Sam Aurelius Milam III
From November of 1972 until April of 1982, I worked as a nuclear engineer at the General Electric Company, in San Jose, California. I made the daily commute on the infamous Highway 101. By the way, that's a zero, not an oh. It isn't Highway One-Oh-One. It's Highway One-Zero-One. I usually made the daily commute in my 1961 Plymouth station wagon or my 1961 Volkswagen sedan. Sometimes, I made the trip on my motorcycle, a Honda 175. I don't remember its year of manufacture.
One afternoon, I was headed home in the northbound fast lane of Highway 101, on the motorcycle. There was a location on that stretch of the highway where Interstate 280/680 went over the highway. The interstate, at that location, was maybe about five lanes wide, in each direction. I don't remember exactly, but going under it was more like going through a tunnel than like going under a bridge. At that time, there was some construction being done, so the effective size of the central strip of the Highway 101 median, under the interstate, was reduced by some large concrete barriers. The amount of space remaining for the left shoulder, between the concrete barriers and the fast lane was, as I recall, a strip of asphalt that was only about 6 feet wide.
As I was approaching the bridge, I heard my motorcycle make a little popping noise. Poppa taught us to always pay attention to the noises that our vehicles make, so, when I heard the noise, I immediately decided to shift lanes to the right, get off of the highway, and figure out what was making the noise. However, before I even had time to check my mirrors for the lane change, it was too late.
What I heard was pop-pop-pop-wham, in just a little more time than it takes to read it. I heard the noise, the pop-pop-pop, and my decision to change lanes happened at about the time of the third pop. At wham, the rear wheel of my motorcycle stopped turning. It instantly locked tight. Before the wham, I'd been whizzing along in the fast lane. After the wham, I was fishtailing.
At that moment in my life, there's a complete discontinuity in my memory. Before pop-pop-pop-wham, I was driving in the northbound fast lane. At wham, my memory absolutely stops and starts again, different. After the discontinuity, I have two completely different and distinct memories of events. I don't know how to explain a double memory, but that's what it is. Both memories are mine, both memories are of the same event, simultaneously, but each memory is from a different perspective. There isn't any connection between my memory before the discontinuity and my memories after the discontinuity. There isn't any connection between the two simultaneous memories except that they're both mine.
After the discontinuity, I remember trying to keep my motorcycle upright, while trying to see what was happening behind me. Remember, I was in the northbound fast lane of the notorious Highway 101, during the afternoon commute, on a motorcycle. I needed to know what was happening behind me. All that I could see in my mirrors was pavement sky pavement sky pavement sky. My other memory is of watching from about ten feet back and about 15 feet above, while a man on a fishtailing motorcycle tried to control his machine. In that other memory, I didn't know who the man was. I just watched him dispassionately as he struggled with his motorcycle. Nowadays, when I hear somebody talk about watching himself from above, during surgery, or some other such thing, I believe him.
The duration of those two memories is indeterminate. Time didn't seem to be involved. At the end of that unmeasured moment, there's another complete discontinuity. Both parallel memories simply end, without any connection to what happened either before them or after them.
My memory subsequent to the second discontinuity begins with me sitting on my motorcycle, stalled, in the northbound fast lane. I looked over my right shoulder. There was a pickup truck stopped behind me. The driver was looking at me as if I was the most stupid person in the entire world. As unlikely as it seems, all of the traffic behind me stopped in the time that it took for me to skid to a stop with the rear wheel locked. There weren't any injuries or dented fenders.
leaped off of the motorcycle and yanked it over to the shoulder.
I didn't pull it or drag it. I yanked it. There was just the
one quick yank, and me and the motorcycle were on the asphalt shoulder.
In the fast lane, traffic resumed. When I yanked the motorcycle out
of the fast lane, I was just barely at the beginning of the tunnel under
Interstate 280/680. In front of me was a long stretch of asphalt,
about five or six feet wide. To my left were the concrete barriers.
To my right was the fast lane. I didn't think about what to do.
I didn't think at all. That part of my mind was turned off.
I was in a kind of zombie condition. What I did, without giving the
matter any thought at all, was to push the motorcycle through the tunnel,
a hundred yards or more, I suppose, to the other end of the interstate
overpass. It isn't easy to push a motorcycle on asphalt, with it's
rear wheel locked. It might be possible but, even with a Honda 175,
it isn't easy. I did it without any noticeable effort at all.
I didn't strain. I didn't breathe hard or even sweat. After
that, when I hear a report of unusual strength in an emergency, I believe
I pushed the motorcycle out of the far end of the tunnel and to the left, onto the grass. I still wasn't thinking. I was just doing mindless things. Maybe they could be called reflexes. I don't know. Anyway, I climbed onto the motorcycle, sat there, and worked the controls. They didn't mean anything to me. I pushed buttons, clicked the gear shifter, and pulled the levers on the handlebars. I twisted the throttle. Sometimes, a green light on the instrument cluster turned on. Sometimes it went off. Sometimes the horn honked, but I didn't know why. It was all meaningless to me. After a while, I got back off of the motorcycle, put down the side stand, backed up a few steps, and looked at the motorcycle. I saw the problem.
The steel bicycle cable that I used to lock the motorcycle when it was parked, and that I carried coiled on the luggage rack, had slipped backward. A loop of it had fallen down, snagged the circumference of the rear wheel, and snapped tight between the wheel and the luggage rack. It had stopped the wheel from turning. In the instant that I saw that length of cable, stretched tightly between the luggage rack and the wheel, there was an inaudible snap inside of my head, and I could think again. I unhooked the bicycle cable, secured it to the luggage rack, and drove home.
I still have that bicycle cable. It still has bent places, and tears in the plastic cover, where it snagged on the wheel and stretched down from the luggage rack. For now, I'm using it to lock a lawn mower, to keep a certain annoying neighbor from "borrowing" it. Sometimes, as I walk past that lawn mower, I stop, look down at the bicycle cable, and wonder.
Letters to the Editor
Quick update, I'm back in the max in my own private room, and because of the virus, the whole prison is still on quarantine lockdown video visits only!
But on the early morning of January 5th a few rooms past me, the guards found a dead black guy who had hung himself with a twisted bed sheet. He had been dead for several hours. The guards aren't doing the proper 30-minute security checks and the ADC is keeping this suicide hush hush from the news media, but most of the time we don't see any guards from one meal to the next. And being locked inside of an isolation cell with another inmate is very dangerous! I'm doing everything I can to stay in the max in my own private room away from the virus and other inmates!
—Howie in the Max
Hey yo, what up. All is well I pray. Your first article in your Jan 2021 Frontiersman [What I Didn't Say to Miss Andry] immediately caught my eye. Many women have done the same to me, they said my statements were chauvinistic and regardless of what they use as their battle cry. I call bullshit. No woman can ever hold up to and be as strong as a man. Certain jobs, like police officer, fireman, soldier, etc., these jobs require a certain amount of aggression and strength that women can't muster up. Instead they do two things, one, they act overly aggressive, to prove how tough they are. This is a real problem in male dominated fields like law enforcement. So they commonly abuse peoples' civil rights. Second, they put their male counterparts in danger because men have to allow for special accommodations to allow the women to participate or they (men) have to outright put themselves in danger to cover for the women's shortcomings. But Sam it isn't just the feminists doing this to men. I have found if you're a white man there are a ton of "anti" statements that we are blamed for, and we can't respond. A black can hold a sign saying "Black Lives Matter" and they're applauded, but if we say our lives matter, we're called racist.
Look at all situations, like gays, transsexuals, race, women, opposing religions whatever, and then think about a "cute" statement you could make, and it's usually a white man
|who loses if he opens his mouth.
So, in your "Stray Thoughts", your comment "when the toleration of diversity becomes mandatory, then that requirement is itself a form of intolerance." Boy does this ring true. And white men are at the bottom of the pole. Everyone can make opinions of us and it's OK but if we comment, we're the bad guys.
Next as to your "Real Bears" article red bears blue bears company, I'd be willing to bet if you researched it both companies are owned under a C corp. umbrella. They're simply creating their own competition, and your money goes to the same board of members.
Disney (as in Walt), is a good example. They own so much including many news organizations and they aren't unbiased. When a company tries to control the spread of information they become the "Big Brother" in Orwell's "1984". Disney owns "Fox" and "CW" TV stations, and all political commentary shows shown on Fox. I feel the top 10 corporations have become the real deep state, and the governments of the world are nothing more than their "strong arms". That's why where you put someone like Trump in charge you're begging for trouble. That's like asking the mice in your house to guard your cheese. And there's no answer to this problem. Greed will always win. There is a "grand canyon" between the rich and poor man. Money equals power, power means control, and the rich are so good at getting people to fight, right against the left, that the "poor" don't ever realize the "rich" are fucking them in the ass.
The only thing that will stop the "rich's" pursuit in my opinion will be technology. Corporations are so gung ho on increasing profit, that A.I. (artificial intelligence) is coming around by leaps and bounds. Corporations are intent on replacing all work with artificial labor. I feel eventually machines will get the ability to truly "think" and the sci fi movies of horror will become reality.
You and I have spoken briefly on this, but the Moon for example may be a relic of one of our previous civilizations. We ruined the Earth before, and built the Moon as a terraforming machine to heal the Earth. And our previous ancestors went into deep space. Maybe they're our ancestral gods we so blindly follow now. Maybe they came back when the Earth healed and injected us into Earth as an experiment. They injected different dogmas into different races and we're now an experiment.
Who knows? Anyway, Sam, be safe and well.
—S.H., a prisonerElusive Civility
Sam Aurelius Milam III
I can accept the idea that we might have an obligation to tolerate all different kinds of people, but that doesn't mean that we also have an obligation to like any of them. Our freedom to have our own opinions about other people is far more important than are the demands of the activists, who insist that we must approve of their ugly new secular orthodoxy, political correctness. Indeed, the more unorthodox, unpopular, or radical somebody's opinion happens to be, then the more important it is that his freedom to hold that opinion must be respected. It might occasionally be appropriate to punish someone for his behavior, always keeping in mind the principles of liberty, but it's never appropriate to punish somebody merely because of his opinions. Hate crimes are a good example. They punish a man for his crime and then punish him additionally for his belief. If we're permitted to have only approved opinions, then there isn't any freedom of opinion. Instead, all opinions will be subject to review and approval by the most powerful faction of the moment.
That power to declare which opinions are approved, and which opinions are disapproved, and to punish people who have the wrong opinions, becomes, itself, a form of intolerance. The tyranny of good is just as fatal to liberty as is the tyranny of evil, and the enforcement of mandatory good behavior is a step in the wrong direction. From such sanctimonious arrogance did the Witch Hunts and the Inquisition arise. The enforcement of approved opinions, today, and the condemnation of people who hold disapproved opinions, is an ugly step in the direction of just such ghastly situations as those.
Maybe, some day, people will learn a better way to deal with intolerance. Maybe they'll figure out something that's less hypocritical, less punitive, and more enlightened, than merely to be intolerant of somebody else's version of intolerance.
A New Funding Plan
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Ethnic Jokes (They're jokes. Just laugh.)
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— Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor