Any misspelled words or grammatical errors on this site are provided only for effect. Views expressed here are strictly those of the author, as opposed to being from his pet iguana. We reserve the right to add new letters to the alphabet or alter the time-space continuum as we see fit. Your presence at this site is a complicit agreement to these conditions.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reporting on a Planet

2 comments (add more here)
Grbzak, what to make of this civilization? It’s almost a misnomer, because uncivilization would be more accurate in many cases. One scratches his head over the peculiarities of humanoids. They’re consistently inconsistent.

For one thing, they make animated movies they call PG specifically created for younger children, and then they put warning labels on these movies which say: “Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.” What’s that all about? Are you seeing the disconnect here? Let’s rewind and try again. They make movies expressly for the kids… and then they say be careful letting kids watch them. Where’s a brick wall when you need one, Grbzak?

Likewise, the ‘may’ clause in there is since they don’t want to commit one way or the other, because after all they’re merely monitoring every single frame of the movie and categorizing it all down to the popcorn compatibility factor, and as a result they don’t know the appropriateness of the content other than rating it based on the contents that they don’t know whether they’re appropriate or not due to things they can’t determine while being in the business of recommending, which only makes sense because they’re only human, c’mon!

That explains a lot right there. It would be akin to the census coming to your house and interviewing you in the presence of your family, and then concluding on their report: ‘Someone may or may not be living there, but we don’t want to definitively state one way or the other. Although the content of the home is fundamentally organic in an undetermined manner — and governmental guidance is suggested for minors under 65’.

Grbzak, in case you’re thinking this may only be indicative of a minor defect in the human persona, also take note that they make commercials that ARE LOUDER THAN THE REST OF THE PROGRAMMING TO BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT NOBODY MISSES THEM! I don’t know about you, but it sure makes me want to go out and buy their product. The decibel level that they’re able to attain is nothing short of impressive. Give me more decibels, Grbzak! I can’t get enough of ‘em. It somehow hypnotizes me and causes me to walk to the store like a zombie to get their product. “Must… buy… more… Old Spice deodorant… Must fill shopping cart to the brim…”

Another area humans manifest their glaring flawed nature is in the comics page of a newspaper. Curiously, about three-fourths of the so-called comics are rather unfunny, to the point of mysterious bafflement. I’m pretty sure Sally Forth hasn’t had a funny strip since 1964. A more apt term for these offerings of blocked witticism would be the “Huhs.” When you read them, about the extent of what you think afterward is “huh.” And yes, Grbzak, it’s a salient point that a good deal of these comics aren’t trying to be funny in the first place. That’s the whole point! Even when they want to explore a horizon that exudes humor, they can’t usually bring themselves to do it. They’re comics, the funny papers, and yet they function as the opposite. How curious indeed. The advertised product takes a wide detour from its intended purpose, but at least the original intent was there, so they feel like they should be given credit for that. All you have to do is call it a rose and it becomes a rose. I think they have a saying like that, anyway.

What’s more, the truly funny comics are treated as anomalous. One is viewed as being on the far end of comedy, another gives the character a geeky name and draws him as an overly dweebish version of a geek just for grins. And yet another shows a curious child talking incessantly to his imaginary animal friend. And then another one depicts a neurotic adolescent who philosophizes all day with his friends who ridicule him and whose pet is smarter than them all and the adults have been cursed with a speech impediment which allows them to only converse in an ancient Wa-Wa dialect. Yes, these are the ones that are actually funny, but the underlying message is that these are almost too good for consumption and must therefore be packaged as outliers. Does that tell you something about the constituents? They want to have funny, but at the same time they feel obligated to apologize for it. And that’s where Blondie and Cathy and Heathcliff and Mowgli and Samsonite come in. They’re the neutralizers, just in case anyone was threatening something more than a guffaw.

A newspaper is also referred to as a rag. The primary purpose of a newspaper, Grbzak, seems to be that it makes a person look important when holding it, because it requires two hands. Have you ever seen someone holding a newspaper open with only one hand? It doesn’t happen, because that’s not cool. That’s why blogs aren’t really going anywhere, because you can’t hold them. But the newspaper allows you to look busy along with looking important, and you can cover your entire upper half while taking a nap, and no one’s any wiser.

