IN REMEMBRANCE: 7-3-2011

Margaret Tyzack, Award-Winning Actress

Everett Collection

Ms. Tyzack with Terence Alexander in the hit late-1960s TV serial “The Forsyte Saga,” based on John Galsworthy’s novel.

By

Published: June 27, 2011

 

Margaret Tyzack, a stalwart British actress who won myriad awards for her stage performances, including a Tony, but who was best known in the United States for her roles in the public television series “The Forsyte Saga” and “I, Claudius,” died on Saturday in London. She was 79.

June 28, 2011

Zoe Dominic

Margaret Tyzack in 1990 in “Lettice and Lovage.”

Her death was announced by her agent, Pippa Markham, who did not specify a cause.

Ms. Tyzack, was first and foremost a theater performer whose stage résumé was long and formidable. She won a Laurence Olivier Award, the London equivalent of a Tony, for playing the boozy, fiercely distressed Martha in a 1981 revival of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

She won another Olivier two years ago as Mrs. St. Maugham, the haughty grandmother of an unruly granddaughter, in Enid Bagnold’s arch, emotionally incisive 1950s comedy “The Chalk Garden,” a performance that Charles Spencer, writing in The Guardian of London, called “perhaps the greatest performance of her long career.”

Her Mrs. St. Maugham was “at once imperious, funny and spiteful,” Mr. Spencer wrote. “Her acting is an object lesson in comic timing, and she delivers the epigrammatic dialogue with superb panache.”

Ms. Tyzack appeared twice in featured roles on Broadway. In 1983, as the Countess of Rousillon in “All’s Well That Ends Well,” she was nominated for a Tony. Her next Broadway role, in 1990, was Lotte Schoen, a travel agency bureaucrat who plays foil to a flamboyantly eccentric tour guide (played by Maggie Smith), in Peter Shaffer’s comedy “Lettice and Lovage.”

That production appeared first in London, and was almost kept from opening in New York because of union rules that require special permission for the casting of foreign actors in Broadway productions, permission that is usually granted only to international stars of indisputable singularity or box-office drawing power.

Ms. Smith, who was given dispensation, refused to appear on Broadway unless Ms. Tyzack was also allowed to join the cast, arguing that their onstage chemistry and Ms. Tyzack’s gifts fulfilled the requirement of singularity. Actors’ Equity, the union, finally agreed. Frank Rich, writing in The New York Times, called Ms. Tyzack’s performance “flawless,” and she won a Tony for it.

Ms. Tyzack first came to prominence in 1967, when she appeared as Winifred, sister of Soames Forsyte, the lead character in “The Forsyte Saga,” a 26-week series produced by the BBC that traced the fortunes of an upper-middle-class British family through 40-some years on either side of the turn of the 20th century.

A hoity-toity soap opera about hoity-toity people, it was hugely popular; English churches were said to have rescheduled Sunday evening services so that congregants would not have to choose between worshiping and watching. Acquired by American public television in 1969, it proved to be equally popular in the United States, though without reports of religious disturbance.

Ms. Tyzack also appeared in the title role of “Cousin Bette,” a BBC series based on the Balzac novel about a manipulative spinster, and in “I, Claudius,” based on Robert Graves’s novel about the life of the Roman emperor Claudius (played by Derek Jacobi). Ms. Tyzack played Antonia Minor, Claudius’s mother.

Ms. Tyzack was born on Sept. 9, 1931. Sources differ as to her birthplace, but most indicate it was in Essex, east of London. She attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and began her professional career in the early 1950s at a repertory company in central England, where she spent two years performing in a play a week for nearly 50 weeks a year, a veritable apprenticeship in professional acting.

“We weren’t spoiled or indulged,” she said in a 2009 interview. “It was very hard work, and the paying customer came first. It was expected that they would hear every word, even if they were sitting far from the stage. If you were warned for inaudibility on Wednesday and still couldn’t be heard on Thursday, you’d be sacked on Friday. You had to learn quickly.”

Ms. Tyzack was married to Alan Stephenson, a mathematics professor; they had a son, Matthew. Complete information about survivors was not available.

She appeared in a handful of movies, including two directed by Stanley Kubrick, “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “A Clockwork Orange.” More recently she appeared in Woody Allen’s “Match Point.”

Ms. Tyzack’s final stage role was Oenone, the elderly nurse to the queen, in Nicholas Hytner’s 2009 production of “Phèdre” at the National Theater in London, which starred Helen Mirren. It was the year she won the Olivier for “The Chalk Garden,” and she used the attention to make public statements about the dearth of significant theatrical roles for older women. The roles being written for them, she was widely quoted as complaining, amounted to a load of clichéd old nonsense. She was sick of being offered parts where the characters were old and crone-like or withering away, she said.

“If you watch TV or listen to the radio for a week, you would get the impression that everyone over the age of 60 has no control over their faculties,” she said to one reporter. To another she said, “I don’t want us to be treated with kid gloves, but a fraction of respect would come in handy.”

SOURCE

My first encounter with the inimitable acting qualities of Ms. Margaret Tyzack was with the Masterpiece Theater public television miniseries, I, Claudius.

As the proud and stalwart daughter of Marc Antony, she exemplified enduing strength, as the mother of the slow-witted son Claudius, she was short-tempered and impatient, even as the mother of the wanton Livila (Cladius’s sister), she showed great restraint in locking her daughter up to die when found guilty of mureder and adultery. Such were the acting capabilities of Ms. Tyzack. She left you in awe of her skills as an actress, and decades later you would still remember the impact she had on you.

Thank you Ms. Tyzack for the wonderful memories.

Rest in peace, Ms. Tyzack.

Rest in peace.

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EDITH FELLOWS, 1930S CHILD STAR SHADOWED BY DICKENSIAN TROUBLES

Columbia Pictures

In the 1936 film “Pennies From Heaven,” Edith Fellows played her most famous role, Patsy, a waif befriended by Bing Crosby.

By

Published: July 2, 2011

Edith Fellows, a child star of the 1930s who was known for playing orphans and urchins but whose own life was more Dickensian than that of any character she portrayed, died on June 26 in Los Angeles. She was 88.
 

She died of natural causes, her daughter, Kathy Fields Lander, said.

Ms. Fellows belonged to the generation of small, bright-eyed actors whose on-screen antics — for an hour or two, at least — were meant to sweep Depression-era clouds away. Though overshadowed by contemporaries like Shirley Temple, Jane Withers and Jackie Cooper, she worked with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including Bing Crosby, W. C. Fields and Gene Autry.

Her most famous role was as Patsy, the waif Mr. Crosby befriends in the 1936 musical “Pennies From Heaven.”

Reviewing the picture in The New York Times, Frank S. Nugent wrote: “The chief honors properly belong to little Miss Fellows. Hers really is an exceptional performance for a youngster, skirting the perils of bathos in her tender scenes and playing her rebellious ones with comic impertinence.”

Her dozens of dozens of other films include “Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch” (1934), with Mr. Fields; “And So They Were Married” (1936), with Melvyn Douglas and Mary Astor; and “Five Little Peppers and How They Grew” (1939), along with several of its sequels.

Ms. Fellows’s personal story — involving a confidence man, disappearing parents, a draconian guardian and a headline-making court battle complete with allegations that she was once offered for sale — is a window onto the hazards of child stardom in the heyday of the studio system. It is not so much a whatever-happened-to as it is a how-could-this-have-happened-at-all?

None of it would have happened had the young Ms. Fellows not been so dreadfully pigeon-toed. The only child of Willis and Harriet Fellows, Edith Marilyn Fellows was born in Boston on May 20, 1923; her mother abandoned the family a few months afterward.

At 2, Edith, moved to North Carolina with her father and paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Fellows. As a toddler there, she took dancing lessons to correct her gait.

At 4, Edith, who also sang, was spotted by a talent scout. For $50, he said, he could arrange a Hollywood screen test. She and her grandmother boarded the train.

In Hollywood, they found an empty lot at the address the scout had given them. Edith’s grandmother was too proud to return home and admit she had been swindled.

She took a series of housecleaning jobs, leaving Edith with a local family. The family’s son was an extra in pictures, and one day Edith accompanied him to the studio. She was soon cast in “Movie Night” (1929), starring the comedian Charley Chase.

More films followed, including “Daddy Long Legs” (1931), “The Rider of Death Valley” (1932) and “Jane Eyre” (1934), in which she played Mr. Rochester’s ward, Adele.

By 1935, when her performance opposite Claudette Colbert and Mr. Douglas in “She Married Her Boss” landed her a seven-year contract with Columbia Pictures, Edith Fellows, at 12, was a star.

That stardom had come at a cost, for Edith’s grandmother ran her career with an iron hand. She was not to play with her schoolmates, as she might fall and mar her pearly skin. She was not to shout, as it could strain her voice.

Over time, her grandmother cut her off from anyone who might be a malign influence, which by her reckoning appeared to be nearly everyone. Even Edith’s father, who had joined them in California, was eventually deemed superfluous and sent packing.

One day in the mid-1930s, there was a knock at the door. On the doorstep was Edith’s mother, come for her daughter — or, more precisely, for her daughter’s earnings.

