galaxy. And catch some great live music.
Honestly, Earth Music 2010 just sucks. It's horrible. It's a torment. It's not even music. It's whining and artless and synthetic, and a lot of it is people shouting about popping a cap and slapping women around. Earth Music 2010 is like fingernails on a blackboard.
On Vleeptron I can catch some really terrific acts, like Sick Of It All and The Dead Milkmen, and the wonderful McGarrigle Sisters, both of them. Next month Flaco Jimenez AND Astor Piazzolla will be playing Club Drek -- probably the most spectacular Accordian Festival in the Universe -- at the Fudge Tunnel Underway stop. (There's a rumor Weird Al Yankovich will play his notorious polka cover of NIN's "Closer," but no promises.)
~ ~ ~
On my wonderful voyage on The MV Northern Ranger  up and down the coast of Labrador -- as far north as Nain, find THAT on a map -- there was this horrible nasty woman who found out I was a newspaper journalist, and kept demanding to know why we only print the Bad News, and never print the Happy Nice Good News -- by which she specifically meant big puffy group hug stories about Promise Keepers, the wonderful society of Christian Husbands Who Have Sworn to Jesus to Be Good, Honest, Dependable, Loving Husbands to their Decent, Upstanding Christian Wives, and not get blowjobs from truck stop prostitutes, or keep a gf named Randi Lou across town. (Finally I just yelled at her: "Lady, buy an ad!")
(On Talent Show Night, I went up to the microphone and sang a special song just for her, and she stroked out and had to be medivac choppered to Goose Bay.)
~ ~ ~
So what is the Good News on Earth, for those like me who are stuck here waiting for vacuum tubes from China and Russia?
Well, it's not exactly On Earth. 
You go outside at night, and if the skies are clear, you look up. And see wonderful things, beautiful things, amazing things.
Free things. They belong to you. They're yours. If you notice, and make a little effort.
Earlier this month, Earth travelled in its orbit through a swarm of rocks which we see emanating from the Constellation Perseus
[ <-- scroll down to see nifty old sky map] 
so the swarm of rocks -- which appear to us as Shooting Stars -- are called the Perseids. We careen through them every year at the same time.
The Shooting Stars are rocks which plunge into Earth's atmosphere and blaze into fire from the friction. Depending on size and entry  angle, some of the rocks actually reach the ground, and can be collected and studied. We're here, but we can touch and inspect Rocks From Out There (specifically from the band of space rubble between Mars and Jupiter), and see what the solid objects of Out There are made of. 
I think they're mostly iron, with a surprisingly large amount of nickel. But they have lots of rare stuff in them that there's not much of on Earth. The scientists who believe in Panspermia think that life or the organic molecules of pre-life hitchhikes between the planets aboard these little rocks, and in comets, too, so Life On Earth may have arrived from Somewhere Else on one of these Shooting Stars.
About 3 hours' drive north of me, up Interstate 91, there is an undistinguished Appalachian mountain called Breezy Hill, on whose 1270 foot / 381 meter (above sea level) summit is Stellafane.  

Since the early 1920s, Stellafane has been the USA's most prestigious campground and camp and school for amateur astronomers, largely focused on introducing astronomy to kids, but all kinds of geezers and grumps are there, too, as teachers and mentors.
On top of Breezy Hill, mostly at night, children and adults have something in common. They teach each other how to observe the Heavens, and specifically Stellafane teaches the rare, almost vanished craft of precisely polishing glass lenses to make first-class telescopes by hand. Stellafane ("shrine to the stars") was founded and is still run by the Springfield (Vermont) Telescope Makers -- not a private for-profit company, but a society of amateur telescope makers.
My skies were cloudy when we flew through the Perseids, but here is a photograph of one Perseid blazing down through our atmosphere above Stellafane. It was taken by Dennis di Cicco, senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine; a brief sketch of Mr. di Cicco and his achievements in amateur (ama = love of) astronomy is below. He is credited with discovering 54 minor planets.
Stellafane is the Nursery which nurtures and inspires the Rocket Scientists and Space Dreamers of the future. Stellafane has been acquainting children with The First Science, and steering children toward careers in the Sciences, since the 1920s.
This beautiful photograph makes me especially happy, because there was some Bad News hovering over Stellafane a few years ago, which threatened to degrade or entirely ruin Breezy Hill's clear night skies, and thus extinguish 90 years of Stellafane's remarkable activities. But it appears that a series of last-minute changes and compromises saved Stellafane's night skies -- that photo looks pretty damn clear to me. Maybe even photometric.
I just don't want to talk about Bad Earth News tonight. I'll write about the Bad News that threatened Stellafane, and the fuckheads who made the Bad News, some other time. For tonight, I am content to know that, as soon as they croak, they will be plummeted immediately to a Really Bad Neighborhood in Hell, and will remain there eternally, suffering the torment and pain they asked for.