The most observed part of the newspaper is the sports page where the results of simulated rituals are posted, and the human game seems to be that they want to hide the sports page to see if people can find it. Once the readers complete the scavenger hunt, then they can prey on their game and proceed. That’s why the front page has such big headlines. They’re trying to deter people from turning to the sports page. “No, don’t go there! Big monsoon sweeps through the Pyranees! Lots of people died in explosion! Hey, look — Paris Hilton’s kidney on display at museum!”

So Grbzak, the only logical being we’ve detected on this planet seems to be a man who goes by the name ‘Spock’, apparently in the mode of Sting, the two of them obviously not wanting to be known as Leonard or Gordon. We don’t know what to think of the rest who carry on like they purchased their brains with coupons at K-mart. To be truthful, the fact that there are even K-marts at all is an indictment of the entire race, so we’re not really off to a good start.

Speaking of movies, isn’t it interesting that anything at all can be said in a movie — that is, except for a real phone number, of course. We wouldn’t want to violate the sacred area of telecommunication, because it could compromise someone else’s right to caller euphoria. Some lady in Muncie, Indiana might get an overload of calls if they mentioned her number. And they’d confuse her for the psychotic Nicolas Cage character who was using that number in the movie. On a side note, if there’s one word that can be used to describe Nicolas Cage’s many portrayals, it would be ‘consternation’. He can consternate like nobody else. In fact, one might consider him to be the master of consternation. It wouldn’t surprise any of us to know that he has a black belt in it.

But even more peculiar about the hallowed cinematic phone numbers is that the prefixes must be stated succinctly as 555. Apparently we have to reserve 666 for other uses, and 444 might be needed for very important government business — you never know. Otherwise, in the movies anything else besides phone numbers that may resemble actual persons or events is purely coincidental, though it may be based on actual events, but just without resembling them. Thank you, lawyers, for getting your paws in the middle of a creative process to help formalize it. That’s like requiring painters to abstain from using Barbie pink because it’s eminent domain. Next thing you know, Billy Joel’s™ name will become trademarked. Accept no imitations. Only use the authentic Billy Joel™. When I stop and think of all the upstanding Billys, like Billy Ray Cyrus, Billy Bob Thornton, Billy Mays, Billy Martin, Billy Barty, Billy Idol, Billy the Kid, et al, I wonder why Mr. Joel™ would care to be associated with their ilk. There are lots of other names with much better ilk than that. Which makes the humanitarian work done by Billy Crystal and Billy Graham to uphold the integrity of the Billy name even more commendable.

So, what do we make of all of this, Grbzak? Should we just leave them to their own devices? When we really get down to it, I think you may be right — they may be crazy. But then again, it just may be a lunatic we’re looking for.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ode to Inertia

4 comments (add more here)
Thinking of something. Breaking the ice. Tolerating the air. Sifting through the data. Buttering some toast. Melting into the psyche. Spiking the punch bowl. Pondering the expanse. Taking it all in. Clutching at straws. Making the grade. Living on the inside. Seeing the light. Keeping it under wraps. Speaking in tongues. Waiting on a friend. Smiling up the frown. Thinking outside the box. Lapping it up. Matching the ideas. Dancing madly backwards. Writhing in pain. Fixing the pipes. Beating a dead horse. Standing on the edge. Ringing the bell. Walking in Memphis. Looking for space. Sticking my neck out. Counting blue cars. Talking to the wall. Lifting shadows off dreams. Falling for anything. Walking on the moon. Shaking the tree. Jumping the shark. Swimming against the tide. Running on a treadmill. Crawling in the dark. Waiting for the sun. Jockeying for position. Taking somebody with me. Romancing the stone. Living in the past. Keeping my cool. Watching the wheels. Killing the golden goose. Standing in the light. Hanging by a moment.

Pausing for effect.

Selling the drama. Lamenting the fall. Burning down the house. Working for the weekend. Rolling with the punches. Building a mystery. Hanging by a thread. Racing against time. Staring at the sun. Learning to fly. Leaving on a jet plane. Talking in my sleep. Losing my religion. Playing for keeps. Climbing up the walls. Dragging the line. Moving in stereo. Taking it for granted. Singing the blues. Holding back the years. Picking my poison. Watching paint dry. Calling the shots. Walking the dog. Living in another world. Paying my dues. Gardening at night. Coming up close. Looking over my shoulder. Writing to reach you. Crying over spilled milk. Waiting in the wings. Living for the city. Making plans for Nigel. Going for the one. Genuflecting with style. Waxing wildly nostalgic. Leaving for Rio. Surfing with the alien. Circling the wagons. Hunting high and low. Leaving well enough alone. Gallivanting around town. Standing outside the fire. Raising the bar. Venting my spleen. Watching the detectives. Being alone together. Twisting by the pool. Walking on sunshine. Thinking in reverse. Dancing in Berlin. Expecting to fly. Throwing it all away. Killing yourself to live. Begging for mercy. Pushing up daisies. Cutting my losses. Biting my tongue. Crying in the rain. Running up that hill. Dying to know. Borrowing a line. Grazing in the grass. Leveling the field. Heading for nowhere.

Taking a deep breath.

Coming around the mountain. Mixing it up. Evening the score. Lightening the load. Basking in the limelight. Circumventing the process. Licking my chops. Creating a nuisance. Unearthing the evidence. Getting into trouble. Excavating for a mine. Blaming the system. Choosing style over substance. Testing the hypothesis. Flirting with disaster. Ordering it to go. Chewing the fat. Flavoring with salt. Curbing my appetite. Appeasing the masses. Baking a cake. Living with the law. Caring for the poor. Running on empty. Casting a vote. Supporting my case. Finishing the job. Reacting with fear. Biding my time. Accentuating the positive. Staving off the wolves. Embarking on an odyssey. Maximizing my profits. Throwing in the towel. Wearing out my welcome. Relaxing the rules. Lurking in the shadows. Gritting my teeth. Setting the record straight. Egging them on. Understanding the effects. Allocating the goods. Wasting away in Margaritaville. Following my dreams. Needing a miracle. Working out the kinks. Shooting the messenger. Aiding and abetting. Engaging in dialogue. Slipping on ice. Jumping off a ledge. Trying to love two. Nixing the algorithm. Abandoning all rationale. Turning it upside down. Packing it all in. Faxing my resume’. Striking a chord. Battling the enemy. Arguing a point. Settling for less. Fighting for a cause. Breaking the habit.

Going for popcorn.

Estimating the outcome. Sticking to my guns. Counting the cost. Giving it all away. Sleeping with the enemy. Begging the question. Drowning in my sorrows. Furthering the effort. Needing my space. Swatting at flies. Exposing a flaw. Repeating past mistakes. Leading the witness. Nearing the end. Playing my hand. Bracing for impact. Forgetting the past. Building a portfolio. Harboring restless fugitives. Spending the night. Inciting a riot. Fostering good will. Preaching to the choir. Licking my wounds. Exacerbating the issue. Pounding the pavement. Going for broke. Shouting for joy. Grinning ear to ear. Smelling like roses. Floating on air. Renovating the attic. Granting a wish. Foaming at the mouth. Beating the odds. Thinking out loud. Entertaining the possibility. Bucking the system. Burning the midnight oil. Earning a living. Developing a reputation. Getting my way. Waking the neighbors. Marking my calendar. Burying the hatchet. Missing the point. Staying with it. Playing to win. Reaping the rewards. Enjoying the spoils. Mailing it in. Running in the family. Agreeing to disagree. Sparing the rod. Bursting at the seams. Gearing up for winter. Acting on instinct. Panning for gold. Forging a path. Serving my time. Building the perfect beast. Flying off the handle. Running into the ground. Grinding to a halt. Exorcising my demons. Softening the blow. Garnishing my wages. Saving my face. Wincing the night away. Sifting through the sands.

