Historiography at work

Historiography is the study of History.    It was one of my favorite mandatory seminars as a grad student at the University of Akron.

One of friends and cohorts here in Blog Land, raised a very interesting point in  a comment on how the Historians of 100 years from now would treat the scenario in rage now of the Great Republican Plan to Obliterate the Obama Presidency.    Obviously all of us reading this will have no interaction whatsoever in the future century.   Who knows how the History of our age will be preserved, or how it will be reported to future generations.    The History of the Present hasn’t happened yet.

The Trump-Obama factionalism is too multi-faceted to tackle here.   However, the question is a good one, and leads me to ponder the basic differences between Now and Then…meaning past and future coverage of historical events.     There can be two designations here: Paper and Digital.

The most glaring difference is that what was written, published, in real books is that they were permanent.   Not necessarily the absolute authoritative sources on a given subject, but through a sort of consensus of opinions and research, and yes credentials.   In order to reach a thesis statement for a given publication, the writer presented his or her own ideas….something new, an alternate position.   There are always at least two sides to any proposition.

Here is a proposal that when it comes to Digital History, that which is presented over the internet by countless diverse sources, the information comes across only as permanent as the print-out a student or proponent, or indeed, opposition commentator, understands—or prefers to present as Truth or Falsehood—to their respective readership at any given time.

Digital History is much easier to alter, re-write, or inadvertently  distort  because of its fluidity…never permanent, always subject to a myriad of changes.    We see reports on the internet news channels… a statement made by an anchor person on CNN or Fox, MSNBC, BBC…at a given hour—that never airs again.

No one in their right mind for long will be able to watch Cable News constantly to keep up absolutely on the stream of information.    Remember when the internet was actually referred to as the Information Highway?   That was back in the 1980s, when major newspapers made the change from individual typewriters to the chaotic stream of News-all-the-Time.   Up-to-date means “constantly changing,” which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

 

Mad Magazine revisited…the return of the spies and good old espionage tales

 

 

 

Image result for Spy vs Spy Cartoon Characters in public domain
Illustration is from a selection of Spy vs Spy images that are in the public domain.

 

Long ago and far away…in the scheme of my life…Mad Magazine was the favorite magazine for satire and farce, and making fun of the Cold War—which actually was not at all funny, and jokes about the Russians (called the Soviets then) were much in vogue.   The world being divided pretty much dominated by two camps: the United States and Russians.   Us and Them.   The rest of the world was either with us…or against us.

The Free World—in which the benevolence of the U.S. supervised and kindly contributed to the rest of the world.    Our motto: we will help you and give you goodies like weapons and allow a great measure of independence and sovereignty—as long as you do what we say.    That includes voting with the U.S. in world organizations, and supporting our extensive military bases in virtually every country in the world.      This has two major purposes: 1. holding strategic locations in the world from which the U.S. maintains control.   2. We will protect you from the enemy—which is namely: The Soviet Union.  The old USSR—behind the Iron Curtain.

And so the present situation unfolds…and the position of good old Uncle Sam deteriorates under this virtual siege by an unstable, unknowledgeable, poorly educated minority in the United States.

God knows where it will all end.

 

 

 

 

 

Mad Woman (Still) Searching for Lost Things (2)

Previously I re-posted an article I wrote two years ago.    I haven’t learned much since, when it comes to finding lost things.

The issue with the lost books from my inventory continues.    Yesterday’s book was right where it was supposed to be.   However, I won’t get complacent, because many of my books are not where I expect to find them.   The thing about that is annoying, but usually ends up with the book being found without much delay.    Only once in the years I have been selling books online have I had to run to HalfPriceBooks and buy another copy.

The search now involves a rotary slide holder, filled with slides and stored in the original yellow Kodak box the tray came in originally.    These slides are part of a slide-show production I put together to entertain my university class in World Civilizations, specifically a   2-credit course required of all students.   The courses were specifically designed History classes in world areas such as Latin America, Africa, Middle East…and many others.   The classes were usually chosen by students based on the time-slot as it fit in with their other classes, rather than any particular interest in a world region.

