Sunday, July 30, 2017

Harry and the Horse Thief

Harry and the Horse Thief
- by William Hay

Harry rode his Apallosa western style. He’d only learned recently his riding was called ‘western style’ when he’d asked Miss Mary if she wanted to go out for a ride.  He’d commented on her straight backed riding with the little saddle.
“Why it’s called Eastern style, or English,” she’d said.  It looked pretty but he didn’t think it would amount to much on the trail or being chased by hostiles.  His own saddle was an old Mexican with all the ornate embroidery and some silver  but sturdy.  Those Spaniards knew their saddles. His Appaloosa was a new world horse though leopard spotted horses had been depicted on cave  paintings from God knows how far back.  The Nez Perce tribe had perfected the breed.  He’d called the stallion Lewis when he got him as a colt because he’d read Lewis and Clark’s description of them from their 1800 expedition west.  Seemed like a good name and the horse liked it.  He liked telling Miss Mary how he came to name his horse Lewis. She’d not be in town long but he had a sense that she liked education and breeding.
“That’s a fine reason. Lewis and Clark were such great men to explore the west to the Pacific like that,”   she’d said. He’d liked riding with Miss Henry. She was too fine a young church lady for a man of his character but he couldn’t help thinking on the trail of someday getting up the courage to talk to her father the minister. He didn’t know if Mary would care for him more than for than a friend but if there was going to be any doubt it would come from her father.  He’d heard of another young man who’d thought to find approval with Mary without including her father in the courtship.  That’s had been a mistake the young man didn’t live to make again.  He didn’t know the details but the minister wearing a holster had confronted the young man and the young man known for his swagger hadn’t been respectful of age so called the old man out.  The minister always got a lot more men in church after some incident like that. He’d been a marshal out east before moving west. Faster with a gun than with his tongue.
The high whine of the bullet whistling past his ear like a bubble bee took his attention off his musing suddenly.  Lewis was used to gun fire but didn’t like it one bit. Didn’t shy but hunkered down and the message was clear to Harry from his horse that he’d better pay attention to matters more proximate than Mary a hundred miles along the back trail in town. Lewis didn’t like being shot at and if Harry didn’t something quick Lewis would surely bolt and teach Harry to respect bullets the way he, a mere horse, did.
Harry had  been trailing a horse thief.  As a ranger and tracker it fel to him to uphold the law in these parts helping the sheriff who couldn’t very well take care of all the criminals.  A posse was out after some bank robbers when this fellow thought to take advantage of the law being distracted.  He’d not counted on Harry being in town visiting Mary though.
“I’d better cover this,’ Harry told Mary when the Sherif rode round to see him.  They’d been sitting on the veranda of the minister’s house with minister and his wife sitting nearby in rocking chairs.
Big Ned was a good enough town sheriff and could handle the saloons and occasional gunslinger that passed through town.  He’d been wounded in the war in his leg though and long rides were out for him.  Harry liked nothing better. He wouldn’t be in the town except that Miss Mary made the whole town bluster and business somehow tolerable.
With that first shot he was off Lewis real quick.  He pulled Lewis behind a canyon outcropping as more bullets ricocheted off the rocks.  With Lewis and himself out of line of fire, he had his own Winchester out the leather scabbard and was looking back around the edge of the rock  when a lucky  bullet blew his new white cowboy hat off. He’d bought that just to impress Miss Mary.
“Good thing I got the 10 gallon size,” he said to Lewis after jumping back at the shocking surprise of having his hat shot off.  In a more conspiratorial tone, he said to Lewis, “I think now there’s two of them.  That calls for a different strategy. Picking up the wounded hat he stuck it on a stick carefully noting the position before lifting it in the air.  Immediately two more holes perforated the material.  It had stayed on the stick.  He looked carefully at the entrance and exit hole and considered the position of the hat before putting it down and picking up his Winchester again.
A little way out from his rocky hiding hole another pile of rocks with room behind for a man was to be his goal.  Leaving Lewis he sprinted across the opening firing at the glint of light off the rifle barrel of the ambusher just where he’d figured him to be. . He didn’t hit him but his bullets made him duck.  He stopped suddenly then as bullets struck the ground where he would have been if he’d kept going forward.  Turning and taking quick aim he shot the first of the two. When the second came up to look , Harry shot him as well. There was a deliberateness about Harry that folks had noted in the war years.   Hearing no sound, Harry waited an hour or so figuring eventually the hombre’s must be dead from bleeding out by now even if his body shots hadn’t killed them right out.
Coming out of cover to fetch Lewis he was thankful that no more shots sounded.  He mounted and rode over to see the damage.  The second hombre had a chest wound that looked like it had taken a while in bleeding out. If he’d come out sooner he might well have been plugged dead by a dying man.  The first fellow must have died instantly because Harry’s  shot had caught him in the neck. A lot of blood indicated it had severed the artery.  Harry found their horses tied to a bush a ways back from the canyon trail. There were 6 of them all together, all likely stolen.  He’d been most concerned about getting back the Judges’s arab mare.  e was glad she was there safe whinnying  her hello to Lewis. Lewis and she had a history.
The Judge wanted to improve the breed but Lewis hadn’t been in on that discussion. He’d sort of jumped the corral fence and now the judge had to wait for little Lewis progeny before he could move on with his Arab breeding program.
The judge had  tried to blame Harry when he’d learned.  But Miss Mary had been there outside the general store when the judge had harangued Harry for his horse’s behaviour. She’d stopping  saying, “Why judge Harry’s horse Lewis can’t be blamed solely if your horse lacks breeding.” Saying that she’d continued walking alone along the boardwalk of the town. The judge was no less mad at Harry but his jaw dropped long enough for Harry to beat a quick retreat catching up to Mary. .
Harry was thinking  of that time with a smile when he was loading the dead men across their horses and tying them down so they’d not slip off.  It was a clear sky.  He was glad he’d packed some bacon before leaving.  He’d begun heading back to town and was thinking of the best place to camp that night. It was going to be a couple of days riding the 100 miles.  There was a stream about 10 miles back. He figured he could get there while there was still light. He’d like to heat up the bacon and have it on the hard crust with some coffee before turning in. He didn’t think there were any Indians or hombres out but seven horses were a mighty temptation to some.  He sure was hungry.
Killing men gave a man a mighty appetite.

