Book Review #19

The Psychology Of Time Travel

The Book – The Psychology of Time Travel

The Author– Kate Mascarhenas (?)

The Review – Let’s start with the author’s name. It’s really Kate Flynn, but the name on the cover is Mascarhenas. That comes from the same base as ‘mask’, and ‘mascara.’ It’s a Portuguese-language nom de plume, which means “nom de plume.”

In the book, she includes the words ‘quango’ and ‘lanugo,’ neither common, even in Britain. They are valid English words, but seem as if they should be peeking out of a Romance language, like Spanish, or Italian. I’ll properly introduce you to them later.

This is a book – by a woman – for women – about women. It includes the description of an 8-year-old girl’s birthday party, where, “Her blonde ringlets hung down to the tops of her puffed sleeves, and her lacy skirt stood out straight to the side whenever she twirled around, which she did, a lot.”

The story is inhabited almost entirely by females. The only men who show up, are a male police detective and a journalist, who provide information and clues to the young woman investigating a locked-door murder.

The British authoress works in a commentary on racist attitudes in England. Our hardy, mixed-race investigator came to England as a child, from the Seychelles Islands, where she viewed herself as white. Having recently graduated University as an Engineer, she is working for the time-travel Conclave as a volunteer, but the female police constable who interviews her, regards her as colored, and assumes that she is the cleaning woman.

As usual, I was hoping for some temporal paradoxes to be solved, or some Back To The Future III suspense and manoeuvring, to prevent them. Didn’t happen! I was not surprised to not be given, even a vague hint, at how the time-travel process was accomplished, but it was invented by four women.

As a linguist, I was pleased to read that the process was powered by a newly-discovered, transuranic element called Atroposium, aptly-named after Atropos, the Greek Goddess who cut the thread of fate of mortals’ lives. Apparently the stuff was so safe and stable that it could be carried around in charcoal briquette-sized lumps, wrapped in lead foil.

While not described or explained, the time-travel process is so simple that it is used to produce a child’s toy, a Rubik’s-cube-sized box with a hole in the top. Children put candy in, and it disappears, only to return a minute later. What would happen if they stuck their finger in?

The “psychology” of the title is really just the mental stress felt by (female) time-travellers, caused by experiencing history in a non-linear way. Travelling to the past, they meet people that they know are dead. Travelling to the future, the see death certificates and gravestones for people they know are alive.

The detective/heroine goes back several times, to visit her father, who died when she was young. To her, the visits are weeks, or months, apart. I see, from his perspective, that she shows up twice the same afternoon, or on successive days. This grown woman is not his 8-year-old daughter. ‘Go away lady, you’re bothering me.’

I was expecting nothing when I ordered this book, and that’s what I got. No real time travel. No real psychology. It’s a good thing that I got it for free from the library. It had all the panache of a ‘Nurse Jane’ romance novel, full of ‘feelings.’ I feel disappointed and let down. I feel that I’ll need to read and review something with a little more OOMPH. Stay tuned; I’ll see you later.  🙂

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DIY One-Liner Title

Comedy

If you suck at playing the trumpet….
….that’s probably why.

England has no kidney bank….
….but it does have a Liverpool

I’m only friends with 25 letters of the alphabet…
….I don’t know Y

Big shout-out to my fingers….
….I can always count on them

Did I already do my déjà vu joke?

Irony….
….The opposite of wrinkly

Ban pre-shredded cheese….
….Make America grate again

Why did the duck cross the road?….
….because the chicken got run over
Knock, knock. Who’s there?….
….not the chicken

If you succeed at your first attempt at making sushi….
….you could call it raw talent

How to get Chinese people in Boston to agree with you….
….just panda to them

Sawdust??!….
….You mean man-glitter!

My horse’s name is Mayo….
….Mayo neighs

I tried acupuncture today….
….I still don’t get the point of it

My son won’t say that I’m fat….
….but if he names the 5 fattest people he knows, I am three of them.

I used to like my neighbors….
….until they put a password on their Wi-Fi

If cats could text you….
….they wouldn’t

My friend got mugged today….
….He had to call the cups

Stalking is when two people go for a long, romantic walk….
….but only one of them knows about it

My Mom never saw the irony….
….in calling me a son-of-a-bitch

I once farted in an elevator….
….it was wrong on so many levels

I am a nobody, nobody is perfect….
….therefore I am perfect

Someone suffering from a severe case of non-linear waterfowl syndrome….
….doesn’t have all their ducks in a row

Today my son asked, “Can I have a book mark?”….
….11 years old, and he doesn’t know that my name is Brian

How do you make Holy water?….
….You boil the Hell out of it.

I’m going to change my Facebook name to No one….
….then when I read a stupid post, I can click ‘like’, and it will say “No one likes this.”

Light travels faster than sound….
….that’s why some people appear bright, until they speak

To the thief who stole my anti-depressants….
….I hope you’re happy

My wife gives me sound advice….
….99% sound – 1% advice

 

THAT GETS MY GOAT

Goat

Two guys are walking through the woods and come across this big deep hole. 

