Monday, May 31, 2010

Detroit, Necropolis Reborn - A Video by Chris Hume

House With a Message, Heidelberg Project, DetroitImage by cleopatra69 via Flickr

At the age of 18, I left Detroit to seek my fortunes on the West Coast. My father, a man who was born and died in the environs of Detroit, used to say, "You couldn't get out fast enough." I know he was proud of me and my accomplishments in life, because he told me so before he passed. I also know that he would have loved it if I had visited Detroit a little more often.

As the years swept by, I did visit my family every once in a while, and each time I would come away with more of an appreciation of Detroit and all that it has to offer. The culture cannot be beaten. Look at all the artists to whom Motown gave birth. Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Jackson Five, Lionel Ritchie, The Supremes, Aretha Franklin and the list goes on. And because I think of "Motown" as synonymous with "Detroit," let's add Madonna, Sonny Bono, Alice Cooper, Eminem and Jack White. And those are just the musicians.

Detroit also boasts this amazing art installation created by Tyree Guyton in the Heidelberg neighborhood which has turned that actual neighborhood into a piece of "found art."

Clint Eastwood went to Detroit to film his fabulous movie, "Gran Torino." My father grew up in a house a lot like that of Walt, the character played by Clint.

I came across this little video which is Part 9 in a series of videos by Chris Hume called "Red State Road Trip 2." If you still have the wrong idea about Detroit, maybe you should take a look and see how Michiganders are plotting to set Detroit free of its decaying corporate bonds (that is happening naturally) and turn it into the first green sustainable city in the USA, a 21st century model for all other cities now experiencing the economic crumbling that Detroit has suffered for the last few decades.

Detroit - Once a 20th century industrial dynamo, now an 18th century rural society? Pheasants and deer wander among the rusting towers and ruined factories as nature reclaims this mighty American metropolis. Even more shocking: there is not a single supermarket in all of Detroit. In this episode, the remaining citizens of Detroit are turning this industrial wasteland... into a life giving urban garden.

Detroit, Necropolis Reborn - A Video by Chris Hume and Amy Sunshine Moon
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

To All the Kids Who Survived the 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

I know this has been floating around the Internet for a few years, but it totally illustrates my point about how much fun it was to grow up in the mid 20th century. And really, I could not have said it better myself!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon.
We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar.
And, we weren't overweight.

Because we were always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's and X-boxes.
There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes..

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of them?
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

They Don't Call Us Mooneys For Nothing! - by Marge and Patty K Mooney

Moon DreamsImage by jurvetson via Flickr

When I returned to Michigan to participate in the celebration of my dad's passing (while he was still around to enjoy it, too - what a blessing!) my siblings and I became closer than ever before. With Facebook, Skype and email, we have been able to stay connected and "close" even with the distance of miles between us now. I wanted to share this little story that my sister, Marge, shared with me of her most mortifying moment. She had submitted it to First For Women Magazine, but they were seeking summer stories, so I snapped it right up for my blog. Here, in her own words, Marge's Most Mortifying Moment:

My husband and I were out at a fun Irish pub with some friends. We were in the front window of the long, narrow bar, and I went to the bathroom. Then I came back through the long, narrow bar to the front window. When I sat down, I swept my hand to brush my skirt aside. It was then that I realized I had tucked my skirt into my nylons, and had mooned the bar as I walked to my seat. (nope. no panties...just nylons).

She told me that as soon as she realized that she - a Mooney - had mooned the entire bar, she told Freddie, her hubby, "It's time to go."

When I asked whether I could use her story on my blog, she said okay, but that she was not going to send me a photo of her "moon."

Isn't it funny how in retrospect these moments during which you feel like shriveling up into a small ball and rolling off into a corner far away - are pretty doggone funny. So now, I would like to hear YOUR most mortifying moment. Please share it with me and my little piece of the blogosphere.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bellwood Boys & Babes - A Video by the Mooneys

I recently "rediscovered" a treasure trove of family films that were shot primarily by my mother after my dad won a film camera for his sales prowess at Chrysler, before I was born, around 55 years ago. She just picked up the camera and started shooting family gatherings, special occasions, and other "red letter days." My dad shot any footage where my mom appears, and who knows who operated the camera when both of them are in the frame.

I remember sultry summer evenings in the town of Bellwood, Illinois, where we grew up, when my dad would set up a portable screen and projector in the back yard, and invite all the neighbors to come watch these films on folding chairs. I remember that this was as big a deal to us then as Avatar recently was.

