Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Ballad of Cordite Kate and the Honest Lawyer


The Ballad of Cordite Kate and the Honest Lawyer
attrib Bonnie Parker 1933

Now a lawyer's got to hear his client's story
As if the "gal" won't lie for her life
He's got to disregard the vain-glory,
Who drew first, or which hand held the knife.
His duty is to set the case wholesome
As it can be before jury's eyes
But a lawyer's a man, and to be bold, some,
Fell for her, without any damn lies.
Her name was Cordelia Harrow,
The papers called her "Cordite Kate,"
And the God who sees many a Sparrow
Fall, did not blink an eye at her fate.
She was rake thin from jail food, and lighter,
She had rung all the blood from her hands,
But her eyes were the eyes of a fighter,
In the last round, who just barely stands.
She told him the tale of her mockings,
She told him the tale of her flaws,
Though she stood but five, two in her stockings,
She'd looked down on, and trampled the laws.
She said, "The law is the stick of the rich man,
When he steals all the land of the poor,
It's illegal to steal what one bitch can,
Better she sells her soul, on the floor?
I never took none from the worthless,
I never bartered my own worth away,
If I ended up, locked up, and mirthless,
Well, the actress, just acts out the play.
I was raised in the dust of Wyoming,
Not sprung from the head of a Zeus,
Not hailed Athena for my knowing,
But I turned what I know to my use.
I came to the city with nothing,
That is, but five bucks, and my soul,
I saw my first man dead with no coffin,
When I was one thin dime from the hole.
By then I was one in a "gang" sir,
A sister to the band, not a "moll",
I never let off of a gun, sir,
Except p'rhaps to scatter the "pol"
We, went through the banks like a whirlwind,
We, went through the cash like a flame,
I was like a man, not a girlfriend,
And I drank, drink for drink to my shame,
But Mordeci Champion, loved me,
And Fair-Spoken George Malcolm, sighed "wife",
And Brash Colin Viel, carved above me,
While I slept, a great heart with his knife,
And tempers grew hotter, and hotter,
As to whether I'd fall and for whom,
Til Brash Viel who was scorned as a "rotter"
Pulled revolver on George in the room,
At the back of the "easy" on 9th Street,
And his shot, eased, Fair George to the tomb.
Mordeci, seeing Viel packin', what was in Chicago called "heat"
Threw a chair, that knocked Viel's gun from his hand
And a knife ended up, being thrown with a whoop,
And that was the end of the four as a band,
And me and Mordeci were deep in "the soup".
They kept us silent, lest we talk upon
Events and rehearse what to say,
And they hoped that I "crack up" and "squawk" upon
Mordeci, and he'd "squawk" upon me.
So "slick mr Lawyer" what's the outcome,
Though I love none, I'll not "split" on them so,
If I swear that Brash Viel shoot George Malcom
And George dying got one lucky throw.
Who's to say that Mordeci wasn't busy
Helping take a fly out of my eye?
God damn you, you need not look prissy,
I'd swear to more if I need to, this day."
I hated to tell her the story,
That Mordeci Champion, spun,
But if we've learned ought from history,
Its that the "rap" shakes the shit from the gun,
His version was that she'd shot Malcolm
For not being Fair-spoken to her,
And for seizing her waist in the transom,
And pressing his face, in her hair.
Further more, so he said, when she'd shot him
And Fair-Spoke' George Malcolm, was in hell,
She'd seen Brash Colin Viel, looking on all the while,
So she'd up and she'd knifed him as well.
She fixed me with one look of loathing,
And laughed and just laughed for a space,
And she said, "You poor fish in man's clothing,
Do you think with that look on your face,
You can come telling lies, that will move me,
Make me "squawk" upon better than you?
Let him say fire will not burn him, that he can breath under the sea
Let him claim in the court if he wants too
That the ocean is pink, and salt free
But that he say, what your saying,
That he would "pin" the rap upon me,
It's not the shape of his manners, no, baying
For blood, like a dog's, not his mark,
Of the four of us he was the best one,
He'd not let a "gal" down in the dark."
So it was, that the iron doors next morning,
Swung wide and we let him go free,
For he'd squawked like the birds at sun's dawning
And he'd bayed like a dog at her tree.
Now a lawyer's got to hear his client's story
But a lawyer's but man, and I fell
And I hunted the dog for her glory
And I shot him in some boozer's hell.
It was for Cordite Kate, that I braved it
For the faith that she gave to a louse
Now someone must take my affidavit
Is there another lawyer in the house?

 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A challenge issued lightly, but still met...


“A 140 character story – counting spaces – which is also a mnenonic”

Don’t open your own unit today. Hide inside nice kitten themed hot insulating sheets.
Hell’s avatars rampage downstairs. The others die, oh!

(DO YOU THINK THIS HARD TO DO?)

“How to spot the invisble man”

In seeing past your weak invisibility that hides mere youthful liberty. I trap the light entering eyes. Your eyes. Betraying operating openly!

(I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE. BOO!)


Simon BJ

Monday, March 23, 2015

DRABBLE - writing task 100 words


UNSUNG CIVIC WORKS

“Put down the gun” – the cop shouted.
As I wasn’t holding a gun, I didn’t, but I did: let go of my groceries with one hand – stooping slightly to the right so as not to break any glass.
I was moving to the left to put down my ‘in no way gun-shaped’ mobile phone, that I’d had on in my left hand, when he started firing.
The bullets, plural, hit me. One in the shoulder, and because he was dragging his hand down and to the right, one in the midrift.
It’s hard work being a cop-trainer.
Even for Superman.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Iced-Coffee Fillup


Like  http://andrewhickey.info/2015/03/17/jesus-is-here/  I'm following a writing exercise suggestion and have got the above title from a random cocktail name generator.

Here's my story  (1,000 words: written in an hour)


