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.
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June, at last. School's out. Or it was forty or fifty years ago, when my associations of various times of year with various events were forming. Because of school vacation I came to think of summer as a time of freedom. Not only is it freedom from the strictures of school, but in another climate it would be freedom from snow-belt winters that force Nature's creatures to take refuge in their dens. Yes, summer is Freedom Season, on several counts. Summer was also beach season, a season of play. Freedom and play. No wonder the beginning of June has such a powerful meaning for me.
I notice seasons when I see dates on things. In the middle of summer I may chance to look at an engineering drawing and see that it was drawn, for example, in mid-December of whatever year, and I think of how people must have been getting caught up in holiday moods. Or it's dated September or October and I think of the melancholy mood of the end of summer, the world sliding into another season of darkness. Or maybe it's November and I feel the stirrings of spring in something dated March or April. Even though I grew up in the Sunbelt, the seasons, such as they were, made their impressions.
I recall late Spring, the drowsy warmth of the classroom accentuated by the soothing drone of a distant lawn mower drifting in through the open windows. Or the Beach Festival, ringing in the official start of the summer tourist season. The Fourth of July picnic, bringing thoughts of how summer was getting close to half over. And in late August, Back To School sales in the stores. Round and round, but never the same twice.
That's one point I disagree with many Pagans on. They see existence as going round and round and round in an eternal cycle, a circle. I see more of a spiral, if it's round and round at all. Maybe it isn't. The sine or cosine of an imaginary number is an exponential, up and out instead of round and round. So minor a change, from some viewpoints, but so major a difference in the outcome. So deep down these two seemingly dissimilar forms are siblings. Something to ponder, even if it doesn't really mean anything beyond what amateur philosophers chance to read into it.
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I saw another newspaper article about brands of computers in the schools, and I'm reminded of someone else wondering what brand of computer to get at home so their children will learn on something up-to-date. My opinion is that they shouldn't worry about teaching their children specific brands, but instead should teach the ability to learn and adapt to new systems. Do like my high-school typing class where there were maybe a dozen different models of typewriters in the classroom, and every couple of weeks we switched around to a different machine. That way we weren't limited to any one model, but learned to adapt to change.
While "I can't use Machine X because we only had Machine Y in school" may be music to the ears of Manufacturer Y, such a student is ill-prepared for the future. Even if Manufacturer Y prospers, what when they replace Machine Y with Machine Y2? Better we give students an attitude more like "Oh wow, another new machine. How do I start learning to use it?"
"So then I gave the command to dive, and as the waves closed over the deck it suddenly dawned on me that I'd forgotten that this ship wasn't a submarine."
Things like computer programs often need to be printed out on paper because with paper I can spread it all out to see 50 or 100 lines of several things all at once, while the screen limits me to 24 lines and isn't as convenient for side-by-side comparisons. That's less than half a page of printout visible at any one time. Even the higher resolution monitors aren't all that much better, at least not yet.
I think that's one reason the paperless office concept hasn't taken off yet. Were I to have a screen the size of a small drafting table with a resolution comparable to dot matrix printout plus some pen-like pointing device to mark it up with the situation might be different. But that's asking for a screen maybe 20 inches across with a resolution of something like 2000 x 2000. And it should be some sort of flat-screen technology (not CRT) so I can work with it horizontal like a desk top or tilted like a drafting table. Increase the resolution by another factor of two and you could display an entire newspaper page actual size. That's what we need to go paperless. We may need other stuff too, but that's one necessary thing.
Of course some will say we don't need that kind of super display device. Simply bring up the next generation without paper and let the people who are accustomed to the old ways die off. Then you'll have a world of people content with the 24 x 80 character display window limited to one document (or even smaller portions of several documents) at a time. They'll have developed greater capacity to temporarily memorize things so they won't need to spread things out all over a table to work. In a sense that's a return to how our pre-literate ancestors used to routinely accomplish what we consider great feats of memory, and it makes some sense if brain cells are cheaper than display technology.
Again I encountered the cliche about it being darkest before the dawn. I don't think it's really darker before the dawn than it is after evening twilight, but it's colder because things have been cooling off all night. So the cold may make dawn seem darker.
There may also be some kind of effect of it being cloudier or foggier in the mornings, which may make predawn darker than earlier in the night. Maybe. So if that's the case it may statistically tend to be darkest before the dawn, but it's not a hard and fast rule. Have any studies been done on this?
It's the time of year for Gay Pride events, and as usual there's some disagreement about how people should or should not dress. I think it depends on what you think the purpose of the event is.
If it's a celebration, like gay Mardi Gras or something, then anything goes, the more the merrier, even if I personally don't care for it.
But maybe it isn't Mardi Gras. To some, Gay Pride seems to be more like a mass job interview, where we ask the straight world to give us a more respected role in society. If that's the case, then we should all dress the way we'd dress for work, assuming we all worked at respectable "normal" jobs. And since the media tend to give the most attention to the most outrageous elements, we can't just let the Mardi Gras faction do its own thing. We may need to clamp down and do our own version of Ethnic Cleansing on drag queens, Radical Fairies, leather people, facial piercings, and so on, on and on.
Which is it? I personally lean toward the Mardi Gras model, although it does vary some from group to group and from event to event.
The Balance of Trade I see by the calendar it's June again. Ho hum. June doesn't bust out all over L.A. like it does other places. Here it just sort of oozes in on cat feet like fog, The last cool gray scraps of winter being used up Like turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving. Nothing to write home about, And nothing to write poetry about. Yes, "June" here still rhymes with all the usual words Like "Moon" and "spoon" But there's something lacking. Some undefinable essence is missing. So even though Los Angeles exports all kinds of wondrous things Like Movie Stars and Hollywood, Not to mention more mundane goods, If it wants poems about June it must import them. -- Thomas G. Digby 23:39 Jun 12, 1996 13:34 Jun 13, 1996 -- END --
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