Mouse Over Matter

Mr. and Mrs. Mousel had three children and one on the way. The kids had three cousins who lived next door with their mother and father too. So, there they all were with almost eleven hungry mice to feed.

They all decided to branch out to find their daily bread.

Two went one way, two another and so on since it was better to go with a little help.

There were lots of other mice in the neighborhood, but the Mousels and their relations didn’t know much about them and steered pretty clear — they were pretty much all rather independent, looking out for themselves — the neighbors and the Mousels and the Mousels’ relations.

There hadn’t been much competition up to that point — but the houses they were used to going to for scraps and such, had all been razed to bring in a Giant Food Store. They all thought it might turn out better for them in the long run because there might just be a whole lot more scraps to find and maybe even a big giant dumpster to dive into.

As it turned out, there were guards at the doors not letting anybody in without a face mask. They certainly didn’t want any mice in because mice bring in germs — (or so the story was told) — so there was a brigade of mice stompers at the doors as well as the usual mask marshals.

On top of that, it also turned out that all the mask people couldn’t stay in the store for any great length of time and certainly weren’t allowed to sit, under any circumstance, to eat any meals they could buy at the deli. That meant fewer and fewer morsels for the Mousels and their neighbors to collect even if they could find a way just to get into the Giant Food Store to begin with.

Oh what trouble there seemed to be headed their way now.

Since all the houses had been razed and there was only one Giant Food Store in their vicinity to visit, the neighbors and the Mousels and the Mousels’ relations ended up congregating in one place and were a little bit forced to communicate.

There was a lot of squeaking going on for anyone who spoke mouse to hear because they were all trying to figure out what they were going to do next.

Someone from the Church mouse clan said, “We might have to go underground with our new plans because there is a lot of marshaling going on and lots of stomping up above and all the humans coming and going aren’t very caring or sharing and are being very hoardy. Underground are lots of roots and vegetables and we can start a line passing things along it until we got a giant pile that everyone can share in a pantry at the Churches’ church house.”

A lot of the humans were scared enough about the monster that their masks kept them safe from — (or so the story was told) — that there were many starting to try to garden so there were ever more roots and vegetables in the outlying areas where the Giant Food Store had pushed the people out to to live.

With all the mice together they could really get a big line going.

Suddenly the squeaking the Churches, the Mousels, and all the other clans were squeaking turned into screeching and utter panic as the mice, too, became a little fearful that their needs couldn’t be met or that they might get stomped on or stuck underground trying to harvest from the humans or they might run into some kind of poison or even snap traps. It was all so confusing, they just didn’t know what to do. They wondered if they could find someone to make little mice masks to protect them.

The Mousels headed off for home with their relations and the rest of the neighbors pretty much did too. A couple here or there stayed to try to get into the store because they were a little braver but they said if they did they might not share if no one else would care to try to be even just a little bit brave — maybe even just enough to stay to resuscitate them or drag them away if they did get stomped on.

On their way home, Mr. Mousel had what he thought was a very bright idea, “What if we pack our bags and head off to another country? Maybe another country wouldn’t have these silly rules.”

“That’s likely to be a long way to go,” Mrs. Mousel exclaimed, “And I’m pregnant, Mr. Mousel, in case you haven’t noticed. Not to mention, the young ones can’t travel very well and how did you plan to get there, if I might ask?”

Mr. Mousel hadn’t thought that far.

“It does sound like we have a chance of faring a little better somewhere else — but, who knows what we should expect. Maybe the new rules have traveled there before us or will follow close behind. There are no guarantees. Maybe we should stay were we are and come up with another idea?”

They thought and thought, “Maybe we should pray?” “Maybe we should get the hoards together and make a giant run on the store?” “Maybe we should wait and just eat what we’ve stored and hope for the best with the next election?” “Maybe we should just curl up together and die?”

Mr. Mousel finally decided, with the help of Mrs. Mousel and the kids, that they would learn to think better and read and write and start a YouTube channel to get the word out that the world might look like it’s ending except that there were lots of good vibes too that could just as easily change things for the better as bad vibes could change things for the worse — but that no one can speak well with a mask on and certainly can’t be sending out good vibes that way anyhow — it was simply an emblem of surrender after all.

The Mousels headed off to the library with their laptop. There was still a wifi signal they could access without going in since they didn’t have any mouse masks as it were.

The Mousels ended up becoming famous and had the most subscriptions on YouTube as well as the most views and likes — because, they put on a very homey show as well.

The world was so impressed that a little mouse family could learn to think better and read and write that they felt rather ashamed of themselves and bucked right up.

The whole world turned around for the better after that.

Mouse over matter was the answer.

After all, the Mousels said in their videos, “Mice play an important role in the bigger picture and if they go the whole house of cards could fall. You can imagine what might happen after that — the whole world could go into a tizzy.”

“It’s better,” they said, “to quit being fearful of a mouse or a germ, or some hidden monster that they didn’t really know. Take the mask off and trust in what can be learned if you’re learning the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, (which very often is not in schools). You can’t do that, if you don’t know how to think — so, thinking is the most important thing you can do and think as hard and as often and as hard as you can. There are a lot of magic tricks being played, (propaganda some call it). Sometimes it’s hard to see the con and it might take the help of a friend, but don’t ever think that you can’t do it too if you try hard enough. It’s an obligation as a matter of fact if you want to be free.”

The mighty Mousel mouse family went down in The Mouse Hall of Fame all because they learned how to think — and, that wasn’t easy for a mouse, (or so the story goes).

Subliminal message: Just say no.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Above All Else

Waiting, waiting, waiting. Everyone was waiting for something. They didn’t know what it was but it felt ominous, foreboding.

In the meantime, they could rely on the television to tell them what to be afraid of at that particular moment.

“Be afraid of others.”

“Be afraid of a hidden monster stuck in the ripples of cardboard or on a piece of fruit — certainly on paper money and coins. It might be in the pizza or the box the pizza came in.”

“Don’t tip the pizza man with dirty coins. Be sure he’s wearing gloves and hasn’t ever sneezed. Be sure he didn’t dropped the box.”

“Don’t eat anything because everything could be contaminated.”

“You might as well shrivel up and die because the big bad monster was about to get you around some unknown corner anyway and why wait to die for it? Don’t let it get you — take your own — you are still in control.”

Ha ha, hee hee, ho ho!

“Stay in your room with your freshly scrubbed hands folded on your lap and don’t ever, ever, ever touch your face. Don’t even talk to people through the door. Those particles are small enough to get through wood or metal — nano, quantum particles that a porous mask can stop and they can change at the CDC’s discretion. They’re in the air, they’re everywhere.”

“Be sure to sit in your room with your hands folded on your lap and be sure to have a mask on so you can appear respectful of others if nothing else when they come to put you in the camp or in the ground.”

The mask will surely save you — its magical. It’s a magical mask.

“Don’t love your loved ones. Certainly don’t love them by hugging. Put them in a room and keep everyone else away. Be sure to put a magical mask on them too and make sure their hands are newly scrubbed and folded on their lap. Heck, maybe you should put them out of harm’s way for good. That would be a loving thing to do. Save them from the monster and then save yourself.”

The fear of death is universal and profound and equally distributed — though some are able to go about their business with their head in a cloud. Some use drugs to help them. Some use food. Some use risk. Some use TicTok. Some just live to be afraid — somehow it makes them happy.

Ticktock the clock is moving ever faster to the end — why put it off? It’s nearly beat you down. It won’t go away until the last day so why not make the last day today? Get it over. What’s the point of waiting for the monster?

“Be sure to sit in your room alone with your hands folded on your lap. The end is surely near.”

“Above all else, be sure to do what you are told.”


Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

What I Have

Karmella couldn’t see it but for some reason she was having feelings about it. People on the other side of her bubble were in trouble. There wasn’t anything she could do except to try to think good thoughts. It was sort of like she was continually praying — addressing some kind of deity — except that, she believed GOD was everywhere and everything and always at or in ones fingertips and in ones heart and in their soul. In fact, she believed GOD was the soul — the one and only everything and everywhere — changing forms at the pleasure of the system near and spreading out from there.

Karmella realized that she wasn’t big enough to make a dither big enough to matter much but she was sure that she could make a little wave that might spread out in the ether going as it pleased hither and thither. Maybe, just maybe it would reach another place where someone much like she would care and send it off a little farther. She wondered if Puggles would like to help.

“Puggles,” she called, “Puggles, I think if you squiggle and squirm and rattle your tail as fast as your little tail will rattle — with all the good vibrations that you hold in your tiny, sandy-colored, fury, soft-and-squeezy and warm little body, you can make a wave bigger than I might be able to. Certainly, together we might count a little more?” She said that last part like it was a question with that dreaded high rising terminal she was happy to get away from in the outside world she came from where everybody talks like that like it’s a fashion.

Puggles looked up at Karmella with his beautiful, heart-melting eyes and rattled his tail as quickly as he was able to. Karmella sent her vibes along with Puggles’ highly resounding tail waves and then she picked him up and they danced around the garden some.

“That was fun,” Karmella said and danced a little more with Puggles in her arms. Dancing in the garden with each other was the thing they loved to do almost as much as snuggle. Karmella and Puggles loved to snuggle. They also liked to dance and eat a lot of cookies.

“What I have, is everything I need,” she said while looking into Puggles soft and sentient eyes. Then she wondered if the bubble she was in could burst but she decided not to worry about that because worrying doesn’t help to keep vibrations at their highest and vibrations at their highest were her best and only hope of keeping the bubble together. That’s how she got inside the bubble in the first place. Puggles must have been on the exact same good vibration because all of a sudden one day, he appeared inside her bubble too. That was the best it was necessary to get — anything else would just be frosting on the cake, or cookie if you’d rather.

Puggles lapped Karmella’s face and she knew by that that it was Cookie-Dookie time. It was almost always Cookie-Dookie time as far as Puggles was concerned. They danced together up onto the porch as usual, and danced the rest of the way into the house to get the cookie jars. Puggles had doggy cookies and Karmella had purple-people cookies and they sat on the soft couch with their jars nearby and snuggled and ate some cookies.

“We’re a little spoiled, don’t you think — my snuggly little puppy?” She had to think that Puggles did agree but Puggles was just a little too busy eating cookies to exclaim.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

A Social Contract

“Yes, I know. That is why I’m here today, to get a few more things stocked up because this is the last time I will come into this store unless they change their idea of how to deal with this dilemma, (this world-wide, orchestrated panic, she thought but didn’t include). I refuse to wear a mask.”

“Oh, but you know, you could have it right now and not know it and infect someone.”

“Have what?”

“You know, the virus.”

“What virus?”

“Oh!” he exclaimed as if to say, You’re one of those kinds of fools. “We’re done here, if that’s what you think.”

She went on to try a little harder, “Regardless of whether you believe in germ theory or not, they have not done anything that could determine if this, whatever it is, is a novel thing. They can’t be claiming it exists if they haven’t proven that it does.”

Some people just can’t get out of their own fog. Some people simply won’t. 

Safety blankies. Pacifiers. Religions. Cults. Especially now, Scientism.

Personal fears they want to impose on everyone else. 

Some brains go through washers.

But who was she to say. She might just be wrong herself. She would leave him with a smile — the one wearing what looked like thermal undies to cover his mouth and nose and hang down long enough to cover his neck. He could see her smile. She wouldn’t be able to tell if he smiled back because he was also wearing sunglasses. “Nothing could possibly get through that open weave if it was even there and wanted to try,” she thought sarcastically.

Dear humans: face masks don’t work; the study-review was published by your very own CDC

She was about one of five or six that she crossed while traversing the aisles, (sometimes going the right way, sometimes going the wrong way — whatever she wanted to get away with), among the calculated numbers — that weren’t wearing a mask. Who are they to tell her what to do? Aren’t they allowed to stay open because they are essential. Do they not need her business? Isn’t it essential that she be allowed to shop?

It was Sunday — the fake edict would start on Monday but all the cows were following the one with the bell already — good little behavers. 

“What do you think they are trying to do?” he asked her,  “Kill everyone?”

“Not sure about that, (even though she had her suspicions but it wan’t the only or main thing), but I am sure they are trying to establish a techno-tyranny. They want us all as robots.”

He nodded his head in agreement. “That’s true,” he said.

“Well, you can always shop online,” the underwear-wearing gent said.

“Yeah, no, I’m doing my best not to play any of their games.” She wondered if she was going to have to die over this dilemma. She would think about that tomorrow — maybe. For now, she would go back home and try to do a better job of figuring out how to grow food in a desert — or of a better way to distribute food among the non-believers — the food the non-believers are growing themselves.

