Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What Happened to US

What happened to You

America so beautiful,
once you were harsh wilderness,
tamed by adventurers,
settled by Europe's castoffs and so many others.

Now you have turned into a miasma of
self-absorbed fluff addicts,
peppered by extremists and hate groups.

Once you gave the blood of so many youth
to combat fascism and racism.
Now you grow these evil weeds within your borders.

The quiet majority needs to set down their toys
and shout as one “Enough! We will not stand for this again!”
“We paid a horrible price for this in the 1940's!”
“Too high a price to repeat the mistake.”

Say NO to Nazi fascism, NO to racism, NO to bigotry
America was supposed to be better than this,
is supposed to be better than this,
Can become better than this.

These battles evidently must be fought over and over
by every new generation.

We are all one nation and had better figure out how to get along,
before we tear ourselves apart.

One civil war was enough.

Grow up, USA.

Get over the Fascist and Racist Foolishness and move on!

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Ready or Not (again)

A rising din of engines and voices,
Dual-wheel pickups tow livestock
trailers to and fro, cutting corners quick!
Porta-potties line up like arriving crowds will,
border the edges of grounds throbbing with preparation.

Nearby neighborhoods sprout campers like weeds,
colored tape marks off yard parking areas,
manicured lawns awaiting their first oil stains,
tire ruts and trash piles of the season:
Promising profits for the property owners.
Cars are already lining some streets...

Various species of livestock announce their presence,
bleating, mooing and squawking their magnificence.
Their odors precede even their reputations...

August 10 is coming soon,
with that another Iowa State Fair is here.
The beast seems to get bigger every year!

This year, the grounds barely hold it all in.
An enormous roar will be felt as fireworks
cap off the entire garish spectacle.

Ready or not,
like a winter snowstorm, it is coming.
Everyone around may as well take in the show.
(Bound to be a good story or two hidden in
all of that confusion.)


August Cool

Farewell for now cursed sweat rivulets,
stay away clammy air, too heavy to breathe.
Time to step outside and exult in the beauties.
A touch of Fall coolness has arrived in Iowa.

An August wonder, seventy degrees at noon;
In July it was a hundred and people swooned.
Now the yard work can get finished,
natural areas once again explored...

Overworked air conditioners can catch a break,
car engines and children whine a whole lot less.
Grilling and chilling outdoors returns to being fun;
The only ones sweating now are triathalon trainers.

Enjoy this brief respite, lucky Iowans;
we know mother nature is in the windup,
ready to throw us some more misery soon.
At least we caught a nice weekend this time around.

- end

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Sub and Super Constructs

If our universe is a mere simulation,
death need not be feared as a destination.
Energy-ciphers flitting about in imagined
reality, we really have nothing to fear.

A curious mind wants to know how far
up and down the universes go, nested
inside each other as they must be.

Realities are created inside
energy-vessels of ever-larger realities.

Larger and smaller the universes come,
occupants within knowing only vastness.
Some distant origin-explosion or
"Big Bang" remains unimaginably distant.

All physical laws, time and 'the real'
fragment or super-assemble and
are incomprehensible to our
relatively tiny human brains.

Consciousness may dissipate,
but our energy persists,
and will return again in
some unimaginable form.

See you in the some-when of
an ultracoherent some-what,
at some time or other!

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Lucky Seventies

Farewell for now cursed sweat rivulets,
stay away clammy air, too heavy to breathe.
Time to step outside and exult in the beauties.
A touch of Fall coolness has arrived in Iowa.

An August wonder, seventy degrees at noon;
In July it was a hundred and people swooned.
Now the yard work can get finished,
natural areas once again explored...

Overworked air conditioners can catch a break,
car engines and children whine a whole lot less.
Grilling and chilling outdoors returns to being fun;
The only ones sweating now are triathalon trainers.

Enjoy this brief respite, lucky Iowans;
we know mother nature is in the windup,
ready to throw us some more misery soon.
At least we caught a nice weekend this time around.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Summer on the Water

With various concerns and problems swirling about,
it was so refreshing to discover:
There is still fun to be had
boating and swimming in the ol Des Moines river.

When I got that call from a couple of friends,
and set a time to meet at the marina,
Joyful moments were passed in preparations.
Soon we gathered on a dock at a party arena.

We put the boat in the water, and set out
upstream – when the engine had an issue
with going at high throttle – it conked out.
Then it was time to hunt for a critical part.

But a good while later we accomplished that,
and set out once again down the river – to
swim and sun and take turns water ski-ing.
I was content to ride and snap a lot of photos.

No political world problem seemed close,
no braying politician got under my skin.
It was time to revel in the waters and play,
a rare chance to shed inhibitions in the calm river.

Hopefully I'll make it out again real soon,
with no motor problems to make us swoon.
Looking forward to more occurrences of fun;

enjoy the rest of the summer, everyone.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Not an end-stopped party

There may have been a few poets there,
at the pros social – many were in fine form,
but not quite in rhyme - or even in synch...
Just flowing around well-appointed rooms
all loose and jumbled,
like the words in some e.e. Cummings write.

The pros party did not feature any readings,
just disjointed mumblings and random utterings.
Still it was fun enough, with familiar faces aplenty.
No one talked in Iambic Pentameter, thank goodness.

