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from Bubbles = Tom Digby



Issue #12

New Moon of Dec 21, 1995

Contents copyright 1997 by Thomas G. Digby, with a liberal definition of "fair use". In other words, feel free to quote excerpts elsewhere (with proper attribution), post the entire zine (verbatim, including this notice) on other boards that don't charge specifically for reading the zine, link my Web page, and so on, but if something from here forms a substantial part of something you make money from, it's only fair that I get a cut of the profits.

For more background info, details of how the mailing list works, etc., look at issue #Zero.

If you email me a reply or comment, please make clear whether or not it's for publication.

It rained a few days ago. Rainy rain, water falling from the sky, probably from clouds. The phenomenon has long been known, even from the days of the ancients. They had all kinds of theories through the ages, such as rain being the tears of gods crying. Or gods watering plants. Or water vapor condensing on microscopic dust particles. Or that someday people would invent airplanes and then would invent time travel and come back to their ancient time in sprinkler planes and make rain. Thunder was supposedly the sound of the time portal opening and closing. Most scientists nowadays tend toward the water vapor theory, although some tabloid science columns favor gods or time travel.

And I found a spider in my rain gauge. The natural assumption is that it came from the same place rain comes from, although it's possible it may have been living in my yard all along and deliberately crawled into the rain gauge to confuse me.

Could we free-associate otherwise? Other wise? A fourth Wise Man at Christmas, hushed up because he kept saying "Humbug" because he foresaw the commercialization of Christmas a couple of thousand years down the line? "If we give this kid gold, frankincense, and myrrh, it'll lead to SHOPPING MALLS with their decorations up before Halloween and this whole thing will turn into an excuse for a sales orgy." Two of the others didn't believe a word of it, and the other was in cahoots with time- traveling retailers from the 22nd Century, so together they outvoted him. So the whole thing was hushed up, and they retouched the group portrait to take him out, and deleted the fourth man's verse from the song "We Four Kings" and retitled it down to three, and that is why Christmas is what it is today.

It's getting close to New Year's, and people will of course have lots of 1995 calendars that would seem to be of little use once 1995 is over. But they can be recycled:

How to Recycle your 1995 Calendars

1. Cross out all mention of Easter, Jewish holidays, Full Moons, and other astronomical and astrological items.

2. Cross out other stuff that can vary randomly, such as convention listings and other special events.

3. Cross out "1995" wherever it occurs and write in "2006" instead.

4. Put your new 2006 calendar (formerly a 1995 calendar) away until you need it.

Since there are only 14 different calendars, you can eventually collect the complete set.

For future years these instructions should be modified as follows:

     1995 = 2006 = 2017 = 2023 = 2034 = 2045 = 2051 = 2062, etc.
     1996 = 2024 = 2052 = 2080
     1997 = 2003 = 2014 = 2025 = 2031 = 2042, etc.
     1998 = 2009 = 2015 = 2026 = 2037 = 2043, etc. 
     1999 = 2010 = 2021 = 2027 = 2038 = 2049, etc. 
     2000 = 2028 = 2056 = 2084
     2001 = 2007 = 2018 = 2029 = 2035 = 2046, etc.
     2002 = 2013 = 2019 = 2030 = 2041 = 2047, etc. 

In general, to get the next year with the same days of the month on the same days of the week divide the starting year by 4. If it comes out even, add 28. If it doesn't come out even and the remainder is 1, add 6. Otherwise (remainder of 2 or 3) add 11. This will work for old years 1901 and later, and new years 2099 and earlier. (In other words, it won't work for intervals spanning 1900 and 2100, or any other year divisible by 100 but not by 400). But that's not likely to be much of a problem any time soon.

On San Fernando Road near Roscoe was a sort of Computer Junk Store (now gone). The idea leads to various fantasies of finding alien or magical stuff in the piles of unsorted whatever. There are stories of finding genie bottles or grimoires or cursed cameras or prophetic jigsaw puzzles in non-computer junk shops. So why not in computer junk shops?

Why not indeed? Lots of possibilities. You walk in, and there's a little old man with a 150 watt soldering iron working on something full of 1930's vacuum tubes. But there's also lots of newer-looking stuff piled around, including some that's unfamiliar. And some of the stuff on his bench looks hybrid, new and old and unknown.

Maybe the thing with the 1930's tubes wired to a Pentium mother board plus some stuff you don't recognize is a time machine that can go back as far as the "birth" of its oldest component. So he's found some older vacuum tubes somewhere, and once he has them wired in he can go back to the early 1930's or even the late 20's instead of his earlier limit of the late 40's. One of the first things he'll do is go back and scour the junk shops of 1930, looking for radios and such things that were old even then so he can use them to extend the range even farther. The newer stuff? That's for coming back, or maybe even going into the future.

Future? Maybe he can build something now that'll go into the future, or maybe not. Maybe future travel is at the mercy of future time travelers who come back to now with future components they can trade for old stuff to extend their past range. So a sort of trading network develops:

"I've got an Audion tube, 1924. What'll you give me for it?"

"How about this trilateral 3 GHz video compressor-multiplexer? I know it's only a 2002 manufacture date, but it'll take you up to around 2035."

This has something to do with the last date a component has been to, not counting time travel, or perhaps the last date it was at in working condition. Or something like that. Your guess is as good as mine.

Just read a Times column on how one TV station was filling time about how much they didn't know about this bit about Michael Jackson (the singer) maybe collapsing or something during rehearsals. "There's Important Stuff happening so we can't just run our regular programming, but there's no news coming in on that Important Stuff so we're basically trying to fill the time that would normally be devoted to our regular programming that isn't important enough to run now." Or so a satirist might say. And a satirist might even have them resorting to things like two anchors playing chess to while away the time, with commentary on the moves by chess experts. And so on.

                        The Birthday of the Light

On the Christmas morning comics page
Two people slogging through the crowds of shoppers
 pause to ask one another
"Isn't this all supposed to be somebody's birthday?"

Yes, it is.
This is the birthday of the Light.

Different people see the Light differently:
To many the Light is a babe in a manger,
A child destined to grow into a great teacher and healer,
Bringing the light of love to a world lost in darkness.

To others the light is the light of freedom,
Seen in the miracle of a lamp burning
Far longer than its meager supply of oil should have lasted
After the conquerors were driven from the Temple.

And still others celebrate winter sunlight
Bringing the promise of springtime
And reminding us to look at endings
As opportunities for new beginnings.

But even though we see the light differently
And hold different days in this season sacred to it,
Let us all look into the light together
To see opportunities for new beginnings
For a world of freedom and healing and love.

                                        Thomas G. Digby
                                        written 1230 hr 12/25/91
                                        entered 1905 hr 12/25/91

                                -- END --

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