Working Title: Harvestman

The current moon phase is waning crescent. The New Moon will arrive on the morning of September 29. And the next full moon - the Hunter's Moon - will arrive on the evening of October 14.  Please mark your calendar.

With that said, some sketches ...

 

Random Literary Selection

The working title for this latest blog is "Harvestman." Why "Harvestman"? Because earlier this morning, with eyes closed, I opened up the dictionary to a random page, pointed to a random section of that page, and when I opened my eyes I saw that my finger was over the word "Harvestman." Totally random, haphazard, without forethought or premeditation. And without my first cup of coffee, I might add.

It marks the commencement of a completely new way of writing - which I call "random literary selection" - and which I hope will utterly and thoroughly revolutionize the way words are put together to form sentences in the future.

For instance, using the random literary selection method, I recently scribed the following note to my doctor:

Dear Dr. _______,

Radiant consistency weep pecuniary electropositive

wrecker hold dressing push hillbilly cable. Singular point

thumbtack enthusiastic relapse part derivation bespoke

filmy helpmate sicklebill bean tree party line.

Sincerely,

JTS

 

My doctor immediately scheduled me for a colonoscopy. That'll teach me, huh!

 

Painting the Living Room

It was time to have the living room painted, so I opened up the telephone book and selected a painter - a Mr. Pollock. When he arrived I described exactly what I wanted done and he set off to work as I headed out to run some errands.

When I returned home I found Pollock packing up his things, apparently finished with the painting job. "Go have a look," he said. So I went inside. All four walls of the room were covered in splattered paint. Not a brushstroke to be found - all splatter! There was an energetic motion to his work, mathematically chaotic in nature, brilliant in its random design, but it was not what I had wanted done. I immediately tore up his check, sent him on his way, and consulted the telephone book for a second painter.

Next arrived a painter by the name of Rothko. I showed him what the previous painter had done to my living room walls. Again, I described what I wanted and then left Mr. Rothko alone as I headed out to the library to do some reading, secure in the notion that this new painter understood the scope of the job.

Sometime in the mid-afternoon I returned to find that Rothko had already finished and had left. Entering the house, I stared in utter amazement at the walls that stared back at me. Each wall was covered in large squares of dark color, with lighter bars of color above and below. His images were overwhelming -- with overlapping, contrasting colors -- filling me with vague concepts of space and time. It was genius in its scope. Yet, this would not do for a 10' x 13' living room! So, for a third time I consulted the phone book for a reputable painter.

The third painter was a gentleman named Hofmann. He said he was an abstract expressionist. I said I wasn't interested in knowing his political affiliations, as long as he painted my living room to my specifications. So after detailed instruction, I left my house once again, this time to do some shopping, and left Mr. Hofmann alone to attend to his work.

When I arrived home Hofmann had just finished up. I passed him on the front step as he carried a ladder out to his truck. "I think you'll like it," he said. So I rushed inside. There, upon all four walls, were small squares and rectangles of various color - mainly reds and yellows - against a background of bold brush strokes of dark green. Though his work represented such spatial treatment of shapes and colors, spectacular in its abstract form, I was hoping for something more along the lines of off-white walls and beige trimwork. So I tore up Hofmann's check and sent him on his way.

Discouraged, and fearing the results of a fourth painter, I decided to do the job myself. So I purchased the paint, spread out some drop clothes, and painted the room as I had originally wanted it painted. When I was done, I stepped back to examine my work. Not bad. No splattered paint! No large squares of dark color bordered by bars of lighter contrasting color! No small red and yellow squares against a dark green background! Abstract expressionists! Humph!

Nope, none of that stuff -- just water lilies, on every wall. What can I say; I'm partial to the impressionists.

 

Driving Bin Laden

Last month, Osama bin Laden's former driver, Salim Hamdan, received a 5-½ year prison sentence for his role in motoring the al-Qaida leader from terrorist meeting to terrorist meeting, with brief stops at fast food restaurants along the way. In fact, Hamdan, who was apparently clueless that bin Laden was even a terrorist, has already served more than five years awaiting trail, so in a few months he will be scot-free.

This light sentence has caused some concern with those Americans who still remember September 11, 2001. To refresh, on that date 19 Islamic terrorists, on instruction from the above mentioned Osama bin Laden, hijacked four planes, flying two of them into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and crashing another in a field in Pennsylvania after an apparent struggle with passengers for control of the aircraft. On that date, some 3,000 innocent people were killed.

So, the obvious question: Should the chauffeur to the world's most notorious terrorist be convicted as a terrorist - as guilty as those who hijacked the planes on 9/11, as guilty as those who attacked the USS Cole, as guilty as those who tried to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993, as guilty as any other person associated with al-Qaida?

Apparently not. The light sentence may have resulted from the precedent set after WWII in the treatment of Erich Kempka, Adolf Hitler's driver from 1934 to 1945.

Although he testified at the Nuremberg trials, Kempka was never tried as a war criminal. He was the only Nazi witness to testify that Hitler was dead and that his body was burned. His testimony turned out to be invaluable toward filling in the details of the final days and hours of the Third Reich hidden away in the Fuhrer's bunker.

Further in his testimony, he said that Hitler was a relentless backseat driver, always telling Kempka that he was driving too fast and that a yellow light means "slow down," not "speed up"! Kempka also stated that Hitler rarely pitched in for gas money, and when he did he always insisted on Regular Unleaded instead of the higher priced Premium.

Jack Sheedy

 

P.S. According to Webster, a harvestman is "an arachnid that superficially resembles a true spider but has a small rounded body and very long slender legs - called also daddy longlegs." Oh, and by the way, I think there's one crawling up your left arm!

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