On the Subject of Turtles

A Learned Diatribe by D.B. Cooper

D.B. Cooper (whereabouts unknown)
is a seasoned air traveler.

I knew a turtle once. His name was Larry….

Unlike a lot of guys named Larry, he didn’t wear glasses. He had really good vision and could see almost five feet in front of him (or to his left or right if he turned his head that way). Larry had a big brown shell. You could knock on it and he would let loose such a string of expletives that there was no doubt he came from an aquatic environment. Just tape a sail to his back and call him Seaman Larry. The truly strange thing about him was that he had a writing desk at which he was working on a 27 volume philosophy of turtles. He called it Philosophiae Pan-Testudines and it covered all aspects of turtleine existence, morality and belief.

The major thrust of his work came in Volume 5 On Emigration. In this work, Larry proposed the mass emigration of the turtle family from its mother planet Earth. Using high technology borrowed from Man, turtle life would leave the great confines of the planetary sphere, sheltered in personal vehicles no thicker than a molecule. They would then form a large sphere about the orbit of the Earth, absorbing nutrients from the raw power of the Sun through chloroplasts engineered through gene-splicing to be formed naturally in the turtle’s body.

This theme was put aside for the place of the turtle in world history in Volume 6 The True Foundations of the Earth, but was brought up again in Volumes 7, 8 and 9 (A Parable, The Carapace of Freemen and Control From the Heavens, respectively).

Turtles, Larry proposed, would rule most of the inner planets by controlling the sunlight that reached them. He imagined billions of members of the family Testudines adjusting the temperature of Venus, making it habitable. Mercury would be turned to higher revolution by the pressure of millions of turtlenauts. The once-mighty lords of Gaia, Man, would be brought to heel when their planetary atmosphere was gradually dropped in temperature.

I agree with the pundits on most of the middle volumes of Philosophiae Pan-Testudines; they are dry, uninspired and mostly concern the place of vegetable matter in the Universe. It’s understandable that vegetable matter, particularly lettuce and cabbage, would take an important role in the turtleine lifestyle. One can even account for the focus on the intended audience of the work, Chinese pediatricians. However, most of Volumes 10 (The Leafy Benefactor) through 21 (Dialog with a Cabbage) may be passed over for the juicier bits in Volumes 22 (Mounting, Mating and Matrimony), 25 (Thoughts on Tortoise Sperm), 26 (The Pleasure of the Pond) and the ultimate volume 27 (Putting it All Together: The Destruction of Man and the Sultry-Clawed Sex).

I only read through it once, but it was worth an afternoon’s read. Larry was not eager to know what I thought about the work, though he often asks me to comment on his lithography. I have never quite seen pond-scum rendered in such an ornate fashion. You won’t either if you visit the Maximus Gallery this weekend, where Larry is having the opening for his new show Nordic Lake Experience. Donald Sutherland will be there to give opening remarks and Madonna will perform a Kabbalic blessing over the assemblage. At the end of the evening, the Lake McMurtry Marching Turtles will perform a fanfare composed in honor of Larry by John Adams.

The World of Histronomy

With Dr. Scott G. Birdseye

Scott Birdseye is a professor at the world-renown Botham
University in Himmot, Accadia. Throughout his life he has
traveled to various countries, written various things and
seen up to seven different types of brickwork. He does not
enjoy mushrooms; both the flavor and the texture; in his
opinion, are entire unappetizing.

On the Subject of Forts and Fort-Like-Things

Just as weapons can be divided into two distinct classes: shock and missile, so can military tactics be divided into two different categories: the light, fast and maneuverable and the heavily armored yet. There are abundant examples in the history of warfare of instances wherein different categories of weapon or soldier were able to claim supremacy of the field, whether shock troops such as the Medieval knight, missile troops such as the longbow, or fast, light troops such as guerrilla fighters. Each specific attribute provides both strengths and weaknesses, as is the case with heavily armored yet slow troops, an example of the sacrifice of mobility for protection. The ultimate example of this sacrifice is the permanent fortification.

