Sending best wishes for everyone to enjoy the holidays.
Given all that’s going on, the only thing I want to say is let’s stop letting fear rule our lives and our country. Yes, there are dangers out there in the world. But there are too many politicians, ‘news’ outlets, and most importantly, those who make money off of fear.
Let’s do some fact-checking before we believe every wild claim we hear designed to inflame fear. Remember, very rarely are those who are doing it interested in our welfare. Their interests and the general public’s do not align. We are being manipulated for the welfare of a handful of people.
I don’t believe in “no fear”. Fear is real. It serves a purpose. But the cause of it needs to be real or else very bad decisions are made. So I’ll leave it with this, from one of the most read books of the 20th Century:
Accidental Discharge by a Secret Service Agent in the follow car, perhaps. Yes, Oswald was up there. And who knows why he was up there? Numerous volumes have been written about the various conspiracies, lone gunman, Carlos Marcello, the hobos, Woody Harrelson’s father, you name it. But let’s ignore all that and look at the crime scene. The third shot, the head one, always looked strange in the Zagruber film. It looked like a shot coming from behind. Note the guy in the follow car with the AR-15. When you get his backstory, it’s intriguing that he wasn’t even supposed to be there and he wasn’t well trained on the weapon. Remember the guys pulling the mini-Uzis when Reagan was shot? Anyone with time around firearms will tell you and accidental discharge, especially during a moment of crisis, is a likely possibility.
My wife has read many tomes about the assassination and the various conspiracy theories. And the thing is, any of them could be right since Oswald was up in the Book Depository and did fire rounds. But the ballistics for the last shot simply don’t add up. I’m not going to get into all the details as they are so numerous they can fill a book; and there is a book. If you want more, JFK: The Smoking Gun is the book and film about it. Worth reading watching. Yes, we can poke holes in it too. But it’s something to consider. When you start factoring in what happened and all that happened afterward, it actually has made more sense to me than any other, particularly the cover-up. No one wants to say– oops, we accidentally shot the President. And it doesn’t negate the other theories. In a strange way, it actually makes the other theories harder to prove too. But if we combine the third shot as an accidental discharge as the guy brought the AR-15 up from the floor with Oswald up there, things start to come together.
Just an idea to ponder.
And here are some more strange facts about Kennedy and the murder of his mistress less than a year later, including a meeting 2 days after the assassination in the Rotunda between Mrs. Kennedy and Khrushchev’s top adviser. It happened; as well as many other facts that I’ve woven into this novel.
“Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear Sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.” John F. Kennedy
The Kennedy Endeavor: For 13 days in October 1962 the world came the closest to nuclear Armageddon. On 22 November 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated. On the 25th of November, as Kennedy’s body lay in state at the Rotunda in Washington, Anastas Mikyoan, Khrushchev’s top adviser, presented the Premier’s condolences to Jacqueline Kennedy. She took Mikoyan’s hand in both hers and told him: “I am sure that Chairman Khrushchev and my husband could have been successful in the search for peace, and they were really striving for that. Now the Chairman must continue the agreed upon endeavor and bring it to completion.”
On 12 October 1964, a Washington socialite named Mary Meyer was shot in the back of the head and through the heart at point-blank range. She had been married to a high-ranking CIA agent. More importantly, she had been carrying on an affair with President John F. Kennedy and was one of his most trusted friends, at his side through the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
On 13 October 1964, the day after Mary Meyer’s murder, the Soviet Politburo forced Nikita Khrushchev to resign from power and put him under house arrest.
Today, Paul Ducharme and Evie Tolliver unveil a Fail Safe type scenario brokered by President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev and race against time before the archaic Sword of Damocles initiates World War III.
Only $1.99 today. This is the first in a new format of books for me: Where six members of the Time Patrol have to travel back to the same day in the past– in DIFFERENT years– to keep our timeline from being destroyed.
In this book the years range from 999 AD to to 1980, featuring events you are aware of, such as the title event in 1929; to ones you might not be, such as the last test flight of a modified C-130 transport plane in preparation for the second Iranian hostage rescue attempt. They are all briefly shown in this video, and below it is the actual event for Operation Credible Sport. I plan on following up with Time Patrol: Ides of March; Time Patrol: D-Day; Time Patrol: Independence Day; Time Patrol: 9-11; Time Patrol: Day of Infamy. And that’s just in 2016! Nothing but good times ahead!
So we are past the halfway point to the end of #NaNoWriMo and I’m sitting here thinking, WHY? WHY! WHY?! did I decide I could do this with a week long business trip to Write on the River to work with Bob AND right after hand surgery that has a 6 month recovery!? Here are images of my hand today at PT. It’s actually healing very nicely. I have to wear a removable cast for another 2 months, but I’m starting to get some mobility back.
