Archive for March, 2015


The sun is the same in the relative way, but I’m older

Shorter of breath and one year closer to death.





The following is from MORE OF PAUL HARVEY’S THE REST OF THE STORYby Paul Aurandt (Paul Harvey, Jr.).

The Gianinnis

Her name is Doris Gianinni.  Gianinni is her maiden name.

She is proud of her Italian ancestry, especially proud of how it relates to our American history.

Doris’s family, five generations before, had been brought to this country at the behest of Thomas Jefferson.

Their home in the Old World was a little Italian town called Lucca.  The Gianinnis were growers of fruit trees and vines, tenders of vineyards, makers of wine.

About 1773, three years before our country was a country, the Gianinni family received a communication from America from a fellow countryman who had emigrated there some years before.

His name was Philip Mazzei.  Philip had only recently befriended revolutionary statesman Thomas Jefferson.  Their common interest was horticulture.

Mazzei and Jefferson discussed the feasibility of forming an agricultural company because Jefferson was fascinated by the prospect of growing exotic trees and vines in America.  Mazzei told Jefferson that they would need Italian laborers for the projects.

That’s when the Gianinnis entered the scene.  Philip Mazzei, at Jefferson’s request, prepared to take over land adjoining Jefferson’s Virginia estate.

“Come to America,” Mazzei wrote the Gianinnis.  “Let us accept this glorious challenge.”

The Gianinnis did come to America, worked with Mazzei and Jefferson.  The project lasted about four years, through the autumn of 1778.

Although the horticultural experiment suffered and eventually failed in the Virginia climate, Thomas Jefferson–through his association with Mazzei and the Gianinnis–gained a deep affinity for all things Mediterranean.

Historians recall that Jefferson favored friendship and trade between the United States and the Mediterranean countries, that he was particularly in awe of Italian agricultural skill and artistic heritage.

Jefferson’s respect is one reason Doris Gianinni is so proud of her family.  For after the Virginia experiment failed, Doris’s ancestors stayed in Virginia.

Now Doris represents a sixth generation of Gianinnis in America.  And her son is THE REST OF THE STORY.

He became a writer; because of something he wrote, we know his mother, Doris Gianinni.

We don’t know her by that name nor did we know previously about her Italian ancestry.

For nine years, however, she had been portrayed in the setting her son remembers, in the mountains of Virginia.  Her writer son is Earl Hamner.

Earl’s mother, whose Italian forefathers worked alongside Thomas Jefferson–Doris Gianinni we know as Olivia Walton.


I love this!  Can’t write much for this one, haven’t drank alcohol (before tonight) since last April, so I’m somewhat out of practice!  As aforementioned, the only times I’m at peace are when I’m drunk or when I’m asleep!  It’s been this way for over four years now.  So much has changed since 2010–not just in my personal life, but in the society time in which I live exist.  I would give everything–except my soul–including my bodily existence–just to be placed back in the 1980’s, the 1970’s, the 1960’s, or any time before my birth, within the last 100,000 years (or as long as fully evolved modern humans could keep me company)–provided I would retain the knowledge of the present and past (otherwise, I wouldn’t appreciate it).  I love that anti-Obama bumper sticker that says something like, “I’LL KEEP MY GUNS, MY MONEY, AND MY FREEDOM.  YOU CAN KEEP THE CHANGE!”  It’s not as simple as that, of course.  Most of the changes for the worse are not attributable to one person–Barack Obama, or anyone else.  But I say to fate, to God, to the heavens, to whatever–YOU CAN KEEP THE CHANGE!  As aforementioned, I don’t hate change, in itself.  I just hate change that is only for the worse.  And in the last four years, every change has been for the worse.  I can think of no change that has been for the better.  God help us–this really is the worst time, age, era, epoch, period in human history!  I know this.  And there are others like me–scattered all over the planet–who also know it.  Most people don’t know it because they’re so pacified by Digital-Age technology.  But eventually, everyone will know it.  Yet I realize I’ve gone over this before.  When telling people about my blog, I often mention that I actually use my blog to condemn this unrestrained technology–that I literally use Digital-Age technology to condemn Digital-Age technology!  Well, so be it.  I use the tool(s) at hand.