Another world, another war

Another world, another war
- by William Hay
The two suns were high in the sky, a great yellow orb and another smaller  shimmering distant  light. One of three moons still hung in the sky near the horizon.  Darkness was never complete. Not like on earth.  Here there was always a surreal quality.  The greens not quite right with more purple colour in the vegetation. The water tinged red by the local algae.  Animals were peculiar too. And the people had scales like somehow snake DNA had failed to change to skin. They were that much more ruthless too.  Armed with the latest weapons but lacking the coordination of Earth Corp.
“We’d not be here if they hadn’t come to earth blasting and raiding.”  he said.  He was tall and red haired.  Big muscled. Huge grin.  “They thought they were Vikings I guess and didn’t count on meeting the real thing.” Sven was the resident giant.
“That’s about right. The whole Mediterranean collapsed with the first assault.  Europe went next.  Africa didn’t stand a chance.  Middle east was outright murder.  South American held out.  So did northern Asia. Mountains gave advantage."
“The Indians and Pakistanis patched up their differences and actually stood their ground.  Canada joined the US and even California got on board. That’s when the defence got righteous. Russia was always ahead of the game.  Their alliance with Britain and Norway made all the difference.'
“I just liked when we started taking the fight to them.'
‘That’s for sure.
‘Best defence is an offence."
“Thanks to that Israeli kid we learned where their homeworld was."
“The space agency had the ships but it was something to outfit them for war. Thanks to the forethought of Canadian miners who built the underground hangars with the Americans back in the cold war era.  Those places really served their purpose.  Power from the Candu reactors.  Lots of raw material and industrial 3d printers.  When we got the skies back we were ready to launch."
“I appreciate the rehash. On Mars we didn’t have that much news once the ships attacked earth.” The combat troops had linked up in space for this one of a kind mission.
“The grid stayed up on earth.”  Charlie was a swarthy black haired powerhouse sort of guy, squat like an underground miner. All muscle. He carried the rocket launcher as his favoured weapon, not heeding at all the string of missiles he wore around his neck like a string of garlics
There was a girl with them.  She was there because she was the best sniper. She also could carry her 50 mm  Barrett M82 with the special enhancements by herself despite the weight.  She never complained.  No man or woman offered to help her with her heavy rifle and ammunition pack more than once.
Henry had a portable force shield generator.  The force shield had been developed by Cal Tech years past but the problem was making one portable and making one that snapped on and off.  Nothing got through but nothing got out when the force sheld flashed in place.  All the initial ones took too long to come on and too long to power down. This was just right but given the still tricky motherboards and physics Henry came along to carry the weight and to work it’s magic. He didn’t have a rifle as a result but trusted his Glock 9 mm with a shit load of ammunition.
“You can never have enough ammunition,” he was fond of saying.
“That’s supposed to make the rest of us feel safe when our force shield generator guy keeps saying that.” Charlie joked.
“We’ve never let you down yet,” That was true. The patrol had never been overrun since Henry had joined them  Before that they’d been other insertion units that had just disappeared when the enemy swarmed. You had to give it to the tech scientists. Without them this would have long ago been a one sided conflict. No one made jokes about nerds these days.
Not even Rodger. He carried the heavy mortars.  A defensive tackle in college football he dwarfed everyone else.
Everyone was already dug in but they dug in deeper.  Enemy artillery hadn’t found their position yet but it wouldn’t be long before they had a lucky hit. Then they’d pour all hell on their location.  That’s how they did it.  Lobbing shells all over till something exploded or flew up then massive continuous strikes before they sent out troops and mech to see what they’d blown up.  It had proven an effective tactic for them to date. The force shield could stop it but once that was turned on as a last resort the whole guerrilla insertion to get close and lethal went out the window.  Then it was swarm and guns till ships came in to rescue or the force field generator’s power ran out.  It was a hell of a way to fight a war. Especially with a whole lot more of them and that sense they didn’t care about how many bodies they sacrificed.
Now the bombs were exploding a half mile to the east and behind them.  They’d been falling in front earlier.  Some sort of grid system.  The platoon kept moving and digging in, moving and digging in.  No one wanted to be out in the open when a bomb struck.  Something worse than napalm  Ate right through the armor and kept on eating. Alive. Organic.  The scientists hadn’t found an answer. "Get naked as quickly as possible and pray,” they’d said.
“They’re getting closer."
“They don’t know we’re here. it’s just their grid system exploration.  You know how it works. Now move out.”
Tony was their leader.  He was a straight shooter but bad ass.  Good to his friends and you only wanted to be his friend.  A lieutenant colonel.  You’d think his rank would get him out of the hands on up front war but he liked to lead from the front. This was his idea. This whole guerrilla insertion into the centre of their command right here on their world.  Intelligence had identified this fortress as their headquarters. From an earth point of view it didn’t make sense, isolated as it was but the underground systems connected all their cities and out posts.  None of the worlds Earth had encountered lived above ground.  They travelled there. Vacationed there, picnicked there but everything that counted for work occurred under ground.  Invulnerable to invasion.
“Just like the Irish and English moved away from the coast during the Viking era.  Made it all the more tough for my people to pillage them, “ Said Sven.  So the alien worlds appeared to have learned to put their vulnerable bits beneath their surface hundreds and thousands of years ago.  Earth was only now catching up.  A whole lot of people and equipment had simply been swept away before the world turned to the miners and listened.
They all had ear wigs and heads  up displays. The minaturization technology had become such that they could have put the visuals  on a contact lens. It had been tried. But the old fashioned half face mask used by riot police remained the standard soldier fair. The night vision technology had improved too so the face shield could adjust to any light manually or automatically all the while given a faint display of platoon position enemy positions, time, heat signatures, ammunition reserve. heart rate,  Just blinking changed the screens.  It had changed the response times and accuracy of individual soldiers immensely.
No one knew what her name was. The Aussie had called her Sheila that first day and it had stuck. She was good natured that way.  Now she’d turned it around and her real name was a mystery to all but the Colonel.  Sheila was a Captain and was already moving fast across the terrain.  She ran really low and fast and mean like a jaguar.   They were in range and she’d seen a place she wanted to provide oversight from.  She was there in minutes, risking enemy fire trusting to speed and terrain, staying in the galleys. .  Now she was climbing up the protected side of the hill. .
Mac was moving forward with a half dozen other guys.  They were carrying a variety of armaments but everyone was packing Colt rifles.  Same ammo.  A variety of platforms.  Some with grenade launchers. The M16A6 would not be recognized by anyone who knew the A2.  Lots of advances made in the Kitchener facility after the American’s had taken their losses.  The scientists had scurried north and the weapons war escalated exponentially. There were now laser and flechette functions.  The modern M rifle was like a swiss army knife version of a weapon but with incredible simplicity that worked like brail.  Practice with it made perfect and the troops had confidence in their individual stopping power. As long as the enemy didn’t develop anything like what they had with their bombs the kevlar ceramic plate vests had become so light weight and flexible that they stopped everything else they enemy so far threw at them.
The up close war was still bullets and flames.  Each soldier carried a 10 minute oxygen tank and wask for retreat purposes only.  The new grenade was a fraction of the size and weight of the old grenades with 10 times the kill radius.  The programmable self propelled features on some were even more ingenious.
The whole platoon was coming up now on the walls still undetected, moving fast along the gullies and behind the purple shrubs.  Above their drones were now converging and would soon leash hell fire missiles on the fortress opening it up to the invaders.
He was running full now now.  No different than medieval knights and peasants. Making that last surge hoping against hope the timing of the drones was exact. His heads up display showed the first coordinate and time fast approaches. Minutes. A shot came from the wall.  A lone scaled head with shark like mane going down almost immediately the projectile left the barrel, Sheila’s oversight on the mark. The man next to him staggering and strightening, his armour taking the shock.
“Alright, “
They kept running.
The drone strikes hit then. Six missiles from the first three drones had struck at different points in the defence.  The area a thousand yards in front of them was rubble as was the diversion wall further along.  The sprint was all out now as the second wing of drones came in taking out all heat signatures that began to swarm where a wall had been.  The lazers laced the sky, bright despite the surreal light of early day.
He was crawling over the last of the wall when he began acquiring targets.  Two legs and three arms.  Best hit low. Their vitals functions were there.  His rifle cracked over and again.  Tony had no problem killing. It was a job to him.  He knew from the bios that these soldiers were just like him in some ways, family, kids, games but their leadership had taken the offensive.  And if things went well he’d get up close and intimate with the real threat to peace.  The acquisitive bastards who were directly below him had launched the attack on earth. That’s what intelligence had said. Now they were here.  More bodies went down before his accurate three burst fire even as he saw Mac off to the side spreading out  with more troops in front of him.  Above a drone dropped the bomb beyond them where intelligence deemed the ‘stair case to hell’ existed.  A few thousand meters to go and fewer combatants than they’d anticipated or the drone strikes had done better.  Now he saw the opening.  Just like Intelligence had said.  A regular 11 lane highway heading deep into the surface.  Once the building had been blown away above they had access.  He didn’t think they’d expected their perimeter to be breached so successfully.  Again thanks to the nerd in Texas who’d figured out a way to jam the eyes and ears of the fortresses massive electronic defences. .
Even as his heads up adjusted for the declining light as he and a dozen men began their descent down, the other teams were removing air defence. Earth ships, those amazing transports that left the orbiting ships above  to blast through atmosphere and land on a dime next to the battle field were already enroute. They were bringing in the mounted calvary, tanks and troop transport.  With the surface to air defence knocked out they’d be safe to land.
Tony’s heads up display messaging box declared the first craft landing as he and his men continued mowing down the enemy as they descended into the dark, slower now, taking advantage of cover, along the wall and in the centre, strange equipment that served some purpose they didn’t need to know but which served them if only psychologically as cover from incoming shots that so far their body armour had stopped long enough for the soldiers to take out the source.  A couple of grenades flashed ahead of him. He pulled the hand drone out of his vest and set it off. The cavern was huge.  That’s when the artillery took out two of his team.  Great explosions that completely took out one guy while the other was now  standing stripping right there in the middle of a battlefield.
Jamie’s rocket launcher worked it’s wonders then.  Hearing the screams of the man who hadn’t got his equipment off fast enough, Jamie wasn’t satisfied with one rocket but sent a second into the artillery position that had been hidden in the wall taking out the already dead just as laser fire came down from ceiling defences that would have been hard to hit except that’s what the self propelled grenades did best.  Curve around corners. Better falling ceilings than incoming laser. The massive mounds served as cover as they kept moving forward maintaining the momentum even as the display said that mech was already entering the fortress and soon would be backing them up.
Through the huge cavern they encountered the shafts.
Sheila had some how caught up now and was just another trooper in for the close in combat her rifle on her back and latest version of H&K VP70 in her hand.  “Do you think it’s going too easy."
“No and don’t jinx it.”
“Well I like dropping bombs in shafts.” She said helping him drop all the ordnance they each had carried for just this purpose. Other troopers were doing the same further along.  “  We used to throw grenades in lakes back home and catch the fish that floated to the surface.”
“Let’s hope it’s like that.”  He said. “I hope where we’re standing doesn’t go down when the bomb explosion comes up.”
The earth rumbled then as the bombs went off, the troopers staggering. The shafts were deep. Air conduits, intelligence had said.  For some reason the enemy didn’t think to protect their air flow or recognize them as vulnerable to bombs. Each species seemed to have blind spots like that. Vulnerabilities that could be taken advantage of until the other developed the necessary protection. Like earth’s surface factories that had been taken out by the enemy ships strafing and bombing that first day.
Now the mech was in and heading down the deep highway  behind them.  Their job had been to breach the first defences and drop the bombs in the shafts. They held a few minutes more till mech was passing.
“Catch a ride.” Tony called to the  first tank commander head up above his great machines
“Hop on board.”
The patrol was happy to be  jumping on the tanks and joining the following troop  transports. They’d done their bit going ahead and now weren’t going to miss the finale. Better to ride to glory on a tank  than walk or run.  Breath catching time.
There was more artillery lower but the tanks took that out quickly.  They threw a partial force up shield ahead of them. The turret was free. The men were protected even riding on the sides.
Deeper and deeper they went till they got to the swarm.
Then it was just blood and bullets. Fire and slippery ooze.  It was clear that the bombs they’d dropped had taken a terrible toll. What they did here was mainly mopping up. This last cavern was already full of dead bodies when the mech arrived.
When it was over Tony and his patrol  were resting in this  last cavern with alien bodies 5 and 6 high around them, stacked like cord wood.  It was something out of the British and African wars a couple of centuries back.  Intelligence had come in after that and said they’d got some of the leaders. The leaders had a different colour to their scale manes.  They wore some kind of special jewelry  tech too.  The speed of assault had trapped them in this last cavern.  The shaft bombs had blocked their escape and let off a gas that had killed many.  The final mopping up wasn’t a cake walk by any means but with our mech and a numbers advantage the enemy had never faced before we had won rather quickly.. No combat is won easily.
Tony looked around at his men.  They all looked haggard. Lots of far away stares.
No one smoked.
A few took sips from their suit reserves.
Henry was lying flat out on his back.  His was a tough job for a nerd.
“Round up.” Tony said , standing.  “Good work.”
The patrol with three  men less loaded on the transport for the surface.
“I guess we have to get off this planet before they can organize a fitting response,”
“Suits me.”  said Sheila.  She always looked the most fatigued after an insertion.
“Can’t wait to get into your bath,” Mac laughed.
“You can say that.” Said Sheilagh.
Soon they were lifting off in the transports with drones covering the troops departure.
Once everyone was back in the mother ship they were out of there.  Earth command wasn’t  ready for an all out invasion but they’d done what they set out. Intelligence said it was a complete success.  The alien  leadership was some sort of communist religious dictatorship which  had never been compromised before. They were good at sending out soldiers but intelligence didn’t think they’d be too quick to carry on now they knew they themselves were vulnerable.  Confusion reigned on the alien  surface which was why the earth ships  were getting away so lightly.  That suited everyone.
Especially Tony.  He’d only lost three men but earth didn’t breed like they did and it took years to gain the training and experience of his team.   The fact was his men and Shiela were like family. Family was earth’s strength. The feelings that it gave to soldiers.  It had been good to be on the offensive too. Tony didn’t like playing defence even if he was good at it.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Abraham of Ur, Egypt and Exodus

