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There is no longer any such thing as fiction or nonfiction; there's only narrative.

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Science Fiction Woman

She was my science fiction woman,
I was her science fiction man,
Yet our love was no fiction
In our science fiction land.

I wore my science fiction spacesuit,
She wore a spacesuit just like mine,
While we were floating together
In our science fiction minds.

She said her name was Taylor Trippy-
A flower child light years beyond-
She was a science fiction hippy-
A spacey and vivacious blonde.

She told me of our global warming,
Greenhouse gases, acid rain,
She told me everything I know
About the structure of the brain.

So we cruised through constellations
In our science fiction ship,
Transcending time and generations-
Forever free, forever hip.

She came from some unknown planet
In some uncharted galaxy,
And we were both kindred souls
In our cosmic fantasy.

And I don't know how I knew her
Or how we came to meet that night-
She was my science fiction woman,
Who traveled at the speed of light.

At night I look upon the ocean,
The distant stars where she might be-
She was my science fiction woman,
Who set my heart forever free.


June 17,2008

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How Much Longer

I'm stuck
Inside
Can't get this done wish I could hide
This scene is really such a pain
I just
Can't see
How this is any use to me
This work is drivin' me insane
All I really want is to get away (can anybody tell me)
How much longer
Till I'm done
How much longer
Wanna feel the sun
How much longer
I can't wait
How much longer until I can play that game
It's on
My mind
I think I'm runnin out of time
This weight is more than I can take
That clock
Is slow
It's never gonna let me go
This time I need more than just a break
All I really want is to get away (can anybody tell me)
How much longer
Till I'm done
How much longer
Wanna feel the sun
How much longer
I can't wait
How much longer until I can play that game
How much longer
Till I'm done
How much longer
Wanna feel the sun
How much longer
I can't wait
How much longer until I can play that game
And here I go again (and here I go again)
Wondering when (when)
I can have my time to play
(Can anybody tell me)
(Can anybody, can anybody tell me)
How much longer
Till I'm done
How much longer
Wanna feel the sun
How much longer
I can't wait

[...] Read more

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Fine

A lovers quarrel
Death by a shotgun barrel
With a cleaning solution the instruments are made sterile.
A hairy situation.
Like a plastic surgeon.
Rewriting the expression.
In both the date and time.

Now its fine
Now its fine.
Fine as fine can be.
I no longer need you and you no longer need me.
Can you hear the anger scream.
Reaching out for mercy in its desperate pleas.

Now its fine
Now its fine.
Fine as fine can be.
I no longer need you and you no longer need me.
Can you hear the anger scream.
Reaching out for mercy in its desperate pleas.

Changing my identity
Becoming that man I never use to be
With all niceties, and pleasantries wrapped in a little bow tie.
I don't even know how I survived.
Some thought I would have committed suicide.
But my drive just wouldn't let me.

Well, Now its fine
Now its fine.
Fine as fine can be.
I no longer need you and you no longer need me.
Can you hear the anger scream.
Reaching out for mercy in its desperate pleas.

Now its fine
Now its fine.
Fine as fine can be.
I no longer need you and you no longer need me.
Can you hear the anger scream.
Reaching out for mercy in its desperate pleas.

A murders escape.
A mind debates.
With shouts of hate.
How can you? Just how can you?
Emotional distress.
In all this I digest the worthiness
Worthless I've been called.

[...] Read more

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Loverman

(originally recorded by nick cave and the bad seeds)
Theres a devil waiting outside your door (how much longer? )
Theres a devil waiting outside your door (how much longer? )
And hes bucking and braying and pawing at the floor (how much longer? )
And hes howling with pain, crawling up the walls (how much longer? )
Theres a devil waiting outside your door (how much longer? )
And hes weak with evil and broken by the world (how much longer? )
And hes shouting your name and asking for more (how much longer? )
Theres a devil waiting outside your door (how much longer? )
Loverman! since the world began
Forever, amen, till the end of time, yeah
Take off that dress, oh
Im coming down, yeah
Im your loverman, yeah
cause I am what I am what I am what I am what I am
L is for love, baby
O is for only you that I do
V is for loving virtually everything that you are
E is for loving almost everything that you do
R is for rape me
M is for murder me
A is for answering all of my prayers
N is for knowing your lovermans going to be the answer to all of yours
Loverman! till the bitter end
While the empires burn down
Forever and ever and ever, ever, amen
Im your loverman
So help me, baby
So help me, baby
cause I am what I am what I am what I am what I am
Im your loverman
Theres a devil crawling along your floor (how much longer? )
Theres a devil crawling along your floor (how much longer? )
With a trembling heart, hes coming through your door (how much longer? )
With his straining sex in his jumping paw (how much longer? )
Ooh, theres a devil crawling along your floor (how much longer? )
And hes old and hes stupid and hes hungry and hes sore
And hes blind and hes lame and hes dirty and hes poor
Gimme more, gimme more, gimme more, gimme more, gimme more, gimme more (how much longer? )
Theres a devil crawling along your floor
Loverman! haha! and here I stand
Forever, amen
cause I am what I am what I am what I am, hey
Forgive me, baby
My hands are tied
And I got no choice, no, no, no, no
I got no choice, no choice at all
Ill say it again
L is for love, baby
O is for oh yes I do

[...] Read more

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Let It All Burn

Riding the waves of premonitions.
Maybe your right, maybe your wrong.
I no longer care.
You gave up on me long ago.
And now I'm giving up on you.

The broken hearted are departing.
Setting sail for a new found trust.
I don't blame you, I've just had enough.
Trying to cross the divide.
Trying to see eye to eye.
But the flames just carry to high.
Their might be clearing in the sky but I can't find it.

And I can no longer afford to waste time.
Riding the waves of premonitions.
Maybe your right, maybe your wrong.
I no longer care.
You gave up on me long ago.
And now I'm giving up on you.

Being sucked down in the turmoil at the gates of hell.
I can still hear all those cross words.
As if I can make this work.
I've been down this road before.
I know where it leads.
I know what the seeds grow,
I know you will reap what I sew.
Oh no, no no no no.

And I can no longer afford to waste time.
Riding the waves of premonitions.
Maybe your right, maybe your wrong.
I no longer care.
You gave up on me long ago.
And now I'm giving up on you.

I was once an open door.
But now that is closed.
Can you feel the coldness of the frigid ice.
That's my heart.
It no long bleeds.
Not for you.
Not ever again.
With all the discontent as you keep trying.
Still I'm not moved.

And I can no longer afford to waste time.
Riding the waves of premonitions.
Maybe your right, maybe your wrong.

[...] Read more

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My Science Fiction Twin

My science fiction twin
Is doing better than expected
He captured a little blonde trophy wife
Whos really very well connected
And when he calls home with his alibi
She says is this really necessary?
But she knows that a man cant be a man
Unless hes punishing his secretary
He sips in the glow of a 61 vintage
Just as the day is dimming
With every intention of surrendering
To fifty-foot women
Who put the fascination back into my science fiction twin
My science fiction twin
Decided to become invisible
He has my eyes, my face, my voice
But hes only happy when Im miserable
The words flew from his mouth
And they were gently gathered by reporters
Trying to frame his once infamous flame
With tattered pictures of her daughter
Her hair is all made out of porcupine
Her figure is fantastic
But as you know, they corrupted her
So theyre being sarcastic
Who put the fascination back into my science fiction twin
Hell scream and shout
Everything is working out just as he predicted
Pride and position in the gallery of attempted people
Oh and the pain is so sweet
Better stamp his little feet
And youll even have time to pity me
How can you feel content?
You wonder where this fellow went
My science fiction twin
Escorted by his lovely nieces
Filled up his purse dictating verse
While painting masterpieces
His almost universal excellence
Is starting to disturb me
They asked how in the world he does all these things
And he answered superbly
Hes trapped in his own parallel dimension
Thats why Im so forgiving
But how could I possibly forget to mention those fifty-foot women
Who put the fascination back into my science fiction twin
My science fiction twin [4x]

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These Are Just Years

i thought home is where we went when we fell out of favour
ive since learned that home is where we go to learn what favours are
home is a language we all understand
and this is how the language came to me
i realise
home is where we dont feel things
fortune has arranged that the language wont abandon us
it never will abandon us
if you dont miss your home
i cant remember much about my home
when im away from...
home, where were welcome
we appear to be like you
the were welcome when we
appear to be alike
living in fiction
just seems much better than living in words
if you live in fiction
homes no match for a word
ever existence
the more you go on the same as before
the more you light up the same as this time
the more you sing
all your songs about
all your...
living in fiction
is much more better than living in words
if you live in fiction
homes much better than words
living in fiction
just seems much better than living in words
if you live in fiction
then homes no better than words
im in fiction [x6]
and what i see it seems so standard
it always seems that youre left stranded [x6]
why dont you look beond
the village wall?
look beyond the village wall
weve got four walls at home
got four walls at home
and these walls around your head
thats what they are
theyre walls around your head
an empty head is creative
and direct me
to where you come from
and what you thought you knew
where you come from
[?]

[...] Read more

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Telling Stories

There is fiction in the space between
The lines on your page of memories
Write it down but it doesnt mean
Youre not just telling stories
There is fiction in the space between
You and me
There is fiction in the space between
You and reality
You will do and say anything
To make your everyday life
Seem less mundane
There is fiction in the space between
You and me
Theres a science fiction in the space between
You and me
A fabrication of a grand scheme
Where I am the scary monster
I eat the city and as I leave the scene
In my spaceship I am laughing
In your remembrance of your bad dream
Theres no one but you standing
Leave the pity and the blame
For the ones who do not speak
You write the words to get respect and compassion
And for posterity
You write the words and make believe
There is truth in the space between
There is fiction in the space between
You and everybody
Give us all what we need
Give us one more sad sordid story
But in the fiction of the space between
Sometimes a lie is the best thing
Sometimes a lie is the best thing

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Poetry, Not Prose

Tom Friedman says that we need poetry, not prose,
to get this country into better shape.
Although we surely know a rose would be a rose
if called by any other name, a grape
becomes much more when sublimated into wine,
and politics don’t matter till its message
becomes poetic. Prose won’t help to make it shine,
and all predications politicians presage
won’t come to pass unless they’re elevated with
poetic language that shifts paradigms,
and brings into reality what seemed mere myth,
promoting the prosaic with its rhymes.
We need a narrative that we can memorize,
not complicated data on a chart,
and yearn for tuneful songs that we can harmonize,
and poems we love learning off by heart.


Inspired by an Op-Ed article by Thomas Friedman in the NYT, November 1,2009, exhorting President Obama to be more poetic (“More Poetry Please”) :
More and more lately, I find people asking me: What do you think President Obama really believes about this or that issue? I find that odd. How is it that a president who has taken on so many big issues, with very specific policies — and has even been awarded a Nobel Prize for all the hopes he has kindled — still has so many people asking what he really believes? I don’t think that President Obama has a communications problem, per se. He has given many speeches and interviews broadly explaining his policies and justifying their necessity. Rather, he has a “narrative” problem….
“Obama’s election marked a shift — from a politics that celebrated privatized concerns to a politics that recognized the need for effective government and larger public purposes. Across the political spectrum, people understood that national renewal requires big ambition, and a better kind of politics, ” said the Harvard political theorist Michael Sandel, author of the new best seller — “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? ” — that calls for elevating our public discourse. But to deliver on that promise, Sandel added, Obama needs to carry the civic idealism of his campaign into his presidency. He needs a narrative that will get the same voters who elected him to push through his ambitious agenda — against all the forces of inertia and private greed. “You can’t get nation-building without shared sacrifice, ” said Sandel, “and you cannot inspire shared sacrifice without a narrative that appeals to the common good — a narrative that challenges us to be citizens engaged in a common endeavor, not just consumers seeking the best deal for ourselves. Obama needs to energize the prose of his presidency by recapturing the poetry of his campaign.”

11/1/09

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Stranger Than Fiction

Please mister cant you help me try to find my babys house
Its three in the morning in the pouring rain
I cant find the house and I forgot the number
But I gotta give her these roses to relieve her pain
Dont laugh . . . just tell me youve been there before
So we fight but we fight every evening
And I tell you every morning I just love her more
And life goes on . . . filled with disasters and friction
And life can be strange
But love can be stranger than fiction
Only love can be stranger than fiction
Excuse me operator . . . tell me what time it is
Me and my lover been in bed all day
I think I strained a muscle
I didnt know I had
And tell me what day it is anyway
Dont laugh . . . just tell me you hear what I say
I love her so much I dont even know what planet Im on
Love her so much I wish shed just go away
And life goes on . . . filled with bizarre contradictions
And life can be strange
But love can be stranger than fiction
Only love can be stranger than fiction
I know that sometimes love goes
But sometimes it comes back to getcha
And when love grows
It grows like a flower or grows like a tumor
Love shows that God has a sense of humor
Life goes on . . . ever immune to prediction
And life can be strange
But love can be stranger than fiction
Only love can be stranger than fiction

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Lovers

Sit down and listen 'cause I've got good news for you
It was in the papers today
Some physician had made a discovery
This' what she had to say:
(Oooh you know that)
She said that every result she had backed her
Claiming that love's a longevity factor
So lovers live a little longer, baby
You and me, we got a chance to live twice
Lovers live a little longer, ain't that nice
Lovers live a little longer, baby
What a feeling when I hold you tight
Lovers live a little longer, yeah
I can imagine, I'll see in my fantasy
I'll enjoy every day
Making love is a dynamite drug, baby
So why don't we start right away
(Ahh, please don't wait)
I don't care if they're watching 'cause listen
We've got a reason for each time we're kissing
'Cause lovers live a little longer, baby
You and me, we got a chance to live twice
Lovers live a little longer, ain't that nice
Lovers live a little longer, baby
What a feeling when I hold you tight
Lovers live a little longer, yeah
I just don't care if they're watching 'cause listen
We've got a reason for each time we're kissing
'Cause lovers live a little longer, baby
You and me, we got a chance to live twice
Lovers live a little longer, ain't that nice
Lovers live a little longer, baby
What a feeling when I hold you tight
Lovers live a little longer, yeah
Lovers live a little longer, baby
You and me, we got a chance to live twice
Lovers live a little longer, yeah

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Narratives

Narratives we tell to show
who we believe we are deceive
the listeners who are forced to go
with that one version they receive,
because we’ve may others we
can tell to different people to
impress them with our pedigree
and perspicacious points of view.
Do we from truth take long excursions
by changing tales about ourselves,
to find as many different versions
as books in volumes on our shelves?
No, theres some truth in each refrain,
for every life is like a ballad
with different verses that explain
its variations, each as valid
as the next one, contradictions
all harmonized with disappearance
of prejudice about the fictions
that help to give the facts coherence.

Inspired by Benedict Carey, who writes about narratives we tell of our lives (“This Is Your Life (and How You Tell It, ” NYT, May 22,2007) :

For more than a century, researchers have been trying to work out the raw ingredients that account for personality, the sweetness and neuroses that make Anna Anna, the sluggishness and sensitivity that make Andrew Andrew. They have largely ignored the first-person explanation — the life story that people themselves tell about who they are, and why. Stories are stories, after all. The attractive stranger at the airport bar hears one version, the parole officer another, and the P.T.A. board gets something entirely different. Moreover, the tone, the lessons, even the facts in a life story can all shift in the changing light of a person’s mood, its major notes turning minor, its depths appearing shallow. Yet in the past decade or so a handful of psychologists have argued that the quicksilver elements of personal narrative belong in any three-dimensional picture of personality. And a burst of new findings are now helping them make the case. Generous, civic-minded adults from diverse backgrounds tell life stories with very similar and telling features, studies find; so likewise do people who have overcome mental distress through psychotherapy. Every American may be working on a screenplay, but we are also continually updating a treatment of our own life — and the way in which we visualize each scene not only shapes how we think about ourselves, but how we behave, new studies find. By better understanding how life stories are built, this work suggests, people may be able to alter their own narrative, in small ways and perhaps large ones. “When we first started studying life stories, people thought it was just idle curiosity — stories, isn’t that cool? ” said Dan P. McAdams, a professor of psychology at Northwestern and author of the 2006 book, “The Redemptive Self.” “Well, we find that these narratives guide behavior in every moment, and frame not only how we see the past but how we see ourselves in the future.” Researchers have found that the human brain has a natural affinity for narrative construction. People tend to remember facts more accurately if they encounter them in a story rather than in a list, studies find; and they rate legal arguments as more convincing when built into narrative tales rather than on legal precedent.

5/22/07

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Blighted Trees

Like flowers in the spring, youth proves
that winter’s ended, and its bloom
can’t sense the distant horses’ hooves
that come to trample its perfume.

Like blighted trees, we’re doomed to die,
first at the top, although our roots
help us, when falling from the sky,
to greet the gloom without our boots.

Sexless, we lose all respect
from those we love, though we still cast
a shadow which they can’t dissect
till our life, like a day, has passed.

