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olt! is a way station and oasis on the ancient road from Bedlam to Bellevue, dedicated to free and open discussion of topics moving heart and spirit.
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She's a handful, except when ...
Do Not Disturb! I'm taking a nap.
We humans gave up our position as the sole user of tools long ago. But, you say, there still is the exploration of space to claim for our uniqueness, something to be justly proud of. I think a closer look even there shows no single unique knack that makes us human, it's all a matter of degree, orders of magnitude, powers of ten.
Behold the lowly slime mold! Lab experiments have shown it possesses enough intelligence to find and remember the route through a maze to get at food. But wait ... there's more: In the wild. Protostelids, commonly known as slime mold, are solitary microscopic one-celled creatures which spend most of their life roaming forest floors while munching on decaying leafs, fallen trees and such. Perhaps it's when they bump into each other too often, or when there is not enough to munch on, or simply because they want to accomplish greater things, they band together and join into a gelatinous protoplasm, a blob, that goes galumphing through the underbrush, leaving slimy strands snagged on twigs and stones. That's what gets it noticed and why it's called slime mold.
At some point the blob finds a suitable spot to stop. Using their own bodies the creatures build a launch tower, then top the tower with a capsule containing a payload of their precious spores. Don't know if there is someone doing a countdown but there is an explosion and We have a Liftoff! The capsule with its precious cargo soars into the wild blue yonder to find new worlds, to boldly go where no slime mold has gone before.
It's all a matter of degree, orders of magnitude, powers of ten.
We head north through theater crowds, checking out the lights and huge billboards. I love midtown Manhattan when it drizzles, when puddles reflect the neons and tower tops disappear into a misty fog glowing in every color of the rainbow.
At Sony IMax I get on a very long wrong line being served by a human and get send to ticket machines lining the wall, stick in my card, punch the `picking up tickets' line and it spits out four tickets and a receipt. Just like that. Doesn't ask what movie, how many ... gives me just what I had ordered via phone earlier, untouched by human hands all the way.
Up an endless escalator and into a Starwars hangar, the control room is way up there in the back, a four-story screen in front of us pulses slowly with the colors from Times Square. We adjust our headsets and head off Into The Deep. Water hesitates just at mouth level, giving us time for a collective intake of air, then closes up above our heads. I'm looking at a bright-red fish two, no, four inches in front of my nose. The fish is looking at me. Various sea creatures do battle; it's a Nature film, with everything in 3D, ultra-real, details and colors galore. Stunning.
The possibilities are endless. I can see a Hostess handing out lasers so we can make our choices. My red beam marks an octopus, a tuna and a herring. When I turn in my headset and pointer I receive a card. We end the evening in a tatami room - Lenge's Sushi, they take my card. We toast with sake, try some pickles, gyoza, negimaki, shumai and a favorite of mine, ikura sushi. With just a slight smile, the waiter brings our sashimi. He shows the markings. It is indeed the very octopus, tuna and herring I picked. I nod. Everyone's impressed.
It was a good evening.
took a walk today ...
Trees have it tough.
For a couple of hours yesterday it looked like a blizzard though it was too warm for anything to stick and the snow melted so fast it left no slush. As I wander out today it's blustery, pleasant when the sun breaks through; in the shadows it's a bit cool. Up in front there's a hubbub with people rushing to a woman on the sidewalk, helpless, tangled I realize in a small wheelchair which has collapsed beneath her enormous weight. The woman is huge, no neck in sight. I believe the term is morbidly obese. It's hard to understand how she made it this far, at this point the chair looks somewhat like a squashed baby cart.
Six of us are pulling on her arms and pushing from the back trying to get her up when I realize that may not be such a good idea. If we did indeed get her up what were we to do with her then, her chair doesn't look like it would be available anytime soon. At least three men in the surrounding crowd are calling 911 on their cells and I suggest we just relax and wait for help. I commandeer a backpack to prop up her head a bit and she snuggles down, starts twiddling her thumbs, seemingly content to wait it out. Someone covers her with a coat as I fade out of the picture, heading north.
We leave the restaurant and round the corner onto Second. People everywhere, crowding the sidewalk. "What's up, what's up?" "It's the drag race, starting any second." A drag race, here, in the middle of the East Village? I see cops closing off the street and Second Avenue. A Chinese restaurant delivery boy pedals down the block just as the crowd roars "They're Off!' and all becomes clear.