A bitter custody battle ensued, and accounts of it saturated newspapers nationwide in the summer of 1936. Edith’s mother claimed that the girl had been abducted by her grandmother, a charge that the authorities of the period took seriously in the wake of the Lindbergh kidnapping four years before.

She also asserted that Edith’s father had once tried to sell her to a dancing school for $5,000.

Ultimately, the judge awarded custody of Edith to her grandmother and ordered her earnings placed in trust.

Ms. Fellows would see little of the money: When she turned 21 and requested her earnings — estimated at more than $100,000 — she was given a check for $900.60. Her grandmother had died several years earlier; to the end of her life, her daughter said on Friday, Ms. Fellows believed her mother had somehow managed to drain the account.

Ms. Fellows continued making movies through the early 1940s, but by then she was no longer a child. Demand for tiny grown-up film actresses (her adult height was 4 feet 10 1/2 inches) was negligible.

She turned to stage work, appearing on Broadway in “Louisiana Lady,” a short-lived 1947 musical, and “Uncle Willie,” a comedy starring Menasha Skulnik that ran for several months in 1956-57.

One night in the late 1950s, performing in a New York charity show, Ms. Fellows became paralyzed with fear. “I saw the spotlight on me, and I thought, ‘Oh, my God, why doesn’t it go away?,’ ” she recalled in “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” (1984), a book about Hollywood’s child actors by Dick Moore, who, as Dickie Moore, was one of them.

A psychiatrist diagnosed stage fright and prescribed Librium. Ms. Fellows was dependent on the drug, along with Valium and alcohol, for years afterward. She earned her living as an operator for telephone answering services.

Then, in the late 1970s, a friend wrote “Dreams Deferred,” a play based on her life, for a Los Angeles community theater. He asked Ms. Fellows to play the central character, a woman much like herself.

Her performance, in 1979, led to a string of guest appearances on television shows in the 1980s and early ’90s, including “Simon & Simon,” “St. Elsewhere” and “Cagney & Lacey.”

Her renewed career, Ms. Fellows later said, let her quit pills and alcohol cold turkey.

Ms. Fellows’s first marriage, to the talent agent and producer Freddie Fields, ended in divorce, as did her second, to Hal Lee. Besides her daughter, Ms. Lander, from her marriage to Mr. Fields, survivors include a grandchild.

As Ms. Fellows recounted afterward, her professional renaissance almost did not happen. Awaiting her entrance in “Dreams Deferred” on opening night, she feared the spotlight would fill her with dread as it had in New York more than 20 years before. The playwright had promised to leave the stage door open in case she needed to flee.

She looked out from the wings. The spotlight shone down like a benediction, and Ms. Fellows walked onstage.

SOURCE

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ELAINE STEWART, SULTRY 1950S ACTRESS

Everett Collection

Elaine Stewart with Van Johnson, left, and Gene Kelly in “Brigadoon.” Reviews described her as “slinky” and “a temptress.”

By

Published: June 28, 2011

Elaine Stewart, a sultry Hollywood actress who was promoted as a “dark-haired Marilyn Monroe” for her roles in 1950s films like “The Bad and the Beautiful” and “The Adventures of Hajji Baba,” died on Monday at her home in Beverly Hills, Calif. She was 81.

Everett Collection

Elaine Stewart with Mickey Rooney in “A Slight Case of Larceny” (1953).

She died after a long illness, her agent, Fred Wostbrock, said.

Ms. Stewart, who was later a television game show hostess, appeared in 18 movies in the ’50s, inspiring reviews that described her as “slinky,” “voluptuous” and “a temptress.”

In a one-minute scene in “The Bad and the Beautiful,” Ms. Stewart saunters barefoot onto a staircase, martini in hand, in a skintight evening gown, “offering convincing proof to Lana Turner that Kirk Douglas was indeed dallying with another dame,” Cue magazine wrote in 1953.

“It was enough to deluge executives at MGM with mail asking who the girl was, what was her next picture and where had she been hiding herself,” the article continued.

The next year, opposite John Derek, Ms. Stewart played Princess Fawzia in “The Adventures of Hajji Baba,” a fable of a fortune-seeking youth who bets he can lure away the caliph’s daughter, who resists restrictions and wants to choose her own husband. With its sword fights, desert chases and kisses in the moonlight, the movie has become something of a cult classic.

When she played Charleen, the adulterous wife in “The Tattered Dress” — a 1957 crime drama about a cynical lawyer who believes he can sway juries with legal trickery — A. H. Weiler wrote in The New York Times, “Elaine Stewart is provocative enough in that ‘tattered dress’ to distract an avowed misogynist.”

Elsy Steinberg was born in Montclair, N.J., on May 31, 1930. She was a teenager when she signed a contract with the Conover modeling agency and changed her name. Soon after, the movie producer Hal Wallis offered her $200 a week to play a nurse in the Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis comedy “Sailor Beware.” Among her other film credits are “Young Bess” (1953), “Take the High Ground!” (1953), “Brigadoon” (1954) and “Night Passage” (1957). In the 1960s, she appeared on several television dramas, among them “Bat Masterson” and “Perry Mason.”

Ms. Stewart married the Emmy Award-winning game show creator Merrill Heatter in 1964. In 1972, she became hostess of the Heatter-Quigley game show “Gambit,” with Wink Martindale as M.C. She was later the hostess of the company’s nighttime production “High Rollers,” working with Alex Trebek.

Ms. Stewart is survived by her husband; a son, Stewart; and a daughter, Gabrielle.

A significant moment in Ms. Stewart’s career came in 1953, when — reclining, with bedroom eyes — she filled the cover of the March 23 Life magazine. The headline: “Budding Starlet Visits the Folks in Jersey.”

SOURCE

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LORENZO CHARLES, MADE WINNING DUNK IN N.C.A.A. TITLE GAME

By

Published: June 28, 2011

Lorenzo Charles, whose dunk in the final seconds of the 1983 National Collegiate Athletic Association national championship game propelled North Carolina State University to victory over Houston and himself to the realm of basketball legend, died Monday when the charter bus he was driving crashed in Raleigh, N.C. He was 47.

 
June 29, 2011
Associated Press

Lorenzo Charles’s famous dunk won the 1983 national championship. 

North Carolina State announced the death. It occurred on Interstate 40 as Charles was driving a bus for Elite Coach. News reports said the bus, which had no passengers, veered off the highway and sustained heavy damage to its front end.The police did not immediately comment on how or why the accident occurred. Charles had been a bus driver for 10 years.

His moment came in his sophomore year, when he leapt to rebound a teammate’s shot that fell short of the basket and jammed the ball through the hoop, giving the Wolfpack a 54-52 victory.

Like the clutch performances of Michael Jordan for the University of North Carolina the year before and Christian Laettner for Duke in 1992, Charles’s game-winner has become emblematic of the N.C.A.A. tournament. It has been shown thousands of times on television, as has the image of the victorious N.C. State coach, Jim Valvano, darting across the court looking for someone to hug. Charles said that not a day passed that he was not asked about it.

The title game, in Albuquerque on April 4, 1983, pitted the Wolfpack against a Houston team that had been ranked No. 1 in the nation. The high-flying Cougars were led by the future Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler.

The Wolfpack, by contrast, had a 17-10 regular-season record. In beating Houston, they became the first team to win a national championship after losing 10 games.

When N.C. State guard Dereck Whittenburg hoisted a 30-foot desperation shot with only seconds remaining, Charles was directly under the hoop. He said many times that he immediately knew it would fall short. After his dunk, he glanced at the clock and saw there were two seconds left. He later said he had never understood why the Cougars did not call a timeout.

“At the time, I didn’t realize the magnitude,” Charles said in a 1996 interview with The Daily News of New York. “I didn’t realize what I had done.”

Lorenzo Emile Charles was born in Brooklyn on Nov. 25, 1963, and grew up in the Starrett City housing project near Jamaica Bay. Growing to 6 feet 7 inches, he played basketball for Brooklyn Technical High School, from which he graduated.

In 1983, before advancing with his team to the N.C.A.A. finals, Charles sealed a 71-70 victory in an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament game against Wake Forest with a 3-point play. In the N.C.A.A. tournament, he hit two free throws with 23 seconds left to beat Virginia, 63-62, in the West Region final.

Charles played two more years at N.C. State, finishing with 1,535 points. He was the 41st pick in the 1985 National Basketball Association draft, by the Atlanta Hawks. He played only 36 games for the team, averaging 3.4 points.

Charles then played professionally in Europe and South America and for minor league teams. In the early 2000s, he coached the Fargo-Moorhead Beez, a North Dakota team in the Continental Basketball Association.

He is survived by his parents, a sister and a daughter, an N.C. State spokesman said.

SOURCE

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GEORGE BALLAS, INVENTOR OF THE WEED WHACKER

By

Published: July 1, 2011

George C. Ballas loved tending to his lawn with meticulous care, but the 200 or more trees crowding a two-acre expanse behind his house in Houston posed a problem: how to get around the bulging roots and manicure close enough to achieve the near perfection he desired.

