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October 29th, 2009

As Jane Austen knew, announcing a desire to be less important is full of its own self-importance.

James Wood

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Listen to Part Twenty-Nine of

The Mystery of the Lost Lenore

Click on the picture. (3:54)

Or start from the beginning.



Concerning Aging

A Straightforward and Scientific Explanation of This Natural and Ineluctable Process

This article represents the most up-to-date scientific information concerning the aging process expressed in a clear and illuminating manner for perhaps the first time ever.

The First Stage - Babyhood/Childhood


In human beings this lasts from the age of 0 to the age of 12 or 13 (or in some cases 18). It is a period of little or no responsibility.
The body is taken up by the business of getting bigger as fast as possible. The brain is trying to learn how to tie shoes, mulitply (in a mathematics sense) and speak at least one language semi-coherently. As a result babies/children tend to be annoying and whiney. They are not to be blamed for this. All problems can be avoided if they are simply kept away from anyone who is not of the same age group (approximately) or family.

The Second Stage - Adolescence


Generally this lasts from the end of the first stage up to the age of 30 or, in extreme cases, 40). This is a period of even less responsibility than the first stage. Adolescents are wont to do whatever they are wont to do. They have a tendency to be loud whilst doing it. Because of the odd way that the brain develops they are under the impression that the world is a simple and uncomplicated place and they will readily find the answers to all problems (if they don't already feel that they know them). Be gentle (despite your instincts to be otherwise), they will, one day be completely disapprised of this notion and it will be very very unpleasant (remember?).

The Third Stage - Maturity/Adulthood


This lasts from the end of adolescent phase until the onset of the fourth stage at around 50 or sometimes 65. This stage is really the Atlas of humanity. These people do the heavy lifting for all of us and they are not shy about drawing attention to that fact. They tend to have huge chips on their shoulders and spend their time ruing their failure to fully enjoy stages one and two. They are a dour lot.

The Fourth Stage - Old Age


This stage begins whenever the third stage ends and ends when... well, we all know when it ends. In this stage the body and mind have had just about enough of the whole proposition and have started a little "work to rule" campaign. This does not make these people cheerful. Heavy medication (prescribed or otherwise) can be helpful in managing things at this stage. Unless you have a deep and abiding interest in medical matters steer clear of extended conversations with these folks.

Mister Backyard

A Novel Excerpt

The Self-Styled Detective Murray Murphy's Night Operation in the Faculty Offices

The police were proceeding on information that included Dr. Bland's office number.That gave them a distinct advantage over Murphy.
Murphy had succeeded, surprisingly, in opening the door to Miss Drudge's office. Now the cops were heading up the stairs towards the cold lifeless body of Milo Bland and Murray Murphy's still warm and active one.
If Murphy had found Bland's office he would have known instantly what had happened. For all his many and varied delusions, Murphy recognised a dead body when he saw one. But if he had been in Bland's office he would have been directly in the path of the approaching police. In Miss Drudge's quiet little nook of academe he would find nothing that would move him any closer to the real knowledge of Milo Bland's fate, but, he might not be noticed. That is if he didn't do anything stupid like make a lot of noise or turn on a light.
It was dark in the secretary's office. She always drew the blinds when she left and no one had been in to open them since. It wouldn't have been bright in the office even if they had been open but with them closed it was positively black. The aspiring Ninja, Murray Murphy, stumbled into the desk.
"Ah! Ouch!"
The young cop stopped at the top of the stairs.
"Hear something?" He asked his older, more experienced, tired and much, much less enthusiastic partner, his training officer in fact. The older cop shook his head and pointed back up the stairs.
Senior Constable Bill Warren was pretty convinced that no one was in the building. Probably some frat boy, Binky or Noodles or Skipper or some such, had in a frenzy, excited about being away from home and mommy's apron-strings for the first time, had a couple of light beers and broke the glass just to hear the exciting noise it made, then scampered back to his cozy bed at old Delta Sigma Chi or whatever. Ten years as a cop, the last two as a training officer, had made him decidely slowmoving and cynical. He was very fit but he didn't get that way by foolishly charging up stairs and kicking in doors. He was training for a triathlon and didn't like to push too hard at work. He hated even getting out of the car.
Murphy was annoyed at walking into the desk. He couldn't see a damned thing in the room. He rummaged around his pack and pulled out a flashlight. He switched it on. It shone for a second, flickered and went out. The batteries were dead. Luckily he was the kind of guy who carried two flashlights. Be prepared for any eventuality was his motto. But there was one approaching he wasn't prepared for.
The youthful eyes of the excited rookie cop spotted the flash of light under the door of Miss Drudge's office. He drew his gun. Const. Warren was still on the stairs and moving slowly, his thighs tight from the morning's hard cycle. He'd ridden that quarter century harder than he should have on a working day. He was annoyed he hadn't taken the elevator, even though it was only four floors. Needless to say, he hadn't seen the light.
Murphy's second flashlight didn't require batteries. It had it's own generator operated by squeezing the pistol grip. It was all black, ideal for night operations like this. Murray bought it at the Army surplus store. It looked a little like a small pistol if you were the kind of person who leapt to conclusions like say... a rookie policeman.
The young cop advanced down the hall, gun drawn, eyes on the door of Miss Drudge's office. An odd whirring sound came from behind the door. He raised his gun into the ready position he'd learned so recently. His adrenaline was pumping.
The training officer stepped into the hall and was alarmed at the sight of his trainee advancing with drawn gun down the hall.
"What the hell's he doing?" The tired policeman couldn't see anything that would make him draw his gun.
"Bobby!" He said in a loud whisper.
The rookie half turned, jerking his gun in the direction of an office door. Apparently there was something threatening or dangerous about that door. The older cop couldn't see it. It didn't look any more menacing to him than any of the rest of the doors. Bill Warren was not inclined to draw his gun.
Murphy, crouching in the office, heard a whispered voice in the hall. He stopped working his flashlight and stood perfectly still behind the desk. Probably it was the security guard making his rounds. Murphy would disappear into the shadows of the room like any good Ninja until the danger had passed. Ninjas could cloud men's minds, making themselves invisible. He thought he could do that. But the more cautious (less delusional?) part of his brain told him to get under the desk. He got under the desk.