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I’m Here to Help

3 Jun

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

June 3,  2020

Day 74

Though the weather forecast said rain, we had a respite from the showers that have been soaking the land for the past week. Sunshine streamed in the bedroom window this morning on an angle that tells me it is nearly the beginning of winter. Only one quail and a host of chaffinches showed up for breakfast. Light wind from the west, cool but not cold. After a breakfast of fried bread I rose to do battle with the temporary kitchen’s leaky west wall. We’ve been mopping up water from the floor in the two closets that sit on either side of the china cabinet and I even drilled two large holes in the floor to see if the water would drain. No luck there as the water bypassed them both through the strength of capillary action between the floor and the base board of the left hand closet. Time to see what could be done on the outside.

Yesterday I built a walkway spanning the entire length of the wall so that I could work on the upper edge detail of the roof without having to constantly reposition a ladder wherever I needed to work. I cut ten pillars to length, drove them into the clay with a mattock, attached two long header rails and then capped it with a plywood deck and an outer edge piece to keep the ladder feet from sliding off. The gap between the verandah on the north side and the end of the walkway was bridged by a two-by-ten and the epiphytes on the house side of a huge tree were trimmed so that I could make my way easily along the walkway.

This morning I cut a small section out of the verandah rail so that I can get to the walkway without having to negotiate that obstacle. When that was done I began the painstaking and tedious work of figuring out how, where and why the wall was  leaking and then fixing it. Morning turned to afternoon and I skipped lunch because the sky had clouded over and rain was threatening. The job finished with a new tarp being attached to the upper header of the temporary kitchen wall and the roof tarps weighted and draped over the entire span. As the sun slipped behind Totokoroa and the light began to fade I put the final touches on my repairs, inspected the work, picked up all my tools and stopped for the day. I hope it works.

Inside the sitting room the heater was going and the warmth made the space feel even cosier than normal. I sat in my big chair and checked todays numbers…

AAAJUN3NZCov

Zero New cases (for the twelfth straight day). Zero recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active and probable cases (plus 22 deaths) is still 99.93%. One active case remains and the entire nation is quietly waiting for that person to recover. The media must have their headlines ready and the editors are standing by. So we wait…

…And while we wait, many of America’s major cities are seeing the worst riots since Rodney King was beaten down by a gang of policemen in May of 1992. This time the trigger was the needless and tragic death of George Floyd at the hands (and knee) of another policeman and aided and abetted by the inaction of three other officers on the scene. Protesters rightly took to the streets to say this should not have happened and that something must be done to prevent it in the future. Then, inevitably, some protests became riots. The two are mutually exclusive. You can protest or you can riot. The former is understandable, the latter is a crime. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Thugs and thugettes want free big screen TV’s and cheesecakes and the protests are a great excuse. Al Sharpton showed up to say that burning black owned businesses was ‘reckless’. What about white owned businesses? Hispanic owned businesses? Korean owned? Those okay to burn, Al?

 

AAAHERETOHELP

 

The people who are rioting and looting have revenue enhancement goals, entertainment goals, and some have political goals. It is my opinion that very few of them give a rats ass about George Floyd. They have agendas, they know the police are outnumbered and have their hands tied by the ‘optics’ of arresting anyone for anything. Some rioters even convince themselves their actions are justified. If asked, they’ll say, “We are protesting…”

This lunacy is further compounded by the organisation Black Lives Matter and a great deal of their supporters who care not a whit for the hundreds of black men, women and children killed by black offenders in Chicago last year, this year, and, seemingly, every year. Where is the outrage. Where are the protests? No riots for them? No looting?

https://www.stltoday.com/opinion/mailbag/letter-where-are-the-protests-about-black-on-black-crime/article_cd56e2a6-8e1b-5321-b089-8ca28c743c03.html

But when a white cop kills a black man in the course, however flawed, of an arrest, it’s game on. Cue the victimhood speeches, cry for reparations, interview Colin Kaepernick, page Al and Jesse, break out the masks (and not for Covid-19) and meet up at your local Target store for free stuff. Dare to ask where is the outrage when a black man kills another black man and you will be dismissed as a racist, the throwaway line for every situation when someone doesn’t agree with the aggrieved nowadays. Yes, it is wrong for a man to be denied due process by being killed during his arrest. Yes, I support the right to peaceful protest and agree that even one such death is one too many. But if citizens aren’t motivated enough to get out and do the hard, constructive work required to change the system, I have no respect for them when they foment violence and tolerate or try to explain away the deliberate theft or destruction of property in the name of advancing their agendas. It is despicable and beneath contempt.

 

AAAABAL

 

Why do the very people affected by this ignore the question? To continue to ignore it is a choice.

 

 

 

AAAFAIL

 

 

Goodnight and Good Luck

24 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 24,  2020

Day 64

A couple of things right off the bat. The quail haven’t left, the meteorologists were right about the rain and Hong Kong is in trouble.