But this is Good News, Wonderful News, Beautiful News. Stellafane is still healthy and active and its skies are beautifully clear. Some people on Earth know what's important, and generation after generation, they keep doing it with excellence and love.
I took the daytime photograph of Stellafane. Notice that Zero, Nada, Bupkis, Zilch goes on at Stellafane during the daytime. 

(Well, okay, I'll bet there's a regular midday riot when there's a total solar eclipse.)
But when the Sun goes down, that little mountaintop is crawling with hundreds of people and their telescopes and binoculars and cameras and tents and red-light flashlights (which don't degrade your sky-watching night vision).
Stellafane just might be The Best Place On Earth to look up at the Heavens. You can see the stars and the Moon and the planets and the Milky Way from just about anywhere.
But at Stellafane, if you have any questions about what you're seeing or trying to see, you're in the middle of scores of amateur, expert astronomers who have all the answers and are happy to give them away. And if you don't have a telescope, at Stellafane, they'll show you how to polish glass lenses and make your own telescope.
~ ~ ~
Dennis di Cicco (born 1950) is an American amateur astronomer who lives in New England. He has discovered numerous asteroids from his backyard observatory in Sudbury, Massachusetts (IAU code 817). He is also the senior editor of Sky and Telescope magazine, where he has been a member of the editorial staff since 1974 [1] . His special interests include astronomical photography and the history of astronomical photography, telescope making, and astronomical observing. During 1978-79 he was the first person to successfully photograph the analemma, making 48 separate exposures on a single piece of film during a 12-month period. The project is described in the June 1979 issue of "Sky & Telescope."

25 August 2010

about a dozen perverted scum from Dreamland want to kidnap Bob the Fast Typist

 Cliquez le fiche pour plus le grande.

I do not know how Parisiennes or Quebecoises pronounce this word -- Americans pronounce it "you REEK ah" -- but I met some Greek professors, and they said Archimedes probably jumped naked from the public bath and ran through Syracuse yelling: "ev-REH-kuh!"

(It's a little more complicated than that, nobody today knows how Ancient Greek was pronounced. And to Athenians, Archimedes' Doric accent would have sounded like Quebecois sounds to Parisians, or like the Australian accent sounds to BBC Londoners -- comment d'it on "hick"? Well, Archimedes was a Very Smart Hick.)

How is your writing going ? Mine is not easy, and I am full of doubts !

You spend five weeks trying not to fall into le moulin of the glacier so your frozen corpse will not be seen again for 3000 years. You spend five weeks among the Inuit of Ultima Thule. You spend five weeks trying not to become le dejeuner of l'ours blanc. You spend five weeks under l'aurore ...

I think your roman will be very good, remarkable, rich, delicious. (Maybe Inuit will be bored, but everybody else will be fascinated.)

Merci (ou merci pas) for the Hard Question.
For me and mon roman, this is a Very Unpleasant Moment.

The story is good, and in my private dream, gets better and better.

The characters are good, the characters are real, they are solid now, I can touch them and I can smell them.

They have risen from my rough sketch, and they have become alive and awake. Now they choose their own words, and make their own decisions, which regularly surprise me.

They do not need le romancier anymore -- now all they need is Bob the Fast Typist.

So this is a very uncomfortable, unpleasant moment for me.

For my wife, I want to be a good husband.
For my friends and my neighbors, I want to be a good friend and a good neighbor.

