Transcend Dance

She sways, trancelike,
aroung the crowded palace floor.
Despite age, her hips move easily
through steps well-practiced down her years.

Waltzing in a moonglow satin gown
her broadness compounds joy,
spins pink-sugar dreams,
blows particolored bubbles high
toward the ancient frescoed ceiling.

She loses herself in the lilting beat
delights her feet with the feel of the floor,
the spring of velvet slippers against silk
smooth boards, her toes hum verve into the ground.

The orchestra, catches her whim,
plays more blithely than before.
She's the conductor's muse.
His wand-filled fingers shoot purple
yearning through the night, amplifying notes,

ignore those sideline savants,
aghast at such clowning,
grumbling that the steps are outdated.
They dance only the tango now, all that's permitted.
The fool should be ashamed. Elizabeth I. Riseden

The European Casino: The Way Things Were Meant to Be?

Formal casino gambling has its roots on the European continent. The institution that we call the "casino" had its origins in the 17th and 18th centuries. Governments gave concessions to private entrepreneurs to operate buildings in which games could be legally played in exchange for a part of the revenues secured by the entrepreneurs. Whereas from time immemorial, players had competed against one another in all sorts of private games, here games were initially structured to pit the player against the casino operators--"the house." These gambling halls were designed to offer playing opportunities to an elite class in an atmosphere that allowed them to enjoy relaxation among their peers.

The 21st century seems to have brought us a strong movement that is pushing for the expansion of gambling everywhere--all around the globe. Given that casino gambling has European origins, it is somewhat ironic that those pushing gambling now almost totally overlook the traditional manner in which casinos have operated over the past three centuries in Europe. Promoters of new casino gambling, including British and European politicians, are quite willing to scrap the European "model" in favor of the "modern model" of casinos found in Las Vegas and other American jurisdictions. Almost everywhere the slot machine is the pervasive form of gambling. Now machines are found in urban and seaside parlors, recreational arcades, and in pubs, bars, taverns and restaurants worldwide. Major moves are being made in parliaments of Japan and the United Kingdom to have Las Vegas style casinos in several locations from Tokyo to Osaka, England and Wales to Scotland.

Before we bury the idea of "The European Casino," we should reflect upon its attributes. Perhaps political leaders who are enthralled with the idea of merely using large open casinos as vehicles for gaining maximum revenues for governments, could reflect on virtues of a different style of operations. Maybe policy makers in my home jurisdiction, Las Vegas, Nevada, could reflect on these virtues as well.

In 1986, I visited the casino that operates within the Kurhaus in Wiesbaden, Germany. The casino manager was describing a new casino that had opened in an industrial city a few hours away. With a stiff demeanor he said, "They allow men to come in without ties, they have rows and rows of noisy slot machines, they serve food and drinks at the tables, and they are always so crowded with loud players; it is so awful." Then with a little smile on his face, he added, "Oh, I wish we could be like that."

Actually, the rival casino to which the Wiesbaden manager was referring, the casino at Hohensyburg near Dortmund, was really just a bigger casino, where a separate slot machine room was within the main building as opposed to being in another building altogether. Men usually had to wear ties, but the dress code was relaxed on weekends, and the facility had a nightclub, again in a separate area. It was crowded simply because it was the only casino near a large city, and the local state government didn't enforce a rule against local residents entering the facility.

The traditional casinos of Europe were not as large as those in Las Vegas. They largest may have hundreds of machines not thousands. Typically they would have fewer than fifty. Twenty tables would be found in a large casino. The largest casinos such as those in Madrid, Saint Vincent, Italy, and Monte Carlo had playing floors smaller than the ones found on American river boats casinos. Revenues were but a fraction of revenues found in American casinos. The largest casinos produced gaming wins similar to those of average or small river boat casinos.

Most traditional European casinos were local monopolies. Governments had vital roles in some facet of the operation. Some governments owned and operated the casinos. Some owned the building housing the casino. Where the casino was a private operation, it might as well have been a government corporation. Taxes were so high that the government was the greatest financial beneficiary from the operations. For example, casinos in Germany pay a rate on their gross wins as high as 80%. In France the tax rate were on a sliding scale up to 80%, in Austria taxes took 60% of the revenues, in Spain 54%. Nowhere were tax rates below the typical 20%-30% rates in U.S. jurisdictions (the Nevada rate is less than 7%).

Still, given the size of the operations, nowhere do governments heavily rely on the taxes for budgetary reasons.

The traditional casinos restricted patron access. First, many would not allow local residents to gamble. Second, all required identification and all registered patron attendance. Third, they enforced dress codes. Fourth, they permitted players to ban themselves from entering the casinos if they worried about compulsive gambling behaviors. The casinos allowed families to ban individuals from gambling. The casinos themselves would bar compulsive gamblers. Fifth, the casinos had limited hours of operation, usually evening hours. Sixth, the casinos did not advertise. Seventh, credit policies were restrictive. Checks were not cashed. Eighth, alcoholic beverages were restricted. Ninth, complimentaries--drinks, meals, hotel accommodations were rare.

The clientele of the Traditional European casino were from the local region. The casinos did not rely upon international visitors (Monte Carlo being one exception). Very few had facilities for overnight visitors. The casinos featured table games, and where slot machines were permitted, they were found in separate rooms or even separate buildings. The employees at the casinos spent entire careers at one casino. The employees were almost always local nationals. The advent of the European Union has affected that pattern.

The casinos of Europe have traditionally adopted what would be called a "player protection" model of operation. The gamblers are local area elites (some of the casinos do ban residents of the local town), and therefore what happens to them during their casino "experience" becomes known to most patrons. The casino would show a care to these players that is well reflected in the statement: "Treat a sheep well, and he gives you wool forever; skin a sheep and you never get anything from him again."

The casinos also follow a community responsibility model. Casinos receive their licenses or concessions for a number of years based upon competitive bidding. The bids include a list of promised obligations toward the community. Casinos agree to finance public parks surrounding their properties, some have art museums for the community, others historical displays. Some financed other community buildings, including church buildings. Several won their licenses with a promise that they would revitalize an historical building that was scheduled for demolition. The casinos offered concert series to town residents. Bands and orchestras played outside the facilities, not inside like in Las Vegas. They did not play in order to entice players to enter their doors, but rather to improve the quality of life in the towns.

I write about the European casinos in the past tense, because it was 1986 and 1987 when I toured 140 of the facilities. Since that time I have occasionally visited some of the casinos. I do recognize desires to change, but I wonder about what is being sacrificed with the embracing of the "Las Vegas style" as the one dominant model to be emulated. During my tour, I constantly asked about crime, prostitution, and other social maladies considered to be related to casinos in America. Most of the time, the response was an incredulous, "What is it you are asking about?" "We know nothing of these problems." The responses came from casino operators, government regulators, players, and citizens in general.

The Traditional European casinos have had a style that would be welcomed by many North American patrons. However, in achieving that style, the casinos must forfeit what most entrepreneurs, governments and citizens want from casinos--large profits, many jobs, economic development, and tax generation that could support many government programs. Those things do not come with the "player protection" and "community responsibility" model of casinos found in Europe. Dr. William N. Thompson

Kunst und Kultur Rundfunk

An interview with Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki and John Clare.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Real Audio files & interview appear courtesy of John Clare/Panufnik Productions, Copyright (c.) 2004/2007. All Rights Reserved. Interview may not be used in any form without the express written consent of the author.

