There was an article in the Sunday Times regarding the United States Pond Hockey Championships1. Reminded me of the skating rink we had in our backyard when I was a kid. Mom didn’t want us going down to the Rouge River, which was only a block away, to ice skate – she was sure the ice would break and we would drown. So she and Dad flooded the back yard. Before going to bed Dad would spray water on it so that we’d have a good skating surface. Then Mom would get up at about 3am to do the same. I had a hockey stick, but boy, was I bad at it. (My father was small, so never played hockey, but when he had been at Michigan State, he jumped barrels at half-time.) Photo of my brother on the rink. I’m the shadow.
The Times article (January 31) on Nigerian electricity2, or the lack thereof, evoked memories of Jamaica, where I was in the Peace Corps 35 years ago, teaching elementary teachers (who had only graduated from high school) how to teach math. You’ll have to read the article to appreciate this (see 2 below). Anyway, the workers at the electrical plant in Jamaica were often going on strike, so we’d have brownouts. One night I was reading in bed and noticed that the book was an inch from my nose. The light had been going out gradually so I kept moving the book closer. I looked at the bulb – it was almost brown.
Another time one of the schools I worked with was going to have the equivalent of a PTA meeting. My husband at the time wanted to impress them by showing a rented movie. The meeting was scheduled for 7pm, we had a quorum by 7:30, and at 7:35 the lights went out. So much for a movie. The principal gave the parents a tour of the school by candle light.
Because of the lack of confidence in the electricity, many people who could afford refrigerators (not many where I was stationed, “in da bush”) had kerosene refrigerators. It took a lot of hard thinking on my part to figure out how you made ice cubes from fire.
Transporter or Time Machine
Which you you prefer be invented, a Star Trek Transporter or a Back to the Future Time Machine?
If we all had transporters it would eliminate all cars, trucks, buses, trains, planes, ships, all gas-powered vehicles, reducing the need for so much gas, thereby helping solve Global Warming. (Gas would still be used for heating, cooking, drying your clothes, and so on.) And transporters would eradicate traffic jams. Plus you’d be able to sleep in an extra half hour, as you’d be rid of the commute.
Photo of: August 2010, China was crowned the unofficial “host” of the mother of all traffic jams, with a huge car panorama that stretched for more than 62 miles and lasted for 12 days.
However, everyone I asked would prefer to go back in time, preferably to when they were young. There are problems, of course, of messing with the past.
To better understand what we’re dealing with here, consider the famous grandfather paradox. You’re a time-traveling assassin, and your target just happens to be your own grandfather. So you pop through the nearest wormhole and walk up to a spry 18-year-old version of your father’s father. You raise your laser blaster, but just what happens when you pull the trigger?
Think about it. You haven’t been born yet. Neither has your father. If you kill your own grandfather in the past, he’ll never have a son. That son will never have you, and you’ll never happen to take that job as a time-traveling assassin. You wouldn’t exist to pull the trigger, thus negating the entire string of events. We call this an inconsistent causal loop...3
But I’d rather go back 2000 years to meet Jesus. (Yes, I would need a good translator for Aramaic with a Galilean dialect, so good that it would not only translate into my brain in English, but would speak my thoughts back in Aramaic.)
I would like to take surreptitious photos of him and his disciples to show in every church and cathedral in the world (bet he didn’t have blue eyes). But I’d really like to take Christians (one at a time, for a large sum of money, rather like space tourism, if I had the only time machine) to Galilee. Have a feeling that would charge Christianity today, all the way from the Pope to the Shakers.
Jesus was quoted as saying, It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 19:24. So all the money I’d amass would go to good projects, say maybe schools in Africa, if the men in charge agreed to allow girls to go to school too.
Gee, if Jesus and I got friendly, I could travel with Him to the 21st century. Would show him the movie Jesus Christ Superstar, take him to St. Peter’s in Rome and a prayer breakfast for the US House of Representatives.
Really – a Fifty Shades of Grey Bear for Valentine’s Day. (No – I haven’t read it. David Edelstein of NPR called it: writing so painful it leaves welts.)
Seen and heard yesterday
Since my kids got me a tablet for my birthday/Christmas, I can sit in bed and read my assignments for Scandalous Females in Film. Was doing so late yesterday afternoon when the cat started up and dashed from the room. Sure enough, a large coyote appeared from behind the creosote, on the other side of the fence, and sniffed around what I think is a rabbit warren.
A goldfinch (but only one!) visited the goldfinch feeder, which I had washed out and filled with new birdseed. Heard a lot of hammering on the far side of the saguaro, but chose not to fight the brush on the other side to possibly take a photo of the woodpecker.