I have begun to digitize these films, and they are making quite a stir in my family. Here's my latest one, called "Bellwood Boys 'n Babes."

Twist and Shout - Bellwood Boys and Babes from Patty Mooney on Vimeo.

I created a channel for all of our family films here.
Patty's Family Films Album

Taking place in the 1950's and 1960's, I feel that these films are not only precious family memories, but of historical significance as well. You will see the history of places in Michigan, Illinois and Kansas, where my family has lived, as backdrop to one of the first true "reality television" families, albeit without sound.

Back then, when the cost of processing these films was astronomical compared to today's standards, the camera operator did a lot of "in-camera editing" and only captured moments of the utmost significance. Camera ops of today could take a lesson in such efficiency.

In observing myself growing up, I have to say that I had a great childhood, free to play outside all day long enjoying the company of my five siblings. These videos are a gift from my parents to us, their children, and also to the world. They're sort of like a time capsule broken open, and reaching back fifty years. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

He's My Bluesy Bro - by Patty K Mooney

Freddie & MargeImage by cleopatra69 via Flickr

Whenever I mention that I am heading to Detroit, or I just returned from Detroit, where my family reside, the recipient of that news may crinkle their nose and say "Ew, Detroit." But they don't know Detroit - or Michigan - the way I have grown to know and love the place. It's a hotbed of culture! It's Motown, baby! Think of it. When you look at a map of the United States, isn't Detroit right in the heart of our country? Many of our best musicians have come to us from that pulsating and throbbing spot. And their music is better for the annealing process it goes through there in the heartland.

My brother-in-law, Freddie Cunningham, is a very talented blues singer. He's so versatile, he knocks around with a few bands, predominantly The Root Doctor out of Lansing, Michigan. They play a diverse mix of classic soul and R and B, alongside traditional blues and inspired original material. This Studio A performance from WKAR features tunes from Root Doctor albums Been a Long Time Coming, Change Our Ways, and more. My family was honored to have Freddie sing - a capella - "Danny Boy" at the funeral service of my father.

To give you an idea of The Root Doctors' blues prowess, here is a review written about their latest CD, "Live At The Cadillac Club," by Mark Uricheck at Elmore Magazine

Root Doctor may be one of Michigan's best-kept musical secrets. The Lansing-based five piece has been making hips shake for years, but as evidenced in recent work like 2007's Blues Music Award-nominated Change Our Ways, the band's ready to let the cat out of the bag.

Root Doctor's latest, Live at the Cadillac Club, is all you could want from a live blues/roots collection. From start to finish, the sound is raw and direct, and it has that danceability factor that makes blues festivals so much fun.

The disc's lead track, "Hip Hug Her," is a fine example of what Root Doctor can do live. A six-minute instrumental all about funky groove, it's equal parts Booker T. & the MG's organ bliss and Robert Cray-like Stratocaster smoothness-what a great way to kick off the party. The disc segues from there to the high-energy boogie of "Walkin' Out On You," to the Memphis Soul of "Love Bones" and the slow-burn blues of "It's Too Late to Try to Do Right."

Live at the Cadillac Club features two fantastic covers: the late night feel of "Rainy Night in Georgia" and a muscle-flexing rendition of "Reconsider Baby," complete with band solo spots-a scorcher for sure. Closing the disc is the climactic rave-up of "The Turning Point," completed with the Motor City Horns in tow. By the end of the set, you're fully aware that Root Doctor doesn't quit.

So often, live albums are more of a side note to a band's catalog. In Root Doctor's case, you could actually start with this album to acquaint yourself with the band. I'd hate to say that the band is at the peak of its powers here, but it sure is hard to imagine them squeezing out one extra drop of power, passion or rockin' soul.

When you get an hour, give this video your undevoted attention. Or put it on and play it in the background. They are wonderful. Click below to see the show.

Backstage Pass with The Root Doctor

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Love Poems from Izumi Shikibu

Izumi Shikibu (和泉式部, ?-976?) was a mid Heian p...Image via Wikipedia

From "Poem-A-Day". You can sign up to receive a poem a day during the month of April of each year.