“Wow…that looks deep.” “Sure does… toss a few pebbles in there and see how deep it is.” 

They pick up a few pebbles and throw them in and wait… no noise. 

“Jeeez. That is REALLY deep… here.. throw one of these great big rocks down there. Those should make a noise.” 

They pick up a couple of football-sized rocks and toss them into the hole and wait… and wait. Nothing. 

They look at each other in amazement. One gets a determined look on his face and says, “Hey…over here in the weeds, there’s a railroad tie. Help me carry it over here. When we toss THAT sucker in, it’s GOTTA make some noise.” 

The two drag the heavy tie over to the hole and heave it in. Not a sound comes from the hole. 

Suddenly, out of the nearby woods, a goat appears, running like the wind. It rushes toward the two men, then right past them, running as fast as its legs will carry it. Suddenly it leaps in the air and into the hole. 

The two men are astonished with what they’ve just seen… 

Then, out of the woods comes a farmer who spots the men and ambles over. 

“Hey… you two guys seen my goat out here?” 

“You bet we did! Craziest thing I ever seen! It came running like crazy and just jumped into this hole!” 

“Nah”, says the farmer, “That couldn’t have been MY goat. My goat was chained to a railroad tie.”

***

Scottish Flag

A Scotsman walks into a Glasgow library and says to the chief librarian,

‘Excuse me Miss, dey ye hae ony books on suicide?’

To which she stops doing her tasks, looks at him over the top of her glasses and says, ‘Bugger off, ye’ll no bring it back!’

***

A thoughtful Scottish husband was putting his coat and hat on to make his way down to the local pub.

He turned to his wee wife before leaving and said, “Maggie — put your hat and coat on, lassie.”

She replied, “Aw, Jock, that’s nice, are you taking me tae the pub with you?”

“Nae,” Jock replied. “I’m turning the heat off while I’m out.”

***

A clearly inebriated woman, stark naked, jumped into a taxi in New York City and lay down on the back seat.

The cab driver, an old Jewish gentleman, opened his eyes wide and stared at the woman. He made no attempt to start the cab.

The woman glared back at him and said, “What’s wrong with you, honey? – Haven’t you ever seen a naked woman before?”

The old Jewish driver answered, “Let me tell you sumsing, lady. I vasn’t staring at you like you tink; det vould not be proper vair I come from.”

The drunk woman giggled and responded, “Well,if you’re not staring at my boobs or ass, sweetie, what are you doing then?”

He paused a moment, then told her…”Vell, M’am, I am looking and I am looking, and I am tinking to myself, ’Vair in da hell is dis lady keeping de money to pay for dis ride?’

***

A boy was bagging groceries at a supermarket. One day the store installed a machine for squeezing fresh orange juice. Intrigued, the young man asked if he could be allowed to work the machine, but his request was denied.

Said the store manager, “Sorry, kid, but baggers can’t be juicers.”

—–

One caller to our answering service gave me his name, number and message and then said, “You know my name. What’s yours?”

“4136,” I replied, since we were allowed only to give our operator numbers.

Sounding disappointed, he said, “May I call you by your first digit, or would that be too personal?”

—–

As we stood in formation at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, our Flight Instructor said, “All right! All you dummies fall out.”

As the rest of the squad wandered away, I remained at attention.

The Instructor walked over until he was eye-to-eye with me, and then just raised a single eyebrow.

I smiled and said, “Sure was a lot of ’em, huh sir?”

—–

The chairman of the board of our company called me into his office to tell me the good news. I was being promoted to Vice President of Corporate Research and Planning.

Of course, I was excited, but that didn’t stop me from asking for my new title to be changed to Vice President of Corporate Planning and Research.

“Why?” asked the chairman.

“Because,” I said, “our organization uses abbreviated job titles, and I don’t want be known as VP of CRAP.”

***

 

Flash Fiction #195

Wired

INFORMATION OVERLOAD

If I could just get them to shut up for a minute, I could think.

Input, input, input! The living room had begun to resemble the NYSE trading floor – everyone talking – nobody listening. I don’t know how those guys do it – a phone in each ear, and a hundred people screaming. Screw multi-tasking, I lose my place reading a book if the dog barks, outside.

The wife has an opinion. The daughter has an opinion. The son has a different opinion. All I suggested was going camping this weekend.

I’ll just lock myself in the den – and soundproof the door.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

Book Review #18

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & The Madness Of Crowds

I am ticked off…. or rather, this book is ticked off the reading list challenge that I don’t follow.

It was originally published before I was born – more than a century before. It was first printed in 1841. The copy that I got on an inter-library loan was reprinted in 1980. It had 3 prefaces – the original, a slightly revised version when the author had it reprinted 30 years later, and yet another from the 1980 re-release.

The 1980 instigator was taking a University Psychology course, when he thought he heard the instructor speaking of an old book about The Madness Of Krauts. He didn’t realize that Germans were called Krauts, that far back. A check of the University library showed him his mistake, but since the copyright had long expired, he felt that he could make a little money by having it reprinted.