Stalling for time.

Keeping the faith. Expecting the worst. Clinging to hope. Betting the farm. Holding all the aces. Delivering the goods. Riding the wave. Minding the store. Taking out the garbage. Milking the clock. Sowing the seeds. Wondering what everyone knows. Facing the music. Getting a second wind. Turning the tables. Having a blast. Breaking the law. Reading between the lines. Sleeping like a baby. Hitting the mark. Sailing to paradise. Flying high again. Going down to Liverpool. Fixing the problem. Catching the butterfly. Working in a goldmine. Upping the ante. Living in a box. Praying for time. Running the gauntlet. Waiting for the rapture. Wishing you were here. Living on a thin line. Catching some rays. Barking at the moon. Raining cats and dogs. Getting over it. Counting my blessings. Sweeping under the rug. Looking for clues. Zeroing in on nothing. Reeling in the years. Comparing apples and oranges. Saving the world. Making a statement. Stumbling over terrain. Walking in your footsteps. Living in a fantasy. Coming full circle. Flying without wings. Hitting the ceiling. Crashing by design. Whispering your name. Crossing the Rubicon. Believing in myself. Calling all angels...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Heading To Or From Entropy

2 comments (add more here)

We figure chaos comes into the equation somewhere, even if we can’t tell with precision whether we’re regressing away from it or progressing toward it. But I’d like to think that we’re in the perfect maelstrom for either scenario. What better portal for disorder than the humanistic element?

Insanitize is that process of gradually going bonkers. And if the term is not yet accepted by the linguistic community, it’s just a matter of time. Three million years from now, every possible combination of letters will probably be a word. At that point, playing Scrabble would be rather pointless. In fact, you would have no advantage over a small child wearing blindfolds. This could actually be the juncture where babies finally take over the world and exact their revenge on us after all this time. I think it would be poetic justice, after we’ve been pushing binkies on them and talking to them like they’re imbeciles. Just you wait in another three million years. Another bold prediction you can hold me to.

Shilo Inns trumpets that it offers “free amenities.” But, but… Hmm. OK, well, isn’t it all part of the package? You could call anything free if you wanted to. I suppose I got the steering wheel and rear seat free in my car, even though the overall cost was absorbed exponentially into the windshield wipers. I hate those $14,000 wipers. They’ll get you every time.

Within a 7-year period, all our cells have regenerated and been replaced, so we’re basically a different physical specimen than we were 7 years prior. And yet we still have pretty much all our same traits and features. Plus our memory goes back a lot farther than 7 years. What is it we’re hanging onto apart from our cells? Are cells just passing information on to other cells before moving on? If so, then what pray tell is “information”? Callin’ it your job, ole hoss, sure don’t make it right. As they say on a popular kids show, “A clue! A clue!”

A closet is a place to hide things you don’t want to see. It’s historically been a smaller room that you wouldn’t allow yourself to walk into. More recently, we’ve fudged a little and decided there was a need for us to enter these areas and share that space with our abandoned belongings in an effort to become one with them again. But they are still hidden from view for a reason. What’s in the closet stays in the closet.

Essentially, humans hibernate. But it’s just that we come out of it very quickly. In contrast, when a bear sleeps in, he makes the best of it. “Honey bear, I’m gonna set my alarm clock for February 24th. If I don’t wake to it, let me sleep about another three days.” “Sure thing, honey bunches. You need your beastly rest.” The nature shows never report this, but I’m betting it’s not too far off.

So then what does “all-new” mean? I don’t believe we need that term, because I’ve never come across anything that was only partially new. It’s kind of all-redundant to restate the all-obvious. TV episodes are advertised incessantly in the all-new tack. If they didn’t say that, I would’ve thought the next airing of Desperate Housewives was only 98% new, that the last minute was somehow a rerun which snuck in there by mistake. Knowing that an upcoming episode is going to be completely all-100%-new relieves me of that irksome anxiety. Thank you, media, for assuaging a frail public’s fears.