Mephisto's Waltz

Halfway through her seventeenth game of solitaire, she realized that she was breathing fire. "Well, I'll be damned," she said aloud and grinned, "it's only fair that I should get to be a dragon after a lifetime surrounded by vampires, energy and otherwise."

She lifted her left wrist and puffed at it. The tops of the hairs on her arms sizzled, while her pink plastic watchband, once raspberry scented, contorted and fell onto the King of Spades. The fire itself was invisible.

She gave a thumbs up sign to the twelve-foot cardboard dragon, once a Chinese New Year's display at Pier 1, that soared, one leg missing, on the end wall of her living room. "Right on man." She'd been fighting mind parasites for days, using endless games of solitaire to insulate her from them. This technique had been so successful that the previous night she had dreamed a complete game of solitaire, perhaps the most terrifying dream that she ever had. Now rescue seemed to have come. The house had done its work.

Built on several levels, situated on top of a hill in the desert community of Opal's Fire, twenty miles outside of the city, the house functioned as an extension of herself. It was here that she sought the philosopher's stone. No dingy dungeon like the laboratories of the alchemists of old, the house was flooded with light from every direction, a living Georgia O'Keefe painting. Half of the living room was roofed by a loft, her laboratory, where she studied and wrote, her back to the window wall which framed a spectacular view of Red Rock Cliffs.

Each wood-silled window, including the long, narrow ones reaching for the ceiling, framed an exquisite view of desert, village or sky. A pair of Foo dogs, one looking out and one looking in, guarded the slit looking out of the back of the loft. A ten-inch-tall statue of Kali, the Indian goddess of death and rebirth, her black stone gaze never wavering from the village, stood on one foot in the other tall, narrow window. A small fierce, red and orange Balinese creature, known affectionately as Little Ugly Thing, defied potentially marauding forces from the window at the foot of the stairs.

The sills of the large windows had become bookshelves, books held up with bookends carved from living basalt by a favorite student. The ancients had carved gods from basalt to give form to the power stored inside. C.S., a geologist, had reserved the integrity of the stone, creating two, flat surfaces, one as a base, the other to stand flat against the books. She often stood staring at the cliffs, a human transformer, arms spread wide, each hand tingling from the energy pouring from the basalt under her fingertips.

Books were everywhere, often doubling as decor. Coffee-table books about the Himalayas lined the loft floor, colorful covers displaying Mount Rakoposhi and the Turango Towers, inviting the reader's comfortable perusal of their wild beauty. The casual observer would have been hard put to categorize her from her books. Magical grimoires stood side by side with contemporary philosophical texts. Science fiction novels jostled those dealing with terror and the supernatural, and texts on Eastern mysticism, contemporary physics and virtual reality spilled in unruly stacks, punctuated by first-hand accounts of exploration and adventure. Here was no narrow specialist.

An assistant professor of philosophy, she pretended to the administration that she was a traditionalist. Select students, however, knew that she was deeply committed to the idea of rapid evolution of consciousness and trekked with her into the rarefied atmospheres in which she was the most happy.

She had no real idea how greatly the more pedestrian feared her mind and methods, believing that the road blocks they threw in her way were the result of simple sexism, certainly a factor, rather than terror in the face of a being they couldn't comprehend. Baffled by her lack of interest in being one of them, they sought desperately to make her understand that they were excluding her, not she they.

In point of fact, she ignored them except when evaluation time came around, and she had to fill out endless sheets of paper with her considerable accomplishments, none of which would count in terms of pay increases or promotion. Naturally she ground her teeth and bitched incessantly when some untalented little worm got a huge grant to go off and waste time in pursuit of the mundane, when there was the Great Work to be done.

Still she had her wonderful house, well guarded by her house spirits. The inanimate protectors in the windows and the invisible spirits that she felt around her were joined by her friends from the animal kingdom who would in an earlier time have been considered familiars. Akela, her sweet Malamute; Dink, an amiable, declawed black cat who had been raised from a kitten by Akela and suffered from delusions that he was a pygmy sled dog; two illegal silver and gold California rosy boa snakes, and an undetermined number of dusty green lizards who patrolled the walls and took care of less desirable insects, joined forces to make her house both a temple and a sanctuary.

Somehow she was not terribly surprised that she had been given this power. It hit her; it was POWER. Only for a brief period after she had climbed in Patagonia, returning with a superbly tuned body and an awesome sense of accomplishment, had she felt truly powerful. The sense had leaked away with her physical conditioning when she returned to the vitiating atmosphere of Wilson College.

Power! She picked up a rather dusty candle in the shape of a wizard, which had resided for some time on an end table, and transferred him to a plate. "Okay, Merlin, we're finally going to light your fire." She puffed at the wick sticking out of his hat, instantly reducing the little figure to an amorphous blob surmounted by the brave little peak of his hat. "Oops, sorry guy," she said ruefully to the blob, waiting for it to cool sufficiently to be removed to the garbage; then thinking better of it, took it out for proper burial. After all, Merlin had been around for some time and deserved some respect. Suddenly she realized that she was no longer depressed, but she was hungry.

She passed under the lurid Chinese dragon meant to be carried in a Chinese New Year's parade, which hung from the entrance to the kitchen. The interior of the refrigerator was bleak, revealing little but a package of English muffins. She put a muffin in the toaster oven and started water for coffee. Then thinking better of it, fished the muffin out and blew on it. The smell of burning bread and acrid black smoke filled the kitchen, as she flipped the remains from hand to hand and into the sink.

"It's okay," she yelled after Akela, who had fled the mess, "I'll be more careful." She didn't succeed until the sink was filled with the incinerated remains of five muffins. The sixth muffin turned a satisfying golden brown. By now her coffee was cold and with a gentle exhalation, she managed to warm it without bringing it to boiling. "Just call me Hot Lips," she said to the ever hungry Akela, who had sidled back into the kitchen.

"If worse comes to worst, I suppose I can always hire out as a stove. You know Akela, this will make a great camping stunt. One whiff and dinner will be cooked." Akela's blue-eyed stare never wavered from the muffin. She tossed him the last bite, which disappeared with one smack of the huge jaws. He sighed and flopped down.

"Okay, gang," she said, addressing the multiple personalities of the house, "is this a blessing or a curse? We know that I can eat, so it's not Midas and his golden touch. This fire doesn't burn my flesh, even though other fire still does." She touched the blister on her thumb, received when she'd touched the iron left plugged in earlier in the day.

First of all, she had to figure out where the gift, if such it was, had come from. In her erratic fashion, she had been practicing Kundalini yoga, unsuccessfully she had thought, in the clear space of floor at the head of her Pier 1 dragon, staring at the painted flames coming out of his mouth before she gave up and started the solitaire. She must have shifted mental gears in some fashion. She'd been so damned eclectic in her studies that she would never be able to reproduce the effect in anyone else, even if she wanted to. She wondered if it would be hereditary if she produced a late child.

The telephone rang and she answered, taking care not to melt the mouthpiece. It was Elaine, the department secretary. Horrible Harry Harrigan, nicknamed HuHuHuHarry by the students because of a rather serious speech impediment, wanted her to drive in right away to sign some papers that he maintained she had neglected. At Horrible's name, she almost belched fire before she caught herself and said meekly that she would drive in. "Shit, Akela, if I'm not careful I'll fry us all. What if I have a bad dream and set the sheets on fire?" At that suddenly sobering thought, she decided to pick up some smoke alarms and fire extinguishers when she finished with Horrible's paperwork.

