Friday, September 21, 2007

Hot Air, Don't Watch, -and- Watchers

Hot Air - global-warming scientist warned of global freezing in 1971
Don't Watch - Turkey bans access to YouTube again
Watchers - Northern California fire stations under surveillance?

On this day in history: September 21, 1915 - With a winning bid of £6,600, Mr. Cecil Chubb purchases Stonehenge and 30 acres of land at auction. He donates the monument to the British state three years later.

Born on this day in history: September 21, 1947 - Stephen King (1947 - ____) novelist, short-story writer. He is the current master of popular horror stories; wrote "Carrie," 1954; "The Shining," 1976; and "It," 1986.

Scripture of the Day: "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Video of the Day: It's JerryTime: The Karate Date - submitted by Cindy

[While I slept} Cynthia called and asked whether I would like to go to the park with her and have a picnic. I said that sounded entertaining and would, indeed, like to do so. She suggested that we meet at her house and travel to the park in her vehicle. I agreed and said that I had a few chores to do and would meet her in an hour. She said that would be fine.

I spent the next hour tending to my chores: I watered the houseplants, took out the garbage and rolled the dumpster to the street for the following day’s pickup, fed the tropical fish in my large salt-water aquarium, and showered. I dressed in shorts, Hawaiian shirt, and sandals, dried my hair, and began the drive to Cynthia’s house.

As I drove, I was suddenly aware that I could not recall where Cynthia lived. I consulted my Pocket PC and quickly found Cynthia’s address. I was, however, unfamiliar with the street and had no idea how to reach Cynthia’s house. I checked my cell phone and determined there was no listing for Cynthia. I consulted my Pocket PC again and found that Cynthia’s listing showed only her email address, street address, and work telephone number. There was no entry for her home telephone number. I returned to my house, got Cynthia’s home telephone number from the Caller ID on my home telephone, and entered this into my Pocket PC and cell phone. I returned to my red Dodge Charger R/T and called Cynthia using the hands-free UConnect feature as I drove. When she answered, I told her I needed directions to her house, and she laughed and said, “You’re kidding, right?” I assured her I was serious, and she gave me directions—speaking in a flat tone that indicated she was displeased that I could not recall where she lived.

As I followed Cynthia’s directions and drove toward her house, I found myself in an area of the city with which I was unfamiliar. I was certain I had never been here previously. Soon, I was at Cynthia’s house. It did not look familiar. The white Chevrolet Tahoe in the driveway did look familiar, however. It had distinctive aftermarket wheels and tires, and the rear license plate looked particularly familiar and said, “CYNDY 1.” Obviously, I was at Cynthia’s house.

I rang the doorbell, and Cynthia quickly answered the door. At least, I assumed it was Cynthia, since I suddenly realized that I had no recollection of what Cynthia looked like or any details about her life! I felt very confused and attempted to hide my confusion with a friendly smile. “Great!” she said. “You made it. I wasn’t sure if you could follow my directions or not.” “The directions were good,” I said. “So you really don’t remember being here before?” she asked, as she motioned me to enter.

I decided to be completely honest: “Cynthia,” I said, “not only do I not recall having been here, I do not recall you at all. I do not recognize you as someone whom I know.” “Well,” she said, “that’s sure flattering.” She was obviously upset. I rued having upset her but did not regret my honesty. “Cynthia,” I said, “you are a particularly lovely young lady, and I am certain that had we met previously, I would not forget you!” This softened Cynthia’s tone and facial expression, and she said, “Well, let’s write it off to too much wine and not enough sleep—on your part, k? I sure remember you. You charmed me totally and made my friend, Heather, green with envy when you played that song I wrote on a napkin and had the cocktail waitress give to you and you pointed right at me and smiled and read my name on the napkin and said, ‘Cynthia, this song’s for you.’” My head began to spin. I had not performed on stage for over ten years! I felt dizzy and walked to a sofa and sat. “How about some Chablis?” she asked. “We don’t need to leave for a while. I’m still getting the picnic stuff ready.” “That sounds great,” I said, relieved by the notion that Cynthia would be occupied in the kitchen, and I would have time to gather my thoughts. She quickly brought me a glass of Chablis and disappeared. I sipped the wine and relaxed and thought.

As I sipped the wine and mused about what Cynthia had said, my eyes fell upon a large tarantula, sitting on the nearby coffee table. It did not move, and I wondered whether it were alive. My curiosity bade me to investigate: I reached out and prodded the creature gently with the forefinger of my right hand. It did not react. “Ah,” I thought to myself, “it is either the product of taxidermy or a particularly realistic ersatz tarantula.”