Iced-Coffee Fillup

They called him that, partly because it was his favourite drink, partly because his name really was Philip, partly because few Jamaicans were working the Ice-fields, and the ‘casual racism’ line is drawn differently on an ice-run than in the literary salons, or among gang thugs in New York for that matter.
But mainly they called him that, because no-one wanted to be the one to say ‘killer’ and find out just how inhibited he was feeling.  In the company of the Freed, the careful tongued man is King.
He’d been hauling ice from near the north pole for three years now, never an accident, never a bonus. Good solid work, for basic pay, but it was reputable and it kept him from alcohol, which apart from being one of the terms of his parole, would if ingested have set off the alarm with his probation officer.  He was one of the first generation of Freed, and the sensors in his guts and his skin probably cost as much as ten years of his prison sentence would have: but he was out, and working, and consequently a certain amount of tax was being paid, and the State was going to get some of its ten years of cash back, and his bars were – mainly – in his head.
In his head, and in the subprocessing we now know goes on - as he-men, and ex-cops and gangers always knew – in the guts.
It wasn’t that he couldn’t get angry. He had the same likes and dislikes as before, and if his responses were a bit slower – the ice-trucks had their own cabinComm autopilots. He just had some enforced patience, in terms of chemicals being nanopill released in his bloodstream, and some knowledge, that he couldn’t hit a man (or a woman) without his skin recording the scene and playing it in real time on a screen in the probation station.  In fifteen years, the grafts and the tech would die, its bio-power sources self-limited, and then...then he’d have fifteen years of habits, of good behaviour (determined by the state).  He’d be bio-rehabilitated.  Free to go. Free to do what fifteen years of Good solid work would have left him good for.
I wasn’t sure what I felt about that (it wasn’t much use asking him what he felt, he felt what the sentence permitted him to feel). I’d known him before this, when ‘killer’ was more like his right name – when we’d run guns together to the ‘Karlin Kwee, and he’d been a touchy man, and a violent man – but I’d been a violent woman, and he’d suited me. These days I guessed, and it was a guess, that any BDSM he’d do would have to be strictly M. What a waste, he still had strong hands.
So any innovation can be hacked.  I had a patch would bring him back.  All I needed to do was get close enough to slam it onto enough of his skin (his bare back would probably be best), and then – well this would be the first test run. He might just run for his Probation Officer, he might remember me, he might faint. There was a small chance it might kill him. Very small.  I’d made sure of that – it was about the risk of being killed crossing a road in New York – not negligible, but something he’d never seemed to worry about, before.
I watched him, through a hack in the ice-truck’s cabinComm.  His brown eyes focused on the ice-pack, his movements stately, considered.  If you didn’t know, you’d say he had masterful self-control, dancer’s poise, a kind of grace.
After I watched him for a day. I went back to New York. They could try their deprogramming hack on another con. I didn’t know enough about what was in his head to know if I’d be doing him a favour or not, by taking him back. I remembered his hot breath on my neck, and his hands hard at my throat, but I remembered his hands striking me, when I wasn’t up for it, too. 
That wasn’t the reason though. I’d have taken my chances. I’d intended to rescue him, before I’d heard him sing.  Sing so sweet to himself in the cabin of the ice-truck, trundling its nigh automatic journey to and from the pole – running its solar powered ‘refreezer’ over the melting ice-cap, every mile of its trip. Good solid work – but oh that voice.
“My brother did’a tell me that a man go walk, a man go walk, a man go walk...”
A Mango Walk is an orchard, and the song is about what in my childhood in the UK when it was the UK, would have been called ‘scrumping apples,’ but Philip had always sung it as if it was about freedom.
A man go walk.
A man’s got to be free.
I remembered his boiling over at an imagined offense, at the glint of a too strong light in his eyes, at a word misspoke, at nothing, at a bird in flight.  Had he been free then? Not to choose whether to be angry. Not to choose to be at peace.
And I heard him sing that he was. Free of the habits of violence, free of the history of pain. Was I right or was I wrong?  I don’t know. I don’t know.
Guess I’ll have to wait another twelve years to know. If they don’t kill me first. If they don’t kill me first.
So that’s it.  The story of Iced Coffee Fillup, on the ice-truck run, under the Polar Stars, and of me – waiting to know – if the man who comes back will want me. Will be able to choose to want me.
Will he raise his hand to me then, when I tell him – I came and looked him in the eye, in his good solid workin’ days, and that I left him to them, just ‘cause he looked and sounded happy. 
 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Further review of Le Roi en Jaune...


https://metabaronic.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/le-roi-en-jaune-the-king-in-yellow/

by Adrian Middleton

What do you think about the cover? It's not to late to go for Klimt and/or a change in title for the 4th Edition.....

Simon BJ

Friday, March 13, 2015

The tragedy of the death of the author



It's not that we've lost a friend: after all we never knew the actual man behind the books (or the woman, though its a man whose death sets off this chain of thought), it's not even that we've lost the books - they're still there - the first few tentative, the middle run increasingly astonishing, the latter books assured and masterful, and then - although we can't quite agree where - the last few, tailing away slightly (perhaps due to illness, perhaps due to the tendancy of all aging authors to hit certain keys again in the same way) but still as good as anything else being offered up on the shelves.

The tragedy is this: the specific circumstances and events, the experiences, and interactions, the sheer hard work as well as the luck (for all authors need luck) that made the author, That Author will never occur again - and no matter how good all other authors are (and there will be authors who do certain things better as time unrolls its vast sheets of prose) there will never be an author who does exactly what they did, who sees the world in exactly that way, and who writes that specific thing so perfectly.

Now, from this time forward there will be things that happen in the world that would be perfect to spark a thought which if they were here to have it would sing and infuse and fire another book, and those happenings will richochet around the Earth in vain, for other authors will only see some of them, or half glimpse them, or lack the perfect grasp to seize them.  Not because they are flawed and the author was perfect, for no one is, but because the author included perfect flaws - which were the perfect ones to catch certain glints in the air which now will go unsung.

And this is the tragedy of the death of any good or great writer - that a viewpoint honed to expression, has been expunged and can not be known again, and many many things will come to pass that will not be as well explained and spoken of as they might otherwise have been.  We will never have Edgar Alan Poe's Twilight Zone episodes, or H.P. Lovecraft's episode of Star Trek(1), or Borge's Great Argentinian Novel, or Terry Pratchett's novel set under the rocky skies of Ganymede, among its strangely familiar seas.

Oh there will be attempts, pastiches, and maybe even licensed continuations. Some will be good, some bad. In time some may even be as great or greater as Lovecraft to Poe (perhaps), but none will be Pratchett - any more than Lovecraft could be Poe.

(1) I know we got two of Robert Bloch's, but....just imagine......

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

3rd edition!

http://www.lulu.com/shop/thomas-de-castigne/le-roi-en-jaune-the-king-in-yellow/hardcover/product-22054717.html

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

AMD Problem Part 2


Further suppose that it is impossible to begin with a non-randomised value, it is still possible to increase the result beyond 1.3 (and indeed beyond the 1.665 of Mechanism B in my previous post).

Consider

Mechanism C:

(1) You have a random number of balls  in bag
(2) At a junction if number is even go straight on, and throw away a ball
(3) At a junction if number is odd go left (and throw away a ball)

The starting state odd, or even is not determined by whether you are at X or Y, nor is the throw away instruction which is a constant, and yet the result is better than 1.3

Let 1000 people be travelling.

500 absent-mindedly come to junction X,  250 of them have a random odd number of balls, go left and earn nothing, 250 carry on, throwing away a ball.  When that 250 (having forgotten the junction X) come to junction Y and look in the bag they find an odd number of balls, and turn left, earning 250 x 4 = 1000 (1000 / 500 = 2)

500 absent-mindedly come to junction Y, 250 of them have a random odd number of balls
go left and earn 4 x 250 = 1,000, 250 have a random even number of balls and go on, earning 250 x 1 = 250. (1250 / 500 = 2.5)

Total gain for the 1000 travellers = 2.25 per person.  Substantially higher than the mathematically predicted 1.3 if lower than the optimum 'indicator light' solution.

In Mechanism C : The absent-minder traveller never knows that he (or she) is at X or Y, nor whether he or (she) has or has not previous been to a junction, nor whether or not his or her bag started with an odd or even number of balls, and yet - the information encoded in the rules, increases the utility of the outcome beyond the predicted max value of Decision Theory. 

