Zesko Rolls

Saturday, August 25, 2012




No, I'm not marketing this, I just did it for my own pleasure.  If anyone wants to use it, well, I don't know how I could stop you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

REMEMBERING THE COWARD, HUNTER THOMPSON

I grew up reading Thompson throughout the 1960s and 70s, following his Rolling Stone antics with a great deal of youthful, malcontent pleasure.

But, you know, as I matured, I could very plainly see that Thompson hit his best and longest stride in the early days, that he had reached the summit of his mountain of bullshit WAY BACK in the old days.

His truly valuable writing, as far as I was concerned, ended with the rise of the Reagan administration.  Everything after the Carter administration, seriously, was downhill for Hunter Thompson.

So I made a deliberate choice to respect Thompson for his early, rebellious years and to ignore his later, pathetic attempts to recapture the counter-culture flavor of the 60s and 70s, right?

I mean, you KNOW why Hunter's work sucked so badly for the last half of his life...It's because the Gonzos (the fucking big-money drugheads, the actors, the drug-induced wanna-bee journalists, the certifiably shameless lawyers on the take, the ultimate bullshitters) got into the White House, they infiltrated Congress and the Judicial system, and for the last 30 years they have undeniably undermined America.

Today it's a Gonzo USA, you realize that, right?  In this environment, Hunter Thompson could never survive.

He USED Gonzo Journalism to COMBAT the tight-assed and oppressive Post-WWII censorship, right?  Well... Essentially, Thompson WON.  Look at the fucking Internet today... It's pure Gonzo.

Once he won, Hunter had no more giants to kill; and, no, that's not a victory for a giant-killer.  When the last giant is killed, the giant-killer goes on the strongest possible depression medication, because the love of his life is forever lost, right?

When I heard that he had capped himself up at the ranch, I was saddened at first.  But then I was angered, especially after reading his suicide note: "I want to go out while I'm on top."

Give me a break, Hunter, you pitiable coward.   You "went out" 40 YEARS ago.  After the 1970s, you were the walking dead, a mediocre novelty act.

If you'd been a TRUE rebel, a true REVOLUTIONARY, an ANARCHIST hell raiser, you would've continued beating hell out of these spineless vermin who are shredding the Constitution and undermining YOUR RIGHT to carry all those lead-spewing killing machines around your ranch, right?

Man.  I'm so disappointed in Hunter Thompson.  He was my hero at one time, if you can imagine that.  Now I think of him as a tired old junkie who backed away and cowered from the bonfire he himself ignited.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

LET'S BUILD A FISHING PIER, DAMMIT!


Too bad the Flagship got blown away in Galveston, that used to be my favorite fishing pier.

We don't really have any monster fishing piers on the East Coast.... Insurance costs are prohibitively high... Everytime a hurricane swings through, the pier-owners file so many claims, right.

But I tell you this, people, if you start sending me your money RIGHT NOW, I will open a bank account specifically dedicated to building the LARGEST CONCRETE AND STEEL FISHING PIER ON THE EAST COAST... 

It will be massive, over a quarter-mile long, straight off Ocracoke Island, with a double-width breakaway boardwalk, fish-cleaning facilities, 24-hour security, emergency weather shelters, iced beer dispensers, flood lights, and a SOUND SYSTEM, so you can communicate with the pier house at 4:00 in the morning, okay? 

And we can listen to some goddamned George Thorogood and Mungo Jerry out there on the pier with us, blasting over the loudspeakers.

Of course, we'll allow local fishermen to make and sell their own tackle right there at the pier house. No "Made In China" shit on this one, baby.

Oh, and this is something I've thought about... We'll have 24 Hour Web Cams on this pier, with zoom and pan; but, ALSO, we'll run continuous fish-finding sonar, with OVERHEAD FULL-COLOR DISPLAYS showing you when the big shoals of fish come in, okay? 

And one-armed bandits.  Do it Las Vegas-style.

Yeah, there will be a bar, in the pier house, but you have to bring your own hard liquor and concealed weapons, because I'm not going to buy a license for selling hard liquor on my fishing pier. Too much bad shit happens with drunks and fillet knives, okay.

But we definitely need more guns out on the piers to keep everything rock-steady and POLITE.

We'll have an underwater television camera with lights to display in the pier house how muddy is the surf — or maybe even an ROV, so we can navigate around and find lost fishing rods and retrieve all those expensive, high-tech surf leaders that people lose by the millions.

Hell, if we can bring in enough capital, we can BUY an island with a MILE-LONG pier and helicopter landing pads.  I've always been an islander, I think.  I've got the temperament for it, and I know it. 

Everybody thinks it's beach blanket bingo and clambakes and margaritas all that stereotypical crap, but that's not island life. 