In other news today a salon worker in Missouri infected 91 customers over seven days last week, Sweden stands by their plan and Putin’s approval ratings have dropped from 100% to 97%. In Moscow a third doctor who worked for an ambulance service has fallen to his death after expressing dismay about two doctors who earlier died in similar incidents. A government spokesperson is reported to have cited ‘unwarranted agitation for parachutes for health workers on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19’ as the cause of his ‘inadvertent and totally unrelated high speed convergence with the earth’. In Norway, BOC Aviation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the state owned Bank Of China, has purchased a majority share of Norwegian Air after the cash strapped startup completed a debt for equity swap in order to survive the downturn in revenue caused by the Covid-19 contagion. Media representatives for BOC Aviation were unavailable for comment at the time of the transaction as they were busy threatening Australia with ‘new much needed regulations’ on the import of beef and ‘technical inspection issues’ affecting the shipping of coal and iron ore. Elsewhere, North Korea still has zero reported cases and credits this to Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un’s ‘Superior Leadership and Beneficial Practices’. The Hermit Kingdom has offered to help the world combat Covid-19 by teaching these principles to all countries except Turkmenistan, citing a long standing dispute with that former Soviet republic about which nation had zero Covid-19 cases first. Resolution of this dispute is proving to be difficult as President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has banned the word coronavirus. And in New Zealand toady, Ministry of Health figures were posted on their website and this is what they say…

AMAY24NZCov

Zero New cases. 1 Recovered case. Ratio of recovered cases to confirmed and probable cases is 96.8%. Five Zeroes on the board. 27 Active cases remaining.

 

 

 

And in our final story tonight…

AMANEATEN

 

Goodnight and good luck.

 

 

 

Qui Tacet Consentiere

27 May

 

100 words for Friday Fictioneers.

Unlike the many creatures we’ve sent, as W.S. Merwin said in For a Coming Extinction, “…to The End.”, I have returned, if only for this week, because the photograph is mine and speaks to me of teeming seas from a time long past…. No need to comment. I love you all. Aloha, D.

 

Silence implies Consent

(Copyright Douglas MacIlroy)

“And they lived in the oceans?” At three years of age, my daughter was just beginning to get an inkling of the world that had gone before her.

“They filled the seas, Pearl. We were once just a distant rumor to them.”

“If there were so many, where did they all go?”

“To feed us, darling.”

“Every one?”

“Some say a few still live in deep canyons where nets can’t reach, but none have been seen for many years.”

“Will they ever come back, Daddy?”

“In time perhaps.”

“When we’re gone?”

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 12.36.25 AM

Darkness Falls

25 Apr

Some of you may have seen that Mauna Kea is in the news lately because of an ongoing attempt by protesters to stop the construction of the Thirty-Meter-Telescope. The issues in question can be found by searching the web carefully, but be careful to research thoroughly as there are many conflicting viewpoints out there. As an employee of one of the existing observatories on the summit, I have been counseled by admin to keep an open mind and be professional in the expression of my opinions. And so I have. This weeks story for Friday Fictioneers is based on my own photo prompt and speaks my mind quite clearly.

It is longer than normal by 58 words and for these I make no apology. I have been spot on for months and will be absent from the mix for some time to come so I hope you will tolerate my overage. If you do not want to read more than 100 words, you’d better stop 68 words ago.

Thanks to all who read on. See you down the road a bit. Aloha, D.

 

Darkness Falls

(Copyright Douglas MacIlroy)

A mob is coming to destroy what might have been their salvation. They listen to reply, not to understand. They want to watch the world burn.

Mauna Kea is sacred. But not for the reasons they claim. The Universe unfolds, light dances eternally and the majesty of Nature gives not a tinker’s damn about man’s gods. The mountain was here long before they arrived, guided, ironically, by their elder’s knowledge of the stars. It will endure long after they are dust.

Mauna Kea is sacred. Unlike the mob, I have learned this through direct experience over five years of glorious sunsets, cold, clear nights and solitary dawns. Cloaked in false pride and righteousness, ignorance is on the march against the inexorable tide of knowledge.

I lock the doors and wait. Someplace has to be the backwater of science and education in the world. It might as well be Hawaii. This will be their legacy.

If you listen carefully you can hear the stars laughing.

 

 

aaaaaaaafondly

To all my followers

Riparian Riddles

10 Dec

100 words for Friday Fictioneers.

 

sticks and stones

 

“What’s the answer?”

“What’s the question?”

“Why do people litter?”

“Why do they have children?”

“To leave some evidence that they existed?”

“See?”

“So is there an answer?”

“Do you really want to hear it?”

“I’m not sure, do I?”

“You just looking for absolution?”

“As if this is my fault?”

“How beautiful would the world be if we worked for the next hundred years to remove all our trash and then voluntarily killed ourselves?”

“Who would know?”

“Who cares?”

“There’s no hope, is there?”

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 1.13.06 AM

God of All Things

23 Jul

100 words for Friday Fictioneers a group of writers from around the world who meet at a virtual restaurant every week and choose one story from column A and two from column B. The head cook and bottle washer is Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and the stories are inspired by the photo prompt below from Marie Gail Stratford.

My story is a requiem for two goats, dear friends of a dear friend, mauled to death by a pack of wild dogs on a recent moonlit night. The link to the picture is obscure, but has its roots in the Japanese superstition about not placing chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice.

