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Peacemaker

Last Saturday afternoon, a friend had a last-minute schedule change and needed to use my incall at the same time as I had promised to sit a different friend’s dog.  So I decided to take the dog to the bark park a few blocks from here, but when I arrived, I found two groups of people at the gate, arguing with one another.  Apparently one person’s dog had become aggressive with the other person’s dog and in the process of trying to break them up one of them had gotten very slightly bitten (no blood) and was freaking out about it.  Each of them had another person on their side and what I heard when I arrived was a lot of childish, pompous Seattle behavior.  I let my friend’s dog loose to run and was about to walk away until I heard the woman who had been scratched saying, “I was assaulted and I’m calling the police”.  At that point, I stopped being quiet; I told them I had no idea who was at fault, or if both were, and I didn’t care, but there was no way I was going to put up wih anybody calling the fucking cops (yes, that was the exact phrase I used).  The woman whined that she had been assaulted and that SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE because what if she came there again and the guy she was arguing with was there?  I replied, “Then you both act like civilized adults, say quietly to yourself ‘there’s that asshole again’, and go to a different part of the park.”  Naturally her opponent now thought I was on his side, so I quickly smacked down that notion and said, “Do I really have to be the kindergarten teacher and break up this playground foolishness?”  When the woman brought up the cops again, I asked, “Do you really believe this situation would be helped by calling in a bunch of thugs whose idea of ‘helping’ is to tase a few of y’all and then shoot some dogs while they’re at it?”  That seemed to do the trick, and after a little more mediation on my part the woman & her boyfriend left and the other dude went and sat on a bench.  The reason I’m telling this story is: reminding people that the cops are violent, unpredictable thugs who make things worse actually stopped a ninny from calling them.  Remember that next time you hear someone threatening to do the same; I get that most of y’all are hesitant to intervene in a quarrel between strangers, and I usually would be as well.  But it’s that attitude which results in cops showing up to tase, beat, gas or even murder people over noise complaints or other mundane tiffs bystanders could easily have handled without violence.

In the News (#986)

The truth is, what affects sex workers eventually affects everyone.  –  Cora Harrington

The Public Eye

The more sex workers write and speak in public, the harder it will be to ignore us:

…Thierry Schaffauser…[is a] French social activist, sex worker, adult actor, and writer advocating for sex workers’ rights and the destigmatization of the industry.  As a stigmatized industry, sex work is still misunderstood today, especially within politics…sex workers are still being exploited, while the government contributes to this exploitation instead of alleviating it.  As a key figure in the sex worker rights movement, Schaffauser is constantly working towards dismantling these issues—in nearly two decades, he has co-founded Les Putes, a Paris-based organisation defending sex workers rights…founded Hackney Pride, wrote and published a series of articles educating the general public on sex workers rights, and is now working with STRASS, the French sex workers’ union…

Checklist (#811)

Ladies, please stop using Uber.  They are training drivers to spy on us and rat us out to the pigs:

A number of Uber drivers in Baltimore took part in a[n indoctrination] designed to [brainwash them into seeing sex workers as criminals and victims]…The [propaanda was written by]…the Polaris Project, a [corporation which]…profit[s from] human trafficking [hysteria]…Among the [pretended] red flags [were] a customer asking to be dropped off at a [side] entrance…[or] trying to pay with cash…

Who the fuck tries to pay a rideshare with cash? You can’t even start an account without linking a credit card.

The Course of a Disease (#905) 

A sleazebag prohibitionist has wormed her slimy way into the Danish government:

A parliamentary focus group appointed by the previous government to assess possible reform of rights for sex workers has been disbanded…by…new Minister of Social Affairs Astrid Krag…[who] said that sex workers should not be seen as [fully human]…but…a social problem that must be [oppressed]…“We don’t want [facts] telling us how we can make [life better for sex workers]” the minister [said]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#923)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

The New Civil Liberties Alliance…sued the city of Coral Gables [Florida] on behalf Raul Mas Canosa, a motorist who was tracked by the city’s cameras…Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Abby Cynamon rejected the city’s attempt to have the…lawsuit thrown out on the grounds that motorists have no expectation of privacy.  The city also argued that because Canosa [has not yet been thrown in a cage or gunned down in the street by government thugs]…he has not been harmed.  “This court finds that there is…nothing abstract, conjectural or ephemeral about the claim since the city has and continues to collect such information about the plaintiff’s vehicle.”  Coral Gables [brags that it is] the “statewide leader” in the use of [universal surveillance]…having taken 30 million license plate photos last year alone.  Those photos are converted into searchable database entries that track the time, date, identity and location for all vehicles passing through one of the city’s thirty camera-equipped roads and intersections — including Interstate 95.  This movement history is then made available to eighty different state, federal and local agencies.  Coral Gables began using the cameras in 2015 after [politicians] cut a [fascist] deal with Safeware and Vigilant Solutions…

