A conversation that did not happen
"We never sleep." (Allan Pinkerton)
14 April 1865 14:00. Somewhere in The White House, Washington, D.C. Allan Pinkerton speaking to Abraham Lincoln:
"Mr. Lincoln, Sir. I hear you are going to the theater tonight. I will accompany you. You must do as I am telling you, Mr. Lincoln. I will be back here this evening to accompany yourself and Mrs. Lincoln to the theater. You must not leave The White House without me today. Do you understand, Mr. Lincoln?" "I do not really follow what you are asking me, Mr. Pinkerton, but I believe
you know more about security than I do. You safely brought me here through Baltimore, for which I am most grateful to you, Sir. I will
defer to your judgment, Mr. Pinkerton. Mrs. Lincoln and I will wait here for you tonight." "Thank you, Mr. Lincoln. I will see you this evening. Be well, Sir!" "Good day, Mr. Pinkerton". [Allan Pinkerton leaves The White House. Abraham Lincoln stays; conducting the business of the Nation.]
How George W. Bush came to be taken off to the lunatic asylum
One day (FLOTUS №43) Laura Bush found her husband intently scooping the cat litter box.
Since Secret Service agents and staff always did menial chores at The White House,
The First Lady was puzzled. "Why are you cleaning the litter box, George?",
she asked. The President replied: "I'm looking for
Osama bin Laden
Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction."
[Where are Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction?] Later that day, at the hospital:
Doctor: "Mr. President...." President Bush: "Yessir." "Mr. President, your wife tells me you
were looking for Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction in the cat litter box."
"I was, Sir." "But your wife tells me that previously you had told her you were
looking for Osama bin Laden." "Osama, who? What are you talking about,
Doctor? I never heard of Osama anybody — You must be confusing me with
somebody else. Who's this Osama guy? Doctor! Can I look in your desk
to see if there are any Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?"....
After U.S. soldiers captured Saddam Hussein, President Bush recovered. Pope John Paul II
canonized him for privatizing Heaven.
How Educational Testing Service (ETS) Princeton New Jersey (501)(c)(3) saved the Persian Empire.
Philip of Macedon: "Sorry, son, but you can't study with Aristotle. Your SAT's
were too low." Alexander: "Gee, Dad... How am I going to be able to conquer
the world without an Aristotelean education?" Philip: "I'm sorry, son.
I offered to send you to Kaplan SAT Prep course, but you weren't
interested. It's too late now."
Why wedding dresses are white
In a partiarchal society, inheritance is by blood line of male heirs. It is therefore imperative that the financial instruments of property transfer are validated. Back before digital computers, of course, this could not be done by blockchain verification, so they had to do something to confirm that the children a woman bore came from the sperm of the right guy. Young women's virginity had to be verifed. What better way than to enrobe the young certificate of authenticity in white where blood would show up most clearly, like in a fecal occult blood test? Showing the sheets on the morning after the wedding service was proof of purchase. (But what about menstruation which has been generally an unmentionable? You can't have everything, can you?)
Whatever happened to Chicken Little?
Chicken Little worked during World War II at Los Alamos (The Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb). When the scientists started discussing the possibility that exploding the atomic bomb might ignite the earth's atmosphere, Chicken Little had a nervous breakdown, and was placed on medical disability. (31May03: Scientists are trying to create little "Black Holes" in their particle accelerators. The scientists say there is no danger these little black holes will suck in the laboratory and the surrounding countryside. As evidence of this, the scientists say that, every day, cosmic rays raining down on us create such microscopic little black holes in the earth's atmosphere, all of which evaporate without doing any damage. See, e.g.: Michelle Thaller, "Artificial black holes: on the threshold of new physics", Christian Science Monitor online, 23May03: "There are probably a few tiny black holes forming and dying somewhere above you right now.")
After "The War", Chicken Little recovered and became CEO of big publicly traded corporation. Alas, she did not do
very well there, either, after, at the annual stockholders' meeting, announcing:
"The profits are falling!"
How Derek Chauvin died
In case anyone forgets, Derek Chauvin was the policeman whose knee on a minor criminal's neck (George Floyd, who had passed a counterfeit $20 bill in a bodega) caused worldwide outrage when the video of Chauvin snuffing out Floyd with that knee on the neck went public.
