Good Morning Ted and Jody:
I decided to do a bout on my stationary bike early this morning (get rid of going nowhere early) and found the pestilence was speaking to the Muslim world. I can’t help but think all that dancing around with sharp swords yesterday helped him ameliorate his tone in the speech today (one can easily hide a sword under a thoub, traditional desert garb, and I saw many men wearing thoubs in the assembly). I was struck by a commentator who admonished the pestilence for not telling the assembled Gulf leaders to examine what is going on in their countries that causes the extremism. I was struck because we fail to examine what is going on in our country that is causing some of our home-grown extremism.
Later I got on the exercise bike again during CNN’s Reliable Sources (I do enjoy that approach to the news, speculation about the speculators so to speak). A woman reporting from the interior of the country as opposed to the edge where the major news outlets are saying in effect that people in the interior distrust the media centers (those at the edge, or dare we say fringe) as they have different valued than they do (which they is not terribly important as it works both ways and makes sense). I almost stopped pedaling for I was immediately struck by the fact that I have heard this value charge made before—“They do not have the same values as we do.” Yes, I have never heard anyone explain what the differences in values are.
That brings me full circle to the commentator on the pestilence’s speech. Everyone fails to look closely at themselves and hence it is always the other fellow’s fault. Of course, I could stop watching the speculation as I go nowhere and switch to Hallmark TV Mysteries.
I trust this finds you in good health, happy, and firmly valued.
Warmest regards, Ed
030 Agent White Interviews Count Raymond Hastens
Fiction in 16 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
”When I was here earlier I was not clear on whether to address you as Mr. Hastens or by your title,” said Agent Amanda.
”My dear Agent White,” replied Count Raymond Hastens, ”Mr. is my title.”’
”The Count is . . .” inquired Agent White.
”My first name and my mother’s little joke on my father, who had I been born in wedlock would have passed his family’s heredity title of Marquis to me,” replied Count Raymond Hastens. ”The joke was he died without an heir. The line died out.”
”I’m not sure I understand the joke,” said Agent White.
”It really involved Mother finding it amusing that his step-mother put up a stink when she herself was a second wife and not my father’s mother. Yet. she put on airs as if she were somebody. I guess you had to be there,” said Count Raymond Hastens. ”Back in real time, noble titles were not an asset. but here they are an invitation to print money.”
“Print money? How is that?” asked Agent White.
“I chose to live in a time period of rapid change,” replied Mr. Hastens. “Literature, music, science and the robotization are all advancing at a pace not seen later. However, with change comes nostalgia for a past that most people feel was better than the present–social and political resurgence of conservativism or even a reactionary resistance to the change around them. They fail to recognize that in a real noble family, I would have a name and then be the count of something or other. So, they fixate on my first name and see it as a title of nobility with no questions asked. Consequently, I serve as a paid board member on eight private and six public corporations and an unpaid board member on six charities. You would be surprised at the number of weeks and months that go by that I am not home. Most of the time I am a houseguest. So, I have stipends for my board work and very few expenses. I have quite a fat bank account as a consequence. My first name is a license to make money, although printing it as I asserted would be more fun and more profitable.
“Those are the reasons you chose this time period in which to retire?” asked Agent White.
Mr. Hastens shook his head negatively, “No, I am an avid fisherman, trout. I chose this time and place as it is the beneficiary of a prior time periods obsession with conservation and is a trout fisherman’s paradise and will remain a fisherman’s paradise for at least my lifetime. It is a bonus to those who wish to trade on my shall we say celebrity as a noble—a nobleman who fishes somehow makes me more human.”
“Am I to understand that you play up this fictional nobility?” asked Agent White.
Again, Mr. Hastens shook his head negatively. “No, dear lady, I do not. I deny any peerage. I tell people it is my first name and they simply chose to think I am being modest. Now do you understand my mother’s joke on my father and the whole world?””
I see your mother was a fan of Shakespeare, but she did not believe him. For if you name a man a Count he becomes one—A rose by any other name . . .” Replied Agent White.
“It matters not, for they get their money’s worth for I have seen things that assist their current endeavors and advise them wisely,” replied Mr. Hastings. “But, I suspect you did not come to talk about my named and title as you alleged.”
“You are on to me sir,” said Agent White. “We in what you called, real time, noticed some, shall we say, irregularities occurring over time. There are a number of retired time travelers scattered across the timeline and we thought to investigate if one or more of them had gotten, well, gotten bored and decided to play a bit of mischief on the timeline.”
“And that leads you back to me for a second look?” asked Mr. Hastens.
“When we first noticed the, err, irregularities, I began interviewing retired time travelers. I interview you and three others before we noticed an uptick in the activity,” explained Agent White. “My supervisor suggested I may have let the cat out of the bag when I interview you four the first time; so, here I am again to assess your ability to travel in time.”
“How do you propose to do that?” asked Mr. Hastings.
Agent White shrugged her shoulders, “I don’t have a clue. It would be easier if you just confessed.”
Mr. Hastens snorted and then said, “Well you haven’t told me what you need confessions for or I would.”
“I wondered, why you didn’t ask or seem curious,” said Agent White.
“Since I don’t think there are trout involved, I didn’t think it was of much interest,” replied Count Raymond Hastens. “But, what the hell, what mischief do you think I have done?”
Agent Amanda White smiled and said, “I probably should not give you any ideas. Thank you for seeing me.” She pivoted.