My presentation dealt with Mexican archeological sites in Yucatan including  Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, and Tuluum.  Obviously the slides that I selected were the ones I considered to be the best quality.   Most had been photographed by my late husband, I might add.    There are about a hundred slides.    The search is on…and the good part of it is that I have so far cleaned out and rearranged two major room closets searching.    I have located thousands of slides…but not this particular collection.

Last winter I ordered a Digital Film/Slide Projector, and it is the best thing since sliced bread.    It is very simple in operation, you just put the slides in the contraption, transfer the images onto an SD card, which corresponds to a photo site on my computer.    Perfect…..not automatic, exactly, but it isn’t bad because I get to view all of my slides from a thirty year period.       An added bonus is seeing the family shots of 30-something grandchildren as babies.   The farm is well represented in photos going back to the 1970s, as well as multiple vacations during the subsequent years.

Back to the subject…searching for that slide tray.        The closing of two shops at a flea market and an antique mall about five years ago resulted in half of my book inventory and dollhouse miniatures and all-kinds-of-stuff  into my garage, and most rooms in my house.     About half of my book inventory of about 2000 books now (not counting my personal library of books which is more extensive,) is catalogued on online book sites such as Amazon, Alibris, Biblio, Barnes&Noble…etc.     I have culled the inventory excess to the extent that most of what is left is  saleable. … in theory.     Every one of these books is numbered sequentially and readily available….except, of course, those that insist on misplacing themselves.

Oh yes, the point is that I am in the process of publishing many of my slides on my blog, and some of my best are missing.     However, my slide converter gadget also does film strips, so all is not lost.   I just haven’t tried the film strips yet.

Mad Woman Searching for Lost Things

First published here in February 2015.    I do find this whole situation to be pertinent though…even now in May 2017….I guess I never learn!

I already looked there, Sister.

When I lose something…or more accurately have misplaced it…there is no rest for me or anyone near me, until the missing item has reappeared.  I do believe in the old prayer to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, or is he the saint of the people who have LOST something?

Either way, I am not ashamed to say that the quickest way to recovery is to recite some version of the verse:   This one was told to me by a stranger at the flea market when I was out there selling books:

Tony, Tony, Tony…Something’s lost and can’t be found,

Please help me find it when I turn around.

Many things have been recovered soon after pleading with St. Anthony for help.  Finding lost keys are a specialty of the Saint’s, and various and sundry other missing things have been recovered….not only by me, but by various other believers.

Once I even found a silver bracelet that I had lost in the garage.  I had been sorting books and must have caught the edge of the cuff bracelet, causing it to slip off of my wrist.  That was a mad search, which included a grocery store, pharmacy, restaurant, and several other places.  My evil twin even suggested the possibility that some unscrupulous clerk had pocketed my bracelet.  (I didn’t really believe that myself, as I have a basic belief in the goodness of people.)  The bracelet turned up after several calls to St. Anthony…and an email friend who is a Tarot card reader of some note, and also has a reputation for finding lost things.

Hmm… maybe that’s why it took the Tony, Tony, Tony thing so long.   I found the bracelet under a chair, behind a stack of picture frames, under a few boxes of flea market stuff…and a plastic red tablecloth, which may or may not have been key.  Just sayin’….

THE CURRENT EMERGENCY SEARCH was one that I have entirely too often.  I mentioned in an earlier post,  about how I handle my book inventory.  Although I was bragging about how well my alphabetical inventory system works, I did include a caveat that IF a given book was not where it was supposed to be… in this case #1746–which should have been between 1745 and 1747, but was not.

No, Baby, it's not outside.

Now, this has to be a case of Murphy’s Law of Inventories, because this was the exact book that a customer ordered.  It was a book about making Art items from Buttons (the kind on shirts,) and I distinctly remembered  being in the book room holding the book and thinking “how mundane.”  Yes, that’s what I forget for being judgemental.   I also recall my son coming in with his current emergency, pinning his church “Usher” badge to his shirt, and I  had to leave the room–with the book in hand–and debating where to shelve it temporarily.