I so enjoyed today listening to Dr. Maguire giving a lecture to the students at the Catholic Institute. I have this from ITunes U, finding it in the Off Campus Series of Lectures from Christendom College.
I love history and literature nearly as much as I do chemistry so was delighted by the brilliance of Dr. Maquire's lecture.  With the invasion of Islam under the guise of migration, or as 5th Column or as capitulation by western leadership or to replace the aborted babies in purgatory, or in exchange of cold cash to the likes of the Saudi Wahhabi creation or Dubai monetary influence or Packistani power grab, it does not really matter, the fact is suddenly Muslims are in everyone's face today.
I once thought that of the Jews.
Another time I thought that of the Hindi's.
Another time I thought that of the Indigenous native folks with their burning sage and  Creator talk.
Why can't people leave me alone with my comfortable Christianity.
So these people invariably have me questioning my religion, though probably not my faith. I often think that the godless or apostates or simply stupid person I'm talking wth does this unknowingly. They have shared some propaganda they've learned and won't question it but I'll now be required to go and clarify or refute or question what I'd believed till I heard what usually turns out as downright nonsense.
Being a scholar I delve into history to learn what I can about some question this 'outsider to me' has raised.  I loved my studies of Yoga and India and Hinduism and Buddhism as they helped me eventually deepen my awareness of meditation and eventually understand better the teaching of Benedictine and Thomas Merton.  I love the Bodram and communal chanting of my aboriginal brethren with thier small group sweat lodge studies.  The Baptists had been happy to purify me in dunking baths but the native elders introduced me to the sweat long before I was doing Hamas with my Muslim scholar friends.  My Israeli mentor by contrast had me dousing myself with hyssop. One can never be too pure or for that matter too learned.
So when my Muslim friend said that the great religions were all the same all coming from the wisdom of Abraham, I was somewhat taken aback.  Surely Judaism has come from Abraham. Islam takes it's roots from there. But Christ was different I wanted to say.  Except Jesus was a Jew and he took his history from Judaism. Jesus wasn't at first a rebel but rather wanted to fulfill the Covenant with God given too the Jewish people with the New Accord of Christianity.
Dr. Maguire's lecture, serendipitously,  was on Abraham.  I've grown fat with pain and sloth and Hagen dad Ice Cream so have been forcing myself against all the temptations of demonic possession to run with my less than enthusiastic cockapoo dog Gilbert in the morning. I find that if I shut off the screams and derision of my mind with the incredible sound system of the Apple IPhone 7 I can drag myself along the trail with less focus on the tortuous pain of my screaming muscles and joints.
Yesterday country singer Reba MacIntyre with her complaints about men and love of God did the distract trick but today I tried I Tunes U.    Dr. MaQuire as a lecturer was extremely engaging and entertaining, even if he wasn't a beautiful country and western singer
Abraham, also know by the nick name, Abram, was the patriarch in the second millennium, the so called 'patriarchial age'.  Job was considered to be of this time too.  Dr. Maguire showed how the chronology of the Bible and chronology of Egyptian records were difficult but not impossible to compare.  Abraham was the third dynastic period of Ur. Ur was an important Sumerian city of Mesopotamia. The ruins of Ur are not far from Baghdad Iraq today at a site known as Tall al Mugayyar, Iraq. Mesopotamia is within the Tigris-Euphrates River system corresponding today with Iraq, Kuwait, eastern Syria, south eastern Turkey.  The Sumerians and Akkadians (Assyrians and Babylonians) dominated the region from the beginning of written history 3100 BC to the fall of Babylon 539 BC.

Abraham was Semitic. Semitic means off spring of Shem or of Noah.  2000 years BCE Ur was an advanced civilization in what has in recent years been called the Fertile Crescent, this area where the greatest accomplishments of technology, agriculture, war, science, culture and religion originated. The argument is that human kind originated here and spread to the rest of the world.  Naturally the Chinese would argue this point but they have always felt they were the centre of the universe.
Abraham was also of the Akkadian Empire
Our ancestors have been around 6 million years but civilization only began about 6000 years ago with humans as we know them evolving only about 200,000 years ago.  Dr. MaQuire mentioned that as Europeans we have Neanderthal genes so they were about back in the day.  Even today parents are trying to keep their teenagers from having sexual congress with the Neanderthals of the neighbourhood so not much changes.  
From Wikipedia I just learned that the Third Dynasty of Ur was also known as the new-Sumerian empire and referred to the 2112 to 2004 BC.  This area is the area of modern day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Iran.  It's significant to me that ISIS is destroying all the non Muslim culture and artefacts wherever they go.  True ignorant barbarians that make the actors in the  "Dumb and Dumber"  movie look brilliant.  The hillbillies of the Deliverance movie are more cultured civilized and intelligent than the ISIS in breeds.  One suspects ISIS followers have more Neanderthal genes than the rest of us.
Sadly much the income of this area depended on tourism from people like me who really would have been interested in seeing what architecture of the day was like rather than seing yet another mosque with mosque's as prevalent as MacDonald's franchises.  Young men and women never appreciate till it's too late the wonders of the ancients, including old men and old women. I was like the these thugs when I was a teen but thankfully I've learned a wonderful appreciation  for archeology. I am saddened at the losses to the people of the region economically and to historians.
Dr. Maguire said that droughts and famines caused migrations and that a common destiny was tthe 'fertile' delta of Egypt.  Abraham had moved his people from Ur to Canaan (Canaan is roughly the area of Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and western Jordan and western Syria)  and then from there to Egypt. The Bible tells us his wife was Sarah, his concubine Hagar and his second wife was Katsura.   Dr. Maguire referred to the Genesis tale as well as to archeological materials and the Jewish historians of later periods such as Josephus.  There appears to have been migration not just fof Abraham but other Semitic peoples and in the day they may have come as labourers and mercenaries.
Another great racy story in the Bible that female Sunday school teachers don't dwell on is  about Sarah being like the Marilyn Monroe Sophia Loren Angelina Jolie of her day and Abraham being less than Brad Pitt or Colin Firth or Gregory Peck and offering Sarah to the Pharoh claiming that she's his sister not his wife. The Pharaoh takes her into his Harem then rejects her when he realizes she's Abraham's wife and not his sister. Better than Day's of Our Lives.  Abraham was the happening event in Egypt around 1900 BC.
Moses is around 1400 BC.  The Hyksos Invaders reigned in Egypt in the 15th dynasty around 1650 BC.
The Hyksos was  translated from the Egyptian hieroglyphs as 'foreign kings' .   The Native Pharaoh's were from the time before and after them and Dr. Maguire wondered if the 'falling out' of the exodus period was related to Abraham being friends with the former 'native pharaoh's' and now Moses was at odds with Hysksos invaders or some such thing that I didn't really follow because my cockapoo Gilbert chose that moment to poop in the middle of the path and I had to stoop and scoop avoiding on coming cyclists.
I remember seeing the Hysksos artefacts in the Athens museum.  Very impressive.
The interesting insights that Dr. Maguire gave about Moses and the Egyptians were the plagues. Moses turned the river into blood. The Egyptian hieroglyphs couldn't be understood till the Rosetta Stone finding because the hieroglyphs were phonetic language with the pictures representing 'sounds like' images of parts of words.  But today they can be read fairly accurately and show the migrations. As a result today we also know that their religion was a zoological paganism.  In deed the war between the northern delta Hysksos Dynasty and the southern native dynasty began because in the south they started killing Hippopotamus which were the gods of the Hyksos.  Moses plague of locust was the plague of the land turning the worshipped land against the Egyptians.
When Moses lead the people out of Egypt into Canaan Dr. Maguire argued that much of the requirements of the Moses religion were to get the Egyptian out of the people.  Egyptians could eat pork but not a whole lot of other animals because they were sacred. So by making pork taboo and forcing the Israelites to eat what had once been sacred to Egyptians he was purifying them.  The Golden Calf wasn't something new but the fertility god of Egypt as the people were reverting back to the Egyptian god whenever they lost faith in the monotheism of Moses.
Great lecture. I just touched on points that I remember.  It kept me running rather than walking as well as Reba MacIntyre.