July 2, 2011

George Ballas owned a dance studio before his invention.
 
Then one day in 1971 he took his car to a car wash and was watching those whirling soapy brushes sweeping the grime away. Aha! Could something like that trim the grass and slash the weeds around the trees, between the rocks and under the fences?

Back home, Mr. Ballas poked holes in a tin can, strung strands of fishing line through the holes, attached the contraption to a rotary lawn edger, and the Weed Eater was born — or what is more generally known as the weed whacker, a device that has reshaped the landscaping industry and delighted amateur gardeners.

Mr. Ballas died on June 25 in Houston at the age of 85, his son Corky said.

Mr. Ballas’s invention has become “one of the crucial tools to our industry, especially for landscaping,” Mark Fisher, director of horticulture at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, said on Thursday. “Of your landscape and turf crews, everybody has one.”

For those professionals and for everyday gardeners, Mr. Fisher said, “It’s like putting the icing on the cake because it’s really the last thing you do for that final trimming, so everything looks crisp and clean.”

Horticulture was not Mr. Ballas’s primary passion. He was the owner of a dance studio in Houston with 43,000 square feet of space and more than 100 instructors. But after he perfected his invention, he started the Weed Eater Corporation, promoted it on television nationwide and built a business that was eventually bought by Emerson Electric. There are now many Weed Eater models and sizes.

Several feet long, the typical device has controls in the handle and an electric motor at the trimmer head, which houses a coiled, plastic cord that spins and cuts like a scythe at extremely high speeds inside protective guards. (Some models are gasoline-powered and started with pull cords, much like a lawn mower.)

George Charles Ballas was born in Ruston, La., on June 28, 1925, one of three children of Charles and Maria Lymnaos Ballas. Besides his son Corky, who has performed on the television show “Dancing With the Stars,” Mr. Ballas is survived by his wife of 60 years, the former Maria Marulanda; another son, George Jr.; three daughters, Michelle Pritchard, Maria Jamail and Lillian Miles; a brother, Peter; and seven grandchildren.

Mr. Ballas enlisted in the Army when he was 17 and served as a bombardier during World War II. After the war, he worked for both the Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire dance studio franchises. Then, in the late 1950s, he opened his studio in Houston.

Corky Ballas said his father was something of a perfectionist: “He timed everything. He could swipe that tree in less than 60 seconds and not harm that tree. He would cut 10 trees in 10 minutes and go off to work. He liked being known as the Weed King.”

SOURCE

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

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INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COOPERATIVES: FIRST SATURDAY OF JULY

 

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COOPERATIVES

Quick Facts

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Cooperatives recognizes and reaffirms the role of cooperatives in economic, social and cultural development and in the achievement of social policy objectives.

Local names

Name Language
International Day of Cooperatives English
Día Internacional de las Cooperativas Spanish

International Day of Cooperatives 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

International Day of Cooperatives 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012
List of dates for other years

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Cooperatives is observed on the first Saturday of July each year. Some of the day’s goals are to increase awareness on cooperatives, as well as strengthen and extend partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other supporting organizations including governments.
International day of Cooperatives
International Day of Cooperatives remembers what cooperatives do to improve the world’s economic and social development. Illustration based on artwork from ©iStockphoto.com/Florea Marius Catalin

What do people do?

Cooperatives around the world celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives in many ways. Activities include: messages from the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the UN translated into local languages for worldwide distribution; news articles and radio programs publicizing the awareness of the day; fairs, exhibits, contests and campaigns focused on the topics related to the day; meetings with government officials, UN agencies and other partner organizations; economic, environmental, social and health challenges (such as tree planting); and sponsored cultural events such as theatres and concerts.

Public life

The UN’s International Day of Cooperatives is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

Cooperatives are important in the world’s economic and social development. Based as on the principle of cooperation, cooperatives help create new ethics and values in business and economics. In 1895 ICA was formed and since 1927 it observes the first Saturday of July as International Cooperative Day. In 1994 the United Nations recognized and reaffirmed that cooperatives were vital in the world’s economic, social and cultural development. However two years earlier – on December 16, 1992 – the UN General Assembly proclaimed the first Saturday of July 1995 as the International Day of Cooperatives, marking the centenary of ICA’s establishment.

Symbols

The United Nations’ logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material for this event. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, enclosed by olive branches. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map represents all the people of the world. It has been featured in colors such as white against a blue background or blue against a white background.

Promotional material used to publicize the day included images featuring an array of colors similar to those of a rainbow. These colors are linked with those that are used by ICA, which, together with the UN and other organizations, plays a big role in promoting and coordinating events for the day.

International Day of Cooperatives Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Sat Jul 1 1995 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 6 1996 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 5 1997 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 4 1998 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 3 1999 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 1 2000 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 7 2001 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 6 2002 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 5 2003 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 3 2004 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 2 2005 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 1 2006 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 7 2007 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 5 2008 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 4 2009 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 3 2010 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 2 2011 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 7 2012 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 6 2013 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 5 2014 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day  
Sat Jul 4 2015 International Day of Cooperatives United Nation day

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SKYWATCH: PARADIGM-SHATTERING QUASAR, BEYOND THE TUNING FORK, AND MORE

News
This artist’s impression shows how ULAS J1120+0641, a very distant quasar powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun, may have looked.

ESO/M. Kornmesser

Bulletin at a Glance

News
Observing
This Week’s Sky at a Glance
Community

A Paradigm-Shattering Quasar

July 1, 2011 | A team of European astronomers has discovered the most distant known quasar.But at its heart is a monstrous black hole that could rob theorists of a few nights’ sleep. > read more

Rethinking Galaxies

June 28, 2011 | Edwin Hubble’s tuning-fork diagram has helped astronomers classify galaxies for more than 70 years. But recent research shows that it might be time for a makeover — to a “comb” diagram. > read more

A Case for Frozen Hydrogen

June 27, 2011 | Can hydrogen freeze solid in interstellar clouds? If so, it might contribute to a mysterious form of interstellar light absorption. > read more

Neutron Star Gobbles Hot Gas, Burps X-rays

June 30, 2011 | Astronomers have observed a neutron star flaring to 10,000 times its original brightness. > read more

Two More Moonlets for Jupiter

July 1, 2011 | Astronomers have discovered a pair of tiny satellites traveling far from Jupiter. So which planet — Jupiter or Saturn — now has the most moons? > read more

Three Great Old Magazines on DVD

June 21, 2011 | The complete collections of The Sky, The Telescope, and Night Sky magazines are now available as DVD-ROMs. > read more

Sky & Telescope August 2011

June 13, 2011 | Sky & Telescope‘s August 2011 issue is now available to digital subscribers. > read more

Observing

S&T: Lauren Darby

Tour July’s Sky by Eye and Ear!

June 30, 2011 | Look low in the west at sunset to spy fleet Mercury, toward southwest for Saturn, and in the south for red-hued Antares, the “rival of Mars.” > read more

Supernova Erupts in Whirlpool Galaxy

June 3, 2011 | Supernova 2011dh in M51 seems just past its peak at around magnitude 12.7. With the Moon now gone from the evening sky, the next clear nights are your best chance. It should be visible through an 8-inch telescope in any but the worst skies. > read more

Interactive Sky Chart is Unavailable

June 3, 2011 | Our popular Interactive Sky Chart will be unavailable for an indeterminate period. > read more

Saturn’s New Bright Storm

December 27, 2010 | A massive new storm in the ringed planet’s northern hemisphere is bright enough to see in small telescopes. > read more

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

July 1, 2011 | Mercury is back at dusk, and so is the crescent Moon. Saturn and Porrima are pulling apart. And bright Jupiter climbs higher in the dawn. > read more

Community

Ice Hunters 2011 and the New Horizons Mission

IceHunters: A Kuiper Belt Search

June 24, 2011 | In the latest citizen science project, you can help NASA hunt new objects in the Kuiper Belt — and perhaps even steer the New Horizons probe toward your lucky find. > read more

Let the Star Parties Begin!

April 14, 2011 | Want to gaze at the Milky Way all night or peer into the eyepiece of a 12-foot-tall telescope? Then escape the city lights and head for the nearest “star party.” > read more

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HAPPILY NATURAL DAY: ONE FESTIVAL – TWO CITIES – FOR THE PEOPLE: AUGUST 26-28, 2011



One Festival – Two Cities – For the PeopleDownload Poster: Here >> Link <<
Reason For Happily Natural Day >>> LINK<<<Vendor Space Available – Download Application – Register Online

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COLORLINES: DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL IN BLACK CHURCHES

 

 

June 30, 2011 Colorlines.com Direct | Published by the Applied Research Center

Eddie Long and the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Pall Over the Black Church

Many in the black LGBT community hoped Long’s sexual-abuse controversy would prompt a much-needed real conversation about sexuality in the church. Rod McCullom says: “It didn’t.”

Also: Coming out on NPR; Puerto Rican anti-gay violence; Mapping global LGBT rights

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Youth Say Race Still Matters—So What Are They Doing About It?

Juell Stewart looks at five campaigns led by young people taking on modern racism.
Also: Read the full series on youth attitudes about race.