As luck would have it, the very next order that came in was for THAT VERY BOOK.  Thus the mad search was on.  I have books all over the house, some already inventoried, most not.  To cut to the chase, I found the Button book within two feet of my left arm, on a shelf where I keep books that for one reason or another are in a “waiting” status.

I had looked in the very spot several times.  It was much smaller than I had remembered it, and had slipped partially behind two neighboring books: one on Tai Chi, and one on Ribbon crafts.  The inventory numbers matched several books in the immediate space.

This whole situation where a given book is not readily located happens too often to be coincidental.  There are nearly three thousands books in my inventory, on shelves, in order.     WHY is the one on order frequently misplaced?

I guess I’ll have to ask St. Anthony that question.

Deliyah…4-year-old reader of 1,000 books

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/01/12/meet-daliyah-the-4-year-old-girl-who-has-read-more-than-1000-books/?utm_term=.6403ea387b35&wpisrc=nl_mix&wpmm=1#comments

Now here is an inspiring story out of the Washington Post this morning, a four-year-old who has apparently read one thousand (1,000) books so far. She hangs out at the Library of Congress.

Yes…I hear you in the back there mumbling about the veracity of this story…and I’ll bet you either 1) don’t personally know any of Deliyah’s peers, other pre-schoolers, that is… or 2)are not paying attention. This child is indeed remarkable and a great role-model for other children—and she is not unique. (Meaning one-of-a-kind, not as in the modern fancy of “unique” as a mere synonym for unusual, or great.)

Today’s children all over the world are smarter and more aware than at any time in history.    Peer into the bright, shining eyes of a child…in person or in photographs…to see the intelligence shining through.

They “know” things, information gleaned from television shows, or books, chatting with other children…and, of course, school.   Pre-school kids commonly know the alphabet and basic number figures, understand the details about the hippopotamus, orangatangs, and mocking birds.   They often even know how to spell those words.

 

Rules For Commenters…or Think First!

There should be a rule
on commenting protocol
requiring at least
(if not a working knowledge)
mini-common sense.

Every school age child
with a mite’s  intelligence
should have learned restraint
in matters of opinion…
at least a few facts.

No one should ever
consider as an expert
smart snappy comments…
an internet free-for-all
sans supervision.

Our Rule Number One:
Start out with a set of clues,
a few question marks,
a reasonably open-mind
and process of thought.

For Rule Number Two,
should be needless to expound,
an unspoken rule–
have proof, or at least
citations of information.

Who, what, when, where, why
How the commenter knows,
…at least Who Said So?
citation of source
and last—Who Cares?

© Sometimes, 2016

 

Re-discovering Classics of Literature

My reference to the Sword of Damocles, in a poem I posted a few days ago, has served to jog my poor over-loaded brain.   I always think of the human brain as a vast library-like cavern, perhaps not unlike the wondrous university libraries, such as those at Oberlin College, and the Bierce Library at the University of Akron, which are two of the libraries where I did research as a doctoral student twenty years ago.        Especially etched into my brain cells were the upper floor reaches of the great libraries which during the summer months when they were not as crowded, and one could spend hours without encountering any other scholars.    There is my idea of Heaven…being alone in the stacks at a borrowed carrel, surrounded by rows and rows of shelves, laden with books.

Above and beyond the inherent treasure of information and knowledge of the ages is the simple fact of being one with the company of books…manuscripts, journals, atlases, writings in multiple languages.     The hallowed halls of musty, dusty volumes are in themselves of unestimable value in the rivers and mountains and mines of the books that are the records of the human ages and dreams of the future.

