Final Thoughts of the Night, 2012

Each night, shortly before going to sleep, I tell my wife a Final Thought. These may be funny, they are sometimes dumb, they may be vaguely story-like, they may be pseudo-philosophical and intelligent-sounding, they may be almost mythic from a spur-of-the-moment mythos. The topics have spanned a wide range of subjects: animals, steampunk, food, technology. Anything that pops into mind is fair game. The full story is at the bottom.

January, 2012 120101Rain on New Year's Day is a good omen for the coming year. The rain brings a cleansing end to the previous year, washing clean the problems, concerns, and cares that piled up as the year passed. The cares and problems may not disappear, but the rain helps one refocus energies to solving them. 120102Funny how quickly things can change, and how quickly we can forget. One minute it's, "I'm so glad we don't have children." An hour later it's, "He broke the tip off his beak and it won't stop bleeding! How do we get it to stop! Ohnoohnoohno!" Different species, different relationship, lots of different. That doesn't mean we don't feel just as keenly. 120103When I first learned to program a computer, I thought debugging was pretty cool. I could spend hours trying this, trying that, just to get some pesky problem fixed. After a couple decades where large parts of my professional life have been spent debugging software, my mind has changed. While I do enjoy the intellectual challenge of diagnosing bugs, designing fixes, and then implementing those fixes, I think now I would much rather spend my time writing flawless code, and then making flawless improvements to the code. Those same decades of experience have shown me how likely that is. 120104Spiders seem to be attracted to me and I don't know why. I am relieved to say this is a distance attraction, rather than a close-up attraction. Spiders often build webs over me. Over my bed, that is, over my exercise equipment, over my work area. It's almost like they are stalking me, but are wary enough to keep their distance. My arachnaphobia is okay with the stalking, but I am sincerely hoping the stalking doesn't change to hunting. 120105It can be hard to tell finch from sparrow, but the important thing is that they are able to make the distinction. 120106The Beneficent Ferret moves quietly and shuns the light. We know not who he is, but who among us has not been uplifted by the gifts of his paws? 120107Airports are crucibles that must be navigated with care. They turn even those starting a trip into tired, hungry, angry, surly homunculi. When braving the airport wilds, the wise traveller will strive to retain their wits, a sense of humor, and a fresh eye, especially when dealing with their fellow travellers. 120108When setting behind a mountain, the sun can give a glorious show with a mere sliver of light. 120109My thoughts of you are too many to be easily summed up, but let me just say that I am very happy that it's you and I'd have no other. 120110You should pay attention when the Icelanders are worried about snowy driving conditions. 120111Purely in the interests of science, I would like to see what happens when you put some macassar on an antimacassar. 120112The Birds of Winter have flown to the Lake at the Center, where they cry and call in hopes of food. 120113Walking on ice may not be the wisest of choices, but jogging on ice is pure lunacy. 120114I have been travelling for the last 21 hours -- buses, planes, trains, feets, and automobiles. The only thought I can manage at this point is, "Mugga oog oog." 120115If an army of evil, well-organized, and homicidal wizards is trying to kill me, please don't let my rescue be planned by a group of heroic, valiant, and tactically stupid wizards. They can rescue me, but let me plan the rescue myself.
Media Week
120116No one but a human would ever say, "Gee, I wish a Time Lord would come 'round." Everyone else knows that Time Lords are preceded by a Severe Crisis Interstitial Field Initiator that spawns tragedies, evil conquering aliens, and various other nasties just when the Time Lord pops in. All complete with timeline alterations that ripple back from the Time Lord's moment of arrival so those involved don't realize that there had been peace, tranquility, and a distinct lack of dire straits prior to the arrival of the Time Lord. It's my hypothesis that The Last Great Time War had one of two causes. Either it started because the peoples of the Local Group got together to do away with the menace of the Time Lords once and for all, or 120 Time Lords got together in one place for an eight-way game of ruggers and The Last Great Time War erupted around them - due to the SCIFI - while they were waiting for a referee to arrive.
Media Week
120117I've been reading the old Icelandic Sagas recently and I've noticed a subtle shift in my thoughts on conflict resolution, problem solving, interpersonal relations, and personnel management.
Media Week
120118Media are methods and means of communication. It seems that food has long been overlooked as a communications medium. It can be used to convey many things of varying depth and complexity. Things such as one's high regard for another ("I love you so much that I tracked down the recipe for the griddle stew you enjoyed so much during your years in Austria"), one's contempt for another ("Happy anniversary, my husband, here's a cucumber"), family history ("Jenny made a batch of Great-Great Aunt Martha's possum taters"), and cultural cohesion (Thanksgiving turkey and dressing, haggis, rotted shark, gefilte fish, and birthday noodles.) Ingredients, preparation, presentation, they all can convey information both subtle and complex. It is long past due for food to be recognized as an important form of media, ranking as an equal with books, newspapers, TV, movies, and music.
Media Week
120119In a strange reversal of what one would expect, the fewer senses engaged by a media method is indicative of how highly respected the medium is. Books and other written forms of communication are widely thought to be the most respectable media, yet they really only engage the sense of sight. TV and movies, not considered as respectable as written media, engage the senses of sight and sound. Classical music, which engages the sense of sound and maybe sight, is considered at least as respectable as TV and movies, if not on a par with books. Rock music (in a concert context) involves the senses of sound, sight, and smell. Food, as last night's thought showed to be a communications medium, engages the senses of taste, smell, sight, touch (texture) -- and often sound. The odd inversion clearly shows that the more senses that are touched by a medium, the less respect that medium enjoys.
Media Week
120120Petroglyphs, cave paintings, and stelae are probably the massiest of mass media that have ever been created, and they dealt with topics of great weight and gravitas.
Media Week
120121The snow is falling, gently masking the travels of the raccoons of the night, who quietly come to dine on the seed sown for the squirrels of the day. 120122I wonder how werewolves practice good dental hygiene. In human form, they can brush and floss without a problem. They can visit the dentist for examinations, fillings, and other such procedures. But what about the wolf's fangs? Aside from practical considerations -- paws can't handle brushes or floss very well -- ravening, bloodthirsty beasts seldom have the patience to handle dental tools nor the unbitey forbearance to allow a dentist or hygienist to poke around in their mouths. Once the wolf transforms back to the human, the wolf fangs disappear and are unable to be cared for. Why don't werewolves have mouths full of rotten teeth? 120123A friend will sometimes talk about something being "a mute point." She was also once attacked by swans. These two clearly, inextricably related facts make me wonder what other kinds of points there are. Are there trumpeter points? What about whooper points and tundra points? The relation between swans and points is intriguing. Swans are horkin' big birds, but points are sharp and precise. How did such disparate entities become so connected? 120124When your dog starts talking to you, his bad grammar isn't that big a deal. 120125I've been thinking about getting a grandfather atomic clock, but I think it'd be too small to see its face or to see its pendulum swinging back and forth. 120126Breaking space-time barriers, Albert Einstein was quite a fan of rap music, something that wasn't invented until decades after he died. He gained great notoriety as a rap star, and was known as EMC Al. 120127A guy told me I's have bad grammar and me popped him one. Bofe me grammars were saints and grampers too. 120127Owls never have to worry about losing a contact lens. 120128Finches are the general-purpose utility birds of the avian world. When superhero birds need a sidekick, they get a finch. When an evil mastermind bird needs a bunch of henchmen, they get a finch flock to be their finchmen. When an emperor penguin with delusions of grandeur needs a Grand Armee, they recruit as many finches as can be found. When a mindless horde of birds is needed to storm the mad ornithologist's castle, who are the torches passed out to? The finches. 120129Fascinators are aptly named. Every time I see someone wearing one I am left intrigued by the question of whether the head ballooned up to make the hat look tiny or whether the hat shrunk to make the head look huge. 120130Favorite foods always taste a little better when you unexpectedly find them in your fridge or pantry. They bring enhanced delight as you start to tuck in to the savory treat. Of course, after three bites you start wondering just where it actually came from. You then start running through a list of all the people who had access to your kitchen when the food mysteriously appeared. 120131The Savoir Fairies are the intermediaries that handle official interactions between the Seelie Court and the Unseelie Court.

February, 2012 120201People fear the transformation of our robot servants into our robot overlords, or worse yet, our robot executioners. Try as I might, I can't get too worked up over a three-inch tall disk-shaped robot trundling around shouting, "Exvacuumate!" 120202Everyone thinks it's sooo easy. You emerge from your burrow, you take a look. Shadow, no shadow. That's it. Easy peasy. First off, you don't just emerrrge from your burrow. Some yutz grabs you out of a sound sleep -- always at the crack of dawn -- and yanks you out into the cold. Squinting in the sudden sun, you're lucky to see anything, much less a shadow. That's not even considering the intensive training to make sense of all those conditions and possibilities. Humidity, pressure, temperature, light diffraction, albedo. And the hardest part is getting cable run to your burrow so you can get The Weather Channel. 120203November 8 is Wren Tail Day. At noon, Wren comes down from the highest oak and alights between the ash and the oak. He carefully examines how the first gust of wind blows his feathers. If his tail blows towards the oak, there will be 29 more days of Autumn. If his tail instead blows towards the ash, Cold Man Winter is on his way and will arrive within 12 days. If Wren's tail blows towards neither ash nor oak, Autumn and Winter will follow their normal courses. 120204Werewolves, vampires, and zombies are not particularly discriminating in their eating habits. Sure, they may have preferences based on blood type, species, and victim's preferred cuisine, but they'll eat anything. (Don't be fooled by the myth of the debonair, suave vampire; they're worse than zombies.) They certainly don't avoid prey having any diseases. The whole reason the Red Cross screens for Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease, hepatitis, and Chagas Disease is to prevent civic-minded werewolves, vampires, and zombies from donating blood. Homo Supernaturalis have a much higher rate of occurrence of infectious diseases than real humans, and the Red Cross is trying to keep the blood supply pure human. 120205As more and more oxygen is removed from ice, the ice turns bluer and bluer. When people are asphyxiated, their lips turn blue. This is conclusive, irrefutable proof that people are, at heart, made of ice. 120206Werewolves carefully guard their dens, keeping them safe from all others. Vampires guard their living rooms, mummies guard their shoe closets, and zombies guard their rumpus rooms. 120207A casserole is a dish that combines several components (such as a vegetable or two, often a meat), a sauce, and frequently some form of bread. Often there's some form of topping, such as cheese or bread crumbs. Many popular foods are casseroles disguised as something else. Look at a pizza: bread, tomato sauce, one or two meats, a few types of veggies. It's a casserole. Hamburgers: bread, meat, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard, cheese. Casserole. Hot dogs are tubular hamburgers, so casserole. Tacos? Corn shell, meat, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, salsa, cheese. Casserole. The major difference between casseroles and these other foods is the form factor or presentation method. Also, the casserole is honest about its identity and isn't trying to appear to be something other than what it is. 120208I could really, really go for some lasagna right now. Or even spaghetti. Please don't hate me. 120209When snow falls on a full moon night,
'Ware the wolf's howl at rise of light.
120210A motion to adjourn is always in order. So is an order for pizza, ice cream, or chocolate truffles. 120211Woodchuck is something of a misnomer, as they don't chuck wood at all. It's more of a gentle, underhand toss. Also, wood implies something fairly substantial. While technically it is wood, they only toss twigs and nothing heavier. More accurately, they should be called twigtossers. Woodchuck sounds much better though. 120212When someone uses "honestly" or "to tell the truth", they are subconsciously telling you that everything else they've said is a big fat hairy lie. 120213What Hollywood calls "product placement", I call "consumer protection tips" and "product rejection alert". 120214It should be no surprise that children are growing up with a vicious side to them. Look at the treats we give them: Santa cookies, snowman cookies, chocolate bunnies, candy hearts. We're training them to be cannibals, to eat the extremities first, leaving poor Rudolph in agony while his sweet, succulent antlers are torn from his head for a yum-yum sugary snack. We should feel fortunate they don't kill us in our sleep. 120215Engineer's Credo: If it ain't broke, don't fix it; break it in an interesting way, then you'll have something fun to fix.
120216What will happen, I wonder, when man travels to other planets. Without our moon looking down on them, will terrestrial werewolves be released from their monthly cycle of a return to a bestial state? Will they be subject to the cycles of an alien moon, thus having more frequent or less frequent transformations? Longer or shorter wolf times? What will happen on those worlds with multiple moons? What will happen when a werewolf finally lands on Earth's moon, where it is *always* full?
Werewolf Week
120216I wonder if the moon ever looks down and howls at us?
Werewolf Week
120217I wonder if the idea of the werewolf -- man turning into a raging animal for a few days over the course of a moon-based cycle -- developed as an outgrowth of woman's milder, moon-based cycle.
Werewolf Week
120218The werewolf bares his fangs at the world, his claws for his prey, his snarl for his enemies, his howl for the moon, and his snuffle for his mate.
Werewolf Week
120219Unless it's a matinee, werewolves rarely see the end of a movie.
Werewolf Week
120220"Dinner theater" has a completely different meaning for werewolves. For one thing, it doesn't involve quite as much singing and dancing.
Werewolf Week
120221Popular wisdom has it that dentists have limited longevity when they get a werewolf for a patient, but nothing could be further from the truth. Werewolves are so reliant on their fangs that they take very good care of their dentists. However, werewolves go through sommeliers like a bag of hammers through a plate glass window.
Werewolf Week
120222There are many ancient myths and tales of the wars between werewolves and vampires. These wars are actually very recent, only dating back to the 1960's. Vampires flocked to work at 7/11 stores when they started staying open 24 hours a day. This was a very convenient arrangement, as the vampires need post-sunset employment, and no sane person would rob a 7/11 that was staffed by a blood-sucking fiend. This worked very well, until the first weekend when drunk werewolves came to the newly never-closed shops for something to help with the midnight munchies. Even though the food wasn't prey and wasn't running, the drunk werewolves acted like animals and tore the shops up. This didn't go over well with the vampires, and thus the werewolf/vampire wars started.
Werewolf Week
120223When "that time of the month" arrives, with the restless prowling at the door, with gleam of menace in the eyes, with the howling that sends chills up the spine, it matters not who it is. The claws are just as sharp, the teeth just as rending, the jaws just as strong, whether it's wolf or werewolf.
Werewolf Week
120224The one thing werewolves love most of all is the smell of cheese. Sure, they love a good hunt, or an exquisitely rare steak, or a nocturnal romp in the woods, but those all pale when compared to the raptures of a good smelly cheese. The complex, multilayered aroma, the heady stench, an odor so thick you can bite off huge steaming chunks of it. Just the smell, though, as they don't want to actually eat it. When you see a werewolf, head thrown back, howling at the moon, it is an expression of their appreciation for the intoxicating aroma of the lunar cheese as the smell wafts down from the heavens. The howling is also an expression of their frustrated fury that the moon cheese is too far away to allow a good, satisfying smell, and they are forever limited to the tiniest of sniffs when such a cheese needs to be smelled by the lungful. This frustrated fury is what will then lead to the good hunt, followed by that exquisitely rare steak.
Werewolf Week
120225When you donate your body to science, do you have to specify which science or is it up for grabs? Everyone thinks "science" means medicine, but there are a lot more sciences than that. What would physicists do with your body? They'd probably use you in crash tests or throw you in front of a particle accelerator. Botanists are always needing more fertilizer, and zoologists are always needing more animal feed. The scientists that really worry me are the culinary scientists. 120226I feel sorry for French mothers who are Christian, since their children must chose between them and God. After all, Jesus did say that you couldn't serve both God and maman. 120227When the vortex rises, vultures abandon their feast and soar silently away to resume vigil in the bones of the forest. 120228When a Fury comes to your kitchen door, asking for a cup of sugar, you would do well to offer up a pound. 120229On this day of days, it is set free from its prison for its one quadrennial day of freedom, rejoicing, celebrating, laughing with pleasure that it can spread its arms and stretch its legs for 24 blissful hours of leap!

March, 2012 120301Do manifestations of ideals have a sex? (Clearly, some do, such as Motherhood or Manliness. These are not under consideration right now.) If I dress as the Statue of Liberty, am I cross-dressing? Why would they have a sex? Do they have a need to reproduce? What would their children be like? What would their family life be like? What pronouns would you use when talking to the manifestation of an ideal? 120302Ocean waves beat a muffled tattoo on the beach, marking the pulse of the planet and signifying the headlong rush of life throughout the world. 120303At night, after the day's sea-hay has washed ashore, the hay herons come for the harvest. They bundle up the high-quality sea-hay and carry it off to those who need it most. Then the hay herons return to the shore and thrash the remaining sea-hay until it is nicely shredded. The shredded sea-hay is brought back to the hay beds for use as fertilizer. We can be thankful for the hay herons and their tireless work to provide for the needy and to keep the shores clean. 120304Every gull on the beach, for the entirety of its adult life, is absolutely convinced that it is the supreme master of winds and waters, waves and sands. Nothing -- no fighting for scraps or sandcrabs, no chasing dogs or children, no cawing for breadcrusts or popcorn -- will convince it otherwise. It's dignity and mastery are absolute. 120305In the bathroom in my hotel room is a stack of paper bags labelled "Feminine Products Disposal". I would be quite confused if English wasn't a genderless language. 120306A single, thin brushstroke can accomplish what ten of the boldest cannot 120307In ancient Rome, one of the perqs of being Caesar was the financial control over the empire's slaughterhouses. This was highly lucrative and the various Caesars protected that privilege very carefully. Invariably, the slaughterhouses were managed by Caesar's nephews. In addition to the actual payments and fees for controlling the slaughterhouses, there was a hidden financial channel that the Caesars abused. They would have their own personal herds of livestock kept with the empire's herds, supposedly as a means of efficiency and financial savings. This proved problematic when it came time for the slaughterhouses to process the livestock -- which was Caesar's and which was the empire's? Caesar's nephews would give a single direction to the workers. How this direction was followed indicated their future career path. The instruction was invariably, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's." 120308If you find yourself living in an opera, don't take anyone up on a bet. It's a sure thing you'll lose. Even something as simple as a coin toss will be 97% against you. 120309Certain events bring great joy and are worthy of great celebration, even many years after they happen. Today is one such day. 120310There are two great tragedies in the animal kingdom. The first is narcoleptic cheetahs. They get going at their top speed then WHAM! they fall asleep on the paw. The devastation they wreck is terrible. The other tragedy is owls that think they know everyone. These poor birds are left without a thing to say. I am deeply moved at the pain and heartbreak caused by these tragedies. I am thinking of starting a telethon to raise money for their support. 120311When waltzing with a migraine, profound thoughts fizzle across the mind's sky like wet, third-rate fireworks. 120312When Venus and Mars dwell in the houses of Saturn, the humble magpie comes to watch over your threshold. Give him some grains and a shiny, and he will keep safe your hearth and pantry. 120313The seductive throbbing heartbeat of a monster can summon even an angel, who brings redemption borne on the trembling notes of her matching song. 120314For many centuries, astronomers didn't believe in the existence of the R-spot on Jupiter.
Red Spot Week
120315ProTip for astronomers: When editing digital images of Jupiter, the red-eye correction tool should be avoided, no matter how seductively it calls.
Red Spot Week
120316As avid readers accumulate more books than they have time to read, they are always in need of additional storage for their unread books. Explorer, archivist, and architect Edwin Toobey has built the perfect place for readers to keep their unread books. He has built a cylindrical tunnel complex on Jupiter that provides an excellent preservation environment for books, and that also allows for highly efficient cataloging and retrieval. This has led to the mass colonization of Jupiter by heavy readers. (But aren't they all, given Jupiter's high gravity?) The name of this storage complex has the curious property of describing the designer, the appearance, the location, and the purpose, all in one simple name. It is the Toobey Red Spot.
Red Spot Week
120317Tourism to Jupiter will always have an almost insurmountable problem. Jupiter has its distinctive and most famous feature, but no one will want to stay at any hotels built on it. No one will want to sleep on the Red Spot.
Red Spot Week
120318Jupiter has been suffering through the embarassment and humiliation of the Great Red Spot for quite a while. Unfortunately, that's to be expected when going through puberty, and Jupiter can only hope that his complexion will clear up when his hormones settle down as he enters adulthood.
Red Spot Week
120319Most people look at Jupiter and think, "It's so pretty! It has those lovely stripes that run all round it. And it's got that beautiful big Red Spot!" Not me, I'm terrified by it. Those latitudinal stripes, one might almost think of them as trenches, trenches ending in lightly shielded exhaust ports. That big Red Spot looks rather like a focal reflector array for, oh, a superlaser. That's right, here we are sitting on Earth, twiddling our thumbs and burping to the oldies, and we've got a super-Death Star looking over our shoulder.
Red Spot Week
120320Jupiter's Red Spot has been a thing of wonder and mystery throughout the ages. "What is it?" "How did it form?" "Can we get one?" Theories uncounted have been proposed, as many as the stars in the sky. The latest, popularized because it has been put forward by scientists, is the ludicrous thought that it's a giant storm. Unfortunately for them, that just shows how scientists are full of hooey. If they would just use the common sense given them by Great PaahKaah the Creator Penguin, they would know the Red Spot is the ink stain that happened when Jupiter's grading pen leaked as it sat in his shirt pocket.
Red Spot Week
120321I realized today how lazy I'm getting. I got a nice letter from my sister and it told about the cool science things her daughters are working on. After reading it, I drew a clicked "like" button on the letter so I wouldn't have to take the time to write one back to her. 120322When grizzly bear comes over the mountain to look for the berries in your valley, it does no one any good to remind him that he has berries a-plenty back in his own valley. 120323The junco flies south, carried on the breath of the white bear. The junco flies north, chased by the future-scent of imminent pollen. 120324Red Dwarfs and Blue Giants are well-known stars in the Hertzsprung-Russell-Gygax diagram. There are a number of other standard, lesser-known, stars classified on the Hertzsprung-Russell-Gygax. These include Orange Goblins, Yellow Elfs, Green Trolls, Indigo Unicorns, and Violet Dragons. 120325The sword that cleaves the anvil is forged of more than just steel and flame. 120326Chickens must be the smartest animals around. How do they know they need to lay exactly 12 eggs at exactly the right size to fit in the egg carton? Not to mention that they must have the dexterity to lay their eggs precisely in the center of each egg compartment in the carton. I am mightily impressed by the humble chicken. 120327Summer Owl listens high, as sound lifts up to the Sun on the rising heat. Winter Owl listens low, as sound gently draws close to Earth on the basking zephyr of cold. 120328Paisley looks like critters from a microbiologist's coloring book. 120329When I was a child, I listened to lots of rock music. Lots of rock music. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd. The Rolling Stones, the Who, Yes. Deep Purple, Queen, ELP, Hendrix. As I grew older and I became experienced, I eventually realized that the songs remained the same but they were completely different from what I sang in the days of my youth. 120330The tallest Frenchman to ever live was Pierre Jacquard, who was slightly over seven feet tall.. He was a weaver who lived in the late 1800's. He had trouble keeping a job because he was always interested in what the other weavers were doing. He would sidle up behind them and watch intently, silently, as they worked. They always had the weejers scared out of them when they finally noticed Jacquard crowded close up behind them. Inevitably, the complaints would grow to the point where the mill had to fire him. The complaints were invariably,
"Jacquard looms." 120331Rudolph is responsible for the North Pole's red-light district. 120331Bumper stickers are tattoos for cars.