Izumi Shikibu, born around the year 974, lived and wrote during the golden period of Japan's Heian court. She was "committed to a life of both religious consciousness and erotic intensity," the poet Jane Hirshfield and her translation partner Mariko Aratani tell us in the introduction to The Ink Dark Moon, their translations of ancient court love poetry. Though men of the time could take multiple wives and lovers and a woman could be wife to only one man, Heian women were able to own property and receive income, giving them the ability to choose their romantic fates with some independence and enjoy multiple affairs of the heart. Divorce was also possible, and was the outcome of Shikibu's marriage to a provincial official when, while in service to a former empress at the court, she had a passionate affair with the empress's stepson. Poems played a key role in such affairs ("the first intimation of a new romance for a woman of the court was the arrival at her door of a messenger bearing a five-line poem in an unfamiliar hand"), and in this climate, Shikibu wrote the verse that guaranteed her place as Japan's major woman poet. Her famous Diary tells of her significant love affair with Prince Atsumichi. Their five-year relationship, which ended when he died, began with his gift of a spray of orange blossoms.

in the world
is usual today.
This is
the first morning.


Come quickly—as soon as
these blossoms open,
they fall.
This world exists
as a sheen of dew on flowers.


Even though
these pine trees
keep their original color,
everything green
is different in spring.


Seeing you is the thread
that ties me to this life—
If that knot
were cut this moment,
I'd have no regret.


I watch over
the spring night—
but no amount of guarding
is enough to make it stay.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Zealand Woman Sells Souls to Highest Bidder

At Your ServiceImage by cleopatra69 via Flickr

My Uncle Vern sent me this little snippet he found somewhere online:


- The rare spirits that went under the gavel at a recent online auction in New Zealand weren't aged brandies or hard-to-find liqueurs.

Instead, two glass vials purportedly containing the ghosts of two dead people sold for $1,983 at an auction that ended Monday night.

The "ghosts" were put up for bidding by Avie Woodbury from the southern city of Christchurch, New Zealand. She said they were captured in her house and stored in glass vials with stoppers and dipped in holy water, which she said "dulls the spirits' energy."

Uncle Vern says:

I have contacted the lady in NZ and obtained exclusive territorial rights for North America. I think this is a terrific opportunity for up to 5 people in each state to make some $'s. In that spirit, I am offering you a chance to get in on the ground floor of this business for less than $10,000. Remember this is a sure money maker with no more than a small investment in bottles and a few minutes in your local cemetery where these "ghost souls" are lurking. If the idea of spending time in the cemetery seems uncomfortable, I am willing to sell you pre-filled bottles for the small sum of $200. So don't delay, get your chance for a comfortable life and retirement and remember what PT Barnum said: "There's a sucker born every minute" and they are all just begging to have a "ghost in a bottle" of their very own.

Be sure to get back to me right away. This opportunity can't last long!!

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Kind and Gentle Man, My Dad - by Patty K Mooney

I now belong to that club whose members have lost their fathers and who will tell you to appreciate the time you spend with yours. Hopefully your father is (or was) a kind and gentle man, like mine. I know how fortunate I am to have had a father like that, someone who made room for me to be the person I am today.

Although he was a devout Catholic, he never complained that I stopped attending church at the age of 16. He never stood in my way, even when at the age of 19 I decided to pull up my roots, leave Michigan and hitchhike to California. And when I was making the stupidest mistake of my life at the age of 20 in living with a man who turned out to be less than stellar, my father never admonished me. I had all the space I needed to grow, learn, fail, and then succeed. Let me also note here that even on his death bed, I heard not one word of complaint from him, even when it was evident (through grimaces and groans) that he was in pain.

Many songs have been penned and sung about how you, the child, go gallavanting off into your own world, leaving your parents behind, but they are always there to catch you if you fall. My dad was indeed that constant presence, that rock of the family, who always greeted his six children with a smile and a bear hug whenever we returned to Michigan for a visit. And when our bags were packed to leave and we'd be heading out the door for the airport, he'd say, "You're leaving?! Why, you just got here!" The tables were certainly turned as I sat beside him, holding his hand, thinking a very similar thought. "You're leaving?! I just got to know you!"

It's a curious irony that sometimes you'll learn more about your dad at his funeral than you possibly knew in his lifetime. Two of his friends, both Catholic nuns, each told me (apart from each other) that "Your father was a saint. He should be canonized." I learned that Dad had been a faithful donator of blood to the Red Cross. Not every few years, no. It was many times each year. He also volunteered at St. Pat's Senior Center in Detroit for many years, assisting seniors with filing taxes, and other legal affairs.

He looked a lot like Abraham Lincoln in his open casket, and I mean that he looked very statesmanlike. But he was far more handsome than poor old Abe. You should have seen us, his six children, all pallbearers. It was quite a feeling to lift that casket into the back of the hearse, and then to see that hearse pull away, with just a glimpse of the red rose bouquet in the back window as the vehicle disappeared.

