THE PADDY AND MICK CHRONICLES: THE FACEBOOK THINGY

by Karen Mary McEntegart

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PADDY: Facebook, Mick, I’m telling ya–it’s the latest modern craze, everyone is doing it.

MICK: Facebook, eh? What the bejesus is that all about then, Paddy?

PADDY: Well Mick, it goes like this. You set yourself up with a profile thingy…

MICK: A profile thingy?

PADDY: Yes, Mick, a profile thingy … it’s where you give your details to this Facebook thingy on the computer. I’m telling ya, everyone is doing it Mick … it’s taken the world wonder web by storm.

MICK: Is that so, Paddy?

PADDY: Aye.

MICK: Alright so, carry on … so after I’m set up with a profile then what, Paddy?

PADDY: Well then. Mick, that’s your set up to talk to anyone you want … anywhere!

MICK: Whatcha mean anyone I want, Paddy?

PADDY: Like it sounds, Mick. Anyone in the world. Your power knows no bounds, no limits at all on who you can chat to.

MICK: So … let’s just say, Paddy–for example–you said anyone, right? I could talk boundlessly to any soul of my choosing, yeah? How about the Queen?

PADDY: What? The Queen, oh jaysus, Mick. I’m not so sure about that one now.

MICK: You said anyone, Paddy. Me ears gave witness to that, they did.

PADDY: Aye, I did. Mick … ok, so maybe you could talk to the Queen, Mick … just saying maybe now–ok? Anyways, if you can chat to anyone why on earth would you pick the Queen, Mick?

MICK: Hey, Paddy, I’ve quite a lot I’d like to chat to the Queen about. Indeed, I have!

PADDY: Anyway, Mick, the next step is that you have to present yourself on your newly established profile.

MICK: Present meself? Ah now, Paddy, your having a laugh. I know folk that got arrested for “presenting” themselves. Ha-ha.

PADDY: Ah, Mick, you’re not taking me serious at all are ye?

MICK: I am, Paddy, hahaha. I am. Go on, tell me more about this representation of myself.

PADDY: Well, ok, Mick. You have to take a fine picture of yourself to use as your representation face, for your new profile … hang on what’s it they call it? Uh–selfme … selfie … aye, that’s it, a selfie Mick! You have to take a selfie, a picture of yourself.

MICK: Hahaha. Ah, how in the blazers can I take a picture of me own mug Paddy, your killing me here, hahaha.

PADDY: Ah jaysus, Mick. I’m trying to educate–instruct you in the ways of the modernised world. You’ll have to catch up with the times, Mick, or ye’ll be left behind.

MICK: Paddy, I’m a man of 55 years. I’m happy to be left behind–especially if that’s what society is offering now in terms of modernisation … taking a selfie of oneself for the sole purpose of broadcasting of the self on the world wonder web so’s they can talk with anyone they like–Queen included. Actually, she’s the worse culprit … she already has the selfie thingy down to a tee, eh!

PADDY: Eh?

MICK: Yep, she does indeed. Sure hasn’t she got her very own selfie stamp, eh? Hahaha.

PADDY: Aye, haha, she does Mick. You’re right there.

MICK: Anyways, Paddy, in all seriousness, can the modern ones of today’s world not just talk face-to-face anymore? And sure they all have phones as well … so what’s the bloody need for such Facebooks and the like I? I don’t know.

PADDY: Yeah, but Mick you can’t talk face-to-face to someone in … say Canada or Japan … couldn’t use your phone either, too damn costly.

MICK: But Paddy, what on earth would you want to contact Canada or Japan? You don’t know anyone there and sure you can’t talk Canadish or Japanese either. So why?

PADDY: But you see, Mick, with this new invention of Facebook you can virtually travel the cyber waves of the world wonder web and make friends anywhere you like.

MICK: Make friends, Paddy? Really! Are you saying I could head down to the bar of a Saturday night with my “new found Canadian” buddy or do a spot of early Sunday morning fishing with my “new-found Japanese ally”?

PADDY: Not at all, Mick. Don’t be stupid. Sure, you’ve never met them.

MICK: Exactly me point, Paddy. So’s how can we be friends?

PADDY: Well Mick, they can chat to you in your “inbox”.

MICK: “Chat to me in my inbox?” Paddy listen to yourself. Haha-haha. Aye, you’ve lost the plot completely now, me dear friend. Haha.

PADDY: Send you private messages.

MICK: Like what, Paddy? I’ve nothing public or private I have to be saying to the Japanese. Nought at all, nothing private or public to hear from them either, Paddy.

PADDY: Well then, Mick,  you could share your pictures on your wall so’s folk could see.

MICK: What? I hang me pictures of meself on my wall inside me gaff for a reason, Paddy. If I wanted the world and its mother to view them, I’ve have hung em on the outside walls of me house now wouldn’t I? And besides, why would I want some Jap looking at me pics anyway?

PADDY: I mean family, Mick. They’re all on it and share pics of every occasion …doesn’t even have to be an occasion anymore. Ye just share pictures with your family for fun.