April, 2012 120401Dagger claws, razor fangs, spear spikes, outrageously powerful muscles -- dinosaurs were walking, gronking weapons. Walking, gronking weapons who were not known for self-control, deep-thinking, and contemplation. However, they hated bureaucracies and were emotionally attached to their claws, fangs, spikes, and muscles. This is why they walked everywhere and never flew, so they would not have to put up with TSA searches. 120402We have it so easy nowadays. Listen to the news and they'll give storm advisories and frost warnings. "Careful on the drive in tomorrow, we're going to be having some storms moving through." "Bring your plants in tonight, there's a frost warning." Oh no, rain! Woe is me, frost! Pathetic. Back in the olden times, a little rain or frost would not have been worth a mention. The warnings and advisories they got on the news back then actually meant something. "The frost giants are on the move again, so you'd better keep your family and livestock hidden and quiet. South-facing caves, the entry lined with hay, are always safest." "The storm trolls have started their migration, so you'd better keep your cows, and your children, indoors and under cover for the next three weeks." We have gone soft. 120403When the Gryphon takes flight in the night, the souls of the wicked will soon be gathered by the Night Heron as she makes her quiet rounds. 120404I have heard people describe a large amount of something as a "metric shit-ton." It seems to me that shit-tons aren't really a metric unit of measurement. Rather, it seems a shit-ton should be an imperial or political unit of measurement. 120405De rigueur is what French corpses fall into shortly after death. 120406The Cask of Amontillado describes an act of rigor mortice. 120407Conch shells got their name by the sound they make when you whack someone on the head with one. 120408As adorable as hamsters are, I would prefer to have baconsters. The rasher problem would be keeping myself from eating them by the handful. 120409Fermatas are not widely known to be Muslim symbols. They represent the long Islamic tradition of learning, math, and culture. As fermatas are used in music, they show how music brings together those elements, and so much more, into a fantastic whole. 120410A hyperbole are the multitude of interwoven trunk of a many-dimensional trees. 120411Anti-intellectualism and pandering to idiots by conservative politicians has gone too far. They're now complaining about the evils of refined sugar. Who cares how educated sugar is, or how well-mannered sugar is, or what kind of accent sugar has? If people want refined sugar, they should be able to get it and get it without any social opprobrium. If people want sugar that is not so distinguished, that is rawer, that is more salt-of-the-earth, that is more Everysugar, then they should be able to get that too. There's room at the table for all types of sugar and we should be welcoming them all, not excluding them for artificial, superficial reasons. 120412Eagles are the best mathemeticians in the bird world. You can tell because eagle signs are fundamental to math and found everywhere. 120413I've taken the pledge! The Zombie Apocalypse Pledge: I pledge that in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse that if you become a brain-slurping zombie I will shoot you in the head or cut off your head. I also pledge to make absolutely certain BEFORE killing you that you really are a brain-slurping zombie, and not just that you're feeling a bit hungry and looking a little peaked. Won't you take the pledge for me? 120414Beware the Apocalypse Mouse. Her bite is bad and her roar is worse, but her silence, oh her silence is to be feared most of all. 120415When I hear the phrase "and monkeys might fly out of my butt" I always imagine it's being said by the Wicked Witch of the West. 120416Every dog has his day, but every day is a horse's hay day. 120417Cats are like video game characters. Their eyes see into other worlds, they chase after random floaty things and blobs of light, they leap farther than they should be able to, they survive falls from vast heights, and they don't have to worry too much about safety since they have a bunch of extra lives. 120418The placid waters hide the timid minnow and the gentle ray. They also conceal the lurking shark and the ravening kraken. 120419If Jo and I ever get married again I think we'll have a pot-luck reception. Not just any pot luck, but a cake-and-ice cream pot luck. Maybe even cookies and brownies too. But definitely cake and ice cream. Lots of cake and ice cream. 120420Tureen's Syndrome is what you have when you cuss uncontrollably when you get to the bottom of your bowl and there isn't any more soup. 120421We've got two boxes of tissues in our house. The first has pictures of happy penguin families. The second has pretty, diaphanous butterflies. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to get from these pictures, but they tell me that maybe I'm supposed to sneeze on butterflies and wipe my nose on penguins. 120422It is a truth universally acknowledged that when a beloved book is made into a movie, dear friends will have bitter arguments about what was done right and what was done wrong. 120423 The Intarweb has greatly expanded the generation of memes. Any idiot can come up with something and inflict it on thousands, even millions of people. It strikes just the right chord and it starts being repeated over and over and over, often with variations. I'm sure this isn't a new phenomenon, just the medium of transfer is new, and so I've been speculating about the pre-Intarweb memes that have risen to popularity before they blessedly fell into obscurity.

120424Thoughts are like lemons. Sometimes they provide a refreshing tang that brightens your day and sometimes they squirt burning acid in your eye. 120425Lots of things could benefit from having a spit valve, like trombones and other brass instruments, for draining out the accumulated goo. Life, job, email, Facebook, bowels, politics. Think how convenient it would be to have a spit valve to get rid of the gunk that clogs things up. 120426The word "harmonica" sounds like it should be an instrument of torture.
There are those who would say this is correct.
120427Bird feathers and rhino horns are formed from the same substance, keratin. I find it fascinating that something that is as strong, powerful, and heavy as rhino horn is also as light, delicate, and uplifting as feathers. 120428One of the funniest things I've ever seen is that time I went to R'lyeh and put a mirror in front of Cthulhu and watched him attack it, hissing and gobbling, with his tentacles flibbering around and his nictitating membranes fluttering like gossamer curtains in the wind. 120429Seagulls follow me littorally everywhere I go. 120430Why are all monsters susceptible to an herb or a spice? Vampires don't like garlic, werewolves don't like wolvesbane, giant acid slugs don't like salt, giant nyookyooler crabs don't like Old Bay seasoning. You'd think some monsters might be bothered by fruits or vegetables, or maybe certain cuts of meat. Maybe mummies aren't too keen on bananas, or axe murderers can't stand cauliflower. It goes without saying that zombies don't care much for fruits and veggies, but I expect they are completely repulsed by tender loin.

May, 2012 120501Does partial hell ever break loose? 120502If you look at the end of an unsharpened pencil, it looks like half of a hexagonal fruit with a seed in the middle. This is quite appropriate since, just as mighty trees and plants grow from seeds within fruit, so do great ideas and stories and thoughts grow from the seed of a pencil. 120503The hare and the hound are on the same path, but they are on completely different journeys. 120504Modern cities are given life and are governed by the runes of power written on them by their mass-transit systems. The subway lines run deepest and are the strongest binding, pulling together all the disparate regions of the city into a coherent whole. Bus routes are more ephemeral, binding together smaller neighborhoods, yet wrapping strong threads of influence around the inhabitants. Air routes tie cities together, writing one grand rune of power across the face of the planet. Finally, the forgotten transit paths, the utilities. Water, electricity, sewage, the scribbled blanket of these runes brings the elements of life into the city and removes them once they're spent. All these runes work independently, but together they write the word emet across the face of the city. 120505Most fascinators seem to fall into two classes. Those in the first class look like they're the result of an attack by a floral ninja. Those in the second look like zits waiting to be popped 120506Clogging started when some teenagers walked through a muddy cow pasture in Wisconsin one evening and wanted to clean off their shoes. 120507Toilet paper adverts often feature puppies, kittens, ducklings, and bear cubs. What the heck kind of sick mind would want to create subconscious links between baby animals and scatological activities? For that matter, what on earth do ad-men think goes on in normal homes? "Hey Martha, we're all out of toilet paper. Bring me one of Fifi's puppies. Whoops, better make it two." 120508Usually, when something is given a name indicating a purpose, that thing may in fact be used for that purpose. A measuring cup is a cup you use for measuring. A frying pan is a pan in which you fry things. A ruler is a stick you use to enforce your rule over children. There is, however, a group of things whose names do not fit well with their purposes. One such thing, for example, is the garter snake. 120509Something happened yesterday that revealed one of my subconscious biases. I saw a truck with a big logo on the side:

NEW CENTURY
transportation

My immediate, zero--thought response was, "Huh, I didn't know the font people also had a trucking company." 120510This past weekend, I worked at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, playing music to entertain the crowds. While there I learned two interesting lessons. The first thing I learned is that among its other uses, a sheep anus is a means of communication. Sheep farmers use sheep anuses as a way to explain to a sheep, "Yes, I really do want you to walk in the direction that person holding your lead-rope is pulling you." The second thing I learned is that I do not want to be a sheep farmer. 120511Among the Norse gods, Thor is well known for playing with hammers. What is not so commonly known is that the other gods also had affinities for particular tools. Odin was fond of levels and plumb bobs, while Tyr was rather skilled with a handsaw. Freyja was always happy to use a screwdriver, her brother Freyr was obsessed with rulers, and they both loved nailing things. And Loki, as you might expect, was forever throwing around monkey wrenches and spanners. 120512When you first open a bottle of Coke, if you look closely you can see a little cloud of vapor rise up from the bottle. Everyone knows this is the first release of carbonation, from the Coke being pressurized during the bottling process. Everyone is wrong. This is actually the Coke's soul and you have to be quick to catch it and drink it down, or it will dissipate and escape. Then you're just drinking fizzy sugar water, and what's the point? 120513When whipping egg whites, the beaters are dancing a meringue. 120514The Cow Winds blow warm and moist from the south, bringing the memory of fertile fields and summer grain.
Winds Week
120515The Swan Winds blows gently from the west, faintly calling with the voices of those who have gone before, overlaid with the distant grumble of the cygnet's call and the soft rasp of long white feathers whisking the twilight cloud.
Winds Week
120516The Dog Winds blow from the north, bounding over lake and mountain, eager to find you, wrapping you 'round with great joy and delight, so happy to have found you once again and never wanting to leave you.
Winds Week
120517The Hawk Winds blow from the east, rising from the birth of waters and soaring over the fires of dawn, thunder the wings that carry the wind on the hunt.
Winds Week
120518The Boar Winds blow from the earth, rising upwards with strength and leading the lost homewards where the hearth is waiting warm.
Winds Week
120519The Whale Winds blow down from the heavens, eager to explore wonders, to smell the flowers, to give name to all its breezes enfold.
Winds Week
120520The Gryphon Winds blow within, stirring not a hair nor leaf, filling the soul -- a more willful sail than was ever raised on any mast -- and taking you on a journey beyond imagining.
Winds Week
120521Home is where the heart is. And the harp, and the ice cream, and the big tub, and the pillow, and the warm socks, and the parrots. It's also where you hang your hat. 120522There's a beautiful bird called a military macaw. I don't know why they're called that, but the name conjures up some great imagery. I can just see a group of them on the march, waddling along in perfect single file columns. They'd be excellent recruits, parroting back every word, every phrase, their drill starling squawked. Come time for combat, though, and they'd be a mess. All that noise and commotion, and the military macaws would erupt in a raucous, retreating cloud and fly off somewhere peaceful. Which goes to show how intelligent they are. 120523The job market in ancient Athens was insane. The weirdest things were used to justify giving people jobs. One example is that Sophocles was elected to be a general -- in command of an army as well as naval galleys -- because the Athenians liked his most recent play, Antigone. Yes, writing a play that ends in disaster and multiple suicides was considered a good reason to put someone in charge of thousands of men, a fleet of ships, and part of the national defense. This is merely one instance of the rational decision-making engaged in by the Athenians. Candidate selection for jobs must have been fascinating. "Have you been to Pericles' recently? They have a new pastry chef and his baklava is to row for!" "Ooh, I must try it. Should we elect him archon?" "Sweetie, no. His baklava is trierarch-good, even admiral-good, but it isn't archon-worthy." It's a wonder Athens stayed in power as long as it did. 120524We were out walking in our woods and saw some large black shapes flying above the trees. What are those? Crows. A bunch of crows. No. A murder of crows.
Or maybe they're Nazgûl. What's a group of Nazgûl called? Oh, that's obvious, it's similar to crows. It's a Mordor of Nazgûl.
120525When travelling in Iceland, if a rock starts talking to you, just keep walking. Nothing good can come from a talking rock. 120526When the Fire Horse leaps across the Summer sky, glowing embers streaming from her tail drift to earth by night and awaken as fireflies dancing in the cornfields. 120527There are times when it'd be really nice to be able to give someone an actual, physical reality check. When someone is being so clueless to how the world works that you can write them a check for 10 or 15 minutes of reality. Give them a chance to experience the real world. Similarly, there are people who need a little time off from the real world, and could benefit from someone writing them a fantasy check. 120528Emotions, not eyes, are the window to the soul. Emotions, like windows, are two-way, while eyes only let you look out. Emotions let others see your soul; they also are the lens through which you see the world. 120529I hate user interfaces that are "so easy an idiot can use them" because I always have trouble with them. That tells me I'm either smarter than an idiot or dumber than an idiot, and I'm afraid to find out which. 120530Coyotes and the heat come out of the West. They steal quietly to the edge of the wood, lurking, watching, waiting for you to drop your guard. With your back turned, they leap on you with the savagery of a vampire and drain you of vitality. They leave you clinging to the last shreds of life, so they can return tomorrow to sup again, and again, and again, from the well of life that bubbles up from within. 120531They say that if you die, your cat will start eating your body within hours. When a tiger or leopard eats a human, They kill the animal because it has developed a taste for human and will then seek them out as prey. I wonder if a cat who has eaten its dead owner's body develops a taste for human. I wonder if from then on, that cat is actively plotting the death of any owners it acquires.

June, 2012 120601I realized why highland cows have long shaggy bangs. First, there's lots of rain in Scotland and the rain runs down the long hair instead of into the cows' eyes. Second, in summer the hair is a convenient curtain that keeps the midges out of the cows' eyes.
Plus, with their stubby little legs they can't reach up high enough with their scissors in order to keep the hair trimmed.
120602I get confused thinking about tripods. Someone mentions camera tripods and I think of enormous cameras striding across the land, shooting death-rays from their lenses. Someone mentions Martians invading with their tripods and I think of the Martians coming to take nice, clear, steady vacation photos. 120603The waterfall is the symbol of the primal source of life. It brings a torrent, a rushing effluence, an intoxicating cascade of life-giving water. It comes in violence, in peace, battering, brushing, overwhelming, rippling, enfolding, slithering, screaming, whispering. It is rarely civilized; it is always wild. The path to the waterfall is just as primal and is never easy. The path climbs and falls, twists and turns. It is strewn with rocks, with dead limbs, with roots exposed to tickle and snag unwary toes. It leads through streams and rivers, with slippery, slidey footstones the only way to cross. But when you reach the waterfall, ah when you reach the waterfall. You are rewarded with a treasure, the power and beauty and joy and fury of the earth's first music, the life-brimming song of the waterfall. 120604In Middle Earth, the Cracks of Doom were in a volcano called Mount Doom that was in a barren, horrible, evil land. I don't think it a coincidence that there's such an audible similarity between "Cracks of Doom" and "crack of dawn". 120605Everyone's going on about Venus transiting the Sun. Whoop-dee-moony-doo. I'm looking forward to Venus transiting the Moon in five years. Now that will be something to see. 120606I'm wondering about Charon and his financial matters. What's his preferred currency? What sort of exchange rate does he get for the passage fees? What does he do with the money he gets -- does he save it? Does he invest it? Maybe he buys bonds. Does Charon keep his money in a bank? Which bank? How does he find time during bank hours to get to his local branch, what with all those needing his ferry services? What sort of ATM is he likely to have access to along the banks of the Styx? Is it the banks of the Styx where Charon keeps his money? Sure, he sees lots and lots of bankers, but are they in any position to help him? 120607The squirrel bounds in with exuberance, the crow dances timidly on the edges. 120608What the catbird says is only rumor.
What the thrasher says you wish to believe.
What the mockingbird says is True.
120609It is interesting that one who does their bounden duty is honourable, yet a bounder is one who acts dishonorably. 120610I think that dance cards, from an extended period, would provide an interesting social archeology, showing such things as migration and mating patterns, and giving insight into population studies. 120611In the days when cave painting was the only medium of mass communication, I bet anthologies and multiple print runs were not very common. 120612There are lots of different types of brownies. Chocolate brownies, walnut brownies, fudge brownies, peanut butter brownies, chocolate chip brownies, caramel brownies, and blondies, to name just a few. These brownies are all quite delicious. I wonder what other things come in a variety of flavors. Are there vanilla elves and mint elves? Maybe there are parsley goblins and sage goblins? Or apple nymphs, macademia nymphs, and grape nymphs? Marzipan pisks and chocolate pisks? Oh, man, I'm making myself hungry now. 120613The Powers That Be is the term I use for people in authority over others that act in petty, officious, dictatorial, unnecessarily harsh, uncaring ways, and exercise their power as a way to put underlings in their place. Whenever I write about The Powers That Be, I usually abbreviate it to TPTB. It occurs to me that pronouncing that acronym sounds like you're giving a raspberry -- which is exactly how i feel about people acting like The Powers That Be. 120614Sumo wrestling is governed by the Marquess of Pillsbury rules. 120615A tiger can't change his stripes. However, he can add some pretty ribbons and bows, use some L'Oreal Fur Kitties to add some highlights, shading, or frosting, maybe get a mani-pedi at Luigi's, or best yet go for a nice, relaxing, full spa day up at the lake. 120616Ship figureheads lead their ships on their journeys. I wonder how much angst or guilt the figureheads feel when they escort their ships into storms and bad seas. Is there great frustration that they can't steer their ship away or warn of impending danger? What do figureheads talk about when they come to port and they all gather in their own pubs? Are they morose anddeep in their cups, with the memory of all they've lead their ships through? Are they slamming down their grog to dull and drown the memory of their mute leadership? These figureheads lead lonely, solitary lives. 120617There are many tales of faeries casting a glamour over mortals so that pigsties appear as palaces, hovels as grand halls, rags as riches. I wonder if the glamour is only for mortals or if it covers the faeries themselves. Are they deceiving themselves to see wonders where there are none, or are they content without? Given that tales often report that faeries hold humans in contempt, why waste the magic and effort deceiving the mortals? Why not treat them in the manner with which they are regarded -- mask the wonders of the world from them, make humans see beauty as filth, have them smell dung rather than fresh bread? I wonder if the faeries are really only deceiving themselves. 120618Wednesday is nicknamed Hump Day. I think that next Wednesday, we should celebrate Hump Day by walking around like hunchbacks, speaking bitterly about our siblings, and quoting freely from "Richard III". 120619I don't think it's an accident that "exercise" and "excoriate" are such similar words. 120620Throughout the 1920's, young women took the country by storm, setting the style with short skirts, bobbed hair, and rather liberal behavior for the time. The open, carefree lifestyle of the flappers came to a crashing halt at the end of the decade, one of the little-known casualties of the Great Depression. They tried to hold on, but the only way they could support their lifestyle was by taking the menial jobs available from people who resented the flappers' freedom. In larger cities, these jobs most often were restroom attendants. Given the poor state of the economy and technology, the flappers had to manually operate the toilets. This unpleasant task and the accompanying nickname resulted in the flappers turning away from their life of carefree fun and returned to their previous lives of drudgery. They just didn't want to be known as flapper valves. 120621The Bells of Night chime in the dark, tolling for what we know not. No mortal hand draws the bell-rope, but unseen feathers whisper in the conjuratory, setting the bells to knell. 120622The power went out again. Pap tells me that the storm took out a junction or a transformer. The storms that always come at the same time in the early evening. Pap says the heat of the settin' sun and the cool of the comin' night make it good for evenin' lightning storms. He's wrong. Oh, I expect he's right about the storms, but that's not what makes the power go out. He stays down in the kitchen with Mama when the storms hit, so he don't see what I see. I crawl into the north gable to watch the storms, and I see when They come. They're big and tall and dark yella, and they bite the power lines until they get a big mouthful o' power. Then they go spittin' it at each other, and throwin' handfuls of it at the trees and up at the mountain top. Then one of 'em will shove his arm deep into the power line, all the way up to the shoulder. It'll stay there until its head turns the color of piss-snow, then it yanks its arm outta the line and they all run away like Uncle Jay found 'em in his strawberry patch. That's when the power lines start dancin' around. That's when the power goes out. 120623Power outages are like snow days; if one hits, you should be able to spend the day goofing off. Laptops, tablets, smartphones, telecommuting, none of that matters -- you get some time off. Insurance companies call snow and power outages and the like "acts of God." There might be something to that. Maybe snow days and power outages are God telling a whole region to take some time to relax and rejuvenate. 120624When Horse comes snorting and snuffling and blowing horse breath in your face, remember that this is a gift. Horse is trying to infuse you with a part of the Horse nature, so you can have at least a small sense of what it means to be a horse. For some, this is a blessing; for others, a curse. This is how you can judge the nature of the person. 120625As a kid, I learned that if I'm ever in the southwest US, there was a deadly danger I had to beware of. Apparently, scorpions rather enjoy hiding in shoes. To counter this sinister threat, I would need to shake my shoes out every morning, thus expelling any lurking scorpions. Unfortunately, the advice stopped there. I never learned what to do if I happened to shake a scorpion out of my shoe. Squashing it seemed like a bad idea, since my feet would of course be shoeless and I doubt the scorpion would stand patiently by until I had safely encased my feet in scorpion-proof shoes. Invite it to tea? My mother never stocked tea victuals that scorpions would be interested in. Politely ask it to leave? If that would work, the scorpion wouldn't have intruded in the first place. So, this well-meaning advice was woefully, perhaps fatally, incomplete. 120626Most widely known constellations have their basis and names from Greek myth. Other cultures undoubtedly had their own constellations and didn't rely on the Greek visions, but those non-Greeks aren't really used now. How did the Greeks win? I wonder if there were great celestial battles between the mythoi? Did the Greek constellations win a decisive battle, wresting control of the stars from all others? Did the Greek constellations lose, and now are forever trapped in the heavens? Are these struggles still under way even now? 120627Accents and diacritics are a sign of a failure of orthographic imagination. 120628Many trees make the forest. 120629Clouds sift the moonlight, softening the blazing beams. The hunter's work is vexed; the hunted's life is eased. 120630I hate summer weddings. Heat, humidity, bugs, blazing sun, mosquitos, sweat, dehydration, family, friends, reunion, anticipation, hope, friendship, excitement, affection, tenderness, passion, joy, happiness, jubilation, devotion, elation, love. I love summer weddings.