OK, I admit it…there are easier ways to tap into the motherlodes of learning—namely: computers.   Yeah, been there, done that too!   I love computers.    I adore the ease of research in a vast machine.    Before I bought my first computer,  I studied the computer magazines, and bothered people that I knew who were already “computer-literate.”   There were not many.   Even the major newspaper that I worked for back then, in the mid-1980s, had not yet made the transition to computerization.      More than one Radio Shack salesperson thought I was strange…my criteria for actually buying a computer was that it have the capability of holding “every book and media from the New York Public Library” available for users.   I had no idea that would really be possible within a very few years.  It was called the “Information Highway” before it was known as “The Internet.”

Any way, as I was saying about the Sword of Damacles…when the allusion popped into my head as I toyed with writing a poem, after a several-week slump during which I was sure I would never write poetry again.     Sure, I can always write miscellaneous posts about topics as varied as politics and attempts at humor.

Thinking about the Classics always appeals to nooks and crannies of my brain, in which are tucked away and filed in huge vessels of information, where all of the myriads of things that have been encountered and put away for “another day” when I had more time.    Thus was my complicated thought-train set into locomotion, chugging off into a darkened passage where I keep forgotten and fascinating scraps under a make-believe heading — FOR SOME DAY.

So ah-ha!   with my theoretical ticket to side-tracks of  possible literary points of interest peaked at the prompt phrase: “Sword of Damocles…” which found its way into an impromptu poem unstopping the clogged…or cluttered scraps of esoteric longing to venture into the Classical collections of ancient tomes and leather-bound texts which may or may not have been…shall I say hidden?   delayed?   saved as best for last?… a related reference to another masterpiece springing forth from my foggy brain.

Yes—after a bit of ponderance it came to me: The Pit and the Pendulum.    I vaguely recall the circumstances of Edgar Allen Poe’s grim and gruesome tale of madness and despair, of a poor prisoner sentenced to deal with the very pits of Hell.        The images and illusions that came to mind are rather allegories, or tales of tales which I have read over my lifetime (since I learned to read) and have become part of my personal library of versions of famous literature.

Poe’s style had long fascinated, especially in the days of my somewhat dreamy-eyed and faux-sophisticated youth.      The Raven, maybe Edgar Allen Poe’s best known work…at least among students such as my younger self…had captured my imagination.    I so enjoyed the poem that I undertook the copying—in flowing cursive handwriting, accomplished with a fountain pen, with real ink—into one of the plain and homely brown notebooks that I so enjoyed.   I have it to this day.

Had I actually read The Pit and the Pendulum, in it’s entirety, with due consideration and concentration…tripping and gnashing over Poe’s lightly punctuated and technically worded nineteenth century prose…I dare say I would not have really understood it.     For one thing, although Poe states in his introduction to The Pit…that his torturers are members of the Spanish Inquisition….the not-so-Holy-Inquisition.

That dreaded institution was of course studied, or at least alluded to in high school History classes, but I…for whatever reason…did not really make an impression on me one way or another.    I didn’t care—and did not GET IT then.      I admit that at age nineteen I was much more of a romantic than a scholar.      So several decades later  I finally got around to my higher education, and in that capacity become intrigued with the discovery, development, destruction, and History of Latin America—which had a LOT to do with Spain, and Mexico, and the Holy Inquisition.  In the New World the Inquisition methods were somewhat limited, compared with back in Spain and environs…much of the efforts of the institution were directed toward members of the clegy, for various crimes including heresy and seduction in the confessional.

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Novels

The Name of the Rose, Humberto Eco.    (I love this book, have read it at least three times, its about a monastery library in the 12th Century.)

Snow Treasure, Marie McSwigan (All-time favorite.   My third grade Christmas present.  About some Norwegian kids and German soldiers.)

The Last Juror, Robert Grisham  (I like Grisham, this is my favorite novel of his.)

Wake of the Red Witch, Robert Rourk (My late husband’s favorite, he read it I don’t know how many times…I read it once, and it is the kind of novel that I didn’t want to end.)

Bad Spell in Yurt, C. Dale Brittain (series)   (I love her fantasy tales, I’ve read the series except for the last couple.)

