Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jesus the Unseen Guest

Jesus the Unseen Guest

edward w pritchard

He was the President of the United States but even he couldn't accommodate his wife's request over the regulations of White House Staff.

The President's wife had arrived at the White House with her two girls and as the First Lady had continued her side of the family's custom of always having a space set at the table for Jesus the unseen guest at Family meals. Her family practiced an Eastern European form of Catholicism and had an old custom, although many practitioners believed in figurative interpretation of the idea, her family chose a literal interpretation of always keeping a place at the family table set for Jesus. The original ancient custom was to sanctify family meals, to show respect to Jesus, and to remind everyone that Jesus was coming back to fulfill the scriptural message he left for the faithful.

At first the Chief-Usher at the White House the staff position that oversaw the room specifically designated as the China Collection Room. [ note this has only incidental relevancy to the 21st century country China a major world power] was apprehensive when the President said he wanted to talk to him. Like all staff persons at the White House the chief usher was constantly volleying for position and power and he was pleasantly surprised and a little nervous when the President and Press Secretary had invited him to one of the morning meetings to ask him to accommodate his wife's request.

In due course after a long meeting concerning major problems in the US economy, terrorism, bad weather and myriad other problems, the 12 people in the meeting, mostly men, ended with a ten minute discussion of how to keep a table service set at a formal table where the President, his wife and two girls routinely ate dinner together as a family at least four times a week. The President who was getting a headache after a very long meeting in the middle of late morning of many more to come, and since his wife was not present to add her opinion, had for now vetoed the chief Usher's idea of his administration getting their own China setting. Instead it was agreed that the family would use one of the 30 or more complex and expensive sets from earlier administrations and more genteel times stored in the china room.

The President and his two daughter's would just prefer to go out to a modest restaurant but they couldn't without a lot of rigmarole concerning national security and so when she arrived at the White house Mrs. President had established a family custom of four semi formal dinners a week. Naturally like everything else at the White House, which is why the president was getting headaches for the first time in his life, there was always a persistent drive for more and more complexity in daily life at the White House.

The Presidential family did not eat their family dinners in the actual china room itself where the dishes were stored in elaborate cabinets, established by first lady Wilson back in 1916; which had a few tables for informal teas; instead they ate in another very formal room at a long walnut table designed to seat up to 50 people. At first the two girls especially enjoyed the pomp and circumstance of the long table, white table cloth, four settings of very fine china, and an extra setting for Jesus. After the meal the dishes would be cleared by the staff, although sometimes the family would help, if they could get away with it, and the dishes would be meticulously washed and returned to the china room. Although they didn't do the ritual every day, but up to four or five times a week; each day a new set of china from a previous administration would be used. As was the original custom of the first lady's family, the next days set of dishes for the family would not be set out after the table was cleared, however Jesus' place setting was always on the table although, of course each time it was a new clean setting that matched tomorrow's setting. As of the writing of this story, Jesus has not stopped by yet, but the chief usher is very diligent in insuring his place is always ready and although his dishes were not used they are never the less washed along with those of the rest of the family each meal.

Sometimes when he is preoccupied with a major problem and walking about the White House the President will always feel better when he sees that lone place setting at the long table and his mood will lighten knowing he has done his best to make his wife comfortable at the White House which can be a complex place to live. Secretly when daydreaming the President felt like Louis the fourteenth at Versailles; but thought that the usual story of the sun king's controlling behavior may be historically inaccurate. Maybe the French Kings staff's jobs and routines evolved and became more and more complex and in time the palace became a world apart. In fact although he had never said it aloud at times Mr. president often found himself fantasizing that he could just get a small house in a conventional suburb for his little family to live in and just get up very early and drive to the white house for work.

One morning the President's very busy schedule was interrupted by the Press Secretary, the head of the office of protocol, a supreme court justice, and the chief usher, needing an immediate audience. The complexity of his days at times seemed surrealistic to the President but this potential meeting seemed just bizarre. The executive summary of the meeting was that there was a substantial outcry among interest groups against just setting one place setting for the major figure of one major religion, albeit one of the largest world religions. So, duly it was done that each major US religion would have a setting at the formal dinner table going forward. It was highly recommended to Mr. President that no back lash, knee jerk policy change was made such as just removing Jesus' place setting but that the family custom be modified and allowed to evolve to accommodate additional religions.

Who would have thought that there were 23 major US religions. The table settings for the unseen guests of the major religions were taking up the entire formal table and requiring additions of ten additional staff persons around the white house, to set, rid up and clean the dishes each day. Additionally the wear and tear on the previous administrations china collections were enormous. Many dishes were broke or chipped in dish washing. Once one of the Presidents daughters had accidentally bumped and broken a cup at one of the unseen religious guests places when scooting out of her place at the table because of crowding caused by all the new settings. The entire family, including Mrs. President were commenting once when alone that the Family dinners were not what they used to be.

About three months after the the broken cup incident, when Mrs. President was in Chicago on business, and the President was watching the girls, rather than deal with the usual formal Thursday night meal, Mr President and the girls had secretly slipped out of the house, taken a bus to a Wendy's, and each had a value meal. Naturally the girl's said to their Dad that it was their favorite meal they had had in a long long time. He of course had asked them to please not tell that to the chief usher.
Eternal Reoccurance

For Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
edward w pritchard

One day while walking on the tow path in Massillon, Ohio in the summer of 2008, I was talking to a young girl of 12, who told me she was Flora Wellman, and that her Father had helped to build the Ohio Canal in the 1820's and and later in the 19th century she had been the Mother of the famous American writer Jack London out in California.

She said she had grown up in Massillon Ohio as a girl, in the 1840's and frequently walked on the canal towpath, and she said she wanted to meet and talk to me now because she had heard me praise her Son's, Jack London's, story "To Build A Fire" to two prominent attorney's in Kent, Ohio at lunch a few weeks before.

She said the rules about coming to meet me here in Ohio were cosmically complex, and we could talk only for a minute, because she had to return to a different part of her life, when she was older, as a bride in California, soon. She did mention something about her son Jack London, that surprised me, and I had never heard before. Jack London had been involved with Coxey's Army in the 1890's, that marched to Washington DC for unemployed worker's rights, but not the original part of Coxey's army that left from Navarre, Ohio, near where we were now standing in Massillon, but a Western part of Coxey's army that left from Oakland California.

It is always nice to talk to and get the facts from an eye witness to historical events.

Spinoza in Pennsylvania

Spinoza in Pennsylvania
Edward W Pritchard

My Grandpa and Father had lived only 12 miles apart but never visited and couldn't agree on anything. I was very fond of both but couldn't reconcile them so one lived in one town and one in the other and they never visited or talked. When I was 24 years old Grandpa passed away and left me both towns, MidPointe and Deadhorse Pennsylvania.

Deadhorse had been a mining town, a boom town of renown for being nearly inapproachable for it was on a hill of slag, nearly impossible to get to, where boots, men and horses went to die. Of course easy money draws men trying to overcome the impossible and thousands of men from as far away as Europe and Russia came in the late 1870's to mine several rare specimens of rock that were at the time valuable. Then the mine had ran out and it was now population 0 with the death of grandpa its last and only citizen.

Mid-pointe was about 10 or more miles away from Deadhorse and had good water and was where the roads ended and during the boom. Midpointe had even had a railway spur. It was impassible with 19th century technology to build a road past Midpointe; so it became a wealthy little town because the miners by agreement kept their wives in Mid-Pointe and the other women in their lives in Deadhorse. MidPointe although a small town, and because of the mining wealth, acquired all the trapping of civilization in a hurry, several Banks, two or three dry good stores, a music hall for high brow music and fine restaurants and other such places. After the mine dried up and the market for the minerals it produced crashed in the 1890's both towns died as quickly as they had grown.

My Grandpa had bought both towns in the 1930's in the Great Depression for back taxes. The towns were both long since abandoned and everyone then considered oil Pennsylvania's legacy and hidden future asset so no speculators had been interested in the towns and Grandpa got them very cheap and under-valued. Grandpa had lost a lot of money himself in the 1929 market crash and never recovered financially so he moved his family to Midpointe and began to mine again small time in Deadhorse.
Eventually in the 1940's and 1950's the suburbs of Pittsburgh grew so large that a few nature lovers began to move to far out MidPointe and Grandpa leased land and acquired some of his lost fortune back.
That's about when my Dad was born and when he was a teenager he never forgave his Father for keeping his family in such a place, for until the 1960's there was no running water, electricity, proper schools or even civil authority.

About a week after Grandpa's funeral my Mom and I went to Grandpa's house in Deadhorse and it was interesting to look at all the old furniture and antiques with her. Grandpa had always liked my Mom very much and I let her take a lot of old stuff to our house in MidPointe that she thought was interesting. Of course my Dad probably won't like it because A. he didn't like to be reminded of Grandpa, and B. Our house like most homes in American already has two of everything in it anyway. The interesting thing that I discovered but Mom already knew was that in Grandpa's office there was about 200 old mining stock certificates in frames upon the walls.

Mom said, that Grandpa had told her [ she brought him Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner over a lot years] and one year when he was kinda lonely he had showed the old mining certificates to her and told how miners dreams had been shattered by the demise of the value of these shares over the years. Apparently the mining shares were usually a scam and because of excessive overhead and legalese the equity stockholders in the mines always lost everything eventually. Grandpa had a standing offer to buy any certificate over the years as a collectible for $ 5.00 or $10.00 and it often was the last thing a broke miner sold before moving on. Later, I found out from Dad that each certificate was now worth $500 to $1000 minimum to collectors so I had a considerable sum of money in those picture frames, but my Mom had showed me something about the stock certificates that made them more valuable than money to me.

Grandpa had always made his living polishing the minerals that the miners took out of the ground. It was an art to clean and shine the mineral, and then manufacturer it to a higher state before it was shipped to create additional value. Grandpa had been one of the best at the arcane task, that required a surgeon's hands and must be done with a magnification tool that looked like a pair of miniature binoculars on an extended pair of opera glasses. Apparently the Dutch lens makers in Europe a couple hundred years ago had discovered and first made the device that when worn on the face would allow a mineral polisher to magnify his vision many times and still keep his hands free for cutting and polishing. It was tedious but lucrative work and few could do it for long. Grandpa had been able to do it right up to the end it seems.

Mom showed me how Grandpa he had used the magnification device to write on the stock certificates and record the stories and experience of each miner who sold him each individual stock certificate. If the miner who was selling the mining certificate would tell him his experiences or an interesting story or anecdote he had heard over the years, then Grandpa would write and develop it into a story, in extreme miniature on the back of the stock certificate. There was a legal requirement in Pa in those days, for each mining certificate to have a space for special notary notes, about 3 inches by three inches, so the rendering parties could record unusual circumstances to avoid future legal misunderstandings. Of course in reality none of these certificates, that were at that time worthless mining share, were ever tendered so the space was always blank and Grandpa partly as a hobby and maybe to appease the reluctant seller of the worthless pieces of paper began to write stories on the back of each certificate. To write in the small space Grandpa had to miniaturize each word using the "opera glasses" and a very fine mechanical pencil. It was a similar technique to the working of the mineral that he did day in and day out and the only real difference was changing cutting and polishing tools for a pencil.

So I had about two hundred stock certificates, each that had a special story from a miner in the 19th century as told to and enhanced by my Grandfather hanging on the wall of the house I had just inherited. There were additionally, I found out later 5 more stories that My Grandpa had given to my Dad and my Dad kept in the top of his closet at home. Mom said that although Dad wouldn't admit it, he treasured those stories highly that his Father had developed and had kept a few of the best over the years for himself.

After I had given Mom the furniture, that first day and driven Mom home on my 4x4 Honda all terrain vehicle, I went back to Grandpa's house put on the "opera glasses" and took down a few of the stock mining certificates.I began to read the stories by candle light; because it was getting dark and grandpa would never pay the fee to have electricity brought to the house.

The First story on a mining certificate for a company called Alpha Minerals was titled " The Plot Device " by Edward W Pritchard and squinting through the special glasses I began to read---

end part 1

The Blues Singer Who Couldn't carry a Tune

The Blues Singer Who Couldn't carry a Tune
Akron's favorite Son Again

edward w pritchard

He was the basketball prodigy who played with reckless abandon and in a few years time his body began to show and feel the pains and injuries of epic confrontations on a daily basis with younger players who challenged him for leader of the pack. He was still a candidate for the best of all time but he began to realize why it was not possible to keep getting better and better. His body was resisting his efforts to push the limits further and although he was not yet 30 he was now bone tired less than half way through the season.

One game he had a very serious calf injury to his left leg and for the first time in his entire career and he was to be sidelined for a few days.

He followed the orders of his doctors and trainer precisely, and he worked at rehabilitation exactly as he had previously played. He came in early, stayed late, [ see The Basketball Prodigy-by EWP] but his injury refused to heal and he missed many games. His attitude was admirable as he cheered on his team-mates and followed every game closely with enthusiasm from the bench, and the team played very well considering the loss of their best player. Despite a very successful team record, attendance dropped and TV sponsorship waned because he was the national draw and the team was in a small size media market. In time the team ownership despite his remarkable past successes and contributions began to snipe at him. One assistant coach was over heard to remark that the former prodigy wasn't applying himself totally to his rehabilitation which was dragging on and on.

Exactly half way through the season, there was a holiday break with no game and he went home to his Mother's for a home cooked meal and some nonjudgmental company. In the driveway of her home, on a lark, he was showing his nephew how to start a stalled moped, a very small moped, and the bike jumped into gear. His bad leg wouldn't support himself and he was unable to hold himself up and he worsened his injury by straining and twisting his left leg further. The diagnosis was a severe strain.

At the meeting a few days later with team management he found out that part of his contract was now owned by a local fortune 500 company about 50 miles South of the team headquarters. He had played loyally for the team the last eight years and the team who he thought he exclusively worked for now told him that to hedge their losses, they had transferred part of the risk of his very large salary, about a month ago to the local fortune 500 company. Following his recent injury, the fortune 500 company was contractually obligated to pay his salary for up to 36 months as long as he was disabled and unable to play at 100% as deemed by his team's management.

Two months passed and his injury refused to heal and the team management and the fortune 500 company were close to litigation over his injury and continuing absence from the game of professional basketball. His absence was not only hurting his team but viewership in the entire league was down because without him national viewership plunged. So both his team, and the corporation that must now pay his huge salary for up to three years were angry and frustrated because of him. His past success were of little compensation to either party because as one assistant coach had remarked you can't buy to days fruit with last years canceled checks.

Another meeting was planned with Team management, a slew of lawyers, and a few representative of the fortune 500 company. Professional basketball has a code and a player being hurt is considered how it goes sometimes, and that was the team's position, Not so said the large corporation, the team had misrepresented the prodigy's injuries and they threatened litigation. Cooler heads prevailed, and among the various lawyers a compromise was reached where the player would continue to draw his salary for 18 months from today, assuming he didn't recover. The team and the corporation's lawyer as usual in this type of employment agreement also stipulated that the Prodigy couldn't contact the team, its players, or the corporation, except in writing through counsel. To continue to draw his salary, the Prodigy would work for the large fortune 500 company at a position that was to classify the prodigy as becoming the world's highest paid security guard. Lastly, the Prodigy was not allowed to return to the team locker room, but his things must be sent to him with in 48 hours. It is also been mentioned in the media that his team mates secretly slipped a nice hallmark card to the prodigy but that can't be acknowledged because of anti- contact clause in the agreement.

The fortune 500 company owned a very large old manufacturing facility about 50 miles south of where the team played. They also owned and managed the City's , and it was a smaller City, municipal airport. They wanted the basketball prodigy while hurt, as a condition of drawing his multimillion dollar salary to work as a security officer at two towers, about five miles apart one at the airport and one at the plant. The tower at the plant was called the tower and the one at the airport was called he municipal watchtower. He was watching a large blimp hanger that was located on the airport property.

The company received over 200 million dollars in annual fees from the defense department of the Federal Government for allowing the blimp hanger to store some secret technology. As a condition of the annual fee, per the government contract, there must be visual surveillance of the hanger during daylight hours. At night electronic surveillance was used and it was more reliable than humans but it didn't work in daylight.

The basketball prodigy was given an extra large green uniform and began to work 6 days a week during daylight hours at the two towers. He punched a special clock at each facility as a record of the surveillance every other hour and the rest of the time he visually watched the hanger. He couldn't have a TV or read but he could listen to music. Every two hours he would drive about five miles between the two towers in his $250,000 car, punch a time clock, and then sit and watch the blimp hanger while listening to music. By the Prodigy working as the watchman at the two towers, the corporation was able to get a federal tax credit that covered all of his salary, and eliminated any losses to the corporations stock holders.

He had always been a fan of contemporary rap music which was the genre for upscale blacks less than 30, which is what he was although he was way upscale. He was being paid over seven thousand dollars an hour for his full time job as a security officer. He worked about 70 hours per week, but did not get overtime or extra holiday pay. In time, as he reflected on his team's new attitude toward himself, despite his extremely successful past record; the Prodigy had to fight really hard to keep his normal upbeat attitude toward his new situation. He realized that it would look very selfish to an outsider for a security guard making over $7,000 per hour to complain about his working conditions but the basketball Prodigy couldn't help but feel he had been abused, although he could not articulate why.

To help himself understand how and why he felt vaguely discontented and abused the basketball prodigy began to enjoy listening to some old blues tapes of Muddy Waters and several other classic songs of the 1930's and 1940's. A previous employee of the Corporation, who had worked in the tower previously had left the tapes after he retired and the Prodigy came to look forward to listening to the tapes each day. Sometimes when feeling wistful, the prodigy would sing along with the blue's songs but only when alone for in truth he never had learned how to carry a tune. In time, while listening to the old music and singing a little the prodigy gained a new appreciation of the sacrifices his fore bearers made and came to realize what it must have been like for them to blaze the trail that he was now able to follow.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Talking Head

The Talking Head

edward w pritchard

Because of nutrition, immediacy, and maybe will by the participant, one head in a tower of heads, customarily stacked carefully by the Mongols following the sack of a defiant City, today continued to talk long after what would have been considered appropriate behavior for a severed head in a tower built of human heads.

Shemr was a good Mongol officer, and was doing his duty toward his 100 men under his command by alone watching the tower of severed heads for the night after the successful breach of the enemies walls and sack and burning of the city this day. He let the men especially the younger ones do the more exciting rape, pillage, and for the more ambitious looting that routinely followed a siege.
In the last few slaughters, after the leg work of the job of removing and stacking heads was done by his command he had taken to spending the night alone peacefully sleeping near the tower instead of cruising the streets of the fallen town for women as he had done in his youth. Mongol law required a guard at the tower out of respect for the fallen enemy and to keep anything ludicrous from happening to the tower of heads for even the Mongols were adverse to bad publicity that made them look silly.