But now my characters want to kidnap me into their world for six months or for a year, and make me live with them (they need a fast typist). They want to take me away from wife, friends and neighbors.

When this happened before, I did not like it.
Well -- I liked it the way the addict likes opium.

The Dream World of the roman becomes so much more wonderful than the World of the Supermarket. Tierra de los Sueños becomes so much more beautiful and interesting than The Land of The Broken Toilet or The Land of the Diabetes Doctor. Real people become annoying, a distraction, a bother, an interruption.

Well -- you asked, and this has been very much on my mind this month. So the news is Very Good. And the news is Very Bad.

My wife was le professeur of literature. She thinks romanciers and poets are crazy people, perverts, sickos, Rimbauds, Baudelaires, Célines, Lord Byrons. She thinks the women are all Pauline Réages.
But she also knows that without these perverts, she would be unemployed. She would have nothing to force her students to read.
So she grudgingly permits Bob to be Céline de temps en temps. She regards it as a Professional Duty, like serving on a jury, or military conscription. Temporary, unpleasant, but necessary.

Now I must return to my horrible Dream Family, their filthy, perverted speeches, their irresponsible, shameful acts. à demain,

Bob the Fast Typist

22 August 2010

Publicke Notice / Tierra de los Sueños / TdSPosta / 1st Day Issue: All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

Click image for larger.
Publicke Notice

VleeptronZ will be closed for about 48 hours as Bob speeds to Philadelphia by train for a sad occasion.

AMTRAK sent me an e-mail, which I printed out. It has a UPC code on it. When I dash into the train station, with no time to stand in line and ask a Human Being to help me with my transaction, I stick the UPC code under a Machine, the Machine scans the UPC code, and spits out my Boarding Pass.

Untouched By Human Hands. No Human-Human Contact or Conversation Required. I'll get what I need. The Machine won't even know it gave me what I needed. I won't have to say Thank You.

I'll let you know how it worked.

~ ~ ~

All Watched Over 
by Machines of Loving Grace

by Richard Brautigan

I like to think (and
the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.

I like to think
     (right now please!)
of a cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if they were flowers
with spinning blossoms.

I like to think
     (it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.

© Copyright 1967 by Richard Brautigan

Permission is granted to reprint
any of these poems in magazines,
books and newspapers if they are
given away free. 

16 August 2010

Bob is impressed (like how the British Navy got volunteer sailors) to make a poster for the big book sale / and with a great big valise full of books to read where it's peaceful

Please click on image.

sound ON
right-click OPEN IN NEW WINDOW
fast-forward to 1:40


by Irving Berlin (1924)

I'm lazy, I wanna be lazy
I long to be out in the sun
with no work to be done

under that awning they call the sky
stretching and yawning
and let that wicked, wicked world go by

I wouldn't peep
in the deep tangled wildwood
counting sheep
'till I sleep like a child would

and with a great big valise full
of books to read where it's peaceful
While I'm killin' time
being lazy

08 August 2010

Answer to the Mystery Gizmo PizzaQ / a Vanished Treasure from the Wonderful Age of Freely Distributed Radium / Klikety-Klik-Klikky-Klik-Klikky-Klikety-Klikety / fuck the Nanny State

Click on all images for larger, maybe.
We hope the Top Image wiggles for you.

1st, the Bad News

NOBODY wins the Large White Ranch Pizza with Shallots, Shitake Mushrooms & Pesto.

And here's why:

The Antique Gizmo is not any of the excellent-to-questionable guesses.

It's clearly an olde-fashionede avionics gauge -- but which gauge?

The tipoff/clue/hint was always faintly visible in the original image. Here, Vleeptron has goosed the clue to make it clearer: a silhouette symbol of an airplane pointing straight up. And some of the original numbers.

Only one kind of gauge has that airplane silhouette: 

The avionics compass or gyrocompass.

The numbering scheme is the ordinary 0 to 360 degree circle in increments of 30 degrees -- but as long as every increment ends in 0, they erase all the rightmost 0s, and the pilot gets his/her bearings with a minimum of numerical information.