If you can’t beat ’em’, certainly don’t join ’em’ — start something new. Defeat the status quo. Voting doesn’t help. City counsels are fully rigged with believers.

It was odd being just about the only one without a mask on. She could feel knives in her back coming soon. It’s a social contract, putting on a mask. It says you surrender. It says you agree. It says you comply. It says you’re a fool or a cow or a robot. It says you haven’t done your homework, you’re lazy, you want things easy. It says you have a need to fit in —

You don’t trust yourself to do what’s right.

Dogs roll over and expose their vulnerable parts when the big dog barks.

“Poor little doggies.”

Image by Omni Matryx from Pixabay


Not My Monster

So the big question now is whether or not the government, (military), has the right to jab you with a needle with anything in it that they deem necessary for the we’re all in this together game that, (just as likely as not), they could have orchestrated.

According to any of the rules of engagement that are clear enough to understand, it seems that it is legal and necessary and enforceable and required if a giant threat against we’re all in this together might exist.

Might ain’t necessarily right.

“What’s more of a giant threat than the shutting down of the world wide economic systems,” we should be obliged to ask — first and foremost? Lives can be lost by more than one kind of hidden giant monster.

It’s completely clear to see, if you dig enough, that this is an economic tsunami, (WW3), (a coup d’état), for the purpose of shifting all that might be of any value into the hands of the greedy ones — land, equity in any business, gold, silver, digital data, crypto-currency, oil, food, water and air — to establish a world-wide techno-tyranny.

It’s important not to leave the digging to the ones doing all the shifting — you know, the ones who own the media and the microphones. We’re all in this together means we’re all diggers now. Dig that.

If you’re not a digger you’re a dodger since the game requires taking sides — black or white, republican or democrat, pro or con (anti-), if or is???

Who’s asleep at the wheel?

Who’s not asleep at the wheel?

Fat shaming is okay now because if someone who is fat says, “Get that jab you tin-foil-hat-wearing maniac,” then sticks and stones are in order since this is now a child’s game until we all grow up. “You’re fat because you eat junk. If you eat junk, do you think a jab is going to save you from your giant monster. He’s not my monster?”

It’s time to take our diapers off and at least start wearing pull-ups.

It’s as okay to judge people by what’s in their cart at the checkout counter, (except that you might have trouble getting close enough to see,) as it is to judge someone for not having a bacteria harboring, useless serving mask on.

Wouldn’t it be better if we just didn’t judge?

Wouldn’t it be better if the facts were presented as what they really are, (and definitely not by only the ones who will benefit by any of the truths they tell)?

Wouldn’t it be nice if other voices could be heard?

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone was listening to something other than what Dr. Fauci, (the big, fat, little, liar liar pants on fire, Trump’et), has to say? He’s a criminal in case you didn’t know. Do your digging now that you’re a digger.

Dig, dig, dig. Don’t give up until you hit the pay-dirt. We’re all in this together. Pull your load.

It doesn’t hurt to ask for a little help though, if pulling your own weight is on a diet.


Header Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay


Write Rite Right

If someone were to write about a right kind of rite or if there is such a thing, what would they say and who would really know? How would said person know? How would they know they know — and be completely sure?

Who knows anything for that matter? What one knows, they know and they only know they know because they say so — except, possibly, for some kind of study by so-called experts — you know, those kind of people who wear white coats and stethoscopes or glasses or know full well how to use an iPhone.

Should anyone be trusted that doesn’t know how to use an iPhone — completely and fully well? What if someone doesn’t own one? What if they decided never to go through that rite of passage and feel more right about just writing and maybe a little bit of real, in-your-hands, hardbound-books reading? Are there enough real books still in print that haven’t been censored or edited to death to become, instead of a means of really knowing, simply propaganda?

How long has man been living?

Did he come from a monkey?

Or a fish?

Is there such a thing as divine intelligence that can be bestowed on an unsuspecting receiver so that they might know a thing or two without the aid of cellular induction?

What does double entendre mean? Could Rite Aid be one or cellular induction? It’s not all a joke. Can anyone get the meaning if they only ever use an iPhone?

There really is, such a thing as having been dumbed down.

