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Prepridieate

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NO – Washington D.C. does not warrant being its own state! YES – it deserves representation…

There are several reasons that Washington D.C. does not warrant an entire statehood.

1) D.C. does NOT have the territory or diverse expansiveness that an actual state does.

Let’s discuss considerations below…

Population

  • At 700,000 the population of D.C. exceeds two states (Vermont and Wyoming), and is approximate to the entire population of Alaska.
  • The population of the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico at 3+ million is 4x-5x that of Washington D.C.

Does population justify making Washington D.C. a state? The District of Columbia has a population equivalent or exceeding a number of U.S. states. Doesn’t that warrant being a state?

No, population itself does not warrant statehood.
We’ll show why as we continue…

Territory

Does D.C. have the diversity of a state?  Does it have significant territory to manage?  No.  Washington D.C. is merely a city-district.  It neither manages an expanse of diverse territory and lacks diversity in implementation of it’s population living methods – it is entirely, a “city-life”.

Let’s compare a few states with an approximate population size with the District of Columbia, as well as territory under jurisdiction (in sq miles).

  • Wyoming – Population: ~575,000 | Territory: 97,000+
  • Vermont – Population: ~625,000| Territory: 9,500+
  • Alaska – Population: ~700,000+ | Territory: 665,000+
  • N. Dakota – Population: ~750,000 | Territory: 70,000+
  • Delaware – Population: ~975,000 | Territory: 2,400+
  • Rhode Island – Population: ~1,000,000 | Territory: 1,500+
  • Maine  – Population: ~1,350,000 | Territory: 35,000+
  • Hawaii  – Population: ~1,400,000 | Territory: 10,900+
    and let’s add…
  • Puerto Rico – Population: ~3,200,000 | Territory: 5,300+

And let’s look at how the District of Columbia compares:

  • Washington D.C. – Population: ~700,000 | Territory: 68+ square miles

Consider the above for a moment..

At 1,500 square miles, Rhode Island has the smallest territory of the states listed above. However, despite being so small, Rhode Island manages a territory that is still over twenty-two times larger than the District of Columbia .  Vermont and Wyoming, the only two states to have a population size smaller than D.C. manage a territory that is respectively, over 140 and 1,400 times larger than the District of Columbia. That is two orders of magnitude for Vermont, and three orders of magnitude for Wyoming.  We are talking about territories that range from low 4-digit to 6-digit numbers in size vs 68.

Think of it this way…

$68

vs

$9,500

vs

$97,000

When you put the dollar sign in front, you really start to feel the difference in those numbers. One is the cost of a home, one is the cost of a decent used vehicle, and the other is a Comcast internet bill.

So why is territory relevant? Territory defines the management of infrastructure, variances in concerns of population from one part of the territory to another. Far more nuanced than just one city.  Why if were were going to look at cities becoming states, the Los Angeles metro, and the NYC/NJ/Greenwich,CT region both offer far more justification for statehood based both on population and territory.

Should we consider statehood for any large flat sprawling city megatropolis?  And what about in the future? When we start building cities upward?  And beyond?

Future

How does “Population” hold up when we look to the future, to where America and humanity as a whole is headed? And let’s put it all into perspective.

  • The Bhurj Dubai has a capacity 35,000 people.
  • The Great Mosque of Mecca has had a capacity of approx. 750,000, and is being increased toward a capacity of 2.5+ million (so we’re talking about a single structure that holds 2x-3x the population of the District of Columbia.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Mosque_of_Mecca
  • The Edifício Copan (Copan Building) in São Paulo, Brazil has over 1,160 apartments with 5,000 residents.
  • The Jeddah Tower, being constructed in Saudi Arabia, is expected to be the world’s first kilometer tall building.

    https://www.listerious.com/facts-about-jeddah-tower/
  • The Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel complex in Saudi Arabia is a 21+ million sq ft facility, has parking for 1,000 vehicles, a room with a 10,000 person capacity, and a capacity for 75,000 people.
  • X-Seed 4000, was a Japanese design that though never intended to be built, conceptualizes a massive structure that would dwarf the Burj Dubai.   Not merely a slender sliver of a tower reaching toward the sky, the X-Seed concept is a mountain-like monolith intended to be an entire city of up to a million inhabitants.
    X-Seed 4000
    It is just one a number of conceptual “city-structures” being conceptualized, planned, or proposed.
  • [ X-Seed 4000 | Dubai City Tower | Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid | Ultima Tower |

We will not see such structures in my lifetime. However, the structures such as the “Burj Dubai” and others that we see built today are the sort of structures that were being envisioned when the Empire State Building was built.  It is very likely in another 100 years we will begin to see “city-structures” constructed that support populations of hundreds of thousands residing inside.

Which begets the question? Should these future “city-structures” qualify as “states”.

2) Statehood is not the real issue. The real issue for Washington D.C. is Federal representation.

And that is a legitimate issue of concern. Lack of congressional input for American citizens who reside in the District of Columbia.

There are two solutions as I see it…

OPTION 1

Cede the majority of Washington D.C. territory back to Maryland retaining only the core central area of the District as Federal (the area containing the majority of Federal buildings, museums, and memorials).  It’s doubtful this will transpire.