The Queen’s Fool, Phillipa Gregory   (I enjoy this because although its fiction about Henry the VIII and his carryings-on, there is enough historical fact to justify reading romance fiction so avidly 🙂

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy  (I love this book, intriguing and romantic.)

The Sahir, Paulo Coelho  (Coehlo…anything he writes is wonderful.)

Mistress  of the Morning Star, Elizabeth Lane  (The plot is the very first account of the Aztec empire, Hernan Cortes, and his lady La Malinche.   This is fiction…but it is also my top influence for choosing Latin American Studies as my field.  I tried to use it for a reference once, but that was not well-received by my mentor 🙂

Fahrenheit 911, Ray Bradbury    (All the things I like: firemen, the future, books, crooked governments, and Science Fiction at its best.)

The First Eagle, Tony Hillerman (I have all of Hillerman’s books, and I want to read them again.   I like Navajos, indigenous people in general, Arizona, the Desert, and cops.)

She Who Remembers, Linda Lay Shuler.  (Historical romance again…about native society and a female head-of-state…and Kokopelli! )

These titles are all novels that I have read at least once, have some kind of personal attachment, and plan to read again.

So which are YOUR Top Ten Fiction Novels?

Please take out pencil and a piece of paper.      Number from one to 10.   (It doesn’t matter what kind of paper, and the numbers should be 1-10 in a vertical column.)     You are to list (not necessarily in order) YOUR  top ten Greatest Fiction Books Ever Written.      You have 30 minutes to complete the list.

Wow!      Moments ago I read a page on selling books on eBay.    I actually do sell books on eBay, but mostly on other venues, mainly Amazon.     The list, which the author of the article noted was A list, not intended to be THE LIST of the all-time great books.

Here is the eBay writer’s list:

Top 10 Books of All Time Photo from the eBay page.  I am duly impressed!

I believe I have now on my shelves ALL of the ten works on the list.     I would like to say that I have read and studied every single one of these books…but since I am a very truthful person, I can’t make that claim.

I did read part of  Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, which I enjoyed.    The other classics are so much discussed and made into movies, and snippets (or pages) have appeared in various sources, that they are impressed upon my mind having read the novels  per se or not.

OK, in my defense, English and American Literature HAVE been included in my curriculum,  but during my college career the only course I remember that specifically dealt with “classic great modern literature” was a University of Akron  graduate seminar on Latin American Fiction.    That course, I recall, came as I was overwhelmed (pretty much) with heavy-duty studying and reading…so much so that I was   reading non-fiction textbooks on the History of all sorts of times and places—and did not have time for the luxury of reading my favorite “lawyer-books” and Sci-Fi, and light bedtime reading…I would fall asleep with a huge textbook, not a little paperback.     Reading those Latin American novels (Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Garcia Lorca,)…was almost like cheating on the curriculum…a real treat.

Another seminar at Cleveland State dealt with Karl Marx and his assorted works.  Now this may sound stupid, but I was a tad shy at the time with my Essential Karl Marx paperback and reams of print-outs from reference books.   I mention that because one of the eBay writer’s TOP TEN GREAT BOOKS is the classic Vladimir Nabovosky book Lolita.    Well!  at the time I was in college ten-twenty years ago I would have kept THAT book in my book bag.      I have the book now for sale (I think.)   No, I haven’t been so inclined to read it.

While on that general subject, it always amuses me to recall that when I was a girl THE banned book (really…banned!) was Forever Amber,   by Kathleen Winsor.    Well, let me tell you…that book was not very interesting to me when I tried to read it years and years ago…and I never did find the titillating parts that I thought were hiding within the book.     Recently, like last year, I finally found out that the book was banned for political reasons…not for…well, you know…sexy stuff.  😉

So…good luck with those lists!