Thumbing through the Yellow pages, she found a large ad that she had never noticed before:


The accompanying photograph of an extremely handsome man, costumed as Mephistopheles, wielding a fire extinguisher, was arresting, and she wondered if Chauncey had posed for it. It was worth a shot, and she tore the page out of the phone book, stuffing it in her purse as she rushed out the door to meet Horrible's deadline. Perhaps Chauncey would remove the taste of Horrible from her mouth.

Chauncey's Inferno was as outrageous as its name. Only in Las Vegas, she thought. The outside was done in a bright-red, metallic finish that reflected the desert sun in an alarming fashion. A fireman's glove into which one inserted a hand and twisted was attached to the door handle. She inserted and twisted. A fire siren went off as the door opened. Stage decoration flames flickered on all of the walls, set in motion by an overhead fan. A hologram of the person pictured in the ad constantly sprayed an imaginary fire.

"Does existence precede essence, or is it the other way around?" she said half aloud.

"You mean you don't know, my dear Dr. Faust?" Chauncey's amused voice was black velvet. His photographs didn't do him justice. She stared into a pair of eyes so dark that they seemed to have no depth.

With a little gasp, she pulled herself back regretting every ounce of the twenty pounds that she had piled on. "You must be Chauncey. However, I am no Dr. Faust, although somehow you got the Dr. Right." She supposed that he had seen her on the local news when she got back from Patagonia. "I am Tessa Holtzman, Ph.D., and you, sir, have a really weird way of greeting a customer. Although I suppose weirdness is to be expected from anyone who would design a place like this." Chauncey's eyes crinkled, in contrast to the serious expression on the face of the hologram which kept spraying its imaginary foam.

Her gaze dropped from his eyes to his cleanly scraped cheeks, the blue of the beard barely discernible under the olive flesh. She'd had fantasies about men who looked like this. His cleanly chiseled lips half smiled, half sneered. "May I help you?"

This was really too much for one day. First dragon's breath, then a confrontation with HuHuHuHorrible, now she was standing in front of the sexiest man she had ever seen, who was undoubtedly crazy. Mesmerized, she didn't answer.

"I say, do you have a fire problem? I know everything there is to know about fire."

"I'm certain you do," she murmured, falling into his eyes again. "I'll bet you set them just so you can put them out." If it's true that we really create our own realities, I'm doing one hell of a job with this one, she thought. "I want to buy some fire extinguishers and smoke alarms, a lot of them. I need one of each for every room in my house, for my car and for my office. What kind do you recommend?" Those eyes. Her stomach did flip flops. Talk about heat!

"Perhaps I should install a sprinkler system for you. Something to cool the fire before it begins." Her eyes watched every word form on Chauncey's chiseled lips.

"I'm certain that I can't afford you. My house is wonderful, but very old and built on many levels, and Horrible Harry keeps me from getting my raises, so that I never have enough money."

"Pity. Are you sure that you're going about it in the right way?"

A cough rose in her throat, and her eyes widened as she clamped her hand over her mouth. Holy shit, not here. The cough subsided. "I'm not really certain of anything anymore, but I do have this fire problem."

"You seem upset. Would you care to have a cup of tea while we discuss your problem?" He stretched one perfectly proportioned hand out to her, as he pulled a set of flame-printed drapes aside to let her enter the back room which served as his office. She followed numbly, wondering where the power that had surged through her when she discovered her dragon breath had gone. Chauncey was obviously literate. Books littered the place, some duplicates of those that she was reading.

"Hot tea, or iced tea? I've a nice herbal blend that will relax you."

"Iced, please." Her eyes lingered on the black glow of his cheeks. Talk about heat. He was attractive. It seemed unlikely that tea would quench either of the interior furnaces blazing in her, but she was suddenly very thirsty. She drank the first glass down like a thirsty child, eyes staring at Chauncey over the rim of the glass.

He lounged against a high table near her chair, his thigh seeming incredibly close to her more than ample bosom, while he slowly swung his leg. Even his feet in handsome leather sandals were beautiful. Ordinarily she hated feet. Men's feet...Women's feet...Baby's feet...All feet. Her eyes were distracted from the moving foot when he reached across her for the pitcher and refilled her glass, ice cubes clinking. The spicy tea had a pleasant, but unfamiliar, taste and a seductive aroma.

"I am here to help you." His dark eyes seemed to spin, pulling her in.

"I didn't know this shop was here. I don't know why I never saw it before," she babbled, trying to think.

"It wasn't here before."

"It wasn't?" The walls seemed to waver. Perhaps she was dreaming, or ill and hallucinating.

He leaned over, his hand grazing hers. "I'm part of a package sent here to help you, Dr. Faust, and you are Dr. Faust. You are the latest descendent of that noble philosophical line. We couldn't stand by and see you in such distress. Seventeen games of solitaire indeed. And a totally unworthy opponent such as Horrible." His lip curled.

This had to be an hallucination, but it was fun so she decided to ride with it. One reality was as good as another, and this was certainly an improvement on the one that she had been using.

"What if I set my sheets on fire?"

There came the smile again. "It might be fun. Care to try? Perhaps you'd rather adjourn to my hot tub where you know you will be safe?"

He had pushed it too far.

"Look Mr. Chauncey or whatever your name really is, you're taking one hell of a lot for granted. I don't know what your game is, but I don't think that I want to play. I came in here to make a simple purchase, apparently the only customer you've ever had, and you lay some number on me about being a descendent of the first Dr. Faust. Whether it was a lucky guess or what, I am a philosopher, but my name isn't Faust any more than yours is Chauncey. Ask me how I know that one! Furthermore, I'm getting out of here. I'm sure some normal hardware store will be happy to fill my order."

"You are a fire breather." He seemed delighted.

"What is this?" She dropped back into her chair.

"Just what it looks like. Because of past lives' credits and because of a blip in the celestial computer which made you female and put you in the wrong place, under Horrible's thumb, instead of M.I.T., where we believe you were supposed to be to make the great philosophic/scientific discovery that your line has been leading up to for the past six hundred years, you have qualified for help with no karmic debt. After all, we mustn't slow up the Great Work, must we?"

She reached for her iced tea.

"The gift of dragon's breath seemed appropriate in many ways, considering your interests and your house decor. Besides, you always did love the Dragon lady from the comic strips. Think of all the times you tried to draw her in your notebooks. The catch is, as you might imagine, that you must use the gift wisely. I can offer advice, but you must make all decisions yourself. If you screw up, POOF!"

"By the way, you are correct. My name isn't Chauncey."

"You know who I am. Certainly our surroundings should give you a clue. This culture with which we have struggled for the last two-thousand years with its perverted sense of good and evil, its blood lust and hatred of the life force has called us many names, most more flattering than they knew. Poor Jesus overestimated mankind when he attempted to take the Great Work into his own hands and ended up crucified with a religion named after him and bloodshed everywhere. We have attempted to be more careful since then.

"Faust is your rightful name. In the late 19th century, Theophrastus Faust changed his name to Holtzman as he was fleeing changes of charlatanry and an angry mob that came close to being the proverbial peasants with torches. Your entire line has been romantic, touched with madness. Your particular brand of madness is an essential ingredient to the next step of your species. All of you have managed to get into trouble in one way or another. We can interfere only so much or the plan won't work or will be seriously delayed. Even we do not completely understand the plan or the nature of the discovery that you are to make.