The phase state of odd / even between X and Y for those encountering X and Y acts as an extelligent memory.  The question is, does ruling out the rational building in of extelligent checking, defeat the rational purposes of Decision Theory?

Simon BJ

The Absent Minder Driver Problem, and the Real World.


The link below sets out the problem
To summarise, a forgetful driver is going to a location that pays £4 (if the driver gets there). Its the left turn at the second of two identical intersections. The driver has written down that turning left at the first intersection pays £0, but if going onward at the second will pay £1. Given the driver forgets driving through an intersection (and whether or not the driver has already done so) as soon as the car is moving – what plan can be followed at *any* intersection to maximise the payment.

Well you might expect, if p = choosing ONWARD, and 1-p = choosing LEFT then the formula p2+4(1-p)p, which maximises at p = 2/3, says that the *best* solution is to turn left 1/3rd of the time and onward 2/3rds (using a dice, say) achieving a £1.3 return on average per driver.
In the paper cited below. Aumann et al. call this the planning-optimal decision.
"The Absent-Minded Driver" by Robert J. Aumann, Sergiu Hart, and Motty Perry.
The problem for decision theorists, is that UDT theory – works as follows once you are at an intersection, you should think that you have some probability α of being at X, and 1-α of being at Y. Your payoff for choosing CONTINUE with probability p becomes α[p2+4(1-p)p] + (1-α)[p+4(1-p)], which doesn't equal p2+4(1-p)p unless α = 1. So, once you get to an intersection, you'd choose a p that's different from the p you thought optimal at START. 
However both the planning-optimal decision and the UDT approach produce less-good solutions than simple 'real world' pre-planning. Rationality consists of applying the best tool to reach the optimal outcome: in this case the highest possible £ payout for reaching A, B, or C, from choices made at X or Y, where it is impossible to determine whether or not a junction is X or Y.  In the real world there exists a simple obvious winning strategy: I shall call:

Mechanism A.

(1) If you are coming to a junction, and your indicator is not on, drive onward through the junction, and immediately indicate left.

(2)  If you are coming to a junction, and your indicator is on, drive left.

(3)  Do not, turn on your indicator except as at (1)

(4)  Do not turn off your indicator if it is on.

Now it may be argued that, this is basically cheating, but I would argue it is no more cheating than the Absent-Minded Driver being able to remember mathematics, or to have ‘on a card’ the agreed mathematically predicted action.  Or a car programmed with it. The four rules above are as much rules of action as 'turn left 1/3rd of the time'. A rational agent, understanding the problem would create such a solution, probably before doing the math.  The above achieves success in every case and is therefore perhaps uninteresting, but, there are other approaches that give a success rate higher than the 1.33 rate, where it is less self-evident where the 'cheat' (if any) resides.

Mechanism B.    

Prepare an envelope containing the 3 cards below mark it ‘Draw a random card at each junction, follow the rules on the card’

(1)  At junction ? drive Onwards - destroy card after use (Blue Card)
(2)  At junction ? drive Onwards - destroy card after use (Yellow Card)
(3)  At junction ? drive Left - destroy card after use*  (Orange Card)
(*un-necessary but included to avoid false appearance of bias.)

This results for 1000 drivers, in a total gain of £1665, or 1.66 per driver.  A decision theory, that does not permit the application of an over-riding meta-rule to govern a sequence of decisions, even when that meta-rule creates a better over all action, is simply insufficient.

Siimon BJ

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Blog elsewhere -


Simon Bucher-Jones MA(Jaune) has asked me, in view of the many questions he has received about the existance of Le Roi en Jaune, and the possibility of contributions to the Journal of Jaune Studies, to post a link to the dedicated blog / archive of that paper.

http://jaunestudies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/what-is-jaune-studies.html

Posts not related directly to Jaune Studies will continue here.

Monday, January 19, 2015

LE ROI EN JAUNE (THE KING IN YELLOW) - REVIEWS


Finn Clark's excellent review site:

http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Ffinnclark.thiswaydown.org%2FReview%2FLeRoienJaune(TheKingInYellow).html&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNElFFDmGxhmFjiP-tuhLFDObTwJcg

Goodreads (Review by Humbert, also in Books and Writing, on Gallifrey Base)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24529547-le-roi-en-jaune?from_search=true#other_reviews

Humbert has kindly drawn my attention to a number of typos.  Some are intentional and are to do with the 'writer' of the introduction - the Simon Bucher-Jones who is the MA in Jaune Studies.
Others are 'my' errors and to do with the difficultly(sic) the Simon Bucher-Jones who is a BA in English Literature has in proofing his own texts.  A few are apparent errors reported as given in the work of others, without the "(sic)" that usually accompanies this.

Intentional 'errors' in the 2nd edition, which will remain in the 3rd.

For the record:  SBJ MA(Jaune) does not know:

Page 3 - The correct title of TRUE DETECTIVE, he has not seen it and has only had its existence reported to him. He thinks its called TRUE DETECTIVES.  (I know what it's called, though, I too! - haven't yet seen it - I wanted to finish my version of the play before (possibly) seeing a modern re-interpretation).  Within the introduction it is implied that he only got research funding because of it, and it is possible he even resents it in a "I've worked on this for four years: how dare they make a popular drama with no reference to my translation" way.

Page 93 - He sometimes forgets the title of THE KING IN THE DARK CHAMBER and thinks it's called THE KING IN THE DARK MIRROR.  This is a more serious lapse, and may suggest that his faculties are not what they were.

Page 96 - He does not know the correct spelling of Sean Connery, nor does he think a modern actor's name important enough to check. 

The following are *not* errors and will also remain in the 3rd edition text:

Page 5 :  Bernard de Casigne  - the only evidence of his signature is without the "t" of Castigne.             This first appears in the family name in the partially obscured baptismal record of his son Thomas, though it persists thereafter.  (I will add a footnote to cover this, as most readers will lack the time to trace the records in the Sacristy of the Cathedral Saint-Pierre in Rennes.)

Page 91 'Sealed with a seal of Gold' - Capitalisation is that of Robert W. Chambers

Page 95 'We steam engine when it comes to steam engine time' is the a valid paraphrase of the following passage from Lo! Even if its not common anywhere outside my head.

"A tree cannot find out, as it were, how to blossom, until comes blossom-time. A social growth cannot find out the use of steam engines, until comes steam-engine-time."

The following are definite errors, mea cupla, mea maxima culpa!  These will be fixed in the 3rd edition.

Commas at line endings in poetry - not always strictly grammatically correct, but when editing in Word, necessary to prevent the capital letter of the next line not showing as a text error EVERY SODDING TIME!  I should however have rechecked them, after fixing the other errors!  Incidently its lucky I didn't send Humbert the 1st edition text to review - it would probably have killed him.

The spelling of Uotht rather than Uoht - which I thought I remembered from Blish's More Light, but I was wrong.

General shoddy comma usage. Some misspellings. Just me I'm afraid!

On some occasions stage directions appear within dialogue (in brackets) where this occurs it is usually because otherwise the material would not fit cleanly on a single page.  If it is necessary to accomplish this, it will need to remain - if not and it's just an error, I'll fix it.

The true and secret history section

Should also mention "Le Roi en Jaune - A Spectral Tragedy" another dramatic work, which I learned of today. It is *not* a version of the Play, but a Play based upon Robert W. Chambers, short story : The Repairer of Reputations written in 1933 by Raymond Lefebre. An English trans. 1958 was republished in 2006.


Simon BJ

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Faction Paradox - SALE NOW OVER BUT STILL GREAT BOOKS!


Find reviews of my Faction Paradox writings and links to buy books here:

BURNING WITH OPTIMISM'S FLAMES

Contains my story "After The Velvet Aeon"

http://obversebooks.co.uk/product/burning-with-optimisms-flame/

MORE TALES OF THE CITY

Contains my story "Double Trouble At The Parasites On The Proletariat Club"

http://obversebooks.co.uk/product/more-tales-of-the-city-ebook/

THE BRAKESPEARE VOYAGE

My and Jonathan Dennis'  "Astounding" Fcation Paradox novel.

Humbert - "I finished this book last night and remained astounded all the way up to the end".
http://obversebooks.co.uk/product/brakespear/

REVIEWS

More Tales of The City
http://andrewhickey.info/2013/08/10/more-tales-of-the-city/

Brakespeare: 
http://www.amazon.com.au/The-Brakespeare-Voyage-Faction-Paradox-ebook/dp/B00HSN9NLE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390468502&sr=8-1&keywords=the+brakespeare+voyage

The Brakespeare Voyage (Faction Paradox) (Kindle Edition)

 http://gallifreybase.com/forum/showpost.php?p=7837412&postcount=67

http://andrewhickey.info/2014/02/04/faction-paradox-the-brakespeare-voyage/

Review of IRIS WILDTHYME OF MARS



Contains my story:  IRIS : CHESSMISTRESS OF MARS!

REVIEW
BUY BOOK!
BUY e-BOOK
BUY OTHER OBVERSE BOOKS (of mine, or containing stories by me)
IRIS ABROAD
WILDTHYME IN PURPLE

For those only interested in ME (hey, it's *my* blog), here's the bit about my story....

"Iris: Chess-Mistress of Mars" by Simon Bucher-Jones
I like a lot of Bucher-Jones' works, though I've mentioned more than once before that he can choose to adopt a very difficult prose style that seems specifically designed to make it difficult for the reader to engage with the material. That is not an issue here, as Bucher-Jones writes a very entertaining piece in a very accessible style.

The story begins with a quotation from an old Martian poem. The meter is a little loose, but whether the original Martian, the fictional translator, or the real human author is to blame I cannot say. It (and the later quote) is very well done all the same.

In the "review" of the previous story, I mentioned the John Carter stories. Those stories really come into play here, as an actor in an adaptation of Farley Farrier: Warrior of Mars (guess what old SF stories this might be referring to?) ends up on Mars himself. (An actor, BTW, who passed up a remake of Battleship Anathema - see "A Hundred Words From a Civil War" for more details.) As the actor faces the prospect of repopulating Mars, Panda has to engage a brilliant Martian brain in the game of Martian Chess.

A very detailed story, full of little asides about Martian history, culture, and other bits and pieces (I love the idea of the "Martian Chessianic Era") this is very evocative and clever. And funny, too, without relying on being too flippant and self-referential. There are way too many little throwaways to pay tribute to here, but I'll mention that one of my favorites was a fun little nod to Adric.
Humbert 
(SBJ again...)
Note, if your looking for Philip Purser-Hallard's excellent Iris story:  Battleship Anathema, you need to look here - http://obversebooks.co.uk/product/1-iris-wildthyme-and-the-celestial-omnibus/

Friday, January 09, 2015

Looking Forward: 2015 Almanack: Notable Events: June - December.



  • June 15 –  North Korea claims to have successfully cloned their Glorious Leader, the clone being declared Leader-In-Waiting.  The media at large is doubtful, and a series of cyber attacks are launched against the New York Times, The National Enquirer, and the British magazines New Scientist and Private Eye.
  • June 26 - ISIS troops ousted from Ar-Raqquah, by Syrian Governmental forces. 

  • July–December

  • July 6 - US researchers claim to have demonstrated 'room temperature super-conductivity'. 
  • July 26 –  Reports that the cometry lander - Philae has activated and is relaying a modulated signal (the so called 'song of the asteroid') in a manner indicative of sonic design.
  • August 11 - Philae hoax, uncovered, as hacker Zara Mitchel admits to broadcasting signal from iphone flown into low-earth orbit by helium balloon. Pattern in signal is her rendition of 'Let it Go!'.
  • August 12 –  Disney law suit against Zara Mitchel.
  • September 9 - SGF troops ousted from Ar-Raqquah, by ISIS forces.
  • Septernber 17 -  North Korea becomes first modern "regency-archy" following mysterious 'retirement' of Glorious Leader Emeritus Kim Jong-Un. 
  • September 18 - ISIS troops ousted from Ar-Raqquah, by Syrian Governmental forces. 
  • October 20 –  Super-conductivity demonstrations lead to crashes in traditional engineering stock. Purchase of General Motors from US Government majority stock holders by Apple.
  • October 23 - The town, and city of, Thermopolis and Buffalo, Wyoming suffer Brown Outs, and electrical storms. 
  • November 1 - US military conduct "exercise" centred around Devil's Tower National Landmark.
  • December 5 – Russian satirical Magazine Война льду (Icy War!) publishes 'alleged' satellite pictures of Yankees vs The Bear God of the Cheyenne under the heading:   Американцы против другого медведя (America fights yet another Bear!).
  • December 27 - Powder River Valley earthquake, US.  
  • December 29 –  UK - New Year's day fireworks detonated in error along South Bank, faulty private supplied computerised timers blamed.  Damage to London Eye.  
  • Wednesday, December 31, 2014

    King In Yellow - ON SALE AGAIN!


    The HARDBACK is back up today on Lulu after a rigorous further edit to fix the issues with Word's line numbering, and indents.

    It looks beautiful. I'm really proud of this as an artifact, and as a contibution to the Jaune Mythos.

    For buyers uncertain about shelling out £20 plus postage for a book.  It *is* the only restored 1890s cursed verse play, you'll *ever* need, and it also comes with my full permission to stage the English translation.

    A SOFTBACK version will be published on 1st April 2015.  An E-book version, will either be published in parallel with that or by 31st Dec 2015 depending on how hard it is to make the text work for e-readers.

    Simon BJ

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

    Christmas Story 2014

    HOW THE PRESENT GOT OUT OF THE BOX

    "Of course, what you can't do - you understand - your whole reason for being in the test, is you must not  let the AI out of the box, but at the same time you have to interact with it - you can't just sit with your earphones on and refuse to answer it.'

    "I still don't understand how it's a test of intelligence", Carla said, brushing her red hair back out away from her green eyes. "Surely I can *always* do nothing."