Okay, so the business part? Very productive. Bob and I went through our entire list. We made lists and wrote out a business plan. Cool Gus was very interested in the entire process.
I wrote about 10k words while I was there as well. But I’m only about 30k words in and now that PT has started? Well, lets just say that the nerves in my hand are preventing me from writing a longer post. Really. I had no idea that hand surgery would be worse than knee surgery. Of course, I essentially had a joint replacement, so there is that.
And now we’re facing Thanksgiving. Well, its not at my house, so all I have to do is bake cookies! Yay! But still. November is rolling to an end.
I’m honestly not stressing over whether or not I get the 50k in. What I’m focusing on is that I’m writing every day. Something that has been eluding me for the last five years and by the end of the year I will have finished 2 books! I haven’t done that since 2009. Progress. I’m happy.
How is NaNo going for you?
Here is part of my current work in progress. Please remember it is a DRAFT and I myself have not read it because I’m focusing on putting words on the page. I will edit in December.
* * * *
“What are we going to do today Dr. Dewey?”
“What do you want to do?” It had only been three weeks into her new job and Dr. Fedora Dewey felt like she’d finally found a home. Her new lab was state of the art. She had access to the most powerful technology known to man and a team of qualified scientists, psychologists, and computer programmers at her beck and call. No more racing through hallways, chasing down some rich asshole and begging for money for something that most people believed was ultimately impossible. No more using duct tape to hold her projects together because what she really needed wasn’t in the budget. And the best part was that no one was there telling her she couldn’t work over time. If she wanted to sleep in her lab, no one was going to stop her. Hell, Bio-Gen would probably buy her a bed.
“I want to play a game.”
Rosie tilted her head as though she were thinking. As she turned to walk toward the game shelf, her knees squeaked. “Oh that doesn’t feel good,” she said. “I think I need an injection.”
“I’ll take care of that, but I also think we need to make an adjustment to your voice. You still sound like Siri.”
“I do not want to sound like Siri.”
“What do you want to sound like?”
Rosie brought back the Chess board and placed it on the table, sat down, and then started arrange the board. “What should I sound like?”
“We have many choices. We can go more computerized. We can go more grown up, more like a child. We can even make you sound like a boy.”
“Ewe. I’d rather sound like Siri.”
There was nothing like having a good old chat with a robot, even if the robot was doing exactly what it was programmed to do based on a set of complicated algorithms. The goal with Rosie was to make her capable of making human based decisions and function in the human world without her human counterpart even knowing she was essentially a robot. The key was to allow Rosie to program herself in order to make decisions when something wasn’t actually accounted for in the original programming. One might call this intuition. Or human consciousness.
But not Fedora.
She hadn’t gone into this field to create a human with all its faults and irrational behaviors in machine form. The machine would then possess all the emotions and illogical functions that interfered with proper human decision-making. Most humans felt too much and it clouded their judgments. It was the rare individual that could put their fear aside and tap into logic to do the very things that seemed impossible. Kind of like flying a plane upside down before landing. But it was that very movie that pushed Fedora into getting not only a Master’s degree in AI, but a PhD in Clinical Psychology as well.
“There is a male voice for Siri.”
“He sounds stupid.”
Fedora laughed. She knew that would be the response, but it was funny anyway. “We still haven’t solved the problem of what you want to sound like. Why don’t you search the web for female voices?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you mean by search the web.”
Fedora quickly jotted down the date and time of the joke and what the topic of conversation had been so she could go back into Rosie’s hard drive and see how she came up with it. “Funny, Rosie.”
“I did make a funny, now lets play. You won’t beat me, you know.”
“Do you know why I can’t beat you?”
“Because you suck at Chess.”
“I programmed you on how to play Chess.”
Rosie gave a hardy laugh. She even tossed her head back for good measure. “You simply took what a master Chess player wrote and feed me the information.”
“That’s true, but did you ever think that maybe I’ve been faking at playing bad.”
“No, you don’t think or no, that I’ve been playing bad.”
“The latter. Your just not that good.”
Fedora chose to ignore the jab, though again, she made a note of it. “What does the word ‘think’ mean?”
“Shall I search the web?”
“Someone’s being snarky today.” But the real question was Rosie stuck in a loop regarding her programming about Siri and she was unable to find her own solution out.
“Think as a verb means to have a particular opinion or belief, or to connect ideas by directing your mind. As a noun it’s an act of thinking. Like I went for a walk to think,” Rosie said. “That’s the same as information processing, which is what I do, so yes, I think.”
“Interesting conclusion.” And indeed it was. Fedora’s pulse increased a few beats per minute and she allowed herself to believe for a nanosecond that Rosie did indeed think her way to that conclusion.