No villanelles or pantoums or sestets,
just twosomes, threesomes, and one foursome;
Sipping libations and making casual chit-chat.
Still, I've been bored worse in better company...

Another evening passed with time spent
chatting about little oddments and how
are things going and yes, we miss him so much.
Someday we will all be gone, and another group
will be in our place, making the same idle comments
about our now-buried corpses.

Our way of living in the moment,
pros-aic in a non-poetic way.
Sure, “this too shall pass”
but there is nothing we can do about that,
so we may as well enjoy ourselves.

(Pros is a social gathering that meets several times a year in Des Moines, Iowa.)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Once there was a river

Once there was a river of nightlife,
gleeful youth and older alike
celebrated in their preferred ways.
Some drank, danced and laughed;
others had joyful trysts with strangers,
many made new long-term friends.

This ribbon of concrete along our
river that bisected town east and west,
a meeting place for folk from all over
central Iowa who wanted to play around.

The party is over, the jubilation ended.
Concrete barriers and signs hammer home
the message: No more fun allowed here.
Weeds grow through cracks in the concrete ribbon,
joyful memories dissipate under relentless pressure.

Life goes on, nevertheless.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Streaming Haiku

peaceful stream gurgles
surrounds exposed limbs in light
dragonfly sets down

limb exposes self above
underneath water surrounds
dragonfly hovers

sets down on brown limb
perches above froth maelstrom
river or kingdom

cutting forward seeking what?
mollusk crawls onward!

Frog serenade

Monday, July 17, 2017

It is Monday in America

Keystone cops shoot unarmed housewife in pajamas;
Toddlers are swept away, seen live from an onlookers phone.
A certain celebrity inmate is up for parole again;
Presidential approval fell down to 36 percent.

Just another Monday in an insanely violent society.
If America was a bomb, it would be a continuous
eruption of craziness – nonstop cruelty and murder.
How did we get this way – from virgin lands to
such Roman Empire excess?


It was not easy – took a lot of doing.
European settlers had to wrest the land
from native control by any means needed.
Then Law and Order had to be established:
All of those gangsters did not make things easy.


Economic upheavals and leadership scandals
continue to rile and roil the national landscape.
All the noise and confusion makes one wonder
if anything is permanent, or safe, or reliable anymore.

What I tell myself...

Just keep going to work,
and keep your head down;
avoid the frequent lead showers
coming from every direction.
Good luck out there...

Some of us will make it to
tomorrow – there is always that.

 - end

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Wandering Together

Ten years passes like an ephemeral bolt,
cordiality should push formality aside.
If I lost him it would be a painful jolt,
we have enjoyed this long-lasting ride.

Unexpected start in another place and time,
he dropped into my world like some gift
unexpected, growing ever more sublime.
Outside stresses kept threatening a rift.

Familiarity wreaks the usual contempt,
other temptations and delights distract;
no blame for any outside affair attempt,
If only I can keep our friendship intact.

Every relationship evolves and changes,
cherish those experiential loving ranges.

     - end

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Oldies but goodies

Still for sale ..

Future Property – Michael Wilson

Experimental Tales – Dycen Alexander

The Osmotics – Dycen Alexander

New Venture – Dycen Alexander

Epic Prime Collection – Dycen Alexander

Crime Spree – poetry - Mike Wilson

A Strange Enterprise collection of speculations

Shadow Intersection - poetry

29 Stories – Kindle Edition – collection of short fiction:

Thanks for taking a look.

- end

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Enemies of Civilization

While the top brass converse,
hidden elements creep forward.
Best plans will be set in reverse,
intricate plots emerge outward.

Gunpowder and metal bits packed
into a tight space, touched by a fuse.
Innocent bystanders soon get attacked
by a murderer - scattered and confused.

The cost is not only immediate,
lives taken and ruined forever after.
Society will bear a price predominate,
suspicion replacing ease and laughter.

Terrorist fanatics exact constant punishment

on our free society – unnecessary harassment!

- end

How hot is it???

heat comes in clouds of wetness,
envelopes me in fatigue and weakness.

Heat would be worse if I had to wear
makeup and a dress, all wrinkled and runny.

Working in high humidity feels like
swimming through cement with a backpack.

Feels so hot the sweat evaporates off my skin,
my shirt gets soaked then heats dry again.

“But how hot is it?”
It is so hot if you crack an egg on the sidewalk,
It comes out already cooked and scrambled.

It is so hot that car tires are melting on the pavement,
and the freeways are jammed up with stuck cars revving.

It is so hot that people get instant skin burns going outdoors.
You can smell cooking flesh as long as your sniffer keeps working.

It is so hot that I am forced to sit indoors and dream up these
bizarre visions of how hot it really gets, within my fevered brain.

Stay cool everyone. Fall is only a few months away.

