Landing 1

Cleavage

They came out fast, as they had drilled, but command had dropped them into daylight, which was definitely not the drill. He held himself together but could see the others stir in confusion at the unexpected light that shimmered through the flight bubble.

“Calibrate monocles,” he yelled, and noted flight time. He shook his head. It had far exceeded training sims. He turned to check his mates situated immediately around him: They were holding tight, but they were catching too much air, so wind shear was tearing at the bubble.

He caught someone drifting out of formation and towards the perimeter. “STAY CLOSE!” he shouted. He saw his mate struggling to maintain position, but then get torn away, whirling out of the bubble. The gap he left was noticeable.  The outside air roared as it rushed past. He knew it would start to pull open their configuration. “Reset that boundary,” he yelled.

He checked the time again. “Bearings,” he barked. No answer. “Navigation!” Still no answer. He twisted around to check. Their tail was gone, no doubt torn off in the turbulence, and gone with it was Navigation. The turbulence was beginning to rattle the whole pod into pieces.  “Shearing!” he shouted. “Stay in formation.”

They were getting antsy, the more excitable ones fidgeting to bail. He tried to stop the first one who pushed out of the pod, but then there was another, and then another. Training discipline was fading fast. A touch of doubt slipped into his head, and he wondered if the chief knew what trajectory he’d set them on.

He didn’t have time to ruminate on that because they were rapidly losing speed…and altitude. “BRACE FOR LANDING,” he commanded. With over 50 thousand pods, each holding a thousand drones, the losses would be even worse than estimates.

The landing was harder than expected. The pods blew open, scattering the drones upon a cold, smooth terrain. He rolled to a stop on the hard surface. Wincing, he hefted his dig kit and joined everyone else, quickly synchronizing his exoskeleton suit to his locomotive whip. The whip was a physical augmentation, issued at conception. Each was custom made, uniquely fitted for each body, although all of the drones were virtually identical. Tall and lanky, heads kept smooth, providing aerodynamic advantage.  They kept themselves as such not by choice, but because they had been chosen. The others, the ones who hadn’t passed muster, had simply vanished.  It was said they were stolen away, by amorphous ghosts that materialized from nowhere.  They came for the unfit, silently swallowing them up and whisking then away, leaving only the ones who had kept their purpose. Their task…And the task was at hand.

He shrugged off the chill of the surroundings, staying low to the warm surface, and took stock of the surroundings. A large wedge lay ahead, light shining off the smooth, pale surface.

We’re way off, he muttered to himself. The surface was barely giving way to their digging. He knew they needed to breach a passage, so he ordered them forward: “Through that cleavage,” he yelled. And they moved…

 

Covert mustache esthetician

President Trump Holds A Cabinet Meeting At The White House

“We’ve got plenty of options,” the man said.

“We shouldn’t have plenty of options.” I sighed. “How many have we selected out?”

He looked puzzled. “They’re all equally qualified.  The target will be unconscious. It’s just a matter of -”

“No. I don’t think you see the seriousness of the situation. We don’t need an “expert in the field”. We need a ninja. Someone who can remove that mustache in record time, and apply the electrolysis to remove it permanently.

The man looked sheepish for a moment. “Sir…pardon me for asking, I know this is classified, but why are we doing this?”

I looked around, then decided there was no harm in telling him.  It wasn’t classified. This was a dark mission.  It can from deep state, keeping the executive out of the loop, for their own protection. Or there’d be war. And although war had its benefits, hot wars between nation states destabilized regions and economic markets. This was a cost to high to bear. We could pick a pretense, like the CIA did, using the meeting of a Trump campaign rep to create a case of collusion.  But that was a shit show we hoped to avoid this time. Keep it dark. That was always best.

“His power comes from the mustache,” I said in a low voice.  There was only silence as I watched the man’s stunned reaction.  I went even deeper:

“He can influence minds with it.”  I saw further incredulity. Understandable.

“I know what you’re thinking. But look back.  The mustache was present in every powerful leader of history.  The leaders who really changed things.  The disrupters. Confucius.. Genghis Khan…Stalin…Hitler… Theodore Roosevelt… Martin Luther King Jr…Theodore Roosevelt.” I saw the slow realization wash over his face as he processed the information. ” With Bolton’s mojo removed, so is his influence over the executive. And his pushback on our recruiting Ukraine against Biden.”

The man nodded, “But, where is this information on the power-stache coming from?”

“We have a dossier,” I answered.  I saw him start to protest.

“Gotten through back channels.” I assured him. “The sources were properly vetted this time. Unlike that British ex-spy’s sources. What an amateur smear job that was…”

We were interrupted by a knock on the door and our intern stuck his head in, opening his mouth to speak.

“Later,” I barked.

“Bolton is gone,” the boy blurted.

“What…he vanish into a secret meeting of mustached neocons?” I asked.

“Resigned,” the intern replied. “Trump asked him to step down.”

“H-how?” I sputtered.

The man nodded his head knowingly:

“Mustache trumped by comb over.”

 

They mistrusted my intent

emotion

 

Actions are important.  But your motives are even more important…especially today. Because they’re watching you.  And they’re judging you.

Who?

The people with agendas. Those of strongly held ideologies.

