WASHINGTONIAN

(WHAT DOESN’T FIT)

 

February is the month when America celebrates George Washington’s birthday.

What almost everyone forgets is that he was but one of a group of Washingtons: the Washington Brothers. There was George, plus Otis, Tyrone, Reggie, La’Mario and Abdullah.

A lot of people expected La’Mario to turn pro right after his junior year, but he popped his knee in the penultimate game of the season and, well, that was that. The last anyone heard, La’Mario was serving 12 and a half to 25 on federal drug trafficking charges. The federal firearms charges and witness intimidation charges were dropped in return for pleading guilty to drug trafficking.

 

 

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IN RESPONSE TO THE READER…

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…which will only get worse with time.

 

…who wishes to remain anonymous but who emailed me with questions about the fictional story on this website SO YOU WANT TO TRAVEL THRU TIME:

No, your questions definitely aren’t a waste of anyone’s time. But there’s no reason why others shouldn’t get to see the responses too. I’ll paraphrase your questions for reasons of brevity and clarity.

(1) The language used? That was merely based on the idea that the slack, sloppy, lazy, low-brow written discourse which dominates today’s internet might, by the 22nd century, become not only the norm in casual communication but the norm in formal documents as well. By then people may look at the crystalline prose of writers like George Orwell and have trouble understanding it. Many would probably dismiss it as pretentious (assuming they were able to use the word pretentious).

(2) The unusual symbols at the start and end? By then the internet will be as out of date as the telegraph is to us. (Ask any Brit under the age of 20 what the London newspaper’s name The Telegraph means and you’ll probably get a blank look.) Maybe the 26 letters and 10 numerals currently available to English-users won’t be enough to cover the range of data zapping around the 22nd-century ether and they’ll have to add Greek or Russian letters to create more options.

(3) Time travel as a commercial enterprise? Why not? It’s often assumed by fiction writers that time travel should and would be done for noble reasons, like historical research. The British television drama from the early 1980’s The Flipside of Dominick Hyde assumed that the UFOs reported in 20th-century skies weren’t from other planets, but were time-travel vehicles from the future whose sole purpose was to observe various aspects of 20th-century society – but only at the macro level – from the safety of the sky. (Landing or making the slightest contact with the locals were both strictly forbidden.)

 

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Just wait 150 years

                                                        

But there was also the idea that one could travel to the past and acquire an everyday item from that period which wouldn’t be missed if it were purloined by a visitor from the distant future. So not an original Gutenberg Bible or something as spectacular as that, but something small and common. That everyday item would eventually become so valuable that its owner would become fabulously rich. This was the premise of the ingenious sub-plot in John Crowley’s well-known science-fiction novella Great Work of Time.

 

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UPON CATCHING A GLIMPSE OF THIS SEASON’S FIRST MORMON MISSIONARIES

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One’s fantasy-drive automatically kicks in, and memories come flooding back of the time you almost made an impact on one of their lives. Elder Kraft was his name, according to his badge.

He was well within range, but he suddenly stopped to adjust his bicycle helmet and my hastily thrown pebble flew harmlessly past his head. So let this be a lesson to us all: aim lower to be sure of a hit.

Here endeth today’s lesson.

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SEVEN (7) THINGS THAT NEED TO BE DONE

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                                                                                        1. Journalists on TV need to stop interviewing other journalists. That’s just a way to fill airtime while providing nothing of substance. In other words, it’s all sizzle and no sausage.

 

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                                                                  2. We need a travel documentary about Romania which doesn’t make even a single reference to Dracula.

 

 

「anti vampire」の画像検索結果

 

 

 

                                                                                     3.   A History of China told exclusively in the form of limericks would be an excellent idea. One limerick for each historical event or development. Chinese names, after all, are conveniently monosyllabic and lend themselves easily to rhyme. And the limerick form is an excellent aide-mémoire. An example:

The dynasty now known as Han

Was not a mere flash in the pan.

The monks spread far and wide

That ineffable guide

To awareness, the practice of Chan.*

(* Chan reached its full flowering in Japan, where it was pronounced Zen.)  

 

 

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So I said, “Ineffability is its strong point”.

 

 

                                                     4.  The Brits seriously need to rethink their pronunciation of some words. Seriously.    

 

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                                                                                 5.  News programs need to stop acting as if what people are saying on social media is actual news. It isn’t. It’s just what people are saying on social media.

 

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…as opposed to actual news

 

 

                                                                 6. A substantial cash award should be given to the first American-born teenager who can speak on the record for two minutes without using like as a verb or a filler. This would – one hopes – inspire all the others.

 

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                                                   7.  Consider a complete ban on the public, non-ironic use of obvious oxymorons such as sports personality. (You can be celebrated in the world of sports and you can be a unique personality, but you can’t be both.)

 

 

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Could youse dumb that down a bit?

 

 

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