God of All Things

 

No luck today in my search.

In a shaded grove of tangled bamboo, iridescent Tui’s fill the air with mournful song. A shaft of sunlight bathes a low mound.

Khalil Gibran said, “Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation”.

I don’t blame the dogs. They are man’s best friend in daytime, but at night and in a pack they answer only to the moon.

I do blame the owners and pray we never meet.

In fresh turned earth I stand two lighted joss sticks, one for Brad, now at peace, and one for Calvin, still missing.

 

 

 

goat on stump

 

 

 

Two Wolves and a Sheep vote on what to have for Dinner

14 May

A 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, a restive flock of writers shepherded loosely by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, based on the photo prompt below provided by Sandra Crook.

This is a story that has been written many times. To prove my point there are at least four clues in this version that point to a previous incarnation. If you find them all I challenge you to then examine the events of the last fifteen years with the same attention to detail. Then return to your grazing.

 

Two wolves and a sheep vote....

.

Heinrich Luitpold, head of the DHS Border and Transportation Security Directorate sat in the back of his bullet-proof BMW and smiled as his driver fumed. The conference recently held in headquarters suite 1-C had yielded an action plan that would lead at last to a final solution.

In 2019 increased fees charged by TSA to travelers would finance new uniforms and prominent, respect worthy badges. By 2022 agents would be given arrest powers and weapons. In 2025 the mandatory registration and RFID chipping of all citizens would commence.

“Relax, Franz,” said Heinrich, “We are no longer concerned with the sheep.”

 

End game

 

The Department of Homeland Security Border and Transportation Security Directorate is the actual name of a department of our government.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

“Don’t rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world stood up and stopped the Bastard, the Bitch that bore him is in heat again.” – Bertold Brecht

 

 

HeadsTails

 

 

 

 

 

The Tears of Cassandra

16 Apr

What mischief compels me return here and write?

 

ULUA GONE

 

If Cassandra could live her life over, would she yield to Apollo to save herself from Ajax and the pain of never being believed whenever she tried to warn her fellow man?

Would we listen to all that escapes her lips, aware that a nameless menace lurks inside the wooden horse of our own complacency? I think not.

Troy fell.

Troy will fall again.

This time our role will not be to doubt Cassandra. This time we won’t even hear her warnings.

When death comes before our time, we can look to the sea for answers. There, in the name of survival, we killed all that we could of the myriad creatures that lived in her embrace and  sowed the seeds of our own diminishment. We will follow the whales, sharks, tuna, sardines and plankton and fertilize a future devoid of us in a sea that has nothing but time in which to grow new mysteries.

We will be a dead branch on the evolutionary tree, a layer of sedimentary rock full of riddles for archeologists (not human) somewhere in time.

It is happening now.

Cassandra weeps.

 

Cassandra and Ajax

A Revolutionary Act

6 Nov

A 100 word homage to Eric Arthur Blair for Friday Fictioneers, a collective of writers overseen by Little Sister Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, inspired by the photo prompt below which was supplied by Alastair Forbes.

If you think it cannot happen here, you haven’t been paying attention. It is happening now.

The telescreen

The walls shook with the sound of approaching helicopters.

“We might as well say goodbye,” Winston said to Julia.

“YOU MIGHT AS WELL SAY GOODBYE!” the house shouted.

“You’re thirty years late.” Winston replied, free of the need to maintain the illusion of conformity. They could only kill him once, and thoughtcrime was thoughtcrime.

“What is it, Winston?” asked Julia. “What have you done?”

“I expressed an opinion on my blog…”

“YOU EXPRESSED AN OPINION ON YOUR BLOG…”

“How could you?” Julia asked. “The penalty is….”

“…DEATH TO PERPETRATOR. RE-EDUCATION OF RELATED INDIVIDUALS.”

The door burst open.

“Homeland Security, freeze!”

ingsoc

Screen shot 2013-11-04 at 2.04.09 AM

Dear America...

Arevolutionary act1

Because Freedom is Dangerous

28 Aug

Here is my story for Friday Fictioneers, a gathering of writers from around the world who meet each week in Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s cyber garage  to share their 100 word inspirations based on photo prompts such as the one shown below from Dawn.

This week’s picture is of Union Station in Washington, D.C., a city created by Congress to keep the nation’s Capitol distinct from the states and to provide for its own protection. (Seems they were doing then what they do so well now. Go figure.) It  is also famous for harboring a disproportionate population of vermin whose actions are the subject of my story. (I’ll let you know my cell number as soon as I’ve settled in.)

Lubyanka

“Destination, sir?” the TSA agent asked.

The elderly man standing trackside looked his interrogator up and down, taking in the blue and gray uniform rife with none too subtle bells, buttons, whistles and decals.

“Do I know you?”

“I’m a Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response team member. We’re authorized to….”

“Visible Intermodal what?”

“VIPER Team, sir.”

“Has it crossed your mind how ridiculous that sounds?”

“The Department of Homeland Security chose the name.”

“Ever wonder who chose theirs?”

“Your destination?”

“My ticket says Denver, but it’s looking more and more like Lubyanka Square, Moscow. ”

“Please come with me, sir.”