Dang it! Just missed National
Fruitcake Day on December 27th, which would have been the perfect hook on which to hang a short
article about a Sci-Fi short, The 93-E Contradiction. http://getbook.at/93E
December 20th to 27th is International
Trust Your Government Week, promoted by the United Nations to encourage
temporary respect for elected officials and bureaucrats alike regardless of
party affiliation, election legitimacy, position on global warming, documented
legal status, education, nationality, race, heritage, gender, sexual
orientation, criminal record, degree of intelligence or common sense.
International Trust Your
Government Week (ITYGW), fosters diversity, tolerance and general laissez-faire
in the interests of World Peace. During this week, celebrants are urged to
write to their government officials at all levels with the basic message:
shown yourselves to be such collective bozos that we no longer care, so for one
week we’ll take time out from worrying when you’re going to pull the trigger,
push the button or take the ludicrous decision that will end humankind’s tenure
on the planet, and we’ll simply turn our backs on you.
Hang on... how is that
No longer listening, bozo.
Too busy reading the week’s most appropriate release, Walt Pilcher’s EverybodyShrugged.
I'm seeing it as an optimistic story, by the way. All this climate change stuff... don't worry for the planet. The planet will be fine. It won't have homo sapiens on it for much longer but hey, I guess we had a decent innings. A shame to scupper it all with a series of own goals but that - to push a mixed metaphor to its limit - is what our current circular firing squad of a human race is hell bent on doing.
And meanwhile, there are short sci-fi tales to lessen the pain.
This is the tale of three remarkable horses, Billy and Billy and Jack - two old boys and one young whipper-snapper. The question is this: in which camp do we put Jack?
I will start with an old boy called Billy. This
Billy was a cob/shire type horse, black with a white blaze, born in 1760. He
spent his working life pulling barges on canals for the Mersey and Irwell
Navigation Company. The amazing thing about Billy is that he lived to the age
of 62. He died in November 1822. There is said to be a lithograph of Billy in a
museum in Warrington with Squire Henry Harrison.
From an old Billy with a single lithograph to a younger and much
photographed version. This young Billy is bigger than old Billy but also does a
job that needs plenty of muscle power and oats in the tank. Under the jockey-ship
of Nick Ireland, this much younger Billy won the Young Event Horse Series in
his very first season in 2014.
But which of these amazing equines does Jack take after? Perhaps
he has more in common with old Billy than young Billy.
Or does he?
Jack once finished a show-jumping course; ‘finish’ being the
word, as the owners of the show-ground said, ‘We won’t have to buy in any
firewood for a long time, but we’ll have to shell out for a new set of jumps.’
But Jack only made the effort so as to be obliging and as
the mystery man pointed out to Megan, you couldn’t really expect Jack to know
how to show-jump; he wouldn't have had much call to do it when he was pulling a
Thinking about it, that mirrors things on the Mersey and
Irwell canals back in the 1700s because it would have been a bizarre and traumatic circumstance that required old Billy to leap a fence whilst pulling a
So I think we have to conclude that Jack has more in common
with old Billy after all.
Elderly retired Jack, who really thought his cart pulling days were over, let alone anything more energetic, was relieved to learn that for once he wasn't the horse pushed centre stage. That position was reserved for the always popular Harry the Gut whose perenial claim to fame is that he never leaves anyone in any doubt about the real length of an equine intestine.