Cynthia entered the room, carrying a picnic basket in one hand and an ice chest in the other, and said, “I see you’ve met Howard.” “Howard?” I replied. “The tarantula? Is it real and stuffed, or is it just a really detailed toy spider?” “Howard isn’t either one! He’s an AC/DC spider!” “An AC/DC spider? What in the world is an ‘AC/DC spider.’” I asked. Cynthia gave me a puzzled look and said, “Are you serious? You don’t know?” I assured her that I had no knowledge of AC/DC spiders. “Oh, but they’re so popular these days, it’s amazing you haven’t seen one before.” She continued, still looking puzzled, “Howard is a robotic spider. He eats flies, and when he eats flies, he recharges his system from the power in the flies.” “Oh, I see,” I said. It must have been obvious that I did not “see” at all. “Right now,” she said, “Howard is discharged, because there aren’t enough flies in here. I’ll have to plug him in and recharge him.” She put down the ice chest and picnic basket, removed a cable from her purse, connected one end of the cable to Howard’s rear and the other to a nearby wall socket, and said, “This should only take a couple of minutes. Let’s stow the picnic stuff in my Tahoe while Howard recharges.” Off we went to stow the picnic basket and ice chest in Cynthia’s Tahoe.

When we returned to the living room, Howard’s eyes were glowing bright red. “Good,” Cynthia said, “Howard’s all charged up and ready to go with us to the park!” “Great,” I answered. Just as Cynthia unplugged Howard and reached to pick him up, a fly buzzed near him. Howard quickly leaped into the air, caught the fly on his tongue, and noisily devoured it! As he devoured the fly, Howard’s body shook, the hairs on his body vibrated, and his eyes glowed and pulsated—alternating from bright to dim several times. After a few moments, the shaking ceased, and his eyes turned black. Cynthia placed Howard in her purse, and we departed for the park.

The park was lovely. Massive oak trees shaded the picnic table at which we sat. We feasted upon the various delicacies Cynthia took from the picnic basket, sipped Chablis, and enjoyed the sounds of the gentle breeze in the trees, the water in a nearby stream, and birds singing. A fly buzzed near Howard. Howard ignored it. Cynthia saw this and said, “Oh, poor Howard. He’s all run down again!” She took a car adapter from her purse and charged Howard in her Tahoe. A few minutes later, she returned Howard to the picnic table. I had my camera and took dozens of photographs of the park, Cynthia, and Howard.

We continued to enjoy the food and wine and the various sounds of the park. Nearby, a small girl chased after a small puppy. They appeared to be alone. I saw no sign of the girl’s guardian. I turned to remark to Cynthia that the little girl seemed to be alone, and Cynthia was not there. I turned a bit more and saw her walking toward the restrooms. I turned back to see the little girl and the puppy, but they had disappeared. A familiar sound drew my attention to Howard. He was greedily devouring large flies. His eyes glowed bright red and pulsated, and his body shook greatly.

When Cynthia had not returned after several minutes, I walked to the restrooms and called her name. The little girl I had seen previously exited the women’s restroom, followed by the puppy. “Are you looking for someone?” she asked. “I am looking for my friend, Cynthia,” I replied. “She must be inside.” “There’s no one in there,” the little girl said. She and her puppy walked away.

I returned to the picnic table. The ice chest and picnic basket were gone. Cynthia’s Tahoe was gone. Howard was gone. My camera bag was the only item on the table! I picked up my camera bag and walked toward the entrance to the park. Along the way, I encountered friends. They appeared to be preparing to leave. I asked them for a ride and gave them directions to Cynthia’s house.

When we arrived at Cynthia’s house, my Charger was there, but Cynthia’s Tahoe was not. In the driveway was an older Jeep Cherokee. I thanked my friends for the ride and walked to the door. A gentleman answered the door and said there was no one there named Cynthia. He asked me whether the Charger were mine, and when I replied that it was, he asked me why I had parked it in front of his house. “I have no idea,” I said. I walked to my car and drove home.

I downloaded the photographs from my camera onto my laptop. When I viewed them, there were images of the park, the little girl, and the puppy. There were no images of Cynthia or Howard, although I had taken several photographs of them! I sat in my recliner and thought about the day’s events. Soon, I was asleep.

When I awakened, it was dark. The blinking light on the answering machine attracted my attention. I walked to the machine and pressed “Play.” “Hi! This is Cynthia. I just wanted to say I had a great time today, and I hope you won’t forget me again!”

I awakened. It was morning. I was in bed. I realized, with great relief, that it had all been a dream.

The telephone rang. I answered it. It was Cynthia. She asked whether I would like to go to the park with her and have a picnic.