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By Larry Leonard

May 18, 2013 — Today’s Drudge top headline identifies the present location of Lewis Carroll. Margaret Thatcher once said that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of rich people to tax into poverty. (Or something like that.) It’s now a matter of time in France, not that it always wasn’t.

These times here in America are all a strange admixture of reality and the surreal, just like Europe. The world has gone mad, of course. You have to view history in this land on the very long scales to sift out the meaning. There are stones in the Arkansas River which carry carved runes that clearly identify the monument as being of Celtic origin, dated around the 11th Century. That makes the Irish the Native Americans. Here’s a sentence in that ancient tongue:

llll ll
ll lllll ll llll   ll  ll
llllll  llll   ll llllll t

Each collection of vertical lines stands for a single letter. The vertical lines above and below the central characters affect the meaning or meaninglessness of those in the center line. I don’t know what this center line says because this computer keyboard won’t let me place them in the correct position. 11th Century computer keyboards allowed for the correct placement I suppose. I was trying to write: “Here lies Wmy Augnauct who died while squeezing a plaid ewe.”

The Price of Progress

The point here is that all humanity these days is about squeezing sheep while attempting to make music. Clearly, it’s a communications problem. The material on which the writing resides can have an impact on the activity. Paper as a medium is superior to stone in that it is easier to roll up. If a news carrier boy threw stone tablets on your front porch each morning, it would do structural damage to your stoop.

These concepts are designs of fashion, as a rule, like hemlines. Stone skirts would drop and crush your toes, to use one example, so it is fashionable to wear clothing made out of sheep or artificial cloth processed from petroleum. (Called: plastic.) Without processing in the latter case the skirt would just dribble down a woman’s legs, leaving her standing there half-naked next to a stack of stone news tablets. Without the big “papers” to inform us chaos would ensue.

If the Founding Fathers had not written the U.S. Constitution on parchment it would have appeared on cement, and nobody except a professional wrestler could have lifted it. Children would have damaged their fingers turning the pages. They would have received their high school diplomas without understanding a single thing about the prime American government document except that it was, like the Obama health care act, too heavy to pick up.

Intellectual Darwinism

If not for the invention of paper, we wouldn’t know that bagpipes evolved from this ancient Scottish practice of squeezing sheep. If not for the invention of paper, what we call toilet paper would be granite slabs. If not for the invention of paper, firecrackers would be explosive fragmentation devices similar to hand grenades and Mains Street America after the Fourth of July Parade would be strewn with the body parts of the local high school band.

And, try to visualize the damage stone spitwads would do in our schools. How many rubber trees would it take to launch a big one? Malaysia’s rubber plantations would have to be clear-cut to handle just the annual spitwad quota needed in a single elementary district in Brooklyn.

It takes 184,334 pints of aviation quality fuel to lift one Atlas rocket off the pad at Cape Kennedy in Florida. Imagine how many rubber trees would have to be slaughtered to generate a carbon-free liftoff of and installation in orbit of a single satellite that would provide half hour kitchen gadget commercial programs informing us about where to get two celery graters for the price of one if we call within twenty minutes.

And, money is made of paper. Stone quarters could be used in vending machines to purchase soft drinks the Mayor of New York City has banned, but bills? Twenty granite dollars in a wallet and you couldn’t get up from the lunch table at Sardi’s. Wall Street would come to a stop every afternoon, the stock market would crash and every broker on the upper West side would be walking around minus a back pocket.

No, file cabinets would look like waffle irons when full of stone documents after a single earthquake, you could make patios out of slabs of hankies and car tires would become cube-shaped lumps of aggregate. The ride would be just terrible.

Among all the nations of the world, only France can survive without logic. I once owned a Renault. Things like doors and steering wheels are optional with French cars. And, the only gasoline you need with one is the small amount you need to set it ablaze during a government union demonstration for triple-salary retirement checks.


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