They assume things about your intent.  They will judge your actions through their frame, sometimes so much so that it is irrelevant what you actually did.  Because they have a scenario in their head that supersedes reality, based on their morals, which you do not meet.

So talk nicely, if you want to fit in.

Or just do what you think is right, and trust that the ones who value content over impressions will back you up.

You’re better than me. And I’m ok with that

ralph

 

People who want special considerations are unlikely to get very far. Because they’re at risk of not being taken seriously.

Instead of learning how much they have to contribute, they learn the false notion that their efforts don’t matter.

Instead of taking encouragement, they take on a low class identity.

Instead of being treated equally, they’re treated unequally.

Thus, they never live up to their true potential.

And that is the most devastating thing of all.

My anger is my fault

our-anxiety-does-not-come-from-thinking-about-the-future-31691447

With all the anxiety and anger I see today, it’s a good reminder to realize I can only do so much about what people believe. I can’t control the masses. Nor should I.

Best focus on my small world of friends and family and community, and help as best as I can.

Complaining that some people did something, somewhere, is useless. The best way to help is to actually help.

How do you help?

Too superior to discuss with you

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Knowledge  doesn’t come from regular judgments and proclamations based on my perspective.
It comes from gathering all the information I can.
It’s called curiosity. And it’s where knowledge comes from. Not from superiority.
Not from condemnations..not from generalizations… and certainly not from assumptions about other people’s character.
Knowledge and growth comes from discussion.
Can we have a discussion?

The American dream

captain_america_7_cover_detail

She saw the crowd from the seat of her car as she rode past.

“Who are these people?” she asked. Her aid replied, “They’re-”

“Stop the car,” she interrupted, “They are my people. I can feel it.”

She stepped out. This is some kind of Occupy movement.  She found a crate to stand on and addressed a crowd. “We are at a crossroads!” she called out. The brown faces of the crowd turned to focus on her. They looked needy, but determined. She could feel their resolve.

“America is in grim shape,” she said. “Our system is fundamentally broken.”

Her eyes searched the crowd, of men, women, and children who had gathered there. They were attentive, and now some of them looked concerned.

“It’s time for everyone to be worried. Because the worker has been forgotten.  Average wages are dropping, and work-”

“We want to work,” I man called from the front, his face earnest, and resolute. She stopped and felt empathy for the man, who stood there in faded pants, and a loose shirt that looked to have seen several seasons of sun-exposed work already.

“Yes, brother,” she said. “Work hard, but for what? Pennies, while the managers and bosses become rich.”

“I will be a manager,” the man replied.

She nodded, “I know you will work hard.  But the United States is a place that white men will try to prevent you from moving up. And not everyone can become managers. Then what will you do?”

She smiled sadly. “No, my friend, this is a country of inequality. ”

The man looked puzzled. She looked back out into the sea of faces and continued:

“It’s time we rise up. Refuse to be a contributor in this unfair system.”

She saw many of the faces drop in disappointment. Some gathered their things. They were beginning to understand how critical things were.

She stepped down from the crate and with a last wave, called out, “We can do this. Together we will bring down the racist patriarchy!”

She got into the car, feeling satisfied at making an impact.  She turned to her aid. “I think that went well.”

“Miss Cortez, these are migrants from south of the border trying to get into the United States.”

Her eyes grew wide and she quickly lowered her window to see the group of people starting to disperse. “You are welcome here!” she shouted. “There is much to do and your hard work is appreciated.  With your help, we can get what you deserve from the rich class.”

Some of them perked up at this, but most continued packing their things.  Her message was serious. And it had made an impact:

The American dream… 

It didn’t really exist anymore.

Her agenda was my agenda

kristenervin art

She ran her fingers through my hair and stopped to look at me questioningly.

I waited for her to say something. I was letting her lead; unusual for me, but I recognized she had more experience in this area than I did. I was at her place and she was in control.

“Do you want it long enough to tuck behind your ears?” she asked.

Yes, I replied, and she went to work. After a few minutes, she said, “I like that podcast. My boyfriend and I listened to him all the way down on our drive to Florida.”

“What?” I was puzzled.

“I just noticed your hat,” she said, indicating the Joe Rogan ball cap I’d laid on the shelf in front of us when I had sat down.

“Oh, yea, he’s got interesting talks,” I said. “Looong ones. Good for road trips.”

She continued cutting my hair, then I asked, “So what do you like about the podcast?”

She stopped for a minute, thinking. “You made me think,” she said, with a small laugh. “I don’t know. It’s just…he asks good questions. It’s a good conversation.”

“Yea,” I said. “He has interesting people on the show.”

Later, I thought about what she said. It seemed generic, “good conversation”. I realized the simplicity was why the podcast worked for the millions of fans.

He just talked. There was no agenda. He started the podcast without trying to do anything but record his conversations. And his conversations weren’t politically stamped, although he did talk about politics. He talked about everything. Fitness, food, relationships, haters, and happiness. He wanted to have a discussion.

His curiosity made the dialogue less about lecturing you, or accusing people, and more about sharing information.

His intention was not to set an example, but he ultimately does set an example: Be curious, be resepctful, and don’t take yourself too seriously.

How sneaky if that was his agenda all along?