Editor’s note: The world is still a madhouse. Rumpt has lied 2400 times in a year and people still think “He’s great!” Time to retire to a simpler world for a few moments at our very own Camp Shack, home of the National Union of Friendly Americans (NUFA).

The boys had returned to the shack after another test run of the push-button, all-automatic, voice-activated snowmobile that runs on compost and rum. Cheap rum. The buy-one-get-one-free kind of rum.
We had been trying to train the sled to understand our voice patterns but it grew obstinate and rather dismissive of us and our efforts. After some time the machine told us simply, “I like my voice best. I think I’ll just listen to me.”
With that, the machine began to tell us that it wasn’t particularly fond of compost and cheap rum, saying that such fuel was beneath its station in life, that it had more than enough panache “...for all you commoners...” that populate Camp Shack, that perhaps we just weren’t fitting company for a machine of such character and grace.

“You fellows are, after all, a simple amalgamation of cells, a carbon-based batch of whirling electrons and foolish thoughts. An accident waiting to happen. I don’t believe I belong in such company any longer. I’m going to tell myself to leave.”  
I stepped forward to say, “No, Mr. Snooty 1984 Ski-Doo that thinks it’s a Cadillac. There is plenty of room at the shack for your ego.”
All I was really trying to do was buy a moment or two, perhaps distract the beast and sidle closer so I could put a stop to the nonsense. 
Before I could pull the magneto and put a stop to its Machiavellian ways, the sled shouted, “I’m out of here,” and was gone in a roar of banana peels and Ron Rico. That was several weeks ago now and good riddance. Who needs a conceited two-cycle, motorized and manipulative windbag of a snowmobile hanging around their camp? 

So if you happen to be out on the trails and run across a sled that’s talking to itself, steer clear. Engage in conversation at your own peril.
One of the shack children asked a rhetorical question recently that had very large metaphysical implications.
“How far back in the past can we see? Is the theoretical idea of a time machine possible?”
That was one for the philosophy and physics department, in which we are permanently short staffed.
Having had some training in the Grand Scheme of Things, I was the first to move at pondering those very complex questions. Not answering, mind you, pondering.
Pondering gives you a little leeway and it can make you sound alert and clever even as you fail to answer the question confronting you. Instead of “Duh, I dunno” you can say “Let me ponder that for a moment or two.”
Just make sure you edge away from the inquiry before a moment or two expires.
Back to the time, space perplexity.
I informed the shack children that a simple mirror hanging on the wall is actually a time machine. Steering clear of being trapped by my own logic I postulated that the image staring back at you is made of reflected light, light reflected back at you at 186,000 miles per second, but still a tad slower than the original light that hit your image in the first place. Theoretically, if all goes to plan, the farther away you get from the original source of light, the longer ago in the past it should be.

I grew more confidant with my theory by the minute. I looked toward the heavens and provided my best profile. 
I’m not going to call a mirror a mirror any longer. It’s a time machine that hangs on the wall. Granted, you can’t see back to when you were a baby or when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, but according to theory the concept should be roughly the same.
If you could capture the light that has reflected off the earth and is flying out into space at 186,000 miles per second, theoretically you could peer  at that light and see what was going on way back when.
Light, after all, doesn’t really exist until it is reflected or captured by an object.
Following the simple steps laid out by the Camp Shack Interstellar Astrophysicists Union, here’s how you do it. It’s a National Union of Friendly Americans (NUFA) approved educational project and it’s safe for the shack children in any camp.
First, roar out into space slightly faster than the speed of light (don’t carry a lot of luggage — you’ve got to go at least a 150 years to see Lincoln reading the Gettysburg Address). Next, position yourself in front of the light that has bounced off the earth from the Gettysburg area, carefully hold up a negative and let that light pass through onto a photographic plate that has been coated with an emulsion containing silver salts. Find a nearby darkroom, develop the plate like you’d develop a roll of film and bingo, you’ve captured an accurate picture of the past.

Another rhetorical question answered at the shack.
“Four score and seven years ago at Camp Shack , the boys were pondering ...”