Monday, November 30, 2009

On the Eve of Destruction.

This was a great old tune by a guy named Barry McGuire

It seemed apropos to today as another Barry is about to give us his decision on pouring more lives down the rat hole of war. The leaked number is 30,000 more troops. I have no reason to believe that number and the actual number is not that important in the long run. The cost of 30,000 troops will be an additional 30 billion dollars. That is thirty billion dollars every year for as long as they are there. In February of this year the President already escalated the war to a total of 34,000 troops. Combat troops with their support units.This was done in a deceptive manner in my opinion but I have made no bones about my opinion of this administration and the truth. Charlie Gibbs and Dana Perino lie with equal alacrity and as Dana’s lying netted her a cushy job in government why not?
I have been working on writing fiction in a furious and frenzied attempt to write a novel in a month and so I may tend to ramble but to the topic at hand. The Graveyard of Empires that is Afghanistan and A deeper issue, what as a nation do we value?
Last year we spent 130 billion on hot wars along with another 750 billion on the military industrial complex. Another 30 billion on top of that seems like chicken feed. It does until you consider that 160 billion is twice what the estimated cost of health care reform will be. 840 billion over ten years.
This does not take into account the fact that we are financing the enemy as well we have to bribe the Taliban to let our convoys through to resupply our soldiers. For a frame of reference The gross domestic product of Afghanistan in 2008 was 11.7 billion dollars.
The escalation of our part in this war not including the money and men contributed by NATO is three times the entire countries economy.

Much like In Iraq no one is counting the number of civilians we are killing on a regular basis. We may never no how many people are dying to keep a corrupt government in charge of a failed nation. We have no more right to murder the citizens of Afghanistan and Pakistan then the terrorists conducting their attacks on 9/11. We could have done it right but we hired the awful scum that were so terrible to their own people that welcomed the Taliban with open arms to get rid of them and are shocked when they screw everything up.
We have the same criminal crony capitalists in charge of the money supply that destroyed our economy impoverishing only those at the bottom. The Rich are doing quite nicely in the same old story.
Now the Same criminals that tortured and lied under Bush are Torturing and Lying under Obama, Gates and McChrystal.
We were told during the campaign that it was foolish to trust those that drove us into the ditch to get us out, Of course we were also told that the guys that screwed up the Financial system and lost all the poor folks money were the only ones that could save us. The scientific approach of a god waddder that thinks prayer will solve everything.
Since you are evidently not the smartest man on the planet I will say it slowly for you.
There are no good wars.
Your are murdering people everyday in these wars and in our own country by wasting resources on the continued American love of killing brown folks.
You are about to do your usual half assed compromise crap and lose politically as well as get a shitload of people killed for no good reason.
You are going to get creamed by the right for not giving the Generals all the tools to win and when you lose it will be your fault. You cant win with the left without ending the war.
You lied about federal wiretaps you lied about Guantanamo you let the war criminals walk with impunity and now you will kill thousands more before you fail again. Hey, hey LBJ how many kids did Obama kill today?
Do I think this screw-up will be the end of the world? Probably not but the folks in the Kremlin probably didn’t think it would destroy their country either.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Some frantic rantings

Have been frantically scribbling away at my Novel in a Month "the Socrates Code" here is another taste.
Over coffee and muffins the next morning each of the four scientists
had a new method of inquiry to bounce off the others.
Sefton wondered aloud if they could get another crack at the originals. “There might be some pollen grains that could be isolated.”
“I think that will be problematic.” Anna replied glancing in Dunbar’s direction. “And it has nothing to do with the famous J. Alan Dunbar contempt for padres even though it was on display. But it might be possible to get a look at the shelf space they occupied.” She shrugged, “that would be a best case scenario.”
Writing sample comparisons was Anna‘s idea. “If it is the work of one of the known scholars we may be able to find similar writing in a database. We have a time frame to work with.” she laughed “J. already has a guess.”
“Do tell us Dunbar.” Sefton said in a voice dripping with satire. “Let us bask in your intuitive genius.”
Laughing slightly, “Hypatia of Alexandria. No reason other than I happened to be staring at her likeness in a painting the other day. That and she fit’s the time line. Not to mention that she had access to the best database the world had at that point in time.”
Anna noted that J. had expanded his argument but it was still thin to the point of anorexia. “What about you Dr. Fontaine, what do you think?”
“The isotopic distributions of the vellum. That could narrow down the possibilities.”