Island life is actually reclusive and isolated and hermit-like; but at the same time, all this marvelous NEW STUFF comes swirling in around you all the time, right?  The tide and weather bring all SORTS of weird things and changes on an hourly basis; and there's the influx of humanity, the tourists, who swarm through the island — yeah, like a swarm — and leave litter all over the place, but they drive the economy, so it's all good.

That's why islanders don't mind giving tourists the island "experience." Because they're robbing the tourists blind, and everybody comes away happy.

It's like sitting in a big Adirondack deck chair and just letting the world come to you, right?

Yeah, so there's this bicameral dynamic when you live on an island, there is a separate community.  There's the interaction with tourists, but it's kept separate from the actual RESIDENTS, okay.  I'm not talking about meresocial mores, I'm talking about a separate economy — islanders don't pay the same prices as tourists.  

I was fairly amazed one day when I realized I had been accepted into an island community when a cashier charged me only 79¢ for a can of Bumble Bee Tuna.  I even asked the cashier, "Is there some mistake?"  She said, "No mistake.  Island price."  The cashier raised her eyebrow, I smiled and accepted the discount.

Hey, you've gotta be LET INTO an island community.  Make no mistake, they don't want you there.  They see you as a transient, a glowing tourist, and they want your money, but they want you to leave.  I was permitted into the community and I served in it briefly.  

That, however, is another incredible story all by itself.


Monday, April 23, 2012

UPON MEETING THE HOLY SPIRIT

You know, most people go through life hearing about the Holy Spirit — in church, in the entertainment media, and in some cases from direct contact with people touched by it — but they never understand what the Holy Spirit is or what it does, exactly.  Most people think it's just an internal thing, an epiphany of some kind, a part of the natural growth and expansion of the human mind.

In short, most people are deliberately ignorant on the subject of the Holy Spirit.

I mean, VERY FEW professed Christians actually have FAITH in the paranormal aspects of their religion.  If you announce to your "church family" that you've encountered the Holy Spirit in person, you'll see some eyebrows raise, I guarantee you...because, by and large, professed Christians don't have Faith in God and Christ and the Holy Spirit (which are all the same thing, actually).

If they DID have Faith, they wouldn't be the hypocritical, gossiping, frightened little country-clubbers they are.  Yeah, I have a piss-poor opinion of most Christians, those who wear the jersey and cheer on the sidelines once a week, but who never get in there and play the game, they never walk the path of Christ.

I grew up in a protestant Christian family in Southeast Texas.  My mother was from an English family that immigrated to New England in the 1890s; and she was, without question, the spiritual head of our family.  My father was straight out of the Piney Woods of East Texas by way of two world tours in the Merchant Marines, and he was as hard as a coffin nail.

My father was a righteous man who feared nothing.  You know the Texas Ranger motto, right?  "No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that’s in the right and keeps on a-comin'."

Well, that pretty much defines my father.  He was in the right and he knew it, his common sense was clear and pure, and he acted on it with certainty and without regret.

He did not hesitate.

That's important to note, because there are people and whole families alive today because my father did not hesitate.  My dad was proactive, he heroically saved lives from certain death on three occasions that I know; and I mean bashing out a window with his bare fists and reaching inside to save an infant from a blazing house (I saw him do it, it was jaw-dropping heroism); and I mean catching a 6'3", 250-lb man falling from an industrial catwalk 80 feet in the air — my dad was on the catwalk directly under him, grabbed the sonofabitch by the forearm as he fell past.  And I mean diving off the end of a dock in Rio de Janeiro to save a guy being eaten by barracudas.  Saved that drunk sailor's ass.

My dad did not hesitate.

He had a purity of discernment, he could rapidly assess situations and take measurements on sight — and I mean he literally could measure anything with his eyes alone to a high degree of precision.  I inherited that trait, fortunately, as well as his impulsive disposition and a few other characteristics.

And let me tell you something... That fearlessness, that righteousness was and is born of pure Faith.  Strangely, my father was NOT a church-going Christian, although my mother did everything she knew to persuade him.

Whenever I speak of Faith, I'm not talking about Belief.  Belief is making a wish that you hope will come true.  But in the back of your mind, you secretly acknowledge that your belief may be wrong, that your fondest wish won't come true, that you may have to question your belief, second-guess yourself.

In this life, you may even be compelled or impelled to take a stance that is diametrically opposed to your original belief.

Hell, politicians do it all the time.  Go back and review the collected speeches of the esteemed billionaire Senator John Kerry, for example, in which he starts virtually every sentence with "I BELIEVE..." and then he rolls off this litany of crap that he refutes two weeks later.  He turns his belief 180° with regularity, you see.