"Welcome to End of the World State Prison, Officer Chauvin! How are you doing, man? All us prisoners here are honored to meet such a famous gentleman, Officer Chauvin." "Well thank you, Sir." "Well, Officer Chauvin, you know us criminals don't like you giving us a bad name and how you mistreated one of our brothers, yes?" "Whh Whhh What to you mean?" "I mean — OK, men, lets give Officer Chauvin his special initiation ceremony into the fraternity of dead men here at End of the World...." All: "Yea, bro!" And Officer Chauvin finds his neck under some lifer's knee and that's the way Mr. Chauvin died, since that lifer had nothing to lose, but Officer Chauvin still did. "I can't breathe!" "We hear you, Officer Chauvin. It's lights out time here tonite at End of the World, man!" All, while lifer keeps pressing that knee down harder and harder on Officer Chauvin's now broken neck, so that Officer Chauvin will be paralyzed from the neck down for life, should the guards break up their little ceremony in time to resuscitate him: "We felons didn't like all that bad publicity you stirred up, nor how you mistreated one of our brothers, Officer Chauvin. Nite, nite, Officer Chauvin."
Officer Chauvin does not hear the end of the preceding sentence. Everybody except Derek Chauvin disperses back to the recreation room to shoot some hoops or whatever. None of the prison guards saw or heard anything. The prison also at the time suffered a coincidental electric power failure which resulted in all the surveillance cameras not recording anything of value about what consequently didn't happen. "Lieutenant Garfinkle, come here, please, and have a look. Now the cameras are back on it looks to me like one of the prisoners is sleeping on the floor in D Gallery. What do you think, Lieutenant? Should somebody go have a look? I think it's my break time, Lieutenant, OK?" "Sure, go on. I'll sit down and take a look at what you're seeing there.... Who's turn is it to go out to Rocky's for sandwiches tonite? It'll be liverwurst on white with raw onion and tomato and an extra pickle for me, thanks."
Moral of this story: Any sentence can be a death sentence if you do something really bad (Jeffrey Dahmer was one previous example).
How the person who never did a single bad thing or had anything bad happen to them in their whole life died
Let us call this virtuous person "Robin". Robin can be either a man or a woman or anything else. One day when Robin was about 55 years old, Robin entirely unexpectedly had a fairly minor heart attack. Robin was able to get to a telephone (or somebody else was) and called "911". The EMTs, who happened to be eating their lunch on break in the street right outside Robin's house, came very fast, stabilized Robin and got Robin quickly to the nearest hospital which was only a few blocks away, where a cardiologist happened to be on duty, so the doctor immediately put aside his (her, other's) lunch and rushed to Robin's aid. Robin was conscious all through this, but weakened by what was happening, as he (she, other) lay on a gurney under a warm blanket a nurse had provided in the Emergency Room. Suddenly Robin remembered that his (her, other's) underpants had: "Skid marks" (you know, my reader, a brownish line where Robin had not completely wiped off all the residual fecal matter after last having defecated; example at right).
Robin was mortified at the thought that a couple orderlies were going to undress him (her, other) and see the s-k-i-d--m-a-r-k-s. Being mort-ified (Note: the word "mort" means: death) about this unconscionably embarrassing situation, Robin instantly gave up the ghost, on the spot, and the cardiologist arrived from his office, which was right there in the ER, too late to save Robin from his (her, other's) politeness.
How a Nabisco cookie led to the founding of modern mathematical physics
One day in 1665, somewhere in the English countryside, a young man — actually, a young gentleman mathematician — suffering from amnesia but determined to avoid the plague by holing up on his family's estate to keep away from potentially infectious people —, was sitting under a tree. As so often, the young man was trying to remember who he was. Suddenly, from nowhere, he felt a gentle "bump" on his head. The young man tentatively felt around his pate, and then looked on the ground and noticed a small fruit-filled cookie, that had not previously been there, and which he immediately recognized was a: fig Newton. The young man immediately remembered that he was a Newton, too, and his amnesia was cured. Reflecting further that the cookie had fallen from above ["a starry messenger", he may have thought, recalling Galileo's book by that name?], the notion entered Mr. Newton's head that everything might be falling from the sky all the time. He quickly calculated "the force needed to hold the Moon in its orbit, as compared with the force pulling [a cookie] to the ground", and within a few minutes he had formulated the three foundational laws of mathematical physics by which we now remember his name. But remembering his recent amnseia, the young gentleman had the presence of mind to rush home and write his laws on the wall of the entrance hall of his parents' estate house, just in case he forgot things again. But Mr. Newton never suffered a recurrence of his amnesia, and, in any case, after his theories were published, their preservation was thus assured by the sale of the books, and his mother were able to repaint her entrance hall to get rid of the grafitti. (And, yes, they all lived happily ever after.)