“I like that.” Dunbar added. “If it turns out to be an unknown that may be all we ever know.” That put a damper on the conversation for a few seconds. “Of course we are all ignoring the obvious answer.” He looked across the table at Dr. Fontaine and smiled. “That Dr. F. was right last night and this is an elaborate hoax to save the embarrassment of having a Nazi Pope.”
The other three looked at him questions forming but he put up his hand to stave them off. “They have all the equipment, access, motive out the wazoo and Balgus was too good a scientist to have not seen what was on those pages.” he said ticking off the points on his fingers. “You have to admit that seems a lot more plausible than the alternative.”
“Wait a minute Dunbar.” Sefton beat the others to the punch “Weren’t you arguing just the opposite position before?”
“Not exactly, I was arguing that the data were correct and I still say they are.” He took a sip from his coffee. “I am just saying the hoax angle is still the most likely explanation. Before we get into a holy war perhaps we should confirm on a second set of instruments.”
“J. Dunbar the voice of reason when it comes to religion.” Sefton laughed, “Isn’t that the 5th sign of the apocalypse, right before the rain of frogs.”
“He is jut being contrary. Last night we were all skeptical except him now that we are onboard.” Anna trailed off trying hard not to start laughing again. “He is right first thing is to pick a confirming lab. “Do we have enough stuff left to test?”
“The Livermore guys have equipment good enough to make do with what we have left.” Dr. Fontaine said musing almost to herself. “I’m sure someone at the FRED has connections there.” She looked at Dunbar, “but you don’t fool me for a minute. You are every bit as convinced as the rest of us.”
A sheepish grin was his only reply.
“Well I have data to analyze,” Anna said rising and giving Dunbar a peck on the cheek. “Coming Sefton?”
Dunbar watched her walk away wistfully and then the others were saying good bye as well. He asked the concierge if he could find him a bicycle and the tall stern looking young man assured him it be his pleasure. 5 minutes later he was riding out into the city trying to work the stiffness out of his knees. 20 minutes later he was hopelessly lost in his own thoughts as well as in real life.
The phone brought him back to reality a couple of hours later. Anna was letting him know his presence was requested for lunch with the Man with No Name and the rest of their team back at the hotel. His French was good enough to get him directions and his German good enough to read the road signs. He assured her he would arrive on time. He didn’t have to ask about her results. If anything had changed he knew she would have led off with that.
His calculations had not factored in time for a shower and he was late arriving to the table. “Sorry guys,” he said hope you haven’t been waiting too long?” he said genuinely apologetic.
Anna gave him a smile, the others non committal waves and grunts as they were examining the menu intently. The waiter appeared and he ordered sliced fruit, some pasta and 2 liters of water when the others had finished.
“I hope you got to see the city Mr. Dunbar?” the nondescript man in the charcoal suit began. “ We have reservations for San Francisco departing this evening.”
Dunbar sipped at his water and looked at the others in turn. “I guess it
Will have to do then.” he said returning Anna’s smile. Then over her shoulder he thought he recognized some one. It was Sarducci out there in the lobby. He was in a suit rather the vestments but it was him. And the he was gone.
“Something wrong J.?” Anna asked.
Dunbar shook his head, “thought I saw puddy cat.” he laughed. “Thought I saw that priest out there Father Sarducci. Sorry been an odd couple of days.”
The nondescript man looked toward the lobby then he took out a notepad and scribbled a few lines. “Probably nothing but it will be looked into. So you think we are being served by the “God Squad” that the gist of it Dunbar?”
He had been considering that question from every conceivable angle for the last two hours on the bike. “Yes at this point that seems much more likely than the alternative.”
The others look at him and the at each other. “I have to concur.” it was Sefton spoke up first and the others quickly concurred.
“Have you figured out how?” The nondescript man asked.
“Haven’t a bloody clue mate. The question is are they going to get away with it?” Dunbar looked around the table. “I for one am going to do what I can to see that the answer to that question is an emphatic no.”
Again the others were quick to concur.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another Brick in the Wall

Having A quiet day building the Socrates Code word by word, brick by brick much the way a wall is built. It can be a physical wall or a wall of waves in the middle of nowhere. So enjoy a little Floyd and chapter 3 of the Socrates code

Chapter 3
His shot at redemption would be delayed he thought as he saw the nondescript man in the nondescript charcoal suit sitting at one of the café’s tables. He and Anna shared a quick glance before sitting down at his table. Dunbar looked for the waiter but he was nowhere to be found.
