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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Heading To Or From Entropy

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…


Jeff Crandall said...

As is the case with every RR, this one is pathetically close to perfection. Nice work once again!

You inspire me in my writing like Tiger Woods inspires me in my marriage.

Oh, wait, scratch that.


Anonymous said...

You have me wanting to comment on so many things. Since I should be working now, I'd better just throw out one....I think...Don't you just love to say "I think" as if there's someone there just waiting to hear??? Anyway, I think that if we attempted to make all phone numbers in movies 555-#### in this day and age, it wouldn't be possible. What with all the technology around, why would a simple phone number be given priority? Since giving phone numbers annonimity was established in the distant past, that rule has been grandfathered in. That's what I think. Now, I can go back to work having been published. Great work, Rusty. You make me think, therefore I am.


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