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Given the recent criticism I received from a number of public groups about my choice of nodes to promote in Lost Gems of Yesteryear, I pulled out all the stops and called upon a few of my powerful and influential friends for support. So take a moment of your time, I'll no longer bother you with my powerless, plaintive pleas that you vote and Ching! my choices; I'll let some people you're probably quite familiar with voice their opinions for your perusal, on this the final day of the quest:

  Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
  (Address deleted for privacy)
Chappaqua, New York 10514

Dear Paul:

It is with great interest that I read your nominations for the Lost Gems of Yesteryear quest on the interesting website Everything2.com.

I herewith tender my support for Boris Karloff, the delightful Normal is just a setting on a washing machine, and Love Your Enemies. All have prosaic merit and are subjects upon which we both agree.

I tried to get Bill to look at them but he was indisposed re-reading a copy of It Takes A Village. It's part of his penance for his past transgressions (if you know what I mean). His next task will be reading, and writing a detailed report on the collected works of Maya Angelou.

In closing, do not hesitate to contact me in the event I can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

Hillary

 

P.S. Do you think you can get Jim Gandolfini to help with my next commercial? We really like him but The William Morris Agency won't return my phone calls. Thanks in advance for your help!

H

Now, far be it from me to err on the side of invoking politics in any discussion without offering an viewpoint from the other side of the political spectrum:

CONDOLEEZA RICE
Secretary of State
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C.

Dear Paul:

Thank you for making me aware of the cultural cornucopia at www.everything2.com.

It is not normally my policy to offer endorsements nor opinions on matters not approved by the Cabinet. However, I will make an exception in your case.

Boris Karloff was a fine, many-faceted actor. Any writing about his contribution to American film deserves attention. Additionally, Normal is just a setting on a washing machine is something everyone can garner wisdom from. We, as a nation, are an amalgam of diverse cultures, beliefs and races. Is there ever anything "normal" but for the constant pestering given us here at the White House by the press? I did, however, have a slight issue with Love Your Enemies, which in concept is sound, but in practice must be set aside until we blast all of the terrorist pagans in the middle east into little tiny pieces.

Would that I weren't so busy, I'd tell you what's been going on. Maybe we'll catch each other at the Kennedy Center Honors again. Right now I've got to polish the President's shoes before he goes to church with Laura.

Sincerely,

Condi

And finally, an email from the most intrepid independent politician in history:

FROM: (omitted for privacy)

TO: Paul.Lewis.06@asianfusion.net

SUBJECT: Re: Endorsement of your favorite writings on Everything2

Thank you for your recent message about a website that I find refreshingly candid and progressive. Love Your Enemies is a delightful discussion of a religious ideal, but I can't in good conscience tell you that I follow that sage advice when it comes to the Military-Industrial Complex, which has kept me from the presidency these many years. It's time for a change, Paul. And the change must come from an educated people. Normal is just a setting on a washing machine is a lovely piece of work from such a young writer, as you've so informed me. But remember, I'll not stop championing the cause of American consumers until they can buy a washing machine that poses no hazards to them or their families. A washing machine that doesn't break down all the time. A washing machine that doesn't pollute the air we breathe or the water we drink. Now, I haven't anything against Boris Karloff, but it's sad that the piece on him didn't include the truth about the Hollywood studio system and how it rapes artists of their integrity and churns out pablum for the masses. They need to begin educating the American people about a better way of life. I haven't the slightest idea how they let Michael Moore distribute the enlightening films he's been responsible for. You know, they're gonna do the same thing to him that they did to Jack and Bobby.

In answer to your question, no, I don't think I'll be running in '08. I'm getting older and am now completely disillusioned by what's been going on in Washington and around the world. I've been thinking about making an appointment with Jack Kevorkian. I feel like a dinosaur, Paul; where are all the neat folks who used to support me and my causes? Well, I'll tell you where they are. They're living a lifestyle they call the "American Dream" while their SUVs use up precious reserves of oil, pollute the air, and kill those who'd drive a more practical, hybrid vehicle.

In closing, pass my words on to your friends. And say, the next time you're in D.C. why not bring me some of that great stuff we smoked when we were at Clinton's inauguration bash?

Best Regards,

Ralph Nader

So, folks, don't take it from me. Take it from the representative of the political party you choose. Vote and Ching only the best and the brightest in Lost Gems of Yesteryear!

Love,

shaogo

The Everything2 Podcast, Episode 9, Season 2

Recorded live during the second quadrennial Cologne Nodermeet, containing adult content. Unfortunately, contrary to Dimview's statement, there is quite a bit of background noise on the recording. Must be her.

Nodes:

Direct download at http://e2podcast.spunkotronic.com/podcast29.mp3, itunes users will get it via magic.

H.

So, I've been having another series of dreams that appears to be trying to tell me something. I have these types of dreams, which can most easily be describe as lucid dreams, but actually seem to be something more than that, for the past thirteen years. The first series of dreams was what led me to Florida and the whole Tina deal and all that three queens business I'm often on about. The latest is in the same vein but seems extremely focused on getting a specific point across, or maybe that isn't what it is doing. Sometimes it is hard to tell.

The dream sequence usually starts with a party. I'm in a large mass of people in some kind of big house on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Everyone is very well dressed and mingling in a very superficial way. This all suddenly ends and I find myself standing in a shell of a building. It appears to be an abandoned warehouse or burned out apartment building, depending on what angle I'm looking at it from. The room I am in has that smell like it was fairly recently set on fire. I am standing in the center of this room and someone enters through a doorway just ahead of me. When she approaches I see that she is Sandra Bullock, and I have no doubt that is who this is. She is holding something. She looks around, as if making sure there is no one else about, and then hands me the item. It is a very greasy motor of some kind, about the size of a toaster oven, and when I accept it from her I have this urgent desire to put it down and clean my hands. I'm generally more interested in washing my hands than I am in the motor itself, which mostly seems to annoy me.

I don't put the motor down, however, as there is nowhere to put it. The room has no tables or counters or any furniture at all. The floor is rather nasty, seems to be covered with ashes, trash and other things I'd rather not contemplate. I look at Sandra Bullock, who has this expression on her face that reads, "Yeah, okay, I got you the motor. Are you going to say something?" I don't say anything, I look all around me, mostly seeking somewhere to put the motor down so I can wash my hands. I see a young boy in the corner, trying to sleep with a dirty painter's drop cloth of some kind he is using as a blanket.

So, most nights the dream sequence just plays out the same, but the last couple of nights I've tried to manipulate the sequence. My actions in the dream are fairly predictable, and seem to mostly be the result of inaction rather than action. At no point do I actually move from my position, whether at the party or in the burned out building, I stand still. Things happen around me and I don't really do all that much.

The first thing I attempted to do was to refuse the motor. Well, Sandra Bullock didn't like that very much and got pretty pissed off. It was apparent from her reaction that she went through a great deal of trouble to get this motor for me.

The burned out building is a familiar setting in my dreams, one of three venues that general host the dreams I have of this kind. The others are a cabin in the woods and Rancho Nuevo. The burned out building tends to frame a landscape of war, chaos and destruction, what is generally known to me as "The War of the Zealots," a total war in which everyone has banded together or turned on each other and are fighting by any means possible so that their band survives while all other bands are destroyed. So, given that this dream happens in this setting, there are other considerations for the special delivery of this motor.

My role in this war tends to be one where I am seeking resolution of the conflict, and I am usually older than I am now, with a full head of gray hair. In previous sequences in the setting people have come to me seeking advice or help, and I am generally holed up in this same building, usually in this same room. Sandra Bullock is not asking for my advice or help, she is bringing me this motor and does not appear to need anything from me in return. The motor is somehow important to some element of the cause of stopping the ongoing chaos, but the dream sequence does nothing to explain how. There is nothing around that the motor could be used to power. Other than trash, there is only the young boy and myself in the room, so last night after I accepted the motor from Sandra Bullock I walked over to the boy and showed it to him. He opened his eyes, looked at it and smiled. Then he rolled over and pulled the drop cloth over his head. He knows about the motor but isn't directly involved in its use or purpose, but both the boy and Sandra Bullock seem to feel I should have no questions regarding the motor, that I have been waiting for it, that I need it, and that this is an important thing.

