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4/13/07

IN MEMORIAM

Author Kurt Vonnegut passed away on April 11, 2007, at the age of 84.
He was the author of 14 novels, plus short stories, essays, and plays.
He was one of the most influential authors in my life, certainly the most influential in my younger years.

His novel Slaughterhouse Five described the horrors of the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany, by Allied bombers during WWII.

Cat's Cradle was required reading in high school.
In that novel, Vonnegut described Ice-Nine,
which, on contact, caused water to freeze at room temperature.
That process ultimately destroys the world.

He was a freethinking humanist.

As described in the Chicago Tribune article published upon his death:

"To Vonnegut, the only possible redemption for the apparent meaninglessness of existence was human kindness.
The title character in his 1965 novel, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, summed up his philosophy:

'Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded.
At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here.
There's only one rule that I know of, babies--"God damn it, you've got to be kind." ' "


3/14/03
Yesterday's paper informed me that the local school district was going to lose $500,000 in funding.
Twenty-some teachers and staff would be laid off.
That reminded me of the bumper sticker I saw long ago,
when people cried that nuclear power was not a good choice:

It will be a good day when we have enough money to educate our children,
and we need bake sales for nuclear weapons.


Here is my favorite link:

Astronomy Picture of the Day
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
At that website, in the archives or through the index,
you can find a wonderful picture of Planet Earth,
as viewed by the crew of Apollo 17.
Or click here:  http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap990131.html
In the accompanying narrative, I especially like the reference to humans as
a "potentially intelligent species".


Here is my best advice:
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
EDUCATE YOURSELF
THEN THINK FOR YOURSELF
 


More advice:
Books, envelopes, people -- It's what's inside that counts.
 

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