- end

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Flash Fiction - Nothing is Free

     Waves of pleasure cascaded throughout Tim's body. Colors danced at the edge of his vision, and followed in tracery wherever he turned his head. He let out a sigh, and that set off happy reverberations throughout. Suddenly he was up and moving, around the room, outside in the yard. It dimly occurred to him that maybe he might not want others to see him like this.
But most of them are high too, on a Saturday afternoon...
He let out a guffaw. Then he moved back inside and around the house. He found an old model airplane, half-finished, and entertained himself studying it and poking around. Leafing through books and puttering around, he eventually descended from the euphoric plane and came back down to earth.
Wow, that shit is not too bad. Especially considering the price.
He fished out his 5-pack of Freforal and counted: Four left. Four smashing buzzfests. Then he could go get more – next week.
Many in the press considered the new government program to give away a free drug a poor idea. But there was enough support to try it out on a limited basis. So regular users like Tim wouldn't have to turn to the local dealer, and risk arrest, for their high. They could go to an approved pharmacy and request their free supply of “Freforal,” a synthetic opioid that gave a short but very intense high – and was free for the asking, to anyone that was 21 or over.
The thinking went that it would drive the illicit drug trade out of business. How could they compete with a free high, that was basically harmless?
Tim giggled to himself, and then called up a friend.
“Hey Ron? That shit rocks. It works.”
“How long did it last?” asked Ron, a buddy and fellow user.
“About two and a half hours, just like promised. I might try to double up, or try it mixed with some H. But hell, for the price, it really delivers, man.”
“Cool. I'm headed over to the Pharm now. We'll have to do a hit together. Later, man.”
“Later.” Tim ended the call. He cracked open a beer, and turned on the TV. Ron arrived a hour later, laughing and giggling.
“Woooa yeah, man, this shit is awesome! C'mon, man, do one with me.”
“Don't have to ask twice. Here goes nothing...” And Tim popped two tabs in his mouth, washing them down with a swig of Bud Lite.
Soon the two of them were aping TV announcers and others, laughing, rolling around. For a couple of hours, they had a great time. Then the high receded.
“What the hell. We can always get more, right? They are free,” said Tim.
Ron looked at him with bloodshot eyes, considering.
“Yeah. You know, we might even get a buddy to go get more for us. Are you up for it?”

“Always, man. Always. Here goes...” And Tim popped the last tab into his mouth, and downed it with another swig of beer. Ron did the same with his last.
“Wooowee that is sweet,” said Ron. Even as he said it, he noticed that it was not quite as sweet as when he downed two at once. And they would have to get more somehow.
“Yeah, real fine. I say after this, we call it a night and figure out another supply tomorrow. Sound cool?”
“Cool by me, man,” replied Ron. They watched some TV, and relaxed, mostly silent. By the second hour, they were dozing off.

The news reporters went on overdrive:
“New program deemed an expensive failure.”
“Free opiate test run found to increase demand.”
“What was supposed to be a cure turned out a bigger problem than ever!”
After a month, the US FDA and DEA threw in the towel. A spokesperson explained,
“We had no way of knowing how effective this program would be until we live-tested it. Obviously things are not working out as planned. We express the deepest regret for the way things have turned out...”

Tim and Ron managed to get a buddy to hand over some extras the next day. After that, it began to cost them. Some people did not need the high, but they did need the extra income. And others who would have never tried anything, tried Freforal out of curiosity. The Heroin dealers noticed that business dropped off for awhile, and then increased. Demand went higher than ever.
Emergency rooms began to see a spike in overdose victims. Tim found himself there, looking up at a distant ceiling after being brought back.
“Hey, kid? You awake? Good. Eyes look better. Can you hear me?”
Tim grunted out a yes.
“Excellent. You can be out of here soon. Just a little word of advice,” said the PA.
“Wha – whats that?” replied Tim.

“Nothing good in life is free. Remember that.”

“All right,” grunted Tim. A while later, he stumbled out of the hospital, and set off to find a Metro station. But he was back in the ER within a week.

The End

Climate of Unconcern

Climate change does not matter
We gotta make our wallets fatter.
So what if we pollute the seas,
Business gods we must appease.
Putrid filth become our rivers,
but CEO demands make us quiver.

Even though our country becomes an outcast,
next quarters profits are what gives the blast.
Let us breathe mercury-laden smoggy air,
profits in our pockets means we don't care.
Life expectancy will drop real fast,
sure hope the boardroom air filters last.

So drop out of all those international agreements,
good old boys will negotiate other arrangements.
They always have our best interests at heart,
Our wealthy owners and masters are smart.
They have all of the answers,
no matter Who gets cancer.

     - end

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Fourth Furies

Once again it is time for the annual noise parade.
Pops, bangs, thumps...and BOOMs! Are heard
all over the city. Join in the fun – celebrate the
fourth of July with wild abandon.

But be safe and careful about it.
Could lose a finger, part of a hand,
or even an eye. These things can
damage human flesh, even yours.

It is a festive time of year,
everyone wants to have some fun.
Light and aim those things with care.
You want to greet the Fifth intact,
avoid emergency room lights harsh glare.

Happy Independence Day Everyone.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The water seems to go on forever

White-laced waves cavort and splash,
roar in for their smashing finale.
The mist and noise overwhelm,
perfect backdrop for a bobbing patrol-boat,
and sleek sailboats that cut water curves.

As the sun drops, it sets the water agleam.
Glittering reflections shimmer and refract,
blind eyes large and small who happen to
gaze in that direction for too long.

Gulls are scarce – lots of wind and not much food.
Sailboats proliferate for a time, then they too
disappear as the sun sets and clouds roll in.
A rainy, cool night is coming.