Referring to my original discussion,  I had thought Abraham was the patriarch the religion of Judaism and the religion. The religion of Christianity is fundamentally different from Judaism.   The new almagamation religion of Islam is something altogether different again.  It's like the Mormon's in that sense. They have elements of Christianity but a whole lot of other 'stuff'. As the Bahai are an amalgamation religion with a whole lot of other stuff too.
Tribal religions are different from Universal religions.  Both Judaism and Islam began as tribal religions but Christianity by contrast was not.  The great discussion of genital mutilation of men between Paul and Peter brought it to the level of universal religion. Genital mutiliation of men has tended to keep the Jewish religion at a more tribal level.   Islam has attempted universality in later years but continues to have fetish issues with tribal genital mutilation while Judaism remains routed in it's tribal history.  Hinduism long left it's tribal origins but mostly maintained an ethnic association while Buddhism had a universal construction.  Confuscianism isn't so much a religion but a broader form of Robert's Rules of Order with serious life implications.   Buddhism more than Hinduism has spread from its eastern basis.  Communism the aetheist religion which has a short history of abject failure was like the militaristic Islam formulated as a totalitarian earth conquering construct. "Workers of the world unite."  The god there was the worker state, with it's special dictator class like the priest class of other religions.  Today totalitarian religions are mostly driven by money which can be generalized from Marx as the religion of the world. Money is truly worshipped in high places.
Dr. Magure's lecture was thought inspiring and I would not suggest my thoughts are his. What I've written was just my thoughts after an enjoyable lecture taken while running with my dog.  Great way to start a day.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Why do you call God Jesus?

Why do you call God Jesus?
-by William Hay

“Why do you call God Jesus?” he asked
“My mother called him that.” I said
“That’s all.”
“It’s no small thing to me.  She introduced me to God and called him Jesus when I was a little child.  I remember praying at the side of my bed on my knees with her beside me. That’s no small thing.  Praying beside your mother on your knees.  I still look back on that time as truly wondrous. She told me she knew Jesus long before she knew me. She said she’d asked Jesus for me and prayed to Jesus for me when I was a baby in womb. That’s pretty special. Coming from your own mother. Knowing that she called out to Jesus when she was carrying me."
“Alright, I get it. But what of your father. Doesn’t he count?” he asked.
“Oh yes, my mother and father loved each other very deeply. My mother said she’d asked for my father and prayed for him. He wasn’t particularly caught up with God himself but he did call him Jesus too. It’s just what they called God in my neighbourhood.  That was God’s name.  Everyone knew that when I was growing up.  Everyone knew God just like today they know Steven Jobs.   All the other men and women in my child hood called God Jesus.  Certainly it’s what they called him in my church and Sunday School."
“And you’ve found no better name?"
“Not really. I’ve tried on a few others but they don’t seem to fit long for me.  I liked Higher Power for a while. I still like Holy Spirit.  I do like Christ. They’re kind of like nick names, the way I see it. Jesu sometimes fits too."
“But if you were born in Syria you would probably call God Allah, in Israel Yahveh, in India , Krishna.  Because that’s probably what their mothers called their Gods.” he asked sounding a bit full of himself
“Yes,” I said, reflecting seriously on the question.  “I suppose I would have called God what my mother called God if I was born in other countries. Even if they were Christian I would call Jesus by a different intonation. The Gaelic way of pronouncing Jesus is a different thing altogether.   The sounds wouldn’t be quite the same but somehow the meaning would remain the same."
“What do you mean?"
“Well the words aren’t as important as the devotion of the heart.  I don’t think God is like the Apple Phone Siri. I rather think Jesus is more like an Emergency room nurse.  I’ve known some of the finest and they’ve that uncanny skill of understanding exactly what a person needs when they’re having difficulty talking due to pain and English isn’t their first language. Jesus is like that. Here we have Babylon but in the language of the heart our meaning is heard.I know Jesus understands me when I’m praying even when I’m not quite sure what I’m saying. The Pentecostals take that even a step further with their ‘talking in tongues’.  The Quakers take it a different way with their ‘silent prayer’. Come to think of it, if Jesus were a government God,  we’d be praying in triplicate.
“But they’d be different God’s."
“I don’t think so. Not at the Mother and Child level. That’s why I love the Madonna and Child paintings so terribly much. I cry seeing them. I really believe there’s a purity of communication between mother and child that captures the spirit of Jesus like no other image. There is no greater miracle on earth than birth. Despite all our science and superiority there’s something utterly sacred and mysterious about conception. It’s truly wondrous.  Human creation is such an important process and a series of exceptional occasions.  Society has done all it can to marginalize it.  Still, it remains truly glorious."
“And you still call God Jesus."
“Of course. Throughout my life I’ve come to know Jesus is  the best name for God. I’ve looked at all the others. I’m forever studying. It’s just that Jesus is so very different and special than the other Gods people worship.  Jesus is unique. Jesus is God. It’s quite simple for me. "
“And you don’t think if you were raised in India, or Iraq, or as an aboriginal, you’d think the god of your people would be like Jesus."
“No I wouldn’t. I’d rather be born in those nations than the Godless aetheist nations which have know such horror and pain of communism with no one to blame but themselves.  At least countries with a God can turn to something more. They're moving in the right direction.  We’re so limited , so finite as people. That’s the miracle of the Jesus story.  Neitzhe understood this. Other Gods were powerful Gods.
There were also hearth Gods but Jesus was both, God incarnate, an infant God, paradoxically powerful in his weakness. He was a crucified God. He was a vanquished God. A rebel and a healer, a loser and a winner. His was a story of miracles.
As I’ve become older I’ve come to know why the story of Jesus is called the greatest story of the world. It just seems more remarkable the older I get.  The resurrection is comforting but more so I imagine all that power and grace in the little baby Jesus and the restraint.  It seems there is no other God that is so restrained and so forgiving.  When I was young I admit I liked Yahweh better and Allah seemed spectacular spectacular.  I wanted a God that smote my enemies. I loved the stories of the Pharaoh’s armies being swallowed by the sea. I liked the Gods of Greece and the stories of Troy and the Argonauts.  Even the Great Spirit God was more appealing than a Jew dying on a cross. I was pretty vengeful when I was younger.  I probably still am. I’ll turn the cheek 70 times 70 but then I’ll smite with gusto. I don’t think that’s quite what the way it's meant to be.   But it is the way I’ve chosen to interpret it.  Slow to anger then all bets are off.
 "Forgive them for they know now what they do." That’s been hard.  My greatest fear has been the ignorant and delusional.  I think of Pilate in later years realizing that he killed God, the people there going to their graves in old age, realizing that they didn’t do more. I imagine the guy who helped carry the cross slept well but the others in the story, well, it’s what I think about and it’s not at all about war and conquest and the Big Guy.  It’s none of that Hollywood idea of God.  In my version of the Holy story I’d probably choose Jerry Springer or George Costanza to play Jesus rather than Charlton Heston.  Gregory Peck might do it best but only because of his ability to portray the thoughtful. I like Mel Gibson but that's because he's capable of playing the crazy like Peter O Toole. And Jesus only did the crazy thing in the temple when people were using the holy ground for mere marketing.  The whole Schwartzeneger set just don’t seem to have what it is I see in Jesus.  He's just not action hero material.
Jesus still lead from the front not from behind. He was first into battle like the marines but not to vanguish but to save. I really think the story grows on you. I’ve read the other stories of God again and frankly they’re great like Superman and Captain Kirk even but there’s a comic book quality at the end of the day for me. I love the Bhagadva Gita.  There's something particular appealing in monkey gods and elephant gods.   But the atheist's "State as God" Communist Manifesto grows thin pretty quick.  I like the aboriginal Turtle God story but they’re not the same for me. That may be because I am not as familiar with them as I am with Jesus.  I actually believe that the more I talk to Jesus the more like him I become. I don’t want the stigmata of St. Francis which makes the story even more poignant. That it can reach out for hundreds and thousands of years, as powerful as that and more so, is itself uncanny.  I’m thankful to know the story and to know Jesus. It’s all a little scary though Awesomeness has that quality.  It’s not a bland flavour by any means. The Church can bore one to tears with the weight of flavourless beurocracy and cowardice but the Jesus story has none of that lethargy.  Jesus is to my mind the spiciest God there is.  But then for me he’s the only one.  Three in one but one."
“Well you’d better talk more with him because you’re a long way from Godly by anyone’s account,” my friend laughed.
“Isn’t that true. My mother, if she were alive today,  would radically agree with you. Then I really think, especially now she has passed, that she knew Jesus more than I ever could know.  She had the peace about her."
“Not like you, you old rogue.”
“Not like me. Maybe some day. Jesus is calling.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Slug Storm

