May 19th, 2006


View from the Driver's Seat

Saw a billboard asking if I knew who really felt the impact of me driving without my seatbelt, and stuck on the crumpled steering wheel was a picture of a rather young, rather photogenic couple.

Now, I'm not sure why that couple would be concerned, but I have to say their concern is needless because my belt was on. Then I got to thinking, maybe that sign was aimed at the newly licensed youth, and that couple was allegedly their mom & dad.

From there, I remembered Ozzy's anti-drinking tune 'Suicide Solution' and how it led to a few court dates back in the eighties for allegedly causing kids to kill themselves, and I'm thinking to myself: this is great; we've moved on from blaming English rockstars like Ozzy or Judas Priest for the death of young and stupid Americans, and now we'll be able to blame billboards and ad councils and government agencies. After all, if Ozzy's taken to task for advising that drinking yourself to an early grave is stupid, a billboard that just asks you to think about who will cry after you've offed yourself by crashing while unbelted has to be even more at fault.

An Inheritance of Steel

An Inheritance of Steel
By Everett A Warren

An excerpt

Brilltown was once known by the quality of the steel it produced. If ever in the lands there was a smithy whose name was well known by other than those who passed by his fires daily, then the man was either a Brilltown master or he had learned his trade from one. After many years and many twists of fate, not all of them pleasant, Brilltown found itself known for its grand parties and courtly balls. All those years where the Brilltowners manufactured their own wealth had left them far removed from the source of that wealth. They became a society of elite benefactors, waving lace kerchiefs in front of their faces to hide the smell of the forge, as they passed out their wealth and gathered more unto themselves. In short, they became a nation of lawyers and bankers, and they had but one smith left, where once thousands joined in the song of the hammer and the anvil.

Perhaps Seffrot would have gone too, when all the others of the old Brilltown line packed up bellows and tongs and left for more honest realms. The truth of it was that the others had offers from realms that still valued steel, that knew it was worth more than it's weight in gold. This one left-over, this Seffrot, he did not receive any of these offers, despite his boasting on and on about how many he refused each day.

Seffrot was of the old Brilltown line, true enough. Molten steel flowed where blood would in most mortal men. He created beautiful implements for the perfumed and powdered folk that ruled him, and there was the difference. The others of the old line did not bow to overlords. Perhaps they created for this one or that, at this time or another, but never did they bow. Neither did they shirk from farm implements or decorations, nor did they base their business upon such works. For the Brilltown steel was most famous in a number of incarnations, all of them designed for war. But Seffrot could not, despite his every effort, create a sword or dagger that was anything but average. Oh, some were pretty enough, but those had poor balance. Some were balanced like a dream, but hideous in appearance, so that only the lesser foot-soldiers would deign to carry them, and then only because they had nothing else to use in their stead.

No, Seffrot was a fine smith, but he never was a weapons-smith. To his great shame, for he was the last of the Brilltown line that remained (he disowned all others for having left), he could not pass on his smithy to his sons, for he had never sired any children, and he drove off his wives one by one with his anger and rage at his impotence.

It was thus with a seemingly open heart that he contracted the young foundling as his apprentice. His temper well known, and stronger than his blades – but just as liable to shatter – no one of the city would chance their own young in his charge. After the second mysterious death, and after the third runaway, and after all had seen him driving them forth to their chores with ceaseless abandon, none would think it of their enemy, for the Brilltowners had become too effete, too polite for such a sentence. A foundling, however, was another matter.

Copyright (c) 1993, 2000 Everett Ambrose Warren


Brandon: Monkey in a Cage

So I was sitting here browsing around, Rachel was watching Thumbalina, Deb and Justin were upstairs cleaning his room, when, all of a sudden, Brandon was quiet.

For those of you who've met Brandon, or other almost-two-year-olds, you know that's not a Good Sign.

Then, Rachel and I hear a kind of whimpering complaint.

Turns out Brandon tried to play sneak-thief and break and enter into Justin's school area, by crawling under the heavy chair left out to block him from just such an endeavor.

See, the left and right rungs of this chair - all made of 1.5" thick wood beams - are a bit higher than the front and back ones. So he went in one side, and, folded in half, he found the other side blocked by a tote. The front and back were too low to squeeze out of.

I asked if he was a monkey stuck in a cage, and he said yes. I asked if he wanted me to get him out, and he wasn't quite ready for that. He tried a couple of exit attempts, but it wasn't until he saw his nug-nug outside his little cage that he acknowledged he needed my help.

I spun him around, facing the way he came in, and he squeezed out, with very little further help from me.

I went to tell Deb, and it turns out he's been doing this all week...
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