Seen on a Bulletin Board at Our Nearest Guitar Center

So, while I was waiting while my daughter was taking guitar lessons at our nearest Guitar Center…

(“THE INSTRUCTOR LOOKS LIKE EFF’N SEAN LENNON! TELLING YOU, IT’S EFF’N SEAN LENNON!”)

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(This is the real Sean Lennon. We couldn’t take a picture of the instructor -he wouldn’t let us. But he eff’n does look like that.)

…I took a moment to peruse the adverts and want ads posted on their bulletin board.

 

Here are a few interesting ones.

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Such wonderful penmanship, Terry, you must have gotten a lot of practice writing those “sick” absentee notes for school. Betcha you got busted on the spelling, though.

 

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“Original” rather than “Fake”, or “Copy” or, hey, “Cover” rock band? Love the influences although I’m tempted to play “One of the 4 is not like the Others…”.

 

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“Horn players on pot who do Matchbox 20(?) and Foghat(?!!) and who are serious about living the music lifestyle practicing until midnight (radical!) and smoke pot and shit (hardcore radical!!) as long as it’s cool with Billy’s mom.” Wait-what?!

 

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I’m sorry, “NovaCain” but I don’t really think the world is ready for you.

 

-A. M. Holmes

Natural Selection versus Genetic Drift in Single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs

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Research published from The University of Queensland indicates that natural selection plays a greater role than genetic drift in SNPs dealing with height, waist-to-hip ratio, BMI, and schizophrenia among European, African, and Asian populations (Does evolution make us or are we just drifting that way?). Led by Professor Jian Yang from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience and Queensland Brain Institute, the team used more than 400,000 genetic samples from African, East Asian and European populations to determine if the SNPs (pronounced as “snips”) showed a tendency towards randomness, implying genetic drift, or not, and thus natural selection.

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The results showed that for SNPs such as height, waist-to-hip, BMI, and schizophrenia, there was a greater frequency for height among Europeans; a greater BMI number for Africans with Europeans having greater than Asians; both Europeans and Africans falling out of the mean for schizophrenia. None of these traits showed the tendency towards a random distribution which indicates that for these SNPs natural selection plays a greater role than genetic drift. In other words, what this study says that rather than in the colloquial debate of Nature versus Nurture it’s more like Selection over Nature and Nurture not having a factor at all. This is important in that it gives hope for the potential to treat certain ailments, such as schizophrenia through treatments such as CRISPR. 

It has left me to wonder how much of natural selection over genetic drift influenced hominin traits? Eyebrows/brow ridges, robust/gracile, even “having a chin” how were these more a product of selectivity among groups than randomness among Neandertals, Denisovans, and modern humans? More intriguing, could this be applied to culture as well? 

-A. M. Holmes

 

 

Wow, and I thought I was a Progressive Thinker.

Three female scientists discussing their research

This morning I got a Twitter notification from All Revolutions (@RevolutionsCen) about an article from The Atlantic by Ed Young (@edyong209 ) where, as he tells it in I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories , “I knew that I care about equality, so I deluded myself into thinking that I wasn’t part of the problem”.  He had seen how a lot of his articles reflected a gender bias he never intended to portray. Reading this opened my eyes to the fact that even though I claim to be “gender-blind” I wasn’t doing any better. Here I’m thinking I’m a progressive thinking person now to find out I’m as dirty as our misogynist President (I wasn’t aware of Emmanuelle Charpentier, Jennifer Doudna, and CRISPR). I was fooling myself completely. Now I begin to wonder where else has my supposed “blindness” toward gender, race, or ethnicity has misled me to promote instead the same prejudices I have always felt unjust?  The article is very enlightening. Also, it has good resource information at the end of it.

-A.M. Holmes

“I Want Money…”

Lower-Manhattan-pre-9-11

Carmen de la Rosa Sanger Peters Anapopolis Rahim Martin Johnson Ross so-on-and-so-forth, etcetera, etcetera Weinstein had finally laid to rest poor, dear Leonard Weinstein, the former and now late CEO of the financial services of Weinstein, Sheckelman (husband number 9) and Johnson (number 6) in Greenwood and was on her way to the law offices of Ross (number 7, divorced him back ‘83), Jorgensen (number 8 for 6 months a year later) and Haims (he’s gay) to hear the will. Not that there were going to be any surprise, she already knew (with the help of an ex-husband whom she promised as a client her next victim) that all 90 million dollars in net worth, not including the stocks in some dynamic portfolios, were incontestably hers.