“I trust thing went well.” the man said glancing at the laptop Dr. Foucault placed on the table.
“Yes, quite well.” Anna answered him beating J. to the punch. “We have everything we should need to serve both agendas.”
“Excellent.” the man said tenting his fingers in a perfect Monty Burns.
That sent all three of them laughing. “The lab in CERN has the closest facilities. We think it best to get these out of the area quickly.” the man said his face returning to nondescript in the flash of an eye, “The delicate nature of removing samples without permission, all these nasty antiquities regulations and such.”
The guy was again all business as if the moment of levity had never happened. Getting out of Dodge suited Dunbar just fine. At least the Swiss coffee would be easier on his stomach. “What time does the train leave?” he asked finally catching the waiters eye.
“Just enough time for a drink in this place”, the man laughed as the waiter approached. “Midnight.”
Anna handed the man a flash drive along with a small case containing the physical samples she had collected. “You two go ahead, I’ve a few things to attend to.” With that she was off.
Dunbar and his companion, “The Man With No Name” J. was beginning to call him in his head, shared a glass of a rather lively cabernet before he extricated himself to pack. There was also the matter of a certain back in need of scrubbing.
He slept better on trains than planes and he felt pretty fresh when they stepped onto the platform in Geneva. That and Swiss service made breakfast in the Hotel President Wilson dream. Sausages with potato pancakes smothered in lingonberries and a steaming mug of cocoa. The Man With No Name had disappeared on the train and Dunbar fully expected to never see the man again. The address and time of their meeting at the lab had been waiting for the at the Hotel in another God is Dead-gram. He had chosen food she had chosen yoga. He hoped she was as pleased with her decision as he was with his. If he hurried back to the room perhaps they could discuss it in the shower.
Later as she was enjoying the fruit and rolls he had brought for her stretched out languidly on the bed she decided to broach the subject of the symbols. “You don’t think there is any chance those are authentic do you?”
“That a 4th century scientist beat Herr Bohr to the structure of the atom or that it has been sitting in a file cabinet since the 30’s without anyone noticing?” he asked pulling on his jeans.
“Be nice.”
“Actually what was bothering me was that I kind of half believe it.” he ran a towel over his shaved head. “The second part is almost certainly true. Our collaborating cardinal hadn’t a clue what he was scribbling on.” He joined her on the bed and began gently rubbing her feet. “I’m thinking some novitiate used some old parchment to do his chemistry homework on. They recycle or so I’ve been told.”
“Entirely rational and entirely boring, no pun intended.” She giggled. They do recycle old parchments but I’ve never heard of recycled ink.” She pointed to a particular set of lines on the spectrographic readout. That set of lines tells me that it is old 12th century at least.” she smiled and stood up and began dressing. “ I like the Idea of a forger. It’s not anymore likely but infinitely more interesting.” With that she ended the discussion by switching
On her blow dryer and beginning to brush her hair.
“No fair” he said. “You looked at the data.” I thought we were still at the wild speculation phase.” He laughed.
He looked back at the screen and the data with one eye while watching Anna put on her stockings with the other. An iron oak ink with that isotopic breakdown was indeed of the same period she had pegged the vellum to. Curiouser and curiouser he thought rolling off the bed to finish getting ready to go for what he hoped wouldn‘t be down the rabbit hole.
6 hours later he was convinced that they were all the way through the looking glass.
The parchment dated to 415 CE. As did the ink. Of course that was plus or minus 5 years. Most of the ink had aged away but the 3d scanner revealed the extent of the writings. By every test they could think to run the symbols had been laid down 1600 years ago. They also confirmed that a certain cardinal had assisted the Nazis in laundering the proceeds of the Holocaust. But that had been an after thought.
The Mad Hatter moment had come when the team had broken out the white boards in an attempt to decode the writing. Detailed orbital diagrams of 65 different elements. Dunbar would have said 67 but two of the diagrams were incomplete. By the way they were arranged he was sure there was at least one other piece. Two if they new about the Actinides. They were looking at what had to be the first periodic table of elements. First by 1500 years. At this point Dunbar was the only one prepared to believe it. Anna was almost with him but she argued that he ancient numbering system could have been astrological data. She was not prepared to say which astronomical bodies but when Sefton had put the idea forth she had liked it.