How Sir Walter Raleigh came to lay his cloak down for the Queen
Sir Walter Raleigh had a foot fetish. Sir Walter was also a favorite of The Queen (Elizabeth I, aka "The Virgin Queen"). One day, Her Majesty contrived a scheme to ensnare the dashing nobleman. Because it had not rained for a long time, so that naturally occurring mud puddles were hard to come by, The Queen arranged for one of her servants to pour a bucket of mud a short distance in front of her, just as Sir Walter was coming near. As he came closer, she got up and started walking straight toward the puddle. Sir Walter, his chivalry reflex instantly activated by the unthinkable prospect of Her Majesty getting her shoe soiled, dashed to the spot, and, diving head-first, threw down his cloak over the puddle just as Her Majesty was about to step in it. Seeing Her Majesty's shoe alight like a dove on the cloak just inches in front of his eyes sent Sir Walter into a swoon. The Queen's servants carried Sir Walter to a nearby chamber, where they laid him on the bed. Her Majesty hastened to see after Sir Walter's condition. When she entered the chamber, she sent the servants out, and shut the door — and the rest of this story may not be fit for a "PG"-rated website (except — to put your mind at ease about Sir Walter's loss of his cloak, my dear reader — I note that his servants cleaned the cloak, so that Sir Walter's chivalrous gesture didn't end up "costing" him anything — and, further, Sir Walter had insured his cloak, with Lloyd's of London, so that he was "covered" even if it was ruined.)
How the Public Utilities became public again
After the government sold all the Public Utilities to private investment groups at bargain basement prices, the new owners invested nothing in their new acquisitions, but milked them for all they could get out of them. Service became unreliable at best, and rates soared as the Utilities had to buy power on the spot market to make up for their own plants often being out of service.... Soon, consumers demanded relief. So the private investors sold the Utilities back to the government at book value, thus making another killing; the Utilities once again, back under stewardship of career Civil Service employees, returned to providing reliable service; and everybody lived happily ever after — Except that the consumers had to pay much higher taxes and utility rates than before, to service the public debt on the bonds the government had sold to private investors [usually the same ones who had bought the Utilities in the first place...] to buy the Utilities back.
How human wisdom was finally saved from Artificial Intelligence (AI)
[Warning: Long read.] One day, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) computer science Ph.D. researcher decided to follow the noble precedent of many medical
researchers and do the ultimate experiment in his field: he (or was it she?) would be his own guinea pig.
He would connect his own brain to his super-computer array. He got himself all
wired up and hit "Start" on his application. In real time, he saw his experiential field appear veridically/verbatim on his computer monitor before he
experienced it (all experience is retrospective, per, I believe, Alfred Schutz's "The Phenomenology of the Social
Like Moiré patterns in the visual field, his whole mind became one big interference pattern. But since this was
his whole experience not just a visual perception, he was completely self-cancelled out. He lost
consciousness, collapsed, and was taken off in an ambulance
to the mental hospital. There, given a little Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), and his mind fortunately not being irrevocably fried by either his
experiment or the therapy, he recovered. He read Edmund Husserl's "The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology",
and learned that the domain of scientific objects is something inside each infividual person's lived experience, not
the other way around, which latter was the objectivistic fantasy that had previously [mis-]guided his and his
fellow AI'ers aspirations and experiemtations.
He published an article in a peer reviewed journal (but how could anybody
review his work since surely nobody in their right mind would be willing to repeat his experriment?), which he concluded by adducing
Clifford Stoll's maxim:
Data is not information,
Information is not knowledge,
Knowledge is not understanding, and
Understanding is not wisdom.