It was gratifying to see that his funeral was well attended by his friends, even though at 85, he had outlived many of them. Each related their own tales about Joe Mooney, and it turns out that my tall and handsome father was a caring, compassionate and charming guy who will be missed by many. I am so glad I could be with him, look into his eyes, and be there when he said, "I love you" just one last time.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

The End of a Beginning (The Start of Something Else) - by Patty K Mooney

Here is a fictional story I wrote about 30 years ago. I decided to post it in honor of my dad's passing. - Patty

Harsan was 60 today. He mulled this over as he stood shaving in front of the bathroom mirror. He thought, 'Why should I bother grooming myself? Where I'm going it won't even matter.'

His life had been full. He had married seven or eight times, he could not remember which. He had sired many children. He had his inventions - hundreds of them - to prove his time on Delta-star had been well spent. He knew he should have no worries about this long-awaited transition day. But in his heart there was fear.

"Sekh!" he exclaimed after nicking himself. He set his razor down on the sink and investigated the wound in his reflection. Funny. He had invented the device that had replaced the razor. Yet he himself preferred the old-fashioned blade. It had substance - reminded him he was human. His face smiled crookedly out the mirror at him, one drop of blood clinging on, coagulating. Finally he wiped it away, picked up his razor, finished shaving.

Harsan could give a fifteen-minute spiel on each one of his inventions. In fact, his Omnitron had recently made him famous. It was now practically a fixture in every home on the planet. And why not? Similar to an opiate, the Omnitron expanded the mind, increased energy, and heightened sexual awareness and functioning. Unfortunately, like coffee, it was addictive. But wasn't happiness an addiction?

Harsan really couldn't say. He was proud of his invention and enjoyed his renown, as short-lived as it was, but there was something missing. Something he had never felt but had tried to manufacture with the machine.

Now his time was almost up. 60 years was each person's allotted time on Delta-star. Today Harsan would face judgment by a board of youngers, who would determine his destination. Some inferior races might call it death but Harsan's contemporaries regarded it as a transition to another plane.

Harsan was not ready. Though everyone hailed him for his talent and especially for his final contribution to the world - the Omnitron - Harsan knew he was a failure. The Omnitron only simulated the feeling missing from his own heart; in fact, it intensified its absence.

He walked to the closet and stood there staring at his clothes. He pulled out a dark three-piece suit and looking at it, shook his head. "Too somber," he said to himself. "This isn't a funeral." As he was hanging the suit back up, he caught sight of his watch. Almost ten. He was to face the board at ten thirty. It wouldn't do to be late. He ended up putting on his beige sweater and baggy gray pants - the outfit he had always worn to invent. Inventing had made him feel happiest, or at least closest to being happy. He wasn't sure. As once again he pondered the fact he had never been happy - truly happy - in his life, a sharp pain shot through his heart, and he feared he would come to tears. He stifled the feeling immediately, knowing it wouldn't do to show up with red eyes.

He vowed to be proper about the whole affair. The only thing was, he didn't know what to expect, and in his life he had always known what to expect. He almost felt like beating himself, fetching the razor, drawing more blood, just to feel something for the last time. "A bit drastic," he told himself. Especially since he longed for the feeling of pleasure, not pain. He may as well resign himself to leaving Delta-star with an empty heart. He only hoped he could make it through the judgment with his pride intact.

Harsan's feet carried him to the transporter room. The bed was made, the kitchen clean. All was left as though he would be returning to it. Yet he hardly saw anything as he left, bound for his judgment.

He arrived faster than expected aboard the magnificent vessel, Modul III, that circled Delta-star like a jet-propelled limbo for all sexagenarians.

"Hello, can I help you?" The voice came from a young, blonde woman with freckles and glasses. She sat in a reception area, surrounded by secretarial machinery that buzzed and blinked.

"I'm Harsan Faison," he started to say. Before he could finish, she had gasped,

"Oh, Mr. Faison, I've been looking forward to meeting you! I just love your invention. The Omnitron! I don't know how we could have gone on without it!" She paused then, and regained her secretarial composure. "The youngers are expecting you."

"Thank you," he replied, staring about him at the vastness of the place.
The blonde gazed at him for a moment then said, "Maybe they'll make an exception in your case." She clammed up then, looking as though she had swallowed an insect - perhaps regretting what she had said.

"An exception?" Harsan repeated.

"Never mind," she said. "I only meant I wish you could stay on to invent more things like the Omnitron." Her face softened then, seeming to glow.

