What’s beautiful now?
Reds, pinks, purples, and everything in between. The hibiscus blooming in the Perennial Garden and Home Gardening Center are certainly the stand-outs—they’re as big as cereal bowls and impossible to overlook. Pink and purple astilbe balance them out. And alongside, you might run into the hybrid ‘Black Beauty’ lilies, which aren’t actually black by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re not about to throw a fit over the misnomer.
Speaking of misnomers, that puff of purple strings there is known as Liatris—cultivar ‘Kobold’. Depending on your understanding of the mythological creature, that can either refer to a friendly, gnome-like creature, or a mine-dwelling horror. But judging by the playful color and texture, I’m leaning toward the former as inspiration.
You’ll find the dainty pink crape myrtle flaunting what its got along the Ladies’ Border, right next door to the Perennial Garden. Of course, these are just a handful of lookers. Finding the rest on idle walks is half the fun. —MN
DM: Out of the backpack pops a Kolbold holding a brain in a jar.
Me: Is the kobold’s name Pinky?
DM: No, but it is now!
And now you know…
The real “Lone Ranger,” it turns out, was an African American man named Bass Reeves, who the legend was based upon. Perhaps not surprisingly, many aspects of his life were written out of the story, including his ethnicity. The basics remained the same: a lawman hunting bad guys, accompanied by a Native American, riding on a white horse, and with a silver trademark.
Historians of the American West have also, until recently, ignored the fact that this man was African American, a free black man who headed West to find himself less subject to the racist structure of the established Eastern and Southern states.
While historians have largely overlooked Reeves, there have been a few notable works on him. Vaunda Michaux Nelson’s book, Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal, won the 2010 Coretta Scott King Award for best author. Arthur Burton released an overview of the man’s life a few years ago. Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves recounts that Reeves was born into a life of slavery in 1838. His slave-keeper brought him along as another personal servant when he went off to fight with the Confederate Army, during the Civil War.
Reeves took the chaos that ensued during the war to escape for freedom, after beating his “master” within an inch of his life, or according to some sources, to death. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this escape was that Reeves only beat his enslaver after the latter lost sorely at a game of cards with Reeves and attacked him.
After successfully defending himself from this attack, he knew that there was no way he would be allowed to live if he stuck around.
Reeves fled to the then Indian Territory of today’s Oklahoma and lived harmoniously among the Seminole and Creek Nations of Native American Indians.
After the Civil War finally concluded, he married and eventually fathered ten children, making his living as a Deputy U.S. Marshall in Arkansas and the Indian Territory. If this surprises you, it should, as Reeves was the first African American to ever hold such a position.
Burton explains that it was at this point that the Lone Ranger story comes into play. Reeves was described as a “master of disguises”. He used these disguises to track down wanted criminals, even adopting similar ways of dressing and mannerisms to meet and fit in with the fugitives, in order to identify them.
Reeves kept and gave out silver coins as a personal trademark of sorts, just like the Lone Ranger’s silver bullets. Of course, the recent Disney adaptation of the Lone Ranger devised a clever and meaningful explanation for the silver bullets in the classic tales. For the new Lone Ranger, the purpose was to not wantonly expend ammunition and in so doing devalue human life. But in the original series, there was never an explanation given, as this was simply something originally adapted from Reeves’ personal life and trademarking of himself. For Reeves, it had a very different meaning, he would give out the valuable coins to ingratiate himself to the people wherever he found himself working, collecting bounties. In this way, a visit from the real “Lone Ranger” meant only good fortune for the town: a criminal off the street and perhaps a lucky silver coin.
Like the Lone Ranger, Reeves was also an expert crack shot with a gun. According to legend, shooting competitions had an informal ban on allowing him to enter. Like the Lone Ranger, Reeves rode a white horse throughout almost all of his career, at one point riding a light grey one as well.
Like the famed Lone Ranger legend Reeves had his own close friend like Tonto. Reeves’ companion was a Native American posse man and tracker who he often rode with, when he was out capturing bad guys. In all, there were close to 3000 of such criminals they apprehended, making them a legendary duo in many regions.
