Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Last Wimbledon

July 7th, 2007

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The Announcement

A note from the AH: Here we are at the luckiest day of the century - 7th day of the 7th month of the 7th year – so, I'm buying a lottery ticket! I sincerely hope that good luck follows you today, and that our humble offerings are part of it...

Andrea opened up a web browser to her favorite Internet radio station so that she could have some tunes while she worked. Better enjoy it while it lasts, she thought, mentally cursing the new laws that were going to doom this little spark of enjoyment. She had finally found a great oldies station, and it was going to go out of business. Typical.
After the music started playing, she went back to her word processor and looked through her notes. She felt nervous – she was one of two people at the meeting who weren't heavy politicians, and the other person was the actual discoverer of the probe. She had just led the team that confirmed its location and intercept course with earth. She pretty much knew that all the pols wanted to hear from her was a date and a time that the thing would be getting to earth, but she wanted to say so much more. She had dreamed of this happening since she had first read Stranger in a Strange Land when she was 12, and it's hard to encapsulate your feelings on achieving the goal of a lifetime in a dry, technical report.
She tried to tone that down, though. She included some speculation on the possible inhabitants of Wolf 359 3 million years ago because she couldn't help herself. She imagined them being much like the human race now, taking the first few steps out into the universe by sending mechanical probes to test the waters of the cosmos – no, scratch that, that was too “poetic”, and they didn't want to hear that. It was entirely possible that 3 million years ago, Wolf 359 was a system much like their own, and the inhabitants of the system – they were going to have to come up with a name for them. Lupines? 359ians was definitely out. Just plain Wolves?
Anyway, the inhabitants had obviously sent out probes much like we sent out Voyager. The only question was whether the Lupine probe – yes, she liked that name best – was sent out at the beginning or the end of their explorations. She speculated that after 3 million years, there was no possibility that the people who sent the probe were still there – this was probably the last record of their civilization. That saddened her. First contact, and they're probably all dead.
She then went into the technical details of slowing the thing down without destroying it, matching speeds with the shuttle before it could descend into the atmosphere, and the heavy quarantine that she wanted to place it under. Her recommendation was to keep it at the International Space Station, but she had already been told that it would be coming to earth. In her opinion, as well as the opinion of everyone else on her team, that was needlessly reckless; scientists could be flown up to the ISS and kept there indefinitely while they worked on the probe and were monitored for any signs of alien disease or contamination.
The bigwigs at all the space agencies wanted this “big win” to appear on earth, though, and they were the ones who called the shots. So, she had to present a quarantine protocol along with her ISS recommendation that allowed for bringing the probe to earth with minimum possibility of polluting the planet with alien taint. She had that almost worked out, although she wished there was a way to catch the thing without involving the shuttle's crew. No matter what, they were going to have to be quarantined, as well, and she was going to stand very firm on that.

In 1999, the networks ran installment eight of TSEotTC, part two. The conspiracy after the drama after the tears... The Queen reluctant to address the nation, a suspicion that British Secret Agents had done away with the Prince of Hearts to save the monarchy from the changes of Charles' new thinking. And Diana, perhaps carrying Dodi's baby, father Mohammed Al-Fayd implicated in the "Accident"?

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 5708, by the Hebrew Calendar the Jewish nation suffered the Israeli Catastrophe. The events occurred less than three years after the end of the holocaust, and many observed some measure of linkage in the events.

Following the collapse of the short-lived State of Israel, the United Nations definition of an "Israeli refugee" is a person "whose normal place of residence was Israel between 14th May 1948 and 7th July 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict." "UNRWA's definition of a refugee also covers the descendants of persons who became refugees in 1948" regardless of whether they reside in areas designated as "refugee camps" or in established, permanent communities.

Also amongst the dead were Field Marshal T.E. Lawrence leading his second Arab revolt, assisted by the Arab Legion and General John Bagot Glubb (“Glubb Pasha”).

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

James Molyneaux"Does the Prime Minister recall that Britain was in a minority of one in the Europe of 1940? Does she further agree that, 50 years on, the basic issue is still the same-- undiluted parliamentary democracy and not imposed diktat? "
~ MP for Lagan at PM's Question Time
James Molyneaux - MP
Before the gathering of right-wing forces in Britain took shape, taking the country out of the European Union in 1992 after the fiery Maastrict Conference and the collapse of the Exchange Rate Mechanism. A synopsis of Britain's struggle to stay in or out of Europe is described at Wikipedia
~ quotation by Co-Historian Steve Payne from Counter-history – You're the Judge!