"They would consider postponing my time?" he questioned her, kindling a small hope.

"No, no, I'm sorry I said anything," she told him, flustered. "You go straight on in." She brushed him off, pointing at two large gilded doors to her left. "They're expecting you."

He decided to stall for time. "So you like my Omnitron?" he said.

Her face went soft and dewy again. "Oh, yes. Mr. Faison, I really don't think I could live without it. I don't really need anything else. Not even a man. It's really changed my life. I love the way the Omnitron makes me feel. It's intense, Mr. Faison! Intense." She stared at him, her eyes narrowing a little, like a cat's, although her face stayed soft. She looked love-struck.

Harsan took a deep breath as he stood before the gilded doors; they were reminiscent of the period when Delta-star scientists had perfect the method of turning tin into gold. Harsan took another deep breath as he entered the judgment chamber. Five youngers - three men and two women - waited comfortably in a lounge area in the center of a large room. It was devoid of decoration, save for the chairs on which the youngers sat, and a small tea cart with water and glasses.

One of the men said, "Harsan Faison, come and be seated."

Harsan went and sat down, noting a familiar scent in the air; a certain perfume - perhaps created by his own invention, the Aroma-scan. His heart fluttered a little as he realized he was on exhibition here; his fate was to be decided. He was indeed in limbo.

No one spoke for some time. Minutes passed, seeming like hours. Harsan coughed nervously, clearing his throat. Finally, one of the women - the younger one - said, "Harsan Faison, is there anything you wish to tell us?"

"Well," he began, his throat dry. He hesitated. "Water! May I have some? I'm very thirsty."

"Good, good!" one of the men said. He was clad in blue-gray which made his eyes stand out, clear and piercing.

Harsan wondered why the man thought it was good that he should be thirsty but said nothing.

Another of the men, thin and pale with white-blonde hair, poured out a glass of water from the silver pitcher and handed it to Harsan. Harsan downed the whole glass, then held it out for more. As though bargaining for time. He thought, 'This isn't so bad. These youngers are just ordinary people, like me.' He began to relax.

The pale man refilled Harsan's glass and Harsan drank only a little. The tea cart was just out of reach so he sat holding the glass of water between his legs.

"Are you comfortable?" the younger of the two women wanted to know. She was pretty, looked a lot like Megla, his second wife. That had been Harsan's favorite marriage. He had enjoyed Megla's company very much and with her had come closest to feeling happy. But Megla's talents as a healer had taken her to another planet, Sola-star. Of course the youngers had provided him with another wife to replace Megla. And Harsan understood that his sacrifice had been for the good of many. Instead of just himself. He was glad for Megla and used to dream about her. In fact, Megla had been the inspiration for Harsan's Omnitron.

"Harsan Faison?" The woman who looked like Megla broke into Harsan's reverie. She even wore Megla's perfume, he suddenly realized.

He sat up straight. "I'm quite comfortable, thank you," he told her. He took a deep breath.

The Megla look-alike nodded and leaned back in her chair.

"Let's begin, shall we?" It was the pale man who had poured Harsan's water. He poked some control buttons on the arm of his chair and put on a pair of glasses. A computer terminal materialized before the man who began scanning a file.

Harsan squelched a little voice in his head that wanted a look at the file. He sat silently waiting.

After some time, the man in the glasses finished with the file and made the computer disappear. He leaned back, crossed his legs, and folded his hands on top of his lap. "I'm sure you must have many preconceptions about this judgment procedure. You're an intelligent man. You'll understand when I tell you the judgment is yours to make."

Harsan was confused. "I don't understand," he said.

"Good," nodded the man with piercing blue eyes.

"What do you mean 'good'?" Harsan waned to know. Something told him he may as well speak his mind; this would probably be his last opportunity to do so. Once deciding this, he felt a deep comfort he had never before experienced, bordering cockiness.

"Good to say what you mean and mean what you say," said the blue-eyed man.

"Oh," said Harsan, pondering this.

"Are you happy, Harsan Faison?" asked the woman who could have been Megla.

He wanted to ask her who she was but figured that might be forbidden. "Happy?" he repeated. "I don't... I suppose I am. My inventions have been successful. Yes, I suppose you could say I'm happy."

"Yes, but what do you say?" the woman leaned forward, towards him, and her cleavage practically spilled out of her dress. Harsan tried not to look.

"I don't know," he shrugged.

"In fact," said the older woman, "you seem rather sad to me."