The next morning shimmers green off
the waters surface, promising new adventures.
Wind whips excitement whitecaps into waves;
An early sailboat makes a bold attempt at
lake navigation, but soon retreats.
The summer breeze is really strong today:
Jacket and long sleeve weather in June.

Thankfully my camera still works,
and takes in all the raw beauty
despite sprays of water and gusts of wind.
Another fulfilling visit to lake Michigan!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Vacation or Education

My bored hands free for a time,
now make drumming sounds,
now handle lumber and hammer nails.
Now they grip a steering wheel for
hours at a time, getting me to novel areas.
Now they snap photos of unfamiliar places,
now they drop coins in rest stop vending ops.

Many activities not normally undertaken are now,
stimulating the mind and those worn fingers too.
Pleasure takes many forms and has many names,
but variety and novelty are two I give her today.

How much work can a body do to enjoy time off?
Quite a bit, I'm finding, and it leaves me refreshed.

Camping out gives the hands a good workout,
and the body a pleasant change of scenery.
Plucking flowers or hauling supplies,
propelling oneself through water or casting a line,
skipping a rock or baiting a hook.
Operations so much better than wielding a
snow shovel in bitter January.

Enjoy your summer and vacation time,
May you find new thrills and feel just fine.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Thoughts on passing the 60 mile marker

     I am mobile in terms of walking around and doing my job – a labor job, cleaning a large office complex. But walking on the sidewalk, a younger man just flies by me without breaking a sweat. If I try and speed up, I get out of breath, and limp due to a hurting hip – and he keeps right on getting further ahead of me. I have to face it, I'm slowing down relative to a young, strapping man in his prime. But I still encounter slower people who are older than me, or infirm, and I can easily pass them by.

My sex life is not nearly as active these days – but then again, neither is my libido. Although still well capable of an orgasm, they are not nearly as frequent as when I was in my twenties or teens – obviously.

My appetite is not quite what it was. And it seems a bit easier to get drunk. Also, to be hung over. My urination is slow, unless I have drank a lot of water (or beer). My typing has slowed some, and I often struggle with transpositions. My bifocals can cause problems reading, finding the correct distance. I can still get things done, even though I'm not as motivated.

An advantage of being older is that it gives you a longer view of things. Having experienced a lot, my first instinct is to pause and take a hard look at whatever it is confronting me. I've seen so many fake advertisements, and heard so many lying politicians, that nothing really impresses me these days.
Except performance. People doing what they say they will do. Things working out as promised. Workers who show excellent competence, whether they are street sweepers, auto mechanics, waitpersons, or whatever else. Competence and following through rule the day for me. Promises and adverts are the same as believing in the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny.

I've become more cynical, sure. But still determined to see good when and where it happens. A happy life moment, at work or socializing. A laugh, a compliment, a hug or a kiss. A good meal. I try harder to see and acknowledge the good things when they happen. Life isn't all bad, even if the news makes it seem so. We enjoy many comforts that were not around when I was born.

Let's see, 1957... Leaded gas, foul air, everyone smoking cigarettes. Air Conditioning was a big luxury. No microwave, black and white TV, if you were lucky enough to have one. Big dial phone on the desk or wall, no cellphones. Computers were huge hulks in offices, and didn't do that much. A student who had a manual typewriter was ahead of the game. There were more tubes in radios than transistors. It was he beginning of spaceflight – Sputnik was launched. The Moon landings and the shuttle were many years in the future yet. Eisenhower was president, and people were scared enough of war with Russia to begin building home fallout shelters. It was a grim time to say the least, especially compared to life in 2017.

I remember being sick a lot. We also had some good family discussions around the dinner table. Later, we got a better TV, and I can remember some good new shows on TV, like Green Hornet and Time tunnel. The Flint and James Bond movies were keeping us thrilled. We went as a family to see the Sound of Music. These events were in the 1960's, of course. A lot of events are munged together in my memory. Memory is timeless – everything is mixed in together, and memories change over time. But I am sure glad in one respect – it beats the alternative. Hope that I can stay out of the obits for a long time to come. Thanks for reading.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Ditty 'bout summer

Summer and baseball are in “full swing.”
Graduation parties, picnics, concerts,
Parties galore all over town.
Lilies, peonies and petunias blooming away,
summer colors and crowds cheerful and gay.
Wildflowers add their pink surprise,
to contrast the itchy green I surmise.

Grass grows fast with annoying regularity,
must match it and mow faithfully weekly.
Jeans ditched for shorts in the suffering heat,
Shoes swapped for sandals, don't miss a beat.

Time to air up the bike tires, and glide down leafy trails.
Race a train back to home base past howling softball crowds.
Put the bike away, then do a few push-ups for good measure,
then hit the shower, pleased with the first work-out of summer.

We paid for this with the horrors of January,
the biting wind, brutal ice, and blinding snow.
Cold that seeped in through every crack,
permeating drafty homes and aging bones alike.

Now –
Sunlit beauty melts away chill remnants
in one's soul and replaces with hopeful color.
Even sweat and swoon cannot defray the
benefits of such an explosion of bounty.

Here is to non-stop enjoyment of summer bliss:
Sniff peonies, dip in a river, give the lover a kiss.
No manufactured governmental crisis, nor
employer-mandated miseries can ever
steal away our enjoyment of natures gifts.