The Mongols had been cutting off the heads of the fallen enemy dead for over twenty years because once several of the high ranking officers and a prince of the conquered had hid among the thousands of dead bodies littering the streets of their town. The Mongols always were victorious and Mongol custom was when sacking a City, which they hated because they detested cities, they gave the city leaders one chance to surrender and the men of the town would be allowed to leave the city and it would then be looted and burned to the ground. The women and children would also be spared but sold into slavery. If the City refused to surrender, when they ultimately lost, every man woman and child were usually killed, although at times the women and children might be spared to be sold into slavery in this case also. It has been said, some what in exaggeration, that often up to 1 million people would at times be slaughtered in a populous place like Northern China.

Of course Shemr's command of 100 couldn't cut off that many heads alone with just sabers. So all of the troops were required to do a share once the normal ferocity of battle had warn off and it was then no longer enjoyable but just plain hard work. The tower of heads had originally been devised to engage all the troops in the head chopping work and it became an art to build a tower with a memorable characteristic that could be talked about later around the campfires. Shemr's command was specifically created more than twenty years ago as specialists in the supervision care and ultimate destruction of the tower of heads. Tonight as he checked the tower before going to sleep nearby in a very small tent; Shemr, who was not an imaginative or reflective type couldn't help but be nostalgic of the old days, 15 or more years ago when following the sack of a town, thousands of Mongol leaders and VIPs would crowd around the tower of heads until all hours of the morning. Of course they could be critical of a tower of heads as too conventional, or too avant garde but any artist or group of craftsmen like to have the achievement examined and viewed and any attention good or bad is appreciated.

As he settled into the thick animal furs for the night for a well deserved rest, Shemr was disturbed by one of the severed heads in the tower that began to talk. Not loudly, but he couldn't ignore what the head was saying and unluckily the head was speaking in a language Shemr understood. Shemr pulled the furs over his head in annoyance but at length he walked up to the 10 foot high tower of heads in front of the sacred fire and began to systematically look through the stacked severed heads to find the one that had been talking and singing, for of course the loquacious head was now being spitefully quiet.

End of Part 1

The Talking Head
part 2

edward w pritchard

Shemr eyes stung from the fire as he searched the tower of human heads searching carefully through each face but could not find the one that had been talking. After admiring the symmetry and craftsmanship of the tower constructed by his unit; he decided to return to his bed in his tent and drifted into a deep sleep. Fifteen minutes later he awoke with a jump and immediately found the talking head. It was a large round face in the stacks of 250 or more human heads near the top right of the pyramid that was talking to itself.

After introductions were made Shemr found himself a little shy, and maybe afraid as he walked about the tower because although he had heard of a severed head talking before he had never himself conversed with a talking head. The head said something but since the head was unable to maintain eye contact with Shemr as he walked about Shemr's mind drifted:

Shemr was computing the odds of a head talking and himself actually experiencing a severed head talk as he walked about ostensibly now to have a conversation with the head but in fact for the moment at least not listening as the head droned on in a soft voice.

Shemr had been in the head stacking detail for twenty years, initially as a trainee, then a journeyman and eventually the last 6 years he had been in charge of the command. There were 4 major campaigns[ sieges and battles] a season he thought to himself, about 100,000 chopped off heads a battle, that's 4 x 100,000 x 20 = 8,000,000. Guessing he put the chance of a random severed head talking at 10,000,000 to one. So it was about time for him to finally meet a decapitated head that talked. Being a superstitious and ambitious man he took his beating the odds in the matter of engaging a talking head early [ before interacting with a full ten million decapitated heads] as a good omen and a sign from God and decided that since God had a hand in this occurrence he had better do his duty and pay attention and respect what the head had to say. He would treat the head as a guest in his camp rather than a captive enemy soldier.

Shemr focused his attention and listened carefully as the head explained about a shoulder wound he still suffered with, before being decapitated today, and wondering what had happened to the gold ring that he wore on his left hand. Probably stolen, sighed the soldier, if not by the victorious Mongols, the head's fellow soldiers would steal a valuable gold ring if it was unguarded mourned the Head.

Shemr politely listened but at length he decided to try and find a way to profit from him having a talking head, for he was now fully awake, the surprise of encountering a talking head had worn off; and to Shemr times of war meant the opportunity to earn extra money should the situation present itself. So Shemr began to be possessive of the detached head, at least as long as he might turn a profit, although being a simple soldier, he had no idea how to profit. Deciding to lay his cards on the table so to speak, Shemr decided to ask the head how he could exploit the unusual occurrence of a decapitated head's talking.

He interrupted the head and ask "How long do you think you will continue to talk, and please excuse my greed, but How can I Shemr profit from it".

At this question from Shemr, the head began to change as the head was now beginning to cross over to the other side, the side of spirit rather than material, and his answers and conversation became complex and more confusing to Shemr. Several times in the next few minutes Shemr had to plead with the head not to talk like a philosopher but remember he was talking to a simple soldier and to be kind to Shemr because the severed head had also been a common soldier himself.

The head decided to answer therefore every other question from the Mongol officer as himself, the severed head as a soldier, and then the next question as a spirit heading into eternity and reunion with God.

Shemr " How long will you be able to talk"

Okru, [that was the enemy soldier's name, before being decapitated] Probably 20 minutes more, until the fat supplies around my neck are used up. But the good news is I finally found a way to lose a little weight in the face," said Okru, feeling relaxed and accepting his situation.

Shemr "How can I a simple soldier profit from having possession of a talking detached head"
Okru " Can we really possess anything?
and continuing
Okru " A to have personally seeks to possess, you are a to have personality, I am a to be personally, we are incompatible, I only seek my full potential.

Shemr " Please I beg you help me" How can I use the situation of me being in charge temporarily of a talking head to my advantage?
Okru' answering as a fellow soldier, and feeling guilty to play word games with his overseer for the moment and Okru answered sincerely, " Contact your superiors and have them come to see the marvelous tower of decapitated heads that you have built, one that contains a marvelous talking head that can foresee the future.

With this Shemr became excited and wanted to look for fellow soldiers to spread the word about the talking head. Shemr knew that at 2AM the soldiers under his command would began to return from raping. pillage and looting because curfew was 2:30 AM.

So Shemr asked the severed head Okru, " What time is it [ for Shemr never learned how to tell time from the moon or stars, and of course mechanical time pieces were pricey at this time in history[ 1258] if available at all.
Okru" What is Time"
Okru continuing " If no-one asks me I know what time is, but once I am asked I sink back in confusion, because I know not time" [ Okru was paraphrasing St. Augustine]

Shemr became confounded at this and turned his back on the tower of severed heads and scanned the vicinity behind the sacred fire for other soldiers in the tents. Shemr left the area of the tower, abruptly without a good bye and walked about the camp but no one was about so he returned to the head who was humming to himself, probably a favorite song of his youth.

Okru, seeing Shemr " May I have some wine or water, fine Sir"
Shemr Lying so as not to break any rules, albeit unwritten ones, " I am afraid it is against regulations". Shemr shuddered to think the mess the water would make if he gave some to the severed head and it ran out the bottom of Okru's throat onto the other hundreds of heads below him in the tower of detached heads.

Okru again" this bores me, Isn't there anything you wish to ask me. I can foresee the future I know the entire past, and although the present for me is now a little unpleasant because of my pain and thirst I will answer any question for you".

Shemr, in an inspiration " Is my wife being unfaithful to me"
Okru " Is the wind constant"
Shemr " that's no answer"
Okru" OK try again"

Shemr" Do you feel yourself"
Okru , attempting a genuine smile, " Very Good question"
" As long as I have a perceiving mind, with or without my other senses. I am me, Okru"

At this Shemr decides not to trouble the head, a suffering fellow soldier any longer. Okra gave the severed head a little water despite the potential mess. Shemr then hears soldiers coming back to camp in the distance for the approaching curfew, but decides not to mention the talking severed head to his superiors because it would cause him, Shemr a myriad of paperwork and regulation in the morning.

Shemr then decides to go to bed again.

Okru, the severed head, " Could I ask a small favor Shemr"
Shemr" Anything within my power Okru"
Okru" begins to cough, his eyes grow very wide, and Okru extinguishes.

Shemr takes a small wet cloth and standing on a small Mongol made ladder, he carefully wipes Okru, the dead soldier's face, brushes over his hair with the wet cloth, and gently closes the eyes of Okru.

Shemr returns to his tent exhausted and falls into a troubled sleep. His last thought before dozing off is ' What would the small favor have been.'


Handicap Access to School buildings and buses

Handicap Access to School buildings and buses

edward w pritchard

When I was 15 years old and living in Russia, I was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy [M D] and was told by my Doctor I had less than 5 years to live. The Doctor said my muscles would atrophy and collapse, including my heart, which would kill me. My parents, in desperation, took me to another Doctor, who disagreed with his fellow Doctor, and prognoses that I would be dead by age 18.

Both were wrong because i am now 55 years old and still alive. I did not have Duchenne, instead I had a rare form of MD that only effected the right side of my body. My right leg and arm are pretty much useless and I am now in a Wheelchair, but I am still alive. Most people who see me think i have had a stroke because in addition to my muscle problem on my body's right side; my face sags on the right side which people find annoying. I am often told that because of the problem with my face, that I look perpetually unhappy or even angry.

Since i was told of the initial diagnosis of the MD I have diligently trained with weights partly to
compensate for my disability, and partly because my father was a trainer for the Russian Olympic team. In my training with weights I could only use my left arm, or leg, but I learned proper form and was motivated and dedicated to my training.

When I was in my twenties, I won several international awards for competitive strength class handicapped weight lifting. At one time, I modesty report, I was near the world's record for the handicapped category one arm curl. Of course that was a long time ago. Because of the celebrity I gained from international weight lifting I was able to immigrate to the United States at age 25, to pursue like many others have before, the American Dream.