July, 2012 120701I don't understand bugs. Nocturnal ones, at least. After dark, I turn on the light in my bathroom and bugs gather at the window. The light attracts them, and they gather like the proverbial -- archetypal? -- moth to a flame. If they are nocturnal, why are they uncontrollably called to light? Wouldn't this make more sense if they were diurnal? I'd think that nocturnal bugs would be driven away be light. 120702With me, this season of spirit quests is drawing to a close. I am returning from my spirit quest and I am at a complete loss. I was the last to start, embarking after most of the others had already returned. The spirit guides the others gained have already brought a positive influence to the community. Chana returned with Bear, the Tonda brothers returned with Lion, Dog, and Phoenix. Sam returned with Magpie and Sera returned with Hawk. Several returned with Wren and Woodpecker, and Nori of all people returned with both Squirrel and Chipmunk. No need to say how helpful those will all be to the community. And then there's me. Of course I'd prefer to return with a spirit guide from one of the Noble Houses, but it isn't a disappointment not to. I would have been happy with Chipmunk or Falcon, or even one of the boring ones, like Moth or Finch. But has anyone ever gotten such a useless spirit guide as me? I expect to be run out of the village. I'm not just returning with Sloth, but I am returning with Sloth On A Rock. 120703Words We Need 1: These words should be well-defined and in widespread use: thign, sprinking, duputies, toontime, feck, bloviatrix, cognoodle, hierarchive, groggler, horrd 120704Musicians and sound techs use sound checks to adjust microphones, check volume levels, and make sure the musicians sound good in a particular space. To those not involved, a sound check gets in the way of the music starting, and may take an hour or two that should be filled with music. However, a sound check is a moment out of time, an extratemporal slice of chronology. A sound check is a knife-blade of time dividing music and noise, life and death, Heaven and Hell, It is a Schrödinger moment, the very instant when the box is opened and the die is cast as to whether the cat is alive or dead. But it is an elongated Schrödinger moment, that quantum in slow motion when the decision is made whether or not the musicians and the sound system will work well together to produce wonderful music or if they will be fighting each other into cacophany. 120705I am very happy to embrace new technology. Unfortunately, new technology is all too often very happy to embrace me. Around the throat. With clenched hands. 120706The Kool-Aid Guy is a cheerful, exuberant character bringing sugar-laden refreshment wherever he goes. He also brings destruction, knocking down walls, fences, and doors to deliver drinks. He is clearly the physical manifestation of the Comedy Mask. It stands to reason that there must also be a similar physical manifestation of the Tragedy Mask. As destructive as is the Comedy manifestation, the Kool-Aid Guy, the Tragedy Manifestation must be really devastating. So, if you see a giant pitcher of Kool-aid coming towards you and it has a big frowny face, you might want to consider running far, far away. 120707Eyebrows were designed to channel sweat away from the eyes. Having the nice, attractive supra-nasal eyebrow gap opens a breach that allows sweat to run down into one's eyes. Therefore, unibrows are the natural, more useful arrangement of eyebrows. 120708Torch songs are my favorite kind of music. They combine open flames with music -- what's not to love? 120709Everyone knows that crime always goes up when the travelling folk come to town. All sorts of small crimes takes place, and it'd probably be best if they just stayed away. I wonder how much of that crime is actually committed by the travellers and how much of it is the locals taking advantage of the presence of the travellers to engage in minor thefts and petty revenges against their neighbors. 120710My doctor tells me I should eat more fiber. Some friends have told me I should take up a fiber art. I'm not quite sure how those two things are related, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they won't be very pleasant together. 120711I have a feeling that Tetris was developed as a training program for the people who load delivery trucks and cargo holds. 120712Why does "Fine Arts" have to specify "fine"? Art is subjective, an aesthetic issue. Prefixing it with "fine", in conjunction with the way the phrase is used, implies that there's an objective standard for measuring art. 120713If you have a nifty, scenic rock, then all you have is a nifty, scenic rock. But if you have a nifty, scenic rock and a nice, romantic, Native American folktale, you can charge people $6 admission. 120714The little glass ball on old lightning rods was there due to the ancient conception of lightning and fire. Fire was formed of phlogiston and lightning was an aggregation of heavy, fast fire. Lightning rods would attract the lightning and the glass ball would capture the phlogiston, thus rendering the fire captive and harmless. You had to periodically replace the phlogiston balls as they became full, and be careful you didn't let it become overfull. If the phlogiston balls in lightning rods became full, they became unstable and were likely to explode. This concentrated phlogiston was incredibly powerful and much more dangerous than the original lightning. Various uses have been investigated for phlogiston balls, from power sources to light bulbs to weapons, but lightning is too unpredictable to manufacture them and the balls are too unstable. The current design of lightning rod was eventually developed and phlogiston gets vaporized into a harmless gas. 120715Most stories written about Virginia Creeper would be pretty boring. After all, ivy isn't the most riveting of topics at the best of times. However, I think a Lovecraft story about Virginia Creeper would not be boring, and likely wouldn't feature any ivy at all. At least, not any ivy that originated in the realms of mortal men, rather than those Worlds Beyond where the very soil of those shadow-encased spheres shrieks with every stalking step of the residing inhuman malevolences. 120716Why are some woods so much better for certain uses -- such as instruments and building materials -- than other woods? African Blackwood makes the best bagpipes and clarinets, Sitka Spruce makes the best harp soundboards, English Oak makes the best sailing ships, and English Yew makes the best bows. Some might say that it has to do with the wood density, or perhaps the closeness of the grain, or even weather conditions when the tree was growing. While those undoubtedly play a part, I feel they're negligible. A more important factor, I believe, are the tree nymphs that live in the trees. Oak nymphs have strong ties to the seas and the winds, so they raise their trees for good sailing. Sitka nymphs are very lyrical, and they sing to their trees. Blackwood nymphs have an affinity for music, so their trees are predisposed for beautiful music. Yew nymphs, of course, are well known for their fast flight, so it's only natural that their trees make the best bows. 120717I gave blood yesterday afternoon and today the scale says I lost three pounds since yesterday morning. From now on, the day before I go to my doctor I'm going to give a pint or two of blood so she'll think I'm losing weight. 120718Why has the "Fight Club" episode become so ubiquitous in detective shows? Especially for urban fantasy-based shows. If Our Hero doesn't hop into a steel cage death gladiator octagon ring by the end of the first season -- second at absolute latest -- I start to wonder where their priorities lie. Are they really the dark, brooding, Anti-Hero with a heart of golden rainbow fluffy-bunny unicorns we think they are? 120719My doctor tricked me when I was first diagnosed as being at-risk for diabetes. She used this test, the A1C test, that checks your average blood-sugar level for the past three months. I felt betrayed! I thought I only had to dietarily behave for a week or two prior to my appointments with her. That was wrong! It was for a whole three months! Since I had to go for appointments every three or four months, that meant I had to be good all the time. Man, that stunk. Now, though, things have changed. My doctor's extended the time between appointments so now I am going every six months. Woohoo! I get a reprieve! I can be dietarily careless for three months, then I have to clean up my act so she won't know, have my appointment, then back to dietary irresponsibility. 120720There are some who say that a space elevator is much more economically feasible than rockets for getting things into orbit. If a space elevator is ever developed, I wonder if muzak will be pumped into the elevator cars for the journey. I also wonder if people will stand around uncomfortably staring at the flashing floor numbers to avoid looking at their fellow passengers. It'll be an awful long trip with muzak and flashing numbers for your primary companions. 120721"Apples to Oranges" sounds like the name of a boy band whose oeuvre shows their passion for teaching children about logic and nutrition. Ultimately they'd be a failure due to the lack of understooding of the spelling rules required of boy bands. 120722I heard a new bird outside my window today. I think I shall call it the Faculty Bird. Its call was, "Tenure! Tenure! Tenure!" (This is a true story.) 120723The most paranoid of all vegetables is the potato. They are terrified of government and alien mind-control rays. You will often see them wrapped in tinfoil in order to keep these mind-control rays from being beamed into their heads. This is an example of why drugs are bad for you; you too can be afflicted with this extreme paranoia if you, like potatoes, spend too much of your time baked or fried. 120724When Skunk brings his family for a visit, welcome them as you would a dear friend. You may be the only one to smell the scent of roses that accompanies Skunk on his lonely way.
Skunk Week
120725The stripes of the skunk don't define him, but merely highlight his fur.
Skunk Week
120726The skunk that stays in the forest sees the beauty of the trees and knows his is the strongest smell. The skunk that ventures to the ocean sees the water beyond the forest and finds there are stronger smells than himself.
Skunk Week
120727The stripes on a skunk's fur are a map of the journey of its soul. The spots on a skunk's skin count the mountains it has overcome.
Skunk Week
120728Back when skunks ruled the world, they had no use for scratch-and-sniff books.
Skunk Week
120729The Skunk Prince stamps not his feet and lifts not his tail. Rather, force of will wraps around him like a cloak and shields him from harm.
Skunk Week
120730The wisdom of skunks rises with the Evening Star, sets with the Morning Star, and the bees seek counsel of them.
Skunk Week
120731When I was young, I thought a raw bar was one where everyone was naked.