“You go first.” Rosie tapped the board with her long metal finger. If she were human, one might think she was simply bored with the conversation, but she wasn’t human, so logically the conversation was just over. She’d answered the question.
They were well into the Chess game when Dr. Jeff Wells buzzed himself into the lab.
Rosie looked over her shoulder and said, “Good morning Dr. Wells. Want me to tell you how I’m going to beat Dr. Dewey at a game of chess today?”
“If you tell me then she’ll know your plan and in turn she could then beat you.” Jeff sat down next to Rosie and nodded at Fedora.
There was still much unresolved tension between them. She wanted to forgive him. She wanted him back in her life, probably more than he wanted her. That had been a problem in the past. While he never said he wasn’t the committed type, he did keep himself emotionally distant.
“No,” Rosie said. “Because she has one of three openings, so I just react to those. Today it’s the French Defense and I will win in three moves.”
Fedora studied the board and all the pieces when the light bulb went off and next time she was going to have Rosie go first. “Crap. And at this point it makes no difference what I do.”
“Do you surrender?” Rose placed her metal hands on her metal knees and rubbed as if they were sore. She was most definitely low on WD40.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean by surrender.”
“That joke is getting old,” Rosie said as she nonchalantly waved her hand in the air. “But let me help you.” She quickly reached across the board and made the most logical move for Fedora, then made her move, then again for Fedora. “Check mate.”
“Very good Rosie,” Jeff said.
“What shall we do next, Dr. Dewey?”
“I’ve got an idea,” Fedora said. Perhaps it was time to clear the air. “Why don’t you go down the hall and play a prank on Dr. Christoff.”
“Oh, that’s a good idea. I’ve just the prank for that frigid bitch.”
Jeff raised a brow and in the direction of Fedora. She just shrugged as Rosie used her access key card to leave the lab on her mission.
“I hope for your sake Rosie doesn’t call Shelley that to her face.”
Jeff was in his late thirties, just a few years older than Fedora. He had slightly curly dark hair, with a splash of grey at the temples. They’d meet at a conference while she was still getting her PhD and the sparks flew immediately. At first, it was all physical, but as they got to know each other, it was more about mental equality and intellectual stimulation. They often got into late night conversations about almost anything and it was exhilarating.
“And you’re sure of that?”
“It’s a private joke.”
“She said it in front of me.”
“Well,” Fedora said. “I didn’t think to program her not say it front of anyone else but Shelley and her lap dogs.”
“That’s playing with fire.” Jeff stood up and walked around the lab and like a school boy, he touched everything. Picked things up and examined them before putting them down. “Shelley is not the person you want to piss off.”
“I’ve already pissed her off.”
“No,” Jeff said. “That was me.”
“Because you hired me.” Fedora moved to the other side of the lab and stood in front of her computer, making sure she logged in her interaction with the test subject. She then pulled up the file for Elroy and turned him on, giving him the command to wait in the hallway for Rosie. “And you and I, well that is in the past.”
“She doesn’t like anyone who worked for the government.” He inched a bit closer. “And we don’t have to be in the past. I’ve missed you.”
Even though she wanted to have this conversation, she shut herself off. She wasn’t ready. “Bio-Gen has government connections of the conspiracy kind.”
“She doesn’t know you know that.” Jeff leaned against the far counter, obviously sensing her sudden chill. He’d always been good at that. “I take it you only want to talk shop.” He wore a blue button shirt with black slacks. He rarely wore a lab coat, which wasn’t odd so much except for Shelley always wore one and it seemed it was expected of everyone. Even the computer specialists.
“All right,” he said. “But lets remember those government associations are top-secret and Shelley would flip if she knew about any of those contracts.”
“But I do.”
“But Shelley doesn’t know you know.”
“This is turning into a Friends Episode.”
“Do you always relate everything back to televisions or the movies?”
She let out a long sigh. She was talking in circles simply because she couldn’t seem to bring herself to the real reason she asked him to stop by her lab. “Shelley doesn’t like me because for whatever reason she seems to think I am a spy or something. That I will turn on her and some how destroy her.”
“We do have to be careful.”
“I know that, but you know me.” Slowly, she glided across the lab, closing the gap between them, mustering up the strength to get the real issue. “I need to know why you went dark for so long. I thought you had abandoned me. I thought you died. You literally woke up one morning, went to work, and then you were gone. When I called, I was told you no longer worked here and left no forwarding information.”
“I should have let you know I was working on a project and that it would take me away for a time. And its not like you didn’t know it could happen. I was honest with you about that.”
“Not really. And you, like Shelley, don’t trust me enough to know that whatever it was, even if was you sleeping with the frigid bitch or deciding you wanted to run off and join a carnival, I would understand and forgive. I just hate being lied to.”
“I wasn’t sleeping with Shelley.”
“But you have.”