OPTION 2

The following is a position I have long advocated for…

Washing D.C., along with all non-state U.S. territories (i.e. U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, etc.) should be allocated the following:
A) 1 Senator – this would equate to 101 senators, and eliminate the need for variances involving the Vice-President’s vote – “The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided”.
B) # of representatives according to the population metrics of distribution. However, unlike states in which the individual seats are voted on. A single vote across all U.S. territories occurs, with the # of representative positions being filled sequentially by correlating top vote recipients.
Based on population, it would likely entail four representatives in the house. With a system in which the four representative slots are filled with the top four vote winners.  We would hopefully see a reasonable mix of representatives from both the District, and the Island territories. And while the smaller four smaller island territories would likely lack political clout against D.C., hopefully those general concerns common to island territories would find representation with the territory of Puerto Rico, who’s population is significantly larger than that of Washington D.C.  And perhaps it would result in the pacific island territories forming a sort of decidingly influential swing vote, as is seen in many parliamentary systems, where a strong smaller party often determines the government by whichever of the two major parties they select to align with.
I feel that option (B) is better than the present push for D.C. statehood, as it would not only provide the District of Columbia with representation. But would establish representation for all U.S. territories – potentially, even future ones.
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Correlation of COVID-19 Mortality and Obesity

In response to those who feel that the U.S. lagged behind or that our political leadership is the determining factor in regard to U.S. deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

It’s important to recognize that this has affected nearly every nation regardless of nation-state, government, political leadership, etc.

Likewise, regardless of who was in the Oval office, America would of been hit fairly hard. I doubt there would be more than a +/-10% deviation between a Trump, Hillary, or Biden presidency.

The most significant correlation that I see in regards the larger populated nations is “obesity”. COVID-19 appears to hit those with obesity especially hard.

Testing
Regarding testing, a few have cited the U.S. for being deficient in testing. However,…

The US has administered more tests than any other nation. Of the TOP 10 most populous nations, USA is #2 in tests per capita, following Russia. #3 of the TOP 25, following Russia & Italy.

Please remember that the U.S. has one of the most scattered population densities in the world.  Most nations with large populations have the majority of their populations in central locations.  Half the US population is distributed rurally. For example, nearly the entire population of Canada lives within a 100 miles of the southern border. Where as the US population density is actually more scattered than most nations of a comparable size – and that’s with factoring in Alaska.

Deaths per Capita
The true metric, deaths per capita.  Of the TOP 25 most populous nations, the US is sadly, #5. Following UK, Italy, & France.

Obesity Rate
Of the TOP 25 populous nations, 8 out of 10 nations for highest per capita death rate are also in the TOP 10 for obesity.  France & Italy being exceptions – they come in at 11th & 12th respectively for obesity.

The correlation between obesity and COVID-19 mortality is extremely strong. (see chart)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_obesity_rate

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

The Proper Way to Resolve the COVID-19 Pandemic

Today I was thinking about how to solve the COVID-19 pandemic.

And I believe the solution may in fact be akin to “chicken pox parties”….please hear me out before you jump to react.

Firstly, it is “indisputable” that COVID-19 hits certain particular demographics with significantly greater lethality. Namely, elderly, immune-compromised, smokers and those with damaged lungs, diabetics, obese, and those with heart and arterial damage.  Remove these particulars, and the lethality of SARS-CoV-2 plummets.  That is not to say it is without risk nor is it to say that younger seemingly healthy individuals can’t die, they can. However, the likelihood of such is extremely low.

We’re a society were to categorize everyone into a risk category. We could potentially accelerate our reaching her immunity. 

PHASE 1: LOW-RISK
First, we identify the lowest risk category. Healthy individuals not in the above risk factors between the age of 19-29.   We then have “Chicken Pox Parties”.  The intention is to have EVERYONE in this category  (who does not reside in a household with a high risk individual) to be exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Verify thru testing that all individuals have been exposed, and recovered.

Prior to moving to Phase 2, assess all individuals in Phase 1 to determine mortality rate within the demographic.  If low, and if hospital ICU facilities are not strained. Move to next Phase.

PHASE 2: MODERATE TO LOW RISK
The next phase we seek to have the demographics with the second lowest risk factors be exposed to SARS-CoV-2. This would be 28-38 year old healthy adults and 8-18 year old children and youth. We repeat processes similar to the above.  

Being honest, I expect that as we move upward in age, the percentage of that age group that will meet the “healthy” metric will decline, as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, increased per capita.

***

Hopefully, at this point, the vast majority of the younger population has been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and recovered.  Ceasing to be potential carriers, and ceasing to be at risk.

However, in total demographics, we are still not at herd immunity levels quite yet.

PHASE 3: MODERATE TO MODERATELY-HIGH RISK
We repeat the above with 38-48 year olds. This is where we start to see a large teetering off in way of meeting the designation “healthy”, as such those that are borderline are advised that before participating it is advised that they engage in cardiovascular exercise, and an improved diet, so as to strengthen their health prior to exposure.

Once again, analysis is undertaken to determine the demographics mortality rate, the ICU capacity of hospitals, etc.  As such some regions might progress thru phases faster than others dependent on available medical facility capacities.

