This is truly a question that I am frequently asked. ((I’ve answered this before in two mini-essays, the second after the first was destroyed. This is the third attempt. Here’s hoping.)) This is a question to which I would like to hear more answers than the one I’m about to give. It would be pretty cool for people to offer their own conclusions as possible answers: “Is a Sacred Clone… such and such and so forth?” Even that answer is sounds good to me right now. Think of a sacred clone as a clone that is sacred. All too obvious, I know, but it’s that
The fun lies in the multiple layers of meaning. ((A childhood friend referred to these layers as “transparencies.” I am not sure what he meant by that other than the different meanings a thing takes on when you look at it, or through it, in a different light, other connotations and denotations derived in the context of situation and circumstance.)) The term “layers” can be deceptive, implying hierarchy of each meaning, one over the other, disparate definitions insulated with layers of nuance and interpretation. Such is the hazard of bias, inflexibility, rigidity. Words are alive with their meanings. All things alive grow and change and evolve, potentially into something unrecognizable. ((Most people I run into these days do not recognize me if we have not seen each other in more than twenty years.)) And so, sometimes you just have to move on. Some words just don’t mean the same thing they meant a generation or so ago. When one does not accept the plasticity of language one is not likely to accept the inevitable communication failures that result.
Clones are identical, right? I don’t know. Most if not all the sci-fi literature I have beheld seems to emphasize degradation as the common theme. Rule of thumb is that a clone from an original isn’t quite as good as the original. Same goes for a clone of a clone until all integrity is lost and it just won’t hold together. And so, what’s the point? If a clone is not identical to the original, why would you want it?
One of the meanings of the term Sacred Clone could be that that particular is different than all the others. But then, is it a clone? Would the difference lie in mutation or some other fluke that allowed it survivability, that it should not degrade as others of its generation? Again, I don’t know.
All emperor penguins look alike. To me, they sound alike, they act alike, they smell the same. And it is a scent without nuance or subtlety as far as I can tell. But they know each other. Mates know their mates. Parents know their offspring, and can distinguish one from another in the throngs of companions upon returning from weeks away hunting and eating.
A friend and I were playing billiards. She was beautiful as far as I was concerned. But she was a bit older than me, had children half my age. Talking about this she mentioned something, threw it out in our conversation like any other sentence. Yet, I have heard nothing as profound spoken so casually in any conversation since: “We are much more alike than we are different.” And she wasn’t talking about the two of us necessarily. That was when we looked up and noticed a crowd gathered around one of the TV monitors at the Student Union Building. Ronald Reagan had just been shot. He survived. My friendship with that particular beautiful woman did not. However, if you put the two of us together in a crowd after all these years, we would find each other. We would know who the other was from that other time and place and we would enjoy a visit and then move on.
Okay. Seriously, I don’t know what you think I do all days long here atop this this ivory tower made of ACME Brick, pressure-treated wood, gypsum and other stuff. These are cramped quarters with little or no redeeming qualities other than a supposedly high-speed Internet connection, most of my books and an adequate stereo hosting a far less-than-adequate turntable with which I can listen to some of the best music recorded and mass-distributed on vinyl, conceived and performed at tremendous abandon and funk significantly pre-dating the artist formerly known as prince’s high-heeled blister infection, foil-lined bedroom, pantie-lined tight-jeaned nonexistent buttocks, back when, even before he was known as “Skippy,” alienating high-school peers as though such behavior were brainstem activity, youthfully clueless to what we now know as truth: that such actions occur out of sense of fashion, the desire to be different that makes one so much like everyone else. But forget him. He’s overrated. He does not concern me other than his introduction into popular culture serves as a smudge mark on the linear time ruler. Far more interesting is Rapunzel. Beautiful, magnificent Rapunzel. Absent. I hired her on the spot. She liked the terms. Seemed pleased with the arrangements, haggled a bit on the salary, but I would have been disappointed had she not. Perhaps she had second thoughts about the modest but highly-flexible benefit package. I don’t have time to train her now. And I don’t have time to replace her. Until I hired her, I never understood how glaringly inadequate my organizational and time-management skills. Nearing the end of this workday, I ignore the messages. Surely they do not include one from her. Today’s mail remains on the hallway floor, a study in entropy to which her absence pays tribute. She does not accompany me, tie me up or down or spin me yarns with her flaxen locks coiled into labyrinthine pin curls. She does not nuzzle my side, lovingly, affectionately, unaware that she derives far less comfort from her casual and innocent embrace than the balmy encouragement it provides her timid companion who wants nothing more than to create a life with her, lives with her, many lives. She is not here to throw down her hair should someone want to come visit, as if I would allow such a thing. No. I would not allow any such thing. Please understand that this does not in anyway conflict with my long-standing yet rarely availed open invitation to drop by the studio at anytime. I’ve got an opened-door policy. You don’t even have to knock. However, all I ask is that you first call Rapunzel and arrange an appointment. Oh, Rapunzel. I am not your hair. But you have let me down.