Not even allergies and constant sneezes
deter me from savoring balmy summer breezes.
May one and all alike enjoy the fruits of the season,
Step outside and feel the joy, experience over reason.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

See these bargains on Kindle and Amazon Today

Future Property – Michael Wilson

Experimental Tales – Dycen Alexander

The Osmotics – Dycen Alexander

New Venture – Dycen Alexander

Epic Prime Collection – Dycen Alexander

Crime Spree – poetry - Mike Wilson

A Strange Enterprise collection of speculations

Shadow Intersection - poetry

29 Stories – Kindle Edition – collection of short fiction:

    ------------------->    Thanks for taking a look!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day thoughts 2017

  Putting a flag out on relative's graves, memories come back. Of a time when I was younger, and there was an entire older generation present, with all of their dramas and concerns. I was unaware of their issues for the most part, as I had mine going on. (Little did I realize the power that my mere youth itself had, in many myriad forms.) Now as I get older, I wonder if I could have done more to show appreciation, or thank them for what they did. But understanding is there that it was only natural for them to want to do things for their children, to give them the very best chances in life.

     Since I don't have children of my own, I can only speculate and observe others. My nieces and nephews are full-grown, some raising children of their own. Time's fast flight makes one shake their head in wonder. Some of us must sit on the sidelines and watch the whole circus go by. What is a parade without spectators? But any sadness soon disappears – I had ample opportunity to interact with my family's offspring, some squandered, some enjoyed. Their success brings me joy and pride.

     Memories of the older generation who showed me kindness, help, and even stern reproaches at times roll by. Their jokes and quips live on in repetition from my lips. The line of family memories follows every time I pass something on. Uncle Jack's corny jokes. Nanny's made-up words. Uncle Curly's memories of his family in Nebraska having a goose for Christmas dinner. On and on. All of them tolerating my phases of living in their own ways. Now they are gone. The youngsters of today go through their dramas and joys, not yet aware of how fleeting time is.

     This is to thank and honor all of my late relatives who added so much to our lives. Not to mention my parents, who of course gave me life, raised me up, took care of me, and saw me out into the world.

     Seems a good idea to cherish your loved ones before they become memories. Gives a continuity and meaning to our harried and hurried lives. Best wishes all.

- end

AI Format - Smarter people will have to implement this.

Components might include an Overmind – or a higher function center. This would evaluate alerts from the sensory areas, as well as contain the basic drives to motivate “It”.

Sensory centers:

Sight – detection of obstacles and forms, with a huge library of objects. Each object could return one of several conditions. Library could be added to upon seeing new objects, and detecting conditions.

Sound – mics that would evaluate and screen sounds. Library built up, meanings assigned, reactions adjusted accordingly.

Tactile – touch-sense, with a library of alerts if sharp pressure, heat or cold.

Taste/smell. To the extent possible, chemical detection and a library of alerts to return to higher functions.

Higher function core:

Receives alerts, and makes decisions on actions. IE, if hot/cold/pressure limits are exceeded, move away from source. Else, move a bit closer, and re-evaluate.

Builds a library of experiences. If one of these affects conditions, they might be changed. IE value of excessive heat might be upped or decreased, and re-written into tactile memory.

Operation is directed by basic drives. Hunger overrides, then curiosity, then loneliness, then pack-rat. Or a varying combination of the last three (hunger always wins in the end). Modeled loosely after human drives – what better template to use?


Hunger – every so often, needs to re-fuel at a charging station. If a low voltage (below a threshold) is returned from battery, then an alert is returned to the higher core, and It rolls to the charging station. First might test (locate charger) to see if there is a charging station in the vicinity.

Loneliness – tests to see if humans are around. If so, launches query’s and conversational routines. Builds a library of conversational experiences. A random module allows it to sift through words, and build some new databases, then use those.

Experiential craves – wants, needs to add to experiential libraries, so it feels the need to travel, to roll out into the world. Wants to add to it's knowledge in many forms.

Perhaps a pack rat impulse, to pick up and save small objects. To handle them, and add to experiential libraries.

A Life timer. For a period of a month, or a year, the AI will recharge itself, chat with humans, query, and build its experiential libraries. Then it will end, terminate, and download some kind of result, or a dump of its final experiential libraries. Including results of sifting thru and recombining words, testing them, and adding to an experiential database.

The memory required for this thing to “work” will be huge, so short lifetimes could at first be implemented. Later, longer and longer lifetimes could be used.

Talk to others of its kind: message back and forth with other AI's. Form a collective of AI's that each add to and test each other's knowledge libraries and experiential databases.

Then sit back and watch the world change.

(With thanks to Andrew)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Metaphysical Matters of Financial Import

    Whenever I used to start some savings program, I would get an initial boost of confidence by thinking of it a certain way. If I put, say, $25.00 a month away, and forget about it, surely I will create a big pile of money, especially since the interest would compound. At that precise moment, a picture would flash in my mind, of an indistinct but large pile of wealth, growing almost by itself.