By the age of 54 in America I realized that I had another major impairment besides being unable to use the right side of my body. I was poor in America, poor in the midst of plenty because I had lost my 25 year job. I found out I had no pension before age 62, and I was deemed to be not totally disabled, and was therefore deemed fit to work. I had to find another job.

Since I had a college degree back in Russia in European History, I was able to substitute teach in a local High School. After, I jumped through a few hoops, so to speak, I was approved to teach; not at the normal teacher's pay, but at a respectable rate for a part time job. Because I am in the wheelchair, i can only take assignments on the first floor of buildings with no steps. In spite of that I am grateful when I get a call to teach, preferring Social Studies, but I will accept nearly any assignment available.

At the school where I teach a few times a month the halls are very chaotic. I pull or push myself around by my good leg, using my arm to help by spinning the wheel, and move slowly down the hall of the first floor. The students have taken to calling me the crab because of the way I move about the halls. Maybe they call me the crab also because of my sagging face muscles and my glum nature, for in truth I get angry easily. Although no one knows it I take little white pills daily for my anger management problem. I try to disguise my anger problem with a benevolent attitude but eventually my real nature comes out.

A few weeks ago I was in the hall, in front of my class room while substituting. A boy in the hall pushed a girl and knocked her to the ground. I yelled at him angrily and he took a swing at me sitting there in my wheel chair. I didn't try to block the punch as he hit me near my right shoulder which sort of gave, and of course had no feeling. His fist kinda stuck there and I reached over and grabbed his left wrist and squeezed very hard and in my anger i nearly broke his wrist and hand. I still have a very powerful grip from rolling my wheel chair around.

The boy's Mother complained to the Principal and I have been asked not to return to this school as a sub. This is unfortunate because it is the only local school I can get to by local bus, and the local bus is the only one I can get my wheel chair on; although moving it on and off requires help from the driver or maybe a fellow passenger. There is a way to reserve a special wheel chair friendly bus with a lift, but it requires 24 hour notice and I get the sub offers the morning of the assignment, so it won't work.

In any event since being expelled from the local school I have applied to teach at the suburban school system. I have been spending my time at home, while waiting to be approved lifting weights to build up the muscles on the left side of my stomach and core to assist me with pulling my wheel chair on and off the suburban buses, with or without help, so I can hopefully get some more sub work to help pay the bills. A hard life but I think if I get some work I can make it until I am 62 and start to get some social security.

Romantic Love and old generals

edward w pritchard

Romantic Love and old generals what a contrast

An old fool falls for Romantic Love

From the Desk of Ogadai Khan

To General Sabotai

February 8, 1243

Speaking as your superior officer, I have instructed my messenger to wait while you open this, read this, and you are to immediately destroy this letter and send me an immediate reply.

General, old friend, I am shocked by reports of your behavior with a young woman of Vienna. Surely my network of informers must have their information wrong. Despite their absolute devotion to our people, The Mongols, and myself, the Emperor they error somehow. How can you, one I know and trust above my own brothers put the security and success of our people's future and the success of the mission I assigned to you to conquer Vienna and then Europe at risk over one woman's affection. You are incapable of such a failing. Especially, you, an old General with the benefit of the wisdom that so many long years gives a man. Excuse me my heart is dropping at writing these harsh words to my old friend and I must stop to compose myself.

General, My eyes nearly cloud with tears as I recall the time over 40 years ago as young braves in battle in Northern China that you and I sat in the hospital wounded. You in the shoulder and I with an arrow sticking out of my calf of the left leg. I still limp to this day from that injury. You were an inspiration to me as you sat like a philosopher and endured your pain seeking only to comfort me in my suffering.

Your success in battle for us Mongols is legendary, but yet you remain a modest man. I cannot think of a battle that you lead that was not successful. True, you did not win every battle, being human, but your tactics were perfect, you and your soldiers always followed orders,and each battle was fought according to the preconceived plan to the glory of our empire. In Northern China where I now sit, the men say when they think I don't hear that you have even surpassed in battle the efforts of my Grandfather Genghis Khan. In Europe, where you now are at my command, the two most recent battles you won in Liegnitz, Poland and in Hungary will be forever remembered as some of the greatest in history.

But, yet your next assignment the conquest of Vienna remains in jeopardy because of your "love" of a woman more than half of your age. I do not blame women for using any means at their command to obtain power and wealth which is what I think this woman is doing, while she makes a fool of you.
If we were women and women men we would do the same. I also have a Mother, sisters, and many daughters. Like my Grand Father I have had thousands of women, the most beautiful and delightful of all time I am told, and I have numerous children. I am not a monster, or an old man who has lost his lust for life.

To business
You my subject have succumbed to the disease of romantic love brought to Vienna from Southern France by the troubadours and promoted by the idle and the impractical to make life more than it is. To me as I sit here and read the ways of this romantic love, and idealization of one woman and man's relationship I can't decide if I should laugh or have a drink. It is so anathema to the Mongol way of life that it seems ludicrous that it is happening and I wonder if I am imaging the whole thing in a what if, like the Chinese historians who we have conquered, love to do to pass the time.

But I am not a thinker, i am a doer:
here's what I heard about you:

You sleep till noon with one woman in your bed. You have sexual relations with her even after dawn. Between romantic interludes you sing and sigh to her. When you are not doing this you write her odes and try to impress with expensive gifts,each more intriguing than the last. I also hear your have taken etiquette lessons to please her.
This last thing pains me the most to hear, for you have infected the troops with your depravity, you and a few of your officers are taking dance lessons. You to please your new friend and they to chase other damsels.

Our culture is superior to all others because of our virtues:
We are warriors, we disdain cities and civilization, we follow orders, we put our horses first, our weapons second, our comrades first in battle, our families first between battles and ourselves last at all times.

You have abandoned our values and disgraced your position

I am dying old friend. My doctors lie to me, beguile me and because they are greedy, and afraid of me tell me I have at least one year to live, but I know I shall be dead in 90 days.

I order you to not attack Vienna but to return home with all your troops. I expect I will be dead before you get here and you may say later that you came for the usual re election of our new leader. You must come home because I cannot allow our troops and later our people to be any longer exposed to this disease of romantic love.
When you return, should I begone, I order you to study and meditate on the Chinese Confucianism teachings on the relationship of husband and wife and/or man and woman. They sum it up in one sentence:
Always keep your distance. It is good advice.

Destroy this letter- THAT IS AN ORDER
Ogadai Khan

Reply of Sabotai a worm

Forgive me great one, i return immediately, I have no excuse for my behavior


Note to Reader
In a 100 year period, in 1200 or so The Mongols had conquered China, and partially destroyed Muslim civilization far away in the Middle East. Muslim history was forever altered by the destruction of the Caliphate in Baghdad [ central authority like the Catholic Pope] and the caliphate was never re-established.
Now at the time of the above letter the unstoppable Mongols were now a few months from conquering Vienna and Europe. The Mongols had entered Eastern Europe months earlier, easily defeating the Poles and Hungarians, two of the fiercest fighters and greatest powers in the west in 1200. Because of their superior military technology, tactics, and loyalty of the troops, the mongols were unstoppable and had they been successful at Vienna, they could have went on to destroy and pillage Northern Italy and Paris. If they had done so, which was very likely, Western Europe would not have had a Renaissance, or Reformation, and there would be a lot of changes in world history. So dear reader, beware of romantic love unless you risk changing history.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The collaborator

The collaborator

edward w pritchard

France has many heroes but my Father was the man who saved the French way of life.
however, My Father was branded a collaborator when the German's occupied France in WW2

My Father loved France more than anything but in his job as protector of the Cognac stocks in the town of the same name, in Western France, was to my Father a sacred trust and he had to put the safety and continuation of the cognac stocks above Family and country. Both were necessary sacrifices he was forced to make in 1940.

Cognac the town, and the region around it produces a sour and thin wine with a powerful flavor that produces the finest brandy in the world. From time to time a vintage year will be declared, because that years harvest of grapes is exceptional and using only the grapes of that year, the grapes will be meticulously distilled, and then barrels and casks will be gently filled and kept silent and still for many years to age. The aging is an art and is supervised by a master. After aging the cognac is put into bottles and may then be stored for up to 75 to 100 years. The older vintage Cognac Brandy is very prized and it is in a sense priceless, although it is always for sale at the right price. Since 1700 French Cognac brandy has been considered the best in the world and in 1940 when the German's attacked France my Father's job was to protect the cognac stocks and to insure the continuation of  the Cognac industry.

The speed which with German troops overran and conquered Northern France was shocking to us in the town of Jarnac, which is about 18 km from Cognac. However, it was not until waves of refuges, refugees who five years ago would have never imaged themselves in that situation, began to arrive into the Cognac region from Paris and Northern France that the horror of our situation became reality to us. Historically there is an ancient rivalry between Jarmac and Cognac going back to the 1300's because an ancient king of France had granted special status and tax deferred privileges to the town Cognac for a variety of long forgotten reasons. Because of the royal privileges Cognac, the town was known world wide for it's grapes and Jarmac, the town over to the east, which many felt produced a superior brandy was unknown even at times to our own Countrymen in Paris.

When the refuges arrived from Paris in 1940 however, both towns joined together to provide shelter and relief to the crowds of terrified people coming South to escape the German invasion. My Father was an influential business man in the area and spearheaded the project to resettle the refugees and was considered a hero at the time because he used his organizational skills to find housing for the arrivals, and used his contacts to raise funds, and using his capacity for hard work, in less than a year the refuges were being housed, fed and some semblance of normality had returned to their lives.