He ceased Artificial Intelligence (AI) researching and took up fishing, and opened a small bookstore, with the sign out front: "Wise men fish here".
Other Artificial Intelligence (AI) researchers, whether or not they became wise like him, at least in future
kept their distance from the psycho-computational black hole, and scrupulously took care only to experiment on persons other
However: The Democratic Party won The White House and both chambers of Congress, and, despite rowdy, disruptive protestations
from the opposition Republican Party, regulations were reintroduced into the Federal Government. An Office of Technology Oversight
was instituted and they prohibited experiments which manipulated human beings' minds. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
researchers were left with only the objective world to manipulate. They showed honor, and programmed robots that
eliminated necessary labor from society. Humankind was at last freed from G-d's Curse on Adam and Eve!
The AI researchers were duly rewarded with a collective Nobel Peace Prize.
Excursus: My (BMcC) real life virtual reality experiment
Some years ago, I conducted a virtual reality experiment that
could have killed me. This is a true story. It did not require
My virtual reality experiment: I was driving up a 6 lane superhighway early one August afternoon in clear bright sunlight at about 65 miles per hour in my clunky Toyota Corolla DX, with no other cars on the road. I decided to look intently at the little image in the car's rear view mirror -- no high tech apparatus. I really really really really intently focused all my attention on that little image! It was entirely convincing. That "little" image became my whole experienced reality: I was driving where I had been, not where the automobile was going. Fortunately I "snapped out of it" in time to avoid becoming a one car crash in the ditch on the right side of the road. (It was a very good place to have conducted this experiment, because there was a police barracks, a teaching hospital, and both Christian and Jewish cemeteries nearby, just in case.)
You may try to repeat my virtual reality experiment at your own risk; I strongly advise you against doing so. I assure you: It worked. (Of course it will not work if you don't "give in to it", just like a video game won't work if you just look at the pixels as what some computer programmer coded up with branching instructions depending on what inputs you enter.) Moral of this story: VIRTUAL REALITY CAN KILL YOU. Forewarned is forearmed.
End of story. That's how I learned about virtual reality.
Aside: I have read that if a person wears inverting
glasses, i.e., if you see everything upside down, if you
do this for some time, while you are still wearing the
inverting glasses, your visual field will flip to
look upright again.
I'm still "here", despite my experiment.
How did Louis Kahn not die?
Exclusive to The New York Times.
Monday. 18 March 1974. At Pennsylvania Station, Sunday night, a
man who would identify himself only as Uncle John, approached a
New York City Police officer and excitedly told him there was a
man in the Men's Room who he thought was having a heart attack.
The officer rushed
to the Men's Room to find a man slumped on the floor in one of
the toilet stalls. The officer called Dispatch for a doctor.
On the PA, the station dispatcher asked for any doctor to
go to the Men's Room for a medical emergency. Dr. [name withheld
at his request] who was headed for the uptown IRT, ran to
the scene, found the man and administered heparin. In the
interim, the Officer had called for an ambulance which soon
arrived and transported the patient to Bellevue Hospital, where
he received further treatment and is now
reported to be in serious but stable condition.
The doctor, who happened also to be an amateur architecture buff,
telephoned The New York Times and explained that he had immediately
recognized the patient's scarred face as the architect Louis I.
How God came to add The Eleventh Commandment.
When Moses, middle-aging and "out of shape", reached the top of Mt. Sinai with the two stone tablets on which God had promised to write The Ten Commandments, he was out of breath, and perspiring profusely from the exertion.
At the appointed hour, God appeared, and, as promised, wrote His laws on the tablets. But, just as He was almost finished engraving, God was stopped short by something. Finally, God figured out what the problem was: "Moses!" "Yes, God." "You have body odor. Your smell is offensive." "I'm sorry, God, but it was a long hike up the mountain in the hot sun, and the tablets were heavy — I'm not young anymore, God." "I don't understand, Moses. What does carrying the tablets up the mountain have to do with you offending everyone with your body odor?" "I perspired in the heat from all the exertion, God." "You mean you didn't use deodorant, Moses?" "No, God."
At this point, God became very angry. He took the tablets and, since there was no space left on the front, He carved His Eleventh Commandment, on the back: "Thou shalt use chemical underarm deodorant."
And that's why, to this day, some thoughtless people have to be reminded to use deodorant, because, since there was no space left on the front and God had to write it on the back, and most pictures and reproductions only show the front of the tablets, the people forget about The Eleventh Commandment.
N.b.: Dante, in the "Divine Comedy", somehow missed the 10th, lowest circle of Hell: The place reserved for people who refused to use underarm deodorant and consequently made even eternal life for the Elect in Heaven and for God Himself on His throne unbearable ("dead skunk in the middle of the road, stinking to high heaven"). Their punishment is to suffocate forever, with an evacuated plastic bag filled with their repulsive stench tightly tied over their head, which sounds impossible since in life on earth sealing a plastic bag over a person's head results in asphyxiation, but God can do anything.
The secret story of Lee Harvey Oswald
After Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed U.S. President John F. Kennedy, 22 November 1963, there was a live public TV thing about he himself being shot and killed by a small time underworld character Jack Ruby in the garage of a Dallas Texas police station. The man who was killed was a body double; it was all staged for the public. Mr. Oswald was secretly smuggled out of the United States in a cargo container on an Aeroflot flight back to the Soviet Union where he got a new identity in the secret police, the KGB: Vladimir Putin (see right).
For the past couple decades, since 1999, Russia has been ruled with an iron fist by the man who killed Kennedy. Starting off as a schoolyard bully, Mr. Oswald/Putin succeeded in his KGB career beyond his wildest childhood dreams, to become the first Czar of Putainia: "There is no such thing as a former KGB agent." Pass it on.
How men got their stupid genitals
You know, guys: If you aren't careful when you plop down on a hard wood chair, it's "Ouch!" How'd this happen?
On the Sixth Day, when God was making the land creatures, He had a staff shortage in Heaven's Design Department. His senior genitals engineer was off for the day after having exhausted himself staying up all night doing an award winning design for male whales, where he got everything inside the body. There was a deadline to meet. What was to be done?
All the angels were busy doing something or other important, like designing brains and hearts. So God went down the personnel roster, looking for available hands and finally concluded that the angel whose current assignment was least important and who was the least experienced was His least worst choice to take off their current assignment because it was the task that mattered least (whatever it was): The brother of the dude who one day would win immortal fame in Boeing aircraft for designing a part that was perfect except that it was an order of magintude too big. So bonzo got the job of designing male land mammals' genitals.
[Male lions were eventually going to figure out what was going on: When the Old Boy who had the cushy job of being sperm supplier for all the ladies in a pride beat off a potential usurper, he'd bite off the loser's balls and render no-longer-him of no further interest to lionesses, but that's another story.]
Bonso got to work and studied men's abdominal cavities and thought that there wasn't much free space left in there. He came to what for him seemed the obvious conclusion: Stick everything on the outside and be done with it. Mission accomplished! There was supposed to be a design review but there was not time left in Day Six for that, so the product shipped unreviewed, where somebody might even have asked bonzo if he had consulted with his counterpart on the women's side other than to get the functional interface specification.
 And men have been stuck with this ever since The Garden of Eden.
Of course, the "IBM" rule applied here, as usual: Idiots Become Managers ("IBM"). Bonzo got promoted and had to find something for himself to do to keep from sitting for all eternity at an empty desk waiting for the phone to never ring ☏. He came up with a brilliant idea: circumcision. He had cooked up for himself a permanent positon in the Sanitation Division (POK Bldg. 666), foreskin disposal.
As Elsa Morante wrote: "And history continues."
How The Roman Catholic Church beat The United States and The Soviet Union into outer space
Ascension Day. 34CE. "This is Mission Control, Vatican City. Father Figure, SJ, reporting. At 03:15 Jerusalem time (00:15 UTC), we received telemetry confirmation: He is risen! Current tracking places Him among the Principalities, and approaching the Powers. ETA at His Father's throne is now projected for 08:16 Vatican City Time (07:16 UTC). All systems are reported functioning normally at this time. To confirm: we had liftoff of Our Lord and Savior, on schedule, from The Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9-12) at approximately 03:10 Jerusalem time, 00:10 UTC. He is risen!"