     However, the moment I would begin calculating exactly how much I could save in a year, some of the magic would dissipate. Let's see, 25.00 x 12 = 300.00. I would save 300.00 a year, plus a couple percent interest, makes it around 306.00 after the first year. Not bad – impressive. But $306.00 lacks the magic, the mystique, of a “pile of growing money,” that indistinct but magical impression in my mind of my money growing. More magic would dissipate when I would think, 'well, gee, I owe around 900 bucks on my Mastercard, so maybe I should just try to pay that down instead.'
     On the surface, this might seem a wiser choice. The interest rate charged on money owed is always higher than a regular savings account, usually several times larger. But I have to make a payment on that card or cards anyway. Looking back on it now, I think the better choice would have been to try and save a little back, regardless of interest rates. It would have been an act of faith, an act that would have created a “buffer” account for use in emergencies, created a better credit rating (with potentially lower rates charged on loans, etc) and given me a bit of real wealth I could call my own. This is part of the metaphysical nature of money.

     Money is not all about dollars and sense. It is partially a mental construct, and how you manipulate that construct can control how much of the real currency you can end up with in the long run, and how you feel about it all. Stated another way, how we look at money and all it implies can affect our long-term prospects of holding onto more wealth in all its forms, and how effectively we use that wealth once we do get our hands on some of it.

     When walking through my usual budgeting process, I find myself wanting to tighten the screws on spending, to try and save some more. Ironically, when I do this, it tends to lead a part of me to want to binge spend at some point. Almost as if I am creating increased pressure by compressing some gas or liquid, until it finally explodes. Conversely, If I budget in some pleasures along the way, some kind of entertainment weekly, it may cost me a bit more. But now being more content, I am much less likely to binge spend and wreck my finances. One has to feed the inner need for enjoyment, that intangible but very important human need for something more than the constant “nose to the grindstone.”
     Another case to discuss is stocks. It is certainly a good idea to study the statistical information available on a company before you buy the stock. But once you have made your purchase, you can just watch the price jiggle up and down every day on the stock exchange. Or you can comfort yourself knowing that you own a piece of a company. That, in effect, all of those workers are working for you, in part. You are an owner now, and every annual meeting that comes up, you have a vote in matters before the board. That is power in a real sense, even if it is highly diluted. The positive mental aspect is that you are a partial company owner, and you don't have to do any of the work!
When one buys a house, they enter into what could be the biggest financial transaction of their lives. They agree to make up to 30 years of payments, taxes, insurance. They commit themselves to investing in a piece of land and a home to live in. Aside from the financial facts and figures (interest rate paid, equity built up over time, escrow fund depletion, etc), there is that emotional component. They will become part of the fabric of a neighborhood. They, and perhaps their kids, will become part of a social community of sorts, making memories and living out life's dramas over their formative years. A house is not just dollars and cents, it is life experiences and emotional swings. The metaphysical component is strong. Some people move every few years, while others stay in one house all their life and build neighborhood memories.

     There is always a positive way of looking at financial transactions. As long as you can keep your bills under control, and leave your investments alone, you can enjoy the sensation of being a diversified owner of various financial instruments without obsessing on dollar amounts. While you should check on things occasionally, keep in mind that positive metaphysical aspect of all things financial.

     How money is perceived at the time we get our hands on some can make a difference in how we spend it. When you have an efficiency apartment, no car, and few prospects, a few thousand dropping into your hands is looked at far differently from if you already have a car and a house. It is never easy making these decisions. But in my humble opinion, the metaphysical aspects of finances cannot be ruled out. Indeed, when talking about human beings with all their fallibility, the emotional and mystical components of money must be factored in for a complete picture. This should help a person get a better, more complete grasp on managing their finances. Good luck out there!