PHASE 4: SELECTIVE EXPOSURE OF HIGH RISK
The next phase is challenging.  By this time, we hopefully have a bit more scientific and clinical insight, and hopefully have identified medical treatments that provide a prophylactic effect, reducing the likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 developing into COVID-19.

These individuals (younger persons but who have one or two of the listed risk factors, older individuals in the 49-68 age range, etc.) are slowly exposed while in medical care and under observation.

This is extended over a longer period of time and continuously assessed in relation to availible capacity of medical treatment facilities. 

PHASE 5: ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS
At this point we will hopefully have [A] achieved a level of herd immunity minimizing the spread of SAR-CoV-2, OR [B] developed a vaccine. Otherwise, we will be at [C] reached a point in which the vast majority of the population is no longer at risk, a return to normalcy ensues, majority of population are no longer at risk not remain potential carriers.  However, scattered pockets, and flare ups (e.g. like the with the Measles) continue to occur, placing at risk any of those in the HIGHEST risk category who were exposed.

This to me, is truly the best way to address the COVID-19 situation, and to minimize the loss of life.  It’s a planned attempt to progressively utilize the healthiest and least likely to be symptomatic portion of the populace to move toward establishing herd immunity.

The big key here that differentiates from say, Sweden or elsewhere, is that this plan actively calls for a controlled progressive exposure of the lowest risk groups first, with the hope that if we can achieve herd immunity, we can stop the transmission of the virus, maximizing keeping the oldest and most at risk members of our society safe from exposure.

Yes there is a Corona Vaccine for Canines….No it is not effective against SARS-CoV-2

Canine Coronavirus Vaccine

Let’s nip this in the bud….

YES a Corona virus vaccine already exists IF a) you’re a canine (dog) b) been infected by that specific strain of Corona virus.

That image being circulated is for a specific Canine strain of Corona virus. Similar to the flu, there are hundreds of strains of influenza. To be fully immune from influenza you would need hundreds or even thousands of flu vaccines.

In fact your body has already fought off hundreds of Corona virus (most being common colds). The SARS-CoV-2 strain is an “uncommon cold”. There presently is no available vaccine for it, but several are being tested.

These SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are being developed both using new techniques and in attempting to adapt a few existing vetinary vaccines to this strain.

How are vaccines developed? Many entail running the virus thru hundreds of lifecycles (usually in different species) until the mutations result in a strain that a) is non-infecting for humans b) similar enough in structure to trigger effective antibody production.

So no, taking the Canine Corona vaccine will not protect you from SARS-CoV-2. But yes, it is likely that the processes used to develop the vaccine for Canine Corona will be able to produce a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 given time. Other means of vaccines can entail destroying the virus but leaving remnants to trigger antibodies. These are probably more likely to be the first vaccines we see. Though often run the risk that if a manufacturing imperfection occurs, a small number of active living viruses may occur. Think early Polio vaccines.

Now I’m just going to chide you all a bit, cause frankly, this is “old news”. If you had listened to Jack Spirko podcast, you would of heard all of this discussed well over a month or two ago.

http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com

Teaching you to live a better life, when COVID-19 makes it rough, and when things return to better. Helping you realize that while your rifle is great resource (if you have ammo), eating fresh fruits and vegetables grown in your garden, reducing your stress and debt, will do more to keep you safe from America’s #1 killer “heart disease”.  So stay calm, don’t panic, be prudent, be prepared, and most of all enjoy living life!

Savor the “Now”

As I watched a video (linked below) shared by a younger friend, I noted the music video didn’t entail tons of scene changes, it was more akin to a still painting, except for the ever-shifting shawl that draped across and thru the entire scene.  The memories of our life intertwined and draped thru this existence. It led me to write this (apologies for it’s length). But if you’re at all struggling or feeling lost in life, please read it thru.  I think it will help anchor you.


