Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Happening World

Today is Sunday, 24 September 2006.

Woo hoo! HH be mucho hetero-alpha male!

Now, readers know HH worships newspapers.

(A study during the First Bush First War Against Iraq (1990-1991) found that people who get more of their info from TV recall more than those who get more info from newspapers --- which I find hard to believe --- but the TVers remember more information incorrectly!)

Now, this is the sort of column you find some newspaper columnist, an ultra-serious type, writing every once in a while, and you wonder what’s goin’ on in their head. (Well, of course you know, it’s called a deadline and a five-hundred or whatever word hole, but let’s have some willing-suspension-of-disbelief-for-the-sake-of-suspense, if we might.)

Our cordless phone and our answering machine at the old manse have become increasingly erratic. Mrs. HH convinced me to buy a combo of those two, which has features we’ll probably never use, but, like she said, for an extra twenty bucks, what if we ever need to add six handsets and conduct a four-way conference call to Save Civilization As We Know It? So now we can.

This kind of new technology is where one needs to rent a 10-year-old. (As late as 1962, when HH was ten, in the small town in north-eastern Kansas where his grandparents lived, one still made a long-distance (or “trunk”) phone call by dialing the Operator.)

But, mirabile dictu, after closely studying the manual, in five minutes, HH switched out systems, powered up, recorded an outgoing message, and tested it by phoning from the cell. As George W. Warlord would say: Mission accomplished!
Granted, I still can’t figure out how to activate the feature which chops firewood, but …

About that same time, 1962 when HH was ten, while in Holton, KS in the summer, he observed a partial eclipse of the sun. When this occurs, natural apertures such as tree leaves in this case, cast a tiny shadow on the ground, of the disc of the sun, partially eaten away by the moon, or perhaps a dragon.

Once achieves the same effect with two pieces of paper. Use a pin to prick a tiny, clean hole in one piece, then hold it over the other and adjust, and, presto, there’s the tiny disk of the sun. (I think it’s the same principle behind the camera obscura, but I’ll have to research that.) Back about 1994 or so, when HH was working in Soho in Manhattan, there was a partial eclipse, and he’d made a typewriter paper camera for the amusement and edification of his co-workers, and he spent most of his lunch hour out on the sidewalk, showing the eclipse to passers-by.

HH said, “The late Richard Brautigan would like you to see a solar eclipse.” This was an impromptu street-theatre art project thing. During The Summer of Love (1967 in San Francisco), the poet-novelist Brautigan enjoyed roaming the streets with a hand mirror, inviting the squares who’d come to check out the hippies, “Have a free look.”

Which is a long-winded way to say, today is the next-to-last day of Mr. and Mrs. HH’s vacation-in-place, and he’s trying to stay mellow, and not go off on how the supposedly-civilized world, as Bush likes to say, (except he omits the supposedly) is ignoring Darfur like it ignored Rwanda, since the Mr. & Mrs. have reservations for brunch at the local art museum, and then see the new show, thus proving some deep and seemingly-eternal moral truth about the connection between genocide and civilization.

And, after all, the Glory that was Ancient Athens was built on slave labor.


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