Notice that vessels of all kinds that require constant attention and maintenance, careful systems monitoring on the part of a pilot to bring out the best performance… these vessels all sport vast control panels. Captains refer to their ships using feminine pronouns. They are things of grace and beauty. What ever happened to the love a captain should have for his ship? Is this a romance lost on our day? He must love her. Only if he truly loves the vessel that carries him to all points on earth, that keeps him afloat through all storms and calms, that is an oasis in times of doldrums, a cradling shelter for the weary traveler… only if he is willing to care for her with all his heart and energy to the point that exceeds the willingness of all others aware of that ship, only then is he worthy to command her and her crew to go places and do things never imagined.
This is an exquisite metaphor for relationships, and doesn’t seem as though it would popular today as the male would seem the dominant partner. But such dominance has never been the case in the shared purposes of this partnership.
Women were thought to bring bad luck when they came aboard a ship. Superstition had it that the ship became jealous of the other lady, (notice I say the other lady with emphasis on ‘other’ as if I really mean it!) especially if the lady was the captain’s wife. This makes perfect sense when you consider how the flesh-and-blood woman would distract the captain from his duties to see that the ship was cared for to as high a degree as ever: impossible if attempting ensure his spousal unit comfort.”You love your smelly old ship more than you love me,” the wife would whine. A loud creaking sound would come from below decks as if the smelly old ship acknowledged the perfumed witch of a captain’s wife, echoing her point of view. This is what would happen: Checklists would get hurried through, knots would be left untied, gear would not get stowed, rowdiness would go unchecked… next thing you would know she’d be taking on water and the rudder would be jammed. The ship could do nothing but go in circles while she and all aboard her sank.
and so, why not invest in your new possible ocean-front property. This amounts to some seriously aggressive real estate speculation, certainly. So far, we’ve got a 36-mile-long crack, 20-feet-wide at its broadest, opening from seismic activity in 2005. This is the stuff of doomsday movies. Afar, Ethiopia, the Red Sea, parting without Noah’s request ((though a case could be made, I’m sure, and it was Moses, anyway)) leading to who knows what and the kicker, who knows when. Projected time-lines strongly suggest the ocean formation will occur “eventually.”
Thanks for the heads up, guys. Exactly how eventual are we talking? Couldn’t some enterprising government real estate tycoon, dictator, tyrant, benevolent tribal entity entrepreneur type come up with a plan to market this stuff… futures? Nah, couldn’t be legal in any part of the world. Surely someone could develop an industry toward touring this amazing geological site. Its newness is its novelty. The Grand Canyon is how old? This thing, this new hole, is spanking brand shiny smelling of plastic new by any measurable geological terms.
I want to see it. I would pay good money to see it. Could I please have a show of hands from all who witnessed the birth of any other oceans of which we might be aware? That’s what I thought.
Okay, let’s charter the flights. Let’s get our passports ready. Let’s take a look at this hole while it’s still so tiny we can tell our grandchildren and they won’t believe a word.
First saw this on Twitter about 12 hours after the fact. One must wonder what is up with that. And so I do. First one tweet, then another…. TigerWoods had a wreck, he’s in the hospital… links to some news sources… most news sources fragmentary at best. Word is that his injuries are serious.. that it is a single-vehicle accident. Who knows, at this point. U.S. News – Headlines, Stories and Video from CNN.com. No matter. I’m amazed, absolutely astonished at the instant out pouring of concern, sympathy and acknowledgement of prayer on his behalf. No mention of the family. But, hey, they are not Tiger Wood. To other amazement, his name is not showing up in Google Trends as of this writing. Give it a few minutes. Wow.
Now here’s something you don’t see every day, every year or even every century. North America gets to view a total lunar eclipse as Fall passes the seasonal baton to Winter.
It is the day planet Earth groans and grunts because she can’t turn her South Pole toward the Sun any more than she already has. She resigns and begins turning her North Pole toward the Sun.
The winter solstice comes but once a year, December 21, every year. That’s just how it is. When inhabitants of Earth figured out we’d been thrown the cosmic curve ball of a leap year, calendars began to make more sense. Simply put, the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. That’s the confusing explanation, because every day is 24-hours long. Daylight hours, however, vary depending on how far north or south one lives from the Equator. Summer solstice is just the opposite, June 21, most daylight of any day, and marks the beginning of summer.
Lunar eclipses are another matter, occurring when the Earth casts its shadow upon the moon as it passes between it and the sun. Total eclipses totally cover the moon with the earth’s shadow, blacking it out, darkening the sky until for a few moments until it reappears as a sliver facing the one that disappeared. Tonight’s moments of complete blackness, technically referred to as ‘totality,’ will be more than a few at around 72 minutes, during which “an amber light will play across the snows of North America, throwing landscapes into an unusual state of ruddy shadow.” Every bit as predictable as solstices if you know the math, lunar eclipses occur irregularly. True, not all lunar eclipses occur at night. But the ones that do when they are dazzling.
This cosmic triple play of a full moon at total eclipse during the winter solstice has not occurred in more than 600 years. “Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is 1638 DEC 21,” says Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory, who inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years. The next one happens near the end of this century in 2094.