MICK: But Paddy, every occasion I attend , so do me family, so why would they want me to share pics of meself at such occasions when they’ve already seen me there in the flesh, eh?

PADDY: Ah Mick, you’re not getting it at all.

MICK: I’m just saying, Paddy, it sounds a bit like advertising yourself to a big system of spies.

PADDY: What?

MICK: Think about it, Paddy. You’re on there, ok, reporting what you’re doing–yeah, where you’re doing it–and providing all photographic evidence of you doing what you’re doing, wherever it’s at. Sounds like a big invasion of privacy to me … sure in the olden days we’d run away from something like that but nowadays every feker wants to be spied on in the name of modernization …  Right, I don’t get it, Paddy.

PADDY: But it connects folk, Mick–unites different cultures without man-made barriers of land, sea and the postal service.

MICK: Paddy, the lands are separated for a reason, me good man. Trust me on this, Paddy. Some countries aren’t supposed to be connecting and mingling cultures so freely.

PADDY: Ah Mick, listen if your sister lived abroad–let’s say Australia, ok–would it not be of a comfort to you to know you could connect and talk to her as much as you wanted without travelling miles or spending a small fortune on the phone?

MICK: Me sister lives in the market square in St. Peter’s Street, Paddy,–three streets away from my house. You know that, Paddy.  I see too  much of her as it is.

PADDY: Ah Mick, I’m just saying if …

MICK: Look, Paddy, if … if it was something like a reversed Facebook , bookface for example where instead of connecting you’d could disconnect with family and friends then I’d join up straight away, hahaha.

PADDY: Sure what would be the point of that, Mick?

MICK: Aye, I suppose you’re right, Paddy, either way they’d know where you live.

PADDY: Anyways,Mick, so what do you say eh?

MICK: Say about what Paddy?

PADDY: Your profile of course Mick?

MICK: No.

PADDY: But …

 MICK: No.

PADDY: But Mick, it’s your own virtual identity.

MICK: No, me real life “identity” is more than satisfactory for me Paddy, and what do you mean “it’s” Paddy?

PADDY: Ah Mick, don’t be annoyed at me, me old chum, but I’ve already set you up.

MICK: Set me up?

PADDY: Aye Mick, you are now the owner of your own profile, you’re on the web, a virtual Mick has been created.

MICK: What?

PADDY: Yep, me grandson did them yesterday for us both, a virtual Paddy and a virtual Mick, complete with pictures and all.

MICK: What pictures would that be now Paddy?

PADDY: Well mine is me ponderously self-staring back at me. It’s exciting doing a selfie you know, Mick.

MICK: And?

PADDY: And you Mick, you’ve got to do yours so in the meantime I just had me grandson take a pic of an empty chair for now.

MICK: An empty chair?

PADDY: Aye, Mick. I reckon that’s where you would have been sitting had you been present for your selfie shot.

MICK: Hahaha. So the virtual Mick is represented by an empty chair, eh? Wonderful. It definitely confirms it alright, you have well and truly lost the plot my friend and I shall be informing Japan on that as well, Paddy. I’ll be going public with that one for sure. Facebook indeed, whatever next, eh? Some modern device that allows you to look at the folks you’re ringing eh? Hahaha.

PADDY: Er… Mick

MICK: What Paddy?

PADDY: Nothing Mick, it’ll keep til another day.

MICK: Aye Paddy, inbox it to me ….


 

To read another episode on this series see: https://heliosliterature.com/2017/04/11/the-paddy-and-mick-chronicles

Karen McEntegart

Karen Mary McEntegart (poet and playwright) is an Irish lass from Drogheda, Ireland, now living in central England.

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FATHER TIME AND ME

 ©2017 Kenneth Harper Finton

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Born squawking with a curious furrow in my brow, I had no choice in the matter of my birth. Later, I was to learn I had been born into a large country and into an even larger universe that I am still learning to comprehend.

When I was eight I had an abdominal operation and was placed under either. I still remember the vision I had under the influence of the drug. I was running from Father Time who chased me with thunderbolts shooting from his fingertips as he yelled, “Stop, stop! You are ahead of time. Stop!”

It was a powerful vision that is vivid to this day.

How strange this world is to the young:  I was born to be myself and not someone else. This is odd enough but it was even odder to come to conception here in this time instead of somewhere else in another time. Everything was such a mystery. I truly wanted to solve the mystery. I felt this could well be my calling.

It did not take long to discover this fact: everyone is stuck in themselves, the same as I am. Everyone has their own little universe where they are the king or the queen.

Sometimes while I was in a playful mood, I asked myself, “If you could be somebody else, who would that be?”

When I ran through the history of people I have met or known, I could not choose to be any of them. There was no one I might want to be more than myself, male or female. It’s inconceivable I could be someone other than myself unless I was play-acting the part. Since I have to be me, I might as well make the most of the situation, I decided.

I took a while to understand why I arrived to be a player in this era. I surmised that it had to do with time and consciousness, something science cannot yet explain. It is so easy to miss this vital connection: the now is ever present, just as awareness is always present.

Is this a mere coincidence? Is the now not a measure of time?