Debate Over Civil Rights Groups’ Support for AT&T Heats Up

Critics say they’ve been bought off; civil rights groups say they’re all about jobs. Jamilah King dissects the dispute.

       

Alice Walker Doesn’t Mince Words in Challenging Israeli Blockade of Gaza
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author is set to sail to Gaza, and compares the treatment of Palestinians to her own childhood in the American South.

Oscar Grant’s Family Wins $1.3 Million Settlement
The Bay Area transit agency has agreed to pay the family in its wrongful death and civil rights suit.

U.S.-Based Fans of Mexico’s Soccer Team Face Backlash at Gold Cup
Even if you missed it, the game was riddled with clues on just how hostile our country’s debate over immigration has gotten.

Latina Transgender Beauty Queens Raise Awareness for HIV/AIDS
An all-Latina transgender diva race brings HIV/AIDS prevention and health messages to Orange County’s Latino community.

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HATEWATCH: RACIST PROF LATEST TO JOIN GROUP THAT SEEKS WHITE RULE IN AMERICA

Racist Prof Latest to Join Group That Seeks White Rule in America

by Heidi Beirich on June 27, 2011

Racist activist Jamie Kelso announced this past Friday that long-time professor Virginia Abernethy has joined the board of the white nationalist American Third Position (ATP) political party. Established in 2009, the ATP was originally created by racist Southern California skinheads and is now led by a man who once sought to deport any American with an “ascertainable trace of Negro blood.” Its chief aim, ATP says, is to “return our nation to its rightful owners” ­— that is, white people — and by “liberating” it from the “banksters,” a radical-right term meaning Jews.

Abernethy, a self-described “white separatist” and emeritus professor of psychiatry and anthropology at Vanderbilt Medical School, has a long history of working with racist groups. At one time, Abernethy was on the editorial advisory board of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a racist hate group that describes black people as “a retrograde species of humanity.” But her addition to the board of ATP, with its open racism and anti-Semitism, is a further step to the extreme right.

With the addition of Abernethy, the ATP board is now populated by the top tier of American white nationalists. The chairman of the group is corporate lawyer William D. Johnson, and board members include virulent anti-Semite Kevin MacDonald — an academic like Abernethy — and white nationalist radio host James Edwards. Kelso, who for years ran former Klansman David Duke’s website and also helped moderate the white nationalist Stormfront.org, is the chief organizer for the party.

Abernethy has grown increasingly extreme in her views over the last decade. But even in 2002, she was a white nationalist, telling the Southern Poverty Law Center, “What is the point of a society that pushes [racial] mixing?” She added, “Our society pushes mixing. I think this is probably not a good thing for the society.”

Abernethy, who is also a leading nativist, has had some success in the past pushing her anti-immigrant agenda. In 2004, she was the chief spokeswoman of Protect Arizona Now, a campaign that backed a harsh anti-immigrant referendum known as Proposition 200 in that state. Though her racist background became public before the vote and helped spur the proposition’s denunciation by almost every Arizona newspaper editorial board, the referendum still passed with 56% of the vote.

Abernethy has some other interesting connections. She has held leadership positions in two organizations that claim to work toward a reduction in U.S. population as part of an effort to protect the environment. Though Carrying Capacity Network and Population-Environment Balance portray themselves as pro-environment, both are really greenwashers — groups that use environmentalism as a smokescreen to severely restrict immigration to the U.S.

Partly because of the addition of Abernethy to ATP’s board, the party has become the most serious white nationalist organization in the U.S. It is also growing quickly. In 2010, the party had 10 chapters in nine states.

SOURCE

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“Established in 2009, the ATP was originally created by racist Southern California skinheads and is now led by a man who once sought to deport any American with an “ascertainable trace of Negro blood.” Its chief aim, ATP says, is to “return our nation to its rightful owners” ­— that is, white people — and by “liberating” it from the “banksters,” a radical-right term meaning Jews.”

The only true rightful owners of this country are the Native Americans who were here before the coming of Columbus. So, if your so-called organization is ready to hand America back over to the Native Americans (or, at least what is left of them), then, by all means–give this country back to its rightful owners.

As for DNA tests to divulge any “ascertainable trace of Negro blood”, careful what you ask for. Wouldn’t surprise me if some of the White members of the racist ATP organization couldn’t pass a DNA genetic marker test.

 Talk about skeletons in the closet.

No, make that skeletons in the genes.

With all of the race and rape mixing that has occurred in this country in the last 500 years, there is no way anyone can claim so-called pure blood.

Some of those Black Americans that you ATP types hate so much, can be your long-lost brother, or sister.

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. . . .AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: “THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION”

In this futuristic tale, written by James Tiptree, Jr., (and made into a Masters of Horror episode), human society has descended into chaotic destruction when men unexplainably around the world begin to murder women. Two scientists, Alan and Barney, seek to unravel the mystery as to why men become homicidal when sexually aroused. As more and more nations fall prey to this mysterious psychological plague, the body count of women and girls pile up, so much that the end of the human race is nigh. Turns out a virus is infecting men to commit murderous rages against women, with many men becoming adherents of the psycho-religion group “The Sons of Adam”–a religious mania that seems to be following an assumed airborne disease. But, the men do not stop their violence at just women and girls–soon young men and boys are destroyed, especially the sons who become victims on the altar of sacrifice.
 
While the head scientist works to find a cure for this terror, his wife, Anne, must protect herself and their daughter Amy in a world growing increasingly violent for anyone of the female gender. In the meantime, periodic sightings of “angels” forebodes doom for humankind, as these extraterrestrials definitely do not have human’s continuation on this planet in mind. In the cruel joke played on humans, while they were busy eradicating the screwfly, they themselves were now the target of an exterminator who “finally had been called in to rid Earth’s Eden of its greatest pest”.
 
In the ultimate battle of the sexes, no one will be left, for when the bearers of society are annihilated, then so to will  life for humans on this Earth cease to exist.
 
If humans were to completely leave this world, would the Earth be a better place without them, since humans contribute nothing to this planet, this place–the only planetary orb they have on which to live out their lives? Would the end of humans allow Earth to once again become the place it was once upon a time before the rape, the pillage, the scarring of the land; without the smog, the pollution of lakes, rivers, streams, and the ocean? Would it be a good thing if humans ceased to exist? Would their disappearance matter in the cosmic scheme of things?
 
Would the Earth itself breathe a sigh of relief at their demise?
 
And would these new beings in the end be no better than the humans they eradicated? Would they too become a blight, a plague upon the earth, where they will eventually themselves become pests in the eyes of some other higher life form in Earth’s Garden of Eden paradise?
 
For the Earth is a garden, entrusted to humankind’s care.
 
And the bad, contemptuous gardeners always in the end reap what they have sown.
 
*************************************************************************************
 
The Screwfly Solution
Racoona Sheldon (JAMES TIPTREE, JR.) The young man sitting at 200 N, 750 W sent a casually venomous glance up at the nonfunctional shoofly ventilator and went on reading his letter. He was sweating heavily, stripped to his shorts in the hotbox of what passed for a hotel room in Cuyapán.How do other wives do it? I stay busy-busy with the Ann Arbor grant review programs and the seminar, saying brightly ‘Oh yes, Alan is in Colombia setting up a biological pest-control program, isn’t it wonderful?’ But inside I imagine you surrounded by nineteen-year-old raven-haired cooing beauties, every one panting with social dedication and filthy rich. And forty inches of bosom busting out of her delicate lingerie. I even figured it in centimeters, that’s 101.6 centimeters of busting. Oh, darling, darling, do what you want only come home safe.Alan grinned fondly, briefly imagining the only body he longed for. His girl, his magic Anne. Then he got up to open the window another cautious notch. A long pale mournful face looked in—a goat. The room opened on the goatpen, the stench was vile. Air, anyway. He picked up the letter.Everything is just about as you left it, except that the Peedsville horror seems to be getting worse. They’re calling it the Sons of Adam cult now. Why can’t they do something, even if it is a religion? The Red Cross has set up a refugee camp in Ashton, Georgia. Imagine, refugees in the U.S.A. I heard two little girls were carried out all slashed up. Oh, Alan.Which reminds me, Barney came over with a wad of clippings he wanted me to send you. I’m putting them in a separate envelope; I know what happens to very fat letters in foreign POs. He says, in-case you don’t get them, what do the following have in common? Peedsville, Sao Paulo, Phoenix, San Diego, Shanghai, New Delhi, Tripoli, Brisbane, Johannesburg and Lubbock, Texas. He says the hint is, remember where the Intertropical Convergence Zone is now. That makes no sense to me, maybe it will to your superior ecological brain. All I could see about the clippings was that they were fairly horrible accounts of murders or massacres of women. The worst was the New Delhi one, about “rafts of female corpses” in the river. The funniest (!) was the Texas Army officer who shot his wife, three daughters and his aunt, because God told him to clean the place up.Barney’s such an old dear, he’s coming over Sunday to help me take off the downspout and see what’s blocking it. He’s dancing on air right now; since you left, his spruce budworm-moth antipheromone program finally paid off. You know he tested over 2,000 compounds? Well, it seems that good old 2,097 really works. When I asked him what it does he just giggles, you know how shy he is with women. Anyway, it seems that a one-shot spray program will save the forests, without harming a single other thing. Birds and people can eat it all day, he says.Well, sweetheart, that’s all the news except Amy goes back to Chicago to school Sunday. The place will be a tomb, I’ll miss her frightfully in spite of her being at the stage where I’m her worst enemy. The sullen sexy subteens, Angie says. Amy sends love to her daddy. I send you my whole heart, all that words can’t say.Your AnneAlan put the letter safely in his note e and glanced over the rest of the thin packet of mail, refusing to let himself dream of home and Anne. Barney’s “fat envelope” wasn’t there. He threw himself on the rumpled bed, yanking off the light cord a minute before the town generator went off for the night. In the darkness the list of places Barney had mentioned spread themselves around a misty globe that turned, troublingly, in his mind. Something. . . But then the memory of the hideously parasitized children he had worked with at the clinic that day took possession of his thoughts. He set himself to considering the data he must collect. Look for the vulnerable link in the behavioral chain—how often Barney—Dr. Barnhard Braithwaite—had pounded it into his skull. Where was it, where? In the morning he would start work on bigger canefly cages. . ..At that moment, five thousand miles north, Anne was writing:Oh, darling, darling, your first three letters are here, they all came together. I knew you were writing. Forget what I said about swarthy heiresses, that was all a joke. My darling I know, I know . . . us. Those dreadful canefly larvae, those poor little kids. If you weren’t my husband I’d think you were a saint or something. (I do anyway.)