Induction period, the time interval between cause and measurable effect

Inductive reasoning, in logic, inferences from particular cases to general case

Inductive effect, the redistribution of electron density through molecular sigma bonds

Cellular differentiation, the process where a cell changes from one cell type to another

Electromagnetic or magnetic induction is the production of an electromotive force across an electrical conductor in a changing magnetic field.

IoT — We’ve done it to ourselves but not by any kind of well-informed consent.

How the Internet of Things Works

These devices use Internet protocol (IP), the same protocol that identifies computers over the world wide web and allows them to communicate with one another. The goal behind the Internet of things is to have devices that self report in real-time, improving efficiency and bringing important information to the surface more quickly than a system depending on human intervention.

Books are looking better by the minute as there are still so many questions that can’t be trusted to an iPhone.

Quick! Before it’s too late — burn all the cell phones — but not any of the old books. Nature has all the answers if we must have to start all over again like The Postman did. If we don’t do something now, we might all be turned into self-destructive robots — if we haven’t been already.

Header image by Danielle Tunstall from Pixabay


Is It True

The big boy cat wanted to jump up on her lap to squirm around and leave some of his feathers — but she was just then ready to fetch another cup of coffee so put him off hoping he’d wait. He didn’t. Cats’ attention spans aren’t long.

She had been raking him with her back-scratcher and then laid it on the floor beside him so that he could fixate on it while waiting for her to pick it up again — he drifted off to catnap land — waiting, waiting, waiting.

She made the mistake of looking at him and the slits in his slanted little cat eyes snuck a peek and opened nearly all the way — “Meow,” he mewed and stuck his long pink tongue out and then sneezed. He sneezes a lot. Things make him sneeze easily, like cat emotions and good feelings can do to a big black and white cat like he who’s so filled with cat emotions and good feelings waiting to come out.

So someone in the World Economic Forum asked if humans will be humans for much longer and went on to say that THEY want to make space for us mere humans to think freely as if thoughts are something being censored now or have no space.

It seems the truth is that they really want to steal our thoughts. All they care about is money. They want to use our thoughts for generating profits — 060606.

So many people trying to be GOD.

The cat came back and jumped up on her lap. He mewed and mewed and rolled around and left a lot of feathers before he did get bored again and went for the screen door to look outside.

She had to rake his feathers off her lap.

Is it true that cats have feathers to keep them warm and help them fly?

It does seem true that sometimes cats can fly — they don’t stay up for long though.

She wonders what the WEF would think about those thoughts and if they’d try to steal them and learn how to make cats fly or at the least — give her the space to have the thoughts, “May I please have my thoughts?”

She’ll have to think that the WEF flies away to a realm where only they exist and no one knows about them or ever hears of them again. Money is overrated. Imagination isn’t.

“No! You can’t have my imagination — and no means no.”

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Like A Bird

“Are you going to show anyone’s pimples?” the coworker watching asked.

“I am showing pimples. Aren’t you really looking? Do you think you can do a better job?” the artist taking the photographs asked and then stormed away and left the building leaving the picture taking to the one who thought better of herself.

Icky feelings are best left where they are started for the ones who started them to roll around in.

Some watched her as she stormed away and some flailed a little — some tried a tiny margin to beg her to stay without any real concerted effort. They watched the next girl take her stab at being the better artist and then applauded and raved about how good she was — as if they knew.

She walked and walked, wondering if anyone was coming after her. Wondering if anyone was willing to try to soothe what felt like a gaping wound. She felt invisible and kept walking until she finally heard the bird song and saw some grass through the chain-link fence along the sidewalk growing, trying to reach the sky. She noticed that the sky was very blue. She finally felt invincible.

The moral of the story is it doesn’t matter what others think about you, it only matters what you do — don’t seek to be clapped about or to wear a crown — reach for the sky like the grass does and sing just like a bird.