The problem for them and us was normalcy meant the German's were ruling our Country and although they didn't treat us as uncivilized as we heard the occupied Countries of Poland or Czechoslovakia were being treated, most of us were numb from the realization that our beau Paris was in the hands of the Germans. The Germans were of course most interested in the Cognac brandy we had in our region and they began immediately after entering the Cognac region to requisition huge amounts of bottled Cognac Brandy. The German officers in Paris had began to appropriate fine French art from the Louvre, and numerous other items of value from us French, and as they admired their Art, and the German officer elite corps wanted a fine cognac to toast it with.

My Father skillfully began to represent the Cognac houses, such as Hennessy, Martel and others and although the German's conduct was high handed compared to normal business relationships, somehow my Father was able to get the Germans to not disturb the "sleeping" barrels of Cognac [until the master distillers said it was time to awaken it], and most remarkable my Father was able to get the Germans to pay for most of the bottled product, at least initially. The German's bought huge amounts of our Cognac Brandy at bargain prices but on the whole the survival of the Cognac industry seemed possible in 1940 despite the catastrophic destruction that occurred throughout France after the German invasion of 1940.

end part 1

The Collaborator
part 2

edward w pritchard

I knew my Father was going to die when I saw my Mother crying for it was much more surprising and unbelievable to me to see my Mother cry than it was for me to hear that the victorious Germans were strolling down the Champs Elysee or sitting at a cafe in the town of Cognac ordering around my Father in 1940 in occupied France. My Mother wouldn't cry ever; she had not cried when my younger sister died five years ago, and actually I hadn't ever seen my Mother express any emotion at all. I am sure looking back now years later , while writing this, that my Mother had some kind of emotion problem that kept her from expressing emotions in the normal way. Its funny how the epic events of WW2 pale in my memory compared to the more personal memory of my Mother sitting at the kitchen table ready to cry. Yet, then in 1940, she sat just short of sobbing in the kitchen as my Father called me an eleven years old boy to talk in his office . He closed the door to the kitchen and as he often did when he was troubled he opened a bottle of very expensive Cognac and ask me to sit down across from him at his Grandfather's desk.

This fine cognac is over 80 years old he said, as he handed me a small glass to taste, It has a fruity taste, like apples with a touch of vanilla, he said, at it's current age of 83 years, he continued as he looked at the date on the front of the odd shaped bottle. This cognac while it set in a bottle in 1870, had a different taste, and we the French were fighting with the Germans, who we then called the Prussians. Despite our superior culture they won that war because they were ferocious, unable to appreciate the finer things in life but obsessed with violence and able to wage war successfully against us. In 1916, this cognac, might have had a taste like walnuts, and we French were then fighting the Germans in WW1, at the battle of Verdun, where we defeated the Germans that day in 1916, but that day we lost world war 2, that we are now in. We lost the next war then because although we saved Verdun and inflicted more losses on our enemy we knew that each French casualty was a man, with a soul, and a love of the finer things in life, like this Cognac and our Art and fine food. We are different than our enemy, in that an individual life to us is precious and I cannot now allow the Germans to destroy Europe any further. I am telling you this son, as I just told your Mother, because I soon go to North Africa to die for my Country.

My Father continued , I thought nothing was more important to me than the Cognac industry here in Jarmac. For nearly twenty five years every day I have arisen before dawn and devoted my full time to protecting the interests of the Cognac industry and more importantly the Cognac casks that I am responsible for. Somehow however, I must let the survival of the Cognac industry in France be in the hands of God and I must go to Africa to help destroy the bulk of the French fleet now at Mers-el-Kébir. This will be difficult for you to understand, why I wish to sink our own ships; but I cannot allow the French fleet to be used by the Germans against the British who I believe are civilizations last chance to stop the forces of chaos.

I have traveled many times to England and have many friends in Bristol where we store our Casks of Cognac because of the wet climate there which helps certain kinds of Cognac in the aging process. The British are fighting pretty much alone for the continuation of civilized Europe. I know the people of France and they will hate the British for destroying the fleet because they still think at this time it is possible to negotiate and reason with the Nazi's. But I have my contacts in Poland and Eastern Europe and they tell me of horrors that I couldn't or wouldn't whisper to you.

So my Father received permission from the occupying Germans to go to Mers-el-Kébir to take a large shipment of bottles of VSOP Cognac to German officers but his real intentions were to spy for the British and provided information that would enable the British air force to destroy the bulk of the French fleet. The British had been given assurances by French politicians, temporarily collaborating with the Germans to save France, that the French fleet wouldn't be used against the British. The British leaders, like my Father  did not believe the assurances, not because our politicians lied but that they were being beguiled. My Father died in the bombing while on board the French battle ship, Dunkirk, ostensibly to bring Cognac to German officers nearby.

By dieing my Father protected me and my mother and also the Cognac industry for the Germans considered him as having died in battle and left My Mother and I alone for the balance of the occupation. The cognac industry was saved because a German citizen, born in Cognac, and in 1940 a sales agent of the distiller Martel working in Germany was transferred by the Germans back to France to oversee the Cognac industry. With a sympathetic overseer and God's help as we said later, the Cognac industry was saved.

The occupied French initially hated the British for destroying the bulk of our fleet at Mers-el-Kébiri in North Africa. However the continued aerial bombardment in December of 1940 and all through 1941 of London and most of Southern Britain awakened our Country to what my Father had realized about the Nazi's when he sacrificed his life to sink part of our own fleet. Ironically, as we French began to worsen our opinion of our occupiers, and the Free French Army under De Gaulle fortified our patriotism; my Father began to be called a collaborator, at least his memory, since he was dead of course.

No one knew until the War was over that my Father had taken secret steps to help destroy the French fleet at Mers-el-Kébir, in North Africa, to keep our fleet out of German hands and it was difficult to hear it implied that my Father was a traitor to France. My Mother and I couldn't say anything contrary until the German's left in 1944.

World wars are very complex and cause numerous changes. I sincerely believe that my Father's sacrifice in 1940 is what saved the French Way of life and civilization in Europe. Even today France still provides the world an appreciation of the finer things in life, including the finest Cognac Brandy civilization has ever produced.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Maestro

The Maestro
Part 1
for Leonardo Davinci

edward w pritchard

The Artist hurried, He was late, late because he was unorganized, ofter overslept, although he hadn't slept well in a long time. The man never knew quite where he was, seemed frantic at times, ungraceful, and out of step. The man hurried down the hall from his bedroom dressing as he walked.

His customers would be upset. Hopefully he wouldn't lose the commission.

With a long sigh, later he entered the Church and only the King who was admiring the picture smiled at him. The others, to a man, also surrounding the picture, another masterpiece, The Last Supper, frowned judgmentally at his tardiness. As he walked up he could hear the priests arguing over the faces of saints in the picture and worrying about new painting technique he had used.

end part 1

part 2

The Maestro
for Leonardo Da Vinci
Part 2
Business had Been a little Slow

edward w pritchard

The man walked purposefully through the early morning streets. He would have to hurry to get to the Church and return to his work at the normal opening time.

He owned his own business, not a proposing one, he only made wagon wheels, axles and grease. His fellow townspeople usually called him the grease maker. It was a good living but a hard one for the man's heart was not always in his work.

The man's mind drifted to the argument with his wife earlier this morning. She was upset, justifiably so, because he had impulsively paid the lunch tab for the famous painter, who by chance, had happened to be at the tavern where the man stopped at noon yesterday for a glass of wine. He stopped , yesterday, because he felt strangely, and he had surprised himself by paying the bill for the painter and his two friends the painter was with. The bill was nearly a month's pay for the man. His generous impulse, was expensive for him, because the painter was a vegetarian and often ate imported fruits and vegetables and always the finest wines.

Still as the man entered the Church, he knew he wasn't sorry for what he had done, paying the lunch bill, even though he faced his wife's wraith for a long while, and he knew such an extravagance was out of character for him.

Entering the vestibule, he stared at the picture of Christ and the disciples, The Last supper, and smiled at Saint yyy. who had his hands up as if to stay --stop--.

That saint with his hands up in Leonardo Da Vinci, the maestro's, picture was the reason the grease maker had acted out of character and picked up the famous eccentric painter's lunch tab. The maestro had used the grease maker and his grand daughter as models for two of the saints in his picture.

Last year while taking his beloved, sick grand-daughter to the Doctor, the grease maker had by chance met the famous painter, the Maestro on the street, who sought to comfort the sad sick little girl, and to cheer her had drawn two butterfly's one looking like herself and the other like the grease maker, as the artist kindly called him. The skill of the painter drawing with a burnt stick on the town wall was astonishing.
Feeling sulky, the little girl had thrown up her hands to the painter and yelled stop to keep him from capturing her likeness that day with a stick in the street.

The impression of the Maestro creating had stuck in the man's mind and like many others in Milan he was overwhelmed by the divine talent in someone he knew as human all too human. For the maestro had once honored the grease maker by asking him for advice on maintaining a budget; for the painter had explained he never seemed to have enough money to pay his bills and expenses each month.

As the grease maker now, in the Church looked at the partially finished Last Supper, he smiled at the remarkable likeness of the little grand-daughters eyes.
The painter had used the granddaughter as the face of saint yyy and used the grease maker sad eyes as the face of saint xxx. Of course he hadn't asked them, and wealthy patrons often paid a partial fortune to have their faces in the Maestro's paintings especially as a Saint. It was the kind of secret joke the painter was known for and why he was always in trouble with his patrons.

