Gotham

     It is sometime between coffee and lunch when I nearly cut my left index finger off with the molten edge of the cutting wheel. Standing there, on the gallery of the Gotham City Police precinct set, I peer into the dark hole in my work glove and for a moment my legs nearly give out as I see nothing but crimson and feel nothing but pain. My impatient task master, Hoaung – introduced to me as Juan and who I assumed was a Latino until a closer observation of his stocky features moved the pin to a different part of the globe entirely – is waiting for me to continue, as if losing the tip of a finger is no reason to delay production. I steady myself against the metal railing we are welding. My co-worker Gary, a little too eager to show Hoaung he is not intimidated by metalwork, urges me to see the medic. Continue reading

Heat Death

About twenty years ago I was granted an old boyhood wish when my father-in-law, purging his closet, offered me his Astroscan telescope. It was manufactured by the Edmund Scientific Company, and as a boy in the late 1960’s and early 70’s, I used to covet their catalog. Although their primary focus was all things optical, they also offered such irresistible nerd-bait as parabolic spy microphones, gyroscopes, solar cigarette lighters, black lights, one-way mirrors, and surplus gear from WW II. The Astroscan quickly became one of Edmund’s iconic products. It’s a stubby, fat little thing, a shiny red plastic reflector scope with a simple ball-in-socket design. The spherical base at the bottom of the tube freely swivels in an aluminum cradle. It was designed for portability — sling it over your back, or toss it in the backseat of your car, plop the base down on any surface, and you’re in business. Continue reading