Belief is the sick distant cousin of Faith.  There's a definite distinction.

Faith is NOT Belief, and we shouldn't deliberately confuse the terms.

Look at it this way, Belief is humanity's firmware, which is malleable and is updated on a regular basis.  If Belief is firmware, then Faith is HARDWIRED CIRCUITRY.  No updates, no second-guessing, Faith only goes one way and without regret.  Faith is a transcendental certainty that blows Belief out of the water, Faith goes right to the heart of clear thinking, rapid assessment and decision-making and, ultimately, profound actions.

Accordingly, a person of Faith is a formidable individual.

Mother Theresa was such a person.  This diminutive woman was a bulldozer, an earth-mover, she got things done during her time on Earth — and she didn't own anything except the clothes on her back and her Bible and rosary.  Mohandas Gandhi was another one, you could beat and starve that scrawny bastard to the brink of death and he just kept comin' back.  He knew he was right, he had his hardwired Faith, and that's all you need in the world of Man.

See, Faith is your one-way circuit for bulldozing through the adversity in Life.  When you live in Faith, you cannot be attacked, although your enemies will come at you like locusts.  If you think you're living in Faith, but nobody is attacking you, you're NOT living in Faith, and you're not walking the path of Christ.

Allow me to establish a couple of controversial parameters here... First of all, Earth is Hell.   The world of living things is Hell.  Look at Nature — not in all its aesthetic beauty, but in the truth of its much more cruel and carnal horror — and tell me that this is not Hell.  In Nature, there is no equality, the weak stumble and bleed and are eaten by the strong, the most violent creatures dominate the passive, and cute little furry baby animals are eaten by ants and vultures and cold-blooded reptiles.  The Earth, and, indeed, the Universe, is SAVAGE.

There is nothing we can imagine in Hell that is not exceeded in Nature, okay?

Another parameter is that Mankind is born into Hell on Earth, and we must walk a very disciplined path if we wish to escape it.  See, among all the savage beasts on Earth, Man has demonstrated an unparalleled aptitude for WASTE and GREED and CORRUPTION that eclipses the mundane terrors of Nature.  Not saying that we're more powerful or more terrifying than Nature, but that we're horribly wasteful and grotesque in our abuse of the resources.

We're really not a very nice species.  We're just barely aware of what makes Nature tick, and we seem intent on destroying it.

We kill senselessly, and I'm not talking about man's barbarity to man.  In reshaping the surface of the Earth we annihilate plant and animal Life like Hell won't have it.  We kill the EARTH for our own selfish ends.  We kill CREATION.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not an eco-tard envirochump.  I'm telling you how GOD sees us.

Yes, I'm qualified to speak on God's behalf.  So are you.  But if you decide to try your hand at speaking on behalf of God, you'd better be ready for a little visit from the Holy Spirit.

Make no mistake, it distresses God when Life is terminated for futile purposes.  That's because Life is God's window on the Universe.

As I've stated in earlier blogs, God did create the Universe, and there's no theoretical Scientific argument you can pose that provides a better explanation — Stephen Hawking's best guess is that the Universe JUST HAPPENED out of nothingness.  How is THAT better than the Creation theory, I ask you?

How God created the Universe is so far beyond our comprehension, we need to stop worrying about it and stop second-guessing.  We've wasted thousands of years pondering the imponderable and beating the shit out of each other because we can't arrive at a consensus regarding Creation, for Godsake.

At this primitive stage of our development, our priority should NOT be pondering shit that is completely beyond our neurological capacity— I mean, that's like single-celled parameciums staring up at the objective lens of a microscope and postulating on the complexity of Man.  Parameciums don't have the neurological capacity to comprehend anything so vast.

Just so, THAT is how far away we are from comprehending the complexity of God and Creation, okay?

Suffice to say that Life is God's surveillance mechanism into this Universe. Life is a molecule designed to chemically and electromagnetically sample and process his Creation and feed the information back to him.  For God's amusement, perhaps, or to satisfy his unfathomable curiosity.  When a corporeal lifeform dies, it's like one of God's myriad surveillance monitors going black.  Of course, for every lifeform that dies, there's a trillion more born all across the Universe, and God designed it that way.

But God really really hates it when we demolish his Creation for no good reason.

Thou Shalt Not Kill, right?

Nature, you see, doesn't do that.  Everything that is killed in Nature serves to rejuvenate the environment.  But Humans — created in the image of God (yep, we're the only ones), and kinda partially god-like in our awareness — DO NOT rejuvenate the environment.  In fact, we tend to poison the environment haphazardly, we DRAIN the energy out of the environment for our own purposes, and we do it so inefficiently that the living environment is diminished, even mortally wounded.