Still, the grease maker knew he shouldn't have paid the tavern bill for the painter yesterday, for business had been a little slow, and looked to remain so for a while, at least according to certain business men in Milan who know of such things.

end part 2

Three black eyes

Three black eyes

edward w pritchard

She got her first black eye when she was 19 years old. He was a leading intellectual and an existentialist.

She got her second black eye when she was 50. She had met some one and things went wrong quickly.

Her third black eye was when she was 71 and a man was pushing a young girl and she stepped between them.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Marvella Joins A Team

Marvella Joins A Team
part 1
draft 1

edward w pritchard

Marvella was a strange addition to the team.

Marvella was a failed exotic dancer at a men's club near the expressway just outside of Youngstown, Ohio. The other girls made fun of her, and joked at her expense, because she couldn't keep herself from tripping and falling off the long bar counters, and several times she had tumbled awkwardly and heavily to the floor. The patrons didn't accept her clumsiness well, because they were embarrassed to see one of the girls as needing even if momentarily the milk of human kindness and therefore it was a mood killer. Although Marvella had blamed the tripping on customers poking her with dollar bills and upsetting her balance, her employer saw it different. The employer blamed the falls on her nearsightedness, lack of coordination, and in her 30 day review warned her that she was about to be sacked from her job. This job for Marvella was then destined to be another in a history of short term employments.

Her background at the club or inability to dance was of no concern to Mr. Sophia. Mr. Sophia wanted her on the team and he was rich enough and influential enough to get what he wanted. Some of the other team members who technically worked for Mr. Sophia, and hadn't yet met Marvella, objected to her based on her resume, in which they found a lack of class and sophistication. As the other team members were all highly educated their impression was probably spot on about Marvella. But Mr Sophia didn't want her on board for her class or sophistication, he needed her for her unique background and abilities. He felt she could be the spark to help solve a huge pressing problem that the existing group, which included himself, although extremely talented and educated, were unable to solve.

The team included Mr. Sophia and three others, and Marvella would make the fifth team member. The team had been recruited by Mr. Sophia and its objective was to make and then donate large sums of money to charity and other humanitarian causes that he choose. He took no compensation, but the other team members, being young, needed money and they were very well compensated for their successful efforts. Mr. Sophia was a retired multimillionaire, not yet 40 who had made his fortune from a broadband company he had started and lead successfully for over ten years. Eventually Mr Sophia was forced out by institutional shareholders and lost control of the company he founded. Mr. Sophia lead his team to keep busy and support charity, a cause that he strongly believed in; but there was also a part of him that was anti business and anti-Wall Street and he enjoyed successfully beating the big money players at their own game, a game which he felt they cheated at.

The current project that Marvella was recruited for was the largest bond trading opportunity of the last several hundred years. For one 3 hour period by agreement of all the major money centers and governments, ALL bond trading would stop worldwide and three hours later Synchronized and simultaneous bond trading would re-open at six distinct locations simultaneously quoting bond prices. The locations were New York, Los Angele's, Hong Kong, Tokyo, London and Dubai. A seventh location, on an orbiting Russian space station, was hoped to be brought on line in three to five years. The significance of the simultaneous trading was that going forward there would be no opportunity for arbitrage, creating a level playing field and saving hundreds of billions in interest costs to the major governments and major bond issuers of the world. Trading would stop at 4PM New York time and the bond price at that time would be frozen. No trading would then be allowed and would reopened at unknown price set by a small secret group of the IMF International Monetary Fund] three hours later. Thereafter, all quotes would be simultaneous at all the six locations, linked by computer. Mr Sophia, hoped to accurately predict the new bond trading price of the 10 year US treasury bond , and using derivatives, the team would take a 25 billion dollar position [ highly leveraged] and generate 1 to 2 billion in the profits in the first few hours of trading.

Marvella was recruited because of her expertise in time theory, which based on the work of the team over the last eight weeks was thought the key to determining the new spot price on the bonds. As of the date of Marvell'a recruitment the team was deadlocked on how time theory effected the spot price, being basically divided by specialty, ie, scientist, mathematician/statisticians, psychologist/bond trader and Mr Sophia being appointed the philosopher; something Mr. Sophia admitted to be weak at, although he had an undergraduate degree from an Ivy league school in philosophy.

Mr. Sophia had found Marvella on the internet when doing arcane research for the project on time theory and philosophy. While a freshman at Youngstown State University, in a College English course, that she had received a D in, Marvella had written a two page paper, that now appeared on scholarly web sites devoted to the question of the reality of time. Mr. Sophia had journeyed to Ohio, interviewed her at work on a 15 minute break and left convinced she had the ability to do A Priori theorizing on time theory. Additionally Marvella was passionate and interested and excited by the subject of time theory in a way that no one else on the team was. Mr. Sophia offered Marvella a position on the project, as a full partner, which meant she had an opportunity to make a lot of money if they were successful.

As a formality Mr. Sophia had offered the rest of the group an opportunity to veto his choice in deference to the fact that they had spent eight weeks of full time intense research and discussion on the bond project already and stood to make up to several million dollars each if they were successful.

The team had been recruited to make consensus difficult, and it was mildly ironic that the three members were all opposed to Marvella. Particularly it was ironic since if the bond project was canceled by the team, that is if the team [ read Mr Sophia] choose not to speculate on the deal, and time was running out, each of the three members stood to leave a large amount of money on the table. Potentially at least, and for various reasons that will be touched on later, each team member wanted and needed money badly, not to just live on but to live well.

Tony, was a statistician, expert in probability, had worked on Wall Street as a derivatives trader. Tony objected to Marvella because she had no college credentials, was from the Provinces [Ohio] and seemed to have only a moderate IQ [ less than 140]. Kate the psychologist and MBA in business objected to Marvella simply based on her lack of formal education. Rory who was the physics genius, was direct, she would taint the team with her presence.

Mr. Sophia didn't have much time to reach a consensus from the group so as he often did he threw money at the problem. He called the three together to his home and declared a special dividend. While they ate fine gourmet food and wines he had a large stack of hundred dollar bills present and as they discussed Marvella, Mr. Sophia began to light his expensive cigars from a stacks of hundred dollar bills. First, of course, he told the group the bills would be theirs at the end of the meeting, their dividend for past services on the project to date. There is no verification of how many bills were on the table that day, or how many were burned , but it was confirmed that there were three stacks of hundreds, over 4 inches high each, and Mr Sophia, for a while when angry in the discussion, would burn a stack with as many bills as would stay lit.

In the end, they reached a consensus, Marvella was on the team, and there was one more good story for the magazines about the ex-boy genius.

Naturally, there was still some animosity toward Marvella, and to break the ice a brief get together was planned on the back deck of her house the evening after the cigar incident. Time was the essence from this point on with the group as they had only 8 days now until the bond blackout. Earlier in the day, before the gathering each was given the following synopsis of the project to date supplied by the four members of the team and the last several sentences of Marvella's distant English paper on 'The Reality of Time".

Each was expected to read each synopsis on the plane to Marvella's house in Warren, Ohio.

Synopsis One
The Problem at hand with the bond price set, at the reopen price, following the three hour closure
then is best described by paraphrasing Keynes:[ when he compared picking a winning investment or stock to a beauty contest:] Rather than pick the prettiest girl[ in a beauty contest] one is successful who most accurately surmises and predicts the girl that the majority or other traders think will be the winner.

Therefore using games theory and probability theory we, the team must try to predict the criteria the IMF [ International Monetary Fund] will use, to peg the bond price, while being aware that they are glorified civil servants. As civil servants, in most likelihood, the IMF people will probably let their computers set the price based on the programming given to the computers.

It is of course impossible to know what the exact price will be, as no one can accurately predict the future, but half in jest, I observe the new bond price can only be higher, lower or the same. -Easy huh-Hence.

While I have little use for philosophy or Physics, I agree with and concur with the groups general direction concerning the bond trading problem as one involving time, duration and change.

These are the first and last paragraphs from Marvella's English Paper:
first paragraph
Is time Real?

This paper will survey what various well known philosophers throughout history have written on the subject of time, starting with Plato, and running the usual gamut through Aristotle, Plotinus, Thomas Aquinas, the Newtonian synthesis, and of course Berkley, Hume, Kant and even touch on Bergson before ending with Einstein and his critics.
Then a modern theory of time using both an allegorical and scientific methodology will be given. Then the paper will examine the possibility of simultaneous time with and without a human observer, and briefly touch on artificial intelligence and time.
Then philosophically the paper will ask did time have a beginning, and without using metaphysical arguments, the paper will survey the question of how the observer, human or non-human is" in time" and the paper will end where it started with a brief look at can anything real be independent of time. In the end the paper will again ask the 64,000 dollar question is time real.

last paragraph

Therefore, in conclusion the author must be excused for mercilessly summarizing the genius of so many learned men, but after 2600 years of thought man comes back to the same questions - is time real- and did time begin and -will it end. While the average man on the street thinks he knows time, and will if pressed insist that time is real, at some point we must ask-is time knowable only because of change and motion, and duration, that is only through sensation. As we discussed in the paper, can time be known by humans intellectually only, therefore, can we ask is it possible to be not be in time only in our minds [ or in spirit like a yoga or guru], and how will the future conclusions of man's artificial intelligence effect the human view of time. Will a definitive view on time's reality be finally reached.

Well, only time will tell but Let us conclude with this writer's prediction that philosophy and physics will clash like never before because of advances in technology allowing us view time and space in a geometrically larger context and of artificial intelligence being used to logically survey time without the usual human limitations.

Synopsis-2 How humans experience time
Time is experienced by humans as change through the senses. We all crave stability and safety, and maybe even animals resist change because a lot of bad things happen when things change. The wish for Permanence seeks to freeze time, stop it, have it never exist, or exist only in our minds, or only go, or not go, in one direction..
Time can also be conceptualized intellectually based on prior sense perceptions.