The Slug Storm
-- by William Hay

The light streaked across the night sky, followed by a deafening boom as the tank exploded.  Flames shot from the place where the tank had stood.
“Incoming!” the green recruit screamed at the top of his lungs.
There was no need. Everyone heard the noise. Everyone knew what it meant. Those watching the sky had seen the lightning flash.  No one saw the vessel. It was already elsewhere.  More destruction could reign down from the sky or not.  It had been comforting to have the tank’s presence.  It had been a weapon that would have worked against ground ships. But such weapons attracted the aerial support.  We were outmatched in the skies by a long shot.
Now the slugs appeared before us
“Slugs.” The new recruit shouted. This time it was important.
If you weren’t wearing you night vision glasses looking in the direction the slugs were
Coming from they tended to blur into the background at night. You'd not have seen the things moving into position.  In the night vision glasses, the devices that gave their wearer the appearance  of a cyborg, the slugs looked iridescent green. In daylight they were bright purple with blue and orange stripes and dots. One could only imagine their colours were camouflage for a different world. Here they were plain to see in daylight but at night not so. Maybe they were nocturnal.
“Hold your fire,” he said.  John was the most senior soldier here.  Home defence.  He’d served in the regulars but an injury had left him on pension working part time at the garage.  He’d never let go of his weapon.  Like a lot of his era vets they kept their personal stock of ammunition, rifles and hand guns.  They’d been off world. They knew what was out there. The locals hadn’t thought anything could get through their defences.  Not John. Not the other veterans.  Unlike the recruits they lacked enthusiasm.  There was no cowardice. Just experience. They'd  hunkered down and waited,ready to be there for the long haul. All had said a prayer alone.. Now they’d see what grace would bring.
The Slugs, there were three of them, rose up to their 8 foot height.  Thick fibrous creatures with some sort of breathing apparatus at theirhead.  A harnsss was belted around their upper body and to that a shining silver disc was attached at the centre. That was their weapon. A ray gun of some sort.  Pink light and things disintegrated. It was best to avoid letting the slugs get to their full height.
“Fire,” John called out.  A dozen weapons converged on the vulnerable lower half of the creatures. It was always a dicey bit. Their shells were impervious to fire but this place right below the disk was not.  If the Slugs could fully extend up their ray gun was a deadly force to reckon with. A lot of men and women had died before the tactics John and his men utilized now were learned.
“How to kill a slug!” had been broadcast all over the planet on the internet.  That was in the second week of the arrival. After that things began to improve on the ground front.
Except when their land vehicles accompanied the Slugs. These were massive fortified weapons platforms whose rays could scour a neighbourhood leaving no life and no buildings and no cars.  All that remained was flames and destruction.  The tanks and artillery were effective against these. But the best infantry solution to these to date was run like hell.
The slugs went down almost in unison.  Loud body falls.Their entrails gushing while their heads gave off that shrieking sound so reminiscent  of Cats in heat.
“Let’s move,” called John even as the three veterans and the 9 new recruits began to follow his direct northerly lead.
“How much time do we have,”  Able asked.  He was closest to John and walking now alongside as they headed out of the suburban cul de sac into the trees beneath the mountains.
“Never enough time.”
“They’re always so quick to respond. You’d think their life support telemetry was somehow connected to some central command. Deaths trigger the back up. There's no time to get out a distress call."
“Smart buggers for slugs.  Never follow up with more infantry. Just Those monstrous land vehicles.
“It would be worse if they followed up with their air craft but they only seem to use those before an attack ,to remove thanks and artillery."
“Do you think the slugs are them.?"

“I don’t think so. The little ships could be drones, the one’s that seem too small to hold a slug but who knows.  The xenobiologists haven’t been living long enough to get samples  No saucer pilots have yet been found. I heard on the net the main idea is that there’s probably a dominant race with subordinates."
"No different from Roman citizens in the old days and their barbarians. "
"Something like that.  "
The squad was all in the woods moving along the rocky stream making distance,putting natural barriers like the river and trees between them and what was coming.
Protocol said they should spread out as far apart as possible but most were doing like John and Able.  Coupling up , talking as they hiked. Feeling less alone after encounter with alien invaders