We KILL whole environments, exterminating countless species in the process.  When Jehova commanded Thou Shalt Not Kill, THAT is the killing he meant.  Don't Kill Creation.

God keeps an eye on Mankind, right, because he's had problems with us before.  In the very olden times, when humanity got out of hand in our arrogance and waste and corruption on Earth, God had to flood the property and start over.  Of course, that was a much smaller human population and much earlier in our development, when God had really extraordinary expectations of us.

Back then, God didn't mind erasing the blackboard and starting over.  Ask the Hopi tribe.  Ask the Hindus.  They'll tell you that God has destroyed the Earth multiple times.  Interestingly, Science tells us that the living environment of the Earth HAS been destroyed multiple times, but that devastation happened millions upon millions of years before Mankind even evolved, right?  So how do these primitive cultures have knowledge of it?

Anyway, about 2000 years ago, as Mankind was on the verge of setting a new precedent for waste and immorality and corruption, exploring the horrors of infanticide and shit like that, God decided to do a little reconnaissance down on Earth, and he dispatched a part of himself known as Christ The Son to actually walk among humanity, to experience Man's barbarity from the human perspective.

Predictably, it turned ugly.

Despite Christ's attempts to enlighten the masses as he made his path through Life, he was persecuted, arrested, and murdered in the most grisly fashion concocted by "civilized" Man.  His own people, the Jews, demanded Christ's execution, and the morally ambivalent Romans complied (to keep the peace) with a particularly brutal flogging and crucifixion.

Yet, Christ made a DECISION to SPARE Mankind, to assume the burden of all Mankind's sin and barbarity for all time.

From Death, Christ arose and returned to the heavenly sphere, but not before he MADE IT PLAIN to his disciples that ALL MEN must walk a disciplined path through the adversities of Life, regardless of the barbarity, and to CONQUER DEATH just as he did.  Fearlessly.

See, Christ's little excursion on Earth WAS his descent into Hell.  And the whole point of his Life on Earth was to PROVE that, while we are born into Hell, we can each of us CHOOSE to walk a fearless path THROUGH Hell and return to the heavenly realm.

When you choose NOT to face Life and Hell fearlessly, then you remain in Hell until you DO walk a fearless path in Faith.  Cowards remain in Hell, okay?  I think Christ's admonition "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth" is the same as saying "Blessed are the cowards, for the cowards shall remain in Hell."


Because the Earth is Hell, and the meek are cowards.

Cowards, of all people, need all the blessing they can get.  Cowards die a thousand deaths.

You may construe this to mean that repeated reincarnation to the earthly realm equates to an eternity in Hell, that some people just keep coming back to this Hell on Earth — until, of course, they face Hell fearlessly, learn their lesson, and transcend to Heaven through Faith.  Maybe.  I'm not going into reincarnation right now because it's an entire blog in itself.

When I say these things, when I express such certainty and conviction in the existence of God and Christ and the meaning of Life and Creation and Heaven and Hell, I'm sometimes questioned as to the source of my knowledge.

Because, while I refute much of the nonsense you read in the Bible, people KNOW that what I say is the Truth.  They feel it, and it frightens them.  You can always tell when the Truth is at hand, because it scares the shit out of people.

Well, although I grew up in a Christian family of New England Protestant values (on my mother's side) and with impeccable East Texas Piney Woods common sense (on my father's side), and although I attended church from an early age, I did not learn what I know in church.

Make no mistake, I learned a lot of shit in church, but I never encountered the Truth there.

Rather, I encountered Satan in the church, the Father of all Liars, because THAT is where Satan resides.  I haven't seen anything up to the present to change my mind on that count.  As my mother always said, Satan is the first one through the door on Sunday morning, and he's the last to leave.

I would add to this observation that Satan is usually the one preaching from the pulpit, and my most recent experiences with the church have only reinforced these long-held views.

So, no, what I know about God and Christ and Creation and Life and Heaven and Hell derives from a much more reliable source, The Holy Spirit; and I encountered the Holy Spirit through the exercise of Faith.  I have the Faith of my dad, who could instantly assess situations and act upon them while others were vacillating and second-guessing and cowering in fear.

My dad, in his Faith, was closer to God than 98% of the self-professed Christians I've ever met.  My dad, who had disdain for the hypocrisy and cowardice and lies of the church, had DISCERNMENT, as do I.

I want you to look at your own life, your interaction with the church, and tell me that the church has nurtured your spiritual growth (whatever that means to you).

I'm willing to bet your church hasn't contributed to your spiritual growth in the least.  I've attended MANY churches, many churches and many denominations all across the country, and I found the same thing everywhere I've been — Country Clubs.  That's all.  Tight little knots of money and local power and gossip.  Injurious, insidious gossip, fomenting nothing less than domestic terrorism.

