Space: The final frontier
These are the voyages of the Starship, Enterprise
Its 5 year mission
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life and new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before
Monthly Archives: May 2013
Space: The final frontier
Finally, when after more than four days neither The Hague nor Rotterdam had been captured, the Germans did a monstrous thing. They resorted to a merciless bombardment on a colossal scale of the open town of Rotterdam, where the Dutch had never dreamt of fighting, and where fighting had only taken place because the Germans had attacked the city. This bombardment was one of the worst crimes of military history. Two groups, each of 27 aeroplanes, systematically bombed the centre of the town with heavy high-explosive and incendiary bombs, leaving not a house intact, hardly a soul alive.
Thirty thousand of innocent victims, among whom were scarcely any soldiers, perished during the half-hour this loathsome raid lasted – old men, young men, women and innumerable children. Who, in the face of such facts, is there to speak of “Deutsche Ehre,” of “Deutsche Treue” ? There is every reason to put this question – it is by no means a mere rhetoric one.
At 10.30 a.m. of that fateful day, the Commander of the troops which had come to Rotterdam to resist the German attack on that otherwise undefended city received an ultimatum in writing to cease fire forthwith, failing which the severest measures would be taken against the town. A reply was demanded within two hours. The document was unsigned. Fearing that it might be a mystification, the Dutch Commander received orders from Headquarters to reply that a demand of this kind could only be examined if it were duly signed by a qualified officer.
This reply was handed to the Germans at 12.15 – a quarter of an hour before the expiration of the time stated in the unsigned document. More than an hour later, at 1.20 p.m., a fresh ultimatum arrived, this time duly signed. It gave another three hours delay.
At 1.22, the first squadron of German bombers approached the city. The Germans twice caused a red flare to be fired, which meant, according to the declarations they made later, that the bombardment was not then to take place. But if this meant anything at all, it did not prevent the bombardment from being executed at once with the utmost brutality.
It is not too much to say that, even if this was not bad faith but culpable negligence, culpable negligence of this magnitude reflects most seriously on the honour and trustworthiness of the German command. Errors of this scope, resulting in the wiping out of thirty thousand human beings most of whom were civilians, are unpardonable. An army like that of the Germans, priding itself on its sense of organisation, ought to feel deeply humiliated by such a ghastly event.
Note: This was first published in September 1940.
Was it a huntsman or a player
That made you pay the cost
That now assumes relaxed positions
And prostitutes your loss?
Were you tortured by your own thirst
In those pleasures that you seek
That made you Tom the curious
That makes you James the weak?
And you claim you got something going
Something you call unique
But I’ve seen your self-pity showing
As the tears rolled down your cheeks
Soon you know I’ll leave you
And I’ll never look behind
‘Cos I was born for the purpose
That crucifies your mind
So con, convince your mirror
As you’ve always done before
Giving substance to shadows
Giving substance ever more
It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much – the wheel, New York, wars, and so on – whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man – for precisely the same reasons.
Curiously enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending destruction of the planet Earth and had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger; but most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs or whistle for titbits, so they eventually gave up and left the Earth by their own means shortly before the Vogons arrived.
The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double-backwards-somersault through a hoop whilst whistling the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’, but in fact the message was this: So Long, and thanks for all the fish.
In fact there was only one species on the planet more intelligent than dolphins, and they spent a lot of their time in behavioural-research laboratories running round inside wheels and conducting frighteningly elegant and subtle experiments on man. The fact that once again man completely misinterpreted this relationship was entirely according to these creatures’ plans.
A SCOTT FENNEY, ESQ., stood before the twelve members of the jury and said: “When I was a boy, my mother used to read her favorite book to me at bedtime, To Kill a Mockingbird. You might’ve read it or seen the movie. It’s the story of a little girl and her father, a lawyer named Atticus Finch. He was an honorable man and an honorable lawyer, unusual even back then, in the 1930s when the story took place.
“Every night my mother would say to me, Scotty, be like Atticus. Be a lawyer. Do good. She even named me after him, Atticus Scott Fenney. Well, my mother’s dead and I’m a lawyer, but I’m no Atticus Finch. I haven’t done much good. I made a lot of money, but I didn’t make my mother proud.
“But that’s another story.
“Or maybe it’s the same story. Because this story, our story, the story playing out in this courtroom, is also about making your mother proud.
“See, in the book, Atticus was appointed to represent a black man named Tom Robinson. Tom was accused of beating and raping a white girl. Atticus showed the jury that the girl had been beaten by a left-handed man because the right side of her face was bruised, but that Tom’s left hand was disabled due to an accident years before. Atticus proved that Tom didn’t do it. And Atticus also showed the jury that the girl’s father was left-handed and a mean drunk to boot. Well, everyone in the courtroom knew that Tom didn’t commit the crime and that her father did. But the jury, twelve white men, convicted Tom Robinson anyway, just because he was a black man.
“Now, that story took place in Alabama in the thirties – in a different time and a different world – back when the color of law was black-and-white. But our story is taking place seventy years later, in Dallas, Texas. The world’s a different place today, things have changed – not everything and not everywhere and not enough, but in our courts of law things have surely changed. Judges have changed. The color of law has changed. It’s no longer black-and-white. My former senior partner told me the color of law is now green. Today, he said, the rule of law is money. Money rules. And he’s right. Lawyers use the law to make money, politicians sell the law to special interests for money, people sue each other for money. Everywhere in the law, it’s all about money – except one place. Right there where you’re sitting, in that jury box. You’re not here for money. You’re here for the truth.
There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses – he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.
There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up –
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle-girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.
And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony – three parts thoroughbred at least –
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry – just the sort that won’t say die –
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.
But still so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, `That horse will never do
For a long and tiring gallop – lad, you’d better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you.’
So he waited sad and wistful – only Clancy stood his friend –
`I think we ought to let him come,’ he said;
`I warrant he’ll be with us when he’s wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred.
`He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko’s side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse’s hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen.’
So he went – they found the horses by the big mimosa clump –
They raced away towards the mountain’s brow,
And the old man gave his orders, `Boys, go at them from the jump,
No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right.
Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills,
For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight,
If once they gain the shelter of those hills.’
So Clancy rode to wheel them – he was racing on the wing
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his stock-horse past them, and he made the ranges ring
With the stockwhip, as he met them face to face.
Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded lash,
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,
And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a sharp and sudden dash,
And off into the mountain scrub they flew.
Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges deep and black
Resounded to the thunder of their tread,
And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back
From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their way,
Where mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely, `We may bid the mob good day,
NO man can hold them down the other side.’
When they reached the mountain’s summit, even Clancy took a pull,
It well might make the boldest hold their breath,
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.
He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timber in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat –
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringy barks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.
He was right among the horses as they climbed the further hill,
And the watchers on the mountain standing mute,
Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely, he was right among them still,
As he raced across the clearing in pursuit.
Then they lost him for a moment, where two mountain gullies met
In the ranges, but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet,
With the man from Snowy River at their heels.
And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam.
He followed like a bloodhound on their track,
Till they halted cowed and beaten, then he turned their heads for home,
And alone and unassisted brought them back.
But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot,
He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;
But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,
For never yet was mountain horse a cur.
And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around the Overflow the reedbeds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The man from Snowy River is a household word to-day,
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.