What: There never even was an eight-ball???

Ok, I have just now had a rare Eureka moment in connection with the quandary described in the above post!
Dripping wet, I pull on a pair of pants (this time) and, finding no one on the street who cares, return home to at least document it on Word Press:

The problem of Simultaneity, alias “so what time is it ‘really‘ on the Sun right now?” is a simple result of common sense extrapolating into the un-extrapolate-able zone, so to speak.
If we remember the scene above of the poor fellow hammering stakes into the ground on a far-away hill, and the sounds of his hammer-hits being delayed as seen by us the observers, we have no real problem with that. Anymore than we have with thunder following lightning by quite a few seconds. Sound is kinda sluggish, as velocities go these days. And light being faster, indeed ‘instant’ for all practical purposes on the Earth’s surface, we assume that the post-driver we see with ‘our own lyin’ eyes’ is ‘doing-it’ in ‘real time’.
But then Light was discovered to have a finite speed itself. Ugh. The timing of Jupiter’s moons appears to ‘advance’ as the big planet gets closer to the Earth in its travels, among other early hints.
“No problem” we say, “‘what we see is ‘what happened around Jupiter an hour or so ago’.” A simple repeat of the ‘speed-of-sound’ workaround. Everybody’s happy…
Until… ‘A punch in the gut this way comes!’. Maybe from a black hole?

Yes indeed, from a black hole, (or, as they prefer to be called ‘a differently-pigmented hole’)
Hard to say anything nice about a black hole. In fact you can’t (or ‘aren’t allowed‘ to say much at all about ’em. Ha, forget about what’s up over (down? ) there this Tuesday afternoon August 15th 2017. Deep inside the ‘nothingness we ‘see’, other than a froth of doomed matter circling the drain awaiting ‘nothing-i-zation’, well, Time and Space have stopped being and happening.
“Because-a why?” we protest.
“Well”, say the dancing wu-li physicists, “because even information is crushed inside the singularity.” It don’t matter how we feel about it, there no longer any ‘there‘ there. A cosmic ‘nothing-burger, no ketchup, no fries’.
Ok, fighting for naive realism and common sense, I grudgingly agree, but make an exception, un-wisely, for my ‘I still say it moves‘ view of the Sun:
“We’ll know what’s happening on the Sun ‘now’ in about eight minutes”, I declaim. *looks at watch*

A deafening buzzer sounds! I am led out of the Academy of Modern Physics in shackles.
‘About what you cannot know, nothing must be said’, I speed-read the wall-hanging on my way to the paddy-wagon.
“Somewhere in Pennsylvania at this very moment, doves are mourning my incarceration”, I console myself from my cell.
The Warden, a lascivious smirk on his repulsive face, bursts my ‘common sense’ bubble with diabolic glee:
“Sorry, sucka, my brother-in-law  shot ’em all a half a second ago!”


Eight minutes behind the Eight-Ball since the morning I wuz born

Note: This is a serious post about, like, cosmology and shit like that there, once you get past the infantile jokes.
8:13 AM 17 April 1949, Harrisburg, PA. (The Population Registry on the Sun clocked my birth in as “8:21”. We’ll get to that shortly.)

In a recent ‘What’s your favorite star?’ CNN poll our Sun scored a narrow majority, (67%), edging out Vega, Arcturus, and Beetlejuice, (popular these days) which were offered as options. A full 23% of the respondents declined to answer, citing either ‘No opinion’ or their objection to The Sun being included in a ‘star-popularity poll.’
But frankly, deplorables, our beloved solar plexus, without which we’d be toast in a New York minute, is, in fact a star, just like the other quintillion+ burning plasma-bags we see, but from an awesome distance.
Our own BFF star, viewed approx 150,000,000 kilometers from our front-and-center seats, is a reliable sight every morning. Tickets to view the nearest competitive attraction, Proxima Centauri, from the same close-up vantage-point are selling as we speak at a less-than-brisk rate. ‘Price-considerations’ are perhaps the main market factor. Still, with current technology, an investment of merely ‘1000 times the net output of the human race since what’s-her-name, Leaky’s skeleton?’, plus the proviso that for that price you only get a guarantee that your great-great-great-grand-daughter will be able to peer at it kinda wet-blankets the demand.
But that’s not why I’m writing this. No, there is another more immediate (and conceptual) problem an’ it’s keeping me awake nights. Read on:

You’ve all certainly watch as a fellow way off in the distance hammers steel posts into the ground. You hear the clang as metal strikles metal, but with a ‘speed-of’sound’ delay we common-sense Earthlings take for granted. I’ve even seen the poor bloke finish hammering and then heard a series of ‘clangs’ even after he’s already grabbed a beer.
Were he driving posts into the Sun , the delay-calculation might look something like this, assuming sound travelling in a vacuum, which it don’t:

Ok, the distance between the Sun and the Earth, 149.6 million kilometers needs to be divided by the distance sound travels in one second, 344 meters. (of course, in the Earth’s atmosphere, but we’re just having fun here, right?
The result is a time of travel of four hundred thirty-three thousand, one hundred and thirty-nine seconds. (433, 139)
With sixty second to a minute, sixty minutes to an hour, and 24 hours to a day, we can didvide the seconds tally by 60X60X24=86,400 seconds per day.
Thus, the sound of the fellow hammering on the Sun takes 5,013 days to get here. Hmm.. better than the USPS?

But seriously, even the Light, (by which we see, from Earth, the poor sun-burned dim-wit, duh) takes its good old time to reach us.
Or does it?
There are two schools of thought on this, and I can’t decide in which one to enroll.
 The first, (I’ll call it Common sense) simply decides that what we see happening on the Sun is what happened there 8 minutes ago. The fucking thing coulda super-nova-ed already, while you were on the toilet, and, without a proper notice, rendering wiping your butt your last act on the planet.
However…the demi-god Albert Einstein, who was presumably above prosaic ‘calls of nature’, stood on the shoulders of Newton and tried, really tried, to show us the Second school-of-thought, a bitter pill to swallow but mathematically robust and un-arguable.
The speed of Light, he gently implied, is not only ‘as fast as it gets; no, it’s more fundamentally ‘The Speed of Reality'(!)
Take a second here, and a deep breath. He is in fact dis-allowing any naive statements about events separated by distance and time. Which proviso solidly include my ‘I see the Sun as it was 8 minutes ago’. There is no universal ‘Now’, no matter how much our instinct clings to the concept.
At least we are not alone in our misery; the Alpha Centurions, four-plus years of light travel-time from us, are not to be pitied for still dancing in the streets to ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ and the ‘now-only-a-fond-memory’ TV broadcasts from Earth of Obama’s re-election.
On the contrary! Their ‘Reality’, as arguably ‘real’ as ours, does not, and cannot, include the disgusting elevation of an illiterate, perverted, racist piece of shit to the United States presidency. Don’t you envy them already?
Disclaimer: who knows what scoundrel those 7-tentacled lizards might have elected by them-selves? But in our Reality, it didn’t happen… yet. Whew!
Finally: So what’s with the eclipse (Aug 21; be there) ? Does it bother anyone but me that the Moon, one ‘light-second’ away is slated to block the light which the Sun sent our way eight minutes ago? Kinda sounds like shooting ahead of a duck in flight.
But then, this whole subject spins me in metaphysical and cosmological circles. Some nights I couldn’t even shoot an elephant in my pajamas. How (when?) he got in there, yeah, that’s an easier question. I envy Groucho.


Meanwhile: Drive-Time Music: ‘Hopalong’, While reading the Paltry Press.

This Instrumental saved us on a ‘Southern-Tier Tour. Anyone know how muggy Alabama nights can get?
I’ll always remember ‘Che’ Cartafalsa‘, the Italian-Catholic drummer, satisfyingly self-taught. We used the tune as an ‘intro’, an ‘outro’, and also, in extremis, a ‘metro’, when he sensed that we had lost connection with the audience, and needed a band-huddle’ to plot resuscitation strategy.
Working title was ‘Hopalong Casualty’, but he just announced into the mike: “Hop! a-one, two, three, four and…”
That’s about it. No words, so I don’t need to psychoanalyze my intentions. Enjoy!

PALTRY PRESS: ALIVE and, well, alive at least..

The Paltry Press, that brave little publication, is still struggling to tell its readers what’s coming and going. TRY-ing to PAL-indromize the news.
Here are some highlights from recent editions:

In its ‘Forum’, ‘Ed‘ asks an innocent question about the experimental band ‘Ghoti’s Moebius-inspired format:


‘ITS AN A’!’ writes a commenter whose screen-name is ‘Anasti‘, adding her opinion of Ed:

Enter Al, (screen-name ‘LASTI BASTION’) , who disagrees:
‘NO, ITS A ‘B’! and adds; ‘IT’S ‘AL’.