Twenty or so drag queens in high heels dodge the egg foo yung people ordered back then, led by a very tall, ebony sprinter in sensible heels, pink mini shorts and tight halter top showing off a molded midriff. The crowd cheers. There seems to be a correlation between the size of the wig and the position in the pack. The higher, the slower. Same goes for heels.
Halfway down the block they all stop. Another cheer goes up: "Eat your fruit! Eat your fruit!" As far as I can tell, some have bananas and some have apples. I think all of them cheat and take off before finishing their fruit. A nun greets the runners at the finish line across the Avenue, one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence I suppose though I don't see the Bishop who often hangs out with them.
We make our way to Second Avenue ... cars backed up as far as the eye can see. The last racer limps across the avenue, cops leave and traffic moves again.
The Big Reveal
This is a true story
It's been a couple of hours now and I keep thinking about it. I got a call, caller ID from Corpus Christi, didn't answer it, don't know anyone from there and figured it was one of those scam calls I keep getting. One recent memorable one was threatening me with an armed raid if I didn't pay up for the Alfa Romeo in my garage. Nice touch on that one was they said media would be in attendance.
Where was I ...
Corpus Christi calling.
Then I got to thinking, today is Easter and there is Corpus Christi calling. Is that a coincidence?
I keep thinking ... maybe I should have answered.
Nah ... It's a scam. He wouldn't be calling me so soon after getting up.
Bonsai Kittens was a big fad some 15? years ago, Haven't heard much about it since.
It's the art of growing bonsais applied to kittens, growing them in small containers such as urns, tubular constriction, or even antagonistic animal shapes. "Every Bonsai Kitten is an original! We only shape kitties to your specifications."
At only a few weeks of age, a kitten’s bones have not yet hardened and become osseous. They are extremely soft and springy. In fact, if you take a week-old kitten and throw it to the floor, it will actually bounce! We do not recommend that you try this at home. The kitten may bounce under the furniture and be difficult to retrieve, as well as covered in unsightly household dust. However, the flexibility of the kitten’s skeleton means that if the bones are gently warped at this early age, they can be molded into any desired shape. At Bonsai Kitten, we achieve this by placing the kitten into a rigid vessel soon after birth, and allowing the young cat to grow out its formative time entirely within this container. The kitten essentially grows into the shape of the vessel! Once the cat is fully developed, it is removed (or the vessel broken to remove it!), producing the lovable, furry pet you've always wanted, but it remains in the shape you've always dreamed of! There is virtually no limit to the eventual shape of your pet.
The site attracted outraged attention back then. Animal rights groups protested, the FBI cited a recent federal law, and a gun-toting investigator from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reportedly stopped by the MIT campus and quizzed network administrators. There were many complaints about to the descriptions of how to use muscle relaxant, feeding tubes and Klein bottles to shape a perfect bonsai cat.
Up that endless escalator and into the Starwars hangar one more time, to see The Last Buffalo, which turns out to be more art than the nature recording of Into The Deep. We adjust our headsets and transport to the land of the buffalo. Blowing sand reveals and covers a buffalo skull. There's a mysterious huge shed with ancient machinery, pulleys, fire, molten metal flows into my lap, a smith hammers steel in a fireworks of sparks showering over us. Slowly we come to realize he is a sculptor, forging metal into a buffalo, piece by piece. We watch a buffalo birth, a chase where the mother puts a mountain lion to flight, a dragon fly darts across water and fire consumes a forest. Birth, life, death. At the end, all creatures have turned into metal sculptures in the shed.
Holodecks can't be far off. Half way through the short show, I notice that the people sitting in front of me are actually swallowed by a 3d extension of the mountains which know no screen. There is no screen. I look down to see the row in front of me disappearing into a lake. It's a surreal Magritte image. The lion jumps over the head of a noticeably tall man two rows below. I can feel us becoming part of the action.
This time I pick a particularly healthy looking buffalo and make my sign on his right hoof with the laser pointer. We decide to eat at the American-Indian restaurant up Columbus Avenue. Buffalo burgers. I hear burgers are the only recommended way to eat them since the meat is said to be a bit dry. The waiter brings the the right hoof to show me my sign. I nod.
Nothing like hunting for one's meal.