"Our calculations show that you were born both in the wrong place and of the wrong sex. How or why, we are not sure. Had you been a man, Horrible would have backed off. You aren't and he didn't; hence your gift of dragon's breath. The kiss of fire.

"It's up to you to learn to use it, before any of us can move to the next level. You should have learned enough in your T'ai Chi classes to know that you must use an opponent's strength against him."

He crossed the room, picked up a package and put it into her lap.

"Take your fire extinguishers and go home, unless, of course, you want to take me up on the hot tub."

She wanted to, of course, but concern with cellulite took precedence over lust and she left for her car.

After stowing the things that Chauncey had given her --she couldn't remember paying for them -- into the trunk of the car, she stretched luxuriously. The thin body inside the plump one was clamoring to get out. As she pulled away from the curb, she looked in the rear-view mirror to take a last look, and saw not Chauncey's Inferno, but a boarded-up building adorned only by a tattered poster of Seigfried and Roy jumping tigers through flaming hoops. Weird!

After she got home, Tessa practiced breath control until she was fairly certain that she wasn't going to set the house on fire, although she kept one of the smallest extinguishers next to her at all times. Then she began preparation for her class in alternate realities. AR was packed every semester, its very existence driving logical positivist Horrible out of his mind. Now that she had entered the zone of her speculations, teaching seemed remarkably unimportant. Satisfied that she had enough material for the next day's class, she went to the kitchen for a brownie and emerged with an apple instead. When she finished, she sighed and walked across the room to the treadmill that had stood quietly since the third week of its acquisition. Out of breath after five minutes, she headed for bath and bed.

For two weeks, things went on normally. Chauncey was nowhere around and she avoided Horrible, sneaking up the back stairs to her office and leaving immediately after class. She was up to thirty minutes a session on the treadmill and amazed at the speed with which her body was regaining its formerly attractive lines. While exercising or driving, she kept mulling her gift and wondering what to do with it. Power was obviously what was behind the regeneration of her personal appearance. She hadn't realized the degree to which feeling powerless had affected her daily life. She decided she was ready to leave T'ai Chi and go on to Akido.

She and Akela hiked in the early mornings before the desert sun really began to broil. Poor Akela couldn't handle much heat, his body being geared for the Arctic, not the Mojave desert. The creek to which they hiked was a mere trickle at this point in the summer, offering little respite to Akela who wallowed in it, getting as wet as possible to ward off heat on the hike home. Tessa's creative faculties worked overtime on these hikes and she assumed that her hiking worked like meditation, in that it occupied the body sufficiently to let the creative part of the mind function properly.

The subject under discussion with herself was power. Now that she had it, how would she use it? She was glad that Chauncey hadn't been around for a while, because she firmly subscribed to the Buddhist belief that all is clouded by desire and she could see plenty of clouds forming around Chauncey's handsome head.

Eve, poor old Eve, had really been screwed. Tessa had always thought that going for the apple of knowledge was completely reasonable. Was knowledge power? Was force knowledge? All this tied in with the martial arts that she had yet to explore, yet she knew that probably all of the above was in some fashion true. Eve should have stayed with the snake and let Adam leave her to Eden.

On some of her walks, it seemed as though millennia of previous incarnations were attempting to get through, as though her consciousness included centuries of geologic layers through which the lessons she had learned in the past had to percolate. Although these bubbles battered the skin of her awareness, there was no way that she could ease their birth. She could only wait.

The desert bushes were really dry. "Only you can prevent forest fires," she giggled, pulling up her too loose pants. Akela panted glumly, attempting to find some surcease from the sun in the shade of a too small desert bush. He watched as a rabbit ran past a few feet away. It was too hot to chase it. "I'm sorry old buddy, but we do need exercise. C'mon, we'll go home." Akela dragged himself to his feet and followed her.

She thought of Chauncey. Did he really exist, or was he simply a figment of her imagination? Was M.I.T. looming on the horizon? She also thought of the acts of derring-do that she could perform with her trusty hot breath. "Just call me Tessa the Torch," she giggled to Akela, while she tried to manipulate the sizzling car door handle.

Her mood suddenly shifted to gloom. "Where are you, Chauncey?" Just when she thought that she had being alone wired, she found herself lonely. The car air conditioner blasted them with an inferno.

"Chauncey, come and take me away from all this," she spoke to the air. There was no answer.

As she pulled up to the house, Akela suddenly came alive with great tail wagging and wolflike rumbles. Somehow the house looked different. It had to be O.K. or Akela wouldn't be having such a fit. It seemed to glow with a crystal light, a seductive oasis in the heat.

Akela leaped from the car the moment she stopped and stood scratching at the kitchen door. She slid it open and he bolted into the living room. The house had an almost familiar spicy smell. Of course, it was like Chauncey's tea. She stood looking around and sniffing. The walls glowed like ice, and while her belongings glittered with frost, everything seemed to pulsate. This was enchantment.

She moved slowly past the cage where the silver and gold rosy boas were entwined, to the living room where Chauncey stood, his hand on the head of a magnificent, jet-black female wolf, the object of Akela's undivided attention. Chauncey lifted his hand. "Go to him, Rishi." She did.

"Dr. Faust, I presume," Chauncey's voice was still black velvet, the dark eyes still seemed to spin, and his cleanly scraped, darkshadowed cheeks begged to be caressed. He and passion were one. He was Pan, the Green Man, Satan, the Horned God --the dark lover feared by every man and desired by every woman.

Only the icy temperature of the room kept her from bursting into flames as she went to him unaware of anything except that this was her mate, her equal.

"Oh, My Love, My Demon Love," she was in his arms, her hands first on his cool, dark cheeks. They were fire and ice, his cool body both quenching and igniting the flame that was she.

"This then is knowledge, my beloved mortal," he whispered. "We will pay a heavy price." She did not object. Their bodies joined in prolonged ecstasy, while their bright spirits soared and spun from the Pleiades where immortals first descended to join with their human lovers, outward in every-widening double helixes to the non-ends of space and time, pulsating with the essence of eternity, until the climax, the second coming that twenty centuries of mankind had fearfully awaited.

The celestial computer had not erred.

This one was female.

by Felicia Florine Campbell

Postcards from Europe

The Good Baron

Join the good Baron's race

what delight he brings the children
all of us

on a dark, moonbeam-swept eve

tone poems
civil, grand, and elegant
a masque for our wintered souls

life as an operetta

He will smile and all will be well

our fantasies become unbound

Vienna, forever
Radetsky, god
the empire, the world

Death itself will be cheated

a grand ricochet through a time of dreams
and the incorruptible happiness

white uniforms, blue blood
gold piping, red cannon fire

that becomes ours

polka francaise


First published, Barnes & Noble’s Between the Leaves,
New York, NY, 1995

* * * * *

Benedictus, a, um

(AP) - Vatican City

Pope Benedict XVI announced today that the Vatican,
seat of central authority of the Roman Catholic Church,
will be re-located to Schloss Neuschwanstein, Bavaria.

An anonymous Vatican source confirms The Holy See
has accepted Nikko Hotels' tender offer
to re-devlop Vatican City into a five-star resort and spa.

The same source denied rumors that Benedict XVI
plans to excommunicate Poland; Bill O'Reilly,
however, has been granted permission for an exorcism.

Reports that the Italian members of the College of Cardinals
have been transferred for 'special work skills re-training'
to a centre outside Munich remain unconfirmed.

Heil Mary.

* * * * *

t h u n d e r b a l l

look up
parachute through 100 foot fog
your papers please
pleasure, sir, pleasure
the blue bus to the red lights
two rainbows have landed
window shop the jet lag
to the bricks of the Stroget
begin the penultimate foreplay
posing before the little mermaid
leave the dishonest last
for the train comeapartment
wake up together, all
separate pasts forgotten
it is time to decide
Red October Red or Monte Carlo Yellow
aero or open air
it is time to wed
the magistrate impersonates some god
he'll do
we do
we'll do each other later
protected by side impact beams,
leather, and love
two fairies on the ferry
Baltic Sea
consummating each other seasick
now we're honest men

look down
Helsinfors town
vodka, art deco, and post-nuptial
tight, long kisses
sauna scandal messes
warm, cuddling hugs
connubial nudity wearing out hotel rugs
green wine
red roses
crystal saliva for breakfast
frightful sightseeing
unmusical cruising
blue movies
yellow custard
white luncheon
self-indulgent souvenir hunting
self-satisfied postcard writing
dinner's never-ending seven-course meal
buddies friends
companions lovers
partners criminals
two more doses of lovers for dessert
no more talk-TV calibre
one date whirlygig wonders
the quickie emotional
the quicksand of the queer
we're free, yes, sir, we're together
from the griffin factory
to the continent's every corner
our velvet weltanschauung

look out
the Euro honeymoon begins with a shout
ready turbo
steady James
go dog go
love in Lapland, in front of moose
noogies in the North Cape,
oral sex in Oslo
fellatio in a fjord?
butt boys banging away
at Brandenburg Gayt
good soldiers petting in Prague,
getting hard to Haydn in Hungary
sexual vignettes in Vienna
(third man included)
sucking all of Switzerland
wet daydreams on the Schilthorn
maniacal alliterative massage in Monaco
driving on & in the Riviera
camp crashing Cannes
gondoliers in fioritura Venice
salacious bodily sins on the Orient Express
unnoticed in Amsterdammed
limp, damp in England
a needless fistfight in Zagreb
or overdining on chocolate twinks
at the Ritz

we'll have all the time in the world
beachcombing boys
garlic-sotted in Bretagne
blind drunk in Bordeaux
bathing in the Bay of Biscay
and deeping much of each other
to sleep in Biarritz
we'll end the gala voyage
someplace in the Estremadura
wet lips and warm tongues
where the continent ends
kissing at the Cabo de Roca
touching bare feet
in the dunes of Guincho
unspeakable things
in the first class dark...
find your own road
this is our schadenfreude
home will be in the desert sands
near the heaving ocean
on a mountain that soars
close to each other
forever, like the stars
me and...well, whoever.

by Adam Henry Carriere


Celia came to the station when she was stressed, sad or stoned, when the man made days at the lab were dreary and the automated nights too dark. She had good stretches, but never enough, and when she tired of settling for the soft, sick swell of the long, slow lobs that comprised real life, she came here and banged space debris until she was completely numb.

They were creating combinant species in vitro but for her there had been no success, except for the nausea. And she was contaminating herself as a source subject by sexual contact with outside organisms. The technicians would kill her if they knew. Her sentence had been commuted only for as long as she agreed to submit to the tests.

She was hounded by a host of small fears, small caged critters crying at the gates. They crowded into corners and howled. The coffee was burnt. Her mother had always liked her brother, Jimmy, better. She should not have lied to the techie when he asked if the treatments were making her sick. The cries in her head got louder as the day wore on. Water toys, with bad sound boxes, cranking out tinny cries that dug under her skin until she felt a compelling need to shed. She spent the day responsibly. But by nightfall, when it all was over, when there were no more procedures to suffer, the sounds spread. Then, driven by a need to escape the clatter, she headed to the station that orbited the fourth moon of this planet. The pods only contained enough fuel to make it from planet to station. No way to run farther than the closest space stop.

She checked in and headed upstairs because she detested the downstairs bar. The clients at the bar wanted to talk. They wanted her name. Shy couples hid in booths, behind the stools hoping to meet partners. Upstairs she soaked in a tub set in the middle of a room. If no one joined her, she crawled the hallway wet, until someone dragged her to a bed.

"Scream for me, baby." Luther slopped onto the gimbled platform to take his turn. He wanted it doggy style. He crawled onto the bed fitting his tentacles around the mermaid's torso. Faced down on a black plastic bed with her cunt angled up, Celia edged closer to the end of the cracked, black rim that lined the mattress. She interpreted his sentence a thousand ways before she settled on the meaning that fit. Octopods liked to boff noisy virgins but Celia didn't have the patience for role-play.

"This ain't the line at Interplanetary Badging. Hurry up," she said. Luther felt for the fit and slid inside her. The mattress, wet with slime and foam, gave no traction. She kept sliding into the bubbled window that allowed a view of the blackening universe. Nothing sucked up light like an endless amount of space. The high class sex stations had cool beds and deep pile carpet. This place was lower budget. Celia had to dig her claws into the pad to keep from sliding into the window when Luther pushed. Tentacled men had gusto. Her arms highlighted by the black lights in the Meteor room, were grainier than they used to be. Too much time spent in sex stops dried her skin. She reminded herself that girls born to watery planets needed to lubricate.

When she was a child, she never left the water, born of the sea, it kept her skin supple. She played in the waves until lunch, fell asleep in the reefs and then swam until dinner when the krill washed in with the tide. Her friends said sharks lived in the shallows, but she never saw them. They said jelly fish floated in on the tide, but she never got stung. So she swam past the waves and played in the surf until she was exhausted then she would head to the coral and nestle in a hollow. Then she'd do the same thing the next day. If someone tried to stop her, she'd throw a fit. Lying on the bed underneath Luther she thought she smelled brine, then realized it was spittle.

"This what you want, baby?" he whispered. "You need this?" He had gotten excited and was spewing ink as well as sperm.

"More than the desert needs rain," she said, and wondered why the octopus ego required such soothing. They were in a sex station. Tonight, more than one client had asked her name, asked if he could take her with him when he left, wanted to hear her say that she wanted it, that he was the best. High expectations for space flotsam who had to jack off at the foot of her bed unless she said come.

Luther finished his last ride and pulled out. Then he called her "prime" and gestured to two of his friends who took his place, in turns, while Celia thought about nothing at all. The three Octopan were station regulars who had begun seeking her out. She had not been thinking clearly when she had given them her real name. She had pretended her first visits were larks and never believed that they would become habit. But the fear that drove her here never abated for long and when the clients called her names and fucked her, an anger thrived and it soothed her fears.

"Hey, Celia, wanna do something more?" Luther used her name. If you name an animal, it's yours. He was laying claim. She was a mermaid with pride. She decided he would never touch her again.

The staff shot used beds into space and there were standards for clients. The bouncers were kind and the rooms smelled nice, but this was a dirty place and Celia accepted it as such as long as it was hazily anchored in as a dream in her mind. It and these beasts whispered away like ash off a wildfire every time she returned to her room and fell asleep. She woke clean every morning in her bed, in her own tank lined with neon rocks and a piece of her dad before he got caught in the tide and was speared by scuba diver. Genetic experimentation had set them all free from the sea, free to roam the universe. Mermaid genetics was the answer. Insert Mermaid DNA into any kind of eggs and you get recombinant species, many of these tolerated space travel well and made it possible for all kinds of earthly creatures to cross the universe and leave behind the dying terran seas.

The play with Luther and his friends ended. While the guys slopped to the floor and slipped away, they talked about sex between species. The men were black, fat, eight legged wastrels. All Celia saw were cocks retreating into their undersides, and creatures she could not want to kiss on the mouth because it was horny and in the wrong place.

One slim fellow standing outside the room thanked her for the show and asked for a fuck. She took him in and he locked the door.

"I love sluts," the human thing said when they were done. He reached behind and let the pneumatics suck up the used rubber from flippered hands. "I want to be your last one tonight," he whispered then he pushed her down again and held her fast.

The clients outside were murmuring and squeaking. Someone jiggled the handle.

"How about it?" the slim man asked. "How many will you fuck tonight?"

"Thirty." A goal, something to set this visit apart from the others.

"Were the ones before me good?"

"They weren't all bad." She was counting participants, not rating them. Once they were done, she moved onto the next.

"Not a thing a mermaid really does," a merman once said. He meant come to the club alone. He rolled off the bed and looked for his prosthesis that glowed in the station's black lights. It was more of a cart than legs. The guy hoisted himself onto it with his arms.

"Why not?"

"Females just don't."

"There's a book I love," she said. He waited to hear. He didn't care, but she didn't care that he didn't. She lay on the bed and touched herself. "The Drink, the author has no idea why females do what they do. He wrote another book about mermen fighting to the death, but he didn't know why mermaids wouldn't do the same. In this new story, he made the females behave the same way his males did, but he missed the point."

"Which would be what?"

"Sea slugs and catfish suck the same shit off the ocean floor, but they are not the same animals." The point was lost. Once he determined that she would not fuck him again the merman found his cart's "Go" button and sped away. He left the door open and the miscreants who had not been allowed in floated outside in a waiting tank and waited with their dicks hanging out. They didn't dare touch her when she passed by.

There was another mermaid working the floor tonight. A blond in a shredded suit and spiked bracelets. She and Celia passed each other in the halls, chorus girls in the middle of a quick change. Celia waved at her and circled a cluster of sea life staring into a couple's booth. A pair of porkers were bouncing on a bad mattress. Willowy figures on either side of the doorway had drawn back the curtains so everyone could watch.

"That's the way it's done," someone said. The female wrapped flaccid crab legs around her boyfriend's horny shell. The bum jiggled while he pumped.

A fat man with a five fingered mouth, grabbed Celia. "Come on, baby."

"No," she said, and pushed him away. He backed off. Celia had no time for the shy guys. They were the ones who wanted to fuck in the escape pods or the ones who worried when they could not come. Lately, she also had no time for the ones without skill. Not because she needed tricks in order to have fun, but the Sid's, Ollie's and Andrew's who didn't know how to work her to orgasm were also too shy to ask how.

An image of sharks striking came to mind. White sheathes that rolled over black eyes when they bit prey. Celia did not know why sharks needed protection from seals, but she felt like both seals and sharks when she felt herself gliding in the shiftless sea of bodies. The slug came too far down her throat and she gagged. Clients sat in chairs and jacked off because they didn't dare join. She despised cowards. If they did not dare join, they had better not try.

At the end of the night Luther caught her in the elevator. She had ducked below decks for some shrimp heads that the staff comp'd. She was a draw in the station, almost staff herself. The bouncers and bartenders, mostly mermen, understood her motives, better than her friends. The director of The Drink could take lessons.

"Come on home with me baby. We can play games in private," Luther said.

"Go away, Luther," Celia handed him the remains of her meal and stepped away. He didn't follow.

One day someone she knew at the lab would visit the station, and see her and then the whole structure of her life would come crashing down. When she backed Jimmy into the propeller blades it had seemed a good idea, in hindsight, she wished that she'd exercised more foresight. Sometimes the implanted embryos created toxins as a result of being nurtured in the womb of a foreign creature. Six other subjects had died in the past year. Some were damaged and killed as a result to hide the evidence. These experiments were barely legal and not wholly accepted. Even the notion of using death row inmates to mess with the rules of evolution disgusted people. Failure would cause the corporation's funding to dry up.

Her end of the night human keeping track, found her heading back up top. "What number?"

"Twenty-two," she replied.

"Hurry up," he said. "I'm hot for you." He kissed her. The gesture reminded her of the way horse owners pat the asses of mares about to run the Preakness. It was reassurance she did not want. Comfort was a concept you shared with someone who cared and Celia was not pretending. The creepy encounters were the ones where the clients tried to be sweet. That stuff was for outside, where the one you wanted, lived. Here, sentiment rustled jerkily against the draperies, a baby otter struggling its way back to its den where it belonged. There were no nutritious oysters here, just soft stuff, soaking in sacs.

She hit her mark at 6:30 a.m., then found her human, who had been seated in a dark corner, waiting for his mare to cross the finish line. She banged him until 7 when the managers closed down the station. She detached from the guy and lost him in the mix of members crowding the exits. She navigated her ship away very fast and watched the radar to see that no one followed her. Looking down she crashed into a patrol ship protecting the perimeter.

"Speak to me Celia," the guard called her. When she opened her eyes she was back at the lab and strapped to a table.

"Don't call me that." She had a bump on her head and a strip of scales had been torn from her side.

"What were you doing?"

"Instead of navigating?" He nodded.

"Looking backwards."

"How'd that work out?" He began to feel for other injuries. They began to hook her up to monitoring equipment that would detect the presence of foreign particles.

"Badly," she said. Kim Idol

Polemic & Poetic Considerations on Europe & America

One considers the universe to be "an organism", however and whyever it is here (wherever "here" is), and notes that it is changing, evolving, etc., without speculating upon its origins or end--one, I suggest, must then equate "acts of God' with "acts of Nature". Europeans in ancient Greece and Rome, a brilliant few, first framed this vital conceptual connection, as "philosophers".

Our Founders in the United States--returning via the Renaissance to Greco-Roman Republic ideas, made that exact equation also; and they did this despite their lip service and genuine practiced devotions toward "religiosity" and its necessary actions.

So, in accepting the as yet and sometimes eternally "uncontrollable" within the space-time universe, we do not need, I assert, to forego self assertion in Reality as a theatre-of-operations... Instead we must only carefully avoid the "elephant walk" hubris of trying to ignore or wish reality out of existence (the basis of "postmodernism" and all totalitarianisms, I suggest); and instead of pretending to knowledge that we do not possess, we ought instead to carefully equate 'knowledge' with: "Understanding of anything real in Nature or man-created and real as requiring us to comprehend the inner workings of whatever this is on the basis of its prioritized 5 to 6 absolutely necessary, most important or most central functional or structural workings or parts, described with full parameters of amount and states, influences, conditions, etc., considered in prioritized functional order or sequence."

In this pursuit, I suggest that, avoiding dogmatic and dictatorial and reality-annihilating schemes, each man can then claim the sovereignty of his own mind by means of studying reality in order to gain categorizing or "science-level" knowing, and the learned and mastered benefit of such actions as make this mental attainment and its ultimate full absorption possible. Such categorizing mental activity is thus seen to be the basis of 'education'; of learning how to do this sort of thinking under supervision and then applying it to word definitions, basic grammatical architecting of ideas and knowledge into reality pictures, of decoding and communicating these, along with applying these to practcing and learning msterings of physical sport, artistic expression, physical activities, etc. for one's growth.

This then becomes "Education: categorical training in how to think successfully as a perfectly self-assertive denizen and capital investing purposer acting within the Reality space-time secular universe". Each man capable of self-responsibility in this regard--the educated proto adult ego--needs thereafter to be free to check what he thinks he has seen, comprehended, felt, learned and formulated into a categorizing definition or "rule of science", a way of proceeding, etc. And proceeding by tiers called "readiness levels", gaining experience requisite to higher and higher levels of personal and local, county, state, and national performances, the individual grows toward 37 1/2 to 45 year-old full adulthood, both as a self and as a citizen of a society of responsible and responsibly governed interacting others.

This is the European idea in a nutshell; that society is a responsibility; yet in the ancient models, it was never wholly separated from otherworldly schemes. But to a great degree, I assert, there was such a de facto segregation as to the actions men undertook in the real world, such that the excessively pious or unrealistic man as well as the man who strove to interfere unnecessarily with other men's beliefs and practices would both be blamed and held up as a negative example.

The separation therefore of otherworld and thisworld was imperfect even in ancient Europe; but early Christians for instance had no problem knowing that they must give up this world in order to practice an approximation of life in the "nextworld", which is exactly what they did as anchorites or in communities at the beginnings of Christianity, for instance. (The fact that they took their children along or gave birth to children therein is extremely unfortunate, but it does not alter the essence of what, I believe, they thought they were doing.)

But ancient states' leaders never managed, I argue, except in the case of the Ionian Greeks, to establish the idea of a secular government; of a government which expected responsible actions of its citizens not as a sacrifice but as a duty of fully human-level or "civilized-societal" existence being lived under reality-based earthly conditions.

We are still paying a very heavy price 2500 years later for that philosophical breakdown. And the secondary problem, the one that destroyed the Greek experiment in democratic election (largely) I assert was that as non-secular or quasi-secular states ruled by de facto infallible, mystically-correct leaders, the Greek city states were unable to conceive a basis on which in emergencies to concord their separate polis-based "political interests" as an interfunctioning whole. My argument is that while such city states had no trouble in forming leagues, they did so without successfully solving the question of "states' rights versus central authority". For that matter, neither did the Romans, although postmodernist academics praise their efforts in this regard all tool loudly.

The proof that any man or any state is on the 'right' track toward separating otherworld from thisworld comprises three arguments thereafter.

1. Having claimed liberty, one then asks any man what he can DO with his knowledge in real space-time. And if he cannot understand, define, teach, repair, improve, predict, control nor become happier through what he knows--he is a called a false prophet, pretender or worse. Such I claim as were Lyndon Johnson, George W. Bush (both born-agains), Napoleon, Metternich, Hitler, Lenin, St. Paul, Frederick the Great, James I of England, all pseudo-Christian monarchs or their equivalent, etc.. and all the others throughout history from Plato to the present who have mixed otherworldist or antithisworldlist philosophy with practical secularity, under the aegis of postmodernist status quo protecting public interest tyranny or "pragmatism".

2. Those who argue "human insufficiency", the insufficiency of humans, as did Freud, Plato, Jesus, Genghis Khan, every caesar, Tolstoy, L. Ron Hubbard, Billy Graham, Edna Ferber, Karl Marx, etc., have been using this provable falsehood as a shield - to stop men from discovering the inadequacies of their own pretensions to knowledge and "infallible leader" or "mystical-influential source of wisdom thinker status".

3. The only way to avoid this power-seeker being mistaken for a secular (practical) leader paradox, I claim, is to require a categorizing definition and/or a demonstration of capabilities, evaluations, etc. that work by someone who is claiming practical "powers" on Earth; those that are supposed to be effective for someone investing human values or capital by doing work upon and within Reality.

All we as thisworldly thinkers can want and need therefore, whether in Europe or in the United States, is legal freedom. One needs as a self liberty from restraints, to be uninterfered with in thinking for ourselves; to be enabled to seek forms of knowing and neither be enslaved to nor to make slaves of anyone else; rather we seek to deal with others through signing "limited partnerships" or implicit or explicit agreements concerning our mutual ideas and exchanges of values, hirings, votings and non-fictional and fictional media expressions, etc.

We do this virtual signing of an agreement I suggest every time we buy a can of corn, purchase a work of fiction or talk to someone. We as human minds, born without knowing how to know nor kowing anything, need some form of clear categorizing information at the start, before we ever get involved with a product, an idea or another person (even if we have been 'educated"; and we manifestly also require freedom to enter into mutually contracted agreements within a marketplace of ideas and actions, productions and evaluations - freedom from being stopped from doing so or being forced to do so against our evaluations, priorities and judgments, and in case we have been lied to or are otherwise liable to be shortchanged in a value-for-value dealing via any form of collectivizing crime: force, fraud, coercion, illicit blackmail, property damage or breach of contract.

This is why I claim when one goes to church, one visits those living a religious life (in retreat from a world where their ideas contradict a thisworldly life); but even if I or anyone else went to stay in a monastery and obeyed all the anti-worldly organizations "house" rules, that would still not make me or anyone else 'religious' - it would make me a guest in some religious persons' house, in their chosen approximated-otherworldly universe, in their simulation of a categorically-different space-time, one which they consider to be preferable to and much better enough or much worse enough than thisworld in order to require their abandonment of the secular space-time realm.

This too was a European idea; the extensive monastic system which was constructed during two millennia was the outgrowth of the recognition bu Europeans, one which nearly all Asians and Africans did not agree with, that simulation of otherworldly existence was both possible and necessary to those who had given up thisworld for the next and reason for faith. This triumph of European practicality is still being maintained in many places. But its basis - the categorical separation between otherworld and thisworld as theatres-of-operation is under fraudulent and dangerous attack in many quarters.

Those who find any such interpersonal trading contacts by one free person with any other stimulating must be freed, I argue, to seek out antiworldly or thisworldly persons, for whatever reason they choose; but predominantly, I argue, one must be compelled under regulation of law to choose between giving up this world for a supposedly much better or worse other, and living by thisworld's rules. One cannot live I assert with "one foot in heaven"; one cannot live with half a brain on Earth and the other half citing rules that do not apply in this space-time. The morality, ethics and science of thisworld it must be admitted cannot be mixed with those belonging to a significantly different universe.

No man can claim to act reasonably, to be paying regard to others' rights, nor to be self-responsible toward reality so long as he is using the phrase, "God, my gangster boss, my sect's leaders, my generalissimo, or ineffable mystic urges told me to do x, y or zed." This has to be a true man's logic, because once such a principle of contradiction is introduced into humans' inter-citizen behavior, it is precisely like introducing poison into food: the additive has no value, and all it does moreover is to poison the life-value of that which it ruins, to the exact degree in fact it is believed or employed. Or both.

That is why it is demonstrable that less-overtly sectarian nations' citizens, such as the ancient Greeks, Republican Romans, and European constitutional societies, whatever their shortcomings, protected and avenged individuals' philosophy as "the concern of each secular self only, not of a government', vastly outperform members of societies whose leaders handed spears, swords or guns to sectarian believers (to be pointed at the minds of youngsters being educated and later choosing for themselves either worldly or otherworldly milieus), and at citizens trying to get on with creating their lives in Reality space-time by investing life-positives (or 'capital') and doing practical work on space-time reality.

Albert Einstein, Ayn Rand and I all agree on one single point. "You must treat reality as if it were real". When asked how he could study the laws of the universe and maintain that he was religious, the physicist replied, in effect, "When I study physics, I have to forget about that." That was, I suggest, the correct answer. The Rand-Cerello Law states the same idea a bit differently: "You cannot fake reality in any way and still expect to succeed in creating results in the real universe."

There is a day in the U.S. that our nation's citizens once celebrated as their "Independence Day" - not from British Imperial leaders alone but from any would-be tyrants' control as well. I am proud to invite all the readers of this journal to renew the former American commitment to a Renaissance for America, for Europe, and, eventually, for the rest of the world and planets men will inexorably colonize in the long result...

This will be one in which the Ionian and American idea of a secular state, a marketplace of lives, ideas and actions, of values and contracts inhabited by individuals free to think for themselves and free to choose thisworldly or otherworldly spheres is zealously guarded by our empowered public servants; one in which no man is brainwashed nor by any other crime deprived of the freedom to think for himself and then in prioritized purposfulness to act on behalf of his own life good as he rationally conceives it, among but neither for nor against others.

Now the individuals and leaders of the European Union are wrestling with the great problem of creating the sort of league-based constitution which the ancient Greeks and the Romans and the United States' in regard to its individual sub-states have failed to create for three thousand years. We wish them well; and we will be watching (of course) with avid interest to assess the progress or failures of such an undertaking.

This problem (I assert) can never be solved on a federal or imperial or union-league level. Its basis is a fundamental and category-level (absolute) contradiction between thisworldly and otherworldly philosophies, and between what such incompatible ideas enjoin as practicable actions upon their adherents...

Just as grammar is the structural-architectural basis of thisworldly or any other universe-based statements or non-fictional truths or fictional analogue-utterances, fantasies for the sake of ideas, etc., so too constitutional regulations of how men must operate and co-operate as self and among others are the structural-architectural basis of thisworldly statements of non-fictional constitutional truth and of practical results-making, result-maintaining, result-trading and result-expenditures, maintainings or consumings.

In other words, the unit upon which the constitution of the EU, Rome, Greece, the British Empire / Commonwealth, ancient China, or the US should have been based was the 45-year-old adult self acting responsibly toward the moral secular universe and toward all other persons. I claim it is only on this basis, the Ionian-American basis, that any organization of citizens, in non-emergency conditions, can and must be organized to function effectively in space-time.

We read with misgivings about a Europe whose leaders have been oligarchs, divine-right adherents and socialist or statist incompetents for centuries. We worry when they cannot agree on an energy policy, elective and responsibility sharing schemes, economic safeguards and the like; just for the same reason, we cheer when we see barriers torn down between nations that have been maintained for centuries, such as easing border-crossing restrictions and fomenting cooperation where contradictory competition existed before.

But the reality behind the opportunity, risk and probabilities of changing European nations into a truly lasting, effective and legal union is that they are still being poisoned by the pseudo-religious pretensions, bureaucratic corruption and unadmitted postmodernist infallible-leader schemes harbored by many of their member states' inadequate leaders. Despite the brilliance of their artistic and cultural attainments over the centuries, without categories being defined and set constitutionally in place, these achievements have been poisoned over the same centuries by otherworldly and anti-thisworldist ideas.

When presented with the idea of liberty for all individuals, French thinkers rather quickly reacted extremely negatively to the entire idea; as did those who might have been expected to embrace it most fully - men of England, Central Europe, Protestant Holland and Germany, for instance. Even now, hundreds of years after "republicanism" was adduced as a challenge to totalitarianism in governmental schemes, the uprisings of 1848 have scarcely I suggest achieved a sufficient result in changing governments' behaviors for us to be able as thinkers to argue that a secure future for individual rights can be posited on any continent.

Realism is a selfish matter, I assert. And I argue it a matter defined solely by categorizing concepts. These are:

A) The existence of Reality (space-time) as a theater-of-operations (Nature);

B) the reality of the universe as what it is, a naturally-developed system free of any deific or otherworldly influence, powers, creations, etc; and

C) the Natural operations of that theatre-of-operations as what it is, free of all contradictions, beliefs, and opinions that men can maintain toward it.

If and when the EU's leaders return to the Ionian individual as the building block of their nuclear organization, I suggest they may then achieve the progress which we as denizens of the planet hope for for them and for all. Until they do, so, I assert that they must fail to achieve anything of lasting worth on secular Earth.

This will be so because they will be seeking to put into practice otherworldly ideas--concepts having an imperfect basis in real space-time. And what therefore they will effectively be doing is what men did after 1902, when they assumed the elections and public-interest governmental pretensions were all that was necessary to human governance, society and happiness.

They will I claim be sowing the seeds of a vast disappointment; one whose cynicism and unhappiness may further poison the enterprise they have boldly sought to extend to millions after so many centuries of avoidance, denial and misgovernment.

Therefore, here's to a human future - a future of individuals' responsibly wielding rights, careful regard for others and their prioritied liberty, using clear categorizing thoughts and leading to categories of definition, interpersonal contractings for mutual benefit, and to carefully-specified responsibilities for checking those thoughts back against the reality which is our theatre-of-operations and our home as men...and not against biblical nor pseudo-divine ideas about "leadership" and other imperialist purposings.

I praise therefore the Ionian Dawn and the American idea, at last; for as "Star Trek's" creator argued, "The human adventure is just beginning."


I love the style call'd 'Mediterre": walls white,
With frescoes, stripes, cool running-key motif;
Tall columns propping roofs whose whose form (in brief)
Bulks simple or ornate. Above--blue skies
(Azure or lapis) fretted with bubble-shap'd clouds;
Strong stone walls embrace;; wharves stretch on for miles;
Dozing, lav'd by white rays, long sleepy isles
Apex in a fierce peaks; waves warm winds provoke
Lave shores white, sun-drench'd; harbors face to the East,
Where yachts bob, fishing boats; biremes once seem'd
No diff'rent here (that once serv'd vivid dreams
Of Greek or Roman)...This is style (at least),
When urns scorn huee, blue awnings serve strong use;
Where rug, jar, platter, cloth serve--and often stun;
And glass andtesseract each dawn glow like new...

True Glory T'was

Athens--forget! Ionia I sing....
Here is where selfhood-secular was birth'd.
Think of that Dawn Age! First upon this Earth
Men shrugg'd the yoke of deity and king,
Of tribe's extortions. Minds liberate and glad
Gaz'd from their mild shore on a wider sea--
A world of lands, isles, peoples--then set hands
To building ships, walls, temples, moles, maps, plans,
The strategy to change a world of darks,
Fears, harms, myths, dangers to a charted zone!
They fac'd a daunting hope, each man alone,
Together (in war defensive) taking up arms
To win to mutual joys. We love them still--
The rights they claim'd, their governance, their bold,
Young unstain'd courage--for Man's, not Zeus's will! Robert David Michael Cerello

Bella musica alte Wien

Schubert's Serenade

Violinist John Clare with pianist Karen Haid play from a live recital at the Summerlin Library in Las Vegas, Nevada.