"Besides," said Megla's look-alike sitting back, "you should certainly know what you feel or don't feel. A man like you, Mr. Faison."

Was this what judgment day was all about? Attacks on his innermost emotions? It was none of their business what he felt or didn't feel. Or was it?

"Don't you understand?" said the one man who had yet remained silent. Harsan gave a start when he realized the man was wearing a beige sweater and baggy gray pants similar to his own. In fact, the man seemed a youthful reflection of Harsan himself, with his dark hair and brooding black eyes. The man continued. "Everything about you - inside and out - is our business."

"Can you read my mind?" Harsan asked.

"Harsan Faison, we know your mind, which is somewhat different than reading it," said the older woman, placing her hands together meditatively.

"Then why ask these questions!? Why torment me? Just send me off to wherever it is you're sending me. Leave a poor man in peace!" Harsan put his head in his hands. The glass of water he had been balancing between his legs tipped over, spilling on his seat and onto the carpet. He looked as though he had wet his pants. "If that doesn't frost it!!" he yelled at himself.

The youngers all laughed and when they did, the room seemed to light up.
Harsan drew a deep breath. He didn't appreciate being a laughing-stock. This was a serious, momentous occasion. He had to speak his mind! "I don't know what is happening to me. I've always had control of everything that happened in my life. I don't like relinquishing that power. I'm not a bad man. I demand to know what I can expect from you!" He looked like he could have said more but did not. He sat in silence, staring at each younger.

"You can expect what you want to expect," said the woman who could be Megla's twin.

"Riddles, all riddles. Don't toy with me!" Harsan demanded. "I'm a scientist. I want the facts."

"Yes," said Harsan's youthful reflection, but sometimes facts have nothing to do with feelings. You've not yet answered our question. Are you happy?"

"I told you I don't know," Harsan said, folding his arms.

"Ah, but you do know," said the older woman. She brushed an auburn curl off her forehead. "That's the point. You know everything about yourself. As you said, you are in control."

Harsan pondered. "What do you mean?" he asked suspiciously.

"Why won't you answer the question at hand?" said the man in blue.

"It doesn't seem relevant," said Harsan wearily.

"Not relevant?!" repeated Megla's twin. "Why, that's been the one thing consuming you for the last several years. At first it was not important. You distracted yourself with your work. Finally you invented a machine to affect the feeling - the Omnitron. Now you tell us. Was that a success?"

Harsan said, "If you already know my mind, then you know the answer."

"Yes, but do you know the answer?" posed Harsan's youthful reflection.

"No, I'm not happy. I don't know the feeling. And if you want the truth, I'm more than ready to leave Delta-star. I feel cheated. You asked. I'll tell you. I'm sick of being alive if it means being empty. I thought the Omnitron would work. Now maybe it's better I leave the planet. I've only succeeded in helping people fool themselves and I don't feel good about that."

"What do you want, Harsan?" The pale man with glasses uncrossed his legs and stared unblinking at Harsan.

"What do I want?" Now that he'd gotten that burden off his chest, he felt rather light, even pleased. "I want to love and be loved." There, he'd said it. What he had kept hidden, even from himself, all these years. All his life.

"Can you tell me what's so tough about that?" the Megla look-alike said.

"I don't know how," said Harsan.

"Don't you?" Harsan's look-alike said. "You mean you forgot."

"Well, how?" Harsan said, looking from one to the next.

No one answered him.

"Look inside," Megla's twin said after a while, providing a clue.

Harsan shut his eyes tightly, waiting, hoping.

"Relax," he heard the older woman say. "Get comfortable. Concentrate on your breath. Remember."

Harsan obeyed, his muscles going limp. After a while he didn't feel the damp spot on his trousers anymore. After a while he forgot where he was, rising and falling with each breath. As he breathed more and more deeply, he attained a state similar to that induced by the Omnitron - deep relaxation, meditation.

"Where are you, Harsan?" It was Megla's soft voice, reaching to him.

His reply came from his thoughts: "At the root of my being, inside everything."

"Harsan, I love you," said Megla.

Harsan felt his heart spilling over, a flood of desire.

"Move past that. Keep feeling," said something - not a voice but a feeling. Harsan almost opened his eyes, decided against it. He concentrated on breathing again, returning to the flooding feeling. He swam into it, charged by light, becoming light. A rainbow coursed through him: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. He felt himself a part of it. He had no needs, no wants; he just was.

"Peace be with you, Harsan." The energy was Megla's, was music, was love, was everything. Harsan felt the sentiment, flowed as part of it, kept on going, didn't turn back.