***


Sometimes you do it all, you do it right, only to find yourself standing there lacking that which you’ve earned and worked so hard for. Seeing folks reap rewards without effort expended. 
Then you turn and see friends, who faced a much harder road then you. Friends of color, friends whose beauty only shines beneath their surface, and so on.  Maybe a few even found success, but you see many who succumbed to the hardships.  Perhaps poverty, prejudice, or health limited their opportunities, preventing them from attending college, or pursuing their dreams. 
We allay ourselves with false platitudes. I should be grateful for my privilege, I should focus upon what I have and not what I lack, and so on, and so on … but we find that we still ache and long. 
We look back fondly on moments of the past. Times with friends, times when we traveled, camped, danced for days to the sound of bands, memories of playing hard. We also bear the burden of regrets that bare our soul’s pains. Nouns – persons, places, and things; we expended the energy of our lives into, only to find ourselves betrayed. 
What then? What now?
I’ve lived this. I’ve watched my younger friends live this. And the shadows of those lives further ahead of me chatter of the pains that increase as life withers. 
Where the heck do we go from such words above? Am I only expressing the sorrows of life? To further those already depressed? To leave without hope those who read these words?
No! Absolutely not. But the point of these words is not to give you hope, or prepare you for what the future holds. Nor to make you wait for a solution yet to come. 
The solution to these words is here now. That’s it. The Now!
This is the secret to joy.  Enjoying the now. Regardless of what you are facing today, what options you have in the cards to play, you have a “Now”.  Maybe that now = working every day, commuting every day, sitting in class and writing reports every day, or sitting every day home alone in front of Netflix. 
The secret to joy, is to continuously see the “now” and enjoy what is found in the now. Does this mean we ignore the hardships and pain? Nope. You can’t. It WILL hurt. What it means, is to meditate on those elements of beauty, of uniqueness, and of fondness that we encounter every day. 
When we pass by the flower on our way into our car to commute to work, school, or city bus. Pause…enjoy the beauty of the flower. Can’t pause, running late, the bus is coming around the corner and you’re dashing 100 yards with four bags of groceries, one of which is tearing. Do you stop to smell the flower and miss your bus?  Of course not. Doing so would add stress and static into your life. But when you sit your butt down, be it in the car or the city bus, then reflect on the flower. Take joy in having glimpsed it’s beauty. It’s fleeting, a few more days, and that flower’s opportunity to be seen will be gone with its passing. Likewise, don’t take your eyes off the road, but make sure you enjoy that gorgeous full moon setting below the horizon on your morning commute. Labor to complete your term paper assignment, without forgetting to be gleeful about having access to a quantity of knowledge that sages of old imagined belonged only to the gods. Now, it is carried in the palm of our hand. We don’t even fathom as we pine for the lost library of Alexandria, our philosophical idols would have gladly burned the lighthouse to have the knowledge and ability to share a thought to the entire world, that we routinely hold in our hand. 
So that’s my lesson for today. And my homework assignment for joy. 
As you read this, most likely reading it in the palm of your hand. Fathom how rich you are, a library greater than Alexandria, a pulpit with an audience that exceeds any lecture by Plato or Socrates, a camera far superior to any that was ever held by Ansel Adams,  computing power thousands of times that which conveyed man to the Moon.  
So what do you want to know today? What one thought would you say to the world today? What sight great or small did you see worthy of sharing with the entire world? 
So that’s the secret of joy. It’s not being happy all the time, nor is it being happy with every circumstance of life.  It’s enjoying life in the moment. Every day. Every moment. Finding those amazing moments that are so often hidden by our own negligence of thoughts. And rather than casually skipping past them. Dwell upon them and savor them.


“Savor the tasty beautiful morsels of life. Savor the NOW!”


(This is a lesson I’ve learned. With help from having observed my mom, who has continuously sought to enjoy living life throughout all circumstance.)

Here is a link to the video referenced above that my friend shared “Delete Forever” by Grimes.
https://youtu.be/gvzC8MmC850

Three questions to ask when hiring supervisory positions

I was recently asked by a friend for advice regarding three questions to ask when interviewing a prospective candidate for a supervisory or managerial role. These are the three I suggested for her scenario, however, I think these are fairly good questions to ask in general for any mid-level management interview.

  1. What techniques do you use to motivate your employees/team while avoiding the increase of conflict or negative impacts on morale?

    Ensuring employees are motivated to be productive in the performance of their tasks is the sacred blood flow of a company. Unless your industry can magically print money, you need productive workers. Unmotivated employees lead to poor productivity levels, inefficiency, and a loss of corporate competitiveness. This is the lifeblood of any company. If circulation slows and stops, the company will fail.  So what ensures your employees are motivated and productive?

    It’s been said, employees do not leave companies, they leave managers. While not wholly accurate, it conveys a very strong point. An employee that has a great manager, will usually continue working productively, even if they are employed at a lousy company.  Where as, even an employee of a top company, will leave, if they have a horrible manager. 

    Being a supervisor or manager brings a certain amount of authority. However, the rod can only motivate to a degree, abuse of authority is a common cause for employee churn. Leadership, accomplishes the same goal, with far better outcomes of increased productivity and reduced employee churn.   With this question, we want to access the candidate’s leadership abilities.


  2. How do you facilitate bi-directional knowledge sharing, including the encouragement of idea sharing from those you lead? How do you go about evaluating, implementing, and determining the profitable feasibility of said ideas and innovations?

    Here we want to ensure the candidate is inclined to share knowledge and processes with those under their direction, rather than holding knowledge for themselves and becoming a single point of failure.  We do not want a supervisor to be a “locked gateway”.  Nor do we want a culture in which ideas and innovations are suppressed. In this day and age, innovative ideas differentiate Amazon and Sears, Tesla and Chrysler. That said, not every idea is good. A manager needs to foster an environment that encourages innovation while simultaneously implementing a framework that evaluates both the immediate impact and the effect over time to ensure that any new process enacted, affects the organization positively.

    We want to ensure the candidate is a facilitator who enables their team to be productive and fosters their growth. Does the candidate micro manage, is their way the only way, or are open to change and accepting of suggestions and input from underlings?


  3. How do you handle conflict and failure? Both in regards to those under your supervision and more importantly, your own? When in-over-your-head or too heavily invested, what actions do you take to ensure the situation does not reach a level that puts the well being of the greater whole in jeopardy or at risk? (project, team, business, well being of personnel) What external resources beyond yourself and your team, do you utilize or reach out to in order to ensure that you, your team, and the venture as a whole continue to be successful?

    What are we looking for here? Primarily, an ability to look outside one’s self and to ensure stakeholders are notified in an appropriate timeframe when issues arise.  Simple answers can include: “I google the problem.” “Seek input from a peer/colleague.” “Reach out to stakeholders.” 

    We want to ensure that the candidate is not going to attempt to put out a fire alone, without activating alarms to notify the appropriate response teams. That their ego will not prevent them from reaching out for assistance when the situation warrants doing so.  As a stakeholder, we do not want to discover one of our business’ buildings
    burned down because we were never alerted to the fire.

How are those three? Yes, they are a bit long. But really they cover the primary issues I see in supervisory/team dynamics.

I. Motivation of the team.
II. Empowering the team.
III. Mitigating risks – particularly those with the potential to negatively impact the smooth operation of the project.

If able, be sure to ask follow-up questions. If not, then I suggest prefacing your three questions with the following statement. “For each question, please elaborate and provide an example from two of your listed past employments. Express how each required and necessitated different approaches.”

Thoughts? What are some questions you’ve found useful in weeding out good leaders and supervisors from bad ones?

 

 

Ten Strategies to Help YOU thru Depression

For those of us who struggle with periodic bouts of depression. Be they caused by chemical imbalances or is a justifiable reaction to difficult life circumstances.

  1. Okay, so what’s got you down? Usually there is a trigger. It can be very small, but it is the event or thought that tipped the scale.
  2. Realize these things come in waves. It’s part of the brain’s processing. I find it takes a day and a half to three days for the brain to process.
  3. Get sleep, I’ve found I’ll have a really stressful series of dreams. But these dreams are my brain processing the issues of life and essentially “de-fragging” my soul.
  4. Nutrients. Powerload. Hydrate. Vitamins (B6) are good. Get some animal protein and fat in you along with fresh produce. BLT’s are great for this. Fresh oranges also are help. Fresh lime in water too, and helps hydrate.
  5. Pick 1-3 friends to verbally release.
  6. Masturbate – awkward as it sounds, it can help. But usually only if you’ve done the above. A climax is essentially a physical reset.
  7. Bath with Epsom salt. Gets the magnesium our body has trouble absorbing thru digestion.
  8. Pray. Talk to the divine, to the universe, question, cuss him/her out.
  9. Sleep the night thru with the lights on. Can help reset circadian rhythm.
  10. Know you have friends, family, kids, that love you, admire you, enjoy you.

I’m calling it… Tesla “CYBERTRUCK” is a “dumptruck”

Many are scouring the two released images, particularly the one for the 11/21 Unveiling invite, for clues on Tesla’s soon to be unveiled CYBERTRUCK.First release, presumed back of CYBERTRUCK

And second image in the invitation to the unveiling.

I have seen many argue whether the second image depicts the front or the back of the vehicle, with most concluding it is the front.Recently, someone took the odd fonts Tesla used to spell CYBERTRUCK and fit them together thusly…

and others took it further, based on the second released image depicting a very sharp nose to create the following…

***

Now, I am not saying they are wrong in concept. But I am dubious the design would be so rigid. And while tinkering around with the two released images, I reached a different conclusion. I believe the first image is the back of the truck bed with a cover on it, as do most who have viewed it.

But I believe the second image also depicts the back of the CYBERTRUCK. And what people are presuming is a sharply downward angled windshield, is in fact, the bed of the CYBERTRUCK. And that we are seeing a very nicely lifted tailend, and the downward slope arises from the truck bed being angled and raised to facilitate the dumping of material.

That’s right. I believe at least one option tier for Tesla’s entry into the workhorse market entails a “dumptruck” feature incorporating an electrically powered hydraulic lift.

Below you will see my edits tinkering with the two released images. My highlighting of the bed in raised position. And an overlay of released image #1 atop of released image #2.

Elon, am I right?

#cybertruck=dumptruck

A Dream and a Story

[Author’s Note: Experienced a number of weird dreams last night. This particular one being the most noteworthy. Both stressful and fascinatingly weird.]

***

A friend Kylee asked me to help her search for a mutual friend Brenna who had gone missing a few weeks earlier at a beach.

While news reports touted foul play, kidnapping, and numerous other theories. Kylee suspected Brenna had fallen prey to something else. Kylee asked me to join her as she investigated something she and Brenna noticed on an earlier visit – and not wanting to go alone. My having a background in marine biology couldn’t hurt.

Up along some cliffs she points to these strange long kelp like vines, explaining that these were not here when she head visited a as a cold or even a few years back. They were new.

I thought to take a cutting to look at under my microscope. Cause they obviously grew pretty quick for them to climb up the cliffs as they had. Most touted the grown as just another sign of Global Warming. But I still thought it puzzling.

We cut a sample, and it was both slippery and sticky. And it almost seemed like the piece we cut off moved a little. I expressed that maybe it’s not really a plant. Something more along the lines of a symbiotic species like an anemone.

We started to head back, when I heard Kylee”s voice from behind me say my name in a panicked and shocked tone. I’m

I turned around to see the kelp vines briefly pull back away from her. Than a moment later they all launched back wrapping around her ankles, yanking her to the ground as they began to pull her toward the cliffs edge. I launched forward to help pull her free only to fall to the sand myself. But I had the knife with me. And quickly began to hack away at the vine wrapped around my ankle and stab a couple others that crept approachingly forward. Finally cutting myself free, only to turn and watch Kylee nearly encompassed by the kelp vines to be pulled over the cliff’s edge followed moments later by a splash.