Dunbar admitted that his explanation was out there but the numbers were too perfect. No chemist could fail to see it no matter how impossible the idea was. He would be patient and let them debunk the idea themselves. That and Dr. Fontaine’s theory that their instruments had all malfunctioned at the same time in the most perfect Heisenberg cluster cataclysm predicted by the Mayans come 3 years early. Dr. Fontaine had a very well defined sense of the absurd.
Having decided the best use of his time would be spent verifying the accuracy of the data while Sefton and Foucault searched the sky charts for this particular pattern. The ritual of repeating the experiment would free him up to wrap his head around the most fantastic discovery he was ever likely to be a part of. This would be their Champollion moment. All they needed to
do was figure out who wrote it. Piece of cake.
At dinner that evening the four of them ate little and talked less. There were several aborted attempts to start conversation but they all led back to the tea party and it seemed everyone was under the spell of the Queen of Hearts. The software would continue the search through the night but even Sefton had concluded that there was nothing visible that could account for the patterns. Instrument failure had not been totally ruled out but much to Dr. Fontaine’s relief the end of the world was not imminent as everything we tested passed.
“Perhaps we should call it a night,” Dunbar finally said “Good nights sleep and back at it fresh in the morning and all that.” his cheesy British accent got a groan from Anna, the other two were kind enough to ignore it.
“You can sleep?” Sefton asked. “When I get something like this my mind wont let it go until I get it or I drop.”
J. couldn’t remember why everyone just called Sefton, Sefton. It had always been thus. I didn’t mean actual sleep I simply want to go stair at the ceiling over my bed for a while. My back is killing me and the look on you guys faces is starting to creep me out.”
“Fair enough, I think I will hit the pool for a few hundred laps.” Sefton stood up, “good night all.”
“Good night,” Dunbar replied also standing to leave. “You ladies will excuse us,” he smiled and followed Sefton into the lobby.
He was still thinking about the Rapheal Fresco of the philosophers when Anna joined him several hours later. Which one of you guys was responsible for this he thought as her arms engulfed him and his thoughts turned to the feminine.
When they finished making love they both lay awake her head on his chest. “Hypatia of Alexandria“, Dunbar said softly. “She’s the one I’m betting on.”
“Really? Any particular reason behind that or is it just the cool sounding name?”
“Thin as it is she fit’s the time line.” He could feel her smile. “The name is kind of cool though isn‘t it?” he chuckled.
“I don’t think the others realize that the real work starts tomorrow.” With that Anna rolled over and went to sleep.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why I fight for what I fight for

The answer to the "why are we here question" is not going to make the world a better place because even if you found it most people wouldn't believe it. I say this because we actually have answered it scientifically and around the world people refuse in droves to accept it.
There is no reason behind the beginning and there is nothing after the end. What we have in between, because we are sentient, is the opportunity to create a world in which we can all enjoy the fruits of knowledge. As long as we sell the ignorant on pie in the sky they will never have pie. It is my position that we could all have pie at some point if we stopped being ignorant assholes. There really is a lot of pie. We may need to have fewer people but we definitely need a more equitable pie man.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chapter 2

scan0020 Chapter 2
Morning came too soon for J. Alan Dunbar but as always morning failed to give a Damn. Yesterdays hot water supply had been an illusion designed to catch him in full lather when the shaved ice came streaming from the shower head. The café had also been a cruel deception. Forty minutes after he and his chattering teeth sat down a pot of coffee arrived at the table along with the news that the kitchen was now closed. It didn’t help that his Italian sucked, maybe the guy hadn’t referred to him as the son of a pig.
Anna would be in front of some painting with a note pad working on
another textbook. Whenever the job brought them here she tried to get in as much museum time as possible. The place was way to Christy for her taste so she didn’t want to waste her research funds on it. The woman was naturally manic with more energy than any 3 ordinary people. The good thing was that she knew it and didn’t expect him to keep up. He chuckled to himself, she loved him in spite of his sloth.
The streets were bustling with people today furthering the bizarro world mood that had gripped him. He flagged a cab and headed for the complex temple to bureaucracy that was the Vatican.
The cabby was content to rail at the passers by leaving J. free to go over his notes on the ride. The tests were pretty straight forward. Chromatography of inks took very little material and Anna could probably date the paper with small strip an edge. This would be a diplomatic argument more a negotiation than a fact finding. Dunbar suspected the clergy already new the answer and were simply looking to save any further public disgrace. With the name he had seen that seemed impossible. Of course doing the impossible was part of the job description at FRED.