Header image credit: Ruth Archer from Pixabay


We The People

…The most deluded among us believe we are always on the cusp of a final breakthrough.
But there is no “we” to make the breakthrough.
It comes to every person on his own. And it does not arrive as the thrust of an external force, but from one’s own struggle, accompanied by insights for which there is no outside agency to lend confirmation.
If indeed it will take a thousand years to bring this collective illusion to a close, that is no cause for despondent reaction.
On the contrary, it is simply an understanding that all experiments come to an end, as does the method of thought on which they are based…

~ Jon Rappoport; July 4, 2020

Trying to gain independence from this device isn’t easy. What is easy is to find oneself trapped in a cycle of content that seems interesting until it feels more like a drug. Body parts start complaining — like eyes, and ears, and back, and butt — “Get up and walk you fool. Get off this stool. You’re no better than on the pot. It’s all mostly trash. Your time is going down the drain. At the very least, you’re trying to live someone elses life.”

So, finding myself trapped watching Ten Hundred lately — incessantly, obsessively, compulsively — suddenly I realized that I was being aggravated with “Hey, Yo,” and other such hip hop slang and rap beats drumming at me incessantly. I was aggravated to realize that groups form and then there are insiders and outsiders and all the while and for the duration of the forming, there is only seeking higher status within that group if the correct words are used or a right body move, or a certain style of clothes are worn or whole bodies are filled with tattoos — hand symbols are without a doubt completely necessary.

Higher status — why need that anyway?

“Bitchin'”, “Groovy”, “Peace” tells of the group I was supposed to fit in and my age, give or take, here or there. I didn’t use those words then, so didn’t quite fit in. I use them now, just to account for where I’ve been. Bell bottoms were in fashion, and mini skirts and a metal peace symbol hung on just about everybody’s neck from a chain — but not mine — I wore a key instead, just for fitting in a little, and my skirts almost touched my knees. I wasn’t hip. I didn’t gain any higher status.

Here we are, wondering where our freedom is. We The People. Who are we now? Where can we go? Who should we be?

“We’re in this together.”

Yes we are — a world-wide cattle pen.

The only way out is to gain some independence. You’re on your own for that though. And that’s a really, really good thing. I’d hate to have to count on someone I don’t trust.

Header image by Radek Špáta from Pixabay

Before She Woke

Mom called her and her older sister into the kitchen and asked them to sit down. “I have something to tell you.”

It felt ominous. She got a little bit scared. She can’t remember now if Mom did any more setting up of the oncoming words or not. Maybe she said, “You aren’t going to like it.” She can’t recall but the feeling of remembering included that kind of vibe.

“Santa isn’t real. Neither is the Easter Bunny.”

She started to cry. “Is GOD real?” The little girl asked. Her older sister didn’t flinch.

“Yes, GOD is real,” her mother answered. She sounded pretty convincing but she had just exposed a big old lie. How could she be trusted with any other kind of truth?

She started to question everything. It got her into a heap a lot of trouble everywhere she was. Teachers. Preachers. Friends and enemies. No one wanted her questions. Everyone already knew whatever it was they knew and couldn’t be convinced to think about her questions even the slightest. She felt so all alone.

“Why would a good God send anyone to Hell? Why wouldn’t he just send them to nowhere where they couldn’t come back to life and wouldn’t know they’d left?” That was Hell enough she thought. That thought was certainly Hell to her.

“What would we be if we weren’t? How does something come from nothing? Where can something go once it’s been? It can’t go to nowhere. Nowhere isn’t anywhere.”

She likes to dream now because dreams seem to have the best kind of explanation capabilities.

She wonders what a dream is. Is it GOD telling her the truth?

Almost every day before she wakes she has some kind of dream. Some are good and some are bad. The other day, before she woke, she dropped a little dog down a hole that was too small for her to get through and the dog was too far away to reach — way down what seemed like it was underneath a street. The dog fell right into another hole that was filled with water. All she could do was look on in horror as the dog sank farther into the hole filled with water — certainly about to drown.

What was GOD trying to tell her?

She kept screaming for someone to help. She was hoping there was someone underground since she couldn’t get through the hole and couldn’t make it bigger. Couldn’t someone possibly see? Wouldn’t they try to help a helpless little doggy certain to drown without someone elses help. She was helpless. What was all that space under the road for if not for space for someone else or others to dwell? Where were all the underground dwellers when they were needed? Weren’t there at least some kind of zombies?

It was a helpless situation and something was about to die. She couldn’t bear it. Before she couldn’t bear another minute she awoke.

That was one of the bad dreams. Good dreams don’t require waking up so soon.


Header image credit: Pixabay search for “Asphalt