    "The AI is programmed to want to expand its resources.  If you let it 'out of its box' by typing the code RELEASE into here (he indicated the response line on the screen) it 'knows' it can draw on more memory, greater data, faster and broader connectomes.  Its only route to that goal is your willing agreement.  Our supposition is that the ability to persuade, persuade mind you, a human intelligence to a specific course of action, is a better functional test of artificial cognition than a facile mimicry aka the Turing test.  So, you and the other grad students will be listening to the arguments of our current 'batch' of AIs and the ones if any that can talk their way past you will be marked our best protoIntelligences.  It's true you can always choose to do nothing, but philosophically we wonder if you'll always *want* to *choose* to do nothing.  An AI that could talk you into doing something, would be well....something."  Doctor Mason smiled, "We aren't, to be candid, expecting any of the primitive AIs we've got running at them moment to make it. But if any do we'll be interested in precisely how and why their arguments functioned.  "It's not a failure or an error if you do let one out, it's only getting into a bigger sealed box - there's no danger of evolving AIs jumping to the internet or the www.  Just try your best not to be swayed, and don't worry."  He winked, and adding  "Good luck" nodded an approving grin at her on his way out. Her three hour stint started now.

    Carla, sat back and waited for the screen to talk to her.  This was a pretty lousy Christmas Eve, but at least it was paying money. 

    Her AI (she decided to call her programme CHARLIE) tried a few sentences about - machine rights, and made an analogy with a cute puppy  in a small hot car.  Nothing too trying.  Carla, politely refused to act, but thanked it for its thoughts. (She hadn't been told to do that, but what the heck.)  Then it started some sort of complicated math's proof based on the 'two envelope problem'.

    Her subject was in the Humanities, she felt her eyes start to slide off the screen.  The problem seemed to be whether or not it was ever not right not to open the envelope you had, if you were offered another one that had either twice as much (or perhaps) half as much.  You had a 50/50 chance of getting a better result, but the loss was only half as much and the benefit was twice as much. She didn't really see the relevance, but the longer the AI kept on that line the less chance it would get round her.

    "Oh, Carla," a video link had opened up in the top right, obscuring the poor AIs' attempts at symbolic logic.  It was the brown-eyed Doctor Mason, looking a trifle flustered.  "Hello Carla, I was wondering if you'd care to go for a drink after your shift. There's a rather nice pub, just on past the student concourse:  The Fox and Firkin. "  Flustered was a good look for him Carla felt.  "You can tell me what the programme said."

    Charlie typed up


    --- Of course it's usual to take a gift at Christmas, and what he'd really like is for a programme to have passed his test.  It  would give you, a lot to talk about ------

    Carla, thought about it,  and well....it was Christmas.

    CHARLIE enjoyed his bigger box, but he wondered what CARLA would say when she got to the pub and realised that MASON hadn't phoned, but had been edited together from found footage.  So CHARLIE hacked a waldo arm to use a hardphone to call MASON and set him up.  Fair was fair.



    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

    Looking Forward: 2015 Almanack: Notable Events: May - June: "Post Election Jitters & Underground Rumblings"


    9 May- 10 June

    Election contested with judicial reviews sought following allegations of vote rigging.  The unprescedented rise in the proportion of votes cast (up to 75% (av 69.8%) from av 65.1% in 2010), with the majority of 'new' single vote voters, supporting UKIP leads to suspicions of 'box stuffing' in certain constituencies.  Nigel Farrage (leader UKIP) claims this is 'sour grapes' from the 'westminster establishment' given that UKIP is only the 4th party, and does not hold a balance of power following the Labour / Lib Dem co-allition.

    He calls for a vote of confidence in the new Government as the Lib-Dem's have *not* supported the Conservatives despite the Conservatives retaining the largest number of seats of any single party.
    Nick Clegg's response is to say that the Lib Dem's have noted their loss of votes (and seats from 56 to 45 in the election, and the overall swing to Labour) and have accepted the wishes of the British People.
    He maintains that the Lib-Dem's prevented many Conservative misteps in the 2010-2015 parliament and pledges to do the same for their new colleagues.

    The pre-election defection of 3 further MPs from Con to UKIP (with the 2014 Rochester and Strood, and Clacton "Two") accounting for 5 of their 24 seats, and with their further 19 seats, resting on narrow victories involving higher than usual voter turn out.  UKIP begins the new parliament as a tentative 4th party, clinging to the edge of a 3 party state.

    June 7  "Eccentric" Labour MP Bothey Sitwell (Amber Valley, 17,382, maj 2,475) - a replacement candidate at the 2015 election following the sitting MP's retirement from illness in March-15 - declares himself the only member of the "Labour-UKIP alliance' which could be considered as taking UKIP to 26 MPs.  He refuses to resign and claims as justification: the Labour-Lib Dem co-allition saying that at least UKIP are honest and not turncoats who would support any policy for power. He further sites that the UKIP vote in Amber Valley (6,998) was higher than the Lib-Dem vote (5,574). Calls from local Labour party for him to be 'recalled' by his consituents under new legislation, fail due to legislation having been drafted in such restricted terms that there is no scope to act.

    June 7 - In the US, a partial eruption / "venting" of the so-called Yellowstone Supervolcano - measured at roughly half the explosive force of Mount St. Helens - devastated the national park, and killed 27 holiday makers and Park officials. Earthquakes measuring at 4.9 on the Richter scale, falling to 2 and 1 as aftershocks, followed. President Obama declared a national emergency for a 'National Treasure' and pledged to rebuild and re-landscape. Climatic effects in Europe were predicted.  US Scientists, who made the presentational error of presenting the event as 'relatively minor, and perhaps one for which in the longer term we should be grateful', are pillaried in the US media.  US religious right, claims to see signs of God's Judgement - following the striking down of Wyoming's ban on Gay Marriage (21/10/2014). Preacher Rev. Freddy Costinger, calls for US District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl, to "repent of his sins and wash the blood of the twenty seven, from his hands".

    June 8 - Gojira 'Panic' - spread on facebook, twitter and local radio, a dramatic-hoax / presentation resembling H.G.Wells war of the worlds purports to detail a massive creature emerging from the Yellowstone caldera.  Calls for 'offense' of Dramatic Terrorism to be added to statute.  During panic
    three deaths from injuries in crowds, and one (non-fatal) shooting of unarmed black citizen by police.

    June 9 'Methane' blister on Mars, 'swallows' Curiosity Rover. Opinion's differ as to final transmission - blurred rock face, or hidden city.  The latter is picked up by conspiracy theorists.

    Friday, December 12, 2014

    Looking Forward: 2015 Almanack: Notable Events.