The Friedrich Nietzsche Society had been founded as a think tank in Washington D.C. to combat the wave of Conservatives and Libertarian proselytizers with hard science. Quickly realizing the futility of that move he abandoned trying to argue with the propagandists and funded research around the globe. As rich as his high tech bets had made him he couldn’t compete with the 1%‘ers that ruled politics.
He hadn’t abandoned justice though and part of the requirements for taking FRED money for your research was to provide your skills to aide the victims of ignorance whenever possible. Dunbar routinely processed DNA tests for groups like the innocence project in his lab. He had also done field work on mass graves back in the days before his accident. He did not miss that in the least. Authenticating documents was not his regular gig but he had done it on occasion. He suspected his prior relationship with Dr. Foucault had been the deciding factor in his being given this assignment. That and the fact that he had been available.
The cab dropped him on a side street and Dunbar tip the man for having the wisdom to leave him alone.
“Grazie senior, the square is right over there.” the driver said pointing to an opening in the bricks.
“Prego”, he replied crossing the street and ducking into the doorway. He walk out into St Peter’s Square with all of its’ pigeons and tourists and
dudes in long black robes. The architecture was an impressive sight no matter how many times you have seen it before. The ultimate Palace of Presumption, Home to the self proclaimed representative of god and storehouse of documents uncounted. He spotted Anna’s teal scarf on the steps and slowly made his way through the crowd to join her.
She had selected a white blouse today under the same dark suit. That served to accentuate the vibrant color of the scarf. She waved as he approached.
“J. Alan Dunbar meet Father Sarducci and Father Balgus. They were the fortunate archivists that uncovered the documents in question.” She spoke in an ironic tone that matched the sheepish looks of the two priests perfectly.
Dunbar shook hands with the men and then followed them inside unspeaking. These guys were looking for any crack in the stones to crawl in and hide. Did taking pleasure in the squirming of the young charlatans make him a bad person? Probably but screw them, covering up for Holocaust profiteers should make one feel a bit ill at ease.
Dunbar was glad he saved his walking for inside the building as they wandered through the labyrinth of corridors turning seemingly at random. The halls at first had been crowded and with each turn the path was less used. Until they reached an office with no designation on the door.
They entered a room as modern as any lab he had ever been in. A Van Gough Pieta hanging on the wall was the one remarkable feature. A light table with several stools sat off to one side and the priests gestured for them to be seated. Father Balgus joined them while Sarducci went over and unlocked file cabinet.
The priest withdrew 3 documents sealed in plastic wrap before relocking the cabinet and joining them at the table. Balgus brought out several pairs of nitrile gloves and then began the process of unwrapping today’s little presents. Sarducci watching the whole time.
They had worked out a plan of action last night before making love with a familiarity that had been missing in the first night’s urgency. Anna would concentrate on the primary documents while J. would spend his time distracting the priests. They needed to get complete scans of both sides of these pages, if not for the crime they would simply have stolen them but they had both greed that was not an option. Anna had burst out laughing at the idea of a pope taking a perp walk through the Hague. He waited for her to have her laptop ready while making a show of reading the documents.
His feigned look of shock as he concluded must have met with Sarducci’s approval as the man relaxed a bit. He used the tweezers to shift the documents around before asking to look at their spectrometer.
Father Balgus led him over to an array of instruments and for the first time dropped his banal façade. He was proud of his lab and judging by what he was shown Dunbar though justifiably so. The had the capacity to do long column chromatography as well as electron microscopy. Dunbar felt a twinge of guilt at what he was about to do.
Father Sarducci had ignored them his eyes riveted to the pages. J. expected that and with a bit of jealous fawning put Balgus in scientist mode from that of priest. Just as his guard dropped J. reached out and tweaked the dial of the scope causing the heavy set father Balgus to let out a pained squeal.
“No”, he shrieked as Dunbar jumped back to deliberately block the view of Sarducci. As he did so he knocked one of the reagent beakers to the floor. “I am so sorry”, he said shifting again to deny the moving Sarducci a look at Balgus who after rescuing his camera was now dancing back to keep sulfuric acid from burning the hem of his cassock.
Anna waited as father Sarducci danced back and forth in an effort to see what damage her partner was causing. Finally the man could resist no more and as he rushed to poor baking soda on the spill she deftly scanned the three documents into the computer.
“Please Mr. Dunbar, try to be more careful.” Father Balgus said taking the knob he had spun off the microscope from him.