Blunt Instrument (#930)

It’s great to see Asian sex workers fighting back against the racist “sex trafficking” narrative:

…the idea that…Asian massage parlors are bastions of sex trafficking has come not only from [pigs and politicians]…but also some of the hundreds of [highly] profit[able] organizations devoted to combatting [sex work]…but…[representatives from Red Canary Song]…said…”No one’s locked in…People can leave these establishments.  They…can just not come back to work the next day, you know?…We’re not sex slaves and nobody I’ve talked or worked with is a sex slave by any means…they’re in it for the money and they make more money doing this than working in a restaurant washing dishes or in a dry cleaners folding laundry”…

Disaster (#940)

Does any media outlet other than local news fail to recognize what a disaster FOSTA is?

…Many digital platforms…have altered their terms of service…to fall in line with FOSTA/SESTA…[which was] marketed to voters as anti-trafficking…this…has resulted in companies…feeling pressured to censor content and remove sex workers from their platforms… putting…[them] in further danger by limiting online resources, and [also] pos[ing] a threat to the freedom of expression online…Sex workers are most at risk of having their livelihood and lives threatened, but anyone having any conversations related to sex and sexuality, or perceived as being related to sex and sexuality, are likely to be marginalized and excluded from platforms that are necessary to modern-day marketing and advertising…

To Molest and Rape (#941)

Your government calls this “border protection”:

An immigration agent threatened a Honduran woman living in Connecticut with deportation if she didn’t [submit to rape]…then raped her as often as four times a week for seven years, impregnating her three times…The woman, identified in the lawsuit only as Jane Doe, sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and [typical and representative] ICE agent Wilfredo Rodriguez…seeking $10 million in damages…Rodriguez…also…constantly…threaten[ed] to kill her and her family…

As usual, the government is hiding pictures of the rapist so other women can’t protect themselves against him.  So until I get a picture of the actual rapist, I’m using this picture of the man officially responsible for his actions: his boss, the head of ICE.

Between the Ears (#966)

Any internet-connected device can be used to spy on you:

…if you have any of a variety of “smart beds,” mattress pads or sleep apps, it knows when you go to sleep.  It knows when you toss and turn.  It may even be able to tell when you’re having sex…The Sleep Number bed is one of the most heavily marketed of such products…The company [pretends] it goes to great lengths to protect its customers’ data…[but] the company’s privacy notice, which clearly states that personal information — potentially including biometric data — “may” be shared with marketing companies or business partners [or pigs, if they demand it]…The policy also says personal information could be given to partners for “research, analysis or administering surveys”…

The Rest is Silence

The coroner knows full well there’s only one likely cause for a broken hyoid bone:

A forensic pathologist hired by Jeffrey Epstein’s brother said…evidence suggested that Mr. Epstein did not die by suicide, but may have been strangled…Dr. Michael Baden…said…Epstein…experienced a number of injuries — among them a broken hyoid bone — that “are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation…the evidence points to homicide rather than suicide…I’ve not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case.”  The findings by Dr. Baden were [conveniently] disputed by the city’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Barbara Sampson, who previously ruled that…Epstein’s death…was a suicide…

The Grand Illusion

There is not and in fact cannot be any such thing as “legitimate” authority, whether that authority is chosen by elections, lots, birth, examining goat entrails, or pulling swords out of lakes.  –  “Illegitimate