James Wood reviews “Exit Ghost” by Philip Roth in The New Yorker, October 15,2007:

Before his death, Jonathan Swift pointed to a blighted tree and said to a friend, “I shall be like that tree; I shall die first at the top.” Philip Roth’s dying animals, at loose in the twilit carnival of his late work, reverse Swift’s prophecy: they fear they will die from the bottom up. Their minds are ripe with sexual energy, with transgressive vitality, but their bodies are sour with decline. The aging David Kepesh, in “The Dying Animal, ” makes the mistake of growing infatuated with one of his many young conquests, and becomes the toy of her youthful sexual mastery. The elderly nameless protagonist of “Everyman, ” Roth’s previous novel, weakened by heart surgery, watches young women jogging along a New Jersey boardwalk, aware of the absurd disparity between his waxing mind and his waning body. He starts a foolishly flirtatious conversation with one of them, who then changes her route and never returns, “thereby thwarting his longing for the last great outburst of everything.”…
Suddenly, isolation in the Berkshires has given way to a “crazed hope of rejuvenation.” (The novel is set during the week of the election of 2004, and the bitter madness of those days is a kind of Forest of Arden in which Nathan’s antic moment can be played out.) Now Amy is pulled into the swirl, too, since Nathan must seek her out to hear her account of Lonoff’s “great secret.” He finds her in a grim walkup on First Avenue. Movingly, grotesquely, the dying woman who was once the object of Nathan’s desire has ceded her power to the thirty-year-old Jamie, and is now good only for the sexless respect of posterity. She will have a little place in literary history as Lonoff’s final partner, but there is no erotic gravitational pull on the seventy-one-year-old Nathan. Amy confirms Kliman’s hunch, but Nathan rejects the fact and, more important, the premise of the fact, which is that fiction can be read confessionally. If Lonoff was writing a novel about incestuous relations, Nathan argues, then that was the fiction he was making. A fiction, not a report. “Fiction for him was never representation, ” he tells Amy. “It was rumination in narrative form. He thought, I’ll make this my reality.”

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You Are No Longer There!

I no longer hold you like I held you
When I held you...
I no longer want to...in my mind.
I no longer see you like I see you
When I saw you...
I no longer do that, with my time!

Lemonade kisses I licked we onced shared,
I don't even want them anymore...I'm full!

I no longer miss you like I missed you
When missing you...
It's no longer an issue to be defined!
Too messy...

'I no longer love you? ' Bring myself to love you?
Could you bring me peace of mind instead of puzzles
Of your pain...again? That pain...AGAIN? ..NO! '

I no longer hold you like I held you...
Enfolded holding you,
I no longer want to...in my mind!
I no longer see you,
Like I saw you when we met!
I no longer do that...
You're no longer there!
And I have no regrets!

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I Am No Longer

i am no longer the girl who sits alone
i am no longer the girl without a friend
i am no longer the girl with the knife
i am no longer the girl who looks at sorrow
i am no longer the girl seeking out missery
i am no longer the girl who hates her life
i am no longer the girl wanting everything to end
i am still the girl that is unknown
i am still the girl that follows
i am still the girl thats vile
i am no longer the girl without a smile
i am still the girl who seeks
i am no longer the girl making her life bleak
i am no longer the girl with depression
i am still the girl who seeks affection
i am no longer the girl whos not fun
i am no longer the girl who runs
but those who seek shall find

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A Long Goodbye

In these days of mine for keeps Im trying to hold on
When suddenly youre all out of reach & everything goes wrong
What we say & what we do are entirely different things
Meaningless straight through the roof its not how it should be
Easy like a bird I ride the breeze my mind is falling
Youre so ordinary, youre my sanctuary in the morning darling
New sensation, love vibration, heart to heart & a long goodbye
You go your way, Ill go my way, life is truer than fiction in this crazy
Land of milk & honey life is just an illusion
I just dont know what to believe in, if the truth be known
Suffering from soul fatigue, weathering the storm
What we say & what we do are entirely different things
The whisperings dissolve the room well its not how it should be
Swaying like a tree I feel the sky somebody calling
Youre so ordinary, be my sanctuary in the morning darling
New sensation, love vibrations, heart to heart & a dumb goodbye
Then you go your way, Ill go my way, life is truer than fiction in this
Crazy mixed up world of honey life is just an illusion darling
Easy like a bird I ride the breeze my mind is falling
Youre so ordinary, be my sanctuary in the morning darling
New sensation, love vibrations, heart to heart & a long goodbye
You go your way, Ill go my way, life is truer than fiction in this crazy
Mixed up world of honey life is just an illusion
Youre so ordinary, sanctuary, be my one in the morning darling
The new sensation, love vibrations, heart to heart & a dumb goodbye
Then you go your way, Ill go my way, life is truer than fiction in this
Crazy mixed up world of honey life is just an illusion
Youre so ordinary, sanctuary, be my light in the morning darling
The new sensation, love vibrations, heart to heart & a long goodbye
Then you go your way, Ill go my way, life is truer than fiction in this
Crazy mixed up world of honey life is just an illusion darling