                                                   - end

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Short Story - Eric's Peace

Originally posted in Aphelion-webzine's May Flashfic Challenge, and now here.  What would you do if you could control everyone's mind on Earth?
      Eric told himself it was all luck. He daydreamed a lot at work, sometimes good ones, sometimes vengeful. Then he would notice something on the news. A manager at some company known to defraud others set a fire and burned down headquarters. A group of disparate people gathered together and donated a large sum of money to a homeless shelter. Or an annoying co-worker suddenly quit, and left town.
He thought it was egotistic to think that he had anything to do with these events – it was just fate being kind. But things seemed to be taking a strange turn. Like that program he had recently seen on TV, called The Secret. “Ask the universe what you want, and the universe will deliver it.” And indeed, Eric's track record of getting wishes granted was getting good.
So it was that one day, he decided to focus his thoughts on something good and useful for humanity, as he saw it. He concentrated on world peace. He envisioned results from all nations putting down their arms, laying off most of their military people, except those needed for emergency rescue operations. The benefits of this seemed obvious to Eric: more resources available for humanitarian purposes all over the world.
And gradually it came to pass. Wars in the Middle East and Africa petered out. New treaties were signed. Spokespersons said, “War has gotten old and tired. There must be a better way for humanity to settle differences.” Suddenly populations that had lived in fear could settle down and get on with the business of living. Even reports of atrocities among tribes-people in Central Africa dwindled to nothing. Humanity sighed with relief.
Eric was so overwhelmed with the results that he hardly dared think anything else for fear it would take hold. But he soon realized, ephemeral 'housekeeping' thoughts and impulses had little or no effect. It took frequent, concerted thinking on a subject to bring about effects. Still, some things needed doing, and he did them. His boss decided to give him a large raise, the restaurant he frequented decided to give him free meals more often than not, and many, many strangers suddenly bought the books he sold online. When Eric found a stylish penthouse condo he liked, it took some concentration. But the management soon held a special promotion of some kind, and Eric won the condo for $1.00.
The county tax assessor decided on a whim to value his property very low, so his taxes were minimal. The grocery store he frequented awarded him a first prize of free groceries for a year. Some people remarked on his amazing luck. But if anyone got too close, he would concentrate, and their thinking soon changed. Eric had no trouble convincing desired sex partners to party with him. However, one time he had multiple partners, and things got out of hand. He couldn't concentrate on willing them to perform, and enjoy whatever he was participating in, at the same time. So some lost interest, and hastily left his condo. He learned to modulate his control and his desires to keep things within safe limits and under control.
The world slowly changed. The pace of living slowed. Peace and calm were good, but day-to-day life became nothing but more and more of the same dull routine. Eric started getting bored, and more than a little annoyed.
So it was that one day, Eric began to meditate on total freedom. He had seemingly turned humanity into compliant sheep, moping along, doing nothing but his bidding. Now, he decided to set them free.
He began meditating on the concept of total freedom. “Do what you want! Take what you want! Get wild! Get crazy! Get naked! Live a little!”
At first, nothing happened. Folks at the grocery store talked in the usual dull monotone. People at work spoke in hushed, peaceful tones . Eric persisted. Maybe it is like turning an ocean liner – I need to keep at it.
So he focused on people having an orgy in the street, or robbing a liqueur store, or staging a walk-out, before he went to bed.
Eric awoke with a start, hearing an incessant wailing. He rose, looked at the clock: 3:07AM. What the hell?
He looked out his wall-sized window, and saw flickering lights. Looking down, he saw mayhem. Crowds in the streets, fighting and throwing things. A few firetrucks and police cars, surrounded by mobs. Smoke rising, fires burning. Uh-oh....
He composed himself, and sat down. He began to think of peace, calm, settle-down thoughts.
The knock on his door brought him up short. He rose and slowly walked to his entrance. He peeked out the tiny spyhole, a seeming anachronism a short time ago. And saw several rough, angry people. They pounded on his door.
“Yeah, you. Come on out, you rich pig, we want to talk to you!” One of them spit on the spyhole.
Eric yelled “go away! I'm calling the police!”
“They're a little busy right now,” yelled one of them. “C'mon, give me that crowbar. We need to get in there and show this guy who is in charge.”
As the door splintered, and the lock gave way, Eric tried a last maneuver: Thinking calm, peace...
You want to put down that crowbar, you want to walk away, and leave the nice man alone...
Then, Eric 'heard' an overriding voice in his head. “Attack that rich bastard, and kill him! Destroy everything. Anarchy rules.”
The bearded, mustachioed man came up to Eric, but didn't hit him right away. He laughed out loud.

     “What? You think you are the only human being with a talent? I'm only surprised at how easy it was to turn everything around. Almost like I had help or something...” Then the man shrugged, and swung his crowbar.

                                                                        The End

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Poem-ing on a Saturday Night

Here I sit on a Saturday night,
to do nothing instills me with fright.
Shouldn't I be out sitting at a bar,
or scooping the Loop in my car?

Doing laundry and sifting memories,
I hear voices of people recently visited.
Nice to have had these earlier soirees,
Consoling to know I wasn't always alone.

Work and preparation and phone conversations
left me feeling rushed, harried, overwhelmed...
Travel and dining out and pleasant inclinations,
partaking in comfortable close companionship.

After it ended I wonder where it all went,
how could the fun times enjoyed go so fast?
Yet at times a person has to stop,
catch a breath,
take stock and take measure.
 Life isn't all pleasure.

So I resolve to count my blessings and tally the
score of fun encounters, incrementing by one.
Another Saturday passed and it was lots of fun.
The swift stream work week will take me soon enough,
memory's growing fields savored at break time once again.

- end

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Amazing Amazon Link

Annnnd, here is the Amazon link for my new collection of short stories:


Thanks for taking a look.

Modern Mess

Twitter spews characters a-plenty,
Facebook spreads our humorous feces;
Clickbait advert crap clutters the web,
“Newspapers” pump videos full of ads.

What happened to the old days,
when information appeared as
monochrome text that actually
meant something besides “buy!”

Seems they are gone forever,
thoughtful discourse discarded
in favor of instant-moment blips
of entertainment flash and fluff.

Everything changes,
nothing stays the same,
If I worry about it,
will drive myself insane.

Just shrug and say “Oh well,”
life in these modern times.
Check twitter feeds again,
for latest presidential gibes.

Have a great weekend everyone,
Hope y'all can have some fun.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Another year, another book...

Feels soooooo good to get another collection finished.    Hope you like it.


Monday, May 15, 2017

How soon to Impeachment

Blustering through press releases and twitter blasts.   Firing an FBI director on some imagined affront or other.  And now, today we hear he is giving away sensitive intelligence to the Russians.   Can you say   "loose insane cannon in the White House" ?   Someone needs to take the reins, even if it is Mike Pence.   The Trumpster is gonna run us so far into the ground we'll never dig our way out.   Still thinking I should wake up from this mess and find that the election went the other way - but that is too much to hope for.

Even the Republicans need to get a leash put on him - they stand to lose a lot more than us peons, who don't have a lot to begin with.  Very dangerous times.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Changed Right Before My Eyes

Back in the late 70s when I was young,
Momentous events were occurring in Des Moines.
A new Civic Center planned, Botanical center too.
Then gleaming skywalks to link it all together.
A new Marriott hotel to host the expected tourists.

Nollen plaza, Civic Center, modern art, water features.
Bob Hauser, Rich Wilkey, Mayor Olsen, John Ruan -
The big movers and shakers moved and shook.
Riverfront area got cleaned and landscaped,
They even paved a recreational trail to Saylorville.

Such excitement for a twenty-something to
witness firsthand, as he delivered documents
as a messenger, all over this bustling downtown.
Welders and cranes made the city glow and hum.

The young man got wanderlust, and moved on to
other metropolises, promising more excitement.
But he returned and fell into a new routine.
One day he woke up and was approaching 60!

The old names had long since retired or died,
only one former congressman surviving into his 90s.
A new crop of leaders had taken the helm,
and made a lot more happen: A new Sculpture Garden,
Riverwalk and Pedestrian Bridge, ballpark renovation.

Miles and miles of new bicycle trails, all over
Central Iowa, including a high trestle over the river.
Enhanced bus service, and a new bus terminal.
A copper-and-glass sheathed library,
riverfront parks and pedestrian walkways.

The city continues to evolve and grow,
the new condos downtown fill up,
more are planned, even as historical
landmark structures are lost to demolition.
Older gent now feels sad to see the legacies go,
and amazement at the fresh structures coming in.

Ingersoll avenue transformed from a dilapidated
area to a sleek modern shopping avenue.
Downtown gaining two new skyscrapers,
as well as more condos and skywalks.
Whatever else could be said about Des Moines,
no one can ever say it had stagnated or stood still.
The old guy is pleased to have witnessed it all.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Space Colony advocate SSI turns 40

    It has been around 40 years since some big ideas were first floated about the feasibility of large, orbiting space colonies. The L5 society, and the Space Studies Institute both came up with ideas and plans for large, orbiting colonies of many thousands of people. L5 would place theirs in the no 5 Lagrangian point in space where the Earths and moon's gravities cancel each other out – a stable point to place a large colony. The SSI had similar plans, and even came up with a prototype mass driver. Those could be scaled up, and used to 'ship' large quantities of ore from the Moon's surface, to be smelted in orbit, and used for colony construction. Studies were performed that validated the technologies involved. (http://ssi.org/about/history/) The plans seemed grandiose, and expensive. But thanks to several years of effort by Dr. Gerard K. O'Neill and others at Princeton University, the idea of a High Frontier space colony certainly seemed possible. The idea being, “We landed on the Moon 8 years after setting out, so just think what we could do in a few decades.”

     So here we are in 2017, 40 years after the founding of the Space Studies Institute. We do have a large orbiting (research) space station, with an international crew. We are performing life sciences experiments, partly on how humans can endure long-duration stays in weightlessness. It seems like we are steadily working through some basic problems of life in orbit around the Earth. But to get from here to a huge colony that spins itself to obtain artificial gravity, and houses millions of people comfortably, still seems like a huge undertaking. Many intermediate steps are obviously called for.

     First, we need to build larger habitats. These could contain from dozens to hundreds of visitors, scientists, or tourists. The first experimental spin-gravity systems should be tried out. Some habitats could be single-purpose based, such as astronomy modules, or asteroid mining facilities. Once more of the bugs are worked out with closed-cycle environmental systems, ever larger facilities could be constructed. Recreational habitats could pay their own way with exotic entertainments. The dot-com billionaires currently investing in launchers could certainly lead the way here.

     Nowadays, in a larger office building, maintenance personnel have a full-time job managing the HVAC systems necessary to keep office workers comfortable, including lighting, air flow, and odor issues. These include dehumidifying systems need to drain off water, and humidifying systems need to use it – all to make the surrounding air comfortable, or tolerable, to work in. Space habitats will present greater challenges in some respects. To be fair, Earth weather does lend itself to wide swings in temperature and humidity.
      In Space, you deal with heating and cooling depending on Sun exposure, interstellar radiation exposure, and gravity or the lack thereof. In some cases it seems the variations are simpler, yet in others, especially radiation, the problems become immense. But these will have to be closed-cycle systems, since one cannot vent dirty air, or take in clean air, from the surroundings. Current experiments being carried out on the International Space Station are furthering our knowledge in this area.
       In any private space habitat, the founders will need deep pockets and loads of patience. But if everyone can remain committed, the problems can be worked out. And the resulting payoff to the human race promises to be immense. Limitless materials available in the form of asteroids and water ice. Living room for the ever-increasing amounts of humanity that just keep coming. New technologies and new vistas to discover. And of course, the distant possibility of meeting up with another civilization somewhere out in space, and all of the intrigue that will mean. The rewards are definitely out there.

The ISS and private space efforts are laudable. But to really make Space pay off, we need to keep thinking bigger, and pushing further out. The future will be amazing, and we can decide who will lead the way there. Thanks for reading.

Further reading: