On the morning of Saturday, January 29, 2011, my columnist colleagues seemed to have the political punditry situation regarding events in Egypt well under control and so we felt free to go in San Francisco and see a double bill consisting of "Blind Alley" and "Secret beyond the Door." Because those two movies would be considered to be in the genre known as film noir and since we had a similar experience the previous weekend and had written a column about it, we proposed that the expenditures incurred on the venture at hand might qualify as legitimate funding for a fact finding safari to gather relevant material for the topic of time travel.
The Republicans lately seem to be obsessed with efforts to get the entire USA to return to an earlier time period with a style of politics that had been envisioned by the founding fathers who are currently being promoted for advancement to the beatification stage on the long and arduous road to sainthood. What red blooded patriotic American military veteran would not want to see the USA take the necessary steps to return to the era when this country was a Republic as it is still called in both the Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag?
The founding fathers, in their omnipotent wisdom, established a Republic. Only men who owned land were eligible to vote and they came up with superheroes that included George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Then along came the Democrats and they soon got voting rights for women, and workers. They freed the slaves and gave them votes. Next thing ya know, along come Presidents like Jimmy Carter, Bill "Bubba" Clinton and the fellow who didn't even have an America father.
Republicans would be sure to be very enthusiastic about a trip back to the a past when there was no tax on income. The good old days, of the Republic when land owning men being the only people eligible to vote, would be an appealing destination for the Republicans who are constantly calling the USA a Republic. Time travel and de'jÃ vu go together like ham and eggs. We were quite confidant that we had a handle on the next column as we put some money from an ATM in our pockets and headed for the trolly car stop in downtown San Francisco.
As we approached the area, we noticed some folks who looked like they were dressed for a visit to the World Fair. Not the 1939 Fair held on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay; they looked like they needed directions to the World Fair held in Saint Louis in 1896.
The time travelers, known as Steampunks are planning a World's Fair of their own that is scheduled to take place in the Somerset - Piscataway area of New Jersey on May 20 to 22 of this year (that's 2011 for those who may be lost in time.)
Their spokesman informed this columnist that his group was composed of fiends of H. G. Wells and that he had used the famous writer's time machine to help them achieve a one day installment of time travel tourism so that they could take a look around Frisco and see how marvelous things would be on the last Saturday in January of 2011.
Ohhhhh Kayyyy! We took some photos of them to prove to our friends that we hadn't imagined this encounter. Someday in the future, we may even learn how to insert those images into one of our columns.
One of the ground rules for time travel is that the time tourist can not change the past. Thus, if some of the people who believe in time travel were to travel back to Honolulu on Saturday December 6, 1941, (we are still working on the column about snapshot collecting and might have some nifty photos to run with that column), they could not go to Pearl Harbor and warn them about what will happen the next morning.
There does not seem to be a great deal of information about the practical application of time travel for contemporary espionage purposes. What if, hypothetically, an American were able to travel back in time a week or two and while cloaked in invisibility this spy were able to look and listen in on a meeting of Hosni Mubarak and his advisors? Would that modern Mata Hare be able to come back to his mission handlers and tell them what was being said, so that the future could be anticipated and the proper strategy devised?
Some writers assert that Democrats prefer science fiction and that conservatives are the main audience for mysteries. The Democrats, they say, are not afraid to envision alternative futures. Filled with extensive licentious debauchery? The Conservatives find reassurance (and a "softer side moment"?) in the world of hardboiled detectives where truth, justice and the American way will (always or usually?) prevail. This columnist doesn't have any scientific evidence to back those contentions, but what good is it to use scientific studies for fact finding? Those kooks believe in global warming and (sniff snivel and tears?) the immanent demise of the polar bears (Ursus Maritimus).
Reality is so boring. George W. Bush envisioned a wave of democracy sweeping over the Middle East and now that his successor has a chance to bring Egypt into the Democracy tent, it looks like the current U. S. President is going to urge the Egyptian leader to reach out to the other side. Yeah, he'll reach out and give them a back hand slap just as cavalierly as if he were a P. I. (private investigator) who was dealing out a business card.
Could it be that hard fisted conservatives in one U. S. intelligence agency are urging on the Egyptian rebels while the "let's talk this out" American President is backing the dictator? Has Egypt become the chess board where two diverse American political factions are locked in a high stakes squabble about the philosophy for the course of domestic American security?
Speaking of tourism, isn't it a wonder that the American Teabaggers aren't flocking to Cairo to see how low maintenance government works when it is put into play?
Herbert George Wells wrote: "Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe." What do you think that dope thought about the scientists' fairy tale about global warming?
Now the disk jockey will play "Thanks for the Memory," "Change Partners," and "The Cowboy and the Lady" (all three were nominated for the 1938 Best Song Oscar). We have to go check the listings for the time for this Thursday's showing of "Back to the Future" as part of the Berkeley 7 Flashback film series. Have a "'tis a far, far better thing I do" type week.