Yet I must say I am grateful to live in a nation that allows me to write so freely as this–at least for now.  If you continue to elect either a Republican or Democrat for President–your freedom and mine will be completely taken away.  The next Republican President will be far more dangerous and destructive than any before him (her)–the next Democratic President will be far more dangerous and destructive than any before him (her).  If you continue voting for one or the other, you will bring an end to the United States of America.  And no third-party President will help either–he or she will just complicate things further–because he or she will still be controlled by a political party.  In the election of 2012, there was no independent candidate on the ballot–there were third-party candidates–but there was no independent candidate at all.  So I made the mistake most others made–I voted for whom I thought was the lesser of two evils–I voted for Obama.  Next time, in 2016, if there is no independent candidate on the ballot I’m going to vote for myself–as a write-in.  I’m serious.  You can do that, you know.  You can even vote for “Mickey Mouse”–it’s perfectly legal (though I wouldn’t recommend that).  But I will recommend this:  If there is no independent candidate (not a third-party candidate, but an independent candidate) on the ballot in 2016–and you feel it necessary to vote for an independent candidate–and you feel you would make as good a president as anyone else on the ballot–then vote for yourself, as a write-in.  Seriously, there are millions of Americans who would make better presidents–much better presidents–than seasoned corrupted politicians.  I even recall a sticker I saw on the cabinets of several schoolteachers in the teachers’ lounges when I was substitute-teaching–“IT’S TOO BAD THOSE WHO COULD BEST RUN THE COUNTRY ARE BUSY TEACHING SCHOOL!”  And that’s really right on.  There are many teachers who would make very good presidents–but there also many police officers, construction workers, secretaries, and especially soldiers and sailors (notice I don’t mention doctors, lawyers, etc.) who would make good presidents.  My point is that the true public servants in our society–not the self-serving politicians–but the true public servants, or even unemployed humanities graduates like me–would make better presidents.

One of the reasons George Washington was the best President this country ever had was that he was not a career politician to begin with.  And one of the reasons Ross Perot probably would have been the second-best President this country ever had was that he was not a career politician to begin with.

But I’ve said enough–make up your own mind.

Now I’m going to do something mindless (or near-mindless), like watch television!


In late 1986, while on a glorious spending spree, I bought a brand new book entitled, 101 Science Fiction Stories.  The following story, by Ray Russell, is one of my favorites from the book.  It’s one of those stories I wish I had written!


Ray Russell

An invisible starship stood at rest near a canal.  If the eye could have seen it, the sight would have been one of immense beauty, for it was a thing of harmonious circles:  an outer rim, hollow and transparent, in which the crew of four lived and worked and looked out upon space and suns and exotic worlds; contained in this circle, another, the core of powerful engines whose surging, flaming energy propelled the ship across galactic distances.  And all of this unseen.

Inside, the captain spoke briefly to his specialist, first class.  “Your report is finished, then?  We can embark?”

“Yes sir.”

“That was fast work.”

“These rudimentary cultures are all very much alike.  The report is simple–planet’s inhabitants too primitive to comprehend our presence here; therefore suggest a return in a few millenia when the species may be more advanced and we can set up cultural and scientific exchange, trade, and so on.”

The first mate drew near them.  “Do you really think they’re too primitive?  They already have language, laws, religion. . . . ”

“But no technology,” said the specialist.

“They couldn’t possibly understand that we come from another planet; the very concept ‘planet’ is beyond them. . . . No, no, to try to establish contact now would be traumatic for them.  If we revealed ourselves–flicked off the invisibility shield–there would be . . . ramifications . . . repercussions . . .”

“Ripples?” said the captain.

“Ripples,” replied the specialist with a nod.  “An apt word.  Like a pebble dropped in a pond, spawning ever larger and larger and more grandiose images of its own smallness, so even an instantaneous glimpse of us and our ship could, with time and retellings, become magnified and elaborated and distorted–into something far beyond anything we could dream.”

“Then, let us head for home and a well-earned leave,” said the captain.

The first mate added, “And a well-shaped young lady I hope has been pining away in solitude!”

“Ah, youth–” began the captain, but broke off as his navigator approached with a worried air.  “Trouble?” the captain asked.

“Yes, sir, I’m afraid so,” said the navigator.


“A little.  The main engine is inoperable–just as I feared.”

The first mate said, “That rough landing damaged more than our pride.”

“What about the auxiliary?” asked the captain.

“It will get us home, just barely, but it won’t hold up under the strain of lift-off–”


“–unless we conserve all other energy.  That means switching off lights, chart banks, communications, sensors, air, invisibility shield, everything–but only for those few vital seconds of lift-off, of course.”

“Then, do it.”

“Yes sir.”

The specialist, alarmed, said, “Captain!  Not the invisibility shield!  We must not turn that off!”

“You heard the navigator.  It’s our only chance–and it will just be for a few seconds.”  He nodded to the navigator, saying, “Lift off.”  Then he looked out through the transparent hull at the world they would soon depart.  “Primitive, you say.  Well, you’re the expert.  But it’s too bad we can’t contact them now. It might have been interesting.  They’re so much like us, they’re almost human.

“Well, hardly that,” said the specialist as the starship moved.”  They’re monofaced, and their feet are different, and they completely lack wings.  But I know what you mean. . . .”

Outside, a bearded denizen of the primitive planet blinked, stared, pointed.

“Behold!” he cried to his companion.  “A whirlwind!  A great cloud!  A fire!  Men with wings and many faces!  A wheel . . . in the middle of a wheel!”

“Where?  What?”  said his companion, turning a second too late.  “I saw nothing, Ezekiel.”

But, roiled by that whirlwind, the waters of the Chebar canal were a dancing spiderwork of ripples.