“And rightly so considering how hard I worked on this one,” she thought as she drove her silver-gray Porsche 911 down the road and into the tunnel. “I thought I was going to have to divorce this one before he croaked. Thank God, for the hidden dangers of prostate cancer and the over-inflated male pride.”

At 56, and the best looking 56 money can buy, Carmen was not getting any younger and found that staying that way was getting harder no matter how much money it took for upkeep. The way she saw it, she probably had enough time for 2 or 3 more husbands (if they all lived) maybe even a 4th (if any one of them didn’t). One good lucky strike that could knock the ball out of Yankee stadium would shorten that number to one or two if it became necessary. But, as she gave it another thought, that wouldn’t make it anywhere near as fun and enjoyable. The thrill of catching them, after all, is what helped make the time go by every time she found one of these lonely, pathetic and rich morons to marry. Yes, she’s been everywhere that’s anywhere several times over and even owns some of them. She has plenty of toys, both the material and the living kind, and could always get new ones of either kind whenever she got bored. Friends? As many as money can buy.

“Fuck friends!” she answered that thought as it came up, “Actually, that is the only kind of a good friend, a ‘fuck friend’, ha ha ha.” She laughs aloud at her own joke as she was still trying to make her way down lower Manhattan and into the Wall Street district. “The sooner I get there, the sooner I can get out of this black shit and on a plane for Sidney.” Australia was going to be her next stop. Seemed to her that she ran into a couple of promising prospects while visiting there last Summer. “A rugged Aussie type- that’ll be exciting. Hell, I may even fall in love! Love, ha-ha-ha-ha, you’re a real crack-up today, Carmen.”

She finally arrived at the buildings where the offices were located and had the valet parked her car. Alone in the elevator, she noticed that it was only 8:40 in the morning and thought over possibly having breakfast at the “Windows” restaurant. She decided against it thinking better to grab a bite later. Carmen had noticed how beautifully clear the September sky was today and tried to remember if Spring was coming to the ‘down-under’ at this time. She didn’t care. All she knew was that by this time tomorrow, on the twelfth, she was going to be basking on some sunny beach, sipping her drink, and feeling the warmth of the South Pacific wind in her face. She checked her make-up before saying to herself, “In an hour I’ll be done here at the Twin Towers and on my way to JFK. With any luck, I’ll be a new bride by New Years of ‘02.”

At 8:46, the elevator stopped and the lights went out.

-A. M. Holmes

In the Dark of the Matinee

via Daily Prompt: Disrupt

Roy woke up blearily around noon. At least it’s in my own bed, he thought to himself with some relief. There have been mornings after a long night when he would wake up in an unfamiliar in a house/apartment/hotel room with some chick he had hooked up with the night before. There would be that awkward moment for her when she wasn’t sure what to say to get him to leave not knowing nothing needed to be said. He got, they both got what they wanted and there was no point lingering. Which, reminded him, is she still …?

He got out of bed not bothering to put anything on (“it’s my apartment, dammit.”) and started walking around exploring starting with the bathroom. Seeing no one there he went over to raise the lid to the toilet and began to relieve himself (“ah, that’s good.”). When he finished he turned and walk out into the hallway slowly meandering into the large living room-kitchen that made up the rest of his studio picking up a packet of cigarettes and lighter front a small table in one leisurely pass. He stopped behind the couch in the middle of the room, took a cigarette out with his lips, lit it and survey the scene.

There were the most drank wine bottle and the two empty glasses on the coffee table (“check”). His dark pants (“check”), a dark shirt, his, (“check”), his t-shirt (“check”), his underwear (“check”), his tie…(“-Oh, yeah, last night”) was not there, but that wasn’t troubling (“check”) and …no girl (“what-ever-her-name-was”). He cleared his throat with approval and put out the cigarette in the ashtray on the coffee table. Circling around he picked his clothes and started to put them on. He looked suspiciously around the room feeling like at any moment “what-ever-her-name-was” would pop out of somewhere and take him by surprise. When she didn’t Roy was finally convinced that she indeed had left. Then it hit him. His phone! He stopped without his pants on and start looking for it.

