When I was very little I had to make a collage for school (kindergarten? first grade?) of people working at their jobs. I found a photo of a baseball player in a magazine, and asked Grandma if baseball players get paid to just, you know, play baseball. She said, “Ha! OH YEAH.”
Once upon a time, in an eastern land, there lived a knight who was brave and skilled, but arrogant, and selfish. The knight loved a woman, but because he cared more for the pursuit of the quest, he lost her. She was heartbroken that the knight she loved would not fully love her back, and she traveled far, and lived in another kingdom.
The knight, who in spite of himself did love this woman, was jealous and angry that she had left. He rode west to find her. The journey was difficult, for the knight did not care to leave his land, and he found her new home disagreeable. He arrived in this land full of hope for a reunion, but embittered, and sore of foot. If he failed to win back his love, he would resort to visit with a former comrade-in-arms, another knight who had retired to a land called Pomona.
The knight’s lost love was living happily in the high tower of a majestic castle, ruled beneficently by a warm and compassionate king. Arriving in his court, the knight met the king, called Takagi, and the king’s jester, Ellis.
Then, the unthinkable occurred. As the knight was refreshing himself with water on his underarms, and making soothing fists with his bare toes, the castle was taken by an evil wizard and his army. The usurper killed the wise king Takagi, and set about plundering the kingdom’s riches with his mercenary band of thieves.
But the knight had one instrument to his advantage. For he was invisible. Since he was not officially a guest of the court, his name was inscribed in no ledger. And without the wizard’s dark power over his name, the knight was free to steal through the catacombs and traverse the height and breadth of the castle unseen.
Using only his cleverness, the knight began to assassinate members of the wizard’s sinister assembly, one by one. Eventually, of course, the wizard realized he had an unexpected enemy. But he was powerless to stop him. And when the knight purloined a magic ring from one of the soldiers he had killed, he could speak directly through it to its creator, the wizard. In his arrogance, the knight taunted the usurper. The wizard could hide his motives, his own name, even his very appearance…but so could the knight. The wizard demanded to know the name of the knight. But the knight knew this would give the wizard an eldritch power over him. He told the wizard a false name—Roy Rogers.
The knight told the wizard, “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.”
Still, the knight called Roy Rogers knew his love, fair Holly, was in dire peril, and knew he could not ultimately defeat the wizard—who was called Hans—alone. He used his wiliest resources to send secret messages for aid. He lit a beacon with a false message of fire to draw rescue. But rescue failed to come. He devised a message entreating the local corps of knights for help. Again, help failed to come. Unwittingly, he summoned only an avaricious trickster who set about discovering the mysterious knight’s true name, for his own malevolent glorification.
Left with only himself to rely upon, the knight crept through the lofty upper levels of the tower, where the air was thin, and where he thought he could not be found. Alas, here he met the wizard Hans face to face. Now the wizard knew his enemy’s countenance. But the wizard, who yet retained magical power over his own form, transformed himself into a helpless victim of the siege. As a terrified businessman called Bill Clay, Hans deceived the knight, who gave Hans a weapon and swore to protect him. Revealing his true form again, the false Clay turned the weapon he had been gifted upon the knight’s back instead.
But the knight was too clever for this. He, too, had deceived Hans, and given him a false weapon. Now the enemies stood in full view of each other, and knew the other’s face at last.
A flurry of battle ensued. And the knight would have triumphed, but for the untimely intervention of the wizard’s wicked lieutenants. The knight killed two of the wizard’s underlings and fled, pursued by the remaining villains. “Shoot the glass,” Hans instructed.
Barely escaping with his life—injured, limping, and bereft of hope—the knight knew he would die. He felt all his strength drain from him. He would not face Hans and live.
Just then, the amoral trickster, who the knight himself had unwittingly drawn into the fray, played his hand. He flew to Hans’s side, and whispered to him the true name of the knight…McClane. McClane! Now Hans had the power to truly destroy the knight; not simply to end his life, but to torment and destroy his spirit.
For now Hans knew that Holly was McClane’s love—his wife. And now that Hans finished plundering the castle’s coffers, he seized Holly to secure his exit.
Ironically, this would be Hans’s undoing. Hans failed to realize that, for robbing McClane of any hope to triumph with his life, the selfish McClane had grown selfless. The knight now saw his own shortcomings, and everything he had done wrong in his lifetime. He cared now only for the safety of Holly and the others, and would give his own life to spare a single innocent death more.
McClane surrendered himself to Hans, and deceived him one last time. Offering, honestly, to exchange his life for Holly’s, McClane hid a weapon behind his back, and killed Hans.
And McClane and Holly lived happily ever after, and the storytellers only ever made one sequel to this fairy tale, which was weirdly numbered part 3 for some reason, because I’m pretty sure there isn’t a part 2 worth telling, or anything else after 3, either, for that matter.
The 1948 conflagration at Spencer Graded School was one of fifteen comic-book burnings that took place in post-war communities throughout the United States…They were part of a moral panic over comic books that occupied Americans through the mid-1950s.
“…our known universe could be the three-dimensional “wrapping” around a four-dimensional black hole’s event horizon. In this scenario, our universe burst into being when a star in a four-dimensional universe collapsed into a black hole.
“In our three-dimensional universe, black holes have two-dimensional event horizons — that is, they are surrounded by a two-dimensional boundary that marks the “point of no return.” In the case of a four-dimensional universe, a black hole would have a three-dimensional event horizon.”
“Once you become Vice-President, Biden said, ‘you have an obligation to back up whatever he does, unless you have a fundamental moral dilemma with what he’s doing.’ He added, ‘If I ever got to that point, I’d announce I had prostate cancer and I had to leave.’”—
Don’t you dare play with our goddamn feelings like that, Joe
Evan Osnos, “The Biden Agenda,” The New Yorker, July 28, 2014 issue