I have your letters pinned up all over the house, makes it a lot less lonely. No real news here except things feel kind of quiet and spooky. Barney and I got the downspout out, it was full of a big rotted hoard of squirrel nuts. They must have been dropping them down the top, I’ll put a wire over it. (Don’t worry, I’ll use a ladder this time.)

Barney’s in an odd, grim mood. He’s taking this Sons of Adam thing very seriously, it seems he’s going to be on the investigation committee if that ever gets off the ground. The weird part is that no one seems to be doing anything, as if it’s just too big. Selina Peters has been printing some acid comments, like: When one man kills his wife you call murder, but when enough do it we call it a life-style. I think it’s spreading, but nobody knows because the media have been asked to downplay it. Barney says it’s being viewed as a form of contagious hysteria. He insisted I send you this ghastly interview, printed on thin paper. It’s not going to be published, of course. The quietness is worse, though, it’s like something terrible was going on just out of sight. After reading Barney’s thing I called up Pauline in San Diego to make sure she was all right. She sounded funny, as if she wasn’t saying everything . . . my own sister. Just after she said things were great she suddenly asked if she could come and stay here awhile next month. I said come right away, but she wants to sell her house first. I wish she’d hurry.

The diesel car is okay now, it just needed its filter changed. I had to go out to Springfield to get one but Eddie installed it for only $2.50. He’s going to bankrupt his garage.

In case you didn’t guess, those places of Barney’s are all about latitude 300 N or S—the horse latitudes. When I said not exactly, he said remember the Equatorial Convergence Zone shifts in winter, and to add in Libya, Osaka, and a place I forget—wait, Alice Springs, Australia. What has this to do with anything, I asked. He said, “Nothing—I hope.” I leave it to you, great brains like Barney can be weird.

Oh my dearest, here’s all of me to all of you. Your letters make life possible. But don’t feel you have to, I can tell how tired you must be. Just know we’re together, always everywhere.

Your Anne

Oh PS I had to open this to put Barney’s thing in, it wasn’t the secret police. Here it is. All love again. A.

In the goat-infested room where Alan read this, rain was drumming on the roof. He put the letter to his nose to catch the faint perfume once more, and folded it away. Then he pulled out the yellow flimsy Barney had sent and began to read, frowning.

PEEDSVILLE CULT/SONS OF ADAM SPECIAL. Statement by driver Sgt. Willard Mews, Globe Fork, Ark. We hit the roadblock about 80 miles west of Jacksonville. Major John Heinz of Ashton was expecting us, he gave us an escort of two riot vehicles headed by Capt. T. Parr. Major Helm appeared shocked to see that the N.I.H. medical team included two women doctors. He warned us in the strongest terms of the danger. So Dr. Patsy Putnam (Urbana, Ill.), the psychologist, decided to stay behind at the Army cordon. But Dr. Elaine Fay (Clinton, N.J.) insisted on going with us, saying she was the epi-something (epidemiologist).

We drove behind one of the riot cars at 30 m.p.h. for about an hour without seeing anything unusual. There were two big signs saying SONS OF ADAM—LIBERATED ZONE. We passed some small pecan-packing plants and a citrus-processing plant. The men there looked at us but did not do anything unusual. I didn’t see any children or women of course. Just outside Peedsville we stopped at a big barrier made of oil drums in front of a large citrus warehouse. This area is old, sort of a shantytown and trailer park. The new part of town with the shopping center and developments is about a mile farther on. A warehouse worker with a shotgun came out and told us to wait for the mayor. I don’t think he saw Dr. Elaine Fay then, she was sitting sort of bent down in back.

Mayor Blount drove up in a police cruiser and our chief, Dr. Premack, explained our mission from the Surgeon General. Dr. Premack was very careful not to make any remarks insulting to the mayor’s religion. Mayor Blount agreed to let the party go on into Peedsville to take samples of the soil and water and so on and talk to the doctor who lives there. The mayor was about 6′ 2″, weight maybe 230 or 240, tanned, with grayish hair. He was smiling and chuckling in a friendly manner.

Then he looked inside the car and saw Dr. Elaine Fay and he blew up. He started yelling we had to all get the hell back. But Dr. Premack talked to him and cooled him down and finally the mayor said Dr. Fay should go into the warehouse office and stay-there with the door closed. I had to stay there too and see she didn’t come out, and one of the mayor’s men would drive the party.

So the medical people and the mayor and one of the riot vehicles went on into Peedsville and I took Dr. Fay back into the warehouse office and sat down. It was real hot and stuffy. Dr. Fay opened a window, but when I heard her trying to talk to an old man outside I told her she couldn’t do that and closed the window. The old man went away. Then she wanted to talk to me but I told her I did not feel like conversing. I felt it was real wrong, her being there.

So then she started looking through the office files and reading papers there. I told her that was a bad idea, she shouldn’t do that. She said the government expected her to investigate. She showed me a booklet or magazine they had there, it was called Man Listens to God by Reverend McIllhenny. They had a carton full in the office. I started reading it and Dr. Fay said she wanted to wash her hands. So I took her back along a kind of enclosed hallway beside the conveyor to where the toilet was. There were no doors or windows so I went back. After awhile she called out that there was a cot back there, she was going to lie down. I figure that was all right because of the no windows; also I was glad to be rid of her company.

When I got to reading the book it was very intriguing. It was very deep thinking about how man is now on trial with God and if we fulfill our duty -God will bless us with a real new life on Earth. The signs and portents show it. It wasn’t like, you know, Sunday school stuff. It was deep.

After a while I heard some music and saw the soldiers from the other riot car were across the street by the gas tanks, sitting in the shade of some trees and kidding with the workers from the plant. One of them was playing a guitar, not electric, just plain. It looked so peaceful.

Then Mayor Blount drove up alone in the cruiser and came in. When he saw I was reading the book he smiled at me sort of fatherly, but he looked tense. He asked me where Dr. Fay was and I told him she was lying down in back. He said that was okay. Then he kind of sighed and went back down the hall, closing the door behind him. I sat and listened to the guitar man, trying to hear what he was singing. I felt really hungry, my lunch was in Dr. Premack’s car.

After a while the door opened and Mayor Blount came back in. He looked terrible, his clothes were messed up and he had bloody scrape marks on his face. He didn’t say anything, he just looked at me hard and fierce, like he might have been disoriented. I saw his zipper was open and there was blood on his clothing and also on his (private parts). I didn’t feel frightened, I felt something important had happened. I tried to get him to sit down. But he motioned me to follow him back down the hall to where Dr. Pay was. “You must see,” he said. He went into the toilet and I went into a kind of little room there, where the cot was. The light was fairly good, reflected off the tin roof from where the walls stopped. I saw Dr. Pay lying on the cot in a peaceful appearance.

She was lying straight, her clothing was to some extent different but her legs were together. I was glad to see that. Her blouse was pulled up and I saw there was a cut or incision on her abdomen. The blood was coming out there, or it had been coming out there, Like a mouth. It wasn’t moving at this time. Also her throat was cut open.

I returned to the office. Mayor Blount was sitting down, looking very tired. He had cleaned himself off. He said, “I did it for you. Do you understand?”

He seemed like my father. I can’t say it better than that. I realized he was under a terrible strain, he had taken a lot on himself for me. He went on to explain how Dr. Fay was very dangerous, she was what they calls cripto-female (crypto?), the most dangerous kind. He had exposed her and purified the situation. He was very straightforward, I didn’t feel confused at all, I knew he had done what was right.

We discussed the book, how man must purify himself and show God a clean world. He had some people raise the question of how can man reproduce without women but such people miss the point. The point is that as long as man depends on the filthy animal way God won’t help him. When man gets rid of his animal part which is woman, this is the signal God is awaiting. Then God will reveal the new true clean way, maybe angels will come bringing new souls, or maybe we will live forever, but it is not our place to speculate, only to obey. He said some men here had seen an Angel of the Lord. This was very deep, it seemed like it echoed inside me, I felt it was an inspiration.

Then the medical party drove up and I told Dr. Premack that Dr. Fay had been taken care of and sent away, and I got in the car to drive them out of the Liberated Zone. However four of the six soldiers from the roadblock refused to leave. Capt. Parr tried to argue them out of it but finally agreed they could stay to guard the oil-drum barrier.

I would have liked to stay too, the place was so peaceful, but they needed me to drive the car. If I had known there would be all this hassle I never would have done them the favor. I am not crazy and I have not done anything wrong and my lawyer will get me out. That is all I have to say.

In Cuyapán the hot afternoon rain had temporarily ceased. As Alan’s fingers let go of Sgt. Willard Mews’s wretched document he caught sight of pencil-scrawled words in the margin. Barney’s spider hand. He squinted.

“Man’s religion and metaphysics are the voices of his glands. Schönweiser, 1878.”

Who the devil Schönweiser was Alan didn’t know, but he knew what Barney was conveying. This murderous crackpot region of McWhosis was a symptom, not a cause. Barney believed something was physically affecting the Peedsville men, generating psychosis, and a local religious demagogue had sprung up to “explain” it.

Well, maybe. But cause or effect. Alan thought only of one thing: eight hundred miles from Peedsville to Ann Arbor. Anne should be safe. She had to be.

He threw himself on the lumpy cot, his mind going back exultantly to his work. At the cost of a million bites and cane cuts be was pretty sure he’d found the weak link in the canefly cycle. The male mass-mating behavior, the comparative scarcity of ovulant females. It would be the screwfly solution all over again with the sexes reversed. Concentrate the pheromone, release sterilized females. Luckily the breeding populations were comparatively isolated. In a couple of seasons they ought to have it.’ Have to let them go on spraying poison meanwhile, of course; damn pity, it was slaughtering everything and getting in the water, and the caneflies had evolved to immunity anyway. But in a couple of seasons, maybe three, they could drop the canefly populations below reproductive viability. No more tormented human bodies with those stinking larvae in the nasal passages and brain. . . . He drifted off for a nap, grinning.

Up north, Anne was biting her lip in shame and pain.

Sweetheart, I shouldn’t admit but your wife is scared a bit jittery. Just female nerves or something, nothing to worry about. Everything is normal up here. It’s so eerily normal, nothing in the papers, nothing anywhere except what I hear through Barney and Lillian. But Pauline’s phone won’t answer out in San Diego; the fifth day some strange man yelled at me and banged the phone down. Maybe she’s sold her house–but- why wouldn’t she call?

Lillian’s on some kind of Save-the-Women committee, like we were an endangered species, ha-ha—you know Lillian. It seems the Red Cross has started setting up camps. But she says, after the first rush, only a trickle are coming out of what they call “the affected-areas.” Not many children, either, even little boys. And they have some air photos around Lubbock showing what look like mass graves. Oh, Alan, so far it seems to be mostly spreading west, but something’s happening in St. Louis, they’re cut off. So many places seem to have just vanished from the news, I had a nightmare that there isn’t a woman left alive down there. And nobody’s doing anything. They talked about spraying with tranquilizers for a while and then that died out. What could it do? Somebody at the UN has proposed a convention on–you won’t believe this—femicide. It sounds like a deodorant spray.

Excuse me, honey, I seem to be a little hysterical. George Searles came back from Georgia talking about God’s Will—Searles the lifelong atheist. Alan, something crazy is happening.

But there aren’t any facts. Nothing. The Surgeon General issued a report on the bodies of the Rahway Rip-Breast Team—I guess I didn’t tell you about that. Anyway, they could find no pathology. Milton Baines wrote a letter saying the present state of the art we can’t distinguish the brain of a saint from a psychopathic killer, so how could they expect to find what they don’t know how to look for?

Well, enough of these jitters. It’ll be all over by the time you get back, just history. Everything’s fine here, I fixed the car’s muffler again. And Amy’s coming home for the vacations, that’ll get my mind off faraway problems.

Oh, something amusing to end with—Angie told me what Barney’s enzyme does to the spruce budworm; It seems it blocks’ the male from turning around after he connects with the female, so he mates with her head instead. Like clockwork with a cog missing. There’re going to be some pretty puzzled female spruceworms. Now why couldn’t Barney tell me that? He really is such a sweet shy old dear. He’s given me some stuff to put in, as usual. I didn’t read it, Now don’t worry, my darling, everything’s fine, I love you, I love you so.

Always, all ways your Anne

Two weeks later In Cuyapán when Barney’s enclosures slid out of the envelope, Alan didn’t read them either. He stuffed them into the pocket of his bush jacket with a shaking hand and started bundling his notes together on the rickety table, with a scrawled note to Sister Dominique on top. The hell with the canefly, the hell with everything except that tremor in his fearless Anne’s handwriting. The hell with being five thousand miles away from his woman, his child, while some deadly madness raged. He crammed his meager belongings into his duffel. If he hurried he could catch the bus through to Bogota and maybe make the Miami flight.

He made it to Miami but the planes north were jammed. He failed a· quick standby; six hours to wait. Time to call Anne. When the call got through with some difficulty he was unprepared for the rush of joy and relief that burst along the wires.

‘”Thank God—I can’t believe it—oh, Alan, my darling, are you really—I can’t believe—”

He found he was repeating too, and all mixed up with the canefly data. They were both laughing hysterically when he finally hung up. Six hours. He settled in a frayed plastic chair opposite Aerolineas Argentinas, his mind half back at the clinic, half on the throngs moving by him. Something was oddly different here, he perceived presently. Where was the decorative fauna he usually enjoyed in Miami, the parade of young girls in crotch-tight pastel jeans? The flounces, boots, wild hats and hairdos, and startling expanses of newly tanned skin, the brilliant fabrics barely confining the bob of breasts and buttocks? Not here—but wait; looking closely, he glimpsed two young faces hidden under unbecoming parkas, their bodies draped in bulky nondescript skirts. In fact, all down the long vista he could see the same thing: hooded ponchos, heaped-on clothes and baggy pants, dull colors. A new style? No, he thought not. It seemed to him their movements suggested furtiveness, timidity. And they moved in groups. He watched a lone girl struggle to catch up with others ahead of her; apparently strangers. They accepted her wordlessly. They’re frightened, he thought. Afraid of attracting notice. Even that gray-haired matron in a pantsuit resolutely leading a flock of kids was glancing around nervously. And at the Argentine desk opposite he saw another odd thing; two lines had a big sign over them: MUJERES. Women. They were crowded with the shapeless forms and very quiet. The men seemed to be behaving normally; hurrying, lounging, griping, and joking in the lines astray kicked their luggage along. But Alan felt an undercurrent of tension, like an irritant in the air. Outside the line of store-fronts behind him a few isolated men seemed to be handing out tracts. An airport attendant spoke to the nearest man; be merely shrugged and moved a few doors down.

To distract himself Alan picked up a Miami Herald from the next seat. It was surprisingly thin. The international news occupied him for a while; he had seen none for weeks. It too had a strange empty quality, even the bad news seemed to have dried up. The African war which had been going on seemed to be over, or went unreported. A trade summit meeting was haggling over grain and steel prices. He found himself at the obituary pages, columns of close-set type dominated by the photo of an unknown defunct ex-senator. Then his eye fell on two announcements at the bottom of the page. One was too flowery for quick comprehension, but the other stated in bold plain type:

THE PORSETTE FUNERAL HOME REGRETFULLY ANNOUNCES

IT WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT FEMALE CADAVERS

Slowly he folded the paper, staring at it numbly. On the back was an item headed Navigational Hazard Warning, in the shipping news. Without really taking it in, he read:

AP/Nassau: The excursion liner Carib Swallow reached port under tow today after striking an obstruction in the Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras. The obstruction was identified as part of a commercial trawler’s seine floated by female corpses. This confirms reports from Florida and the Gulf of the use of such seines, some of them over a mile in length. Similar reports coming from the Pacific coast and as far away as Japan indicate a growing hazard to coastwise shipping.

Alan flung the thing into the trash receptacle and sat rubbing his forehead and eyes. Thank God he had followed his impulse to come home. He felt totally disoriented, as though he had landed by error on another plane four and a half hours more to wait. . .. At length he realized the stuff from Barney he had thrust in his pocket, and pulled it out and smoothed it. The top item seemed to be from the Ann Arbor News. Dr. Lillian Dash, together with several hundred other members of her organization, had been arrested for demonstrating without a permit in front of the White House. They had started a e in a garbage can, which was considered particularly heinous. A number of women’s groups had participated; the total struck Alan as more like thousands than hundreds. Extraordinary security precautions were being taken, despite the fact that the President was out of town at the time.