This book was a disappointment, yet also a delight to me. Even since the ‘70s, there have been great changes and improvements in psychiatry and psychology, but since I only knew of the 1980 publish date, I hoped to get some fairly up-to-date insights into mob behavior. The 1841 composer rendered none of that. He only provided recountings of historical events which were notable for mass delusion.

These included the likes of the monetary bubble, collapse of the Louisiana Investment scam/scandal, the sad failure of the earliest attempt at a German Crusade, and the ongoing hysteria of the witch hunts. While the historical details were interesting enough, he delivered them all with the long-winded panache of someone reciting a Life Insurance actuarial table.

With the German Crusade, 100,000 young men were said to have started out, but only a handful survived, even to reach Constantinople, because of fighting among themselves, and with the armies of states and countries they marched through and denuded for food and drink.

As usual, the section on the witch hunts provided the worst atrocities. It was both a Church and State viewpoint that, “Because of the seriousness of this offence, none who are accused of this horrid crime shall escape torture to make them confess their sins. It is better that a million shall die, than that one witch shall be allowed to escape.”

Even while trying to do good, the well-intentioned did bad. As the witch-hunt frenzy was ebbing, a minor member of British Nobility tried an experiment. He was unconvinced that torture-induced confessions, and especially the naming of other witches, was valid.

He was acquainted and friends with, two Jesuit priests who acted as judges at the torture trials. To convince them of his viewpoint, he used a woman accused and imprisoned as a witch. They all attended the torture chamber, and he acted as interrogator. He had the woman stretched on the rack, and afflicted with the gamut of horrible tortures. Within a day, she admitted that she was a witch. Skillfully using leading questions, he also had her claim that the two Jesuits were wizards, calling them by name.

As they left the building, leaving the poor woman to her undeserved fate, the senior priest said, “It is well that this was done by a friend, rather than by an enemy.” And so, the witch-hunt frenzy slowly died, but not before thousands of innocent people also suffered and died.

This book is old enough to display some of the some of the English language’s spelling shifts. Words like ‘showed’, and ‘shown’ were printed as shewed, and shewn. While it was not what I thought I was getting, still it was an interesting read.

Three – Two – One-liners

Comedy

When you’re down by the sea
and an eel bites your knee….
….that’s a moray

Life without music….
….would b Flat

Decaf coffee is depresso

Reading while sunbathing….
….makes you, well, red

I had a Wookie steak last night….
….It was a little Chewy

Don’t let anyone call you average….
….That’s just mean

Kleptomaniacs always take things….
….literally

Huge fight at the local seafood diner….
….battered fish everywhere

Last week my doctor told me that I was going deaf….
….I haven’t heard from him since

Try resistance training….
….Refuse to go to the gym.

Whenever I feel blue….
….I start breathing again

I named my IPod Titanic….
….It’s synching now

The four seasons are all different….
….Summer warmer than others

A book hit my head….
….and I’ve only my shelf to blame

Bad puns….
….That’s how eye roll

Looking back….
….I really hurt my neck

If you are in it up to your ears….
….keep your mouth shut

Police toilet stolen!….
….Cops have nothing to go on.

Shenanigans….
….because life is more fun when you’re up to something

Can’t get up to vote?….
….You may have electile dysfunction

Do people in Australia….
….call the rest of the world ‘Up Over?’

I can’t believe it’s been a year…
….since I didn’t become a better person

I don’t have a Fit-Bit….
….but I do have some fat bits

’19 A To Z Challenge – F

AtoZ2019Letter F

First, I gave you several ‘Seinfeld’ posts, each with 6 or 8 unrelated points, but, essentially about ‘Nothing.’ Then I published several posts titled ‘Shotgun,’ like a shotgun blast, with multiple vignettes, but nothing in the way of a single, solid theme.

I got creative, and coined the word ‘Triviana’ to describe these fractured offerings, because it sounded better than Cheap Smarm and Gossip. I stole researched a theme from an American blogger with the right last name, added a photo of Canadian coinage, and called it Smitty’s Loose Change, because my grip on reality is loose, though I don’t really like change.

Eventually, of course, I found that those with more couth and language capability than me, have a word for my weird submissions. They call them

FACETIAE

humorous or witty sayings
obscene or coarsely witty books

It is NOT related to facet, which is a flat surface on a gem or something similar. It Is related to facetious, which means

facetious

adj.

1590s, from French facétieux , from facétie “a joke” (15c.), from Latin facetia “jest, witticism,” from facetus “witty, elegant, fine, courteous,” of unknown origin, perhaps related to facis “torch.”

It implies a desire to be amusing, often intrusive or ill-timed. Related: Facetiously ; facetiousness . “ Facetiæ in booksellers’ catalogues, is, like curious, a euphemism for erotica.” [Fowler]

So, as you can see, I am very serious about not being very serious. I have faced the challenge of A To Z – F. Now I gallop onward, toward the letter G. See you there.  😀