Do We Even Want to be Entertained? ReBlogged, Legends of Windemere

Excellent article on what we expect from entertainment. This is my first visit to Charles Yallowitz’s blog LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE, and like it a lot. I agree that when I like a film or book…I LIKE it…and I don’t care what the critics say. Some of my favorites are works that others say are terrible. Thanks for enabling the RE=BLOG button! 🙂

Legends of Windemere

So, I’ve been wondering this for a while now.  I wasn’t sure how to write this up either and have gone through it in my head many times.  Then I stumbled onto this part from a Suicide Squad review:

“In my sensible critical opinion, Suicide Squad wasn’t a complete disaster, but inexcusably mediocre. To be fair, the audience I saw the film with appeared to love every frame: big laughter, cheers for the action and clapping as the credits rolled. Is there a disconnect between critics and audiences?”

Now, I’m not going to touch on the question because I have another one.  Are people disconnecting themselves from movies, shows, and books before they even start?  I’ve seen so many people swear that something will be bad for months and then they begrudgingly indulge.  SURPRISE!  They didn’t like it for exactly the reasons either they said or the critics declared.  Sometimes word for…

View original post 672 more words

Missing Book finally Found

Here is something I wrote last week…sort of a poem/prayer…when I could not find a book that I had sold, and knew I had in my inventory.  My inventory has nearly two thousand books, all shelved in numerical order.     In theory, if I am looking for book number 452, it should be right there on the shelf between #451, and #453.   How easy is that?   The volume is always there….unless its not.    If it’s not, I undertake a frantic and massive search, and usually it turns up misplaced, behind other books on the shelf, in over-sized spaces, or having lost its number sticker.

I’ve blogged about this before…bragging (sort of) about my great system, which is basically fool-proof.     I am dedicated to filling orders from Amazon, and all my other venues, rapidly—most orders go out the same day they are received.      I am paranoid about maintaining my 100% performance rate, as the competition is fierce.   The description wording must be precise, and I always mention every little bend, pencil mark, dog-ear…in great detail.     If I say the book is “good” it is usually “very good” or better.

Without further ado, here is my account of my latest fiasco….which in the end turned out well, the book was located and shipped on time.    However…it was missing for a whole day and a half, and I was beginning to panic.      So I did what many self-respecting bloggers would do in my situation—write a poem.

Missing Book

Book Inventory is nice
in numerical order
instead of by price
or subject, size or color.

How hard can it be
to follow the scheme
with consecutive numbers
as the predominant theme.

It must be mischievous Fate
humor sense so gigantic—
it seems that this date
I have lost the Titanic!

A buyer waiting
counts on me for his book
what worries me is how long
the finding it took!

©Sometimes, 2016

 

 

 

My favorite all-time book: Snow Treasure

When I was about eight years old, our teacher read a book to us in class.   Teachers did that often in those days, and I suppose they still do.  I hope so!    The book was Snow Treasure: A story of courage and adventure, written by Marie McSwigan, published in 1942.     Here’s the back cover blurb:

Now every sled ride was a matter of life and death

Peter Lundstrom never thought he would become a hero.   But that bleak winter of 1940 was like no other.   Nazi troops parachuted into Peter’s tiny village and held it captive.  Nobody thought they could be defeated—until Uncle Victor told Peter how the children of the village could fool the enemy.

It was a dangerous plan.   Peter and his friends had to slip past Nazi guards with nine million dollars in gold hidden on their sleds.  It meant risking their country’s treasure—and their lives.

This book was the ONE thing I wanted for Christmas that year.   My mother, broke as a churchmouse, but determined to do what she could to make our holiday wishes.     There was a small stack under the tree…some undies, and socks, maybe some school supplies like pencils or notebooks…and I opened all of the packages as politely as possible, all the time anticipating the gift that I really wanted.    Finally there was one present left for me, and when I opened it, I found a box of TIDE soap powder.   My poor little heart sank until I realized that the package was not what it appeared to be.  My book!   My book!

Throughout the decades Snow Treasure has been my favorite book.  Until about ten years ago it was only a memory…and I found a copy at a used book sale at the library.  Actually the book has an ISBN number, so apparently it is still available, though no longer in print.     The copy I have was published in the 1980s.