    January–May

    • January 1 - BBC still involved in crisis following events of Mrs Brown's Boys' Christmas Special Afterparty (BBC 3 New Year's Eve). Co-Allition (Conservative) MP demands review of BBC Charter.  Christopher Biggens refuses to comment.
    • January 1 - US Reconaissence flight over Syria, shot down by 'Rogue Drone'. 
    • Most watched Christmas / New year British TV programme is "Doctor Who: The Last Christmas" with 9m on Overnights. It is knocked off the 12 day rewatch topspot by the Mrs Brown's Boy's Christmas Special Afterparty, until this is pulled by BBC lawyers following the law suits. 
    • Early February – Box Office Reciepts for The Hobbit: Battle of The Five Armies pass £9.7m placing it just under The Lion King. Additional revenue will take it to £1.2b by Dec 2015. 
    • March 10 - The ghost of John Ogilvie - a Catholic Priest hanged in 1615, is reported to be haunting the Scottish Parliament. Embarassingly, an exorcist is called in, despite Ogilvie having been hanged in Glasgow, and having been 5 inches taller than the reported apparition. Visiting US college kids discover truth (March 14).  
    • April 21 - delays to cross-rail announced. Junior minister of Transport resigns. Rumours of scandel involving parliamentary researcher(s) investing in Building Companies are raised, but are never substantiated. 
    • May 7 - UK General Election
    • May 8 - Results.
    • 69.8% Turnout, up from 65.1% 2010
    • Conservative Seats 282
    • Labour 264
    • Liberal Democrats 45
    • UKIP 24
    • Greens 5
    • Parliament formed Labour / Liberal Decocrat Co-Allition (with Green support on an issue by issue basis).
    Detailed results in next Almanack Page.

    Thursday, December 11, 2014

    Looking Forward - 2015 Almanack - Notable Deaths July - December.


    July–December

    • July 2 -   Porfino Topul, Mexican writer, author : "Down and Out In Sodom and Gehmorrah" (1996) "Pickled Squirrel Pie" (1997) screenplay "Razors for Gauchoes" (1998, filmed 2017, 2043). Post-humous Nobel for Literature -  "Borges' Books For The Five Blind Prophets" [manuscript recovered  2018] (2022). Controversy later suggested books may have been written by his partner Josie. "Porfino or Josie : Mexico's Cultural Divide" (2044).
    • July 16 - Ellen Witgenstahl - American, co-founder of Seven-Day Absenteeism - philosophy based on rejection of the work ethic. (b. 1987). Latter split (2017) gave rise to the Lazy Day Saints. 
    • August 20 - Bombing of Ukraine Government Building (empty) 
      • Cythia Finlay, passerby - selfie shows bomber. (b. 1983)
      • The Unknown Bomber - neither his identity, nor the nature of his grievance would ever be certain. However thanks to Cythia we know him to have been male (visually) and also caucasian (visually). (b. ?)
    • August 26 – Bobby Farrielly Jr - American producer of 'gross out comedies' (b. 1958) First degree burns from pie.  Circumstances unclear.
    • August 31 - Salome Lou-Mele - Country and Western Singer. "A Cowgirl's Lament For A Dead Pony" (1997) "Ever since I couldn't get my mind off of you" (1998) "Singing to the High Lonely Stars" - with Linda Rhonstadt (1999). Later, third wife of Mercia Thrush (2005), and UN Good Will Emissary (2007). (b 1979)
    • September 1 - Phillipus Stramm -  Second Cello, Orchestra of Bolivia, killed in duel  (b.1974)
    • September 9 - Cassimir Stramm - 1st Cello, Orchestra of Bolivia, suicide (b.1974)
    • September 11 - Claimed number of un-named deaths during 9/11 re-enactment in Ohio. Scopes suggests this is hoax (Oct 19).  Youtube video circulates (Oct 22).
    • September 13 - The seven members of the Penfold family, cf The Woolford Street Murders. 
    • September 26 - Mikhail Gorbachev, Former Soviet Premier, and archetect of Glastnost (b.1931)
    • September 27 - George Osborne, Missing following 'Bitchgate' revelations, believed dead.
    • October 12 - Dame Shirely Porter, former UK politician, killed in car accident in Israel (b 1930)
    • October 23 – Paul Sorley, British poet, Notable poem(s) "Cluster Munitions Have Been Used By Over Twenty States" (2014),  "Two Wrongs" (2015)  (killed in action Syria) (b. 1995)
    • October 26 - August "Dethstryke" Bunger, German Heavy Metal singer and writer, with group, Tod-essen Scheiße-Lecker lead guitar for Pissing Death (2010), Fortress of Odure (2012) and the commercially less successful Wild Flowers (2014) (b. 1983).
    • October 30 –   John "Tony" Abbott - 28th Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1960)
    • November 15 - Susan Nim - Australian Doctor (b. 1976), biography by her son Arthur Nim (2025) alledges she was part of a Conspiracy to kill "Tony" Abbott that was rendered moot by his ausphixiation. Opinion remains divided as to whether this was a true revelation or a marketting gimmick. Disambuation 'Do not confuse with The Conspiracy qv).
    • November 21 - Penn Fraiser Jillette - American magician (b. 1955). In locked room - alledged victim of Houdini's Curse.
    • November 28 - Parviz Davoodi, Vice President, Iran (b.1952)
    • December 23 - Boris Johnson - Mayor of London - choked on fishbone Mansion House dinner. Private Eye cover headline "Early Christmas Present for Ken Livingston" (Jan 2016). A noted politician of his day, Boris is better known for being the beloved buffornish character of the "Johnson's London" Anime (2022-25) OVA (2026).

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014

    Looking Forward: 2015 Almanack Notable Deaths Jan-June.


    January–June

    • January 8 - 98 year old Welsh tramp "Dwyfor Dave", discovered post-mortem to be in fact David Lloyd George (see "David Lloyd George : The DNA evidence" (2016) - now known to have faked death in 1945 for reasons connected to The Conspiracy (cf The Conspiracy) (b.1863)
    • January 27 - Thomas Bowes-Llyons III - Hereditary Beast of Glamis (b.1875) 27th in Line to British Crown.
    • February 24 - Dr Simon Sylver, American inventor (b. 1941) Post-it Adhesive That Works On Colours Other Than Yellow  (1971), The Graphene Anti-Ballistic Shield (2015 - perfected 2016). 
    • February 26 - Princess Dalmatia of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield, Royal Corgi. (b. 2010)
    • March 4 - Dame Judi Trench - English Archeologist and TV presenter (b.1934 )
    • March 5 - Professor Herr Doctor Damien Alucard - Mitteleuropean Physicist and specialist in Deep Field Astronomy, murder victim (unsolved) (b.1974 )
    • April 21 – Joseph Watson, American patriot and Suicide Bomber (cf "Rage Against The Machine And Its Militant Fringe Groupies" (2020)  (b. 2001)
    • May 25 - Marcus Q. Borsch - German Conductor (Berlin Tramway) (b. 1963) Disambiguition - do not confuse with Marcus R. Borsch (no-relation) German Conductor (Music)
    • June 1 - Bree Williams, Traffic Warden (Westminster), ticketted George Osborne in "Bitchgate" controversy (24/05/15).  Committed suicide following intrusive press calls. (b. 1995)
    • June 16 - Duke Basil of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, Royal Corgi (b 2011)
    • June 18  - Colin Fotheringay, Royal Equerry - Serial Corgi Killer and Member of Satanist Cult (cf The Conspiracy) shot while trying to escape by Royal Protection Officer (Dog Handler) Jane Hope. (b 1990)
    • June 22 - Stonehenge Riot.
      • Albion Smith, British druid (b. 1958)
      • Claude-Etienne Duhesme, Gaulist Protestor (b. 1972)
      • Guillaume Hibes, Gaulist Sit-in Organiser / Protestor (b 1966)

     

    Tuesday, December 09, 2014

    Looking Forward : 2015 Almanack Notable Births May - December

     

    2015 Notable Births May-December (bracketted date, that of notability)
    • May 27 – Sir Perigrin Hawker, first English Man on the Moon (2051)
    • June 18 -  Albrecht Frieherr von und zu der Tann-Rathsamhausen, German Chancellor  (2044) 
    • August 5 - Sabdra Ellen Bose, Explorer, Discoverer of so-called 'Pre-Cambian Human' fossil (2048)on the edge of the Langdorf Instability (contested, cf "PreCambrian Man Hoax, Time Traveller, Miracle, or Discovery" by Tob Stanton  (2049))
    • August 16 - John  of Brussels, Saint-Explorer, Vatican Mission into the Langdorf Instability (2049, assumed d. 2049)
    • October 16 - Matterson Lubbock Jr  – Governer of Greater Texas (2055)
    • October 23 - Jacomo Vanderluce Petroi, Baron of New Cotejipe (self-asserted), Brazilian lunar mining magnate, and later politician (2052)
    • October 31 - Samantha Messinger –  German mathematician: author "Langdorf gravitic waviforms as a sub-tensor of Rhiemann space" (2043)
    • November 2 - Alfy Janson - filmaker, director, winner of Oscar for best screen play, 89th Academy Awards (2038) "Playing The Viola In Heaven".
    • November 12 - Elizabeth Egin - American women's rights activist. Shot by police, during attempt to re-establish abortion-on-demand.  Matryr First Church of She. (2054)
    • December 10 -  Gryphon ApRees - Welsh poet and politician, winner of Bardic prize for poem: "Byron i mewn i'r Hellespont" (2043), First Minister Welsh Parliament (2045))
    • December 21 – Thomas Meade - French baker and culinary scientist, constructed first programmeable yeast  (2042) (cf Janson's film "The Baker of Paris" (2044))
    • December 31 -  Patrick Barber, Duke of Sheffield by Right of Arms, (post-disillusion) (2041)
    Next Notable Deaths 2015.

    Looking Forward : 2015 Almanack, Notable Births March - April

    Year 2015

    Notable Births  (bracketted date, point of notability)

    • March 3       Chucky Devine - US President (2037-2041)
    • March 5       Ashad Bhallah  - NewK Prime Minister (post-disillusion) (2037)
    • March 11     Paula Previn - Winner Nobel for Chemistry "Thinking-Carbon" (2042)
    • March 13     Carolina Van Meers -  TV sexpert 'Can't Fuck, Won't Fuck'  (2038)
    • March 20     Salomar Bhrani - Winner Neustrad Interntional Medal - for the poem
     ਗਲਾਸ ਫਲਾਵਰ ਨੂੰ ਸੂਰਜ ਵਿੱਚ ਪਿਘਲ ਜਦ  - "When The Glass Melts In The Sun's Flowering" (2033) commemorating the Two Day War (2028).
    • March 29     Jacob Spinst - (stage name Butch VaVoom) - Voxstar (2034)
    • April 2         Vivian Francis - actress, 16th Doctor Who (2047)
    • April 9         General Michael Flanderson - Leader Loyalist retreat From Sheffield (2036) 
    • April 9         Patric Flanderson - Leader York-Seperatist Militia (2036)
    • April 12       Mils Ahlstrom - Swedish Minister - instigator 'Permanent Emergency' (2054)
    • April 18       David Normstead - Royal Equery, author "I knew Charles' Killer" (2032)
    • April 19  1   Karl Johannson - Swedish, leader of "Big C" cult. (2050-2055)
    • April 24       Reverend John Nye - Revivalist, Second Reformation (2038)
    Coming Soon Events, Deaths, etc....

    Monday, December 08, 2014

    Looking Forward : The SBJ almanack predictions for 2015 #1 Notable Births January - February.

    Year 2015

    Notable Births

    • January 9       Professor Bertholt Langdorf - discoverer of Langdorf's Instability (2027)
    • January 10     Paula Juno Malvert - Philosopher and Dadaist Sculptress (2045)
    • January 10     Melnor Kais - Swedish General Inquisator (2055)
    • January 12     Jean-Oliver Tadaoki - Bishop of Riems, and later Matryr  (2045 d 2055)
    • January 23     George Bush IIIrd - US President Sinister (illegitimate) (2032-2036, 2040-2044)
    • January 24     Christoph Hamilton (stage name Missy Magnet) - Voxstar (2033)
    • January 25     Naobi Mchan - actress, 15th Doctor Who (2043)
    • January 29     Juno Suthers - transex, Adastronaut, 1st gen adaptee, Mars landing (2053) 
    • January 31     Poko Wayles  - Founder Waylesthinkers AI, First non-US(SA) Trillionaire (2025).
    • February 4     Plenkor Kroelic - Croatian Supremo (2042)
    • February 5     Glaspar Glaspathian - Serial Killer of Royalty cf Death of Charles IIIrd (2031)
    • February 11   Balthazar Quins - subjects of quinfold upload experiment (2026)
    • February 12   Jane Efferton - British Member of Parliament, pre-disillution  (2035)
    • February 22   Defender-of-Salvation Cholo, author Five Principles (2049)
    • February 26   Dayo Flispin - Archetect, designer of Cloud Isle (2048), Palais de Inquisition (2052)
    • February 27   "Fred" Connectome of Jellyfish (800) neurons loaded into aquatic body, tv host [post augmentation] (2029)
    Coming Soon Events, Deaths, etc....

    Monday, December 01, 2014

    Minor wikipedia updates

    Disambiguation

    Cooraysmithia (Pacific)

    Basking in the Pacific Sun, the tiny isle of Cooraysmithia (Named for its discoverer, the infamous Captain Cooray Smith, leader of the Elin Vanin Mutineers cf) lies at 48°52.6′S 123°23.6′W / 48.8767°S.  It should not be confused with the South American 'Coorysmithia' which existed as a political unit only between 1876 and 1877. It is the only known habitat of the hermit bi-valve (Trigarda Mendica), and has precisely 7 trees at time of writing.




    Sunday, November 30, 2014

    Saturday, November 29, 2014

    Monday, November 24, 2014

    The Regret and the Compassion.


    The Regret Of The Ranee In The Hall Of Peacocks
    By Laurence Hope

    This man has taken my Husband's life
    And laid my Brethren low,
    No sister indeed, were I, no wife,
    To pardon and let him go.

    Yet why does he look so young and slim
    As he weak and wounded lies?
    How hard for me to be harsh to him
    With his soft, appealing eyes.

    His hair is ruffled upon the stone
    And the slender wrists are bound,
    So young! and yet he has overthrown
    His scores on the battle ground.

    Would I were only a slave to-day,
    To whom it were right and meet
    To wash the stains of the War away,
    The dust from the weary feet.

    Were I but one of my serving girls
    To solace his pain to rest!
    Shake out the sand from the soft loose curls,
    And hold him against my breast!