Sunday, July 23, 2017

I said I loved you in the space port

I said I loved you in the space port
-by William Hay

“It’s true I said I loved you in the space port”,  she said.  I was standing close beside her feeling the heat of her body through the light tight fabrics of our body suits.
“But I thought we were going to die,” she said.
The aliens with their long fibrous tentacles had been everywhere in the hallways.  Breeching the walls of the command centre they’d spread out in seconds. I’d hardly had time to pull out  the the laser rifle from the locker before going to  her in the adjacent room. She had strapped on an old fashioned particle pistol.  She was wearing it on a holster on her hip, like some kind of old west cowgirl gunslinger.
“My father gave it to me, a sovenier, he’d picked up at  Old World Earth. “  she’d once told me.
Together we slipped out of our cabins, silently but quicklymaking our way to the space port.
“The station’s over run ? ,” she asked
“I think so.”  I ‘d accessed the camera leads and saw these things everywhere,. The only escape off the station. There were escape ship pods outside every space port.  Each port had  space suits and propulsion packs. . With the way the air in the hall tasted it wasn’t going to be long before we weren’t able to breathe.  All the hulls were self sealing but the scrubbers or the air source itself had somehow been harmed.  The aliens appeared to have suits over their bodies and heads but they had at least 6 tentacles each 3 or 4 feet long extending uncovered from what passed as a suit.  The helmut was like ours but bigger. Big bulbous affairs. It was hard to tell but they appeared to just have one eye and an opening below which must serve as a mouth or air hole.  They carried packs on their backs.  In one of the tentacles they had a tube like weapon that belched flecthetes. I’d seen it take down a crew on the vid even as I was fetching the laser rifle from the locker.
There were three of them slithering down the corridor when I opened with the laser. She plugged one with her pistol. The slug breached the big helmut and passed right into that one eye splatting the inside of the helmut with putrid green blood.  Surprisingly she pulled out another  clip when we’d finished firing together and three aliens lay dead leaking green pus like blood  I  pressed the ‘access’ on the panel at the space port with her covering my back.  We moved togehter into the outer lock, the door closing behind us. .
We  donned our own glass globe helmets.  Her long arms were above her head rolling  her long brown hair into a bun with one hand while the other was holding the helmut above her head ready to slip down. That’s when she said it.
“I love you, you know.”  The helmut was over her head then.    I turned away to look back down the corridor. I pressed “decompress" on the inside panel.  A large octopus black head in glass bubble poked around the bend, tentacles slithering forward towards the door.  One great bulbous eye appearing on a stalk  stared straight forward at me.   I didn’t wait longer.  The outer door open. We kicked out.
Holding the torpedo pack in front of her with me holding her belt we thrust across the space to nearest pod ship. The outer hatch automatically opened as we closed.  There had been no reason to believe there was any threat here. We were in Home World space.  The outer perimeter was protected by destroyers and mines.  The station was a research facility developing minuscule creatures for an ark  journey. It would one day be incorporated into a major transport ship and the expedition would set off. . We were scientists not warriors.  We’d both had our Navy Seal training. Everyone assigned to the mission had.   But this wasn’t a combat mission.  We’d just been studying the effects of low gravity on hybrid zebra sexual function. The idea was to have an ark of tiny creatures which could be moved across galaxy at low cost in propellant and sustenance to be able to grow in an abundant world to former size. The problem however was the smaller animals needed to be reproductively robust for the journey.  That’s what was paying our  way.  I was a veterinarian xenoiologist and she was a computer analyst specializing in DNA.  At least  until the aliens arrived.
“I’m just not into lesbianism,” she said.
“It’s not like I’m a woman. I”m trans. I have male parts.”
“But I don’t know if I can get used to your breasts. I’ve always liked hairy chested warrior type men."
“You’ve always said they treated you badly. We both know your record. You said I was your best friend."
“Friend yes, but I don’t know about having you as a lover."
‘We could try."
“That’ s what all the guys say. Your nano tech and hormones haven’t changed that about you.” she laughed.
I’d got the tiny pod ship away from the station and lucky for us the things hadn’t followed. She’d radioed central command who had no knowledge of the invasion.  It seemed a discrete insertion of the station.  A destroyer was on the way even as we were thrusting towards the nearest  planet surface. Looking back we could see the oblong shape of the alien ship already moving away from the station, thankfully in a direction opposite to us. .  She’d connected the feed from the station into our visuals so we could see the empty corridors.  It wasn’t easy looking at the dead bodies of friends.  At least there were a few more alien corpses like the ones we’d left to show it wasn’t only a one sided fight.  It wasn’t clear yet what they’d wanted.
The Destroyer engaged them further out.  An exchange of fire appeared with silent explosions through the view port.  At a distance it didn’t seem like much.  Not spectacular like entertainment vids showed.  Just a couple of units of light and some sparks. Then the oblong shape was gone. It had warped or somehow accelerated away.  The destroyer  chose not to follow but headed  towards the station.
“Should be go back?, “ she asked.  We were at the point where we could have entered the planet atmosphere or returned to the station now that the destroyer was coming up alongside it.
“Go on. That’s protocol.  We can return when there’s an all clear. I’ll feel better on the planet after that,” I said.
After docking we’d been debriefed. The word from the station was there were other survivors but many too had died. The breach in the wall of the command centre had killed quite a few. . A few like us had had weapons and escaped to the floating pods that surrounded the ports.  As yet there was no explanation.
We were on the nearby beach. Both of us in skin suits. Military black. Her’s a bikini. Mine a one piece.  There was no regulations about covering breasts. Others on the beach were naked.  Some were topless.  Children and teens were in the ocean. We’d chosen discretion.  Now I was sitting beside her looking down at our legs inches apart enjoying our towels on the sand our hands and arms supporting us.  She really was beautiful. Aquiline nose, high cheek bones, full lips and that long antelope neck.
“When I look at you I see a sister, not a mate,” she was saying.  We’d continued our conversation while waiting for more word on the aliens and the space station.  The repair ship was already there with detectives. The miniature animals were appeared altogether safe, their compounds in the inner part of the ship protected from hull breach.  The computer programs had been accessed though. That was all that could be told.  We’d have to go back and catalogue everything just in case.
"What were they after?” she’d asked.
“I don’t know but I’m sure glad I got you out of there.”
“Yes, I am thankful for that but I might well have got out alone."
“True. That eye shot and the spurting green muck was forever memorable.”
“It’s not that I don’t find you attractive,” she suddenly said, placing her hand on my cheek.
“You said you loved me,” I replied.
“That’s when I thought I was going to be strangled by one of those tentacles or  have my body juices sucked out till I was dead” she laughed.
“You can’t expect me to wait for another alien attack before I hope you’ll  ravish me."
“I guess not,’ she said, her blue eyes twinkling as she twisted about and pushing me back in the sand,  her incredibly sensuous body pressing against me.   She began to kiss me fully on my mouth,  her tongue probing mine inside to tangle with my own now very happy and alert tongue.  The feelings were exquisite.  All of her, her weight, her smoothness, the kiss, her hair on my shoulders, all of it was just as I’d  hoped .  Her mouth was sweet  perfection as her tongue probed mine exciting me beyond anything I’d ever known.
It was not like either of us  were virgins.
We’d both been married and divorced. She’d had children, now grown.
But that’s what they say about chemistry. The heat was so intense that when she lifted off me her breasts grazed my nipples and  I was just awe struck.
“For a first go that  was pretty impressive.” She said smiling down at me. "I may just have to consider you as more than a friend. I could even get used to ravishing you if what you have down there is more than just show.” She was eying the lower part of my bathing suit where some definition had suddenly appeared.  She sat up.
"But not now.” She said jumping up. Kicking sand all over me, she rushed  off to where water met beach wading forward.
“Catch me if you can.’ she called then dove straight into the sea. Her lithe muscular body knifing the little waves as her arms began a powerful crawl her legs and feet thrashing the water behind her.  I wasn’t far behind. Alien invasion or not I wasn’t going to be left behind by the most beautiful,  accomplished, sensuous, intelligent woman in the galaxy. She did look good in a bikini.   We were both in fine  shape. The military demanded it whether we were scientists or warriors first class. I don’t think I would have caught her if she hadn’t wanted to be caught.
Treading water, she mocked me.
“You wouldn’t have had a chance at keeping up with me without those great bulbous water wings of your. They give you bouyancy.  That increased your speed, don’t you think.”  she asked smiling.
I didn’t know what to say. I was sputtering and still catching my breath. She was even more beautiful with her water running down her cheek, her magnificent breasts appearing and disappearing about the surface as she tread, and all around us beautiful calm seal blue sky and snow topped mountains on the distant shore.
“As a woman, if I had what you have down there,I’d never be able to swim naked. Always afraid a fish would take it for a worm.” she laughed, eyes glancing down..
“It would have to be a very big and very brave fish even now,” I said, catching myself masculine defensive at a feminine aside.  I’d like the shrinkage before.  More and more I thought of it as a clitoris.  But the hugeness of the thing had been hard to conceal.  Noow as she spoke of it I rather missed the expansile rapid onset fullness.There was a certain sensation though there in the warm water as our bodies tread water together so close..
“I’d like to look,” she said.
 I was glad for the one piece. She was the kind of girl that I know if I was wearing shorts she’d have ducked under and pulled them down.
 “Oh, I’ve wanted to see you naked for a long time.
“I know. Of course you would. And maybe you will. But I just want to see that, “ she said , glancing down with her eyes.”You can keep the rest clothes on.”
That’s when the sky erupted. Three Saucer like craft, the kind we call flitters,suddenly appeared out of nowhere.  Great sheets of flame rained down on the beach where we’d just been. Screams pierced the air. Flaming bodies dove into the water.  Craters appeared as bombs drop.  One  flitter flashed right overhead ignoring us.  If we’d been on the beach we’d have been vaporized.  There were three of them and they’d concentrated their fire where the most people were.  One after another they flashed over the beach,  their weapons systems targeting the largest groups. We treaded water watching in horror .  As quickly as they’d come They passed on at supersonic speeding towards the city.
“Let’s go,’ there was no need to say it. We were both front crawling at maximal speed to the beach where flames and  destruction reigned.  The screams continued.
She ran ahead of me to life guard station. We both grabbed a couple of emergency suitcases. All were identical first aid trauma kits for emergency use.  All over the planet, the same suitcases were available for just this kind of attack and anything else as well.  In minutes we were injecting morphine, tying tourniquets,  slapping on healing suave and non adhesive bandages.  The burns would have been worse were it not for the nu skin biologicals. Ripping the packages open we slid the skin over the area of burn, the disenfectant , anesthetic and antibiotic coated surfaces of the patches instantly relieving the pain and hugging the wounds.  Previously these would have caused such suffering and scarring. Others were working as quickly as we were. All of us trained today in worthwhile information long after the days when schools were used soled for propaganda organs.  Every citizens was emergency ready. The world had once been such a place of  waste of bubble heads and ego. Now it managed by competent folk.  Industry was for ever startling. Genius was celebrated.   It was hard looking at the tourniquet limbs knowing they’d be lost but the artificial limbs today were thought by some as better than their own.    All manner of scientific advances had been made when the political abuse of science had been stopped. But what had happened to the  alien sensor array. It was supposed to be the first line of defence. Nothing could get through without alarms.  Obviously that would need improving..
The attack on the space station wasn’t a solitary event. This was a full on assault. . In the distance the flitters could be seen bombing and strafing the city.
“We’ve helped a couple of dozen. I think that’s all we can do.  Others are coming now. ” she said. The supplies from the cases were all  gone but emergency vehicles were arriving..
“Time for us to get out of here.” I agreed.  “The ambulances can take these folk to the underground hospitals’.
As she ran across the sand ahead of me I watched her  long hair like a lion’s mane..  When you’re in love you can’t not see such things.  Despite the horrors all around, now more subdued, the screaming stopped, the flames all but out, she looked even more beautiful bounding ahead of me like a young gazelle.  I felt my own breasts bouncing as I wondered if I shouldn’t try for long hair again. It looked lovely on her.  I preferred my shorter bobbed cut. More functional by far.
Our hover craft was waiting.  The AI asked as we took our seats,  “Where would you like to go?"
I looked at her.
“Military Space Compound #53”  she said.  I nodded.
“Top speed,” she added.
Military Space Compound #53 was an underground weapons research facility mere miles away.  Our research project was running out of there as well.  If we could get there we’d not only be comparatively safe but also we'd probably be able to take our place in the military defence. .  Looking up I saw a patrol of navy jets streak overhead  Back at the city behind us missiles were striking  the alien craft still strafing and bombing.  We were going high speed parallel to the action hopeful we’d not be attacked by any of those flitters.
“Are the weapons having any effect.”  she asked, looking as I did at the distant air battle.
“I can’t tell.  So far none of the flitters I’ve been following has gone down.  They’ve definitely taken hits.  One of the jets we saw pass overhead has already gone down. At this distance it’s hard to tell but there doesn’t seem to be force field around the aliens.  There shells just seem tough and impermeable to our missiles and munitions..  I don’t know if they’re doing damage. They're certainly using their speed and maneuverability to avoid the fire from our ships and the ground."
“i’d love to get a look at their propulsion systems.” she replied anger in her voice.
Our craft came up on Compound #53. There were lots of craters all around the area but no rifts. The ground didn’t open automatically. I had to key in my military encryption code.  As I was wondering if it was still in effect the ground began to open.. We got lucky. The concealed ground parted and our AI hover craft descended rapidly even as the small port was closing behind us.  We settled into a vast underground garage.  The AI automatically switched from hover mode to ground transport whisking us across the tarmac to the elevators at the end.
Leaving the vehicle, still dressed only in black bathing suits, carrying  the packs we’d left at the beach in the car,  both of us now with advanced laser combat rifles.  We’d increased our weapons when our escape pod ship,  first landed. Walking quickly now leaving the AI to park,  we joined what seemed like throngs of others heading forward on the moving high speed passenger belts.  The usually spacious  now maximally crowded down elevators descended rapidly opening at various floors to let people off. .
The politicians in a past era had spent  trillions of dollars in committee meetings claiming they were preparing for climate change and doing science. Nothing ever came of that but when a larger than normal meteor did strike the earth causing a few catastrophic tsunamis and earth quakes some real leaders got the funding for this and other such underground survival systems.  Great under ground cities had developed around what had first been military installations which ranged for miles under mountains. Once they’d been prepared only for Presidents  and military commanders the basic idea had expanded to what was now were a truly mixed bag habitat. The cutting edge military research facilities were here but ranging out in all directions was a whole city like any above ground city ever was. Only this one was impermeable to weather anomalies and hostile attack.  It was amazing how far a trillion dollars went when it wasn’t just feeding ego and  hot air.
Today the military were at the exits on every floor directing people to the various stations.  As space researchers and part time warriors they unloaded us at level 23. There we took the high speed train to the science section associated with space exploration and defence.
“Glad to see you two. Sorry your R&R was interrupted but glad you got back safely. “ Harry said, directing the incoming people like a symphony conductor, arms moving every which way.
Harry was the second in command of their unit, a brilliant scientist who was also a competitive athlete, sometimes going to other Home Worlds to do some crazy endurance feats for which he’d won countless medals. HIs girl friend, one of the nano tech lab assistants always seemed on the verge of purring suggesting  his athletic prowess wasn’t solely used for competitive sport.  Now he was seriously into leadership mode.  His remarkable mind  was racing through all incoming data scanning a half dozen wall feeds all the while he directed returning team members to their desk. Talking to us and to earbuds and a head up screen he passed along the latest information.
‘The detectives at the station actually found the aliens did take something. Just put your rifles and your packs over there. It wasn’t apparent at first but forensic analysis of the computer showed exactly where they looked at  Following the digital trail the detectives learned they were only interested in the octopus and snake DNA .  “Their people on site say that the compounds with the miniature octopi and some of the snakes had been breached and some of those appeared missing. Can you get right on that. Find out what they took.  Sort out exactly what they were after. You said they looked like octopus themselves."
“Yes, big single eyed bulbous head  but their tentacles were scaled like a snake.” I reflected.
“Do you think they’re some how related to our earth forms. That might explain the  theft but it doesn’t explain the all out attack on the earth itself.”  She said this while  throwing on  pink t shirt and pulling  purple slacks over her bathing suit.
“We don’t have enough data to speculate yet.  Let’s just find out exactly which species they were interested in. The word from above is the jets are scoring some hits.  The skin of the ships is tough but not impermeable."
 I had just pulled on a black t shirt  and slipped into some some slinky stretchy black slacks.
As we took our place at our computer screens Harry was directed more incoming personnel to their workstations with specific questions. Everyone like us  had weapons and packs with them.  Soon almost half of our old team was on site and working.
I had a list of the snakes that had been taken. We'd had live feeds from the station and could see the octopus was gone.  Only three of the snakes were missing.  A viper,  a rattler and a cobra.  Nothing made sense.  Harry said the war overhead was winding down as the flitters were heading out to space.  More destroyers from the outer rim had come in to join the small earth defence that had been all but overwhelmed by the alien sneak attack.  Nothing made any sense yet.
“Let’s go,” Harry suddenly called out.  “Central command wants us up on the station STAT. We’re taking some of the experimental weapons they’ve been working on with us too. We’ve got some weapons tech. The navy patched up the breaches and the detectives have cleared the station to go. Lets move.  Everyone bring your rifles and pistols.:.
Next moment I had my pack and rifle and was wedged up close to her smelling her hair as we shot upwards in the high speed elevator.  Squatting on the tarmac was one of the new jump ships that looked as close to a stubby beer bottle as a ship could get .  Conveyor systems were carrying electronics and tube devices  high speed into the hull.  Hulls had long lost any projectile mounts all being clean and smooth for travel  through atmosphere. But once they got into space the modern war ship would bristle like a porcupine with all manner of instruments, cannons and antennae appearing .   This ship was special too.  One of the latest nuclear powered high speed highly manoeuvrable fighters it had been designed as a weapons platform for experimental systems. .  We were passengers but everyone was trained for service in the navy.  The regulars were there managing everything but we were now assigned cabins and service locations .I would join the artillery crew in the outer ship  She would be forward. For now we were strapped side by side in acceleration chairs   The ship carried a hundred of us.   We were underway almost as fast as we had our gear stowed.
The earth above us opened to blue sky. Then we were blasting up through the atmosphere everyone strapped into acceleration chairs.  Great view screens looked out from all around the ship.  The smoke above the city was obvious.  Some areas still burned but great fire engine water tanks were gathering  last around  the last of those sites
 “Sill love me,” I asked.
“It’s not what was on my mind,” she said.
“I know.That’s why its my job to remind you.”
She laughed.  The g force against us with the acceleration was increasing.
“Like those puppies now on your chest,” she smiled turning her head to see my expression.
We could hardly speak as the ship shook and more g’s pressed down against us.
I would have liked to have a witty comeback but I was wishing I’d peed once more before this ascent.  The chairs could absorb any manner of human waste, including blood. They contoured to the body and were self cleaning as well. But I didn’t think wetting myself would impress the lady.  Also at these g’s talk was nearly impossible. Best to ride it out. .
“I should have peed once more,’ she said through a grimace.
Then as suddenly as the g force weight had bore down on us it began to let up.  We were through the atmosphere.  The earth had released us from it’s gravity.   We would have floated now  if we weren’t strapped in.
In the distance we could see several destroyers . There were just there.  None of the oblong silver ships were about. I was definitely goose necking around for any  enemy presence.
Artificial gravity kicked in just about then.  She was out of her chair like a shot and headed for the loo. I was only steps behind.   As I waited cross legged in the hall expecting the others would be in use too, I said,”I”m glad they didn’t take the little zebra."
As she came out, she gave kissed me a brushing kiss full on the  lips,  “Me too, “ she said.
I really did love her. But first I had to piss like a race horse and didn’t have time to sit.