Sam Cooke"It's been too hard living
But I'm afraid to die
I don't know what's up there beyond the sky
It's been a long, long time coming
But I know a change gonna come
Oh yes it will"
~ King of Soul, weeks before his death
Sam Cooke - King of Soul
King of Soul
On December 11, 1964 Cooke was found shot dead in the Hacienda Hotel, a small place close to the Watts section of Los Angeles California. The police reports that came from the crime scene were ugly. Cooke was reported to be found lying slumped on the floor with bullet wounds all over his body, shot by the Motel Manager in self-defence. The decapitated state of the body as witnessed by singer Etta James ridicules the LAPD explanation.

It has been alleged that the record label and the Mob conspired to execute Cooke. In being one of the first African American musicians to attempt to take control of his own destiny, Cooke attended to the business side of his musical career and in so doing clashed with the rocket label, the mob and the Nation of Islam. He had abandoned his backers and some shadowy people were severely out of pocket.

Many may dispute his title as "the king of soul" but Sam Cooke's legacy is an extensive one and his impact on soul music is undeniable - he had 29 Top 40 hits in the U.S. between 1957 and 1965 and his voice electrifies us to this day. A synopsis of Sam Cooke's alleged mob execution is described at Epinions
~ quotation by Co-Historian Steve Payne from Counter-history – You're the Judge!

In 2010, the US military celebrate the destruction of the small pox virus weapons launched by the rogue North Korean leadership. It is a personal success for General Ben Crewe of the U.S. Marines. Crewe and his scientist daughter Carol had concealed the project from Congressional oversight, secretly channelling research grants in an illegal funding operation. They had also concealed the military application from Carol's husband, the Head of HARC, Physicist Mike Ryder. Worse, HARC was a contravention of the ABM Treaty. None of that mattered now, or so everyone thought until the Aftershock hit.

~ variant from Steve Payne: extensive use of original content has been made to celebrate the author's genius.

In 1940, the vicious street fighting of the past fortnight finally ceased across London. Whitehall was seized by the Wehrmacht. Prime Minister Winston Churchill went down pistols blazing, his ashes scattered in the garden at Number 10 Downing Street. The Battle of Britain was lost, but the War on Nazidom was only just beginning. It was Britain's finest hour.

~ entry from Co-Historian Steve Payne

In 1967, an enraged Otis Redding appeared at Jerry Wexler's office at Atlantic Records. Wexler had been named Record Executive of the Year for turning Aretha Franklin's career around. And therein lie the problem - "Otis came up to my office right before "Respect" was released, and I played him the tape. He said, "She done took my song." He said it angrily. He knew the identity of the song was slipping away from him to her."

~ entry from Co-Historian Steve Payne

In 1942, Winston Churchill visited London Town. It was intended that he would support the Dublin Government with a statement denouncing the protestant terrorists behind “the Troubles” in Southern England. However, he had underestimated the emotion of the occasion as tens of thousands of English protestants lined the Streets ..
.. to welcome the “Lion of Brooklyn”. Something has to be done muttered Churchill darkly.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1996, the Harry Turtledove published the counter-history novel Israel: a tale of an Alternate Palestine in which he posed the Zionist Question – what would have happened if the withdrawing British forces had partitioned Palestine in 1948 rather than instituted a Palestinian State?Harry Turtledove
Harry Turtledov..

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1946, on this day Howard Hughes died when his XF-11 spy plane prototype crashed in a Beverly Hills neighbourhood. An oil leak caused one of the counter-rotating propellers to reverse its pitch, making the plane yaw sharply. Hughes tried to save the craft by landing it on the Los Angeles Country Club golf course, but seconds ..
.. before he reached his attempted destination the plane started dropping dramatically and crashed in the Beverly Hills neighbourhood surrounding the country club. When the plane finally skidded to a halt after mowing down three houses, the fuel tanks exploded, setting fire to the plane and a nearby home. Hughes lay dying beside the burning air plane where he was found by Marine master sergeant William L. Durkin, who happened to be in the area visiting friends. Hughes had suffered a dislodged heart, crushed collar bone, six shattered ribs and numerous third-degree burns making his survival impossible.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1975, on this day Arthur Ashe celebrated the achievement of becoming the first black man to win the Wimbledon singles title. Tragically, he died of complications from AIDS on February 6, 1993. In the eight years between the deaths of Rock Hudson and Arthur Ashe, the need for awareness had progressed from a low level concern .. Venus Williams
Venus Williams
.. to a species threatening catastrophe. By coincidence, another black athlete, Venus Williams was to win the Wimbledon singles title in 2001. That was the last year in which the sporting event was feasible as western civilization succumbed to the AIDS Pandemic.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

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