I ran, and ran until I reached the parking lot. I could see large tentacles of kelp vines reaching afterward. I could see a group huddled in the center of the parking lot. Some locked into their vehicles, vines around the tires and doors. And s bunch crammed on a couple pick up truck beds. A hundred and fifty yards away was a cinderblock structure, the showers and restrooms, with vines stretching out. Likely there cause of the water source.

Crossing quietly I made it to my car and got a container with oil and doused myself with it. And some windshield wiper fluid.

I grabbed a flashlight and with knife in the other hand. Quietly approached the infested structure.

A few tentacles came toward me, but as hoped, they were repelled by the onslaught of chemicals. A couple made contact, but quickly withdrew before I could being my knife to bear. And then writhed in the sand seemingly attempting to clean off the oil that now coated them from contacting me.

I thought I heard something. “Ick. Ick approaches.” It was weird. Because I couldn’t quite tell if it was a whisper. My own thought. Or the rustle of the withdrawing kelp tentacles.

Whatever they were. They were not merely plants. Perhaps if giant kelp merged with sea anemonies. And at one point, I swear I saw a bulbous mass with a pair of eyes that reflected the light of my flashlight in a milky glow.

“Ick”

I heard it…it was clearer that time.

“There is more Ick to come if I am attacked.” I shouted for whatever good it would do.

“Don’t touch. We won’t touch.”

This was in my head. I had to be imagining. There were those milky eyes again. And a second pair on another bulb. Then gone….

Perhaps more like kelp + anemone + octopus. Definitely more alive and animal like.

I entered the vine encrusted structure. The air inside smelled dank, of piss, lowtide, and oil.

“What does the Ick want?”

That could not be my thought. This time I thought back … “my friend….Kylee”.

Then I heard all around me a rustling echo of the sound “Ick demands the Ky-leee”.

“Will go..if has Kylee? Ick go?”

I thought affirmingly “Yes”

“Which is the Ky-leee”

I thought about Kylee, her deep laugh, her smile. She knew something wasn’t right here. She suspected something. I came….but I wasn’t prepared for this. I’m sorry Kylee. I wasn’t prepared.”

“A master approaches”…

Suddenly, all the vines seemed to withdraw then reformed on the floor as a tight woven mat. And a bulbous creature held about 10 inches aloft on kelp tentacles approached.

“Is late…too late.” This time it was different. It was audible.

“Why too late?” I retorted.

“Three. We could do. Ten maybe. Thirty we cannot. Drowned already. Ingesting. Absorbing. Already.”

I didn’t cry. Too much adrenaline. Body maxed with fight or flight chemicals.

“Please. No. Ick.”

(Two more of the bulbous heads appeared. Somewhere smaller.)

“Sorry said. We understood not. We preserve the Ky-leee. Bring. Not Ky-leee. Preserve Ky-leee. Sorry said. Sorry said. Preserve the Ky-leee help. Preserve the Brenna help. Please no Ick”

Then one of the smaller bulbous shapes came closer. In a deep but softer tone I heard “Touch. No hurt. Trust. The Jason Trust.”

It was confusing as all hell. Was it asking me to trust it. Or stating they could trust me. And how did it know my name? Duh, obviously these creatures had some telepathic mental communicative ability. But there was a familiarity that was inexplicable.

A lone small tentacle approached and touched the right temple of my head. I was awashed with imagery. I was seeing myself, the tentacles creeping up behind me just before they wrapped around my ankle. Then all I saw was sand and rocks. Pain and panic. Then the cold of ocean water. The burning of lungs. And darkness. Then little bits of glitter…then being spread apart and fading and slowing of thought. Then a voice “The Ky-leee”. A reawakening. The shimmer of particles coalescing. Moving. Being collected. Slowness of thought regained. Strangeness. Awareness. Sadness. Fullness. Familiarity. A glimpse of another coalescening formation of sparkles. “Send The Kylee. Send Too send, The Br-enna.”

“The Jason Trust. The Ky-leee said, The Jason Trust. Is The Ky-leee. Is not The Ky-leee. Sorry for the Jason that The Ky-leee not his The Kylee. The Ky-leee said The Jason not the fault. Forgive us.”

In a daze I collapsed down wrapping my arms around my knees shivering. Overwhelmed. The right or flight adrenaline wearing off. The sobs and convulsions begun. A second tentacle approached from the small bulbous creature that was not Kylee but somehow was Kylee, and gently wiped the tears. Leaving a scent reminiscent of kelp and clams.

I glanced down “Kylee?” I said, then looking to the second small bulbous creature “Brenna?”. The first touched my cheek and chest with a tentacle each, and blinked. The second, seemed to arrange a number of tentacles into wing like structures and I saw the sparkle of glitter.

The third larger bulbous creature spoke up again. “Not all of your Kylee, your Brenna. Essence. The essence, The Kylee. The essence, The Brenna. Absorb. Grow. Learn. How communicate.”

“So you ate and absorbed them?” I inquired accusingly, “Is that what you do? Is that what you plan to do? Devour and absorb all of us?”

It appeared to deflate. Then spoke again….