To be continued

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Vancouver -A Beautiful City

Everyone who visits says Vancouver is a beautiful city.  Situated on the protected English Bay Harbour off the inside passage of Georgia Strait it is a sea port with great tankers in the harbour, marinas, sailboats and beautiful beaches.  Kits Beach is the summer college girl and boy hang out with beach volley ball. I prefer Spanish Banks but Wreck Beach by the main UBC Point Grey site is famous for it’s nudity and historic hippy fests that challenged the city and the police till one day the storm in the tea cup was past. Now even the gay end of the beach with reported lusty hook ups is all but respectable.  Nothing shocks anymore and I say that with some ambivalence.
The UBC Museum of Anthropology on the cliffs above never grows old. Concerts at the near by Chan Centre, especially classical are a treasure.  I so enjoyed the Bach and Handel perfomances I attended in recent years.   Kitsilano is the suburb that’s kind of yuppie. The houses are astronomically priced now but the people are more than approachable. Vancouver’s wealthy sections are old Shaughnassey and West Vancouver.  North Vancouver and Kitsilano have that middle class feel. The lower class was once East Vancouver but there housing prices have sky rocketed as well making poor people rich when they sell their houses. The West End is quintessential Vancouver, downtown with mostly apartments and the highest density.  Robson Street in the main uptown shopping street with Davie the once gay now gay plus or minus part of town depending on perspective.Granville street is the central core.  Bridges cross over False Creek where the dragon boats make a racket and Coal Harbour where the main commercial port is.  Commercial Street in gentrifying East Vancouver  and attracted the lesbians more so along with a younger crowd while Davis street maintained it’s corner on the bears and leather set  The drag  queen shows still take place on Davis where a different night life persists. But there’s really a chic and mixed set that have always been part of the Davis scene. The Avant Garde and the city live and work near here so it’s where they eat and increasingly shop for books and clothes.  St. Paul’s Hospital with the surrounding medical offices is nearby.
Howe is where the Courthouses are. Then there’s Georgia and Burrard where the very very old and very very baautiful Christ Church Cathedral is located.The new Bells contribute to the audioscape of the city.  All around there are magnificent hotels. The Vancouver Art Gallery is central with nearby Pacifc Centre shopping mall, Hudson’s Bay and across the street  the new Nordstroms.
Vancouver’s architecture is dominated with glass giving it a lightness of being look so different from the heaviness of New York and Chicago.  There’s a sense that fairies live here while trolls live in the east.  One really can imagine unicorns flying on rainbows amidst these almost delicate buildings not surprisingly built to withstand earthquakes.  The ground does shake here on occasasion.
I rode my Harley Davidson downtown simply knowing I’d be able to bypass rush hour traffic with a bike whereas with a car I’d be frustrated no end. Also on my motorcycle I see so much more. I really appreciated once again the incredible beauty of the solid circular architecture of our main library.  The Queen Elizabeth Theatre is near by.   I so enjoy performances of Ballet BC.  Rogers Arena, a grand structure, is where we most recently enjoyed the magnificent U2 concert with Mumford and Sons as the opening act.  It’s where I’ve also enjoyed games of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team.
My favourite Apple store is in the Pacific Centre. I’d thought I cracked the glass on my new iPhone 7 but found it was only a scratched protector.  "Kaloo Kalay he chortled in his joy."  Leaving there and admiring the beautiful people uptown with some fine fashion examples, increasingly a phenomena.  Vancouver was once better known for it’s grunge. This is still popular in the DTES where the homeless sleep on the street and fentanyl overdoses and taking their toll.
Here and there perhaps because Nordstrom’s arrived recently there are Vogue models are walking about downtown along side GQ men.  I think of it as an improvement. I do like people watching and wish there we’re more cafe’s on Georgia where the real lookers flock.  The best coffee and people watching for variety though is Granville street. I’ve had tattoos and peircings there as well as attended the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at the Magnificent Orpheum Theatre.   I like to sit in the outdoor cafes  and write about nothing, Much like I’m doing now. Journalling.  But there I do more  observing.  Lots of visual entertainment.  I don’t like the amplified music.  Non amplified music is a wholly different thing. I like that. More audio sphere art but amplification creates raucous distracting noise. There’s an arrogance to it in a public space. Like ghetto blasters. Like my loud stereo on the Harley which I justify because ‘loud pipes save lives’ . I’m often playing bag pipe music too  Recently i’ve been very partial to U2, Steppenwolf and Led Zeppelin.  Steve Bell is who I really like on the open highway.
The Claude Monet Secret Garden show was on at the Vancouver Art Gallery so I walked over and caught a splendid hour of visual impressionist delightsbefore the gallery closed. Then I rode the motorcycle over to Davis Street. I used to live on Beach Avenue and enj sitting and writing outside the Blenz across the Q Centre and Mary’s Hamburger’s.
I found a parking place across from Bean around the World so sat there and reminisced about living in the west end before moving onto my sailboat in Coal Harbour.
When I got back into motorcylcling after a fifteen year hiatus or so I started with a scooter. Laura and I would ride around Stanley Park on the little 50 cc Aprillia. Next it was the Trev Deeley 600 cc Buell Blast, then the Barnes 1200 CC Harley Roadster and now the Trev Deely 1600 cc Electroglide I have now.  Each bike we’ve enjoyed the pleasant downtown forest ride in Stanley Park. Earlier I’d biked and walked and even roller bladed the seawall. Then when I was involved again with the sailboat it was me seeing others on the sea wall while I motored my sailboat alongside beneath the  Lion’s Gate Bridge.
I loved Lost Lagoon. When I lived on my boat in Coal Harbour I walked my Scotty dog, Stewart,  around the Lagoon almost every day. That’s when Denman Street was my principle dining area.  It’s not that I haven’t loved and appreciated areas of Vancouver, it’s just that since I moved to the North Shore and then later  Burnaby, while I worked in China town and the DTES, I’ve not has as much time to appreciate the city as I once did and do like,  I certainly loved North Vancouver and now love Burnaby especially the  green spaces.
I love Grouse Mountain. It’s been a decade though since I hiked the Grouse Grind and longer since I night down hill skied there or even since I  cross country skied on Cypress Mountain. I just think it’s amazing to have so many play places within the city itself where there’s everything a modern city has to offer plus this extraordinary proximity to natural wonders.  I was relatively immobilized by accidents for some years.
Yet here I am still blessed to be able to walk and ride my motorcycle and enjoy the city. The city’s  beauty in the summer causes me to catch my breath. Riding around Stanly Park then up Georgia I just loved the sky scrapers and the sun mirrored in the beautiful glass. There truly are awesome views.  At the lights I was able to look up and appreciate the workmanship that went into the Fairmont Building, the old facades beside the new glass towers.  Too often i’m in functional mode in the city just working and going from place to place. I saw the city as a tourist this day.  It really is beautiful.  I really must not take it for granted.  It’s so important to be in the moment in the present, in the the place where I am rather than in my work and my head and my business.
 I rode out to the freeway and headed home to Burnaby in the HOV lane.  I’m living and liking the suburbs now for the river walks and fabulous green of the coastal rain forest. You can still smell the sea air and sometimes sea gulls fly over though it’s mostly robin song I hear. In the north I can see the snow capped mountains.  Vancouver really is beautiful, the  city and it’s surroundings.

Vancouver Art Gallery - Monet

I really did enjoy the Claude Monet exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery.  I arrived an hour  before closing.  I must return.
I used to go regularly to the art gallery when I lived in the West End.  I loved the Emily Carr exhibit. I made the decision I must go more often once again when I was enjoying walking through the  National Art Gallery in Ottawa. Laura and I had  so enjoyed the  MET,  Neue and MoNa galleries in New York at Christmas. We even enjoyed our friend Barbara Harris pictures of her time walking through those galleries commenting on our different and overlapping interests.
I do love the ROM in Toronto and went often when I lived there as I did the Tate when I lived in London. I loved the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
Bicycling across Europe in my 20’s I loved the art galleries and museums so very much then.  The Rembrandt museum remains most memorable.
Vancouver isn’t that large a city.  It's neither  old enough to have extensive exhibits. Further we've not conquered other countries and taken their art in conquest.  Still we do well with touring exhibits.
This Claude Monet was wonderful.  I love the Water Lillies. In New York the exhibit is huge. He really did paint on a grand scale. What we have of his garden here gives more than a taste.  I really liked the lay out with the pictures of him in his garden.  The modern day photographs of the region where he painted, including a willow like his painting was an especially creative presentation. What a great idea! Galleries expand our knowledge of artists and their work as their presentations themselves are a special form of art.
A lot of people were thinking as I was.  Old and young were enjoying the exhibit.  I used to come for the cafe and the gift shop too.  The gift shop is unsurpassed in Vancouver for elegant Vancouver.  I bought two unique gifts for the favourite people in my life.
I want to come back when I have more time. Laura  loved the Monet we saw  in New York and Ottawa  so hopefully we’ll get back together.  It’s a special way to share an hour or two.  The space of a gallery is just so inspirational.  A perfect place for contemplation and reflection.