Friday, June 23, 2017

06 2317c

6 inches of rain
fell in three days
weeds stretch fingers high


feeder's empty
clouds of birds blot out the sun
in their ceaseless search


Data Note: A recently recovered Principalian stasis object

Author: Network ArEG

A small [12K] damaged data file, proton-coded using a simple variant of Sless26's Algorithm, was found in a stasis module of Principalian age. This was the only surviving item in the module. The code format was previously unknown, but maximum-parsimony analysis suggests it is close to the root of Sless26, rather than a derived form. A transcript of the file's contents follows.


"The Kielbasa Machete," by Sycamore Hudson, is a deceptively simple novel of sophont trafficking on a decaying L-point habitat. Reference to traditional human food and agricultural implements in the book's title is meant to convey the persistence of cultural artifacts from one society to its successors. The author, an historically referenced construct, was instantiated by IBQ a.u., which first incorporated in the Sol system.

In this, its 6th novel, Hudson continues exploring the world of the Relevancy, a time now more than 3 centuries past. We return to Canis Miner, the mineral-extraction a.u. staffed primarily by uplifted canids. The protagonist of "Riding the GM" returns, but as an elder statesbeing. Helena Malamute-Wong is a VP of CM. The protagonist of TKM is Loh Neptune, a tool designer from the Oort Republic.

Neptune has lost his backup to a bolide that perforated a vault belonging to the First Memory Bank of Centaurus. All he knows about himself comes from the last 2 years. He broke up with his life partner, a felid (!), on their anniversary. Why? He doesn't know. His quest to recover the romantic ruin that is his life leads him to the most dangerous sections of the habitat, and plunges him into the midst of a shadow economy fueled by ruthless exploitation. Ultimately, he stumbles onto evidence for a plot aimed at the heart of the Relevancy itself, and makes himself a target for every trafficker and kidnap-for-hire ring in the system. And so on.

A good read, TKM is lacking in accuracy: Hudson has bent history in service of plot. For instance, Neptune uncovers evidence of a zygote robbery that included the last 9 frozen humans. These zygotes, if they ever existed, would have been destroyed long before the even1Sq366,#

--end of file--

Analysis of this document has just begun, but it may be a part of the Organic Litsum, thought to have been lost in the Second Nanobreak. Analytical results will be presented at the next Conflex.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Cindy rains and rain
fond memories of last year's drought
grow like fungus on our feet


Conjure Woman

Mama made a leaf man the year Daddy ran off. She said a leaf man wouldn't hold up well, but he'd last long enough. I didn't want her to send anything after Daddy. Even though I was glad he was gone, and not just because Tom and I could get real private in his workshop. Mama didn't know about what Daddy did, and she would have been real mad. Madder than she was.

Mama was particular about the leaves. Oak for strength, willow for passion, cane for flexibility, pecan for the mind. It's important, she said, to get the right mix. Otherwise, leaf men won't mind hardly at all. No more than real-life ones.

She didn't let me watch, said I didn't have the conjure spirit. She was right. I could never do some of that stuff you had to do. Hard enough to do what Tom wanted when we were alone together.

When it was done she led the leaf man to Daddy's workshop. The creature wasn't big. It was late in the year and I'd had trouble finding enough good leaves. If you use spoiled leaves the leaf man will be spoiled, she said. He was shaggy, leaves sticking out everyplace, but he moved like he had a purpose and meant to get to it.

Mama whispered in his ear. He leaned to the door like he was getting a scent, then made off down the road. That's when I thought I should say something, even though Mama would find out about Tom and me. It was too late: the leaf man was gone, and I kept quiet.

When the Sheriff told us, I knew he suspected Mama, but he never charged her. I didn't tell, just like I didn't tell Mama about Tom. The way I screamed when the Sheriff told how Tom was found, and the look she gave me...she knew. Had sent her creation after Tom apurpose, never after Daddy. I hated her then, left home soon after. I had nightmares for years about how it must've been like, choking on leaves and them keeping on coming as the thing crawled down his throat. Tom pulling them out and out, but never fast enough.

Now she needs me; can't talk or hardly move since the stroke. I sit by the bed, and the look she gives me now, I think we're both wondering: do I _still_ hate her?

Publ. 2009,

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Stone lithography

I am looking into the commercial uses of various kinds of stone, in connection with helping to revise a book about all of the rock formations in the state of Alabama. I know that, once upon a time, printing was done by means of stone lithography, and it must have been big business, because newspapers were printed that way. So there must have been stone lithography, probably in the 19th century, in Alabama. Where did the stone come from? There is near lithographic quality limestone in the Tuscumbia Limestone, according to a paper I have seen. An art professor and I took a look at some Bangor limestone, because he was interested in making some lithographic art prints from it, but that investigation never went anywhere. The stone that we saw contained scattered small fossils which were too large and would have rendered the limestone unusable for lithography. So, if anyone knows where lithographic limestone was mined/quarried for the purpose of printing newspapers or anything else, in Alabama, please let me know.

Update: I have been told that at least some of the stone probably came from Kentucky. Slim pickings, information lies, but it is something.


Summer Solstice of Love

the sun stood still on the solstice
so it was a while before people noticed
its peculiar rays penetrated
flesh like blown glass
the shadows of organ systems
pumping was distracting at first
more so than opaque flesh might have been
but the people got used to it
as we have a habit of doing
and there was something in the way
her bellows moved
that told me she was the one