August, 2012 120801Most people consider roid-rage to be a side effect of using steroids, but that pales in comparison to the wrath of someone with a blazing case of hemorrhoids. 120802As Voodoo Yoda says, "There is no fries. There is dough and doughnut." 120803In a perfect world, all French dictionary editors would be named Moe. 120804When a chef's wages are garnished, the intent is to improve the presentation of his pay. 120805Parents use yard-work as a means of indoctrinating their children in the benefits of having children of their own. For a child not inclined to have children, this strategy backfires and convinces the child to have a "free range" yard, and not do yard-work at all. 120806I don't think I could ever drink coffee with a good conscience. The screams of the beans as they're being ground up, the wails of the water as it's being boiled, the agony of the grounds as they're immersed in scalding water. It's much too violent a drink for me. 120807As the tides of war surge in to fill Thor's well, Heimdall's horn spouts its summons to the hosts to gather for Ragnarok. 120808There seems to be an automatic affinity that guests of the Sylvia Beech Hotel feel for one another. We are all readers, we share a deeper bond than mere friendship or kinship. We are all bibliophiles, therefore we are of the same mind, heart, and soul. We may have only just met, but we are family. 120809I have noticed that when parents bring their children to outdoor tourist locations, often the children revert to a state resembling semi-domesticated wild animals. 120810I am really in the mood for pancakes and IHOP is the only pancake shop around. Unfortunately, I don't have my passport so I don't think they'll let me in the door. Even if they did, I don't think the US immigration people would let make back in the country without a passport and I'd be doomed to live the rest of my life in the IHOP. Hmmm..... 120811Recycling centers should never be on dead-end roads. It gives a bad impression. 120812Doughnuts are a great, multi-discipline food. They offer insight into the topology branch of math, in that they can be examined as a torus. They can be pondered philosophically, in that the hole is absent, yet it is an integral part of the entity. The balance between sweet and bread raises questions on the balance of competing aspects of life and how they must work in conjunction to enhance life, rather than to diminish it. They are a practical application of ethics, weighing proximate pleasure against long-term consequences.
Plus, doughnuts are yummy and delicious.
120813When going hiking in the mountains, it is important to take proper safety precautions. You should always carry a flashlight, in case you stay after nightfall. A first-aid kit is important for your backpack, in case of injuries. Food and water are essential, so you can stay properly nourished. Finally, it is vital to keep a few deer in your pack, in case you encounter a hungry bear or cougar. 120814Balrogs hate to play Monopoly with Gandalf. Each and every game, he uses magic to monkey with the dice and cards, just to keep the Balrogs from passing GO and collecting $200. Every time they get close, Gandalf yells with childish glee, "You shall not pass!" and the Balrogs end up in jail. Not once in several millennia of Tuesday Game Night has a Balrog ever made it all the way around the Monopoly board. 120815I am a bit disappointed I didn't fall down the mountain while crossing the glacier today. If I had, then I was all prepared to yell out "Aaasss yooouuu wiiiiish!" as I fell. Of course then you'd have had to leap into a big snow slide to follow behind me down the mountain. 120816Mountain skeeters have a particular affinity for birdwatchers. 120817Art is disconnected enough from the average person that an instance of art being done in public will likely attract a great deal of attention. There could be a person painting a glorious waterfall, and people will give a cursory glance at the waterfall on their way to devote their attention to the painting. This might not be the case if people were involved in creating art. Perhaps they would pause briefly to look at the art being created, but focus more attention on the subject of the art. This raises the question of whether the value of high-quality art would be debased, since the average person would be involved with creating art of some sort, of varying levels of quality. Also, I wonder if there would be a difference of effect with people creating art of various sorts -- painting, music, sculpture, writing, whatever. Would it have any effect at all? 120818Whenever I see someone writing about T-Mobile, my subconscious takes over and changes it into T-Rex and I wish that I too could get phone service from dinosaurs. 120819When you're inside and something comes out of the woodwork, then it's something of a surprise but probably not too troublesome. When you're outside and something comes out of the woodwork, it's actually coming out of the depths of the forest and that's when you need to worry. 120820I wonder what type of tissue Hannibal Lecter prefers. 120821In this current political season, I've read a lot of things talking about one or another candidate being lambasted by something. I've been confused by the word "lambaste." It looks like a composite word, but how do the pieces combine? By dividing up the pieces, I've found some reasonable definitions, as well as some odd ones. Is it a combination of "lam" and "baste"? A lam is a type of fishing net, and "baste" is either to sew together loosely or to apply melted fat to something. So, this would give it as putting together a loose fishing net or applying melted fat to a fishing net. Also, "baste" is a variant of beast, in the sense of "to hunt for beasts". So it could mean to hunt for beasts with a fishing net. I'm not net savvy, but that sounds like using the wrong tool for the job. None of those definitions seem to be the logical source of lambaste as currently used. You can also divide the word as "lamb" and "ast". A lamb, of course, is a baby sheep, while "ast" is the obsolete past tense of "ask". So, the word could derive from asking a baby sheep a question. Since politics is the root of this discussion, I think the real meaning of lambaste derives from another sense of "lamb", which is a simpleton. Therefore, in political context, "lambaste" undoubtedly means to ask an idiot a question. 120822Pendulums have a highly prescribed life -- back and forth, back and forth. Here, there, here, there. Never varying, never speeding up or slowing down. Never stopping to take in the scenery along the way. I'll bet pendulums dream of breaking free and doing something different, going a little bit farther, going not quite as far, holding still and taking a good look around for once. The dreams of pendulums are simple, but they carry them far. 120823Tonight I went to the theater to see a musical. I sat in the theater, waiting for it to start. There was no curtain, so the set was visible. There was a sign hanging down that showed the name of the show. Due to an unfortunate choice of fonts, it looked like I was about to see "Little Ihop of Horrors". Perhaps I should say fortunate choice of fonts because that inspired some wonderful images. It starts off with a piece of banana-guava nut toast that appears mysteriously in a failing breakfast diner. After dribbling a little raspberry syrup on the toast, it grows into a kiwi-macadamia muffin. A bit more raspberry syrup and the muffin becomes a short stack of barley pancakes. More raspberry syrup, plus a waitress or two, and the short stack sproings into a long-and-tall stack of table-sized wheat-bran pancakes, with a side of French-waiter toast and a rack of long pork sausage. The diner's wait staff are all eaten by this giant pile of pancakes, and the planet is slowly taken over as new diner franchises spread across the land. The show has such songs as "Eating Up Seymour", "Breakfast-time", "Cook for Me", and "Mean Green Griller from Outer Space". 120824MacGyver is the 20th Century's pale incarnation of Captain Jack Sparrow. 120825I think a great name for a Thai restaurant would be the Thai Pad. 120826Here's something I've always wondered about chili con carne. Is it made of carnival workers or do you eat it with carnival workers? 120827When I was a kid, there was an American Legion mansion up on a hill in my grandparents' neighborhood. Going to my grandparents' house, I would see the mansion, at the top of a long wooded driveway, and I'd wonder about who lived there. Leaving their house, I'd see a "HIDDEN ENTRANCE sign shortly before the long wooded driveway. At some point, it occurred to me that Batman had a hidden entrance to the Batcave, and I quickly came to the conclusion that maybe Bruce Wayne lived in the mansion. I never saw a secret entrance and I always wondered just where it was. I also wondered why the secret entrance to the Batcave would have a sign announcing its presence. As I grew older, my wonderings about Batman in the American Legion mansion faded, but I learned about the Stepford Wives and my wonderings took a darker turn. 120828In the night, the frog who sits still by the leaf and jumps not while the lantern shines will have other nights to sit peacefully by other leaves. 120829Pistachio kind of sounds like it should be the fancy name for pubic hair. 120830I'm considering becoming a professional baseball player. If I do, I'll insist on playing with the Designated Hitter rule, and I think I'll designate my hitter to be Hank Aaron. Are there Designated Fielder and Designated Runner rules, too? 120831My teeth are the boss of my body. I came to this conclusion mathematically. My teeth have at least eight separate products devoted to them. That's more than I have for any other body part. My teeth have a medical professional devoted entirely to their care, as well as a professional personal trainer/beautician. None of my other body parts have any medical professionals caring for them exclusively. (At my age, though, that'll soon change...) Finally, there are specific rituals I engage in so my teeth remain happy. No other part of me gets that level of respect and consideration. I have a feeling circumstances around teeth's bosshood arose from the way teeth's tap roots wrap so intimately around those big nerves in our jaws; they slowly and completely seized control of our brains using those puppet strings they're grasping in their fingers. Teeth are the boss of the body.
Jo pointed out that I do have an eye doctor that just deals with my eyes. This is true, but I take it as another sign that my teeth are in control -- they made me overlook my eye doctor.

September, 2012 120901Can a solipsist ever have a surprise birthday party?
Solipsist Week
120902When a solipsist's insurance policy has exclusions for "Acts of God", shouldn't they really be called "Acts of Policyholder"?
Solipsist Week
120903If a solipsist used the phrase, "It's all yours," would they cease to exist?
Solipsist Week
120904Do you have to worry about buying the wrong gift for a solipsist?
Solipsist Week
120905I wonder what would happen if a solipsist said, "I'm all ears."
Solipsist Week
120906Does a solipsist really need to watch the weather news?
Solipsist Week
120907Solipsists always win at Trivial Pursuit.
Solipsist Week
120908Whenever I see "Game of Thrones" fans talking about Westeros, I read it as westeroos and my immediate thought is that they're talking about George R.R. Martin's line of cowboy-themed underwear. 120909There is something primal about hammers. They can be used as tools of creation as well as tools of destruction, but they most call to us as creative forces. I think that's because hammers are likely the first tool devised, way back before people were really people. In pre-technological, pre-historic times, a big hunk of rock was an effective hammer, and it still can be. We have refined hammers in the intervening millennia, but they are still pretty much the same thing. Our brains, our arms, our muscles, our hands, they all remember the creative power provided by a hammer of any sort. And seeing a hammer stirs thoughts of creativity deep in the hidden reaches of our souls as our entire being remembers the generative power of the hammer. 120910There are two types of forces of nature. Both are nigh-irresistible and potentially devastating, but only the first is well known. Active forces of nature are things like hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes. Their power is tremendous and awe-inspiring; you can be lucky to come out alive from one. Most forces of nature, such as these active forces, have a strong effect directly on things, but there are also the passive forces of nature. These passive forces do not work on things, but instead cause things to work on the passive forces themselves. The three strongest, most irresistible passive forces of nature are levers, buttons, and cranks. You see a lever and you must pull it; you see a button and you must push it; you see a crank and you must turn it. Adding a warning sign to one of these passive forces will do nothing but intensify the strength of the force. And Heaven help you if you get between someone and a big red button. 120911If you absolutely must take a photo of yourself in the bathroom mirror, for heaven's sake make sure the mirror is clean. 120912Walk with mirth and mercy; music and joy and courage will enfold you like a cloak, lifting you up throughout all your days. 120913Noah was a pirate. You know that because he sailed on the ARRRRRRRk. 120914Thinking about it a bit further, I'm not sure how successful a pirate Noah would have been. There wouldn't have been any other ships to plunder, there were only two parrots for that whole boatload of pirates to share, the beavers would have drunk all the rum by the third day, and with that massive horde of animals he'd have had far too many skull shapes to choose from to ever get a consensus on the design of the ARRRRRRRk's pirate flag. However, Noah could have expected help from the ARRRRRRRchangel ARRRRRRRiel. 120915They say that history is written by the victors. That's a short-sighted view. History is written by historians centuries after the fact, and historians are the ones that give names to whole cultures. Who gave the Hottentots their name? It was the historians, as they surely wouldn't have called themselves that. Hittites, Hattians, Hurrians, Pictones, Tarbellis, Redones, Lopsis -- named by historians. We have no control over what future historians choose to call us. The best we can do, as a culture, is to live as positively and productively as possible, and not be close-minded, regressive idiots. If it isn't too late already, maybe we'll be lucky and future historians will be kind to us. 120916It baffles me that people think inflated lungs are smaller than deflated lungs. They don't think that about balloons, and what are lungs but organic balloons? 120917If I am the first human that aliens encounter when they land on Earth, I will take them to Germany to meet some Classical musicians. That, of course, is the only possible response when the aliens say, "Take us to your lieder." 120918Oak trees are nature's pachinko machines. 120919I loathe seeing That Announcement at the beginning of movies. "This film has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit this screen and edited for content". The actual translation of this is, "We've taken out all the good bits and left the crap in because you were too cheap to spend a few bucks to see it in the theater." I know I'm a cheapskate, but I don't like my TV reminding me of it. 120920I've noticed a distinctive style of cereal eating. While chewing a mouthful of cereal, the eater uses their spoon to shift the cereal around in the bowl, as if they're sorting the cereal or looking for something. They almost look like a prospector panning for gold. An interesting thing about this is that those who eat their cereal like this are almost always eating a cereal whose major feature is the health benefits, rather than that it actually tastes good. I've come to the conclusion that they're trying to find something in their bowl that actually tastes good, they're panning for flavor. 120921The Scientist's Paradox: An experiment can be either a success or a failure. However, a failed experiment provides data to the scientist, therefore it was actually a success. This means that all experiments, regardless of outcome, are successful. 120922The cashew suffers from hay-fever more than any other nut. 120923The woodpecker may seek deep 'neath the bark, but he listens first and doesn't hammer away blindly. 120924The archetypal poet is e.g. cummings. 120925Cheese is a foundational element of physics and mechanical engineering. The four basic machines are the wheel, the inclined plane, the lever, and the pulley. Cheese is created in the form of a wheel. A knife is a lever that allows cheese to be cut. A wheel of cheese is cut into wedges -- which are really inclined planes. A cheese acts as a pulley by the irresistible force it exerts on people, drawing them close to use the lever on the wheel to get an inclined plane. 120926When I hit the snooze button without waking up and sleep through a snooze cycle, I feel the universe owes me another snooze cycle. 120927I have learned more fashion terms for women's clothes and shoes by reading mediocre urban fantasy than I have in any other way. 120928If a work-at-home person kills their spouse, who also works at home, how would the police determine if it was a case of domestic violence or workplace violence? 120929I think I must be well advanced into middle age. I find myself giving advice and warnings to people on TV because of course I know better than them. I'll know when I've crossed over to old age when I start getting angry and yelling at the TV people for their intolerable stupidity. 120930Very young children in a roomful of adults must have an interesting view on life. It must look to them like they're moving through a world of moving, laughing, talking trees. Every once in a while one of these trees stoops down and scoops them up to give them affection or food. It must be a fascinating, delightful world.