I’m not sure about this, but I don’t know if I’ve ever been crestfallen or not. It’s never been one of the choices on my mood rings either, so I get no help there. And yes, I’ve used all the toothpaste brands, but to no avail. I’ll bet if you surveyed a thousand people, the better portion of them wouldn’t know whether they’ve ever been crestfallen before or not. And that’s a shame.

The goal of merchants is clearly to obfuscate. I went to a Toyota dealership the other day, and the sticker on a Camry was posted “4 for $93,000.” I had to get out my calculator to see if that was a good deal or not. Turns out it would save me quite a bit, although later I discovered that a dealer across town had a “6 for $127,000” sale going on, but it was too late as I’d already gone for the first one. Live and learn, as they say. And just my luck they don’t take trade-ins, either… Consequently, our driveway is filled to the brim, another two cars are on the curb, and the last two we just keep in constant motion, rotating with the rest. We’ll have to change our strategy before these $7000 a month gas expenses start adding up. I guess that $400 rebate doesn’t sound all that enticing anymore.

This entire notion of getting us in the frame of mind to buy in bulk is a little different from something like, oh, tires. I saw a deal that advertised “Buy 3 tires and get one free.” How fortuitous! My car just so happens to use 4 tires, so this is the perfect deal for me. I feel like Navin Johnson who just got his name in the phone book.

The auto industry itself is slightly off center anyway. Auto parts stores have historically bordered on the pathological, and we’d be wise to keep a close eye on them for any telltale signs that society is on its final gasp. The people who work in these stores have just a little too much fun playing with their merchandise. They systematically line up cans and containers in their windows like they’re peacocks strutting their wares. One has to ask what they are trying to prove or accomplish. (I’d do it, but I have a bout of 24-minute laryngitis) We already know they sell motor oil there. That much has been clearly established. They don’t have to build a virtual fortress to the plastic container gods in order to get that point across. After the third container, I noticed the pattern quite nicely, thank you. That would have sufficed. The rest was just overkill.

It turns out that as kids these auto parts people were the ones who lined up their blocks all in a neat row. And curiously enough, this is the very thing that made them qualified to work at an auto parts store. I’m just shakin’ my head here at the serendipity.

Tire shops do the same thing by stacking their tires. I guess they want us to drive by and say to ourselves, “Wow, look at all those tires! I’m so impressed by this plethora of tires. They’ve probably got 94% of the world’s tires right there, and not only that, but they know how to stack them twelve high, not unlike building blocks. You know, it kind of makes me all nostalgic for my childhood. Marge, we have to go buy some of them and become a part of this tire village.” And why is it that I’ve never actually known a Marge, and yet there are thousands of depictions of such people? Pure deception, I tell you.

And then what does “powered by” mean? It has at least forty-two different meanings on the internet. And none of them involve actual power or energy, interestingly enough. Some are very loose definitions. They’ll say powered by when all it does is borrow some code from another system. And like magic, the site receives power. Our grandkids are going to be all confused with this barrage of power references, and will grow up thinking that electricity is found in everything. As a result, physics in the mid-21st century is going to go right down the tubes. The whole powered-by nonsense will be the primary contributing factor to the downfall of modern society. They won’t be able to trace it back to this concept until it’s way past the point of no return. But they will take note on the hieroglyphics in the cave walls that I foresaw it in my blog on this date, and I’ll win some posthumous Nobel Prize and they’ll make a donation to a literary foundation in my name, so I got that going for me.

If you’re like a lot of people, you probably get gifts on your birthday. But I get free gifts. Mine don’t cost me anything. I don’t even have to pay shipping. I know what you’re saying… Why is he so privileged? Well, it’s because when I was six years old, I got a get out of jail free card in Monopoly and I never used it. If you don’t use those, a Monopoly pixie visits you and exchanges it for a ‘free gift for life’ card. I’ve since learned not to exhaust my resources in Monopoly, by the way. You can get a lot of nifty perks by being frugal in that game. One time I didn’t use any of my 20s all game, and it was good for a three-night stay in Mazatlan. I can’t reveal much more because then my overall strategy for the game would be uncovered, and I’d never be able to defeat any of my kids again. Then it would spiral into losing my parental authority over them, and discipline would go out the door and down the street into the gutter with the rest of society’s pitiful woes.

