Every Mother’s Son (and Daughter)

Something I’ve been thinking about:

A while back I read this truly horrifying book called STALIN: THE COURT OF THE RED TSAR. Those Stalinists did some terrible terrible things. They killed many many millions of people. You know what I don’t ever remember them doing (in this book I read)?

Shooting someone in the street in broad daylight and leaving the body lying on the ground. Murdering a child in the street and leaving the body lying on the ground. Gunning down a child in the street and leaving the body to rot lying on the ground.

That child who grew in his mother’s womb. That child who nursed at his mother’s breast. That child who thoughtlessly, as all children do, received the love and hope and care of those around.

We are all of us, ALL OF US, at every age, at any age, our mother’s sons and daughters, our mother’s children. And there’s not a one of us, not a one of us, NOT A ONE OF US, that deserves to be killed in this manner, nor killed in any other.

Not even this vile thug, this betrayer of the public trust, this murdering colossal waste of human life, this parasite on the CITIZEN-FUNDED government, not even he, this child killer, not even he deserves to be gunned down in the street.

Something to think about.

Something I can’t stop thinking about.

Something I have the PRIVILEGE not to have to think about, if I don’t want to.

Still, I fear, with a not unreasonable fear, that someone might some day–some fearful white man, probably, with one of the murder weapons that blight our country–kill my children.

But I have the PRIVILEGE not to fear this as much as those whose skin just happens to be darker than my own. I have the privilege not to live this fear every time I see a cop car drive by. I have the privilege not to have to teach my son how to avoid getting shot by the police.


Do you hear me, my friends?

It’s madness. And I can only look on in helpless horror, because I don’t know what else to do.

Me, I’d rather write about presidents riding pterodactyls and moons made of cheese, King Kong in a diner, and all the silly thoughts I have.

I didn’t feel like doing that tonight, though.

Maybe tomorrow.

Zoom! went the Voom

(Or was it the moon?)

Circling back to the Fount of Chocolate, James K. Polk (our 11th president) whistled loudly and an immense roc crunched to the ground behind him. There was, like, this astoundingly patriotic moment where James K. Polk perched astride the roc’s back. That is, until he slipped and toppled off the roc’s back into the chocolate fountain.

“Yum!” James K. Polk murmured.

Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt (our 26th president) rolled his eyes and Martin Van Buren (#8) snickered. “Jimmy!” William Howard Taft (#27) bellowed. “Get outta that pool, you goddamn fool!” William Howard Taft and Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt high-fived.

Warren G. Harding (#29) snuck onto the roc’s back and flew away with it while all the others were distracted.

“Harding’s the worst!” said William Henry Harrison (#9, barely) quietly.

“Oh shut up, William, what are you even doing here? I mean, really?” said John “And Tippecanoe” Tyler (#10, but basically #9). William Henry Harrison slunk away. Or he would have, except he had nowhere to go.

All those presidents had nowhere to go, being stuck on the back of that turtle. Still, it was a pretty big turtle, so it wasn’t all bad.

Over There, By the Velocipede!

(Or was it the velociraptor?)

There once was an elevator that went to the moon, only no one knew about it because it was invisible. That was a shame, because it was a pretty nice elevator: speedy, not too busy, tastefully chosen music, satisfyingly thunky buttons. If you wanted to get to the moon, it was pretty much your best way to get there. Lord knows, the astronauts weren’t jaunting up there as often as they used to do. No sir (or ma’am), a real dearth of moon-jaunting!

So, if you wanted some moon cheese, well the elevator was pretty much the only way to do it.

One day, though, the elevator broke down. Maybe the elevator technicians went on strike. Maybe it got hit by an asteroid or some space garbage. Maybe some elevator gremlins took it over. At any rate, the problem was pretty hard to diagnose, what with it being invisible and all.

This enraged Harbey Quint, famed roboticist and culinary expert, whose jaded palate had never grown tired of the delectable moon cheese. Once that moon-cheese-train stopped running (by which I mean the elevator), Harbey Quint sunk into a deep despair that lasted at least 17 minutes. After which he settled on a plan.

Hunkering deep within his robot workshop/kitchen, Harbey Quint worked feverishly night and day, only stopping occasionally to peer longingly at the moon. And, yes, his mouth did water a bit.

Finally his work was done, and Harbey Quint unearthed his massive robot: a rabbit! (Yes, Harbey Quint was not without some gentle humor.) The rabbit robot blasted off into space, landed on the moon, and began to eat. And eat. And eat. And eat. And EAT.

The plan had been for the rabbit to eat all the moon cheese and then fly back down to earth, where Harbey Quint would have all of the moon cheese for himself. (Cue sinister laughter, if you’re into that kind of thing.) Only the rabbit robot just kind of stayed up there, big and round as the moon. Maybe it got stuck on the elevator or something. The President called Harbey Quint up on the phone and was like, Hey Harbey, you gotta put the moon back, man. Then all the other world leaders called too. Word had gotten out!

Anyway, Harbey Quint, somewhat reluctantly, built ANOTHER machine, and sent it off into space. This was a cheese making machine. It used space aether to make cheese, don’t ask me how. Science!

Soon, the moon was whole and round and made of cheese again. But as soon as the moon was whole again, that darn rabbit robot just set to eating it again, til there wasn’t more than just a sliver of it left. Well, that cheese-making machine wouldn’t stand for that (it was shaped like a cow), and set to making cheese just as fast as it could.

Well, those two just kept eating and making cheese forever and ever, and that there moon just keeps changing shape all through the months of the years all down the roads of time forever. Or just about as good as, as far as we’re all concerned.

Some Days, All There Is Is the Clatter of Keys

(Or should we not not try to avoid doubling up words?)

Winceworth the Pianoforte was sentient. Yeah, that was all it took: one day this little girl named Annabella Contessa Branciforte Montouth con Fragx played just the right combination of keys and voila! sentience. I mean, it was still a pianoforte. And it still had no independently moving parts. And it still had no means of communicating externally to those around it or, honestly, really even perceiving them apart from when someone sat down and tinkled away a little tune.

Some were better at playing, obviously, and over time (sixteen years or so, not that Winceworth the Pianoforte was really conscious of the passing of time nor even really aware that such a thing was), Winceworth the Pianoforte got pretty discerning about the quality of the music played upon itself.

So, OK, then about 20 or 40 years passed and a mad scientist type person got his or her hands on the pianoforte in order to play, one supposes, mad scientist type tunes. (Quite possibly the mad scientist type would have preferred an ominous pipe organ or perhaps a marimba, but those were tough to come by.) Over time (again, not something of which Winceworth the Pianoforte was really aware, but you know, for convenience sake) Winceworth the Pianoforte came to grow fond of the mad scientist type person’s intense pianoforte-playing sessions. “Wow, this being of which I know very little, having no sensory perceptions of any kind, sure does love to hammer away at my keys with a ferocious intensity. If only one day this being might discover some way to communicate with me, and I to it!” thought Winceworth the Pianoforte.

The mad scientist type person had no idea that its pianoforte was sentient. So its mad idea to use the pianoforte as a control mechanism for its world smashing robot was only slightly mad, compared to how mad it would have to be to put a sentient pianoforte in control of a world smashing robot. Still, that’s pretty mad, because really? Piano keys as a control mechanism? Crazy!

Later on the mad scientist type person came to regret its choice, after it became clear that the sentient pianoforte (everyone knew its name now: Winceworth the Pianoforte) was sentient and now in control of a giant world-smashng robot.

Pianoforte SMASH!