One of the major themes of The Grand Illusion (1937) is that class differences are more powerful and enduring than national boundaries, so the ruling classes on the two sides of any given war have more in common with one another than they do with the people they rule.  This has been true at least since the Middle Ages, and possibly much longer; in the present day it is more true than it ever has been, both within any given country and across national boundaries.  Posturing politicians pretend to be the sworn enemies of other politicians, only to play kissy-face with one another when they don’t realize there’s a camera around.  They claim to be the champions of “the people”, but in actuality those “people” are no more than a source of power to them, as interchangeable, expendable and disposable as lumps of coal thrown into a furnace.  And while the conflict between politicians of different parties may be real, it is not the conflct of a life-or-death struggle as they pretend (and their followers believe), but the conflict of two friends playing a game or arguing over which fast-food restaurant makes the best cheeseburger.  Two of the contenders in the next US presidential election changed political parties after middle-age (ie, well after their actual beliefs, rather than their publicly-claimed ones, were set in stone) in order to further their ambitions, but you’d barely know it by the fanatical chanting of their fans and their attempts to out-Herod Herod.  And if you’d like to destroy your belief that US parties actually have any kind of solid basis in ideology, just take a look at the avowed positions of the two contenders from the last presidential election and compare them with both their actual actions in political office and the supposed political “wing” of the parties they represented.  And yet I’ve seen friends argue heatedly and even become estranged over their loyalties to these opportunistic sociopaths; a message board I used to frequent completely imploded over name-calling (“libtards”, “RepubliKKKans”, etc) and other ugly, childish behavior during the 2008 election.  No matter what natural affiliations one might expect a politician to have due to race, sex, religion, economic background, or any other characteristic, those all become casualties of the quest for power.  You know which countries are the largest exporters of surveillance and other military and police technologies used by brutal governments to suppress their people?  China, Israel and the United States.  And none of them is especially concerned whether their customers claim to be communist, anti-Semitic, democratic or anything else, because in actuality, they’re all on the same side:  the side of the power elite.  And until the masses discard both their cherished belief in god-king “leaders” who will save them, protect them and care for them, and their ugly, primitive lust for power over other humans, that power elite will continue regarding them as livestock to herd, shear and slaughter as they see fit.

Diary #488

What a lovely birthday week I had!  My friends and readers showered me with gifts; Grace got me this deluxe heated cushion for my writing chair (which is like a little slice of heaven); it also has a vibrate function!  Jae unveiled the curtain project she’s been working on, which included my old sheer bedcurtains from New Orleans; I was too sentimental to let go of them, so she cleverly incorporated them into my new home.  Daedalus gave me this multi-disc set of Beatles rarities, and another of my gents sent me a case of my favorite tea AND a lovely sweater dress!  One of my readers sent me a silver coin with an interesting design, and the ladies who use my incall got me boxes and boxes of supplies.  On Tuesday I met Grace, Chekhov and Jae in Olympia for dinner, then on Wednesday night I had just a small all-whore party (which, as anyone in the know can tell you, are the best parties).  Then on my birthday itself I had a little Doctor Who night with Lorelei.  I also hear that of her gentlemen is sending me something as well, which is pretty damned sweet of him!  And I’ll show it to you (with the sweater dress) next week!

Links #487

Stop resisting!  –  Zach Christensen

As usual, the best Halloween videos arrive too late to be featured before Halloween, but I think you’ll enjoy this one (provided by Franklin Harris) anyway, especially if you forgot that a lot of Ray Bradbury’s early work was horror.  The inks above it were contributed by Kevin Wilson, Clarissa, Cop Crisis, Elizabeth N. Brown, Popehat, and Cop Crisis again, in that order.

From the Archives

In the News (#985)

Surveillance technology…rivals nuclear weapons in the threat that it poses to the future of humanity.  –  Evan Greer and Tom Morello

Droit du Seigneur

Though pimps are not common, a disproportionate number of the ones who do exist are cops:

A [typical and representative] vice [pig] convicted of offering to [pimp] a [sow sxually role-playing a sex worker got away with a slap on the wrist and]…will serve [a mere] 90 days in jail [instead of being charged with “sex trafficking” as a non-cop would have been].  David Moss…of Lehi [Utah], was …[given a cushy] plea deal…to [avoid rape charges as well]…and [merely] plead guilty to patronizing a prostitute…

Under Every Bed

Population 13,255.  Seriously:

Drivers on westbound Highway 17 heading from Sudbury toward the Manitoulin turn-off will notice a new billboard between Nairn Centre and McKerrow that describes a Canadian law with a frank statement: “Buying sex is a crime.”  It’s a part of a [scam] by [prohibitionists]…to [profit from] human trafficking [hysteria]…”if there’s no demand then we won’t have the supply,” said [economic ignoramus] Natasha Falle, [who also vomited up a lot of ridiculous nonsense about]…13…years old…“These highways are part of a circuit in prostitution.  Highway 17 is a part of that because it’s so close to Sudbury.  If a trafficker is moving cross-country, they might make a pit stop on Manitoulin…we’re [hoping our billboard scares them away, like a scarecrow]”…

I honestly have to wonder sometimes what these ninnies’ fantasies about our lives actually look like in their narrow, frightened little monkey-brains.