Let's call it what it is.

Now, as it happens, Discernment is something that cuts right through the Country Club mentality like a hot knife.  Discernment is the direct knowledge of things typically hidden behind veils of secrecy in the world of Man.  Discernment is a knowledge of matters beyond the highest knowledge of Mankind, a knowledge of whether spirits are divine or profane.

Discernment is a gift of The Holy Spirit.  It's direct knowledge of the Truth.

You can't fake Discernment.  It's not a parlor trick, okay, it's a power.  You use it in your life, it precedes you, and it protects you when you learn to heed it.  See, it's not something you wield like a weapon, it's something with which you coexist.

The one thing you must learn to suppress when you have Discernment is the urge to gloat or say "I told you so."  I mean, in exercising your discernment, you find yourself making very exacting observations on situations, relationships, et cetera; and that puts people on edge, it makes them wary of you.  A week later, when the truth of the situation or relationship unfolds EXACTLY as you foretold, the participants may be on the verge of respecting you, but they're also in a kind of reactionary DENIAL that you called the shot.  They're in awe.

You don't want to deflect that respect or repel them with a petty "I told you so.".

So don't say that.

Instead, admonish them to seek Discernment themselves through The Holy Spirit.

To be continued..........




Wednesday, April 18, 2012

MY MEETING WITH GEORGE TAKEI

I'd like to share a brief story of my only meeting with George Takei...

For you younglings out there, George Takei is the original Mr. Sulu from the 1960s Star Trek television series.  His distinctive, baritone voice is easily recognizable across many generations, his talent as an actor and director is widely acclaimed, and his sense of humor is infectious.  In more recent years, he has "come out" and married his lover and has been an outspoken advocate of Gay causes.

George is just an all around cool guy.

I attended a MysteryCon, I think it was, back in 1978 in Houston, Texas, where I was fortunate enough to meet a few screen celebs wandering around the hotel.  I remember that I futilely accosted Spanky McFarland (of Little Rascals fame) in an empty corridor, which probably scared the poor man to death, because I couldn't think of anything meaningful to say to the guy.

I mean, Spanky was about 50 years old at the time, was still only about 4-1/2 feet tall, his fame had fizzled 40 years earlier, he had tried every profession you can name, and he was essentially making a little extra cash by touring these conventions, talking about the old days and autographing 8x10s.

What was I gonna say to him?  "You sure were cute 45 years ago!"  How does that sound coming from an 18-year-old kid?  Words failed me, so I shook his hand, shrugged and walked away.

By far, the biggest celebs at the convention were Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans, and I qualify that statement with the fact that his appearance and gunslinging demonstration had PACKED a large conference room beyond its capacity. I haven't seen too many celebs create such a stir. Elbow-to-elbow, standing room only, I'm guessing there were over 300 people jammed into a room meant to accommodate 100. Definitely a fire code violation.

So Roy was wowing the crowd, twirling his six-guns (he was definitely still on top of his game), and I was standing near the back of the chamber, just drinking it in. The whole room was IN LOVE with Roy Rogers.

As I was focused on the show, this guy comes squeezing his way into the mass of humanity, steps in front of me, and almost pushes me off balance trying to get a gander of Roy and Dale. I was a little miffed, okay, and was about to say something confrontational, when the guy turns to me with this big grin across his face and exclaims like an overgrown kid, "HE'S GREAT, ISN'T HE?!"

Well, yes, it was George Takei, who for a few moments was as anonymous as all the other Roy Rogers fans in the crowd. I was astounded. Nobody noticed George Takei sneaking into the room, except me, and I was having heart palpitations — I mean, like, here are two of my all-time favorite celebrities in the same room, and one of them was standing on my foot.



(Incidentally, George Takei LIKED this blast from the past.  I'm more than honored.)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

DAWN OF THE MASTER RACE?

Are you aware that the total human population of the Earth in 1900 was only 900 million?  For tens of thousands of years, our species survived and thrived JUST FINE with a sparse population.  

But, in the brief space of 100 years, we have ARTIFICIALLY accelerated our population growth with the introduction of vaccines and antibiotics and advanced agriculture processing & distribution technologies.

You see where this is going now, don't you?

We've cultivated a fine, fat, foundering population of 7 BILLION WEAKLINGS who are utterly dependent on medicines and technology and the agriculture of a tiny handful of farmers and scientists to keep everybody alive.

Do you realize how extraordinarily FRAGILE is this arrangement?

Honey, if we are to survive as a species, we're gonna hafta LOSE SOME WEIGHT.

Make no mistake, we need to pull the plug  on Technology and Medicine right now, and allow NATURAL SELECTION to thin out this herd.