J. adopted a chastened look and sat back down at the table. Father Sarducci regain his composure and resumed his post overseeing the operation. Balgus joined them and they both sat quietly Dr. Foucault pointed out the pertinent facts that authenticated the writings and confirmed the crimes.
It was a bit anticlimactic when the tests confirmed her statements and as they left around 4 pm Father Balgus was decidedly relived that his lab was still in one piece. Collecting a second set of physical samples for use back at the FRED had required two additional near disasters.
Father Sarducci had offered a tour of the Apostolic Palace to Anna before Dunbar had arrived. A move he was now probably deeply regretting. The father and Anna discussed the works while Dunbar listened. It wasn’t likely he would ever be invited back to the place and being with two experts of this caliber was an opportunity not to be wasted.
They were in front of “The School of Athens” A fresco by Rapheal. The colors and detail were breathtaking. Even his experts seemed awed to silence and he just let the painting wash over him. The search for truth, what it is and how does one know when one finds it. A Neo-Platonist caught his eye as he thought about his path to truths and how very different they were. The figure was Hypatia the lone woman in the group. A mathematician from Alexandria around the time that these strange writings were laid down. Some claim she was the last librarian and the last fire of the greatest Library was a revenge for her murder.
That set him to thinking about the loss of knowledge in all its many forms. Sarducci was talking about the fresco process, The organic based pigments applied to the still wet plaster leading to unique shades. Hues that today’s artists could not replicate. It wasn’t the pigments but the plaster that they were unable to replicate. This saddened him on a deep level.
Combined with the nasty bit of business that they had spent the day proving to be more than he could bare. “You seem to take a bit of pride in that ignorance father.” He spoke in a cold quiet town. His eyes had hardened and when the fell on Sarducci’s face he looked as if he had been slapped. “Controlling knowledge, hording information and using it as a commodity always leads to an ill end.
Sarducci was taken aback. He had dismissed Dunbar as the FRED’s version of inspector Clouseau but this man had seen straight into his mind with a casualness that worried him. Then he thought of ST John the Dwarf and the Tree of Obedience and held his tongue.
Much to Anna’s disappointment the Priest failed to take the bait. Just as well, Dunbar was really pissed for some reason and that would probably end poorly. She headed toward the exits hoping that J. would take the hint and follow her.
The move worked and they were soon out on the square amongst the birds and tourists. “I need a shower,” she said. “What a smarmy self satisfied piece of filth.” She almost spit and then remembered where she was and decided to do it anyway.
“Capital idea,” Dunbar agreed, “please tell me you got everything and we don’t have to come back.”
“I guarantee, “We”, wont have to come back.” she laughed giving him her mock stern look. “Balgus would have a hemorrhage and Sarducci is praying for your horrible demise as we speak. Just remember, No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.”
He burst out giggling at the Python reference and began humming “Always look on the bright side of life” as he nuzzled her ear.
They had reached the side door he had entered and as this mornings tip had ensured a cab was waiting.
“To answer your question yes, complete scans and physical samples of everything.” she had turned momentarily serious. “I’m still a bit miffed at you for jumping on Father “Guido”. I‘ll forgive you if you do a good job washing my back.”
“I’m sorry, I let the smug little shit get to me.” He checked the cabbies face making sure he was dividing his attention between the afternoon traffic and Anna’s legs, “We were there in front of this beautiful statement about man’s quest for enlightenment and this guy was exhorting the wonder of ignorance.” He felt his anger flaring up and suppressed it with some considerable effort. “I know it was bad form pissing in his punch before I was sure you had everything but I had the utmost confidence in your skills.” he favored her with his best mischievous grin and the they both burst out laughing as the cab passed a cart with gourds for sale.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One year later

Today marks one year after the Audacity to yes we can train rode to victory on the backs of progressives. I tweeted my thoughts earlier. overall I gave them a D. When you try to walk down the middle of the road you end up as the "dead skunk, stinking to high heaven" my apologies to Mr. Lennon.
As I have Said less politics and more better fiction for November so here is a little update of The Socrates Code

Chapter 1

The woman rolled beige stockings over her supple calf. The dark seams stood in stark contrast to her alabaster thighs. J. Alan Dunbar rolled over on one elbow to watch. Anna’s legs were short but perfectly shaped, and surprisingly strong . He absently rubbed at a fresh bruise on his hip.
“About time you came to life” She gently chided him. “If you are gonna wear out this fast I will have to start looking for a newer model” A crooked smile crossed her lips as she clipped garters to stockings.