The next item had to be Barney’s acerbic humor.

UP/Vatican City 19 June. Pope John IV today intimated that he does not plan to comment officially on the so-called Pauline Purification cults advocating the elimination of women as a means of justifying man to God. A spokesman emphasized that the Church takes no position on these cults but repudiates any doctrine involving a “challenge” to or from God to reveal His further plans for man.

Cardinal Fazzoli, spokesman for the European Pauline movement, reaffirmed his view that the Scriptures define woman as merely a temporary companion and instrument of man. Women, he states, are nowhere defined as human, but merely as a transitional expedient or state. “The time of transition to full humanity is at hand,” he concluded.

The next item appeared to be a thin-paper Xerox from a recent issue of Science:

SUMMARY REPORT OF THE AD HOC

EMERGENCY COMMITTEE ON FEMICIDE

The recent worldwide though localized outbreaks of femicide appear to represent a recurrence of similar outbreaks by groups or sects which are not uncommon in world history in times of psychic stress. In this case the root cause is undoubtedly the speed of social and technological change, augmented by population pressure, and the spread and scope are aggravated by instantaneous world communications, thus exposing more susceptible persons. It is not viewed as a medical or epidemiological problem; no physical pathology has been found. Rather it is more akin to the various manias which swept Europe in the seventeenth century, e.g., the Dancing Manias, and, like them, should run its course and disappear. The chiliastic cults which have sprung up around the affected areas appear to be unrelated, having in common only the idea that a new means of human reproduction will be revealed as a result of the “purifying” elimination of women.

We recommend that (1) inflammatory and sensational reporting be suspended; (2) refugee centers be set up and maintained for women escapees from the focal areas; (3) containment of affected areas by military cordon be continued and enforced; and (4) after a cooling-down period’ and the subsidence of the mania, qualified mental-health teams and appropriate professional personnel go in to undertake rehabilitation.

SUMMARY OF THE MINORITY

REPORT OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE

The nine members signing this report agree that there is no evidence for epidemiological contagion of femicide in the strict sense. However, the geographical relation of the focal areas of outbreak strongly suggest that they cannot be dismissed as purely psychosocial phenomena. The initial outbreaks have occurred around the globe near the 30th parallel, the area of principal atmospheric downflow of upper winds coming from the Intertropical Convergence Zone. An agent or condition in the upper equatorial atmosphere would thus be expected to reach ground level along the 30th parallel, with certain seasonal variations. One principal variation is that the downflow moves north over the East Asian continent during the late winter months, and those areas south of it (Arabia, Western India, parts of North Africa) have in fact been free of outbreaks until recently, when the downflow zone moved south. A similar downflow occurs in the Southern Hemisphere, and outbreaks have been reported along the 30th·parallel running through Pretoria and Alice Springs, Australia. (Information from Argentina is currently unavailable.)

This geographical correlation cannot be dismissed, and it is therefore urged that an intensified search for a physical cause be instituted. It is also urgently recommended that the Sate of spread from known focal points be correlated with wind conditions. A watch for similar outbreaks along the secondary down-welling zones at 600 north and south should be kept.

(signed for the minority)

Barnhard Braithwaite

Alan grinned reminiscently at his old friend’s name, which seemed to restore normalcy and stability to the world. It looked as if Barney was on to something, too, despite the prevalence of horses’ asses. He frowned, puzzling it out.

Then his face slowly changed as he thought how it would be, going home to Anne. In a few short hours his arms would be around her, the tall, secretly beautiful body that had come to obsess him. Theirs had been a late-blooming love. They’d married, he supposed now, out of friendship, even out of friends’ pressure. Everyone said they were made for each other, he big and chunky and blond, she willowy brunette; both shy, highly controlled, cerebral types. For the first few years the friendship had held, but sex hadn’t been all that much. Conventional necessity. Politely reassuring each other, privately—he could say it now—disappointing.

But then, when Amy was a toddler, something had happened. A miraculous inner portal of sensuality had slowly opened to them, a liberation into their own secret unsuspected heaven of fully physical bliss. . .. Jesus, but it had been a wrench when the Colombia thing had come up. Only their absolute sureness of each other had made him take it. And now, to be about to have her again, trebly desirable from the spice of separation—feeling-seeing-hearing-smelling-grasping. He shifted in his seat to conceal his body’s excitement, half mesmerized by fantasy.

And Amy would be there, too; he grinned at the memory of that prepubescent little body plastered against him. She was going to be a handful, all right. His manhood understood Amy a lot better than her mother did; no cerebral phase for Amy . . . But Anne, his exquisite shy one, with whom he’d found the way into the almost unendurable transports of the flesh . . . First the conventional greeting, he thought; the news, the unspoken, savored, mounting excitement behind their eyes; the half touches; then the seeking of their own room, the falling clothes, the caresses, gentle at first—the flesh, the nakedness-the delicate teasing, the grasp, the first thrust—

A terrible alarm bell went off in his head. Exploded from his dream, he stared around, then finally down at his hands. What was he doing with his open clasp knife in his fist?

Stunned, he felt for the last shreds of his fantasy, and realized that the tactile imageshad not been of caresses, but of a frail neck strangling in his fist, the thrust had been the plunge of a blade seeking vitals. In his arms, legs, phantasms of striking and trampling bones cracking. And Amy==

O God, Oh God–

Not sex, blood lust.

That was what he had been dreaming. The sex was there, but it was driving some engine of death.

Numbly he put the knife away, thinking only over and over, it’s gotme. It’s got me. Whatever it is, it’s got me. I can’t go home.

After an unknown time he got up and made his way to the United counter to turn in his ticket. The line was long. As he waited, his mind cleared a little. What could he do, here in Miami? Wouldn’t it be better to get back to Ann Arbor and turn himself in to Barney? Barney could help him, if anyone could. Yes, that was his best. But first he had to warn Anne..

The connection took even longer this time. When Anne finally answerd he found himself blurint unintelligibly, it took awhile to make her understand he wasn’t talking about a plane delay.

“I tell you, I’ve caught it. Listen, Anne, for God’s sake. If I should come to the house don’t let me come near you. I mean it. I mean it. I’m going to the lab, but I might lose control and try to get to you. Is Barney there?”

“Yes, but darling–”

“Listen. Maybe he can fix me, maybe this’ll wear off. But I’m not safe. Anne, Anne, I’d kill you, can you understand? Get a–get a weapon. I’ll try not to come to the house. But if I do, don’t let me get near you. Or Amy. It’s a sickness, it’s real. Treat me–treat me like a fducking wilde animal. Anne, say you understand, say you’ll do it.”

They were both crying when he hung up.

He went shaking back to sit and wait. After a time his head seemed to clear a little more. Doctor, try to think. The first thing he thought of was to take the loathsome knife and throw it down a trash slot. As he did so he realized there was one more piece of Barney’s material in his pocket. He uncrumpled it; it seemed to be a clipping from Nature. At the top was Barney’s scrawl: “Only guy making sense. UK infected now Oslo, Copenhagen out of communication. Damn fools still won’t listen: Stay put.”

Communication from Professor Ian MacIntyre, Glasgow Univ.

A potential difficulty for our species has always been implicit in the close linkage between the behavioral expression of aggression/predation and sexual reproduction in the male. This close linkage involves (a) many of the same neuromuscular pathways which are utilized both in predatory and sexual pursuit, grasping, mounting etc., and (b) similar sites of adrenergic arousal which are activated in both. The same linkage is seen in the males of many other species; in some, the expression of aggression and copulation alternate or even coexist; an all-too-familiar example being the common house cat. Males of many species bite; claw, bruise, tread, or otherwise assault receptive female during the act of intercourse; indeed, in some species the male attack is necessary for female ovulation to occur.

In many if not all species it is the aggressive behavior which appears first, and then changes to copulatory behavior when the appropriate signal is presented .(e.g. the three-tined stickleback and the European robin). Lacking the inhibiting signal, the male’s fighting response continues and the female is attacked or driven off.

It seems therefore appropriate to speculate that the present crisis might be caused by some substance, perhaps at the viral or enzymatic level, which effects failure of the switching or triggering function in the higher primates. (Note: Zoo gorillas and chimpanzee have recently been observed to attack or destroy their mates; rhesus not.) Such a dysfunction could be expressed by the failure of mating behavior to modify or supervene over the aggressive/predatory response; i.e., sexual stimulation would produce attack only, the stimulation discharging itself through the destruction of the stimulating object.

In this connection it might be noted that exactly this condition is a commonplace of male functional pathology, in those cases where murder occurs as a response to, and apparent completion of, sexual desire.

It should be emphasized that the aggression/copulation linkage discussed here is specific to the male; the female response (e.g., lordotic reflex) being of a different nature.