October, 2012 121001I have always felt ripped off that September -- my birthday month -- only had 30 days. At the least, I want it to have 31 days and I'd prefer 32 or 33. 121002When I was a child, my grandfather took nitroglycerine pills for his heart problems. The only previous experience I'd had with nitro was by way of Bugs Bunny cartoons. I thought I had the coolest grandfather ever because he could eat nitro and it wouldn't make him blow up.
In memory of my grandfather, on his 110th birthday.
121003Watching "Glee" makes me glad I grew up with the pop music I did. 121004I wonder if worm-eating warblers are paranoid and fatalistic whenever they have a meal. 121005If you want to be certain of avoiding eternal damnation, you should wear an animal costume from now on. As the old saying goes, "Hell hath no furries." 121006Back in the 70's, in America we were playing Pong by attaching rudimentary computers to our televisions. Our British cousins must have thought us quite mad when they heard we were sitting around with friends, playing pong. 121007There are several kinds of calendar, though they're often wrapped up in a single calendar. There's the long-term, "What am I doing next summer?" kind of calendar, and there's the short-term, "How many days until the weekend?" kind of calendar. I think TV schedules have replaced short-term calendars for many people. "How many days until the next the weekend? Today is 'Warehouse 13', tomorrow is 'Buffy', the next day is 'Law & Order: Trailer Park', the day after that is 'Cheers', then finally 'Firefly'. So, five more days." I think this has been the way of the world for a while. Now, DVRs are threatening to bring a cataclysmic upheaval to our sense of time. It's too easy to watch things nonhorologically. Can it really be a good thing to watch TV shows outside of their ordained times and days? Is personal convenience so critical that we are willing to cast aside the very thing that anchors us in the river of time, giving stability to our culture and our selves? How long can our society survive? 121008There's a temporary "pipe" connecting the well to the house. My wife insists it's a pipe, but I feel it's a hose. I realized why I can't call it a pipe, but instead must call it a hose. A pipe is something that might end up in Clue having been used to whack Mr. Boddy. While it might be unpleasant to be hit with that hose (unless that happens to be your thing) that hose is not going to kill you. 121009I think malted milk balls were a cunning plan designed to get kids used to the taste of malt so that in time they would quickly and easily transfer their affections from candy to beer. 121010When Glendower claimed that he could call spirits from the vasty deep, he wasn't claiming that he could summon demons. No, Hotspur misunderstood him. Glendower was only bragging that he could get home delivery of whisky from the Vasty Deep Tavern. 121011The Curiosity rover has only been on Mars for two months, and it's already been caught littering. 121012Colin, Tilda, and Dot are all named for punctuation. If the story of their love affair was ever written, it would undoubtedly be slash fiction and one of them would end up in a comma. It would be poorly written, and the author would make a hash out of all the banging. And you can quote me on that. 121013It's funny how critical a thing placement of a single letter can be. Consider these two very similar, yet very different phrases: "45 degrees F" and "45 F degrees." 121014Double quotes and single quotes are the punctuation marks that are used to indicate that what's being said is actually what was said. We need a new punctuation mark that will indicate that the quote is something like what was said, but not necessarily exactly what is quoted. For this purpose, I propose that an approximate quote be surrounded by tildes. 121015Storm clouds enfold the fox, concealing him as well as the shadows of dusk, the shifting shades of red, brown, and black giving him the twilight masque to travel unseen before our eyes. 121016Carpe diem" is an aphorism that urges one to make good use of their time now. "Carpe datum" is a humorous recasting of that phrase, without any widely accepted meaning other than the translation -- "Seize the data." I fear that the security services in our country, at all levels, have taken that as part of their unofficial motto -- "Carpe datum, quisque est criminalis." 121017Some forgotten scriptwriter had no idea how deeply he would be touching society when he wrote the words, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" 121018Words We Need 2: These words should be well-defined and in widespread use: donig, durig, bribesmaid, snarkles, arsethetic, prefoxing, scoogins, wisdumb, Cliffsnots, pizzarazzi 121019The key of a piece of music imbues it with a particular mood or feel. Shifting a piece into a different key -- relative and others -- will give it a different dimension to its range and mood. A capo is a device that allows a guitar to easily shift keys of the music it's playing. The guitar player can change the tempo, and thus the time, of a piece of music. Combining a guitar, a capo, and a guitarist allows shifting through time and dimension. Therefore, a guitar, a capo, and a guitarist are another form of TARDIS. 121020People stack pancakes, sometimes four or five high. How come nobody stacks waffles? 121021Take it from me, you really don't want to put Old Bay Seasoning in your eyes. 121022I have a confession. As one who was raised on the East Coast of the US and who has lived there most of his life, it is a rather painful confession to make. West coasts are better than east coasts. This incontrovertible fact is due to where the sun rises and how hard it works to invade your room while you try to sleep. 121023Why on earth is there an "About the Author" section at the end of the autobiography I'm reading? 121024I wonder if "finding your True Love" is really a matter of finding someone who will tolerate your bodily noises and smells as you get old.
121025Alhazred's Cat: When you're alone in an abandoned, antediluvian mansion, behind at least one closed door is a cat. You don't know which portal the cat is lurking behind. The cat may be vital and alive, or the cat may be dead and putrefying. It may or may not have squamous tentacles; it may or may not have scabrous fur; it may or may not have Ariadnic fangs and Occamic claws that can shred flesh, rend bone, and rip the mask of beauty from the howling corpse of reality; it may or may not have eyes that can drink your soul with unholy exhilaration. It may or may not even look like a cat. You won't know anything about it until it leaps out to devour you, body, mind, soul, and spirit. Amidst the ululating swarm of uncertainties, the single certain, knowable thing is that no hammer or poison can help you, the cat -- alive or dead, it doesn't matter -- will find you and you are doomed.
Eldritch Science Week
121026Three Laws of Golemics:
1. "Truth" written on a golem's forehead gives it life, which it must use to protect humans from religious persecution.
2. "Death" written on a golem's forehead removes life from the golem, preventing it from protecting the persecuted.
3. At the most inopportune time, a golem will go on a rampage, destroying the town, killing vast numbers of people, and preventing anyone from writing "Death" on its forehead.
Eldritch Science Week
121027Ogham's Razor: Beware the crescent moon at the changing of the seasons when reading the runes written on standing stones. Searching the runes for simple answers will summon the hungry shades of long-dead priest and warrior who will harry you over moor and through glen, as the hounds chase the fox, lashing you with razors and blades. The horns of the moon will drip with your blood, harvested by the shades.
Eldritch Science Week
121028Azathothean Transformation - Technically speaking, the Azathothean Transformation moves between coordinates of two frames of reference. Dry as this sounds, it is much more horrific in practice. The Transformation is the means by which the Outer Gods move themselves and their sacrifices between dimensions. It violates the laws of Newtonian physics and a glimpse of the transformation taking place will drive most humans insane. Galileo witnessed the Transformation as Nyarlathotep drew shrieking mortals from our world to his palace of blood-ivory. He retained some of his sanity, and used that experience to develop his own, purely mathematical laws of transformation. His ever-growing madness and desires to experiment with the Azathothean Transformation were the true reasons behind his persecution and imprisonment by the Church.
Eldritch Science Week
121029Theory of Relativity - If you have a relative who was dragged off into the howling, seething chaos in which float the fragile spheres of existence by the crawling, tentacled horrors that bide their infernal lives in that chthonic abyss and you can read, then you are doomed.
Eldritch Science Week
121030Moors Law: For every two hours you spend on the moors, you double the likelihood of being dragged beneath the squelching mire by the ineluctable moor-fiends that rise from the foetid depths, ethereal ichor streaming from their glutterous maws. Nocturnal moor-rambling, if ye be foolish enough to do so, hastens your demise by increasing the likelihood of moor-fiends every 90 minutes.
Eldritch Science Week
121031Theory of Devolution: When a species reaches the peak of its evolutionary path, it must necessarily take a downward turn and regress back to less-advanced states. As the species comes under increasing scrutiny by the Great Old Ones, the devolution takes ever more frightening forms, twisting, mutating, shifting into shapes and semblances that can only send the feeble human mind shrieking down the halls of time.
Eldritch Science Week
121031Lovecraft Uncertainty Principle: Which nameless horror you summon, where you summon the nameless horror, what effect the nameless horror will have on you -- pick two, because you can't know all three. And the third will be worse than you could ever imagine.
Eldritch Science Week

November, 2012 121101Magical thinking is alive and well in America. Whenever a huge storm is approaching, invariably people stampede to grocery and convenience stores to buy milk, bread, and eggs. Even if they seldom use these products, people go buy them until the store shelves are empty. They seem to be talismans to keep the storm away, or at least to keep the damage to a minimum. "Oh Mighty Storm, I invoke the powers in this milk, this bread, and these eggs! Steer thine self awayen from my house! Hitteth thou my neighbor downeth the road! The one with the better car than mine! But notteth me! For I have milk, bread, and eggs!" 121102I wonder if novice superheroes spend lots of time videoing themselves figuring out what to do with their arms when they fly. 121103In early days, True Love bares all things. As time passes, True Love changes so it bears all things. 121104It was said that all roads lead to Rome. I think that was because Rome had indoor plumbing, and once you've had a taste of indoor plumbing you never want to go back. 121105The squirrel and the beaver both live in trees, but their neighborhoods are separated by an unbridgable gap. 121106Numbers may not lie, but they can be twisted, tickled, bent, prismed, seduced, cajoled, and tortured into distorting reality. Numbers don't distort reality, people using numbers distort reality. 121107Facebook is a way for lazy people to consider themselves political activists. 121108The leaves of a tree, just as the leaves of a book, can tell great tales if one but takes the time to read them. 121109Throughout my life, I've had an evolving view of Frere Jacques. From a young age, I wondered who Tina was and what part she played in the song. After a few years, I wondered who Sonny was. In time, I realized Tina was the singer's girlfriend, since she's referred to as "My Tina". As I matured -- or at least grew older -- I wondered why the singer was wanting Tina and Sonny to do, um, that together. As I learned that there was actually a great variety of relationships possible, I realized it didn't matter what the singer, Tina, and Sonny did -- their happiness together was the important thing. Ultimately, I decided that while I don't understand it, I do know that Frere Jacques is not a children's song. 121110A cobweb sounds like something a horse would spin. That raises all sorts of interesting questions and images. I envision horses climbing around on intricate webs they've constructed. What are they trying to catch in their webs? Would horses in a race be allowed to squirt webs in the faces of trailing horses? Baby horses would leave the web by ballooning and the sky would fill with foals dangling from their little web balloons. What would the webs of different horse breeds look like? Ah, if only I'd gone into the underappreciated field of applied inter-species genetic engineering, back in my days at the University of Transylvania. 121111I bet mailmen detest Herodotus for the strict work ethic he imposed on them. 121112I always laugh after donating blood when the Red Cross nurse says, "Don't skip any meals." 121113I was rather taken aback by the premeditated, organized viciousness displayed by the adults in Charlie Brown's neighborhood in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" In that show, the adults clearly planned ahead to give Charlie Brown rocks instead of candy. Not only did they plan ahead, but all the adults in the neighborhood were organized and they all gave him rocks. In addition to this widespread cruelty, it was an incomparably stupid thing to do. Children aren't known for their restraint and tight emotional control. This neighborhood of stupid adults never considered that they were taunting and disappointing a child, at the same time they were arming him. 121114Man-o-war jellyfishes developed their deadly sting in self defense. After ages of torment they decided they needed a means of protection. Prior to getting their sting, they were always being dragged off to birthday parties for young whales and being used as piñatas. 121115The other day, I saw a young child wearing a dinosaur sweater. The sweater had a line of zigzag, triangular back-spikes going down the length of the back. My initial thought was that kids are great because their parents can dress them in all sorts of spiffy costumes -- dinosaur sweaters, squid overcoats, Cthulhu hoodies, Godzilla snowsuits, werewolf hats. My second thought was that as cool as that would be, there's a limited time where the child will go along with this. My third thought was that having a child for the primary purpose of making it wear cool clothes might not be the best of justifications for having a child. 121116Microwave ovens should always have an extra button on them that beeps but does nothing else. When you're programming it to cook something, this button would make it easier to play tunes like "Shave and a Haircut" without getting weird cooking results. 121117Occasionally, I'll see a friend I haven't seen in many months and they will comment on how I've lost weight. The problem is, usually I've gained weight since I've last seen them. I'm left wondering if the weight is distributed better now, if they don't have a clue and are just thinking "fat guy, give a positive comment on the weight," or if I just looked really awful before. 121118I got spam with a subject line of "Massive Returns For Our Members." I'm too scared to read it, but I am wondering if it's stock spam, porn spam, or viagra spam. 121119An equestered jury is one that you have run down by wild horses when it gives a verdict you don't like. (Or, an equestered jury is a jury of the Peers.) 121120I wonder if it's a coincidence that "Life of Pie" had a Thanksgiving release? 121121There is an aspect of the Harry Potter universe that has gone mysteriously, maddeningly unexplained and unexplored, and that is the uncanny resemblance between the Sorting Hat and Oogie Boogie. 121122I have realized that these final thoughts are a jigsaw puzzle of a topographic map of my mind. If you can make any sense of this mass of thoughts, first off, well done you. Second, if you can fit the pieces together you might have an idea of what's going in my murky head. 121123Eliza Doolittle must have had Stockholm Syndrome. 121124Agri-businesses and food companies are nom-profits.
Dumb Joke Week
121125What do sharks call swimsuits? Floss.
Dumb Joke Week
121126The favorite art form of sheep is baaa relief.
Dumb Joke Week
121127Where do cpus go to poop?
To the restrom.
Dumb Joke Week
121128How does Cthulhu prefer his steaks?
With HP sauce.
Dumb Joke Week
121129The soundtrack for Jew-on-non-Jew porn movies is baum-chikka-goi-oi.
Dumb Joke Week
121130Lots of people are after-dinner speakers. I want to be an after-dinner pre-amp.
Dumb Joke Week