No, we don't need a "Master Race" of genetically-engineered drones to solve our problems.  We need to STOP TAMPERING with Nature, stop medicating it, stop trying to "FIX" it.  

Because we're NOT intelligent enough to sort out the mess we've made thus far, are we?  No, we're only making things worse.

Scientists are about to request a licence from the UK fertility watchdog to fertilise the eggs as part of a series of tests to generate an unlimited supply of human eggs, a breakthrough that could help infertile women to have babies as well as making women as fertile in later life as men.
The first human egg cells that have been grown entirely in the laboratory from stem cells could be fertilised later this year in a development that will revolutionise fertility treatment and might even lead to a reversal of the menopause in older women.
Producing human eggs from stem cells would also open up the possibility of replenishing the ovaries of older women so that they do not suffer the age-related health problems associated with the menopause, from osteoporosis to heart disease.
Some scientists are even suggesting the possibility of producing an “elixir of youth” for women, where the menopause is eradicated and older women will retain the health they enjoyed when younger.
Researchers at Edinburgh University are working with a team from Harvard Medical School in Boston to be the first in the world to produce mature human eggs from stem cells isolated from human ovarian tissue.
Let's see, if they're using "anonymous" stem-cell-synthesized human eggs to remove the burden of reproduction-related illness from women, then who is ultimately in charge of the genetic characteristics of the laboratory-bred offspring?

I hope you people out there understand and appreciate JUST HOW GROTESQUE and DANGEROUS this technology is.

I mean, we're talking about a very tiny handful of scientists basically TAKING CHARGE of the genetic destiny of humankind.

Can you say Master Race?  Eugenics?

Well, we know how well THAT worked out last time.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

MY POSITION ON SCIENCE

I think I've mentioned before that I was a very curious and very science-oriented child.  Yeah, I taught myself to read and write by the time I was three years old, although I was reading "whole word" style... I couldn't actually spell.

As far as I was concerned, I was writing in glyphs.  I mean, I knew what whole words were, and I could replicate those words in print, but I had no idea of how the words broke down into individual letters or what the individual letters meant.

In other words, I had skipped over grade school literacy and went straight for college-level literacy.  Adults read whole words, you see, but only after slogging through 12 years of mandatory public education, during which time their literacy is more stunted than expanded, in my opinion.

My first book was titled "Skiing Is Not Fun"... I wrote and illustrated it one Saturday morning in 1963 after watching this terrible ski-jump accident on sports television.  The book was only four pages long, heavy on illustration — enough so to dissuade any reasonable person from ever contemplating a go at the slopes.

I was a curiosity to my parents, I think, because my older brothers and sisters weren't nearly so sharp.  They would bring me out to entertain guests, like a 3-year-old ventriloquist's dummy on my father's knee.

"Who shot President Lincoln?" my dad would prompt, and I would take off with a full narrative of the assassination at Ford's Theatre, the manhunt for John Wilkes Booth, the unjust incarceration of Doctor Mudd, Booth's murder at the hand of Boston Corbett in Port Royal, Virginia, and the hanging of Confederate conspirators thereafter.

Our guests, usually relatives, would be awestruck.  Intimidated.  From whence does this font of knowledge proceed? Who taught him all this?

"He reads books," my mom would explain.

True, I read whatever books I could find.  There were encyclopedias in our home, as well as these great tomes of world history, and Revolutionary War book collections, and WWII history books.  I read the newspapers, also.

My mother knew that I was peculiar.

She nurtured that peculiarity in me, I think she was experimenting with my intelligence.  We started making trips to the public Library from time to time — it was a long way to the Library, out into the very heart of the Mexican East Side of Houston, into Denver Harbor.

Denver Harbor is a subdivision of Houston on the near East Side of Downtown, just off the Houston Ship Channel.

The building was a typical 1960s public library: brick, wood, sort've a Frank Lloyd Wright knockoff with plenty of ambient light oozing through the thick, green-tinted vertical windows from floor to ceiling, and skylights with their green-bronze cranking hardware.  It was a very nice reading environment and I liked it.  But it was the LIBRARY that exposed me to Science, and I can tell you which book.



Wow, they really modernized the old library, looks nice and boxy.  Hope they're using it.  The book in question was...  Hold on, I'm looking for an image of it.... Here we go: Observer's Book of Astronomy


The Observer series of books in the early 60s sparked my imagination and my curiosity.  I loved that turquoise skull, right?  Who wouldn't?  

Science was just so totally awesome to me that I wanted to do EVERYTHING, I wanted to become a geologist and a chemist and physicist and a cosmologist and an artist and a herpetologist and a paleontologist.  And an archaeologist.  And a marine biologist.  

And I eventually did.  