“Darkness. Deep. We feed. Kelp I s yummy. All we know. We feed. Kelp is yummy. Others yummy. Others not yummy. We eat creature. Yummy. Ouchy. Both. We eat more Yummy. Ouchy.”

The small bulbous creature that corresponded to the beautiful woman in once new as Kylee chimed in “Glaucus Atlanticus”.

I look to her, to it…I don’t even know anymore. “What do I call you? Do I call you Kylee or the monster that ate Kylee?”

“The Jason. The sad. I am not Kylee. I am the essence of what made your Kylee. Portion of your friend, her core. The Ky-leee. Same. Not same. Have memories. Have thoughts. Like dreams. But The Ky-leee remembers The Jason fondly.”

Tears streamed down may face. More than a thousand tentacles could wipe. I tried to muster a disarming smile. “Okay, I am goin to call you The Ky-leee. I’m not sure I can think of you completely as the same. Cause you’re not. But like some ghost in the machine, you are still sort of her.”

“The Ky-leee thank The Jason” the bulbous creature seemed understanding.

“One more thing” I blurted.

“Yes?” The bulbous creature replied in it’s deep soft tone.

The Jason blushed as he spoke his next words “You’re still intriguing to converse with. But I’m not sure I still consider you one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever been privileged to know.”

There was a sudden amount of rustling of kelp tentacles and various sounds similar to a whoopy-cushion from all about the structure. Apparently, the bizarre kelp like creatures had developed, or more likely, absorbed the elements of humor.

“Absorbed is perhaps most accurate. Yes, we had consumed several Glaucus Atlanticus. A creature famed for being able to eat the poisonous man-of-war jellyfish and then absorb and utilize their sting. But in so doing. We also absorbed the Glaucus Atlanticus. And when we later felt ourselves being consumed by a multi-tentacled creature, it was the absorbed cells of the Glaucus Atlanticus and small tentacles we grew from it that struck the devourer dead, and stopped it from eating us. So we slowly devoured and ingested it. Something was different. We knew the devourer. We could feel the devourer. We could see like the devourer. Somehow, in consuming the Glaucus Atlanticus we had been compatible enough on a cellular level that it’s ability to absorb established a symbiosis. When we ate the cephalopod. We did not simply ingest it for nutrients we absorbed it in symbiosis. We were now made of us, Glaucus Atlanticus, a cephalopod. Now we grew, now just vines to feed on kelp. We grew tentacles. That which sought to eat or harm us, we now devoured. We sought more octopus. For with absorbing of the cephalopod, we grew…not simply in size. But in understanding. How to be. How to be something else. How to wait patiently. For hiding. For hunting. We ate. We grew. Other creatures we encountered. We consumed. Absorbed. Some. Not all. Some offer growth. Some offer nothing.

The We, become aware. We know We are The We. Not all. Some of We still dumb, not The We. But dumb We still attached to and listen to The We.

Dumb We consume The Bre-nna and The Ky-leee. The We, when see essence, extract from Dumb We portions. Birth The Ky-leee and The Bre-nna. Few others too, before. The Me, before… Not no The Me The Who. Not understand The Human thought. Not absorb yet.

Then we encounter Ick. Ick not like Yummy. Ouchy Glaucus Atlanticus. Ick not like anything The We consume. The We that consumes the Ick, that We die. The We choose, all The We, not eat Ick. Ignore Ick. The We encounter large Ick. Ignore. All The We touched by Ick die. The We not ignore Ick. The We stop Ick.

Humans = Ick. We defend. We devour. We stop Ick. We think. We did not understand. We knew Ick bad. We knew human and Ick. We knew human bad. We thought. We wrong thought. We consume The Me, others, than The Bre-nna. The Bre-nna not seem bad. Study essense. Human bad. The Bre-nna human. The Bre-nna bad. The Bre-nna not seem bad. The Ky-leee consume. Human = bad. The Ky-leee = human. The Ky-leee != Bad. The We confused. Study.

The Jason come. The Jason bring Ick. The Jason = Human = Ick = Very Bad. We destroy. But Ick. Avoid Ick. The Jason come. The Ky-leee being studied. The We inquire The Ky-leee essence, how stop The Bad The Jason. The Ky-leee essence, replied confused The Jason Good. The We say, no The Bad The Jason. The Ky-leee say The Jason The Good. The Ky-leee trust The Jason. The We confused. Coalesce The Ky-leee, birth The Ky-leee essence into cephapolyp. The Ky-leee suggest The Bre-nna too.

The Me, The Ky-leee, The Bre-nna meet The Ick Jason, which threatens more Ick. The We scared. Trust The Ky-leee to trust The Jason.

My brain is finally begining to encompass some sort of understsnding in the midst of the simultaneous lost. The We as they call themselves, still unsure if that is as a species or one continuous interconnected symbiotic mass, is killed thru contact with oil and gasoline and likely other toxins.

And now humanity has encountered another sentient species. One that has already encountered the harm of humanity’s own failures and the damage of our pollution. One that is strangely both frightening in its appearance and potential malignancy – to devour is bad enough but the fear of one that can devour and absorb your essence. That can be utterly frightening. And yet, how many would choose a burial for a loved one. Or choose their own burial if such could both be greener than how we presently bury our loved ones. And also preserve their essence in a way that can allow loved ones to still have some connection.