The final proof that this legend of Bass Reeves directly inspired into the story of the Lone Ranger can be found in the fact that a large number of those criminals were sent to federal prison in Detroit. The Lone Ranger radio show originated and was broadcast to the public in 1933 on WXYZ in Detroit where the legend of Reeves was famous only two years earlier.
Of course, WXYZ and the later TV and movie adaptions weren’t about to make the Lone Ranger an African American who began his career by beating a slave-keeper to death. But now you know. Spread the word and let people know the real legend of the Lone Ranger.
okay no, but for real, this dude was a badass. he was basically the black batman of the wild west.
acording to wiki: “ Reeves brought in some of the most dangerous criminals of the time, but was never wounded, despite having his hat and belt shot off on separate occasions.”
here’s an article that details some of his career.
Q:What I don't get about transhumanism, because it mostly makes sense to me, is ending death. I can't help but see death as a natural and important part of life. If no one ever dies then there are two options, as I see it. Either, we stop reproducing and start to stagnate as a species, we stop evolving and people stop having new ideas, or we keep reproducing and quickly burn out all available resources. Plus the idea of living forever terrifies me. I'm not sure I can handle 50 more years.
Most anti-death people are less anti-death and more pro-death-choice. We totally support death being an option! (For instance, I support euthanasia, and I totally have well-thought-out reasons for this that aren’t just ableist bullshit.) It just shouldn’t be mandatory for everyone.
I almost speculated about future anti-deathist technologies and how they would cope with your scenario, but then I remembered my whole “people suck at predicting technology stop doing it” thing. But anyway I suspect that is a solvable problem because of accidents, suicide, etc.
Well, in a perfect transhuman world, there probably wouldn’t be a reason to want to die because everything is fun/interesting enough to want to see more of it. But yeah, being anti-death is mostly about making death optional, not outlawing it.
I’d also like to respond to the two options this Anon gives:
1) Making death optional doesn’t solve a host of other issues. People will still have unbearable pain, people will still be depressed, accidents probably will continue to happen. In this scenario, humans would need to be bred for replacing the fallen. Stopping to evolve isn’t something transhumanists fear, because a lot of us are convinced that we can do evolutions work ourselves and probably better. Finally, you don’t strictly need new humans to have new ideas. It’s just that most humans are horrible at changing their minds, but that’s an issue you can actually solve.
But anyway, I’ve said it before and I don’t think a future without humans reproducing is a very good future.
2) Statistics show us that an increased quality of living decreases the birth-rate. So in a “transhuman future”, most people probably wouldn’t breed like crazy. What strikes me most with this scenario is that you seem to underestimate the available resources. We’re not limited to one planet, or even one solar system.
So I’d like to propose a third scenario:
3) Humanity gets its shit together. Children are taught from a young age that being able to change your mind is a valuable skill and they are trained in how to update their beliefs based on evidence. Humans start being serious about their resources and start to innovate in how energy is produced. At the same time, experiments with space colonization are paying off. Standards of living throughout the world rise steadily. It is then that humans start becoming immortal.
Of course, that’s very pie in the sky, so here a more cynical, but still optimistic scenario:
4) Some big company figures out how to make people immortal and the same company (or another, doesn’t matter) figures out how to painlessly stop cancer. At first this miracle drug is crazy expensive, either because it’s hard to make, took long to figure out or because artificial scarcity sells units. So the 1% starts becoming immortal. Some of them probably try to take over the world (being immortal is great for your long-term plans) but those quickly discover that not aging doesn’t mean your skull can stop bullets or that a Molotov cocktail to your face doesn’t hurt like hell.
The rest of the powerful people figure out that they need to start rethinking their life. Being actually immortal means you need to care about the future of humanity and the Earth and so they start projects to make this planet and its inhabitants better (you can probably do both and still turn a profit).
Eventually, the market of crazy-rich people dries out or the drug gets reversed engineered and it spreads towards the middle-class.
(Yes, this scenario is bad for poorer people. This critique is important and I think @Stormingtheivory makes an excellent point when he says that socialism is extremely compatible and even necessary for a good transhumanist future.)
Finally (and this is getting quite long), I understand that you don’t want to live forever. The world just doesn’t work very well right now. This is also something transhumanists want to change. They want you to be happy and have fun in meaningful ways.