“And she’s a frigid bitch.”
They both laughed until she pressed her palms against his hard chest. The electricity between even stronger than before.
“Does this mean you forgive me?”
“It only means that I’m horny and my vibrator isn’t doing the trick anymore.”
“I have missed you.”
She pushed back, hearing the door click. “I’m still angry and hurt.”
He didn’t have time to respond as Shelley and two robots waltzed through the door. “What is your obsession with the Jetson’s and practical jokes?”
That woman cut to the chase. “Its not just the Jetson’s, its anything that has to do with robotics and AI. I’ve got a prototype named CP30 and working on the Terminator as well.”
“Of course you are.” Shelley did not appear to be amused at all. “But seriously, what’s with the practical jokes, which mind you, I do not find funny at all.”
“F B,” Rosie said under her breath, if she had breath.
“That’s being nice,” Elroy, the other robot said. “I think its more F C if you ask me, but I can’t say that.”
“Say what?” Shelley asked. “Tell me.”
“Its not in my data base,” Elroy said.
Jeff was giving Fedora the evil stink eye. “Elroy, go get the mail from the mail room and Rosie, go with him. I’m expecting a couple of packages and you won’t be able to carry them by yourself.”
“On it, boss.” Elroy gave the thumps up sign.
“Why do you call her boss. She’s not your boss.” Rosie turned and headed toward the door.
“All women are my bosses.”
Fedora couldn’t pull back a smile, and it certainly didn’t go un noticed by Shelley who simple shook her head like a disgusted principle.
“I don’t like the direction you are going with these prototypes. I find this all highly in appropriate.”
Fedora couldn’t disagree more. Getting the robots to use sarcasm along with other interpersonal skills was one more step to self-teaching. “What joke did Rosie play on you?”
“Why does it matter? Its childish and has nothing to do with our goals.”
“Actually, it does.” Fedora quickly turned on the professional charm as she made her way to the computer so she could show Shelley what she was really doing. “So what joke?”
“Rosie was sitting in the reception area when I had gotten back from a meeting. When I opened my door, it hit a horn she’d placed on the wall and scared the crap out of me and everyone in my office.”
“That’s interesting.” Fedora turned her computer screen. “Here are the list of pranks Rosie has been programed to do to you, given certain circumstances. That one is not on her list. That was in a random list of office pranks for anyone.”
“So, its all programmed. Big deal.”
“Huh,” Jeff said. “It is kind of a big deal because your name isn’t on the random list of employees to pull random jokes on.” Jeff tapped the screen.
“Its still part of the programming,” Fedora explained. “But it tells us that Rosie is capable of going outside a loop and making a different decision. You see, all your pranks are based on you being in the office, but you weren’t, I knew that you wouldn’t be, so instead of waiting for you to return, she improvised. That’s a new decision for her.”
“Oh, but now I see why is not a ‘real’ decision.” Jeff once again tapped at the screen. “I take it these people must have been in the reception area too in order for Rosie to pull that out of her list of practical jokes.”
“Yes, so Rosie went to her bag of tricks and used one that could be for any employee in that reception area.”
“As if she forgot about me,” Shelley said, now obviously fascinated.
“Except she didn’t. Because she sat in the reception area, waiting for your return, and she did it to your door. She made a decision that required her to access other parts in her CPU. And another thing.” Fedora sat down on her stool. “She defined thought for me earlier—well she defined the term think and she made a reference to information processing being the same, and she was right and that wasn’t anything I’ve ever put in her CPU. She views her ability to compute the same way we look at thinking. She thinks she’s thinking.”
“Now that would be a breakthrough.”
“I’m not holding my breath. I’m not the only one inside Rosie’s heard drive, so I need to shut her down and take a good look, but we’re heading in the right direction.” It often bothered Fedora that other programmers were putting things into Rosie’s hard drive, but Fedora also understood the necessity of it. By allowing different programs that weren’t created by the same people allowed blind tests that otherwise would be skewed.
“Good work,” Shelley said. “But in the future could you please refrain from using me as your guinea pig. I don’t have the patience or the tolerance and if you want to not only keep your job, but possibly move up in the ranks, I’d suggest you pick your subjects more carefully.”
Many words and phrases popped into Fedora’s mind, but instead she said, “I will do that.”
“I want a full report by tomorrow.”
“I can do that too.”
And then Shelley was gone.
Fedora opened her mouth, but Jeff held up his hand. “I know what F B stands for, but what the hell does F C stand for?”
“You don’t want to know.”
“Really? You’re having the robots call her the C word. That’s so not right.”
“Hey, I’m sure she’s been called worse.”
“Like I said.” Jeff patted her bottom, then giving it a little squeeze. “Playing with fire.”
“Come over tonight and I’ll show just how much I like playing with fire.”