It was not under the coffee table, the couch, the lounge chair, the cushions. He knew it wasn’t in the bedroom because he didn’t want any interruptions. Maybe? He walked to the counter that separates the kitchen area from the living room and there, sitting so benignly was his phone “Did I leave it there? I had to have?”). He picked it up and looked at the screen. No calls and one text and he recognized the text. It wasn’t from her (“Now I’m beginning to resent this.”) but it was important enough. It was a job.

“There’s a good Charles Bronson marathon at the Civic”  

Roy smiled. This was going to be a good payoff.

Roy was a specialist. If someone wanted a person knocked off and was willing to pay it was his job to make it happen. He got the jobs through text from an unknown phone with instructions to go particular spots in town, like the Civic Theater, where he would find a manilla envelope with the details, money, and picture. How he did it was left entirely to him just so that it was done within the time allotted. His favorite was this long-distance sniper, a bit more difficult to set up and a bit stressful because the timing was everything, but the effect was spectacular. It gave him the chance to play with his Mk 12 and watching through the scope at his target always gave him a thrill. He felt like God. One squeeze and in almost an instant you see the target jolt, blood beginning to spurt out, they fall down with that dumb expression of confusion on his face and those around him. The best ones were the headshots. Bone, blood, and brain flying all over spraying bits and pieces to the surrounding crowd. Yeah, like God! But, that didn’t mean he’d avoid the simple hit. His most common was the casual walk up with his Smith & Wesson and silencer, one quick pop, and the job is done. Yeah, they lack finesse but they paid the bills.

“The Civic?”, he thought to himself, “at least I wouldn’t have to go far.”

The Civic Theater was only a few blocks from his studio apartment and down by the university. It was a popular hangout for the “college artsy types” he disliked so much but being still early enough, most don’t come out until late, the place will be empty.

He put the phone down, went to the frig for V-8 (“No time for a kale and carrot.”) and headed back to his bedroom. After a shave, shower, and a change of clothes he made his way to the matinee on foot (“Blue sky, birds singing, and a job to do. It’s a gorgeous day!”).

In fifteen minutes he was at the ticket window and bought his pass (“Yeah, big Bronson fan. What? ‘The Mechanic’ is playing now? Love that Bishop guy.”).  As always he walked four rows from the right door and sat eight seats from the aisle. The movie was about an aging hitman, Bronson befriending a young man, Jan-Michael Vincent, who wants to be a professional killer. Later in the movie, Bronson suspects that someone has betrayed him. Roy wishes he could sit and watch it because of it really one of his favorites. It was this movie that inspired him to go into specializing in his craft after his tour in Afganistan but business came first. He reaches down under the seat and found the envelope he was sure would be there. Just then, with that sudden move, he felt the inner rumblings of something not waiting its time to exit. Roy stood and with an envelope in hand, he made for the men’s restroom.

He had made it just in time to the second stall for after pulling down his pants and sat it felt as if his entire internal organs were evacuating his body. Someone walked in and conscious of his own reek he gave a courtesy flush. He then bends forward to pick up the manilla enveloped from where he had dropped it in his rush. To Roy, it seemed unaccustomedly light, as if it only had a sheet of paper in it and nothing more. He opened it and sure enough, that’s what was in it, a folded over sheet of paper. He took it out, opened it up, and there, in words written with a marker were the words,

Sorry

The door to the stall was suddenly kicked open. The message on the sheet had disrupted his concentration and he had forgotten about the person who had walked into the restroom. There, in front of him, holding a very nasty 9 mm was “what-ever-her-name-was”. Staring directly at him, she gave a little shrug before squeezing two slugs into his brain.

-A. M. Holmes

“Populism” is the New “Nationalism”

 

The New York Times op-ed says, “If freedom is to prevail over the many challenges to it, American leadership is urgently required.” Unfortunately, the U.S. has leadership but not in the form it needs to preserve freedom.

In the U.S. “Populism” has become just another word for “Nationalism”. “America Great Again”, “America First” these are fascistic slogans used by a radical movement within the GOP that has Trump as its leader. This is a group that believes in the suppression of the free press, divisiveness along socio-economic and cultural lines, isolationism, and “bread and circuses (tax breaks and parades) for the masses. These people are elitists who have nothing in common with the average American and yet know how to manipulate and lie to achieve power through the ballot box. They are un-American and if we continue to allow them to usurp the government they are a threat not only here but globally as well.

-A. M. Holmes