Alan sat holding the crumpled sheet a long time; the dry, stilted Scottish phrases seemed to help clear his head, spite the sense of brooding tension all around him. Well, if pollution or whatever had produced some substance, it would, presumably, be countered, neutralized. Very very carefully, he let himself consider his life with Anne, his sexuality. Yes; much of their loveplay could be viewed as genitalized, sexually gentled savagery. Play-predation . . . He turned his mind quickly away. Some writer’s phrase occurred to him: ”The panic element in all sex” Who? Fritz Leiber? The violation of social distance, maybe; another threatening element. Whatever, it’s our weak link, he thought. Our vulnerability . . . The dreadful feeling of rightness he had experienced when he found himself knife in hand, fantasizing violence, came pack to him. As though it was the right, the only way. Was that what Barney’s budworms felt when they mated with their females wrong-end-to?

At long length, he became aware of body need and sought a toilet. The place was empty, except for what he took to be a heap of clothes blocking the door of the far stall. Then he saw the red-brown pool in which it lay, and bluish mounds of bare, thin buttocks. He backed out, not breathing, and fled into the nearest crowd, knowing he was not the first to have done so.

Of course. Any sexual drive. Boys, men, too.

At the next washroom he watched to see men enter and leave normally before he ventured in.

Afterward he returned to sit, waiting, repeating over and over to himself: Go to the lab. Don’t go home. Go to the lab. Don’t go home. Go straight to the lab. Three more hours; he sat numbly at 26o N, 810 W, breathing, breathing . . .

Dear Diary. Big scene tonite, Daddy came home!!! Only he acted so funny, he had the taxi wait and just the doorway, he wouldn’t touch me or let us come near him. (I mean funny weird, not funny ha ha.) He said, I have something to tell you, this is get worse not better. I’m going to sleep in the lab but I want you to get out, Anne, Anne, I can’t trust myself. First thing in the morning you both get on for Martha’s and stay there. So I thought he had to be joking, I mean with the dance next week and Aunt Martha lives in Whitehorse where there’s nothing nothing nothing. So I was yelling and Mother was yelling and Daddy was groaning, Go now! And then he started crying. Crying!!! So I realized, wow, this is serious, and I started to go over to him but Mother yanked me back and then I saw she had this big knife! And she shoved me in back of her and started crying too: Oh Alan, Oh Alan, like she was insane. So I said, Daddy, I’ll never leave you, it felt like the perfect thing to say. And it was thrilling, he looked at me real sad and deep like I was a grown-up while Mother ruined it raving. Alan the child is mad, darling go. So he ran out of the door yelling. Be gone, Take the car, get out before I come back.

Oh I forgot to say I was wearing what but my gooby with my curltites still on, wouldn’t you know of all the shitty luck, how could I have known such a scene was ahead we never know life’s cruel whimsy. And Mother is dragging out suitcases yelling, Pack your things hurry! So she’s going I guess but I am not not going to spend the fall sitting in Aunt Martha’s grain silo and lose the dance and all my summer credits. And Daddy was trying to communicate with us, right? I think their relationship is obsolete. So when she goes upstairs I am splitting. I am going to go over to the lab and see Daddy.

Oh PS Diane tore my yellow jeans she promised me I could use her pink ones ha-ha that’ll be the day.

***

I ripped that Page out of Amy’s diary when I heard the squad car coming. I never opened her diary before but when I found she’d gone I looked. . . . Oh, my darling little girl. She went to him, my little girl, my poor little fool child. Maybe if I’d taken time to explain, maybe—

Excuse me, Barney. The stuff is wearing off, the shots they gave me. I didn’t feel anything. I mean, I knew somebody’s daughter went to see her father and he killed her. And cut his throat. But it didn’t mean anything.

Alan’s note, they gave me that but then they took it away. Why did they have to do that! His last handwriting, the last words he wrote before his hand, picked up the, before he—

I remember it. “Sudden and light as that, the bonds gave way. And we learned of finalities besides the grave. The bonds of our humanity have broken, we’re finished. I love—”

I’m all right, Barney, really. Who wrote that, Robert Frost? The bonds gave. . . . Oh, he said, tell Barney: The terrible rightness. What does that mean?

You can’t answer that, Barney dear. I’m just writing this to stay sane, I’ll put it in your hidey-hole, Thank you, ‘thank you, Barney dear. Even as blurry as I was, I knew it was you. All the time you were cutting off my hair and rubbing dirt on my face, I knew it was right because it was you. Barney, I never thought of you as those horrible words you said. You were always Dear Barney.

By the time the stuff wore off I had done everything you said, the gas, the groceries. Now I’m here in your cabin. With those clothes you made me put on—I guess I do look like a boy, the gas man called me “Mister.”

I still can’t really realize, I have to stop myself from rushing back. But you saved my life, I know that. The last trip in I got a paper, I saw where they bombed the Apostle Islands refuge. And it had about those three women stealing the Air Force plane and bombing Dallas, too. Of course they shot them down, over the Gulf. Isn’t strange how we do nothing? Just get killed by ones and twos. Or more, now they’ve started on the refugees. . . . Like hypnotized rabbits. We’re a toothless race.

Do you know I never said “we” meaning women before? “We” was always me and Alan, and Amy of course. Being killed selectively encourages group identification. . . . You see how sane-headed I am.

But I still can’t really realize.

My first trip in was for salt and kerosene. I went to that little Red Deer store and got my stuff from the old man in the back, as you told me—you see, I remembered! He called me “Boy” but I think maybe he suspects. He knows I’m staying at your cabin.

Anyway, some men and boys came in the front. They were all so normal, laughing and kidding. I just couldn’t believe, Barney. In fact I started to go out past them when I heard one of them say, “Heinz saw an angel.” An angel. So I stopped and listened. They said it was big and sparkly. Coming to see if man is carrying out God’s will, one of them said. And he said, Moosenee is now a liberated zone, and all up by Hudson Bay. I turned and got out the back, fast. The old man had heard them, too. He said to me quietly, I’ll miss the kids.

Hudson Bay, Barney, that means it’s coming from the north too, doesn’t it? That must be about 600. But I have to go back once again, to get some fishhooks. I can’t live on bread. Last week I found a deer some poacher had killed, just the head and legs.. I made a stew. It was a doe. Her eyes; I wonder if mine look like that now.

I went to get the fishhooks today. It was bad, I can’t ever go back. There were some men in front again, but they were different. Mean and tense. No boys. And there was a new sign out in front, I couldn’t see it; maybe it says Liberated Zone, too.

The old man gave me the hooks quick and whispered to me, “Boy, them woods’ll be full of hunters next week.” I almost ran out.

About a mile down the road a blue pickup started to chase me. I guess he wasn’t from around there, I ran the VW into a logging draw and he roared on by. After a long while I drove out and came on back, but I left the car about a mile from here and hiked in. It’s surprising how hard it is to pile enough brush to hide a yellow VW.

Barney, I can’t stay here. I’m eating perch raw so nobody will see my smoke, but those hunters will be coming through. I’m going to move my sleeping bag out to the swamp by that big rock, I don’t think many people go there.

Since the last lines I moved out. It feels safer. Oh, Barney, how did this happen?

Fast, that’s how. Six months ago I was Dr. Anne Alstein. Now I’m a widow and bereaved mother, dirty and hungry, squatting in a swamp in mortal fear. Funny if I’m the last woman left alive on Earth. I guess the last one around here, anyway. Maybe some are holed up in the Himalayas, or sneaking through the wreck of New York City. How can we last?

We can’t.

And I can’t survive the winter here, Barney. It gets to 400 below. I’d have to have a fire, they’d see the smoke. Even if I worked my way south, the woods end in a couple hundred miles. I’d be potted like a duck. No. No use. Maybe somebody is trying something somewhere, but it won’t reach here in time . . . and what do I have to live for?

No. I’ll just make a good end, say up on that rock where I can see the stars. After I go back and leave this for you. I’11 wait to see the beautiful color in the trees one last time.

Good-bye, dearest dearest Barney.

I know what I’ll scratch for an epitaph.

HERE LIES THE SECOND MEANEST

PRIMATE ON EARTH

I guess nobody will ever read this, unless I get the nerve and energy to take it back to Barney’s. Probably won’t. Leave it in a Baggie, I have one here; maybe Barney will come and look. I’m up on the big rock now. The moon is going to rise soon, I’ll do it then. Mosquitoes, be patient. You’ll have all you want.

The thing I have to write down is that I saw an angel, too. This morning. It was big and sparkly, like the man said; like a Christmas tree without the tree. But I knew it was real because the frogs stopped croaking and two blue jays. gave alarm calls. That’s important. It was really there.

I watched it, sitting under my rock. It didn’t move much. It sort of bent over and picked up something, leaves or twigs. I couldn’t see. Then it did something with them around its middle, like putting them into an invisible sample pocket.

Let me repeat—it was there. Barney, if you’re reading this, there are things here. And I think they’ve done whatever it is to us. Made us kill ourselves off.

Why? Well, it’s a nice place, if it wasn’t for people. How do you get rid of people? Bombs, death-rays—all very primitive. Leave a big mess. Destroy everything, craters, radioactivity, ruin the place.

This way there’s no muss, no fuss. Just like what did to the screwfly. Pinpoint the weak link, wait a bit while we do it for them. Only a few bones around, make good fertilizer.

Barney dear, good-bye. I saw it. It was there.

But it wasn’t an angel.

I think I saw a real estate agent.

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