A description of how this Gizmo works follows, courtesy of our superfamous Special Guest Avionics Expert, Smilin' Jack, whom we queried via e-mail last night. He was rescuing American Special Forces, Jarheads and Navy SEALS from Evil non-Christian Asian Terrorists in the Hindu Kush, but he took time out to use his Iridium Satellite Phone (which works EVERYWHERE, as long as you're standing outside with an unobstructed shot at Orbital Space) and clarify the PizzaQ, for which Vleeptron is extremely grateful.

So Smilin' Jack and I will split the Large Pizza the next time he's in town.

The Gizmo is certainly from a military airplane, because immediately after December 1941, the USA stopped manufacturing civilian aircraft and exclusively ground out military aircraft for the duration of the war.

And now the Wonderful Little Invisible Secret of the Gizmo,
the reason Anonymous Charlie, the Garage & Basement Scientist, sent it to everybody in

This sucker is LOADED with Radium! This Gizmo from the Vanished Past is HOT! HOT! HOT!

Maybe you're thinking: Ah crap, it WAS hot during the Battle of Midway, but it's surely cooled down to Safe Child-Licking radiation values by now, 67 years later.

Negatory on that. Radium 226 has a Half-Life of 1601 years. It's barely begun to cool down. And the Radium-painted numbers and symbols are as bright, seen in darkness, as they were the day the bomber or fighter or trainer rolled out of the factory.

This is a Vanished Treasure from the Wonderful Age of Freely & Cheaply Distributed Radium! Radium For Everybody! Radium For Kids! (My grandfather sent me off to summer camp with a nifty radium-dial wristwatch, which I would glue to my eyeball under the blankets for hours every night.) Radium for Mom! Radium for Dad! Radium for Junior & Sis! Medical Radium! Radium-Flavored Fizzie Beverages!

My buds at are drooling, because the Gizmo's for sale! I don't know how much Anonymous Charlie is asking for it, but it won't be cheap. There ain't many of these circulating in the Underground Marketplace of Verboten Prohibited Crap.

But if you buy it, and Clueless Todd the FedEx driver drops it off at your house, and then you point your Geiger-Muller Tube within 3 meters of it, that meter will go Klikety-Klik-Klikky-Klik-Klikky-Klikety-Klikety Krazy!

The Basement & Garage Science Community calls Gizmos like this: "sources."

The Department of Homelamp Security calls them: "something else."

The Department of Homelamp Security calls delightfully colorful Fiestaware (tm) plates, bowls and cups: "something else."

So much of the Fun of the Past has been bleached out of Modern Life.
We don't get this Nanny State shit on Planets Vleeptron, Hoon, Yobbo, Mollyringwald and Björkguðmundsdóttir! My vacation getaway Solar System in the Dwingeloo-2 Galaxy still believes in Old-Fashioned Basement & Garage Fun!

Let's drink an Everclear (tm) toast to SCIENTIFIC FREEDOM!

The Vleeptron High Non-Junk Science Council now turns this post over to Smilin' Jack:


At 19:02 8/7/2010, you wrote:
>what the heck is this?


The compass rose is fairly obvious. I'm more than a bit disappointed that none of your contestants noticed this. Absent that observation, these folks deserve nothing more than Dominos

[Dominos Pizza is the giant chain fast-food USA Pizzeria that tastes like gooey red cardboard]
at best. Without a view of the rear, I'm guessing there are either vacuum or electrical (more likely vacuum) hookups for an internal gyroscope.

Note the way this thing works. It hasn't a clue about compass direction. The knob at the bottom resets  a mechanical linkage between the compass rose and the internal gyro. Periodically, the flight crew uses that knob based on a magnetic compass. That can only be done while the plane is flying straight and level. My route to guessing vintage would be indirect.

I suspect it's circa WWII. What surprises me somewhat is that you're guessing. There should be some sort of placard with the manufacturer's information. I guess it was removed.

Last, I haven't a clue what the upper gauge / knobs are for.

e you later.


I WAS NOT GUESSING! But to be Absolutely Fair to all Guessers, Vleeptron decided it needed a Final Judgment from a bona-fide certified Expert.

07 August 2010

the Towne Crank strikes again! / the Black Jockey Liberation Army strikes again! / black lawn jockeys / sinking Dead Tree Media

Grrrrrr ... something resembling this Letter to the Editor ran in the Gazoo today, but badly butchered and rendered considerably illiterate-sounding. (I am not illiterate.)

The Gazoo (first published September 6, 1786 as a bankers' and landowners propaganda broadside attacking the pissed-off poor farmers and Revolutionary War veterans who were brewing up Shay's Rebellion) has fallen on hard times lately. 

Once, as the newspaper in the middle of the Five College Area (Amherst College, Smith College, University of Massachusetts, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College), it very cleverly used all this academic brainpower to publish a very smart and interesting little newspaper -- particularly a very brainy op-ed page -- which the whole community took great and well-deserved pride in.

Recently, a big chain, Newspapers of New England, bought it and has crapped it up beyond all recognition. I have a very good and long-experienced nose for a sinking daily newspaper, and this sucker is not long for this world.

Shame! And shame for butchering the Towne Crank's latest Letter to the Editor!

Here's how the beloved Towne Crank wrote it!


Saturday 7 August 2010

Letters to the Editor
The Daily Hampshire Gazette
Northampton, Massachusetts

To the Editor:

Years as Hampshire College's neighbor have convinced me its students, with their vision, passion and very big brains, are a community of authentic hope for a better world.

While it is natural for young people to start small, Austin Miles Gregory ("On lake's shore, a racist icon," 28 July) might have aimed a bit larger than trying to extinct one of the last public lawn jockeys.

The crusader who succeeds, finally, in ending the public display of lawn jockeys is not likely to be commemorated with a postage stamp or honored with a state or national holiday. The death of lawn jockeys might indeed be a net plus for racial understanding and progress ... but a 2-pointer in a pickup hoops game, rather than a glorious grand slam for America's racial World Series.

Lawn jockeys have been the gnats and mosquitos of black-white tolerance and understanding since the great civil rights transformations of the 1960s. In "Uncle Remus" (1974), Frank Zappa saw lawn jockeys as an infuriating irritant of black-white tensions:

I'll ... knock the little jockeys
Off the rich people's lawn ...
I'll be knocking the jockeys off the lawn

Mr. Gregory takes up his crusade 30 years late. Around 1979, the affluent suburbs of Springfield [Massachusetts] and Hartford [Connecticut] were plagued by nighttime disappearances of lawn jockeys, with notes left behind claiming credit by the BJLA, or Black Jockey Liberation Army. A tip led police to the attic bedroom of a white teenager, where they found a single-file platoon of about 25 lawn jockeys. An annoyed judge spared the teen terrorist jail time, putting him on parent-supervised probation; the jockeys were returned to their owners.

Robert Merkin
Chesterfield, Massachusetts


The Daily Hampshire Gazette
Northampton, Massachusetts USA
Wednesday 28 July 2010
opinion column

On lake's shore,

a racist icon

by Austin Miles Gregory

[photo above]
The presence of a black lawn jockey on the shore of Pine Island Lake in Westhampton [Massachusetts] troubles the author deeply, who writes of it: "The scenery is beautiful. Everything inside me wanted to ignore it, but to preserve an aesthetic in ignorance is to ignore beauty altogether."

The lake houses are beautiful on East Shore Road in Westhampton. Warming in the July sun, the water at Pine Island Lake is surprisingly warm. The secluded private road is home to diverse architecture, evoking an atmosphere of tasteful pigments and natural shades that garnish the foothills of the Berkshires.

Inevitably, beneath the facades, one is bound to encounter the political sentiments behind each hanging flag, behind the July 4th clamor, and behind our present moment in history.

Paddling my canoe for a closer look one day, what I noticed disturbed the summer evening's charm. It was difficult to believe an overtly offensive icon stood in plain view.

A black "lawn jockey," standing dockside, held life jackets. It is difficult to know how long this symbol of slavery has stood here, deaf to recent and historical calls for constitutionality and racial justice.

I need not mention that an estimated 1 to 2 million human beings drowned during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, or that research has found this genocide responsible for altering the migration patterns of sharks. The use of slave labor enabled this country to amass great wealth.

Am I the first to notice? It sure feels like it. Apart from the overwhelming whiteness, things seem normal on the lake. Kids are running around, people are celebrating July 4 while enjoying the seclusion.

The scenery is beautiful. Everything inside me wanted to ignore it, but to preserve an aesthetic in ignorance is to ignore beauty altogether.

Not wanting to stir trouble, I sat considering my actions and measuring my responses. I questioned my feelings of guilt; I questioned why my first move was internalization; should I just keep it to myself? Just how far is the personal from the local?

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. corralled African-Americans facing a state who a century later had brutally privatized freedom.

The great Malcolm X spoke directly to the point - "Doctor King wants the same thing I want - freedom." This is not to comment on the essence of freedom, but merely an observation of what is essential to freedom, that is, today's lack of responsibility in recognizing the historical implications of slavery.

We have yet to transcend this reality.

The census of 2000 indicated that Westhampton was 98.5 percent white, 1.9 percent of which were people under the poverty line. In 2008, the town of Westhampton cast 62 percent of its votes for Barack Obama.

Based on that, it appears that Westhampton has declared itself sensitive to and beyond the confines of racism.

Still, there is this problem of the black lawn jockey.

As Frederick Douglass expressed, "A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it."

In order for us to appreciate our society as noted, our national morals must be in a constant state of reflection and observation; only then will we be able to grow. The battle for freedom is duly described on street signs and middle schools named after civil rights victors. Similarly, nearby Florence is home to a statue commemorating Sojourner Truth. Northampton and Hatfield were both sites of the Underground Railroad carrying slaves to freedom.

These monuments mark the battles against slavery.

We are each personally responsible for maintaining the moral growth of this country, and despite symbols of success, moral stagnancy is present in our community. Description is not enough to truly engage the historical implications of slavery.

We must learn to see these symbols for what they represent, not just in depicting the battle for freedom, but for their moral implications on our nation.

Austin Miles Gregory, a native of Florence, attended Northampton High School and Holyoke Community College and is in his final year at Hampshire College.

- 30 -

06 August 2010

Postalö Vleeptron / First Day Issue: PizzaQ / Gizmo Porn / Bob's Home For Old & Abandoned Machines

Certainly, click on image.

Postalö Vleeptron
First Day Issue: PizzaQ

Copyright (c) 2010 by Robert B. Merkin, All Rights Reserved

Goodness, I like this stamp. And the Gizmo.

The image of the Gizmo arrived this morning, unbidden and unexpected, from whom, what or where I ain't saying. This is one of those obscure, neglected Spigots of Cyberspace to which I have chosen to maintain a connection.

But this particular Spigot got some Stuff.

As regular readers, and my neighbors in the Shoe Mirrors neighborhood of Ciudad Vleeptron, know, I have an unhealthy intimacy with Machines. 

In Regular Porn, younger & more recent is better. 

In Gizmo Porn, older is not just better, it is wildly exciting, heart-poundingly thrilling. 

If the Gizmo is more than 50 years old, spittle drips from the corner of my mouth. If the Gizmo went extinct centuries ago, and all that remain are sketches and prose descriptions, I have to take my heart medicine.

I don't want to have sex with these machines.

I just want them to move in with me, to live with me, in a corner of my office. So I can Gaze & Gawk at the Wonderful Old Machine. 

If it needs occasional dusting or lubrication, if it needs a new vacuum tube (valve -- now they all come from Russia and China), if it needs a new power cord to satisfy code requirements fresher than 1910, I am happy to attend to the Gizmo's needs.

I give the Old Gizmo a wonderful new home, I rescue it from the Transfer Station or the Tag Sale of Ignorance & Doom, and it is safe for the next few decades. Safe, adored, polished, worshipped, soft little lullabyes sung to it.

On special holidays, I plug it in or turn its crank, and the Gizmo makes its Lost, Vanished Magic just for me.

So let's get to it.

What Is It? 

(Be pretty specific. No Pizza for evasive, vague answers.)

1 Large white ranch Pizza
with pesto, shallots, shitake mushrooms

(4 more slices)

Affix a birth year to it, +/- 5 years.