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Hand Of God

Been gone more days this year than I have been home
Trading friends for trips to the coast
This hotel room feels more like a tomb
Been gone more days this year than I have been home
Trading friends for trips to the coast
This hotel room feels more like a tomb
It's not gossip if it's the truth
I'm sick of always writing songs for you to slit your wrists to
So which is it: the boy who writes the songs or the boy who's in them?
Who's the girl? Is this truth or is he writing fiction?
Hand over my heart, gun to my head
I swear to God I'm through with this
I am the worst liar I know
It's not gossip if it's the truth
I'm sick of always writing songs for you to slit your wrists to
So which is it: the boy who writes the songs or the boy who's in them?
Who's the girl? Is this truth or is he writing fiction?
Which is it: the boy who writes the songs or the boy who's in them?
Who's the girl? Is this truth or is he writing fiction?
(So which is it?) So which is it? Which is it? (So which is it?)
(So which is it?) So which is it? Which is it? (So which is it?)
(So which is it?) So which is it? Which is it? (So which is it?)
(So which is it?) So which is it? Which is it?
Who's the girl? Is this truth or is he writing fiction?
Which is it: the boy who writes the songs or the boy who's in them?
Who's the girl? Is this truth or is he writing fiction?
(Been gone more days this year than I have been home)
(Been gone more days this year than I have been home)

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Unkle Main Title Theme

There...there...there...there...
Put aside the everyday world and come with us
Into the realm of imagination
The middle ground between light and shadow
U-n-k-l-e
...wouldve ordinarily unveiled themselves as a guarantee of anonymity
But could include among other notable figures....
Dj shadow and james lavelle
Keep on rockin, keep on rock...rock...rock...keep on rockin
Keep-keep-keep on rock...k-l-e...keep on....k-l-e
Keep on...l-e, l-e...rockin
U-n-k-l-e, u-n-k, u-n-k, u-n-k-k-l-l-e
Its the awesome eternal unkle word-word-word....word
Science fiction, science, science fiction, science fiction
Fiction, fiction, science, science fict- biobreaker
An adventure unlike anything on your planet
Keep on, keep on, keep on, keep on, keep on, keep on, keep on
Keep keep on rockin
Keep keep in keep keep keep in keep keep on keep keep in keep on
Keep on keep keep keep on rockin
Keep on u keep on n keep on k keep on l keep on e
Keep on rockin e
U (u-n) n (l-l-l) k-l-e....
There were too many of us
We had access to too many, uh, too much money
Too much equipment, and little by little we went insane
Fiery the angels fell...burning in the fires of orc
U-n-k-l-e, u-n-k, u-n-k, u-n-k-k-l-l-e
A ticket to nothingness...
Unkle

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Eureka Rings A Bell

“Eureka! ” moments sometimes may result
from outright theft, with Graham Bell the worst
example. For he traveled to consult
the patent of Elisha Gray, the first
to find a way to speak by telephone,
and aided by a drunken patent clerk,
got credit for the patent which alone
should have been Gray’s, who did the major work
before the son of the professor Bernard Shaw
would use as Henry Higgins’ model stole
his great invention and used patent law
to take not part of credit but the whole.
Could it be that Archimedes, too,
stole from a competitor the math
enabling him to figure out what you
and I’ve been told he found out in his bath?