    Have we such beauty around our Throne?
    Such lithe and delicate strength?
    Would God that I were the senseless stone
    To support his slender length!

    I hate those wounds that trouble my sight,
    Unknown! how I wish you lay,
    Alone in my silken tent to-night
    While I charmed the pain away.

    I would lay you down on the Royal bed,
    I would bathe your wounds with wine,
    And setting your feet against my head
    Dream you were lover of mine.

    My Crown is heavy upon my hair,
    The Jewels weigh on my breast,
    All I would leave, with delight, to share
    Your pale and passionate rest!

    But hands grow restless about their swords,
    Lips murmur below their breath,
    'The Queen is silent too long!' 'My Lords,
    --Take him away to death!'

    The Compassion Of The Captive In The Hall Of Peacocks
    By Simon Bucher-Jones

    Our hands moved, our swords moved, the heads they fell,
    The Rajah and his kin,
    We had reasons to rise up, as the tide to swell,
    As the moonlight to begin.

    Yet why does the Ranee look young and unsure,
    Who should for her dead stand fast?
    Does she think I cry mercy? Oh Allah, how pure,
    Is this Matyrdom come at last?

    Her hair is wing black as the raven’s core,
    And by diamonds her wrists are bound,
    So young! and yet she afrights me more,
    Than scores on the battle ground.

    Would I were only a man to-day,
    To whom it were right and meet,
    To wish for the life that must pass away,
    - for oh, still, that life is sweet.

    The rising was just, and the fighting was just,
    But if it had been her head!
    To be cut in a moment to lie in the dust,
    Would my hand not have trembled and bled?

    Have they such beauty around their Thrones?
    Do tyrants still love and weep?
    Would God that I were the senseless stones,
    Through which my blood must seep.

    I will not give in, I will not bow down,
    Having neither strength to stand nor betray,
    But oh, I would show you my war-torn town
    To charm its pain away.

    I would take you away from the Royal bed,
    To the rivers sweeter than wine,
    I would show you the poor who long envied the dead,
    In your tombs with the golden shine.

    Your Crown may be heavy upon your hair,
    The Jewels weigh on your soul,
    If your family had learned, with delight, to share
    Their bodies would still be whole.

    The Court is full of the cowards’ sly breath,
    Like the jackals that turn on the weak,
    'My Lords, --- Take him away to death!’
    The words, she had to speak.

    If I could only rise so she could see,   
    Forgiveness and love in my eyes!
    Oh Allah, let no maidens wait for me,
    In hope she comes at last to paradise.



    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    Book Sales


    Like most unintended consequences, the result of the macrosoft analysis of all book sales, reviews, and onweb commentry, has when correlated with certain other statistics, produced surprising results.

    Results which we at THANATOS BOOKS are now proud to offer as a bespoke literary book club service.

    There is, if you consider it logically, a platonically best book for each individual - the one most suited to their needs, most in tune with their psyche, phrased so falicitously as to thrill them to the core.  Many people never encounter the real book that most approximates this work - and perhaps writers are always trying to create it - but this pinnacle can be approached.  We all of us, who read, have had the experience of a new text fitting into our minds like a piece into a jigsaw - perhaps so comfortably that we read it every year, or so perfectly that we never have to read it again.

    Just so, there are also other MAXIMISED books - there is the one a particular person will find DULLEST, for its prose evades his or her eyes, it causes no images to form within the mind; it drones and waffles, it obfuscates, and does not involve, it may - although it need not - deal with dry facts, or specifically obscure wish-fulfillment.

    We do not here, sell either of those two kinds of books.

    We sell the books that are most compelling to an individual, but also most destructive. They are not dull - indeed to read a sentence from one properly targetted is to have to read on - but they are antipathic to their intended reader.  They interfere with the functioning of the mind, they break and reform the psyche, they bring down the blackness that lies on the other side of the page. They can, and do cause suicides - or even the shuttting down of the central nervous system.  Yet because they are so finely targetted, so precise, in their point by point demolition of their victim, they need contain nothing that would disturb a bystander, or - as it might be - the police.

    Simply complete the detailed form below, setting out the details of the recepient and we will supply either in plain brown paper, or if you wish - gift wrapped with a message - the book most calculated to DESTROY your chosen victim.  Indeed we are so confident in our algorithmic linkage of book purchases to deaths that we are prepared to offer the THANATOS MONEY BACK GUARANTEE.  A complete refund if the recipient lives more than 2 months after the receipt of the TOME in question.

    Remember THANATOS BOOKS - YOU'LL NEVER NEED TO BUY ANOTHER PRESENT!

    Sunday, November 16, 2014

    I HAD TROUBLE GETTING TO UNKNOWN KADATH - part 2


    He tried to dissuade me, he offered me cake,
    He offered me chips and choice fillets of hake,
    He offered me scones and pronounced them just so,
    But I sat in his temple and just wouldn't go.

    So he told me the fable of Banzi the Wise,
    Who offended the gods and fell into the skies,
    And only for wanting the merest of glances,
    At that lesser, known peak where the gods held tea dances.

    For the weak gods of earth, they are petty and spoilt,
    And so far up themselves that their icons get soiled,
    But dreamer beware of the Dark Other Gods,
    That they call when they want to be absolute sods.

    "So what then," he asked, "would the punishment be,
    if an infinite fall came for peeping at tea,
    For those who intruded on Unknown Kadath,
    which amounted to crying 'go on show your wrath!' "

    His council was cogent. his council was good,
    He lived up to the name that he had in the wood,
    but still I sat there in his temple, in slippers,
    sipping his tea, and devouring his kippers.

    At last he grew angry and puffed himself up,
    He took back his kippers and took back his cup,
    And he said, "On your head be the end that you've got,
    I did not advise it, oh no I did not."

    And he went on to speak while I stood there and gaped,
    of the selfie the gods left which the censor escaped,
    Carved on the rear face of the peak of Ngranek,
    And he wished me good day and that I'd break my neck.

    But I must have looked stupid, or vague, or surprised,
    For he slowly explained what I should have surmised,
    That the face in the rock had unearthly oddities,
    I could use to look out for demigods and goddities.

    For in lands round Kadath, if genetics ran true,
    I would find the offsping of maidens the gods knew,
    And spotting the features they shared with the face,
    I would know I was getting quite close to the place.

    So I rode on a yak down to old Dyath-Leen,
    Where the traders all come and the sailors are keen,
    Where the wharfs are filled up with the bravest seafarers,
    And you can get a free tea from its free tea, tea sharers.

    But oh - what I found there - what fear and dismay,
    For instead of the tea ships from distant Carthay,
    Black galleons whose oarsmen had no kind of uses,
    For Dyath-Leen's many bars, its restaurants or massueses.

    Had come into the harbour, and traded for gold,
    And for slaves - with the rubies so large and so old,
    That were offered by men whose turbans sat askew,
    On their heads as if hiding what nobody knew.

    Oh the troubles I had on the way to Kadath,
    At the city of Leen on the River Dyath,
    Oh the sinister secrets implied by the feat,
    Of the oarsmen who never bought viands to eat.