The Rape Question (#895) 

Tech geeks create a “consent app” that is not only useless, but dangerous:

Stating that applications such as Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge provide too many options with reduced quality of interaction, the dating app Loly, soon to be available on iOS and Android, aims to “disrupt the online dating industry”…Loly removes human inter[ac]tion from the equation and instead relies on a patent-pending Heat Index to take control…generating a recommendation for suitable partners.  After connecting, users can then confirm each other’s identities through the in-built video call feature, allowing potential partners to ensure that they each match their profile pictures…All data are then encrypted and stored separately, meaning that the sexual preferences and personal information of users [supposedly] cannot be connected [until the pigs demand it]…When using Loly to meet partners for sexual encounters, users must first confirm they consent by selecting the option on the app and at the end of the exchange, they must again confirm that they consented.  If both users choose to use this option, the app can listen in during the sexual encounter and will respond to the use of safewords.  If triggered through voicing pre-registered safewords, the app will initially place a fake call from the app to the user’s mobile phone.  If there is no response on the app, the police will be automatically contacted [so they can smash down the door and murder both partners]…The practicality of this app response is…questionable…

The Prudish Giant (#897) 

Facebook is trying to become one of the cornerstones of modern fascism:

…The Bay Area has long been a sandbox for technology giants who are no longer merely occupying communities, but building and reshaping them.  In Menlo Park, an affluent, mostly white city of 35,000, Facebook…[funds] a police unit…to patrol the area surrounding its campus.  The bill comes in at over $2 million annually—big money in a small city.  This [increasingly typical] relationship has highlighted issues of policing ethics…“You create a danger when you have public servants being privately funded,” [said] J.T. Faraji, an East Palo Alto resident and founder of the activist group Real Community Coalition…

Hard Numbers (#912)

Another Australian state moves toward decriminalization:

Queensland has withdrawn draft laws from State parliament which would have increased police powers, shifted police and licensing authority coverage from brothels to anywhere sex work takes place, and allowed police to covertly film sex workers…police…in Queensland ha[ve used]…”entrapment-style tactics to pressure sex workers into offering blacklisted services“.  The proposed laws would have afforded the police additional powers to enter, search, film and [steal sex workers’] property…Sex workers continue to campaign for this process to lead to decriminalisation of sex work in Queensland in line with the government’s [claimed] commitment to repeal the current laws and decriminalise sex work…

A Broker in Pillage (#937)

Nobody will be safe until this odious, contemptible practice is recognized as unconstitutional:

Thanks to chronic abuse…by…police…the days may be numbered for South Carolina’s forfeiture system that allows cops to [steal]…cash and property of the people they arrest…Circuit Judge Steven H. John has ruled that the South Carolina’s civil asset forfeiture regulations violate the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the citizens.  Civil asset forfeiture…allows police and prosecutors to declare that any money or property owned by a [target] is “connected” to a crime…and…[steal] it for themselves.  And because this is a civil process, [they]…can do this without having to convict anybody…and [the victims]…have to fund their own lawyers…Local newspapers in South Carolina…discovered police agencies across the state had seized more than $17 million in assets across [only] three years…South Carolina [politicians are working on]…a bill which would…eliminate…civil forfeiture entirely…If it passes, South Carolina would join New Mexico, Nebraska, and North Carolina in completely eliminating [the vile practice]…

Across the Pond (#958)

Redbridge has a history of harassing sex workers while belching up stupid “crime” rhetoric:

After…police [pogroms against] street prostitution in Ilford, hundreds of flyers advertising the sex workers’ services have been dumped on the streets in recent weeks…[prudes vomited up a lot of nonsense about sex rays, “objectification”, and THE CHILDREN™!] and…Redbridge Council [bloviated a lot of idiotic nonsense while pledging to continue its pathetic, useless game of]…whack-a-mole…The council also said it is exploring legal ways of “going after” printing businesses who make the call cards [even though there are plenty of card-printing businesses on the internet, safely out of the reach of censorious ninnies]…

Only the mind of a prohibitionist could be so narrow and stupid as to fail to comprehend that people have bills to pay, so if violent thugs keep businesspeople from advertising their services in one manner, they will find another.

