The New One – P L Travers

Annabel and the Fledgling 514x380px.. “Good girl!” croaked the Starling approvingly. He cocked his head on one side and gazed at her with his round bright eye. “I hope,” he remarked politely, “you are not too tired after your journey.”

Annabel shook her head.

“Where has she come from— out of an egg?” cheeped the Fledgling suddenly.

“Huh-huh!” scoffed Mary Poppins. “Do you think she’s a sparrer?”

The Starling gave her a pained and haughty look.

“Well what is she, then” And where did she come from?” cried the Fletchling shrilly, flapping his short wings and staring down at the cradle.

You tell him, Annabel!” the Starling croaked.

Annabel moved her hands inside the blanket.

“I am earth and air and fire and water,” she said softly. “I come from the Dark where all things have their beginning.”

“Ah, such dark!” said the Starling softly, bending his head to his breast.

“It was dark in the egg, too,” the Fledgling cheeped.

“I come from the sea and its tides,” Annabel went on. “I come from the sky and its stars. I come from the sun and its brightness——”

“Ah, so bright!” said the Starling, nodding.

“And I come from the forests of earth.”

As if in a dream, Mary Poppins rocked the cradle— to-and-fro, to-and-fro with a steady swinging movement.

“Yes?” whispered the Fledgling.

“Slowly I moved at first,” said Annabel, “always sleeping and dreaming. I remembered all I had been and I thought of all I shall be. And when I had dreamed my dream I awoke and came swiftly.”

She paused for a moment, her blue eyes full of memories.

“And then?” prompted the Fledgling.

“I heard the stars singing as I came and I felt warm wings about me. I passed the beasts of the jungle and came through the dark deep waters. It was a long journey.”

Annabel was silent.

The Fledgling stared at her with his bright inquisitive eyes.

Mary Poppins’ hand lay quietly on the side of the cradle. She had stopped rocking.

“A long journey, indeed!” said the Starling softly, lifting his head from his breast. ..

Mary Poppins Comes Back, Chapter Five, The New One, P. L. Travers, 1935
Illustrated by M Shephard

Ongoing Episodes Bias – Dallas and Foreigner

Years ago I *started* to watch a 1978 TV series called "Dallas" (or a 1981 TV series called "Falcon Crest"? hmm) but I abandoned it (or it) when I realized it (or it) would just go on and on and on without end.

Years ago I started to read and *continue* to read 1994 Speculative Fiction series called "Foreigner Universe" that *amazingly* continues to this day.

Why? Because "Foreigner" begins each episode/novel/arc with a situation and ends each novel with a happy resolution.

Dallas ran 13 years/394 episodes. Foreigner is running 22 years/17 novels and counting.

I am sure they are both good however I admit I am biased for Foreigner *sigh* please choose your own preference!








The first autobiography I was encouraged/required to write came from a third-grade (age 8) assignment to write on the topic of, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”  My granddad’s workshop creation experiences featured prominently in this. May I just mention the self-built, self-propelled lawnmower AND the self-built small tractor that hauled my sister and me around in a wagon, AND the medium tractor with shovel blade that accommodated my sister and me in raising us 15 feet into the air!

The second came from a Wood Badge Scouting Leadership Training Programme (age 31) assignment to write on the topic of, “My Life And Key Themes To Date” (I paraphrase). My camp counselor teaching and physics/engineering college experiences featured prominently in this. May I just mention my research AND teaching stipends AND meeting my wife-to-be!

The third came from a Wisdom Course (age 41) assignment to write on the topic of, “Key Experiences And People I Have Encountered Each Year Of My Life To Date” (paraphrase). My corporate work and ontological training experiences featured prominently in this. May I just mention getting a high-paying corporate job AND beginning to learn and apply the principles of parenting, self-actualization and entrepreneurship.

If you’ve read Don Juan/Carlos Castaneda books you may be familiar with the idea of “recapitulation” and “erasing personal history.” Other “life hack” gurus have likewise recommended keeping personal journals and/or autobiographies to track and/or alter life directions.

All in all I agree. However… I am currently seriously out of date, having not updated my autobiographical life track since approximately *mumble mumble* (age 41). I’ve, since then, variously: had a second child, been made redundant from a traditional corporate career, started (and completed) a new-age online career, then (for all intents and purposes) retired from all above-said careers (looking for something new), and begun a new life of “cluelessly exploring as a late boomer dragged kicking and screaming into the century of the fruit bat.”