“An ill-manered military-liason drone, assigned to ‘Stellar-Observer’, a small-scale satelite launch at Vandenburg, a project worked-on for almost a year by high school students all over the US and Canada, took advantage of his access to add his own clay ‘rabbit?… (pig?) to the precious space in the capsule allocated for ‘thin paper drawings’ from schools around the world, meant to journey into space and of course cement today’s youth’s connection with science and adventure.
The space-craft, having been dynamic-balance spin-tested four days before the launch, of course developed a serious and fatal ‘wobble’ just seconds after being released from the nose of the 2nd-stage booster.
The villian, Cpl Jay Drumt Jr. of Carbondale, PA, caught on CC camera footage, and oblivious to the broken-hearted children, could only mutter while being dragged away by MPs: ‘So when do I get my ducky back?’ (It was a ‘duckie?)”
The sad headline reads:


‘Tech News’ reports:

“Start-up ‘alternative’ airconditioning venture NCH (Nature-Cool Housing) is reeling after faulty programming in their units resulted in several fatalities. Their devices, using as the refrigerant ‘home-grown amonia’ (“Cool with your own urine! Pays for itself in your lifetime!”) tragically reversed the end-product synthesis goal, resulting in HCN.

And in more pleasant news on ‘better living through chemistry’, ‘HOOCH-I- COOCH’, the hit drink this summer in many parts of the world is still working on revising the formula of their organo-metallic ‘Iodized Alcoholic Cooler’ offering in order to have it read the same in both directions. ;Scientists agree’  that by doing so, the nutrients will better ‘synch with the quantum vibrations of the human chakra’. Some scientists at least…

Paltry is also following food fashion:

“Prof Ian Dublin might have been wise not to use his real name in a post decrying the “deleterious effects of ‘undigested DNA’ in human’s diet”. A ‘novel‘ contention. (nice word for ‘wing-nut’, ‘wacko’ or ‘nut case’)
The avant-guard Berlin-based nutrition ‘collective’ “Es und Essen”, in their on-line journal, wasted no time slamming him and his ‘theory’… unto calling it ‘alconoci’, a pejorative Japanese term implying ethanol-induced delusional thinking. The headline:

And finally, an op-ed from the Paltry Press ‘In Our View’ column.
Chief Editor Nukio ‘SnoocCardiova does a typically hot-headed takedown, making marsupial road-kill of the recent fad: ‘Bonsai stamina.’
You’ve probably seen the You Tubes: they surreptitiously record a victim’s every move in a day, then post a ‘Before’… and ‘After’, having edited out all the small exertions the poor fellow made which they loftily deem ‘non-essential’. Some unlucky souls suffice to merely  get out of bed, eat a quick meal, then retire, in their judgement.
‘Snooc’ calls the perpetrators, ‘Animatsia-snobs’. He goes back to the original implication of the word ‘animated’ meaning, like, ‘moving around and, like, doing shit!’
“Let he who has not wasted a second of his life (in his Mom’s basement?) pick up the first stone, judge its aerodynamics, calculate the trajectory, and wing it blithely toward real movers and shakers who are well aware, thank you, that a certain percentage of their moves and shakes will be judged, retrospectively, as ‘wasted stamina.”
(Snooc, in his research, somehow unbelievably located the Tel Aviv cinematographer who ‘edited-down’ her raw footage of my own three-year restoration project in Jaffa. Yes, the ‘cutting floor’ was littered with scenes of redundant effort, but in the final analysis, a jewel and ‘must-see’ tourist attraction was preserved for history. ‘Twas personally gratifying to see my name in print, and I graciously subscribed for another year of ‘symmetrical stories’.


Song: ‘Cocoa Beach’

The doggie in this tune chases a car faster then he can run. Or worse ‘fly’


Not much more to add; I do like the realization here that multiple lovers ‘add like fractions multiply’. You can know the bare formula, but to remember to apply it in real life..?
(And there is a slight volume-level ramp-up part way through. Sorry for that. We’re working on it; back at the Institute.


