Posts Tagged ‘Time travel’

Which World’s Fair are you going to?

January 31, 2011

This column has been cross-posted on other sites such as:

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/bob-patterson/34020/and-to-the-republic-for-which-it-stands

On the morning of Saturday, January 29, 2011, my columnist colleagues seemed to have the political punditry situation regarding events in Egypt well under control and so we felt free to go in San Francisco and see a double bill consisting of “Blind Alley” and “Secret beyond the Door.”  Because those two movies would be considered to be in the genre known as film noir and since we had a similar experience the previous weekend and had written a column about it, we proposed that the expenditures incurred on the venture at hand might qualify as legitimate funding for a fact finding safari to gather relevant material for the topic of time travel. 

The Republicans lately seem to be obsessed with efforts to get the entire USA to return to an earlier time period with a style of politics that had been envisioned by the founding fathers who are currently being promoted for advancement to the beatification stage on the long and arduous road to sainthood.  What red blooded patriotic American military veteran would not want to see the USA take the necessary steps to return to the era when this country was a Republic as it is still called in both the Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag? 

The founding fathers, in their omnipotent wisdom, established a Republic.  Only men who owned land were eligible to vote and they came up with superheroes that included George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  Then along came the Democrats and they soon got voting rights for women, and workers.  They freed the slaves and gave them votes.  Next thing ya know, along come Presidents like Jimmy Carter, Bill “Bubba” Clinton and the fellow who didn’t even have an America father.

Republicans would be sure to be very enthusiastic about a trip back to the a past when there was no tax on income.  The good old days, of the Republic when land owning men being the only people eligible to vote, would be an appealing destination for the Republicans who are constantly calling the USA a Republic.  Time travel and déjà vu go together like ham and eggs.  We were quite confidant that we had a handle on the next column as we put some money from an ATM in our pockets and headed for the trolly car stop in downtown San Francisco.

As we approached the area, we noticed some folks who looked like they were dressed for a visit to the World Fair.  Not the 1939 Fair held on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay; they looked like they needed directions to the World Fair held in Saint Louis in 1896.

The time travelers, known as <a href =http://steampunkworldsfair.com/>Steampunks are planning a World’s Fair</a> of their own that is scheduled to take place in the Somerset – Piscataway area of New Jersey on May 20 to 22 of this year (that’s 2011 for those who may be lost in time.)

Their spokesman informed this columnist that his group was composed of fiends of H. G. Wells and that he had used the famous writer’s time machine to help them achieve a one day installment of time travel tourism so that they could take a look around Frisco and see how marvelous things would be on the last Saturday in January of 2011. 

Ohhhhh Kayyyy!  We took some photos of them to prove to our friends that we hadn’t imagined this encounter.  Someday in the future, we may even learn how to insert those images into one of our columns. 

One of the ground rules for time travel is that the time tourist can not change the past.  Thus, if some of the people who believe in time travel were to travel back to Honolulu on Saturday December 6, 1941, (we are still working on the column about snapshot collecting and might have some nifty photos to run with that column), they could not go to Pearl Harbor and warn them about what will happen the next morning.

There does not seem to be a great deal of information about the practical application of time travel for contemporary espionage purposes.  What if, hypothetically, an American were able to travel back in time a week or two and while cloaked in invisibility this spy were able to look and listen in on a meeting of Hosni Mubarak and his advisors?  Would that modern Mata Hare be able to come back to his mission handlers and tell them what was being said, so that the future could be anticipated and the proper strategy devised? 

Some writers assert that Democrats prefer science fiction and that conservatives are the main audience for mysteries.  The Democrats, they say, are not afraid to envision alternative futures.  Filled with extensive licentious debauchery?  The Conservatives find reassurance (and a “softer side moment”?) in the world of hardboiled detectives where truth, justice and the American way will (always or usually?) prevail.  This columnist doesn’t have any scientific evidence to back those contentions, but what good is it to use scientific studies for fact finding?  Those kooks believe in global warming and (sniff snivel and tears?) the immanent demise of the polar bears (Ursus Maritimus).  

Reality is so boring.  George W. Bush envisioned a wave of democracy sweeping over the Middle East and now that his successor has a chance to bring Egypt into the Democracy tent, it looks like the current U. S. President is going to urge the Egyptian leader to reach out to the other side.  Yeah, he’ll reach out and give them a back hand slap just as cavalierly as if he were a P. I. (private investigator) who was dealing out a business card.

Could it be that hard fisted conservatives in one U. S. intelligence agency are urging on the Egyptian rebels while the “let’s talk this out” American President is backing the dictator?  Has Egypt become the chess board where two diverse American political factions  are locked in a high stakes squabble about the phisosophy for the course of domestic American security?

Speaking of tourism, isn’t it a wonder that the American Teabaggers aren’t flocking to Cairo to see how low maintenance government works when it is put into play?

Herbert George Wells wrote:  “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”  What do you think that dope thought about the scientists’ fairy tale about global warming?

Now the disk jockey will play “Thanks for the Memory,” “Change Partners,” and “The Cowboy and the Lady” (all three were nominated for the 1938 Best Song Oscar).  We have to go check the listings for the time for this Thursday’s showing of “Back to the Future” as part of the Berkeley 7 Flashback film series.  Have a “’tis a far, far better thing I do” type week.