The problem is, I have no idea what the motor is for and no one is telling me because they believe that I do know and that the idea of me not knowing what it is or what it is for is simply absurd.

Which leaves me at the most basic explanation. I am being given a motor. The purpose of a motor is to power something, enable it to function, more or less. There is something that has not been functioning because it is lacking a working motor. Whatever that is, I have now been given the means to restore functionality to it. Maybe it isn't important to see that something in the dream, maybe the motor is merely symbolic of being something I needed to make something work.

Of course, I still have no idea why Sandra Bullock is the one giving me the motor. Or why she's always wearing pants.


At the beginning of the movie, they know they have to find each other.
But they ride off in opposite directions.

Sharkey says:
"I turn around, it's fear.
I turn around again, and it's love.
Nobody knows me.
Nobody knows my name."

--Laurie Anderson
Sharkey's Day

"You realize you're in a situation you can't control, don't you?"

"You suppose I'm trying to control it."

"You are trying to think of this in rational terms. The idea that everything is just fine because Christine said you have no obligation to each other until you move and because Victoria knows you are leaving her in October might look good on paper, but it isn't going to work that way. All you are going to do is end up hurting both of them."

"Yeah, but there is no way out, and the truth of the situation is that I have something else I need to do when I get to Florida and the last thing I need is to have a girlfriend when I'm trying to figure this out."

"So, you expect to lose both of them."

"In the sense you mean, yes, but in the sense I mean, I won't lose either of them. I just haven't quite figured out what I mean quite yet."

"Two women in two different places and you in the middle trying to balance the equation. I suppose I could envy you and pity you at the same time."

"They're both Scorpios and so am I. Does that help?"


There are reminders of a time long ago, a good ten years ago when things were somewhat different in my life. It was then that I was far more daring in everything that I did. It was then that I never needed an exit strategy from any situation I entered into, no matter how dangerous it seemed to the casual onlooker.

A motor. A way to power something. I haven't had my "powers" truly engaged for some time. Sandra Bullock seems to be obsessed with telling me that I am being given back the motor I lost along the way. The motor she is giving me is obviously not new. It is greasy and leaking oil like a son of a bitch. I can tell just by looking at it, this motor has been through a lot but it is still capable of functioning. Maybe this dream is a lot like being handed your bleeding heart and being told it is okay to put it back in your chest.

Guarded. Everything has been very securely guarded these days. I've been very careful. And who wouldn't after being dragged 1,500 miles away from the place you call home under false pretenses, used and abused and tossed aside like an old newspaper wrapped around a fish? I'm being told something in this dream. I'm being told I am being given back that which was lost, the motor is a symbol of this, and yet I am all too cautiously dancing around the edges and not throwing myself into the work that is my calling.

A noder I haven't spoken to in quite some time showed up yesterday and thanked me for something. And then she reminded me that although she rarely makes an appearance here these days it is very important that I continue to preach Give everything you can to everyone you know. And I thought on this for some time and realized, yes, it is true. I've been on cruise control, holding back and not reclaiming the person that I was before I left Florida two and a half years ago. I survived. I faced the most destructive force I will ever face in my life, a person I deeply loved who sought to destroy me, ever so slowly, through a growing pattern of emotional abuse. That is behind me now. I survived and I came full circle. I am back where I belong.

And I'm being given back the motor I lost. And yet, I still have no idea why it is Sandra Bullock who is giving it to me, but hell, I guess it wouldn't matter who was giving it to me. I'd still ask the same pointless question.


There have been requests for an update and thus please consider this that. In summation and from the getgo: we moved. Not like the earth does (nor like scorpions or rattlesnakes), but in an impossibly large and cherry-red truck. This was a few weeks ago now and pretty much as a result of J.'s mum being in what they call the active stage of dying because of the bone cancer which has spread about her bones which are themselves of course pretty much everywhere you might look in a person should you be Mister Cancer and thinking about a roadtrip now that the chemotherapy police have fucked off. And I do think of cancer as being masculine, and a nasty sonofabitch at that actually, and I hate military metaphors or language when talking about battling the disease, but in this case pass me the buckshot with a side of fresh bullets.