Dangerous Speech (#974)

The government keeps flagrantly hiding information in the Backpage case:

…Ariel Neuman, an attorney for one of Lacey and Larkin’s co-defendants, asserts that prosecutors falsely summarized evidence and misled the grand jury by omitting or excising exculpatory material.  Worse still, prosecutors poured gasoline on the pyre by “falsely, repeatedly and irrelevantly” alleging that the defendants “engaged in child sex trafficking and knowingly published ads for sex with underage children,” though the government did not charge the defendants with…sex trafficking…[only] facilitating prostitution…Neuman writes…”These are not minor details that the government got wrong; these are explosive allegations that had no place in the Indictment or in the presentation to the grand jury.  These are the types of allegations that can overwhelm reason…and lead to decisions out of anger and disgust, regardless of what else is presented.  The government’s conduct…warrants dismissal of the Indictment“…

Pyrrhic Victory (#976) 

All too often, evil arrives cloaked in the mantle of expediency:

Imagine showing up at a…concert and being required to stand in front of a device that scans and analyzes your face…a computer algorithm could then decide that you…look “suspicious” and should be flagged for additional screening…facial recognition…could…be used to track the minute details of your movements once inside.  Face scanning software could be used to police behavior — constantly scanning the crowd for drug use or rule-breaking…organizers [w]ould be forced to hand this trove of sensitive biometric data over to [pigs and spooks so they]…could pull people out of the crowd because they have an outstanding warrant…Industry giants like Ticketmaster invested money in companies like Blink Identity…who…marketed [the tech] as a convenient ticketing option to concertgoers.  But…artists and fans waged a grassroots war to stop Orwellian surveillance technology from invading live music events…Our campaign pushed more than 40 of the world’s largest music festivals — like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and SXSW — to go on the record and state clearly that they have no plans to use facial recognition technology at their events.  Facing backlash, Ticketmaster all but threw Blink Identity under the bus, distancing itself from the surveillance startup it boasted about partnering with just a year ago.  This…is the first major blow to the spread of commercial facial recognition in the United States…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#982)

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag:

Police in a New Jersey town are [trying to spread hysteria]…after a substance [they claim they] believed to be heroin was found in a local child’s haul of candy from a recent Halloween event…[cops pretend] the substance was…given to the child at [one of those castrated] Trunk or Treat event[s]…police [used the non-incident as an excuse to vomit “if you see something, say something” all over children’s holiday fun]…

“Believed to be heroin”.  You know, just like cops routinely arrest people for things they “believe to be” drugs which turn out to be things like tea leaves, cotton candy, donut glaze, and even bird poop.

To Molest and Rape (#984)

Cops show you what they are every day; why don’t you believe them?

A [typical and representative] Livingston Parish [Louisiana cop] and his wife, a…school teacher, have been arrested and accused of child rape and the production of child pornography…photos…show the two suspects nude with an unclothed child [an actual child, under 13]…Dennis…and Cynthia Perkins…were arrested Wednesday, Oct. 23…Dennis Perkins…[who] was [a member of] the…SWAT [gang] is also charged with obstruction of justice after…[he] toss[ed] his cell phone into a river [when his fellow pigs arrived to arrest him]…

Long-time readers know that I’m scornful of the notion that greatly-extended human lifespans would be a boon, and every year on this day – the Day of the Dead – I write about the goodness and inevitability of death.  But this year I thought to myself: what would a society of near-immortals look like?  And how would creatures who were essentially immortal (unless killed by mischance) face the prospect of impending death?

When both I and the world were much younger, I believed I would know when I had become old; I thought there would be some clear line of demarcation, at least as obvious as rooting, and that when I crossed it I would be able to say, “Now I am no longer young”.  But though the differences between unrooted youth and rooted adult are obvious, the difference between relatively young adults and old adults are not so at all.  We slowly grow larger, and wiser, and less active, and communicate more slowly and deliberately.  But at every point in my long, long life when I have considered the issue, there were some adults in the community who were younger than I, and others older; and though I can now definitively state “I am very old” without fear of contradiction, I cannot tell you at which point in my many millions of years I crossed over into that territory.