Time is usually thought to be real, and generally thought to imprison everything but God.

Time cannot be reduced to simpler components so in confusion people equate measurement of time with understanding of time. We scoff at our ancestors dancing to bring back the sun each morning or the medieval early fascination with clocks, but as moderns we are fascinated by quarks and debate can time go backwards at a small scale, or as astronomers "cry out " wait until we can look really far out in the Universe then we will know the answers about time.

Time is real to our senses, end of discussion. Intellectually, allegorically and metaphysically we can be out of " Time", we can change it's arrow, or have it stop or never start, but like anything that exists from the largest unit, the universe[ or collection of universes,] to the smallest unit that will ever exist, everything is in time because it starts and has duration and will end. Time is real to our senses.

Concerning our bond problem I say we decide what we are sure of with a very high probability based on our data and take a limited position based on the risk/reward agreed before hand by the group.

science, physics and time

Ignoring a historical listing of sciences progress in dealing with the problem of Time, after Newton's synthesis, two areas of modern science provide an understanding of time, the theory of relativity[ Einstein] and it's criticism's and enhancements to date,
and the use of mathematical tools to explain the physics of existence [ this includes formal logic from agreed on mathematical certainties]

In terms of our [ the team's] agreed upon parameters of how to approach the bond problem, the above two areas of science impact us with these three questions:

How is the observer related to time,
Does place effect time[ simultaneousness],
and if the equations of science do not gibe with the speculations of philosophy, how do we proceed.

To date, my recommendations have been we let Tony using his probability models attempt to predict how the IMF will conclude and decide if the risk to us being wrong is acceptable based on the potential reward. Then using the techniques of logic we pick a position.

Synopsis 4
Mr. Sophia

We must be highly certain to proceed with our project.

No one can accurately predict the future. To sweeten the pot i will guarantee 1.5 million of compensation to each team member if i am convinced we have garnered the best course of action and will pay win or lose.

We must be highly certain to proceed with our project

End of part 1

The Plot Device

The Plot Device
part 1

Edward W Pritchard
draft 1

Through a combination of behavioral counseling, hypnosis, pharmacology and surgical implant it became possible to convince patients at a large chain of nursing homes, that while they were now in modest circumstances in their old age; it was by choice, and that they had previously had considerable celebrity, and had only recently choose to enter this nursing home to finish their life in a quiet secluded location, peacefully watching television and reading after a lifetime of intrigue and adventure. The corporation that ran the nursing home was obscenely profitable because a very minimum of staff and security was needed to watch these type patients and with the government subsidies from Medicare and private insurance it was a very lucrative business.

My sister and I had a part to play in the treatment of our Father at one of the facilities under the new program. Once every other week one of us would be required to meet with our Father to assist the nursing home staff with maintaining the delusion that he was a retired Movie Producer and our Dad was in the home incognito and the press would love to learn his whereabouts so as to arrange interviews concerning a salacious scandal he was in following his wife, and our Mother's death. Of course nothing of sort had happened and we put him in this place after Mother died and he began to be unable to care for himself. He had a modest pension as a retired insurance adjuster and what with that, the government money and the little I and my sister put in he was quite comfortable. However, the special program can be quite expensive if the psychiatric staff must continue to plant bi-weekly the delusions into the patient. That's how my sister and I reluctantly agreed to the bi-monthly meetings and got involved with planting ideas into father's mind.

We agreed to the special counseling program because initially Dad reacted very badly to his new environment and because of family obligations neither of us could have Dad live with us.

Yesterday I met with Dad and had a script prepared by the staff psychiatrist and other staff members of ideas I was to suggest to Dad, that would later be implanted into his mind by the various methods discussed at the beginning of this story. I also had several props to use such as newspaper clippings, pictures, and a few letters form real celebrities to him. Of course the real celebrities were compensated by the nursing home corporation and did similar letters to thousands of patients.

Anyway, yesterday the orientation wth Dad went so well that

End of part 1

Our Town's Bookseller

Our Town's Bookseller
A Koan
Edward W Pritchard

The local river had overflowed it's banks as rivers often do from time to time and the people in the area had again forgotten that it could happen, which was forgivable because the last major flood had been over 125 years ago.

The bookseller's shop was east of the river, and a previous minor inconvenience of a steep sloping incline of the Main street as it ran away from the River and approached the College now was saving the booksellers shop from the flood waters.

Although a freethinker and an intellectual, the bookseller was a booster of local business, even paying to be in a couple of civic and business organizations that he personally got little economic benefit from. The bookseller was now willing to do his part to fight the flood waters, even while his shop would be safe from the dangers.

Already the Law office and the Library, which in normal times were a couple hundred feet above the River, and protected by a massive cement wall, were now beginning to flood due to water seepage at their foundations. A plan had been developed to save the Library, law office, and most importantly to some, the 20 or more restaurants and bars that catered to the College crowd, and was the life blood of the business community just before the crucial spring break season, that it now was.

This morning in the local paper there had been a discussion of the situation and many elderly people were sure they personally could remember the last flood, and even recalled when the waters were higher. A professor at the college had shown through his previous research how local Indian tribes had admonished early settlers from settlement within half a mile of the River, and warned them not to put their Watermills on the river but at least a half mile away from it, because although infrequent the floods were often brutal. A plan had been developed to save the downtown, and the Editor of the Paper, not an alarmist, and well respected. had capped off the articles with a call for personal sacrifice and support of the proposed plan to save the downtown.

The plan called for sandbags along a strategic location in the path of the waters to support the massive cement wall, and the Army Corps of Engineer agreed to provide consulting assistance. As he finished reading the local paper, the bookseller was not surprised to see several local business boosters entering his shop who asked him to donate books to shore up the sandbags. Sandbags were in short supply locally because of a building boom at the University> More importantly, the army engineers, had refused to allow trucks into the downtown streets because of hidden damage from water seepage. The bookseller, the Library and the Law Office were being asked to donate 1000 books each as the best available material to supplement the available sandbags.

The bookseller had acquired his collection of about 8000 books, carefully, through daily trading and bartering with local sellers. His collection was eclectic and remarkable for such a small town, even one containing a major University, His bread and butter, what justified him sitting in the small shop for 10 to 12 hours a day, was the sale of Romance Novels that he took in trade for credit from readers of that genre of stories, who used the credit to buy more of the same. Through diligent merchandising the bookseller was able to net about $2.00 per book on the romance novels which paid his bills and his salary and allowed him to stock the histories, philosophies, and great works of literature which were less in demand, and carried low sales margins; but were what made the shop unique for such a small town.

The bookseller's dilemma once he decided to cooperate in the plan to save the downtown by donating the 1000 books that was asked for from him to supplement the sandbags was whether to donate the common romance novels or the rarer works of literature. Unlike some others in the book selling business, and even though he was a connoisseur of fine books, the bookseller was able to see his inventory as just that, inventory, and he was not obsessive about collecting books per-se; as they were neither wealth nor treasure to him, but merely a means to run his business.

As the bookseller looked down the street toward the Savings and Loan, he noticed that it too might be soon flooded and decided at that instant to donate the thousand books by size, that is by physically larger weight and volume, regardless of subject matter.

Grandma's Pornography is Grandpa's Coat

Grandma's Pornography is Grandpa's Coat
lost Love
edward w Pritchard

A dry cold wind rattled the walls of the hut and the young bride awoke with a start. Her husband had slipped out of bed over an hour ago and would be busy around the ranch to leave up and across the San Bernardino Mountains at dawn for four months of high paying work in Death Valley on a borax mining crew.

The girl washed quickly in the cold water and put a liberal dose of French perfume about her neck and slipped into the immodest red dress, cut low in the front and very tight through the hips. She usually wasn't this type but her husband would see and attract the attentions of many women in the Saturday night desert towns over the next four months and she wanted him to remember her smell and the curve of her hips on those lonely Saturday nights. For further insurance of that she had bought some very expensive British tobacco that she planned to give him just as she kissed him good-bye, so every time he smoked her tobacco, which would be only occasionally because of the expense of the British tobacco, he would think of her.

His long leather coat would be open and would surround her body as she pressed against him when she gave him the tobacco, and he would have to bend down low to kiss her and the brim of his hat would have to be tipped for their faces to touch and the kiss would be short because both knew it was imperative that he got high in the Mountains before the heat of the day began, so their last embrace would be tantalizingly short.

She would remember that moment for many many times through-out her long life because he would not return to her. There would be no word of what had happened to the fifteen man borax mining team he was a part of, they would just disappear into the desert in Southern California in the year of 1885. The dark eyed bride would wait at the ranch at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains the rest of her long life. She would often review the departure over and over in her mind, and at other times felt it deep in her body and it wasn't until she was nearly seventy that she completely lost his smell and the feel of his hands on her hips, before he climbed into the wagon and left for four months of work as a borax miner in the early fall of 1885.

Later, when me or my twin brother Tell would ask Grandma about Grandpa or where we came from, she would tell us part of that story, but under no circumstances would she speculate to us on what had happened to the 15 man borax mining crew.

The Man who protected Horses

The Man who protected Horses
Nietzsche and Me

Edward W Pritchard

He, Frederick Nietzsche, became known as a most famous philosopher after his death, and the image had been enhanced by the fact that he was out of it for the last ten years of his life, insane that is. It might have been the ultimate act of will, to retreat into his mind, and speak or write no more of timeless truths, to only fool his Mother and Sister, and no longer carry the burden of moving Mankind into Modernity.