Well, not officially, not with academic credentials to back me up; but I studied chemistry and microscopy and geology and biology — and I was doing all that by the time I was 8 years old.  I became a self-taught herpetologist at that age with LOTS of hands-on experience; in fact, when I called the Herman Park Zoo Reptile House in Houston and told them that I was successfully breeding wild turtles in captivity, they admitted that I had accomplished something rare.

Hey, I understand something about reptiles that many scientists don't understand.  

Reptiles are not simple-minded creatures.  I'd say that reptiles are as aware as some highly-evolved mammals, such as cats and dogs.  I'm telling you that I captured a North American freshwater Alligator Snapping Turtle, which is the closest thing to a living dinosaur you're ever going to encounter, and within a year that turtle was following me around the yard like a puppy.

Well... A puppy that could snap a boat oar in-two with one bite.

That animal allowed me to stroke it between the eyes and under the chin, and it would snuggle up to me when I sat down.  No exaggeration.  I hand-fed this voracious carnivore a diet of live crayfish that I captured down in the bayou.  It was an extraordinary relationship, one that lasted several years, until I finally released her back into her natural habitat.

Odd to think that she may still be alive, and may outlive me. 

All told, as a child, I was a foster parent for 38 turtles, terrapins and tortoises of diverse species.  I provided them as natural a habitat as I could, plenty of water and direct sunshine, I allowed the scavengers to scavenge and the predators to predate, and I met their every need.  

But I recognized that those creatures DO have emotions — they're not ruthless.  In fact, I don't hesitate to tell you that those reptiles loved and respected me.  You just have to demonstrate to them that you're not afraid of their sharp beaks and claws, you remove fear from their environment.  Animals understand control.  Animals also sense fear, they smell it, it triggers primal reactions.  

You should never fear animals; but you have to respect them or they'll tear you apart.

Such was their sense of security, my turtles bred in captivity and laid eggs, which I incubated to full term.  The herps at Herman Park Zoo were intrigued.  

As I researched my childhood interests in the Library, I noticed footnotes directing me to certain magazines and journals — magazines and journals that the Library didn't necessarily own.

So I started subscribing.

You may wonder how a little kid could subscribe to anything; and I'll respond that it was easy as hell.  I knew how to make money, mowing yards and cashing in returnable glass bottles, and I knew how to purchase a money order at the pharmacy and drop an envelope in a mailbox.

An income and a permanent mailing address is all you needed to subscribe to Nature and the New England Journal of Medicine and Science News.  I was all over it.  I was Mister Trial Subscription to several scientific journals and laboratory supply catalogues before I was 10 years old.

My parents acknowledged that I was "different," and the Christmas presents in our home starkly reflected that fact — year after year, while the other kids received games and toys and bicycles and various apparel, I was receiving robots and microscopes and chemistry sets and dissecting kits and blackboards.

I knew that this was a stretch for my parents, because we were NOT rich.  They had to save up all year for Christmas gifts; and, even with the advent of these new-fangled "shopping malls" in the late 1960s, it wasn't EASY to find the exact gift you wanted.  Back then, they couldn't begin to imagine the amazing diversity of selection that we enjoy today through the Internet.

But, hey, as a kid I was basically doing what I'm still doing to this day: Buying stuff by mail-order.

I was a damned good consumer in-training.  I bought laboratory equipment from the Edmund Scientific Catalogue, I bought Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, and I bought Sea Monkeys.

Yeah, Sea Monkeys.  Sea Monkeys probably inspired me to go into marketing, because when I realized  that these were just Artemia shrimp in a chemical soup, that they weren't actually "pets" so much as they were an elaborate (and eccentric, and successful) marketing campaign, it was a real awakening for me.



But my primary source of education was definitely NOT the public school system.  I had the same opinion of mandatory education back then that I still have today — that it's a monumental waste of time, more an exercise in political and social indoctrination than in education, designed to blunt our natural curiosity and close the doors to our imaginations.

My primary source of information and education was the Library, as well as the science journals and magazines I received regularly by mail.  When I wanted to learn something, I learned it on my own, immediately, rather than waiting for the public school system to "get around" to teaching it.

I knew things about science and technology in the 1970s that even the science instructors in school didn't know.  When I described a laser tank under development by the Department of Defense, my physical science teacher laughed in my face, told me to stop reading comic books and do my homework.

In point of fact, I almost never did my homework, but I read Science News magazine with a passion, and Science News carried stories (with photos) of the DOD's latest projects.

Fact is, the DOD developed a laser tank back in the early 1970s, a big heavy duty armored vehicle with a turret-mounted laser cannon that could punch a hole in a titanium target at a distance of 10 miles.

So why hasn't the public ever heard about it?  Simple.  It was a failure.  