December, 2012 121201People tell dumb blonde jokes and think that blondes are the poster children for dumb. In response to that, I want to say Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, and Michelle Bachmann. 121202I don't think Wil Wheaton would be so popular now if Wesley Crusher hadn't been so widely reviled way back then. 121203I have started to write a zombie novel. I haven't written much yet, but it is compelling, terrifying, and heartwarming -- even from the opening paragraph. It may be a bit of a teaser, but here are the first few sentences: R rr r rrrrrr rrr rrrr rr rrr rrrrr. "Rr rrrrrrr r rrrr rrr," R rrrr. Rrr rrrrrrrr rr rr rrrr rrrrrr. 121204The current fashion in outhouses at outdoor festivals are those blue plastic outhouses. Do you think Dr. Who ever loses his TARDIS when he goes to a festival? Or maybe he goes charging into an outhouse, thinking it's the TARDIS, only to discover that it's more of a TURDIS. 121205When people talk about a woman wearing a slinky dress, I imagine she's doing incredibly limber contortionist exercises down a flight of stairs. 121206Politicians that are puppets for the oil industry often talk about the US being energy independent -- not relying on oil coming from other countries. This seems to be rather shortsighted of the industry and the politicians. If the country primarily uses foreign oil now, then that's putting the US in an excellent position when the foreign oil dries up. All that sweet, sweet domestic oil can then be available for the US (by which I mean the oil companies) to exploit for even greater profits than they can now. Good thing politicians are greedy and incredibly short-sighted or else this kind of cynical, self-serving evil might be given significant consideration. 121207The literary world subtly acknowledges the intelligence and individual essence of animals. In those stories where animals are principal characters, they are not described as "first dog" or "third horse" stories. No, they are "first person" or "third person" stories. 121208My greatest fear is that somewhere on the Earth is a kitten that isn't being photographed for posting to the internet. 121209The Great Dwarven Wars raged for ages upon ages. The dwarf clans of the Blue Mountains struggled with the dwarfholds of the Skulling Ranges of the West. The wars and campaigns waxed and waned over the many long years. Many dwarfs died, no family was unscathed. The source of this tragic, pointless conflict sprang from an argument over which was the better, the more dwarf-like weapon, the battle-axe or the war-hammer. 121210A strophe is a structural division in an ode or a free-verse poem. A catastrophe is defined as a disaster, and it has the word strophe as its base. By extension, one can only assume that a poem about cats is inherently a disaster. Perhaps it's a poem about cats that's intended to bring about an apocalypse, in which case T.S. Eliot was a monumental psychopath. 121210Mary Jane candies: The taste is so good it makes up for the horribleness of chewing it.
Contributed by Jo Morrison
121211When crows escort the hawk away, sparrows may once more breathe gently and forage for their nestlings. 121212Of course a grizzly and a shark could fight, but why would they want to? In their opinion, it's a pointless rhetorical question posed by boring academics struggling to retain relevance and gain tenure. The grizzly and the shark would much rather sit around, knocking back salmon smoothies and talking about the fishermen that got away. 121213Listen closely in the early morn'.
When you hear the bottles go snicker-snack,
You know the Milkman has come at last.
121214Chaos, hate, and insanity will always be with us, but Love will overcome. The hawk and the sparrow will sit together and preen; the fox and the hound will roll and play; the wolf and lamb will lie down together. In the long run, Love will conquer all. 121215Sometimes I think Christmas tree ornaments wander around the tree in the middle of the night so they can visit their friends on the other side of the tree. If you also put popcorn strands on, that just encourages them as they'll walk the popcorn trail for snacks. 121216Well-known stories need no explanation only if they really are well known. 121217We are defined by our actions. Similarly, our shadows are outlined by the people who unfriend us over our political views. Often, the sharper the outline, the happier we are. 121218As tantalizing as it may sound, you shouldn't put honey and nuts in your balaclava. Nor should you put your baklava on top of your head, no matter how intriguing the millinery vistas this presents. 121219I feel kinda deprived and deficient. I've never had a safe word and I'm at a loss for what it would be if I had one. If I ever found myself in the position of needing one, I expect I'd lose an opportunity by spending too much time trying to think of just the right word. 121220When someone says they had the living shit scared out of them, they never sound as relieved and happy as I would expect. Personally, I'd be ecstatic to get rid of my shit if it was alive. Instead, people usually sound angry or upset. Also, I wonder what they've been eating and what weird, non-human species they are that they can produce such a thing. 121221Mistranslations and misinterpretations have had people thinking the Mayan Calendar foretold the condemnation of the world. In reality, the Mayonnaise Calendar was foretelling the condimentation of the world -- but only if we all can cut the mustard and ketchup to the understanding of the ancient sage wisdom that has been peppered throughout thyme immemorial. With relish we will find the spice in life, never to rue the passing of the old order. 121222The mirror in a camera is a two-way mirror. It reflects inwards the image the lens sees, and it reflects outwards the heart, soul, and mind of the artist taking the picture. 121223I know Santa is a busy guy, but it seems a bit rude that he never puts his milk glass and cookie plate in the kitchen sink. 121224Christmas tree ornaments are bound by their hangy hooks the same way djinnis are bound by their bottles, ifrits by their gold circlets, and kitsune by snow on their paws. If a Christmas tree ornament loses its hangy hook, it is released from the Christmas tree and may roam freely. All freed Christmas tree ornaments are benign, but the best-loved ones become household spirits that gladly, quietly, help around the house. 121225The Three Kings unequivocally showed their Guyhood by bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Bethlehem. Who would give serious consideration to bringing such strange gifts to a newborn? Clearly, these Guys waited until the last minute to go shopping. The really curious question to me, though, is what shop has these gifts just sitting around on the shelves, waiting for a last-minute shopper. Is there a Million Dollar Store for the rich that has these things on the shelves? Also, was myrrh a normal sales product there or had it been sitting unsold on the shelf for years? Was frankincense a stale, remaindered item or did the shop always stock it? 121225I wonder if Christmas tree ornaments have a preferred location for being placed on the tree. Does everyone want to be up near the star at the top? Maybe they all want to be at eye level. Maybe the fragile guys want to be really low, unless there are children or cats in the household. Does tree placing define an ornament's status for the coming year? Do they want to be near the lights or far away? 121225Turkey and stuffing is just an inside-out sandwich. 121226The Winter Hawk follows close behind the Autumn Falcon. While they soar over the same land, the hunting ground wears different faces. 121227Professional photographers often supplement their income by running a shell game using their lenses. 121228The winds howl, the rains beat, the snows enfold, and the Mockingbird withdraws from the meadows of home. Seek shelter when the Mockingbird comes in from the fields. =20 121229Ah, Hogswatchnight, when the Hogfather brings toys to all the good little children of the Discworld. To show their appreciation, or to bribe him, all the good little children leave out a pork pie for the Hogfather, who dutifully eats each and every one of them. A pork pie. For the Hogfather. Pork. Hog. Ah, Hogswatchnight, when the Hogfather bribes good little children into helping him fulfill his cannibalistic tendencies. 121230Whenever a gear loses a tooth, the Steampunk Tooth Fairy collects the broken tooth and swabs a bit of motor grease on the stump to ease the pain from the lost tooth. When a gear has lost too many teeth, she will search out a replacement and gently, carefully remove the injured gear and insert the new gear in its place. The Steampunk Tooth Fairy will then bring the retired gear to her workshop, where it will spend its remaining days in the comfort and company of gears and hardware. 121231Don't think too ill of zombies, or come down too hard on them. It's easy to think of zombies as mindless killers that are only trying to eat your brain, but there's a lot more to them than that. Zombies absorb knowledge and memories by consumption of neural tissue. When a zombie eats a brain, it gains the wisdom, experience, and abilities of its "victim." It doesn't matter if the zombie is eating a human brain or a zombie brain, it will still absorb everything that brain holds. When you understand this, you'll see that zombies aren't merely mindless killers but are, in fact, historians and cultural preservationists. Often they are overzealous in their pursuit of knowledge, but still seekers, historians, and learners nonetheless. In practical, long-range terms, this means that if you kill a zombie by destroying its brain, then you are guilty of the loss of all the knowledge, all the archived culture, all the wisdom ensconced in that poor zombie's brain.




Final Thoughts of the Night -- The Full Story

I started writing these after talking with my wife about the last words one might say to their loved ones before dying. Rather than leaving to chance the possibility that I might die in my sleep and maybe having said something dopey to her, I decided to ensure that one of the last things I say to her each night is something dopey.

Thus, I undertook the "Final Thought of the Night" project. Each night, shortly before going to sleep, I tell her a Final Thought. These may be funny, they are likely to be stupid; they may be vaguely story-like; they may be pseudo-philosophical and intelligent-sounding; they may be almost mythic from a spur-of-the-moment mythos.

The topics have spanned a wide range of subjects: animals, steampunk, food, bodily secretions. Anything that pops into mind is fair game. Animals are a big focus because it's so easy to say something about animals. I hope I'm not repeating anything, but I am making absolutely no effort to ensure that repeats don't happen. If you see the same idea multiple times, that might mean it's something I think about more than other things.

More final thoughts are available here:




Copyright 2012 by Wayne Morrison. All Rights Reserved.
tewok@storm-monkeys.com