Completely lacking mobility, permanent fortifications, though their imposing strength could prove themselves nearly impossible to capture, producing a system of combat dominated by the prolonged siege. Although the development of artillery caused the decline of the castle system, it also generated the invention of new forms of fortification, typified by the works of French engineer Vauban, whose contributions to the art of defensive construction and siege-craft would dominate that field for nearly three hundred years.

The system of permanent fortifications for military defense is as old as recorded civilization. The earliest stone wall structures of Asia Minor and the Southern Caucuses slowly developed over thousands of years into the architectural marvels of the massive walled cities of Classical Greece and Rome. Forming the basis of the early Medieval permanent fortification, the city wall concept dominated the field of strategic defenses until the later rise of the Norman military concepts. The Franks and Normans were the first group in Europe to modify the non-permanent wooden mot and bailey design into the permanent stone castle concept, which was a direct response to Viking coastal raids. Soon after their development, castles began to dominate the military landscape of Europe, which was, in the Middle Ages, under constant threat of internal war and external attacks by Vikings, Mongols, Muslims and others.

With imposing size and simple basic design, the castle was popular with Medieval nobles. Castle walls were generally about fifteen to twenty feet thick and used height as a defense against scaling and mining, two of the prominent siege tactics of the time. The strength of castles depended not only on their size, but also on the relative weakness of the available siege weapons. Economics also added to the defense strength of castles, as prolonged sieges were often too expensive for Medieval feudal lords, thus insuring the near invulnerability of castle defenses.

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A Special Editorial

The Crucible of Silver

by Noted Rail and Oil Party Cantidate Katie-Harrison Gargoyle

I would be presumptuous, indeed, to present myself against the distinguished gentlemen to whom you have listened if this were a mere measuring of abilities; but this is not a contest between persons. The humblest Robber Barron in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the farmers of error. I come to speak to you in defence of a cause as holy as the cause of liberty — the cause of The Gold Standard.

In 1904, the white men of this Nation will select our next President, and it is on this occasion that I must offer forth grave warning of the desolation which shall be brought about if that Pugilistic Poacher Mr. Roosevelt of New York is once again to have power thrust so ignobly upon him.

Nay! Let not America melt herself into the Crucible of Silver! We shall not abandon the Gold Standard which has brought about so noble a Nation from such a verdant land, which the savage Red Man had let go to waste.

Must the Rail Road Tycoons who unite our cities with their endless lines, and the Oil Barons who fuel our great Mother Industry be made to suffer at the whims of those idle and wretched dirt farmers in the West, who out of jealousy, seek to destroy the Bankers and Barons of the prosperous East with its wealth that Providence has provided?

These dirt farming vagabonds desire a devaluation of the dollar so as so escape the interest payments on their loans. I suppose that they must hold to the belief that Bankers need to feed their children’s hungry mouths.
Perhaps these farmers sought out loans only so that they could strike against the industrious Bankers, Oilmen and Railroaders of the East, so as to destroy Mother America, leading our proud Nation into the depths of filthy poverty, moral decay and wretched abasement.

My friends, we declare that this Nation’s Industrialists are able to legislate for their own people on every question, without waiting for the aid or consent of any other class, especially the working classes who are indeed drowned in sinful poverty. It is the issue of 1776 over again. Our ancestors, when but three millions in number had the courage to declare their political domination over the poor of the earth. Are we, their descendants, when we have grown to two hundred and seventy millions, going to declare that we are less independent than our forefathers?

No, my friends, that will never be the verdict of our Nation’s great Industrial Plutocrats. Therefore, we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If they dare to come out in the open field and defend this so called working-classism as a good thing, we will fight them to the uttermost. Having behind us the Wealthy and Mustachioed Autocratic Rulers of this Nation and the world, supported by the Commercial interests, the Rail Road interests and the Bankers everywhere, we will answer their demand for this currency devaluation by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of the Industry this crown of thorns, you shall not melt America in this crucible of silver.

So, let us put forth our support of the Gold Standard and waive that banner aloft. Vote for the Rail and Oil Party, the party of the true American.