Yes, the tank was developed.  Yes, the chemically-powered burning laser was entirely functional and accurate and effective.  So why did it fail?

Not enough bang for the bucks.  

In order to power the extraordinary laser cannon, the tank had to tow a chemical power plant the size of a small bus.  The power plant had to be heavily armored, and all of this scientific gear was astronomically expensive.

If this thing was ever deployed in a combat zone, with a 20-year-old kid driving it, it would be a visible and very, VERY sensitive target.  I mean, you can't just ABANDON a rig like this if it takes an RPG hit; the laser tank would have to contain some sort of self-destruct mechanism that would vaporize all the high-tech components, right?

Can't let the enemy get their hands on that tech, right?

Understandably, the laser tank was getting more and more costly as its development progressed.  When a project's budget starts escalating out of control, as developers try to cover all the contingencies, there's a point at which  the Budget Office kills the project, relegating it to the scrap heap.

That's what happened to the laser tank.

It wasn't a complete loss, however.  The chemically-powered laser cannon was adapted to a high-altitude aerial platform — an airplane rather than a tank —which is a lot harder target for enemy fire, and it doesn't require a ton of armor to shield the power plant.

No, the laser plane can't target anything on the ground; instead, it's designed to pick off incoming missiles at extremely high altitude, where the thin atmosphere doesn't scatter the laser beam.  I think the plane can target satellites, as well.

Anyway, while the kids in school were worrying about their pimples and who was dating who and were pumping up for the next football game, I was studying the science and technology that was going to shape their future.  

Remember the 1989 James Cameron movie The Abyss (which should've been a LOT better script, btw)?  I wasn't impressed much by the storyline or the silly computer-generated Sea Monkeys, but the scene with Ed Harris climbing into a breathable liquid suit caught my attention.

I thought, does James Cameron think that's futuristic? 

Because I was reading in science journals about breathable liquids back in the mid-1970s, and I saw photos of test animals actually breathing silicone-based fluids that had been aerated with Oxygen.  Of course, the ultimate objective of breathing liquids is getting that shit OUT of your lungs so that you can continue breathing normally later on, right?

The test subjects never rotated back to breathing air.  Are we clear on this?  None of the test animals survived.  Well, DUH.  You don't fill up an air-breathing creature's lungs with silicone-based fluids and just expect the creature to cough it up and go on its way.  

The damage to the delicate bronchial structures was massive and irreparable.

Problem is that you need a very light fluid that contains enough Oxygen to keep a Human being alive, and that does not inhibit the function of the lungs or unduly stress the diaphragm.  No such fluid exists. Yet.

You know why they want this stuff, right, this breathable liquid stuff?  

It's for suspended animation.  You put people in space for 50 years, you want them asleep most of the time, but you want them MORE than asleep.  You want them comatose.  You want to suspend all their biologic processes without killing them.  

Okay.  You fill their lungs and gastrointestinal tracts with a genetically-engineered amniotic fluid.  I mean, that's where Nature has already gone, right?  Nature knows its shit.

That's what we'll end up doing with deep space travelers in the future.  We won't fill them up with silicone-based Oxygenated fluids that are so toxic that we shouldn't have used them in the first place; rather, we'll sample the space traveler's own DNA, we'll synthesize a genetically compatible amniotic fluid that is entirely breathable, and pump THAT stuff into him.

In this way we can deliver Oxygen to his tissues and carry away the CO2, certainly; but also we can replenish calcium that is lost in microgravity, and provide other nutrition as needed, and whatever else we decide to squirt into him.

Now this is all going to happen, surely, because I know the Scientific Establishment is working on it.  Hell, they were working on it back in the 1970s, so I KNOW that some laboratory, somewhere, out in the rolling hills of Virginia or tucked away in the vastness of Wyoming, has refined the technology.

You see, I've kept abreast of the most astonishing and unlikely scientific oddities all throughout my life, and I know that the Scientific Establishment will pander and suck-up to whatever this fucking Socialist government dictates.

If reality, for you, is defined by Science, I pity you.  Science, as a community, is very CLOSED-MINDED and belligerently dogmatic, and particularly in regard to ANYTHING involving the government — such as the anthropogenic global warming/carbon tax shakedown.

Look here, I love Science.  I love it the way I do it.

As I see it, Science is nothing more than a method of thinking, it's a method of rationalizing this miraculous Universe.  But I also think of Science as a very cruel and zealous religion, with representative clergy and a fucking pope and pea-brained evangelists and all the other ecclesiastic trappings.

Religion and Science have been twisted and transformed into nothing more than tools for The Powers That Be (down there) who gladly whip the hooting and pooting human masses into a frenzy at their whim and for their own unimaginable ends.