The now is not measurable at all, but a micro fraction of an instant where the past changes into the future. The only thing solely contained in the now is our awareness. Consciousness remembers the past and imagines the future, but always does so in the now.

I came to this realization at a young age and caused myself great confusion. Did this mean the world is a mental construction?

For a while, I considered the possibility that the universe is actually a vision which comes alive in the intellect. This was a problematic idea. The mind itself is a mystery. How could the mind be only a product of flesh and blood, neural connections, when nature obviously had a mind which did not need a nervous system?

We are the centers of our worlds, yet nature has carried out its miracles for billions of years without the help of human consciousness through an unconscious process of evolutionary experiments. This has likely been the case since time began.

The colors we see are wavelengths of light. The mind learns to recognize these as different colors. About me, the people I knew had their own personal mindsets. They were different and separate from my own thoughts, though they used much of the same information I used to make their own world view. The primary difference between us is the type and quantity of the information we process both in the mind and the body.

Throughout our lives, the now remains stationary. It is not time that moves, but consciousness. Awareness is always being transformed through experiences, interactions, and observations. If time were to move, what would be the speed of time? If time flowed, what would be the volume of the flow?

No fixed universal clock can measure the flow or speed of time. Time is relative to dimensions, not to a fixed standard. With no way to measure the speed of time, no method can be devised to measure the speed of the now. The now has no speed at all, nor can it move.  The rational thing to conclude is that time does not flow and the now does not move. Instead, consciousness changes.

This was a huge revelation.

-Kenneth Harper Finton

June 8, 2017

MASCULINITY AND ERNEST HEMINGWAY

The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (Scribner)

BOOKS-HEMINGWAY

 

SHORT STORIES

 

“The masters of the short story come to no good end,” wrote Ernest Hemingway, in a bitterly prescient moment. He was, of course, a master of the short story who came to his own no good end with a shotgun.

But now is not the time to speak of endings. This week marks the 118th anniversary of Hemingway’s birth.Today, no living fiction writer towers over American culture the way Papa once did. His cultivated blend of machismo and existential stoicism captivated a lost generation shattered by war. His elliptical style mesmerized readers for decades – and remains so highly contagious that students still fall prey to its impassive tone and declarative simplicity. The International Imitation Hemingway Competition ran for nearly three decades, ending in 2005, but the number and quality of entries that poured in over the years suggest it could have gone on forever.

Isn’t it pretty to think so?

I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with this Nobel Prize winner. I got to know the young woman who would eventually be my wife in a seminar on Hemingway. The earth moved, though not at first. If she was attracted to the testosteronic writer, I don’t know what attracted her to me. Hemingway and I were both raised by Christian Science mothers in the Midwest, but beyond that, the similarities end. He had more wives than I’ve had dates. He rushed into danger to get material for his writing; I rushed into writing to get away from danger.

But as I studied his life, all that boxing and boasting and bingeing struck me as symptoms of deep insecurity. Surely, a real man wouldn’t be quite so self-conscious about being a real man, right?

Those tensions are richly explored in a new biography by Mary V. Dearborn, but I can’t help feeling that, for most of us, the secret to appreciating Hemingway’s work lies in staying away from Hemingway’s life. His bravado, his pomposity and, frankly, his inconsolable sadness risk overshadowing his art. What the New Critics called “the biographical fallacy” is always irresistible, but it’s especially tempting when dealing with a writer who aggressively encouraged it. Trying to match up every event in a story to the author’s life is a swell way of reducing a great work of fiction to a flawed autobiography.

Consider that Hemingway’s best novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” tells the story of an impotent man. That’s rich material for a biographical critic, but most of us should just look at the masterpiece on the page. More than 90 years after it was published, it’s still an astonishingly powerful work largely because of its ferocious restraint. When I taught “The Sun Also Rises,” most of my students had no idea what was keeping Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley from jumping into bed, and who can blame them? Jake’s affliction is rarely alluded to and is never described. Thou may differ, but where Hemingway’s later novels seem, to me, freighted with melodrama and distracting verbal tics, “The Sun Also Rises” whispers its chilly despair with unruffled grace.

You can see how he perfected that style in an illuminating new edition of his short stories. This is the fourth volume in the Hemingway Library series, and to read it is to be shocked again by the fecundity of his genius. Writing one story that takes root in literary history is remarkable, but here is classic after classic, including “Indian Camp,” “Big Two-Hearted River,” “The Killers,” “Hills Like White Elephants,” “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.”

Some of the stories, such as “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” appear with alternate endings and notes showing additions and deletions. This material has long been available to scholars, but it’s presented here in a thoroughly accessible way by Seán Hemingway, the author’s grandson, who edited the volume and provides a helpful introduction.

There was a time when it seemed Hemingway, like so many other once indispensable writers, might fade away. (Quick show of hands: Who’s still reading John Dos Passos?) As the decades passed, the parodies seemed to preempt him. More enlightened attitudes about women threatened to render Papa irrelevant. And, really, who thinks hunting is heroic anymore?

But like the handsome bullfighter in “The Sun Also Rises,” Hemingway’s work just keeps getting up no matter how many times it’s beaten down.