The reason the cancer came into the moving equation was that I wanted us settled as much as can be before my mother-in-law died. So once we'd sold the house in Lambertville, I pushed up the closing as much as I could . No-one needs to plan a move and a memorial service in the same week was my thinking. We paid some extra for the guys to come and box everything up and then we just said some goodbyes like we'd never see these people again which in many cases will be true, put the cat in a sack and headed north.

We live in Maine now, on a few gentle acres of the Permaquid peninsular and I feel I've used up most of my wishes getting us to here. It's a big old house with a barn attached as can be the local style. And in the barn, where I have set up shop, there are some offices and a separate apartment* which will make visitors stink less than dead fish. The Pemaquid is also a river and we have a few hundred feet of it running across the bottom of our garden. I go down there most days and watch the water flow by, almost baffled at the notion that the stones being smoothed on the river bed are for the purposes of legal designation owned by me.

I am very much looking forward to Winter. I am also very much looking forward to tomorrow, because on Labor Day the people with Summer houses or the people who rent houses for the Summer from people who own Summer houses, all go away. Many of the lobster shacks close up for the season, and the business of getting to really know this place can properly begin. Although this first year will be somewhat fragmented, as well as grievous, as we will be in Austin, Texas with J.'s mother for almost all of October which will likely see the end to this sad death watch. She is my age juxtaposed, her 64 and me 46. Those scant years between us bring home mortality's chill more closely than I've felt it before and my own weaknesses stalk me as though in perfect stride with my thoughts and fears.

I have been hoping for some celerity in my writing, but the rocks of the day are sewn into the hip pockets of a coat I can't seem to remove. For now I have an old small notebook, overstuffed like its owner, and in these fine early evenings walk down to the Well station beneath a maple the size of a small lighthouse and look back at this gray shingled house with its old black shutters and then across the field to the long-grounded lobster boat that my son now uses as his own personal play fleet, and I scribble away like Gibbon, albeit without his purpose. And then, with enough words done, however slowly, and as though a bell rung to release the children stuck inside of me, I open the day's first bottle and slowly feel far less. In every way.



* The apartment will comfortably house you for a night or two if you're this way and in need of lodging. Just send along a message. I cook reasonably also and will happily fill you up. DR.

I'll freely admit to being quite thoroughly dim. It took me the longest time to figure out what the holy howling hell was the entire point of the Lost Gems of Yesteryear quest, longer than that to submit some of my old favorites, and clear until the last day of the quest to add something telling why you should vote them up, ching them, and send the authors nice fat wads of cash.

So here we go. Here are my submissions and few short words on why I think they're awesome.

And? by Derfel: When it comes to science fiction, rocketships and robots are great, but I really enjoy stories that emphasize the human factor. This one does that wonderfully by letting us see into the souls of an android that can only say one word and an uncaring scientist who just won't shut up.

Mr Loo by Lometa: I love Lometa's reminiscences and personality profiles, and this one has long been my favorite. I wish I'd known Mr Loo -- he sounds like a wonderful man.

The demon was just under three feet tall by pelsmith: I love a good horror story, and this one is so very deliciously evil. So creepy, so harrowing, so funny. It's a wonderful combination of turn-of-the-century terror tales and modern splatterpunk.

Those are my nominations. If you have votes left, please contribute your upvotes to them. But even if you don't have votes left, go read them anyway -- they are all a joy to read.

This is one of the weirdest things you could hear from someone, depending on the context.

One of my friends went fishing with his uncle. They journeyed well off the beaten track, and the two of them expected to see no one else. However, as they cast their lines into the water, they heard a truck approaching.

About a minute later, the truck came by. A man, sitting alone in the cab, leaned out the window and looked directly at my friend. For a few seconds, he said nothing, staring silently at the two of them. Then he spoke:

“I’ll tell you one damn thing.”

The anonymous driver drove away without an explanation. My friend never saw him again.

I like to think of the driver as a Buddhist monk, traveling along and sharing koans with random people, but he was probably just insane.

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