If I were pressed to choose such a line, I reckon it would have to be when I awoke from my first hibernation.  The young are far too busy and energetic for such pastimes; they have so much to see and do and learn and think about, so many worlds to explore, so many mysteries to solve and wonders to marvel at, that the notion of spending a few thousand years asleep is quite beyond their comprehension.  Moreover, it isn’t even possible to enter such a state without putting down roots, and few who do that ever get around to pulling them up again without mighty provocation.  And yet there is no set age at which one must root, nor any determinate length before hibernation; I’ve awoken to find individuals who were not yet sprouted when I fell asleep securely rooted within sensory range when I again became conscious, and heard news of others from my own season who were still flitting about the cosmos long after I had settled down to spawn.  And while I took my first hibernation some fifty thousand years after rooting, I’ve known others to go for hundreds of thousands before seeking the peace of slumber.  But when one awakens from that first deep, long sleep, one soon finds oneself the center of attention, pressed on all sides by eager, yet reverent queries from young ones enthralled by the miracle of actually being able to converse with a time-traveler just arrived from an epoch before they even existed.  Sometimes they actually want to touch, reaching out their tendrils in awe as if they could absorb the knowledge of a bygone era by osmosis.  And that experience of being a stranger in one’s own community, of being treated like a living oracle, like a weird visitor back from the underworld with divine wisdom to share…that, I think, is the experience which defines the old.

I remember the first time I as a green youth conversed with such an individual, one of the very first settlers on this world, who arrived so long ago the gentle hills to the south of that land had then been a jagged range of mighty crags, appealing to the romantic sense of a youngster who had journeyed across vast gulfs of space and visited hundreds of worlds in search of just such a wild, beautiful place to settle.  I listened almost in disbelief as we were told that at that time there was a clear demarcation of night and day, and the myriad stars were clearly visible in the sky when the world had turned so that the then-younger sun no longer was.  I was frightened by the depth of the abysses this most ancient of elders had crossed; I myself had always been a homebody, content with the occasional short foray out into space, never going far enough that my native sun was not clearly larger and brighter than the other stars.  And so, perhaps foolishly, I used the narrative as justification for my decision to remain on this world, to root and spawn here and never face the dangers of the vast unknown which swallows up so many wanderers before they find a place to call home.  If this world was so beautiful and clement that it had won the loyalty of so courageous an explorer, so perfect that it stood out among multitudes, what were the chances I would find its like before being lost forever or destroyed by one of the countless dangers of deep space?  Very low, I thought, and so I lingered there, learning all I could from that elder and many others, conversing with visitors and reaching outward with my mind to hear the faint songs of other spheres echoing against our shores from across the fathomless void.  Eventually my teacher passed again into hibernation, and I set out to find the perfect spot in which to spend the rest of my years.

I was not in a hurry; I flew slowly from pole to pole, lazily taking in the terrain below, until at long last I had returned to the place where the ancient one slept.  And then I carefully considered my observations, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each memorable locale, until I at last decided upon the one in which I still reside all these long ages later.  At that time I was alone here, and the nearest other was at the outer limit of comfortable communication; all who reside in the area now are my descendants, except for a few who settled from elsewhere.  I have hibernated so many times I long ago lost count; after one of those, perhaps thirty or forty million years ago, I awoke to the news that my ancient teacher was gone, drowned mercifully in sleep when that land had been swallowed up by the sea in a mighty earthquake.  Some say that I am now the eldest resident of this world, and I can well believe that is so; it has been a very long time since I conversed with anyone who can recall the time before I rooted, nor even received word of any others of my season who still reside elsewhere.  Even beings as long-lived as ourselves must eventually succumb to misfortune as my teacher did; given long enough, even the most unlikely event becomes a certainty.  And though my aversion to risk has kept me alive far longer than most, my time also must come at last.

I do not believe it will be a great deal longer; though worlds and suns are considerably longer-lived than we, they too must eventually perish in the fullness of time.  The conditions on this once-perfect world are no longer what they were; it has grown distinctly hotter and drier, and my raiment, matching the sun, is far redder than the images in my oldest recollections.  The population has aged remarkably, and no young have sprouted here in a very long time; the only mobile individuals are the occasional visitors from elsewhere, and even many of the younger adults have undertaken the monumental task of de-rooting and shedding enough mass to undertake the migration to some younger orb.  But I shall not be joining them; I am far too tired, far too massive, and far too feeble to even contemplate such a tremendous effort, and my roots are so inextricably intertwined with the soil not even I can guess how far they go.  I sprouted on this world, and came of age here, and spawned here, and grew old along with it, and I am content to perish with it as well; as the songs and stories and teachings of the ancient one have lived in me far beyond the physical existence of their source, so will mine live on in countless students long after I myself am gone.  At long last I will explore the great unknown I have shunned since my youth; after ages of daylight and an eon of twilight, I am no longer afraid to face the dark.