Marjorie Kehe reviews The Telephone Gambit, by Seth Shulman, in The Christian Science Monitor, January 9,2008:

How often does a detective story upend history? Probably about as often as a science and technology journalist pens a page-turner. But with this month's release of 'The Telephone Gambit' by Seth Shulman both these unlikely events are coming to pass at the same moment. This slender volume (252 pages, with notes and credits) is a work of nonfiction - although the strangeness of truth definitely overtakes fiction here as Shulman explains how he unraveled Alexander Graham Bell's claim to have invented the telephone. We may never be absolutely certain, but 'The Telephone Gambit' presents compelling evidence that Bell snuck a look at rival inventor Elisha Gray's patent application, stole a crucial element from it, and then lived an uncomfortable lie for the rest of his days. This is not the work of a muckraker. No one wanted to reach such a conclusion less than did Shulman, a longtime admirer of Bell's. But that's exactly why this book is such a good read. Shulman carefully spells out not only the steps he took to piece together his story, but also the reluctance he battled en route. Why would Bell - a man whose good character was noted by all who knew him - behave so dishonorably? How could he have stolen from a rival he had never met? And is it even possible that such a high-profile crime could have gone undetected for so long? The answers to these questions unspool neatly throughout Shulman's narrative but they read more like the stuff of thrillers than of the history of science. Figures in this real-life drama include (it would seem) an alcoholic patent clerk, some unscrupulous attorneys, and a beautiful young woman whom Bell yearned to marry. Shulman's first glimpse of the story came in 2004. He was enjoying a yearlong research fellowship at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, he was studying recently digitized reproductions of the private papers of Bell. Shulman was thrilled to be able to follow so close on the heels of his hero - yet puzzled by something he saw. Shulman knew the story of the invention of the telephone as well as anyone - or at least he thought he did. Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray filed patent applications on the very same day in 1876. (Gray's was actually a 'caveat' - but it would have served the purpose of staking Gray's exclusive righ”The Telephone Gambit, ” by Seth Shulman in The Christian Science Monitor, January 0,2008: t to continue research in this area.) According to the official story, Bell filed a few hours earlier than Gray and so was awarded the patent. Then, the next month, he had the breakthrough moment we've all read about in the history books. (After spilling acid in his lab, Bell shouted, 'Watson, come here, I need you.' Watson, in another room, heard him through the device they were experimenting with and thus was born the telephone.) Or so we've always believed. But what troubled Shulman was that Bell's 'eureka moment' depended on an element that had been completely missing from Bell's research until only two days earlier. Then, this crucial link suddenly appeared in Bell's journal in a sketch remarkably similar to a drawing found in Gray's patent application. In the days just before this sketch appeared, Bell had not been working in his lab. On the contrary, he'd been in Washington, filing his patent claim. I won't spoil the fun (and it is fun) by explaining exactly how Shulman proceeded and what he discovered as he worked backward from that point. Bell, he ended up concluding, was a great innovator who had made much progress toward the telephone, but he is not its creator. Instead, it seems, he was a talented, decent man, who lived with guilt ever after being pressured into an unseemly act of theft. Shulman does a neat job of painting, in rapid brush strokes, a portrait of the thrilling era of innovation in which Bell lived and also of the interesting circumstances of his life. (His speech professor father was the real-life model for the Henry Higgins of George Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion.') Shulman also manages to lace his work with just enough technology to tell his story without losing the interest of any low-tech readers. As a result, 'The Telephone Gambit' succeeds splendidly as an edge-of-your- seat historical tale. Yet it also manages to go somewhere deeper, leaving readers with intriguing questions about the ways in which truth may remain undiscovered, even when lying open in plain sight.

© 2008 Gershon Hepner 1/16/08

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Love... Thy Will Be Done

Love... Thy will be done
I can no longer hide, I can no longer run
No longer can I resist Your guiding light
That gives me the power 2 keep up the fight
Oh Lord, Love... Thy will be done
Since I have found U, my life has just begun
And I see all of Your creations as one perfect complex
No one less beautiful or more special than the next
We are all blessed and so wise 2 accept
Thy will, Love, be done
Love... Thy will be mine
And make me strive 4 the glorious and devine
I could not be more, more satisfied (Satisfied)
Even when there's no peace outside my window, there's peace inside
And that why I no longer run (I no longer run)
Love... Thy will be done
CHORUS:
Love... Thy will be done
I can no longer hide, I can no longer run
Oh Love... Thy will be done
Thy will, Love, be done
Oh, no longer can I resist (No)
The guiding light (Guiding light)
The light that gives me power 2 keep up the fight
I couldn't be more satisfied (No)
Even when there's no peace outside my window, there is peace inside
And that's why I can no longer run
Love, thy will be done {x3}
Oh!
CHORUS
Oh Love... Thy will be done
I can no longer hide, I can no longer run
Oh Love... Thy will be done (Sing it)
Thy will, Love, be done (Glory, glory, glory)
Thy will, Love, be done (Glory)
Thy will, Love, be done

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