Clueless… I like that lol

Opposite Quotes – Terry Pratchett

terry pratchett

Pratchett Direct

You can use humor to get across a very serious idea.

I don’t think I’ve found God, but I may have seen where gods come from.

Pratchett In Fiction

It is said that the opposite of noise is silence. This isn’t true. Silence is only the absence of noise.

Knurd is the opposite of being drunk, it’s as sober as you can ever be. It strips away all the illusion, all the comforting pink fog in which people normally spend their lives, and lets them see and think clearly for the first time ever. Then, after they’ve screamed a bit, they make sure they never get knurd again.

The opposite of ‘funny’ is not ‘serious; the opposite of ‘funny’ is ‘not funny.’

Life is… a problem because [we] think there are good people and bad people. [We’re] wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.

In a truly magical universe everything has its opposite. For example, there’s anti-light. That’s not the same as darkness, because darkness is merely the absence of light. Anti-light is what you get if you pass through darkness and out the other side.

There are, indeed, such things as anti-crimes, in accordance with the fundamental law that everything in the multiverse has an opposite. They are, obviously, rare. Merely giving someone something is not the opposite of robbery; to be an anticrime, it has to be done in such a way as to cause outrage,  humiliation to the victim. So there is breaking-and-decorating, proffering-with-embarrassment (as in most retirement presentations) and whitemailing (as in threatening to reveal to his enemies a mobster’s secret donations, for example, to charity). Anti-crimes have never really caught on.

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The Insurgents… the Plot to Change the American Way of War… Extracts

The Inurgents CoverBold emphases added

Page 355: The officials involved in these new discussions understood the president’s–and the American public’s–reluctance to get embroiled in another Iraq. But they were also keen to preserve what the Chiefs were now calling the “lessons learned from 10 years of war.” Among these lessons: that conflicts of the future are likely to be a mix of offense, defense, and stability operations; that, in such wars, awareness of the local culture would be as important as an assessment of the enemy’s order of battle; and that, therefore, it was essential to retain officers who were skilled in the sort of warfare–and to educate and train the coming generation of officers in its principles and techniques.

Page 358: One space they filled was to transform the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence, a school for armor and infantry officers at Fort Benning, Georgia, into a training ground for “full-spectrum operations,” combining tank maneuvers with counterinsurgency and humanitarian assistance, devising scenarios and exercises in which junior officers would have to switch back and forth from one mode of warfare to another, teaching them how to make judgments and decisions in a complex environment.

Page 361: By the time he hung up his uniform, not quite five years after signing his counterinsurgency manual, the American Army had evolved into a different institution. It was more flexible, more adaptive; it was in John Nagl’s phrase, a “learning organization.”

In the aftermath of wars, especially unpopular ones, armies tend to revert to traditional practices. But this was less likely to happen after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There would be no going back to a frame of mind that defined “war” strictly as a titanic clash between uniformed foes of comparable strength–and not just because the prospective foe in that clash, the Soviet Union, had in the meantime imploded. Another factor at play was that an entire generation of American officers had risen through the ranks fighting what were once called small wars, waged among the people in villages and cities, wars in which lieutenants often took as much initiative as commanders, and soldiers of all rank were attentive to the local culture as to the enemy’s order of battle.

It was extremely unlikely that official Army doctrine would ever again refer to these sorts of battles as “low-intensity conflicts,” much less as “military operations other than war.” The colonels and generals of the post-Petraeus era had spent what seemed like a lifetime fighting in these sorts of battle; they were not low intensity, and they certainly felt like wars.

Page 362: But knowing how to fight these wars didn’t necessarily mean winning them. There’s an old military adage: “The enemy has a vote.” You can go into battle with a brilliant plan, but if the enemy adapts and shifts gears, the plan is rendered worthless after the first shots are fired. In counterinsurgency wars, it’s not just the enemy that has a vote; the ally does, too. If you send troops overseas to bolster a regime whose leaders lack legitimacy or the will to reform, the most brilliant strategy–and strategist–will have little chance of prevailing.

-Text: The Insurgents, 2013, Fred Kaplan, 418 pages