I speak, but very somberly … “There are ways. It will be hard. Some will be scared. Some will be fascinated. Some will respect. And some will want to destroy or study without respect. Do you understand. Can you comprehend what I am saying? The Ky-lee you need to help them understand the good and the bad. Humans are not able to have peace amongst themselves.

I need you to understand. I need you to convey. Lest you just all humans. I have ideas to help. Can you see them? I need you to see them?

All three of the bulbous creatures touch a tentacle to my forehead. As I visualize. I picture the outcomes in my head from various actions. And an idea for a plan to establish peace for the two species.

They observe the scenario. I show a world where they fight humanity. And are eradicated by chemicals just as humans use them on crops. And the oceans of the world harmed even further by the way between The We and Humanity. Then I depict the rebuttal to the question to arise next – what if The We win? I show them a world in which they absorb and gain more knowledge and overcome humanity. And when The We feel they have overcome the evil producers of Ick. The world is immersed in bright flames that scorch the entire world and poison the sea. Thousands of nuclear detonations turns the entire earth uninhabitable. The Humans will not lose alone. This imagery caused writhings and contentions throughout The We and I could feel the any I caused.

“Wait!” I pleaded…there is more…there is hope…I envisioned a work in which The We were slowly revealed. First to a select few scientists and persons of note, then to see individuals of political prominence. Meanwhile, I visualized how the We could garner favor. Monitoring beaches for predators and ensuring they were safe. Especially observing small children. Rescuing them from drowning. How every life saved work result in a tale of s mysteriously rescue by a head with two milky white eyes. How they could make themselves even more appealing. The Bre-nna could show them how to look like fairies. How small children record from drowning would react better to pink and blue and rainbows. And how each tale would create favor toward them. Each rescue.

But that I admitted that some would always be fearful, hate, and be cruel. That when those of humanity act. The hardest part would be to not retaliate despite every instinct to. Not to drink a ship full of Innocents. Showing that would lead to war.

Rather, lean to the good will of the others. Lay your beloved dead in the beaches. Arranged in signs, help in a hundred languages. Plead to the children. Leaving a memory in each one you’ve rescued. That if such continues, The We won’t be there to keep the beaches safe and rescue other children. When the media investigates the date, written on the beach of the first rescue. And discovers not a single child has drowned at a beach since that date. Understanding will sink in to many.

Meanwhile, humanity has lost some of our greatest visionaries and inventors. Noblest minds. The We can provide the option to continue as part of something larger. But it must be by choice. And if the individual chooses to one day go, The We just promise to disperse their essence. So they can choose to move onto the next life or adventure, be it a heavenly one, a rebirth, or nothingness. We must respect their choice. Eventually, loved ones may choose for their essence to be joined to The We as an alternative form of burial. The We will need to sift, for the essence of some humans is evil and wicked. Such essence should be filled where able, permitting only the good portions to be coalesced and dispersing the worst of mankind’s tendencies. And this part is key, for over time, The We will contain many essences of loved ones, that it can not be harmed without hurting the ones we love. And war between Humanity and The We will become infeasible. Yet, sadly, war between Humanity and itself remains. And that will be something The We will one day need to face as well, the challenge of not warring amongst one another. But perhaps living together, both species can move beyond such.

It won’t be easy to achieve. It will take time, care, and a willingness to be hurt and forgive. If that can be done, than I envision a world in which we can live in peace and in which together, we can mend the oceans of the world. And many ways, Humanity and The We would become one on symbiosis. But it must be fine freely. Never by force.

“The Ky-lee correct was. The Jason is indeed, creative very. Thank you. We see. We understand.

Question Others ask. What to do if The We finds an already drowned human? Too late for us to save for the surface? Shall we absorbed or disperse its essence?”

I paused for a moment, and responded “Best the essence be neither dispersed nor coalesced, absorbed and held until we can find the humans kin or until the had passed. Perhaps a year, a decade, or a century. Then coalesced enough to inquire how their essence would choose. But hold the essence for a century. By that time, most loved loves will have passed. And if they have chosen to be dispersed, few will if any will remain to be sneered by their loss.”

“The Jason is exhausted.” spoke the small bulbous creature now known as The Ky-leee.”

I looked down at the strange creature picking it up in my hands, tears began to start down my cheeks. I’m sorry I wasn’t more prepared. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you.” And brought the feature up to my face and kissed it’s strange slimy bulbous form. Wondered how I would convey this news to her family and friends. Then proceeded to sob all more.

Suddenly, I felt tentacles wrap around me. And that deep soft tender voice whisper “Jason, had this not happened to me, to your Kylee, than we would not have had a bridge to allow both species to cross.”

The larger bulbous creature exclaimed The Ky-leee. The Jason. Both. Saved Both. The We. The Humanity.

The smaller held my cheeks between two tentacles. “The Ky-leee. Forgive. The Jason.” And then spoke again saying “The Jason. Forgive Need. The Jason.” as a third smaller tentacle lightly touched upon my lips.

“The We. Go. Now. Return. The Ky-lee on Moon. Full. Communicate. Update. With The Jason.”

THE END


December 2022
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