When someone says they're dating themselves, I can’t decide whether they’re being narcissistic or not. Regardless, if you give indications of your age, why does that need to be softened with a disclaimer? Why apologize for a universal process? “I’m sorry that I’m this old, and I promise not to let it happen again.” You’re as old as you are. Everybody is. All it means is when you showed up for the party. There’s no shame in being at the party for a long time. We should be celebrating that, in fact. “Wow, you’ve been to 53 parties? That’s great!” And this is the extent to which old people get philosophical about it all, when they’re consigned to the reality of their own age. You see, young people don’t really need to get philosophical about it yet.

In any event, happy birthday to us all! We’ll all be back here again in 12 months, and I predict we’ll all add another year. I’m even willing to go out on a limb on this one, although there are lots of other limbs below that one, so it’s not as precarious as it sounds.

I’m afraid of anything in the fridge that I don’t recognize from before yesterday. Having seen fossilized items in there, I’ve become a tad apprehensive. It could be half food storage, half anthropological findings. My first clue that I would need to clean it out is that festering outgrowth of donut-sized mold spores cascading across the crisper. After that, it’s mostly speculation.

Four-color pens are strategically placed throughout the house. It’s a deliberate military deployment exercise to accomplish a specific objective. The rationale is that if I have a four-color pen stolen from me by one of the household approximately every 3.2 days* (*-according to independent tests conducted by House & Driver magazine), I can stay ahead of the curve by having at least 30 of the pens strewn throughout the house where they cannot all remain hidden for any length of time. I bring three of them to church sometimes, because kids like to draw with them, and while they are usually very good at returning them, it’s just that they seem to return them somewhere other than to me.

These have been my pen of choice for well over twenty-three years. Indeed, I consider them no less than the penultimate writing instrument, appreciating the ability to color-code what I’m writing, or even drawing. I like to morph writing and drawing. It worked for the hieroglyphs, and I’m no less demanding.

Ringtones are nature’s way of announcing to the world: “I have no concept of my surroundings and it’s all about me!” That, and neon leotards worn out in public. If each of us thinks about it long enough, it is all about the me — my me, your me, their me, everybody’s me. Admittedly, it has to start with me, although I still don’t see where ringtones helps matters at all. “Everybody, over here! Listen to my cheesy music and behold how I fumble to press two buttons in a feverish attempt to catch that important call that makes me important because an important person considers me important enough to call me and not you. I do this all the time, by the way. The call thing.”

In the NFL last season, only 6 extra points were missed — by all the teams combined. Out of 1,176 snaps. That’s the most efficient process in all of athletics. That’s 99.49%. Those are better odds than shooting a layup. Or even a dunk, for that matter. So then the question is: why even bother with the extra point? It would make more sense to dunk the ball over the crossbars after a touchdown. And let two defenders try to block it. None of this pooch the ball and watch it, oh!, do the same thing every single time. The only thing extra points are good for now is to mention one of the sponsors — who are often very proud to be so. The fact that they are proud to be doing what they’re doing brings much more credibility to their cause. If they were merely pensive sponsors, we wouldn’t be all that impressed.

If I could do something to effect a change on computers, it would be to have them use something other than 0’s and 1’s for the data. None of this primitive binary stuff. 10010111. It’s a little unsettling to me to think that’s all anything on the computer is. 010110101100010. If we’ve encrypted all meaning here, are we sure we’ve sufficiently decrypted it? How would we know? We just accept that however it comes out is the way it must’ve gone in. We sure act a lot on faith, don’t we? Those are the inscriptions leaving other advanced civilizations in a quandary. 1101000101001101100101110. So the challenge is here: you judge which way we’re going…

Dance Like Nobody's Watching

Philosophy Soccer