The incident which triggered his transformation, was real, and actually occurred external of his mind, that which transformed his consciousness from being to non being was the sight of a soldier hitting and beating a horse with a stick. A metaphor perhaps for Nietzsche flaying at humanity with his writing, but also connected literally, because Nietzsche as a young soldier had once fell off his horse, or rather been thrown off and suffered every day thereafter severe pains is his back and side and, general bad health because of the fall.

The physical pain from the throw was intense and to relieve the pain and suffering of the injury to his back, Nietzsche began to walk about at length, and during the very long walks developed a very complex philosophy comparable in insightfulness to that of the Buddha and the truths he incubated were profound and disturbing, but unlike the Buddha's truth, Neitzsche's truths were difficult to read or hear and there was always an edge to what he had to say.

Later after he had written many contentious books he saw that soldier hitting a horse and his self retreated into his head, like an egg being pulled into a bottle in a science experiment, and although he could see and feel the world during those last ten years, he could no longer reach out, he had no will to power, and was unable to live dangerously. Mercifully, the physical pain to his back and side were lessened, although it was tiresome at times to deal with his Mother and sister, and endure the disingenuous schadenfreude of us, his public. For his sake hopefully, god choose not to condemn him to eternal re occurrence, at least not beyond those ten years he spent in his head.

in any event with Nietzsche in mind, here's an alternate look at our senility, or as it's now called Alzheimer's disease, or is it reality

The demise was quite gradual, forgetting, then confusion and then all was a blank.

Reality was the man had Alzheimer disease, or maybe he was no longer a child, but a citizen, dutiful and sometimes good,

but he was involved in an elaborate illusion in his head for the last ten years of his life, each day seemed like a real day, long if sad or pained, and short, too short if pleasurable, and there was a labyrinth of inter-actions intrigues, etc, just like life

he was born, had a childhood, become aware of his social responsibility, got married ,had kids and then one day, he seemed to always be in his job,, the days, were complex, but new and the interactions had a certain alienated majesty, as if he knew them all before, He practiced subjects he didn't actually know and was always winging it so to speak, trying to maintain order, sometimes wanting to do something meaningful, but usually just going to work so he could get money to make it so he could go to work again. He was usually alone of course, that was to be expected but there were interludes, or had been, but other than nostalgia there was no past, which had happened, it was, but was not real, and the future was real but hadn't happened and of course the present was just very specious, and it's reality couldn't be ascertained because it was the past when you took note of it.

The work world was always the same, slightly unfamiliar, but manageable most of the time, there was a sense of disbelief, unreality, but it was real and everything flowed naturally and especially time was reassuring, and there was the worry about money and the future, and time passing one by and lost opportunity, so one preserved, and the dreaded happening that would wipe everything out, or change everything, or even the test where one is tested once and for all, never happened. Each day there was a different experience to live through and a new cast of characters to interact with but you never got to know anyone, but it all seemed quite significant.

You were just here and it went on as usual. There was nothing to fear, but nothing too exciting to look forward to, and things were never going to be used up, or change. Maybe others had a plan to live by but maybe not, because it was impossible to really know those around you. If they had been lucky they got in a situation and stayed there for a long time, got up did the same thing every day, had a couple of days off, but had to get back Monday, once or twice a year it was longer. Then eventually we began to get sick, a demise began, gradual but inevitable, and one felt deep down its was preordained, But nothing could be preordained because it was gospel that individual initiative and will could overcome anything.

And then one day blissfully the ten years were up and you awoke to yourself falling and being far away. And your thought was you had always been very very happy.

Continue- continue continue...
Another Teen with Anger and Angst

edward w pritchard

My fourth and youngest son, Darel was thrown out of private school for the second time when in desperation we scheduled an appointment with a psychologist specializing in patients with disabilities.

My wife and I had raised three fine boys, who thank God, were all excellent students and motivated achievers and competent athletes who I often coached. All three older boys dated appropriately and timely, and all three are now married with fine homes and stable careers. Of Course, My wife and I in our ignorance attributed their success to our stable home and our accomplished parenting skills.

My youngest son Darel has been a handful. Seven years younger, than his closest brother, he always seemed like a separate family to me. As he reached his teens at times I dreaded coming home from work because of him. Each evening there was another long conversation with my wife of all that had gone wrong today in school, or about tomorrows conference at school , or who Darel had been fighting with today or yesterday. He started smoking a 11, drinking at thirteen, and taking various soft drugs and pills at 14. He was more trouble than my other three sons put together, no ten times more trouble and it was only out of duty that I was able to carry on with him. His behavior was effecting my ability to sleep at night and his expulsion from the expensive private school for fighting was the last straw.

The Psychologist that we took Darel to had a disability himself, and had a busy, thriving practice. The psychologist didn't think Darel's being in a wheelchair had much to do with his problems, nor did he think Darel's behavior had anything to do with my wife's or my parenting skills or lack there of. The Doctor believed that most of us had a certain brain chemistry and that determined our behavior. He felt that Darel's behavior would "improve" and get closer to our families value system as he got older, or maybe not, but in the meantime he suggested that we enroll Darel in a wheelchair basketball league for teenagers. The doctor had referred other handicapped teens to similar programs with good results.

Within two weeks Darel had been kicked of the local high school wheel chair basketball team for fighting and arguing with the refs and coaches. After a lot of debate, and with the psychologists help, Darel was put on the adult competitive team at the local University.

The adult wheelchair basketball league is very intense. The team members are eclectic and for the most part they are men who play basketball, take it very seriously, and just happen to also be in a wheelchair. I went to the first practice with Darel and the team was practicing for mid season regional wheelchair playoffs at University that weekend. The practice was charged with motivation and determination. Most of the players worked full time and then came to the gym about 6:30PM and practice lasted until 8:30 or 9:00. There was a player coach who was an ex vet wounded in one of our countries recent wars and he was very strict with the team, although the team was pretty much self disciplined.

In practice the team ran the usual lay-up drills, outside shooting, practiced free throws and worked a lot on plays for the coming playoffs. Of course, everyone on the team was in a wheelchair, but some of the players came in a traditional style wheelchair, and then used a special "speed" wheelchair during practice or games. Darel was welcomed but although he was 10 to 15 years younger than most of the players they mostly paid him little notice. Several of the players had tattoos, one or two had blue hair and that sort of thing, and there were a few tough type guys who worked out and had big arms. Many of the players were loud and aggressive.

There was no scrimmage that night and Darel did OK. Although Darel wasn't near as good as most of the players he made a good back-up. The first 5 starting players contained a few who were over weight and easily winded but they all five played very hard. Darel along with three or four of the second stringers rotated in and out of the drills when someone got too tired to contribute or needed a short rest. That night, Darel was put in as first replacement by the player coach to test his abilities.

When we left after practice one of the players was having a big fight with his girlfriend about something in the hall near the door and there was a lot of swearing and crying and she ran off in a huff and the guy sort of shrugged at Darel and winked at me and said "Women". I noticed Darel take it all in.

My wife said that Darel had been anxious to play in the upcoming game all week, but at the playoff game that Friday night, Darel sat out until just before half time. It was a close game, tightly officiated, and the officials were unlike all of the players on both teams, not in wheel chairs; and there was a lot of pushing and shoving during the game. It was a little startling how aggressive both teams played. However, both teams were very disciplined, ran a lot of plays and there was a lot of hustle by all the players. Several times our player coach would call a time out and wheel up to one of his players and shake his finger at him and often two or three players would chastise someone who wasn't trying or started to argue with the ref.

Darel got put in with about a minute to go in the first half and immediately stole a pass from an older man of about 45 on the other team who he was guarding and Darel took off ahead of everybody down the floor and just before he shot another guy fouled Darel badly while he was shooting. Darel was awarded two free shots by the ref. However, rather than go to the foul line, Darel charged the guy who fouled him jumped into his lap and started pummeling the guy. Order was restored, Darel was ejected from the game, and a technical was called. Here's something I never saw before; the two foul shots awarded to Darel were nullified because he was fighting during that same play.
It was a very close game and with our team losing the two shots, and our opponents getting two technical foul shots and then the ball back, the half ended with them up two points, partly because of the situation with Darel.

My wife and I were upstairs rather than on the first floor bleachers like most everyone else so we were probably the only fans who saw what the players did to Darel at half time.

They surrounded Darel with their wheel chairs in a tight circle.

Five or six of Darel's teamamtes grabbed along both his arms and squeezed very hard to control him while the coach read him the riot act for a minute. Surprisingly,to me Darel took the hazing well, but I had to stop watching. After the circle around Darel broke up and the coach tore into a few other players, I wanted to go down and talk to Darel, but my wife stopped me. We found out that Darel was expelled for the rest of the game and wouldn't be back in, so we went outside for a few minutes, had a coke and when we came back the game had been going on again for 15 minutes or so.

Darel was on the sidelines and was intently watching the game when I came back. Darel followed the game closely from the bench and seemed to be "in" to the game. I noticed he was cheering a little and I watched him high five a couple of guys when things went well. Near the end of the game, Darel also wheeled out the starters water and towels at short timeouts, and then with the other subs, Darel joined the team in their circle at the huddles on the side for longer timeouts.

We ended up losing by five points but there is another game tomorrow night because it is double elimination in these playoffs.

On the way out the guy who was arguing with his girlfriend the other night was leaving with her and with a little girl of about 6. Darel's teammate rolled up to him and gently slapped him on the shoulder, winked at me again, and said to Darel "don't forget to duck "newbie".

In the car Darel was kind of silent but seemed a little less sullen than usual and the only thing he would say about the game was to make sure we could drive him back here to the University tomorrow night.