The Philip K Dick effect in Berkeley

September 19, 2010

Walking around in Berkeley, recently, some very Philip-K-Dickish thoughts and storylines about time travel began to inspire some efforts at fiction writing.  When that was followed up by a chance to return to the City of Angeles it didn’t take long for it to seem like we had traveled back in time to when we used to go to work in the 90403 zip code every day.  The first column by this writer to get cross-posted online was one written several years back when it seemed like the topic of a Presidential Library for a fellow who didn’t like writing things down and was very secretive presented an irresistible opportunity to express some cynical skepticism about the prospect.

When we thought back to that column, during a stroll on the Santa Monica Mall, it seemed like it needed to be updated and rewritten to make some new points regarding the concept of a Presidential Library for Barack Obama. 

It’s not that Barack Obama is like George W. Bush at all, but it does seem that the idea of a Presidential Library for President Barack Obama will be as distasteful to the Republicans as the thought of a Presidential Library for Dubya was for the Democrats.

Let’s be blunt.  The Conservatives and the Republicans hate President Obama and if, as most of the high priced pundits think, the Republicans gain a majority in the House in the fall elections, not a single one of them will vote for the spending of one damn cent (or more) for a Presidential Library for Obama.  Thus any Obama Presidential Library will have to be a partisan effort and that, in turn, will only infuriate the Republicans even more.

The thought of an Obama Presidential Library at any time in the future will spur the Republican majority in the new Congress to work very hard to find a reason, any reason at all will do, for them to start impeachment proceedings the day after they pick their new House majority leader.

When the aforementioned column about the possibility of a George W. Bush Presidential Library was posted online, a good number of comedians just happened to come up with jokes about such a facility and what might be displayed in it.  Many of the jokes suggested coloring books.

The Republicans have indicated that if they gain a majority in the House in the 2010 elections, they will produce political gridlock.  We’ve suggested that the Republican strategy is tantamount to a de facto sit down strike but no one else has used that metaphor. 

This columnist can not recall seeing any other commentary about the challenges an Obama Presidential Library will face and so it will be interesting to see if anyone subsequently brings this up soon after this column is posted.

Won’t Rush Limbaugh become apoplectic when he realizes the strong likelihood that there will someday be a President Obama Presidential Library?

It will be virtually impossible to listen to Rush’s program during the coming week and so if someone reads this column and then hears Rush risking a coronary by talking about the prospect for an Obama Presidential Library during next week, we would ask that they post a comment noting the coincidence.

Ths idea of an Obama Presidential Library will upset Rush just as much as the phrase “Jeb Bush Presidential Library” would rile up most Democrats.  We’ll leave that prospect for inclusion in a future column about the unreliability of the electronic voting machines, which we intend to write some time in the future.

Note:  This column was written in and will be posted from a coffee house in Venice CA.  We are having a great time visiting L. A., but (there’s always a “but,” in these columns, eh?) we would rather be writing science-fiction in Berkeley!

Before we run the final quote, we’ll just point out that big forest fires are never blamed on terrorists.  (Nor are accidents in San Bruno.)

In “A Scanner Darkly,” Philip K. Dick wrote:  “One of the most effective forms of industrial or military sabotage limits itself to damage that can never be thoroughly proven – or even proven at all – to be anything deliberate. It is like an invisible political movement; perhaps it isn’t there at all. If a bomb is wired to a car’s ignition, then obviously there is an enemy; if public building or a political headquarters is blown up, then there is a political enemy. But if an accident, or a series of accidents, occurs, if equipment merely fails to function, if it appears faulty, especially in a slow fashion, over a period of natural time, with numerous small failures and misfiring- then the victim, whether a person or a party or a country, can never marshal itself to defend itself.” “One of the most effective forms of industrial or military sabotage limits itself to damage that can never be thoroughly proven – or even proven at all – to be anything deliberate. It is like an invisible political movement; perhaps it isn’t there at all. If a bomb is wired to a car’s ignition, then obviously there is an enemy; if public building or a political headquarters is blown up, then there is a political enemy. But if an accident, or a series of accidents, occurs, if equipment merely fails to function, if it appears faulty, especially in a slow fashion, over a period of natural time, with numerous small failures and misfiring- then the victim, whether a person or a party or a country, can never marshal itself to defend itself.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Night on Bald Mountain,” “Thus Spoke Zarthustra,” and Iron Butterfly’s “Inna Godda Davida.”  We have got to go back in time to point out to H. G. Wells where he got the basic principles of time travel wrong.  Have a “been there; done that” type week.

Time Travel

January 20, 2009

It is Tuesday Jan. 20, 2009 and I am in San Francisco, CA.   It is just a bit after 1 p.m.  Since I left Sydney NSW at about 4 p.m. on Jan 20, 2009, one of my goals in life has been achieved.  I have traveled back in time.

(Yahoooo!)

Where did Tuesday go?

October 29, 2008

I got on an aeroplane on Monday night and I have arrived in Australia and it is Wednesday morning here, so where did Tuesday go?

I have my camera and it looks like I will be able to post some photos from here.

Where did Tusday Oct 28 go?

If you find it please let me know.