“Just hitting my stride miss Foucault.” J. said swinging his legs over the side of the bed and grimacing a bit as his feet hit the cold stone floor. “Besides it’s the jet lag, tomorrow it will be my age.” he laughed stumbling toward the shower. With the speed inherent in her fluid movements she was already dressed and heading for the door. “Order the coffee my dear. I will be down in a jiff.”
“No need to rush, The holiday and all.” she shot him that crooked smile again framed with soft honey blond hair and then she was gone.
All Saints Day in Vatican City, that, “No need to rush.”, would be an understatement. On a good day service was slow in the little shop downstairs, on these feast days it was an accomplishment to get breakfast by supper time. Waiting for the water to warm up he thought that their were worse things in life than waiting for one meal in a café with Dr. Anna Foucault .
One would think a historian would appreciate the antiquity of the city but the chemist in him kept thinking about the lead poisoning theory for the collapse of the Roman Empire so he showered quickly. Easily beating the
tiny water heater in the two room flat. He slipped into some jeans and headed for the stairs.
Amazingly a pentagonal metal pot sat on the table beside a tray of croissants and butter. Anna glanced over the top of her paper batting her lashes behind the dark frames of her glasses. She was in an awfully good mood, that meant she new something.
He sat down and spooned sugar into a cup of strong dark liquid allowing the woman her moment. The tables were empty of patrons but most had not been cleared. The waiter sat at the bar smoking a cigarette and eyeing Anna’s legs. Dunbar suspected it was a daily ritual for the young man. “OK spill it.”
“You’re no fun.” She remarked pursing her lips in a mock pout. “Just goes to show there is no rest for the wicked.” She pointed to an envelope on the table with the words, “God is Dead” printed in bold script, the Fred Society motto after it‘s namesakes most famous quote. “We’ve been summoned” she said then went back to reading the calendar page of L’Osservatore Romano.
Italian coffee and his stomach tended to quarrel on the best of days and on short sleep he was never at his best. He opened the envelope and withdrew the single sheet. Room 222 at 1pm local was printed in block type followed by another quotation. “Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.” “At least they allowed plenty of time to eat” Dunbar said buttering one of the flakey rolls while casting his eyes about for some marmalade.
He ate and wondered what the hurry was. The case that brought him here had been in the works for years. He didn’t see how authenticating a few documents could lead to a settlement now. He dismissed the question as he would know in an hour and turned his attention to Anna. She looked even better this morning than she had picking him up at the gate last night. A smart black skirt with a matching blazer worn over teal silk blouse. The color set her eyes a blaze behind the black glasses she had chosen.
“Any shot at catching a cab?” he asked finishing a second cup of coffee.
“Afraid it’s shanks mare today luv.” a hint of sympathy in her voice. “It is a lovely fall day for it though.” She wrapped a scarf over her shoulder length blond coiffeur before changing to sunglasses and heading for the counter.
J. held the door for her and they set out for the Vatican City office of
the Friedrich Nietzsche Society, commonly referred to as the FRED.
They knocked on the open door to room 222 and a nondescript man in the nondescript charcoal suit looked up and gave them a noncommittal smile.
“Mr. Dunbar, Miss Foucault please come in. Thank you for being so prompt.” The older man gestured from his desk toward the two chairs. “Please sit down wont you?” Sorry to call you in on the holiday but something has come up and we felt it shouldn’t wait.”
The man offered no name. It occurred to Dunbar that they never said exactly who we were, he was however sure that we did not include him. In FRED circles people without names popped up from time to time. Those times tended to be bad times.
“When you meet with the cardinal tomorrow he will be trying to prove that these documents or should I say the original documents from which these copies were made are not what they appear to be. What they appear to be is a detailed outline of certain crimes being covered up.” The man paused momentarily as if gauging their expressions. “These crimes are of a rather distasteful nature and the individual is high ranking. The victims compensation has already been paid so money is no longer an issue. We have been asked by the victims attorneys to find a way for criminal penalties that would not involve the victims having to testify.”
Dunbar listened with one ear waiting for the shoe to drop with the other. The two of them new all this yesterday so what was all this mystery?
The nondescript man in the nondescript charcoal suit opened the folder and placed three documents on the desk. The odd sized pages
“Those look like orbital diagrams, you know the arrangement of electrons in an atom.” The words were out before he could stop them. “That doesn’t seem likely but this is Sodium and that one is Argon. It would make for a bit of an odd coincidence. How old did you say these are supposed to be?”
“The paper dates back to around 410 CE. Plus or minus 10 years. The backside ink that’s bleeding through is different from that on the front,
much older We just aren’t sure how much.”
Dunbar looked at the man a huge question mark on his face. “It can’t be that much older, the chemistry is only a hundred years or so old.” He looked to Anna for her opinion.
“You’re right and wrong from what I can tell from this.” Her tone was hesitant. “The ink is old but we don’t know for sure when it was applied.” She smiled. Quite the conundrum.
“This is a very delicate situation, If these are authentic we can finally get these folks the justice they deserve. But the real find here would be on the other side so to speak.” The nondescript man looked at each of them in turn. The church is fighting tooth and nail to keep this quiet. These weird symbols just gum up the works but what if they are authentic?” He let the question dangle in the air.
“We were just apprized of this information and didn’t want it distracting you at a key moment.” He stood up.
The interview was apparently over.
“Feel free to stay and read these but they must be locked up before you leave. Jessup can handle that for you.” And with that the nondescript man in the nondescript charcoal suit left them.
What indeed Dunbar thought? Working in the debunking business he encountered fantastic claims often and they had always failed to withstand scientific scrutiny. He only hoped that at least the confession would turn out to be true. He supposed this time would be no different but the idea was indeed tantalizing. What if some bronze age mathematician had stumbled upon Quanta? Would they have struggled with the implications drive many in the present day physicists crazy? Later that night the same whimsical thought followed him down into sleep a contented Anna cradled in his arms. all looked to contain writing by the same hand. He looked them over making a preliminary assessment. The originals were old or had been made to look old. The fiber patterns, discolorations and some bleeding of the inks. Much older than the dates appended to the instructions. There was what appeared to be a Papal signature and most curious to J. was a series of circles and arrows from the writing on the other side visible on the margins.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Hypatia stepped from between the marble columns out into the wan light of early evening. The soft cotton robes she wore rustled slightly as she descended the stairs of the Great Library. A light breeze lifted dark locks back from her face cooling a fevered brow. Hazel eyes darted back and forth, furtively searching the street for any of the short mans thugs. They would bear the blame for tonight’s deviltry but their actual presence would surely gum up the works. Seeing only the waiting chariot she made her way down the stairs nimbly. She hurried but resisted the urge to run.
Tonight must appear to be as any other Imbolc she thought stepping onto chariot and bracing for the jostling of the cobbles. She did not know the man that drove the perfectly matched pair of white mares but he looked enough like her usual servant as to be his brother. She chanced a backward glance and was pleased to see nothing but empty street. A wisp of smoke was rising above the building black against the sky. Following her familiar route at first they slowly made their way from the temple of knowledge that was the great library toward the throngs of the market place. She was going over the plan for the umpteenth time in her head when she spotted what she was looking for up ahead on the right.
Another simple chariot drawn by a pair of white mares. She did know the driver of this chariot and she would miss him for the rest of her life. If for no other reason she would succeed to Insure that his impending death was not in vain. They drew alongside and she looked at another stranger. A dark haired woman her size but with a dead stare in her eyes. Upon closer inspection she could see the ropes that held the woman up as they moved toward their separate destinies. Lucky that a convenient corpse had been around, at least she hoped it had been luck. One deaths guilt was all she was prepared to bare at the moment so she would not examine alternatives.
An imperceptible glance passed between the two drivers and then she dropped out of sight beneath a linen cloth and they turned sharply to the docks.
She heard the whip crack and the horses bolted forward almost tossing her out of the chariot. She grabbed the large mans leg and held on as the whip cracked again and they were flying through deserted alleys. Because of the festival most people were gone to the temple row. The remainder were members of the growing Christian community that would be waiting indoors till sundown for their feasting to begin. She had glimpsed her homeland for the final time and it stung a little as they pulled up to a seldom used wharf where she was quickly stashed below decks.
As she waited for the tide to turn she penned the tale that would pass into history. Knowing that the more lurid the story the faster it would spread she detailed the fate she was escaping by sailing west beyond the pillars of Hercules to a land that had been lost since the time of her schools beginnings was her fate now. Something deep in her animal self took pleasure in detailing the rending of flesh with shards of pottery. The alter of fire over which the flesh was charred had a cleansing effect on her mind and when she lifted pen from paper her old life was in the past and powerful winds were driving her toward an uncertain future.