Two Lights


Just a short post to mention that Jason over at The Clarity of Night is running a short fiction competition. And with real prizes, no less!!! Read here for details. You can have a read of my effort here, but I would love to see any Ten Miles regulars send in something of their very own. So get to it!

Cancel me not - for what then shall remain?


It's almost been a month since the passing of Stanislaw Lem. I'm not even close to scratching the surface of his work, and I've been a follower since 1994. So if the following quote makes you even the slightest bit curious, I suggest you do some further investigation..... "American science fiction, exploiting its exceptional status, lays claim to occupy the pinnacles of art and thought. One is annoyed by the pretentiousness of a genre that fends off accusations of primitivism by pleading its entertainment character and then, once such accusations have been silenced, renews its overweening claims." (from his essay "Philip K. Dick: A Visionary Among the Charlatans" - Lem was once a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, but was expelled in 1976 because of comments like this) And here is an excerpt from the scathingly funny The Cyberiad. "On the second moon of the third planet....was a garbage dump....It so happened that Trurl, the Fabulous Constructor, while flying in the vicinity,....[threw out] an old earthenware jug with a crack down the middle. This jug, accelerating in accordance with the laws of gravity and boosted by the comet's tail, crashed into a mountainside above the dump, fell, clattered down a slope of junk toward a puddle, skittered across some mud, and finally smacked into an old tin can; this impact bent the metal around a copper wire, also knocked some pieces of mica between the edges, and that made a condenser, while the wire, twisted by the can, formed the beginnings of a solenoid, and a stone, set in motion by the jug, moved in turn a hunk of rusty iron, which happened to be a magnet, and this gave rise to a current, and that current passed through sixteen other cans and snips of wire, releasing a number of sulfides and chlorides, whose atoms linked with other atoms, and the ensuing molecules latched onto other molecules, until, in the very center of the dump, there came into being a Logic Circuit, and five more, and another eighteen in the spot where the jug finally shattered into bits. That evening, something emerged at the edge of the dump,....and this something, a creature of pure accident, was Mymosh the Selfbegotten, who had neither mother nor father, but was son unto himself, for his father was Coincidence, and his mother - Entropy. And Mymosh rose up from the garbage dump, totally oblivious of the fact that he had about one chance in a hundred billion jillion raised to the zillionth power of ever existing....and was moved to exclaim, 'Truly, I am beautiful, nay, perfect, which clearly implies the Perfection of All Created Things!! Ah, and how good must be the One Who fashioned me!'........"

Funhouse Mirrors.....


I woke the same as any other day Except a voice was in my head It said seize the day, pull the trigger Drop the blade, and watch the rolling heads The day I tried to live I stole a thousand beggar's change And gave it to the rich The day I tried to win I dangled from the power lines And let the martyrs stretch Singing One more time around might do it One more time around might make it One more time around might do it One more time around The day I tried to live Ever had one of those days where, for a moment, you catch a glimpse of yourself and wonder just how close you are to becoming the type of person you promised yourself you would never become? You catch yourself laughing at something that really isn't funny, just to put the person at ease. You smile at someone whose putrescent heart poisons their every interaction. You smile, because it makes the working day more bearable. You smile, as their vitriol strips away the dignity of a co-worker. You bear witness to 'questionable' business practices, all precipitated by men who claim virtue and righteousness when it comes to matters of a more obvious moral nature, yet deem it appropriate to dispense minimum wages without the slightest twinge of guilt. You watch and listen, but do nothing, say nothing; convincing yourself that it would make little difference to say anything. These are men of power, because we have given it to them freely. They drive an expensive car, they live in an expensive house; they must have power to possess these things, so we give them more power. This is not about disdain. This is not about the notion that I am somehow 'better', that I see things more clearly or that my acknowledgment of the dark underbelly of society enables me to be seperate from it. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is about leaving a legacy of impotence for my child. Teaching her that everybody knows you have to live behind a mask to operate in this world. That it's okay to be someone you are not, because it keeps you sane, or it allows you to minimise the conflict between who you are and what you do. Should I take pride from the fact that no one at work has the faintest clue that they deal, on a daily basis, with an imposter? Words you say never seem To live up to the ones inside your head The lives we make never seem To ever get us anywhere but dead The day I tried to live I wallowed in the blood and mud with All the other pigs I woke the same as any other day you know I should have stayed in bed The day I tried to win I wallowed in the blood and mud with All the other pigs Dearest daughter, take the air into your lungs until it hurts. Stare at the sky until you think you can see the universe beyond. This life leads to far more then death, and to live it as someone else is perhaps a far greater sin then to not live it well. Do not mistake kindness for indifference, nor indifference for tolerance. You are of this world, not it's supposed masters. You can redefine power, and what it means to wield it. I have learnt a different lesson, one harder to accept and even harder to fight. But I will try. And I learned that I was a liar Just like you Soundgarden - The Day I Tried To Live

Yes, it is a lazy offering, but i have to post something....


Via Fence, who caught it from Banzai.

Go to Wikipedia and look up your birth day (excluding the year).

List three neat facts, two births and one death in your journal, including the year.

May 3rd

Three facts

1997 - In Dublin, Ireland, Katrina and the Waves win the forty-second Eurovision Song Contest for the United Kingdom singing "Love Shine a Light". (For Fence and NM)

1937 - Gone with the Wind, a novel by Margaret Mitchell, wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

2004 - In an open letter to George W. Bush more than 50 former high-ranking United States diplomats (including former ambassadors to Saudi Arabia and Qatar) complain about the Bush administration's policy towards the Middle East claiming that the President's approach, and specifically his endorsement of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, is losing the U.S. "credibility, prestige and friends". The letter follows a similar one written by 52 former British diplomats sent to Tony Blair a few days ago. (BBC)

Two births

1469 - Niccolò Machiavelli, Italian historian and political author

1959 - Ben Elton, British comedian and author

One death

1704 - Heinrich Ignaz Biber, Bohemian composer

Manipulation, comedy and music. A trinity of sorts?

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