At the time that I was eight years old, World War II was very prominent in our lives, and indeed influences everything, everywhere, for every one.  I have written other blog accounts about the War and my personal experiences as a school child living in Cleveland, Ohio.

I always believed that the story of Snow Treasure was true.  The preface of the copy of the book that I have, published by Scholastic, Inc a couple of decades ago, qualifies the story with details that I presume are true.       To paraphrase:  On June 28, 1940, the Norwegian freighter Bomma arrived in Baltimore with about nine million dollars in gold bullion.    According to the story, the gold “had been slipped past Nazi sentries by Norwegian boys and girls!  Under the very eyes of the enemy, the story went, these children had pulled the gold on their sleds to a freighter hidden in a fiord off Norway’s coast.”      There is no proof, of course….I still believe that the tale is at least possible, but I am a dreamer and believer in all sorts of things.   To me veracity of any given account or story depends not only on proving something happened…but also proving that it did not happen.

*0590425374     There are several editions of this book on Amazon, and on other book seller sites.  The book has been published periodically in paper and hardback  for years.   I’m glad to know that, its like finding an old friend still alive!

Science Fiction Favorites

One of my blogger pals was chatting about Science Fiction writers and novels, and mentioned several that I’m not familiar with.   This is not unusual, as I rarely read the science fiction genre any more, in fact I think I would say my favorite are what I call “Lawyer Novels” written by and about lawyers and courts and fancy courtroom dance steps.  My favorite of this genre is Lisa Scottoline, who is a Philadelphia lawyer (really) in real life, and writes about female lawyers and other legal personnel.  I also like James Grisham, of course, and Peri O’Shaughnessy (who is really TWO authors…sisters…in one.)

Back in my late teens or early twenties I became intrigued and enchanted by Science Fiction in general, and set out to read every (or most) novels by such as Robert Heinlein, Robert Silverberg, and others whose names I can’t recall offhand because my Sci-Fi sections of my brain storage are nearing capacity.  I also tried to read Isaac Asimov, but he was a bit technical for me, and my interests lie more in robots-doing-stuff than in building robots from scratch.

Among the ageless store of knowledge about robots are the famous Laws of Robotics.   I’ll probably have to look it up, but basically those laws is that 1. Robots must obey any command by a human. 2. they can not harm or kill a human being under any circumstances and 3. must deal with the conflict of the first two Robot Laws.

There were some rules about space travel, especially after Einstein worked out his theory…and I believe that one of those is that while space travel is technically possible it had no contemporary basis in known facts.   This was back in the 1950s, following the discovery of the Atomic Bomb…and the Hydrogen Bomb… and proof that these things really did have the capability of wiping out entire cities.   They even did a second “test” after the first to reassure themselves that wide-spread death and destruction was indeed NOT just a pipedream, but an actual fact in the development of the human race.

The things I love most about Science Fiction is the use of imagination…extrapolating on wonderful ideas and things to foresee the future when dreams could come true…. Say robot-vacuum-cleaners in every home.  Wow!   Just last week, here in 2016 on saw on the television a little disc like thing that zips around by itself cleaning under sofas, terrifying cats…. (nah—most cats would love a thing like that!)  and just think of the possibilities!   “Robot! Fetch me a beer!”   “Feed the cat!”   “Stop sneaking up on me like that!”     I don’t think I would like one of those things zipping around under foot.

I aso like the inventive and fascinating scenarios of flora and fauna of other planets.   One I recall is a planet with landscape that was RED instead of green…red trees, grass…I think of that every time I see my Red Maple Tree doing its thing in the Fall, or the gorgeous Redbud Trees.

Anyway…I read every science fiction novel I could get my hands on back then, mostly borrowed from the library.  In fact… I even wrote some science fiction of my own–not actual published stories, but well-developed plot lines.   Maybe I’ll write about that in the next installment about Sci-Fi-and-Me.