V 1
Met a woman, out on Cocoa Beach
She looked familiar; kinda out of reach
Then it hit me: she’s at the Institute
I got to have her, but I got to buy a parachute

I had my Ph. D in Gravity
She works in Magnetism, over me

She’s a pilot flying at the speed of light
First I get a lock and then she’s out of sight
I get the number; I hear the girl say:
“You can lick the envelope, but the puzzle’s still there…”


‘Where you will lose it on the battle-line
It’s a kiss of ether and analine.’


I know your elevation and rate of climb..
But how can you be two places at the same time?

I got two lovers; now I wonder why:
They add together like fractions multiply
And all the action is shifted out of reach
‘Science Fiction’ it’s just a figure of speech


I know your elevation and rate of climb..
But how can you be two places at the same time?

Instru- and fade-out


‘Gonna Blind Anybody (who gets in my way) – Short Song)

Wrote this one waiting to pump gas at a station. Ran home early that day and recorded it in 8 hours. Guess it shows? No second verse was ever really in the cards after I threatened to murder any competitors!

Happily, no one ‘got in my way’. Must’ve scared ’em off, and going on 17 years now. Time to apologize for being kinda hot-headed?


Only a girl
(But this is my girl)
Only one night
(But it’s tonight)
Only a kiss
(But for a kiss like this-)
I’m gonna blind anybody who gets in my way


I got a girlfriend
Love her all the time
Nothing come between us
I’m hers and she’s mi-i-ine

Only a girl
(But this is my girl)
Only one night
(But it’s tonight)
Only a kiss
(But for a kiss like this-)
I’m gonna blind anybody who gets in my way


What you gonna do ?
You wanna talk to somebody?
Think you got a problem.. (well, maybe?)
I’m gonna blind anybody who gets in my way

Only a girl
(But this is my girl)
Only one night
(But it’s tonight)
Only a kiss
(But for a kiss like this-)
I’m gonna blind anybody who gets in my way


August 21: The great American Eclipse…um ‘Foodfight’

With sorrow and a bit of embarrassment I officially announce the death of my Dream: to watch the up-coming total solar eclipse in person.
In fairness, fantasies have their value, even if never fulfilled. So at least there’s that..
My ‘plan’ was to fly to the Untied Snakes (Philadelphia), gas and oil my ’91 Subaru stored out in the barn for 23 years, (last run 5 years ago), buy a few road maps, and drive south to, oh, Kentucky. Find some deserted spot to park, watch my watch and the Sun, and quietly enjoy the spectacle.
Several cold hard facts, compounded by credible rumours, (please do read the excellent Wash Post article linked below; she might have written it for me specifically) have awakened my inner Rip Van Winkle’s reverie.
Transatlantic airline flight-price high-season;  6000 shekels, individually extracted from anal-retentive Israelis, would be required, merely in order to find myself trapped like an automotive rat on the freeways and byways (impromptu parking lots?) toward my destination. With a better than 50% chance of staring at the underside of a cloud bank during the big event, cursing my fate.
I still recall considering turning around on the grid-locked 2-lane road to the Woodstock festival. Half a million ‘Sears- ‘poof, yer a hippie’ impostors flashing peace signs. This new-version ‘event-of-a-lifetime’ promises a 50X volume of traffic, and without even Jimi Hendrix. I am, of course in favour of public awareness of celestial events, and applaud anyone deciding to weather the anguish to see ’em.
 More prosaic concerns include” Who’ll feed my cats, water my crops? And I’d need to buy a new pair of shoes, buy dollars for incidental expenses, sit inside airplanes for 14 hours without a smoke break or a beer, and worry myself silly about whether I’d left the gas on.
On the other hand…um… ‘I have different fingers’. No, seriously, what to tell the grand-kids?

“Yeah, I missed it. Couldn’t get it together. Life wuz tough back in those days. Go look it up on YouTube.”

So there. Carly Simon’s embarrassed to even know me. Not ‘vain’ enough to be worth a song. Back when I was a success-story, I’d have walked, uphill both ways, a hundred miles… for a partial Lunar eclipse!
Only consolation, other than the unspent 6K shekels, is that ‘Angela’ will understand. I’ll always love her for the critical heads-up in her article. I count of the kindness of strangers lately to save me from my fantasies. Read it yourself: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/07/25/no-firm-travel-plans-for-the-solar-eclipse-heres-what-to-expect-if-you-wing-it/?utm_term=.ac0fe9fa2d95.

Oh, and NASA’s live TV link is here: https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive