All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 388: Interstellar Juice Boxes; The Week That Is and Visual Velveeta

In a Saturday post several months ago I took aim at the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Looking back, I discovered I did not insult it enough. The Great Eye recently opened and discovered (brace yourself) more galaxies. At work, I often deal with large shipping boxes separated from their invoices, thus they arrive as mysteries that I must explore. Whenever I open one to see what’s inside nowadays, I always say “Look gang, more galaxies.”

Perhaps acquiring images of infinite galaxies will be the acme of human exploration until more funding can be procured. No matter what, NASA has secured centuries of calendars and screensavers. If everyone in the US buys a dozen JWST calendars the damn thing will pay for itself.

I was among millions who awaited the first Webb images online. Before the unveiling, a NASA official spoke to the viewers as though he were passing out juice boxes to a group of not overly bright children. He spoke of Awe and Majesty. He also inferred that the formerly great Hubble Telescope was an old dried up pile of dogshit compared to the freshly pinched JWST.

Few scientists have the gift of oration, even fewer display a level of humor equal to their scientific knowledge. This guy spoke mainly through his nose and was as awkward as someone proposing a dinner toast in the honor of someone whose name he is uncertain of. He also went on about images of “baby stars” forming in “interstellar nurseries.” I found myself wishing on a comet to come and end this nonsense already.

No comet came. So, I injected my juice box with 100 cc’s of Four Freedoms Vodka. I knew what was coming, so I evacuated the sparse content in my heart to give all the galaxies a place to thrive. Sure enough after fifteen painful minutes of hemming and hawing ended the first image was that of little colorized smudges as they appeared thirteen-billion plus years ago, which I suspect (though unprovable) still look pretty much the same today; for mindless objects tend to age well.

There I sat, sipping my juice box, wondering how NASA pulled the ten billion dollars from Congress for this profound waste of money. (By waste I mean money that could have been spent doing something about the great pain and isolation in the world.) For years they couldn’t get carfare from the legislative branch, but now they have money falling out of their collective wormholes. Then it occurred to me–The Awe and Majesty of how the world really works flashed before my eyes:

See, only smart people can do stupid things; stupid people just do things. By which I mean that only smart people have the capacity to learn from their mistakes. In this case the social equation is: Smart NASA > Stupid Congress. As we all know, politicians are just as greedy as their constituents, but only they have access to the vault, whose contents they cannot touch unless it is in the form of a laundered, pressed and neatly folded untraceable kickback. So, I figured that certain congresspersons are now heavily invested in NASA calendar and coffee mug futures via dummy shills.

As I finished my juice box, I realized that something like the homelessness will never receive adequate funding until a good scam is set in place. People who appeal to the compassion of congress are unaware that our elected officials have all the morals of Green Slave Girl Traders on Rigel Seven, a business which, if extant on this planet, would most likely disguise itself as a non-profit and sell calendars at a hundred-percent profit, thus secure a kickback budget.

Until they get with the venal program and develop a quality grift that will allow our elected representatives to draw from the well without attracting attention, those who experience great pain and isolation will have to make due with verbal juice boxes and the Awe and Majesty of infinite galaxies.

Meanwhile, back at the site….

The Week That Is

This week saw the debut of three writers new to us and two of our top four all time contributors. This week we saw a practical solution to a love triangle; a mythic look at a time gone by; Demon Conjuring for beginners; a strange, strange fettish and the downside of immortality.

On Monday, Frederick K. Foote returned with Show Off. Fred is approaching eighty stories on the site, which is but a mere sample of his overall canon. This story is obscenely funny and makes me yearn for a world in which third wheels can be dispensed of as easily. And yet it is also a serious reminder of how easily guns are had in the US, and how such leads to easy violence.

Tom Sheehan writes of a world that had long since passed before his birth as though he had been a witness. His elegiac and moving The Girl With the Long Dream tells of such an event, the birth of a life long love story. As always no matter how many times Tom comes by, he always has something new to offer.

The first of our three debut authors appeared on Wednesday. Initiation by Barbara Stanley might be the closest thing to accurate if you could do what she shows being done. It’s funny, bizarre and yet touched with a plausibility that makes me wonder….hmm… Then again it might be wiser to let some things be.

The dude in Thursday’s How Daddy Gets His Due by Leo Reilly ought to hook up with the girls in Fred’s Monday tale. Then again, that might be as bad an idea as conjuring a demon. This is the third wickedly funny piece this week. This one proves a good arm can earn you money in another pursuit than at baseball.

A bit of sadness and loss fittingly met us at closing time this week. A Little Time by first timer Dylan Martin does well to visit a concept and emerge with details that he could not have experienced, but is somehow to effectively relate all the same. Queen is right, “Who wants to love forever?”

There they are, people. Each one reachable in the now and not one needs to receive a kickback to shine. I now leave you with something that just popped into my head about thirty seconds ago.

Visual Velveeta of the 80’s

Music videos have been with us for over forty years. Nowadays they are expensive mini-movies directed by name filmmakers and are heavily CGIed in the verb sense. But I fondly recall the early days of the rock bottom cheapies that were usually cast with friends of the performer and “directed” by whoever held the prototype camcorder or camera. Most are indeed terrible, but in a good naturalistic sort of way. Not all of the ones in my list were cheaply made, yet even those retain a sense of artificial cheese food to them after all these years. So I proudly present my list of Visual Velveeta. Number ten left open for the usual reason.

  • Somebody’s Watching Me-Rockwell
  • Walking on Sunshine-Katrina and the Waves
  • Midnight Maniac-Krokus
  • Hello-Lionel Ritchie
  • Mickey-Tony Basil
  • Gloria-Laura Brannigan
  • Private Eyes-Hall and Oates
  • I Want Candy- Bow Wow Wow
  • Love is a Battlefield-Pat Benatar


22 thoughts on “Week 388: Interstellar Juice Boxes; The Week That Is and Visual Velveeta”

  1. Good post. I read today where a French physicist posted a close-up photo of a slice of chorizo and said it was a star imaged by JWST. He meant it as a joke but people were overwhelmed by the star-detail revealed. PT Barnum would’ve loved it. From the Google vault of worthlesss trivia: The first music video was The Little Lost Child by Edward B. Marks and Joe Stern from 1894. It was an illustrated song, a series of projected still images, accompanied by a live music performance of the song.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JWST is amazing, and I know the scientific community are thrilled. Well they keep telling us as and I admire and agree it is a fantastic feat to build, launch and operate the JSWT. Amazing. I am concerned that none of the pictures from space actually exist today since they are millions and some billions of years old – what a coffee table photo album though.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s interesting. They won’t appear immediately because they do get a quick looking at before we tick the little box – our very own spam filter as it were. But what do you mean about the reader page??


      2. A conundrum. We do try to approve comments very quickly but sometimes the notifications don’t work – We haven’t deleted any comments from you so that’s not it (just in case you wondered)


      3. Diane, I have the same problem on other sites, so no I know the problem occurs elsewhere. I wonder if my settings need a review? I do read most of the stories posted, but admit I have not commented as diligently as I used to. (I must do better). Best regards.


  3. Another great and interesting post. Also thank you for holding the Fort almost single handedly for the last few days. I now have the spiders almost under control so should be back in full harness forthwith. Does Haleluia by Geff Buckley count?. If not there are plenty by Dr Hook that appear to be a drunken orgy on someone’s boat. I love Dr Hook marine orgies not quite so much. Thanks Leila.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Doug
        My memory goes back a bit before the video era. I liked imagining performances while listening to the radio. Some videos are very good and I did grow up with them, but I realized what my grandmother meant about the radio programs she grew up with fired the imagination.
        My mother saw Chuck Berry live at Seattle’s Bumbershoot fest about forty or so years back.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ones I wish I had – Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis. Ones I did Rolling Stones etc (guests Chaka Khan, Elton John, Beach Boys if failing memory serves), Ray Charles (2), Elvis (2), Fats Domino, Ike & Tina, James Brown, Everlys,

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha! That’s an entire wing of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! I did get to see a traveling retro show when I was very young. It was headlined by the Shirrells and Jan and Dean. I guess the biggest classic name I ever saw live was Eric Clapton–oh and Loretta Lynn…Gram took me to see her at the Puyallup.


  5. Hi Leila,
    I agree about all things ‘Spacey’ being a waste of money. If you can’t walk there or live there, what is the fucking point. Better spend the money on places where folks live and them folks hardships!
    Regarding, shall we say, the cheaper end of the video market whether it be in cost or quality, I would throw in:
    Bobby Boris Picket – The Monster Mash (Not really a video, just a performance with some weird facial shenanigans.
    Sarah Brightman – I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper.
    Hot Chocolate – No Doubt About It

    And this absolute Belter – The Rah Band – Clouds Across The Moon.

    Great post as always!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.