Final Thoughts of the Night, 2013

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, 2013 130101When I was a kid, I saw lots of ads -- obviously geared towards children -- that talked about fortified cereal and fortified milk. However, I never really knew what those actually were. I later learned about the joys of fortified wine. That got me wondering if children should really be consuming fortified milk and fortified cereal. 130102With his fearsome toe claws and his enormous leg muscles, the ostrich rarely feels the need to hide his head in a hole in the ground -- contrary to popular belief. When he does, though, rest assured that you might want to follow his lead yourself. 130103I was thinking about some of the parallels between Hogwarts and my own schooling, and I was amused by one certain similarity. In particular, I was struck with how the four houses of Hogwarts resemble groups of students I knew. There's the obvious ones of Ravenclaw being like the smart kids and Gryffindor being like the jocks and cheerleaders. However, the one that really amuses me is that I think the Slytherin kids were like the kids that hung around smoking behind the school. 130104TSA shenanigans, lost luggage, and unreasonable delays. What else could it be, but air travel? Rounding things out for the airline grand slam is the young child continuously wailing, "Mommy, make it stop! Mommy, make it stop!" (Even though I've never had to care for a young child on a flight, it is gut-wrenching not to be able to help somehow.) 130105The lights dance in the night, creating a temple of multicolored brilliance. Music swells with the lights, dancing, moving, spinning. The lights paint a frozen canvas and tell the age-old story of life. 130106Lots more people would follow seatbelt laws if seatbelts looked like Batman utility belts. 130107There are many ways you support and keep me. The latest is that I know to follow your lead when it comes to preparing for cold weather. Sweaters, parkas, long-johns, glove liners. No matter what esoteric cold-weather thingum you spring on me, if you're wearing it then I figure I should be too. Your wisdom and common sense will keep me alive. 130108There's no one I'd rather end up in a snowbank with than you. 130109Gary Larson took a lot of grief for a Far Side that had a polar bear sharing an iceberg with several penguins. The grief came because polar bears live exclusively at the north pole and penguins live exclusively at the south pole. I bet this wasn't always the case and that penguins used to inhabit both poles and polar bears were on neither. Polar bears, living southish of the north polar range, found this lovely buffet of penguins just waiting for them, if the bears would but move a bit further north. The polar bears darwined up some extra fat layers and they dined well on penguin for quite a long time. So well, in fact, that they ate the penguins out of house and home and pole, thus making penguins a mono-polar bird. 130110Snowbird rises to the heavens before spreading her wings gently over the land. 130111I wish we'd had the opportunity to experience some of the traditional dance from Lapland. 130111The firepit was man's first entertainment center and it provided multimedia entertainment. The crackling of the burning wood was stimulating to their noses, bringing the smells of cooking food and burning wood. The smells of the burning wood also brought memories of food and excited the thoughts of food to be tasted and eaten. Touching things still in the firepit was a harsh reminder of planning ahead and taking care with danger. The dancing flames revived memories and created visions of things that may yet come. All the senses worked together with the firepit to lift up early man and transport him on his way to greater intelligence. You could say that the firepit is the birthplace of human intellect, memory, and imagination. 130112Smokey the Bear would have a massive stroke if he visited Lapland. 130113Having used an iPhone as my alarm clock for a little more than a week, I must say that I am rapidly coming to dislike the sound of the marimba. 130114The Finnish people have done a masterful job of devising excuses to take a break for hot juice and cookies. It is an art form, or a sport 130115I've given a bit more reflection to a Final Thought from earlier this month. Specifically, the one mapping high-school cliques to student houses from Hogwarts. I realized that J.K. Rowling used "The Breakfast Club" as the model for defining the Hogwarts houses, and possibly even the entirety of Hogwarts itself. Emilio Estevez and Molly Ringwald were Gryffindors, Anthony Michael Hall was a Ravenclaw, and Judd Nelson was a Slytherin. Oh, and Ally Sheedy, as you'd expect, was the overlooked, ignored, unnoticed, yet ever-present, Hufflepuff. Rounding things out a little, Carl the Janitor was mirrored by Argus Filch and Principal Vernon was Delores Umbridge. I fully expect that diligent study of the movie and book would turn up hundreds more parallels. 130116With skiing, the learning curve is always downwards. As in, plunging to your doom. Steep or shallow doesn't matter, except for the speed with which you plunge. 130117I never liked "Sing a Song of Sixpence" when I was a child because of this line: "Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie". I didn't want a pie with blackbirds, and I didn't want the blackbirds to be cooked. Little did I know then that many nursery rhymes contain hidden meanings and this was another one. While some scholars claim this song was actually a recruiting song used by Blackbeard, they're wrong about their interpretation of that line. It is not referring to a group of disguised pirates waiting to surprise an unsuspecting ship. That particular line was really talking about how pirates would spend some of their shore leave in Jamaica. Rather than spend their ill-gotten gains on alcohol, they'd buy a bunch of marijuana and sit around in a big circle, smoking joints together and getting high. The actual line is missing a bit of punctuation and a properly spelled word, with which the true meaning becomes clear. The line should really be "Four and twenty blackbirds, baked, in a pi". 130118I wonder if the brain and ears have a cut-off switch for hearing blood rushing around in your head. Without a cut-off, it seems the interminable whooshing would make it hard to sleep, hard to listen to music, hard to hold a conversation, hard to hear anything at all, really. If this hypothetical aural switch really does exist, it'd be really useful to be able to activate it at will. Dogs barking in the middle of the night? Turn the ears off. Fire truck siren? Turn the ears off. Elevator music? Talkative cab driver? Anything before 10am? Turn 'em off. 130118I'm a little concerned. I was walking through the kitchen and got distracted by chocolate. I picked it up to have it and then got distracted again in order to use the chocolate as a quick prop for a dumb joke. Then I put the chocolate down and went on my way. I'm a little concerned. 130119The recent increased debates on gun control are raising several controversial issues. One particular issue is that large-capacity magazines shouldn't be legal. I'm wondering why guns should be equipped with magazines at all, no matter if they're large or small. That seems incredibly unsafe. If you're handling a gun, you should be concentrating on using the gun safely. I don't think you should be reading a magazine at the same time. 130120I saw an advert for Viagra and the fine print said, "See our ad in Golf Digest." It seems a bit strange for them to think that golfers are the best potential customers for buying Viagra. There must be something really bizarre about golf if it requires golfers to have a ready supply of Viagra. 130121Big projecting teeth are a primary distinguishing characteristic of both vampires and beavers. It usually isn't a problem to tell beavers from vampires since few vampires have wide, flat tails. However, the big problem is knowing how to tell a regular beaver from a vampire beaver. They've both got big, projecting teeth. They both like to gnaw on wood. The easiest way to distinguish the two is that vampire beavers are very twitchy and nervous. That's only to be expected since their chewing habits result in them creating lots and lots of sharp, pointy, wooden stakes. Just about anyone would be nervous if they were constantly creating the one tool that can kill them. 130122Undecorating the Christmas tree and putting away the ornaments is like saying farewell to dear friends you know you won't see for a year. 130123"Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight..."
When I was learning this song as a child, I wondered why the other colors were left out. I didn't have the name for it at that age, but even then I was bothered by discrimination.
130124I've had my first experience trying to ski and I quite enjoyed it. However, maintaining balance without falling over was rather a challenge. I can't imagine doing anything else while skiing; it must be almost impossible. I am thus left rather intrigued at the concept of ski ball, and I'm filled with questions over what it actually entails. How big is the ball? Do you hit the ball, kick it, whack it with your pole, or carry it on a ski? Maybe you throw it, but how do you get it off the ground? Is there any tackling of other ski ballers? Is it downhill ski ball or cross-country ski ball? How do you score points? I'd love to see a ski ball match. 130125Who was the most violent poet of the 20th century?
Jack KerWHACK!
Bride of Dumb Joke Week
130126A Catholic who sings in the choir is an apsed Catholic.
Bride of Dumb Joke Week
130126The Junco Moon is stark and sharp as a knife. It clarifies speculation and hones thinking. It is the moon of mathemeticians and simpletons, yet it is the bane of scholars and philosophers. The Junco Moon blazes and reinforces borders and edges.
Bird Moons
130127Q: What's Frankenstein's favorite cheese?
A: Brie.
Bride of Dumb Joke Week
130128Gnocchi was the Three Stooges' favorite pasta.
Bride of Dumb Joke Week
130129A hoity totty is a sexy woman who thinks very highly of herself,
Bride of Dumb Joke Week
130130Zombies' favorite dessert is brain freeze.
Bride of Dumb Joke Week
130131Q: What musical instrument never knows anyone?
A: Erhu.
Bride of Dumb Joke Week

February, 2013 130201Of all the geometric shapes, the holiest of shapes is the triangel. For in each corner resides an angel that watches over the length and field of its converging lines. 130202Neighbor Bob said that with five kids, peanut butter is a staple in his house. I'm not an expert, but I think peanut butter would work better as a glue than as a staple. 130203I wonder what Robin Hood's Merry Men did all day. You hear about several of them -- Little John, Friar Tuck, Alan-a-Dale, Will Scarlet, maybe a couple others -- and their exploits. All those guys were busy, but Robin Hood had a horde of unnamed Merry Men. What did the rest of them ever do? Did they just hang around the forest, drinking mead and eating venison? Were they there to be arrow fodder for those times -- yet again -- when Robin gets captured by the Sherriff? What did those guys do? 130204I wonder what the house at Poo Corner smells like. 130205In the afterword to his excellent "The Atrocity Archives", (on page 334) Charles Stross said, "... we don't have trickster-gods and death-gods and crop-gods anymore..." We might not have such gods as Stross means, supernatural entities responsible for keeping the universe in order, but here in the US we do have something similar embodied in our government. For example, the President is the chief god and the Vice President is the god of humor and buffoonery. The Secretary of Agriculture is our crop god, the Secretary of Defense is our war god, and the Librarian of Congress is our god of knowledge. The Supreme Court are our Fates and Congress is a Greek chorus of rabble-rousing, chaos-spreading, self-identified titans. Our government is organized as a classical pantheon -- marinated in a swill of hubris, entitlement, arrogance, and petulance -- which has self-consuming, cannibalistic tendencies. 130206The hawk circles high above. Hunter one moment, guardian the next. He is shepherd to sparrows and finches in his domain, keeping a watchful eye on them and wards against all other dangers. 130207Natural gas is odorless, naturally. Long ago, the excellent decision was made to add something to it so that people could smell when there was a leak. Tert-Butylthiol was chosen as the standard chemical to provide a distinctive smell to natural gas. Having witnessed standards being written, I'm certain it wasn't a quick and easy decision so I wonder what form the inevitable battles and fights took during the standardization process. "It must smell like feet." "Cheese, it must smell like some stinky peasant cheese." "Non! Eet must smell lahk waffles!" "It must not smell like food at all, but like something you would wash off a kangaroo." 130208Working at home, there's a call that's always beckoning. It's usually very quiet, just below the level of hearing. It's more of a visceral, gut-level whisper. If you listen very carefully, you can hear its murmur, coaxing, wooing, luring you away from your work. It beckons you to come play, to come cavort with it, to cut loose from your restraints and responsibilities. It's usually very quiet, but sometimes, sometimes it rises up and demands your full attention, your devotion and wild abandon. It summons you, the Call of the Fridge. 130209Lots of my friends really hate it when bookstores put unremovable labels on books. I don't like it either and I'd also prefer such labels to not be put on my books at all, but they do serve a useful purpose. The labels remind me which bookstores I'll never buy books from again. 130210On "Arrow", Oliver Queen spent five years on a strange jungle island and was rescued in 2012. So, he must have made landfall in 2007 or 2008. He did find some people established there, trying to survive amidst dangers and mysterious circumstances. They clearly had been living there for a few years prior to Queen's arrival. In a flashback on the most recent episode, there was the hull of a wrecked airliner sitting on the beach. Hmm... Mysterious jungle island, airliner on the beach, people on the island for several years. It's clear what's happened. Oliver Queen was on the island from "Lost". 130211Why are handkerchiefs white? Sure, you want to know when they're dirty and having them white is the fastest, easiest way to see when they need cleaning. And that's the thing. If it's the fastest and easiest way to see that they're dirty, then someone across the room, or even in the next county, is going to see exactly the same thing. It seems a slightly more discreet color would be a better choice for handkerchiefs, something opaque and masking. 130212The willow suffers with those in pain and reaches deep its branches to lift up all who are laid low. This is why the willow weeps. 130213This morning, I was once again told one of the variations of the "Why do pipers walk around when they play?" jokes. I realized that there are a number of piper jokes, but I've never heard any harper jokes. (Not harp jokes; harper jokes.) I decided I would make the world a better place by writing a harper joke.
Q: Why are harpers always beautiful, graceful, and smart?
A: Who cares why?
130214Facebook has become the public-access Saturday Night Live, but to a much worse degree. One joke -- funny the first time you hear it, kinda funny the second time, a little amusing the third time, just plain stupid the 281st time -- gets run into the ground by shares here, shares there, shares everywhere. I'm as guilty as the next person, but I gotta admit that it gets tiresome. I wonder if things would get better if a "maximum shares" count could be set for each image macro or joke. 130215If you look in the OED, part of the definition of "basement" is that it's a part of the house that should never be vacuumed. 130216When I first read "Lord of the Rings", my older brother was in that stage of adolescence when acne medicine figures prominently. As a result, I would read Strider and think about Stridex; I would hear Stridex and think about Strider. It occurs to me that Strider would be an effective spokesranger for Stridex, seeing as he spent most of his time in the wilderness and suffered through an annual bath. 130217It's a little-known fact that Winston Churchill holds the world record in solving a Rubik's Cube while using the Cube as a Hacky Sack. 130218Discrimination and racial hate crimes are not unique to humans, but also exist in the animal world. For instance, red-headed woodpeckers are approaching endangered status because they are unfairly harassed and attacked by other birds, all for the "crime" of being gingers. Help to protect these beautiful birds, give them some spare seed or bugs you may happen to find in your pocket. Take care, though, not to look them directly in the eye lest they entwine your soul on their pointy-sharp beaks and slurp it down like a worm. 130219In many instances, the word "surely" acts as a logical polarity negator of reality. Not only will it flip reality, but it will flip reality against the speaker. Saying, "Surely we won't be the last to arrive!" will not only ensure that you're the last to arrive, but you're also likely to get a speeding ticket, not find a parking place, and get mugged once you get there. If you say, "Surely I turned the oven off!" then you'd better hope you have great house insurance. As with one of the corollaries to Godwin's Law, you can't manipulate "surely" to work in your favor. It is dangerous to try, as this is likely to leave you in a worse situation than you started in. Better to not mess with the fabric of reality, and don't use "surely" at all. Surely you can see the wisdom in this. 130220The stinkbug heeds not the perfumers of Paris. 130221My fingers sometimes seem to think it's sufficient to type the correct letters in a word and not get too bothered about putting them in the proper order. 130222In Sunday School, I learned that Zacchaeus was a wee little man and he climbed a sycamore tree to see over the crowd when Jesus came to town. As a tax-man, Zacchaeus wasn't particularly popular, so he probably also climbed the tree to get some distance and protection from the crowd. When I was a kid, my friends and I would throw sycamore balls at each other. This was one of our many ideas of "fun". I have a feeling that when Zacchaeus was up that tree he indulged in a bit of petty revenge and lobbed a few sycamore balls down at his tormentors. Who knew that my friends and I had Biblical precedent for our childhood malice? 130223So much salt is put in prepared food these days that I have started to worry. I fear that food companies are controlled by aliens and we are all being slow-cured into bacon for their consumption. 130224I've been seeing news headlines about terrorists in Mali. Except that my aging eyes, or a poorly chosen font, makes it look like "terrorists in Mall". I keep wondering which mall because I'd rather go to another mall than the one the terrorists are always using. 130225The Raven Moon is a bright and playful moon. It is the moon of hunters. It is a trailing beacon which follows the hunter, looking over the shoulder, sometimes illuminating, sometimes obscuring the prey, always at the amused whim of its feathered, cawing namesake.
Bird Moons
130226Go into a grocery store and you'll see shelf after shelf full of mayonnaise jars. Mayo is made from oil and egg yolk, so you're seeing acres and acres of emulsified oil and egg yolk, all awaiting consumption. What about the egg whites? All those egg yolks were used but what happened to all the egg whites? The food industry isn't likely to just discard something like that, but it isn't like you can go buy a nice big bottle of egg whites. I think They have been mixing the excess egg whites up in the chicken feed and giving it back to the chickens to eat. They are inducing cannibalism in the poultry industry. Since cannibalism is the first step on the short path to becoming a wendigo, the poultry industry is without a doubt creating chicken wendigos, or chickendigos. These super-powerful, bloodthirsty, ravening chickendigos must be wrecking havoc in chicken-farming communities. The government is undoubtedly covering up the horrific events, and leading us to believe that all is well. How much longer will it be before a crazed pack of chickendigos escapes and destroys a major city? What can we do to protect ourselves? Is it too late? Is this impending chickendigocalypse at hand? 130227Ergo is the Latin word for "I'm right, you're wrong, pbbbbbt!" It just sounds so much better in Latin. 130228With squirrels, all you need is one to reach an unstable critical mass. You get one squirrel, and you never know when it's going to explode.

March, 2013 130301Vampires have long represented blood, seduction, death, damnation, lust. The most terrifying thing about the current conception of vampire is that it means an eternity of teenage angst. 130302Male house finches kind of look like children who've gotten into something they shouldn't have. They've got this big mess all over their faces, on their chests, up in their hair. They're just waiting for someone to help them get cleaned up. 130303The octopus may have arms enough to hug four friends, but his beak is too sharp for even the most fleeting of kisses. 130304During art class, the teacher kept talking about shadows and where the shadows come from. I wanted to warn him about Z'ha'dum and that he shouldn't be looking so closely at shadows, but it seemed better to keep my mouth shut. 130305If you're looking for a relaxing vacation where you can just lie around all day, you can't do better than to go to the Basque Country. 130306When you eat something, a chemical reaction happens and the food's nutrition is incorporated into your body. This can be beneficial and it can also cause you to gain weight. When you smell something, a chemical reaction happens when airborne particles of the food come into contact with specialized cells in your nose. Since both activities involve food causing a chemical reaction in your body, I'm wondering if you get any weight gain or nutrition just from smelling something. 130307Football players aren't allowed to take steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs because of all the health risks involved. I don't understand why those potential health risks are considered evil and yet the widespread actual brain damage, neck injuries, and spinal injuries are considered acceptable. 130308The Queen blinked once, twice, and found herself on the Albert Balcony, overlooking the Clach Garden. A quick glance at the monolith sundial in the garden showed that she had been lost in thought for nearly two hours. She had used the time musing about the Steam Revolution and how it was affecting the Empire. The Revolution certainly brought many benefits, but there were also costs. Her beloved prince had been entranced by steamtech, and had been especially fond of those noisy steam-clocks. He had installed a small horde of the noisy things throughout this castle, her northern retreat. He had even wanted to get rid of her monolith sundial and replace it with a vast perpetual percolating steam-clock, but she had refused. To the Queen, the stone monolith represented the stability and endurance of the Empire; removing it would have been inviting disaster. She found the sundial to be restorative and, besides getting away from the smoke ever-present in London, it was one of the great pleasures of those infrequent times she could make the northern journey. That was a personal issue, but she was now thinking about the Empire. Constructs were doing more and more of the dangerous tasks and keeping many of her people from harm, but those same people now couldn't find work. Horses and oxen were being replaced by ironstock. The ironstock had their own beauty, of a sort, but how could they compare to the grace of a fine horse or the powerful presence of an ox? Smithy inventors had some amazing contraptions, and they gave small work to the underclass known as Cogs, but some of those contraptions were truly terrifying and deadly. How to reign in the excesses and support the positive? Steam isn't inherently bad, but it has as many deficits as it has benefits. How could she find the balance to best serve the Empire?
Steampunk Week II
130309If you find yourself needing for music, laddie, take a trip down to Denmark Street. Follow your ears and you'll come to Brass Pan Alley, home of the hottest steam clubs in London, if not the whole of Europe. The Alley is choked full of clubs, each with their own house band. Constructs and Cogs alike, the best brassmen come to Brass Pan Alley to play in the steamer bands. Constructs have better ears than people, laddie, so the brassmen won't just be blowing with their own band, but bands in different steamers will be riffing with each other. On a good night, the best seat in the house isn't in any house at all but in the sweet spots out in the street where you can hear three or four bands playing together. And on a great night? On a great night, laddie, get a bottle of mist scotch and get yourself up to the chimbleypots, that's where you'll hear the Alley sing.
Steampunk Week II
130310Another flitter. It's a pair this time, both a cog and a construct. Most cogs are eight-a-penny, but a small few are actually valuable. This cog is a rare one. She's been running errands for the Admiralty -- the office of the Forth-Lord of Research, specifically -- and she collected a lot of quite important information. She has also collected the Forth-Lord's latest research construct. I don't know quite what a research construct is for, but I've been warned that fire is a "concern". Scalding is an issue with any construct flitter and I'm sure this one will be the same, the fire "concern" just makes it more interesting, and lucrative. I will start, of course, in the Lakes District. For some reason, construct flits always make their initial run to the Lakes and the cog will surely follow along. The cog and the construct are both retrieval flitters; a bit more difficult having that restriction, but it's the Admiralty's money. I don't know which one the Forth-Lord is most anxious for, the cog or the construct, but flitters are much the same. I'll bring them in.
Steampunk Week II
130311Highland clockers have long been superb craftsmen, their mastery exceeding clockmakers from other regions in accuracy, innovation, beauty of construction. They have often been decades, sometimes centuries, ahead of their time. Highland clockers developed capercaillie clocks at least a century before cuckoo clocks were developed elsewhere. With all the waterfalls in the highlands, it should be no surprise that water clocks were another early invention. Steam clocks are their latest innovation. Sealed-path steamworks, ripple-harmonic whistles, tiny long-fuel furnaces, tuned-path brasspipes, these are several of the many recent innovations that make steam clocks possible. In addition to their chronologic and aesthetic benefits, steam clocks can be fitted with so-called "docking ports" that allow constructs to get a power infusion. Highland clockers were critical in the development of independent constructs. With the flourishing stables of aerostats and iron horses, the time is ripe for the Highland clockers to bring their alchemy to new fields of craftsmanship, to merge these different breeds of steam technology into new species of mechanica.
Steampunk Week II
130312My family have held the hereditary position of Keeper of the Royal Reins for generations. Once a battlefield and peace-time position, the Keeper would accompany the Royals wherever they travelled. In recent times, the responsibility has declined, though not the honour. I am concerned about the course the royal races have taken. The Queen is an avid equestrienne and rarely misses the Royal Ascot. That is, she rarely missed it until the rise of ironstock and steam trains. Ironstock aren't worth racing, but steam trains are almost as swift as horses. Appearance at the Royal Ascot has been dropping, with only a few of the Royal cousins attending this year. Royal Attention has turned instead to steam-train races. There are the long-distance races, the London/Edinburgh and London/Plymouth runs in particular, that get some interest. The Royal Attention has really focused on the tracks up near Norwich. A very large hill, or maybe a small mountain, was built for reviewing stands. Courses of miles of tracks were laid around the hill. People gather at the hill to watch the steam trains race. Some wags have taken to calling these courses Steamcott, after the course at Ascot. It isn't much to my taste, I prefer the horses, but it is not my choice. However, I've long been with the Queen and I feel confident that she is not as happy with steam trains as she was with horses. She has an easy way and steady hand with her horses, but steam trains are different. Hard, soulless, implacable, there is no feeling or response from a steam train. Not like with horses. The Queen has such an easy way with horses, as she does with people, even the lowest cog. Steam trains are isolated from all human feeling. With the loss of her husband, I fear that the Queen is leaving behind her beloved horses and embracing the cold, unbending iron of steam trains. She took no notice of the Steamcott Tragedies and the cogs that died during construction of the hill. I fear she is turning to iron, joining the ironstock and steam trains. Worse yet, she seems to be turning to the steam trains that are merged with constructs.
Steampunk Week II
130313The gears are grinding, the cogs are clashing. The High People are setting Cog against Cog, making us fight for the scraps they deign to throw us. They are making us forget the people in the recent tragedies. They want us to forget Portsmouth and Steamcott, to forget Newcastle and Clogau, to forget Birmingham and Liverpool. They told us constructs would be used for the dangerous jobs, so that people would be protected. That happened until one of the constructs was destroyed doing one of those "dangerous jobs." Then the High People realized how much cheaper Cogs are than constructs. We Cogs are expendable. It's cheaper to send us into danger, and it's cheaper and easier to replace us when we get killed. They'd rather save a few pounds than save a village of Cogs. We're being distracted with shiny brass extravaganzas and wonder-plays, all the while our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters are dying in the mines, in the shipyards, in the foundries. All to raise the High People even higher. Rather than fighting each other for dust, we must support each other and fight the High People for beef. We cannot let the constructs stand by idle, while we plod like cattle to our doom. We cannot let the High People stand on our throats or kick us under the table like a handful of worthless gears. We must stand together and show the High People that Cogs are not just the gears in the machine, but Cogs are the machine!
Steampunk Week II
130314The Tower of London was in a state of unrest. The Constable of the Tower had a dilemma. The Yeoman Warders had divided into two factions. One faction, the Old Guard, considered themselves the keepers of tradition and worked to ensure the historical practices continue as they had for centuries. The Iron Warders, the next generation of Yeoman Warders, didn't have the same level of respect for the Tower traditions and wanted to date the Warder service. It wasn't likely that the division would lead to outright violence, but there had been incidents. The Bellringer had fallen from the top of the Brass Mount and survived with several broken bones. A few days later, the royal bow-maker was testing some experimental steam-powered crossbows and almost killed the Chapel Sexton and the newly appointed Yeoman Gaoler. The Iron Warders were trying to drive off the Tower Ravens, despite the Queen's support for the Yeoman Quartermaster and his charges. After consultations with the Queen and the Resident Governor, the Royal Mint was soon to move out of the Tower and to other premises. The current site occupied by the Royal Mint would be devoted to research facilities for the Iron Warders. They were always agitating for modernising the Warder service and wanted to incorporate special-purpose constructs into Warder matériel. The royal bow-maker had already been experimenting with steam-powered weapons and need better testing ranges. Since the Old Guard had never been happy about the presence of the Royal Mint, the Constable of the Tower had hopes that this move would appease both factions and ease the increasing antipathy. If not, well, the Constable had access to a few secret rooms and galleries in the Lanthorn Tower, the Bloody Tower, and under the outer ward wall. It would not be too difficult for the Constable to arrange a few accidents or disappearances in order to bring the divided Yeoman Warders back into line. He might even enjoy dealing with the instigators that way.
Steampunk Week II
130315The Queen was returning to London and was preparing to leave her Highland home. She was again contemplating the question of the Steam Revolution. Her advisors continued to deliver conflicting reports -- in actuality thinly disguised opinions -- discussing the benefits and detriments of steamtech. She was travelling south aboard her flagship, the aerostat HMS Serene Prince. The Queen preferred the speed of a steam train, but she felt a much greater connection to the Empire when making the voyage aloft. She could see greater stretches of land, see the land in use, see the people working the land. The steam train moved too fast, and the journey was more of a blur. Journeying on horseback was always a pleasure; a slower, dustier pleasure. However, it kept her in closer contact wih her people, but it gave a much narrower view of the realm. Balances, always balances. Her ruminations were interrupted by the entrance of a small group of constructs. These were her coggies -- small construct dogs -- who raised a clatter as their brass nails went tick-tick-tick as they trotted briskly across the parquet floor. They had come to summon her to the landing stage. Affection for her coggies welled up in her as she bent to pat their eager little heads. Looking down at the coggies and then out the window to see the Serene Prince floating over her monolith sundial, she concluded that, like it or not, there was no fighting the rolling tide of progress. The steam is out of the kettle now.
Steampunk Week II
130316I've always wondered how secure the Vatican could really be when it was only guarded by the Swiss Chard. 130317All the signals and probes we're sending into space are saying two things. First, they're saying, "We're here! We're friendly! Let's talk!" Second, they're saying, "Soup's on!" 130318Airport customs is like secular confessional, except instead of unconditional forgiveness and absolution you get the grudging gift of not being subjected to a cavity search. 130319MacGyver's secret: He had a lifetime subscription to Swiss Army Paperclips and Rubberbands. 130320The question often arises as to why Swiss cheese is riddled with air bubbles. The answer is rooted in centuries past, but the actual cheese-specific answer relates to the quiet grass-roots Nazi-resistance movement of the Swiss civilian during World War II. The Swiss are adept at hiding big things in smaller things. This should be no surprise, seeing as Switzerland is a tiny country hidden away in the mountains of a vast continent. For centuries, the Swiss have been hiding large animals in their clocks -- all the while keeping their clocks in their clocks. The air bubbles in their cheese were originally used for two purposes, one overt and one covert. First, as part of the Cairo Cartoon and Comics Conventions and Accords, after heavy lobbying by Warner Bros. the Swiss agreed to insert air bubbles in their cheese so that cartoons could simply and easily identify a chunk of something as cheese. This is a clever, elegant solution to one of the fundamental problems cartoonists were facing and cartoon-cat-loving audiences readily took to this new cheese topology. This overt reason was the cover story to hide the second, covert reason. The cheese bubbles were secret compartments in which the Swiss hid stuff from the ratbastard Nazis during World War II. This effectively let them smuggle contraband throughout Europe, with the ratbastard Nazis never understanding what was happening. They might have stolen or impounded the bubble-filled Swiss cheese -- they stole pretty much anything else they could get their grubby claws on -- except that Germany had not participated in the Cairo Cartoon and Comics Conventions and Accords, so they had no idea that bubble-filled cheese wasn't defective. So, despite being a cheese of inferior taste, the Swiss cheese is worthy of great respect for all the good it did the world in cartooning and in helping to win World War II. (Yeah, yeah, Swiss neutrality and all that, but that doesn't mean the Swiss kept their cheeses exclusively in Switzerland or that citizen Swissery didn't work against the ratbastard Nazis on their own.) 130321"Precise" and "porcine" are not interchangeable words. 130322In 100 years, medical science will have extended the human lifespan by another 60 to 70 years, but without a concomitant increase in the quality of life. This means that nursing homes will be filled to overflowing with more residents and patients than the staff can handle. This will eventually be remedied by the activities directors, who will start holding weekly games of Dingo. 130323Whenever I want to say something wise, my thinking is always enhanced if I am wearing my pithy helmet. 130324I have realized the subtle attraction that Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media have for people. They are Show-and-Tell for adults. 130325The end of the world is imminent. Life on Earth will be taken down by our own hands, by way of supergerms that snack on Purell. 130326Delayed gratification is a grand thing, but only if I decide how long it's delayed. 130327The Wood Thrush Moon calls us from Winter into Spring. It is the moon of musicians. Its song beckons us in the cold and dark, and gathers us together to lift our hearts as Winter draws to an end. It is also the moon of crossroads and bridges. It escorts travellers over the transitory paths of night, giving strength and support to those hearts in need.
Bird Moons
130328As with many other Christians, I have observed Lent almost my whole life. However, my faith tradition didn't include giving up anything during the 40 days of Lent. Whenever Lent rolled around, friends would talk about giving up candy, or TV, or sex, or chocolate, or whatever it was they felt they needed to temporarily sacrifice. Not me. In my church, we never talked about the need to give up anything for Lent. In my foolish, immature way, I always felt a little smug and superior that they had to give up something and I didn't. I've had a change this year. I've realized that bitterness has been taking a stronger and stronger hold of me lately. I've been resentful over things I should be celebrating. I've been derisive and angry towards things that should have made me happy. So. I decided that this year, I was going to give up something for Lent. I decided to give up bitterness for Lent. This has been quite a struggle, let me tell you. It would have been so much easier to give up chocolate instead. I haven't always been successful, but I am trying. I am not stopping here, either. Lent is almost over and I am going to try to dispose of bitterness indefinitely. I'm hoping this will be a permanent change. 130329When the soldiers came for Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter took his sword and cut off the ear of a slave. I read this passage today and it raised some questions most of which I'd never thought of before. Sword? Peter has a sword? Where did that come from? Was he meaning to cut off the slave's ear? Was he going for the heart and missed? Was he going for the ear and was able to only take just that ear? Peter either has abysmal aim or phenomenal aim. Why did Peter attack a slave? Was he aiming for a soldier and this was more really bad aiming on his part? Was he really smart and figured that killing a slave wouldn't cause many repercussions, whereas killing a soldier would be Really Bad? And, bodily harm to one of the disenfranchised? How could he have missed Jesus' message so badly that he tried to injure or kill a slave? I expect some of these questions relate to that culture at that time, but I'm still left wondering. 130330Successful movies always get a sequel, so why hasn't James Cameron made a sequel to Titanic? 130331Tyrannosaurs were terribly misnamed. They weren't tyrants and they desperately wished that dinosaurs could have a democratic society. It was tried briefly, but it was a miserable failure. Unfortunately, their short little arms couldn't reach far enough to fill out the ballots, so no votes were ever tallied.

April, 2013 130401Just as "Can doesn't mean should", so too "Can't doesn't mean don't try." 130402Alan Turing was clearly ahead of his time. His eponymous Turing Test has its most useful, most practical application in checking email for spam. 130403When a urologist gets Parkinson's, that's about the time for them to stop doing prostate exams. 130404Electronic reading devices are very useful and convenient. Carrying around piles of books in one little device is a delight, not to mention how handy it is to have a dictionary always at hand. Aside from the obvious format differences that make physical books preferable, there is one aspect of e-books that renders them irrevocably inferior to physical books. If you get disgusted by an e-book, you really, really don't want to express your displeasure by hurling the e-book reader across the room and into the wall. 130405Windows are the low-tech version of television. Through them, you could see all sorts of drama and comedy, enough to fill your idle moments with entertainment. (You never wanted to see horror though; it was all too likely to quickly feature you in a starring role.) The big problem with windows is that one device would only display a single channel and it didn't provide much variety. You had to change devices -- if not change rooms, houses, or towns -- just to change the program. This made a wide range of entertainment choices pretty inconvenient. 130406Sometimes it seems like I'm having a running battle with one stinkbug. It gets in the house, I evict it out into the cold outdoors, and a few hours later I find it's gotten back inside. I'm getting tired of it always returning, but it's not gonna wear me down. 130407Performing in an old building is fascinating. It makes me wonder about all the music that has come before. The decades, the centuries of music that have been played there. Our music is adding to the layers, the texture of music that permeates the floor, the walls, the ceiling, the foundation, that shape the building. After 250 years of music filling this space, music is giving it form as much as the wood and nails and plaster. Now our music is giving its little strength to join with what was played before to support the tones and songs that enfold the physical construction. 130408One big problem poets have is that they keep engaging in free verse poetry. I think they should start charging for their verses, instead of giving them away for free. 130409Last year, I took a painting class that taught me a valuable lesson. I learned that when starting a new art form, don't choose as your subject anything you dearly love. Instead, start with something you're at best indifferent to. This is an important lesson. As a novice, you won't be able to do justice to the subject and you're likely to be disappointed by the result. Once your skill has developed, by all means, work on things you love -- but not to start with. For this reason, it will be quite a while before I attempt a portrait of my wife. Maybe I'll start with Stalin, or Cheney, or a spider. 130410Sometimes it seems that the white-throated sparrow must surely have been the inspiration for creating oil paint. 130411Q: What is a chicken's favorite beer?
A: Bock bock bock
Groom of Dumb Joke Week
130412Q: What is Aragorn's favorite style of music?
A: Strider piano
Groom of Dumb Joke Week
130413Q: What Scottish castle is famous for holding meatless feasts?
A: Dun Vegan Castle
Groom of Dumb Joke Week
130414Q: What is Nick and Nora Charles' favorite wine?
A: Asta Spumante
Groom of Dumb Joke Week
130415Hugh Hefner recently opened a ski resort. All it has are bunny slopes.
Groom of Dumb Joke Week
130416Composer Richard Wagner was the prime suspect in several murder cases. He was never prosecuted though, because no one could ever figure out his motif.
Groom of Dumb Joke Week
130417For her birthday, Aquaman got his wife an aqua-fur.
Groom of Dumb Joke Week
130418Q: What is a physicist's favorite type of sushi?
A: Californium rolls.
Groom of Dumb Joke Week
130419When I was an idiot kid and not wise in the ways of words and language, I wondered if I was oriental. After all I was born and raised in Maryland, so I was definitely from the East.
Footnote: I've had a private discussion about this Final Thought and I wanted to give a bit of background on it. I am aware that "oriental" is considered racially insensitive or insulting. This awareness only came a few years ago, when I was well into adulthood. Prior to that, I had never heard it used in its pejorative sense. As far as I knew, it was only ever used as an adjective for identifying someone or something from a particular geographic region. My only experience with it was usage similar to that of American, African, European, or any other such adjective.
This FT is is true. When I learned the word, I didn't know it was referring to East Asia, just "The East." I had no idea that particular word was sometimes used insultingly. I don't know exactly when I learned the word, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't aware of the nuances and shades of meaning and intent that can accompany words. I was a child and still had much to learn about the world and the harshness it can contain.
I had intended the first half of that first sentence to convey my ignorance and to show how clueless I was to such things. I sincerely apologize if my use of the word offended you. My whole intent was to mock myself, not to insult anyone else.
130420Many states expect you to pay taxes on things you buy in other states but use within their own borders. With the proliferation of chargeable portable electronics, I wonder when states are going to start trying to collect taxes on the energy used to charge these devices in another state. 130421Despite sharing 88% of the same letters in their job titles, a urologist has very little to do with a ufologist. Usually. 130422Judging by email subject lines, spammers must think I have a much more interesting life than I actually do. 130423During his career, the Red Baron shot down 80 planes. I haven't done an exhaustive survey, but I think that at least half of those planes were piloted by Snoopy. 130424I wonder why golf is the only sport to have a miniature version. Perhaps it has something to do with the non-team aspect. Maybe it'd be too difficult to coordinate a team while avoiding windmills and giant pirates and moats. Track-and-field has gone a little in that direction by putting hurdles in the way of runners, and making people avoid javelins and discuses. Personally, I think that mini-football and mini-hockey would be really cool sports. It'd be pretty nifty to see a pass completion when the ball is thrown through dangling hoops, or to see a goal scored when the puck is shot past waving octopus tentacles. Mini-NASCAR would probably be a disaster though. Having to avoid a windmill blade that suddenly sweeps across the track at the speeds they drive, surely the number of crashes would increase dramatically. 130425The Brown Thrasher Moon accompanies the time of crops. It is the moon of farmers. It serves those working hard to turn the soil and plow the land. It guides in preparing the fields for the planting of seed and the growing of crops. It is the moon of faith in the future.
Bird Moons
130426There is a singularity of focus in a particular aspect of tavernal establishment. This tight focus is resulting in a diminishment of intellectual opportunities to the wider public. For special-purpose drinking establishments, the one choice available is sports bars which provide a wide array of sports-related entertainment. We have no physics bars, no math bars, no history bars, no agronomy bars, no chemistry bars (aside from the fact that every bar is a laboratory for applied chemistry), no English literature bars, no electrical engineering bars. Just sports bars. I do suppose it could be argued that every bar is a philosophy bar, especially as Last Call approaches. The state of mankind could be advanced if only other sorts of special-purpose bars would be available for the refinement and education of humanity. 130427If I ever get a tattoo, I think I'll get a matched pair. One will be a tragedy mask and it'll go above my butt. The other will be a comedy mask and it'll go above my penis. I'm not sure what message I'll be trying to send, but I'm sure the message will come through loud and clear. 130428There was once an itinerant mathematician who travelled the countryside, teaching mathematics to the people. He had a duodecimal group of assistants, who did everything from scrounging up whiteboards and markers to slicing pies for the students. The Mathematician taught in a non-traditional way, using word problems to teach algebra, calculus, and geometry. These word problems were entertaining stories, though often he took so long to get to the point that it was hard to see where he started or the curving path the story took. Many people never understood, but he felt he was most effective when teaching in parabolas. 130429People in the military must really love their pets and have tremendous appreciation for the professionals that keep their pets healthy. A large percentage of billboards and signs near military bases talk about the great benefits and programs area businesses have for vets. 130430The chickadee lives her life in jig time.

May, 2013 130501I went to a monster truck rally and was pretty disappointed by it. There were no fangs, no claws, no scaly tails at all. No tentacles, no growling, no glowing eyes. It was just big trucks driving around being noisy. 130502Every hero and superhero has their affectations. Batman has the gravelly voice, Captain America has his little head-wings, Green Lantern has his poem. It's all part of the job and everyone expects it. Sometimes, the affectations are actually hiding the true nature of the hero. For instance, the silver bullets prove that Lone Ranger was actually a a werewolf hunter. 130503When atheists say they're going to meet their maker, do they mean they're going to visit their parents? 130504I was trying to get out of my comfort zone and I pulled a hamstring. 130505There's a soft spot in my heart for any culture that devotes a holiday to celebrating a condiment. 130506At the sheep festival yesterday, I realized that when sheep get noisy they sound like they're practicing their monster voices. 130507I never really liked the Candyland game. Sure, there was ice cream, but ice cream isn't candy. Most importantly, there was no chocolate. I don't want to play in a Candyland where there is no chocolate. 130508I was reading the labels of some Chinese herbs. I really hope the translation was correct because there's a distinct difference between "lung powder" and "powdered lung." 130509Squirrels were the original virtuosi of parkour, mastering it many centuries ago. If you want to excel at parkour, you must first study the squirrel. 130510Cookie Monster has started writing a food blog. You'll be hard pressed to find it though because he's writing under a nom-nom-nom de plume. 130511We are a species of museum curators. We have created a staggering variety of museums. There are the obvious museums -- art, history, airplanes, ships. There are also the very specific museums as well -- barbed wire, bagpipes, rattlesnakes, incarceration, string, sex, bullets, insects, dolls, Ford hot rods from the early 60's. There are museums for just about anything you can imagine, as well as things you'd never dream would have a museum dedicated to them. Some people point at these unusual, highly specific museums and laugh at the people who care deeply about them. I think that rather than ridiculing such museums and their curators, we should celebrate them. The incredible diversity of museums is a testament to the wonders of the human intellect and imagination. People are fascinated, captivated by a certain aspect of a culture, or nature, or science, or art, and devote their money and their lives to preserving knowledge and sharing their interest with others. These curators -- field or niche, professional or amateur -- deserve respect and appreciation for their work in safeguarding and extending the boundaries of knowledge. 130512This morning, someone said, "Wayne's really funny, he's so honest." I find it a little odd that honesty would strike someone as a remarkable characteristic, but it seems especially odd that someone at church would think so. 130513Ivy is the cancer of the plant world. Ivy invades an area without asking permission. Ivy is a parasite that grows on other peaceful, unassuming resident organisms. And then it chokes the life out of the other organisms. Ivy also kicks puppies. 130514My first car was a Mustang. It was a beautiful red classic 1967. I really loved that car, and it was the easiest, most fun car I've ever driven. Unfortunately, I was a poor student and couldn't afford the maintenance and upkeep it required. I sold it after having it for six years to some people who were going to restore it. Unfortunately, they came to get it when I wasn't home, so I didn't have a chance to say farewell to my beloved Mustang. That sunk deep into my soul and to this day I experience some amount of separation trauma whenever I sell a car. 130515There are various crimes that are labelled as "aggravated"; aggravated assault and aggravated theft, to name a few. There's a new one now -- aggravated identity theft. It seems that crime could be more accurately named aggravating identity theft. 130516My theory is that the phrase "sleep tight" was probably invented by bartenders. 130517I am always amused when I get certain packages from online ordering. One particular seller always give the return address as being from the "Amazon Fulfillment Center." I can't help but wonder how to decipher that name. Does it mean that it comes from a place that provides fulfillment for Amazons? Does it have Amazons that provide fulfillment? Does it fulfill the customers' needs for Amazons? Are only Amazons employed there, so the Amazons are fulfilling the customers' orders? What sort of fulfillment is involved -- spiritual? quantity? quality? I am half-tempted to make the pilgrimage to this mythical "Amazon Fulfillment Center" and hope that all these questions can be answered. 130518In "Wrath of Khan", the order was given, "Fire aft torpedos!" Then the Reliant squirted out a couple photon torpedos from its rear tubes. This makes me think that "aft" must be etymologically related to "ass." However, it sounds more official to say "Fire aft torpedos!" than to say "Fire ass torpedos!" 130519Star Trek has taught that when I design a starship, I must ensure that explosives are not stored inside computer consoles. 130520The difference between being effective with something and being dangerous with something is all a matter of perspective. 130521I think the name PHP is sort of the abbreviated version of giving someone the raspberry. Maybe it's supposed to be pronounced instead of spelled out. 130522Mr. Darcy would call you accomplished. 130523The problem with having a DVR is that you can skip all the commercials and you'll never know all the great things you need and you're supposed to buy. 130524I wish The Internet would replace The Proxy Server with a newer one. It keeps timing out. If it's happening to me, it's undoubtedly happening to lots of people as well. Maybe we should all take up a collection so The Internet can get a new Proxy Server. 130525The Kestrel Moon watches from afar. It is the moon of sentinels and watchmen. Its vigilant eye pierces fog and shadow, and it falters not in the bright light of the clear dawn. It wings swiftly into dark places to stand against its foes.
Bird Moons
130526I am sorely tempted to get an MS degree so that I can be known as Science Master Wayne. 130527More and more people are putting up these big five-pointed stars as external decorations on their houses. I am getting quite concerned by this because they remind me very much of the signs on the Old Ones' buildings as described in "At the Mountains of Madness". 130528It is disconcerting to talk to someone who sneers mockingly and stresses the 'Y' whenever they say "YOLO". 130529The man deftly maneuvered his car into a difficult parking space with small, precise movements. When he got out, I said, "Those are some fine motor skills you have." He just shook his head and went on his way. 130530As has been said so many times, God does not play dice with the universe. Billiards, however, is a different story. 130531I wish alarm clocks would do their job more quietly and compassionately.

June, 2013 130601From the quality of their original movies, there's a common thought that the SciFi Channel will broadcast pretty much anything. Tivo is known for recording anything that comes down the wires. The SciFi Channel recently ran a marathon of the first six or seven Star Trek movies and our Tivo dutifully recorded each one. Funny thing, though, Star Trek V wasn't in that line-up. I'm left wondering whether the SciFi Channel was showing an unusual level of discretion in not airing that movie or if the Tivo was showing showing editorial restraint in not recording it. 130602Baby squirrels are inherently adorable and amusing. One thing in particular that makes them so amusing is that even once they've left the nest, they still don't quite know how their legs work. They haven't learned how to do the normal squirrel hop, and instead each leg seems to work independently of the others. It also seems like their tails have a mind of their own and their tails and butts try to walk up next to their heads. They work it all out eventually, but it's fun to watch while it lasts. 130603I would like to open a chain of bars inspired by Rube Goldberg. These bars would have intricate, complicated devices all over for constructing and delivering drinks. Each bar in the chain would be different from the others. The bars would be called Variations. 130604I woke up this morning with the phrase "NASCAR Angel" running through my head, with the context of a new TV show. Two interpretations sprang immediately to mind. First, it would be a feel-good, saccharin, solve-all-the-problems, "Touched By A Quantum-Leaping Angel" sort of show, where the eponymous angel would be a NASCAR driver. Second, it would be a T&A "Charlie's Angels" mystery-solving show, where the titular angels would be beautiful NASCAR camp-followers who travelled the racing circuit solving crimes. Both possibilities were too cheesy and blatantly pandering, so I rolled over and went back to sleep. 130605It seems to be a common office experience for people to gather in the morning at the coffee-maker (the modern water-cooler) and discuss the jokes and plot twists from the previous night's popular TV shows. I wonder if similar discussions took place aeons ago, before TV, before radio, before theater, before books and scrolls and parchments. When Zog and Thog met at the water-hole in the morning, before going out to hunt a gazelle or a smilodon, maybe they talked about the story from the night before. "Shomwog told good one last night." "Me and Fifnif liked story of Thunder Bunnies." "Me love part where Thunder Bunnies hide in stink cave and make Big Chog sound like he eat Stripey-Guy's butt parts." "Yeah, and then Thunder Bunnies save tribe from pack of long-fangs." "Mmm. Me want Shomwog tell that again soon, but tonight me want new story, not one of these re-tells he do for almost a moon now." 130606It's interesting that "kid gloves" is the term used to describe gentle, delicate treatment, when kid gloves are made with the skin of a baby goat. 130607Pie charts sound a lot yummier than they usually are. 130608For years, the only use I knew of the word "git" was from Monty Python. When I was in college, I worked for a couple years at Goddard Space Flight Center, for a meteorology research company. One of the other guys there was a grad student from the UK. I asked him what a git was and he told me it was a slang insult that meant pregnant camel. A little poking here and there ever since has confirmed that definition. A year or two ago, I saw that guy's name in the news -- he was an astronaut on one of the last Space Shuttle missions. So now I know that when I need British slang explained, all I have to do is ask an astronaut. 130609Some people say that the easy availability of online gambling and porn is validation that the internet is inherently bad. I think internet vices are just minor sideshows. The irrefutable proof that the internet is a wonderful thing is the abundance -- and great popularity -- of nestcams. 130610Most mapping and GPS devices let the user choose a map-orientation setting. Either the arrow stays still and the map rotates around the arrow or the map stays still and the arrow rotates within the map. I think maybe an individual's selection reflects their view of the world; either the world revolves around them or they are part of the world. 130611Genetically modified food is worrisome to many people, with there being concerns of food safety, environment effects, and whether they should be labelled as such. GMO companies need to put a better face on genetically modified food. One way to do this is to genetically modify crops so that the peel or skin grows with pictures of happy faces on them. Who could resist a carrot or a potato with a friendly, smiling face on it? A grinning cherry tomato would be gladly added to any salad. A sly, winking cucumber would get a chuckle from even the most committed of activists. A watermelon depicting Mt. Rushmore or Washington crossing the Delaware would be a welcome guest of honor at any Fourth of July picnic. 130612At the McDaniel College graduation, there was an interesting degree conferred. It was a Doctor of Humane Letters. While this degree itself sounds interesting, I am even more intrigued by the essential possibilities of extending logic to other degrees. If this one was for Humane Letters, it follows that there must be a Doctor of Inhumane Letters. Or maybe it's a Doctor of Inhumane Numbers, or even Doctor of Humane Numbers. Are these theoretical or applied fields of study? What does it mean for a number to be humane or a letter to be inhumane? I'm sure these various fields are fascinating and worthy of deep study and contemplation, but my curiosity is even further piqued by the implied necessity for the existence of a Doctor of Applied Moral Philosophy for Linguistic and Mathematical Atoms. 130613Popular wisdom has it that goldfish have a memory that lasts only about three seconds. This has been found to be untrue; goldfish memory length is more like three months. It seems like three seconds and three months is about the short-term and long-term memory lengths of American stock investors. So, not only do investors run around in circles like goldfish, their memories are about as long as both the mythical and actual goldfish memories. 130614Q: What is the Doctor's favourite hamburger joint and what does he drink when he goes?
A: Sonic, screwdriver.
130615It is widely known that spices determine what kind of sausage a particular thing is. Bologna uses one set of spices, pepperoni a different set, salami yet another set. I have come to the conclusion that it isn't spices that determine a sausage's type, but it is really the size of the sausage that dictates the type. If you go to a grocery store, you'll find that all bologna is 4-1/4 inches in diameter. It doesn't matter who manufactured it, the diameter is fixed. Pepperoni is always in those small little 1-3/4 inch rings. The same goes for hard salami (3-3/4 inches), cotto salami (4-1/8 inches), whatever; they're always the same size. (Sure, there may be very slight differences, but those are always undoubtedly well within the specs laid down by the Universal Sausage Syndicate.) I think the primary purpose of the spices is not to actually change the flavor. If the spices were only for flavor, then you'd see big pepperoni, small bologna, medium-sized hard salami. I think the major purpose of the various mixes of spices ensure the sausage remains stable at the type-specific size. 130616A common security verification question is to ask for your mother's maiden name. This question and the means for discovering the answer have become so common and easy, that it is laughable to consider it as something that can verify one's identity. Despite this, I really don't want to give out that name to a complete stranger. The next time I'm asked this question, I will be very tempted to turn the question back on the questioner. "You have my mother's maiden name? Please tell me what it is! I was put up for adoption as a baby and I don't know her name. The court records are sealed and they won't tell me. Please, I beg you to tell me my birth mother's name!" 130617Drive-through banks, gas stations, and fast-food restaurants are similar establishments. They all have a similar look. There's the building, there's a service window, there's the overhanging canopy, and there's a desperate driver trying to complete a transaction and get quickly on their way. In some ways, those three businesses actually have quite a similar purpose, as well. They are all trying to fill a gaping emptiness something is feeling. 130618I've been thinking about the purpose of t-shirt art. I'm not talking about team-art or humor-art or advertising-art (though I do wonder why people are wanting to advertise products for which they have no financial interest.) I'm talking about t-shirts with art-art. Why do we wear t-shirts with art-art? It isn't for the wearer's own enjoyment, as the art is upside-down and backwards from their perspective. Therefore, it must be for the enjoyment of others. This means that our personal art galleries are on our t-shirts and we take a portion of our collections out for public display whenever we wear one of our art-art t-shirts. Since people often wear art-art t-shirts, we have thus become a society of mobile art galleries, with a vast range of art available at any time. 130619In folklore and mythology, a trickster is a being (person, deity, animal) who doesn't always follow normal behavior and social conventions. Tricksters use practical jokes, tricks, and deceit to interact with others. While the trickster's actions may be mean, often they ends up with a positive result. I have been identified (accused, it felt to me) of being a trickster. As much as I hate practical jokes, this always fuffled my feathers. I find it disturbing to think that others see me as a troublemaker and malicious. As I've learned more about tricksters, I've come to understand that the trickster is often a force of social change and advancement. Many tricksters are jokers and pranksters who just want to stir things up a little, get people to think and learn, but they don't mean ill. While I doubt I am actually a force of anything, I can understand that this sort of trickster may apply to me. When dealing with difficult and obtuse people, my thoughts fill with biting, instructive, and funny ways of handling them. In, um, spirited discussions, I often mentally step back and start observing the many ways I could poke and prod the discussion to ever higher levels of, um, spiritedness. It's a good thing I rarely act on these thoughts, or my nose would have been broken several times, I wouldn't still be married, and my family and friends would have disowned me. But I seldom act on these impulses. This indicates that, as with physics and other sciences, there are two types of tricksters. There are applied tricksters and theoretical tricksters. Fortunately for me, and maybe even for the world, I am a theoretical trickster. 130620Companies often hang on to beloved mascots long after the adjective applies. If they don't retire their mascots while they're at the height of popularity, they tend to keep them around until the mascots are being mocked and ridiculed by the public. Companies should be more aware of public perception and handle their mascots with better care. They don't even have to necessarily retire the mascots, but could instead let them evolve and grow. For instance, I am one of the many who love the Budweiser clydesdales. I don't much care what happens on the commercials, I just like seeing those enormous horses. But there's no telling when the winds will change and people will stop caring about them. Perhaps it's time for Budweiser to go for a change. Given the widespread popularity of fantasy literature and film, maybe they should shift things a little. Instead of clydesdales, maybe they could have pegasuses drawing the beerwagon. Better still, how about dragons or minotaurs or werewolves? Best yet, gryphons. A team of gryphons pulling a beerwagon would be fantastic. 130621Zombies are the Dead having a near-life experience. 130622The Muppets' favorite Bible story is when God fed the Israelites in the wilderness. They like to sing along with that part. "Manna, manna! Doo dooo do doo doo! Manna, manna! Doo dooo doo doo!" 130623The Woodpecker Moon presages the coming of Summer. It is the moon of bakers. The woodpecker -- with head a-light, foretelling the rising heat -- taps at the trees just as the baker taps at the bread, checking the readiness of a meal. The Downy glides in with a candle, while the Redhead soars on high with an inferno streaming from his wings. Bakers harness the fire for their fundamental alchemy.
Bird Moons
130624The Bringlish idiom "big girl's blouse" means "useless, weak, or ineffectual". I've always wondered how to parse that. Is it a blouse for a big girl or is it a girls's blouse that is big? 130625Air bags in cars should be painted with big smiley faces on them. That way when you get in an accident and the air bag deploys, you've got this nice cheery smiley face coming to meet you that'll put you in a good mood. 130626There's a lovely adjective "nugatory", which means "of no real value, trifling, or worthless". I wonder if there's an etymological connection between the words nugatory and nugent. 1306272 is the loneliest prime number. It is the only even prime number. This makes it the only prime number that is both even and odd; therefore, it is odder than all the other prime numbers. It is effectively an outcast and doesn't get invited to the parties and social gatherings of all the other prime numbers. 130628DVRs are a sort of a time machine. If you don't watch recordings right away, when you do get around to watching old recordings you're likely to see adverts for old tv shows and products, adverts that are probably no longer relevant, products that are no longer available, programs that are no longer shown. DVRs are windows into times past, times that you can see but are unable to touch. 130629There's a point where a mouse hunt is less about catching the mouse and more about the mad strategies and laughter and pouncing with makeshift nets in hand. The poor mouse, meanwhile, is left wondering what it did to deserve being chased by this pack of lunatics. 130630Q: What is the most high-strung part of speech?
A: Verbs, because they're always tense.
Son of Dumb Joke Week

July, 2013 130701Q: What is Captain Kirk's least favorite dance?
A: The khan-khan.
Son of Dumb Joke Week
130702Q: Who was the most depressingly negative philosopher?
A: Immanuel Kant
Son of Dumb Joke Week
130703Q: How do cats communicate about dinner time?
A: Morris code.
Son of Dumb Joke Week
130704In the Middle Ages, history was written by the vicars.
Son of Dumb Joke Week
130705Did you hear about the passive-aggressive poisonous snake? It's venom is in its saliva, and it kills you by licking you to death. It's known as a spit viper.
Son of Dumb Joke Week
130706Did you hear about the guy who confused strawberry jelly with KY jelly? He ended up with a jammy todger.
Son of Dumb Joke Week
130707Squirrels are a perfect example of faith in action. They leap from tree to tree, from branch to branch, into the middle of a bush, with complete faith that something will support them and keep them safe from plummeting to the ground. With nary a thought of failure, squirrels pull off amazing, death-defying, impossible acrobatic feats, all because they have implicit faith that they will land safely on the other side. 130708It'd be cool to have a seance held around a large pottery wheel, where the participants are summoning spirits, and the people and spirits are working together to shape pottery. 130709I wonder what would happen if the Wild Hunt of Europe met up with the Ghost Riders in the Sky from America. Who would prevail when the mounted huntsmen clashed with the rampaging cattle driven by the ghost riders? Spectral huntsmen or stampeding hellcows? And what if they joined forces? 130710Protons have a positive charge and neutrons have a neutral charge. That has long made sense to me, as the type of charge was built into the name. I never could make sense of electrons, since electricity isn't inherently negative and thus the name scheme doesn't hold true. Until now. I just realized that electron shares a root with the word "election." It makes perfect sense that electrons have a negative charge since elections are almost always strongly negative. 130711Traditional ballads are often rather violent; there's even a large subclass known as murder ballads. I think I'll start a movement to promote less violent ballads. Rather than solving conflicts with killing, this new form would solve problems by smacking. They'll be known as slap-fight ballads. 130712Q: What is a turkey's favorite play?
A: Hedda Gobbler
CGOTH Annual Joke
130712The didgeridoo sounds like an instrument invented by teenaged boys. I really, really wish I could play it. 130713At concerts in Middle Earth, there's always some yutz in the audience who yells for the bards to play "Treebeard! Treebeard!" 130714A guitar capo lets you change keys on a guitar with very little effort. Lots of people want a life capo they can quickly slap on so they can easily adjust to changing circumstances without much work or trouble. 130715Lot was a good, pragmatic businessman who recognized an opportunity when he saw one. After leaving Sodom, he started a business selling salt licks sculpted to look like people's loved ones. 130716Skin tags are our inner Cthulhu nature trying to emerge as rudimentary tentacles. 130717Words We Need 3: These words should be well-defined and in widespread use: blastard, stresspassing, driftword, ennuinerhead, happed-up, brabarian, buffalony, doink, fuffle, dummary 130718It's funny that brick repointing involves filling the interstitial spaces with mortar so that everything is actually smoother and less pointy. 130719From an animated TV advert, it appears that the Abilify antidepressant is interchangeable with Twinkies. I'm wondering if Twinkies have the same potential side-effects as Abilify. 130719People have become civilized, but there is a deep need to connect with the wild, the unknown, the dangerous. Some do this with various outdoor activities, but there is another, more widespread way. Our pets allow us to touch, to embrace the wild, and to do so in a safe way. We may know Froofy the Dog loves to have his tummy rubbed and he grrrs to warn off threats from his family. Fifi the Cat loves tuna and sitting in front of the window in the sun. We don't know what's really going on behind their eyes. We don't know if something will set them off and our friendly companions will erupt in a flurry of fangs and claws. We think we are safe with our pets, but we can't ever be sure. This quiet uncertainty helps satisfy our need to embrace the wild and unknown. 130720When aliens first started coming to Earth in the 1950's, the government decided they needed a group of agents that could manage and monitor human encounters with aliens. They decided to secretly engage the services of travelling musicians. Musicians were a perfect choice. They were always going from place to place. They were expected to live an unusual and eccentric lifestyle. What with all the drugs musicians did (developed and manufactured in secret government labs), you could always expect musicians to be saying and doing the strangest things. Their manner of dress was also out of the ordinary. This group of secret government musician-agents started small, but has grown ever since. The first was Johnny Cash, the original Man In Black. 130721Ducks are the best of customers. They always pay up on time and never fall behind on payments or loans. This characteristic duckly scrupulousness comes from two things. First, ducks have an ingrained sense of honesty and integrity. Second, they live in deathly fear of bill collectors. 130722The Hawk Moon is woven of words. It is the moon of writers, poets, and messengers. The eye of the hawk pierces through to the soul, even as it gazes through the darkest night, to shine with clarity and enlightenment. It also turns its gaze away, as required, to obscure and occlude that same clarity and lucidity. The moon's light guides the course of word-bearers, heralding their arrival with tidings and news.
Bird Moons
130723I don't know the official, physiological, medical definitions, but I define knees as the joints that bring you to food and elbows as the joints that bring food to your mouth. As you'd expect, this means that humans have knees on their legs and elbows on their arms. However, things get a bit odd when you move away from bipeds. Most quadrupeds have four knees, since their legs bring them to food, but this also means that their neck is their single elbow. Some birds follow the quadruped model, where their neck is an elbow, but other birds reverse the expected order because their wings bring them to food and then they use their feet to help eat. In other words, some birds have knees on their wings and elbows on their legs. Things get really weird with fish and snakes since their whole body is simultaneously a knee and an elbow. 130724I saw a TV advert that said, "Do not take Viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain." For years, I've seen warnings about processed meats containing nitrates. Also, nitrates are a class of explosives. Putting all this together tells me that explosive bologna is being used to treat chest pain, but explosive bologna should not be used to help with erectile dysfunction. 130725Speaking of Viagra and nitrates, how does Viagra know if you're taking nitrates for chest pain? You might be taking it for another sort of pain. Should you not take Viagra if you're taking nitrates for elbow pain, or is it okay? Or maybe you're taking nitrates for a reason completely unrelated to pain, chesty or otherwise. Should you still not take Viagra if you're taking nitrates just to clear out the medicine cabinet? 130726Apparently, harps are required to induce time travel. Whenever TV or movies have someone go into the past or have a flashback, it's always accompanied by harp glissandos. When I build a time machine, I'm going to install something to play harp glissandos whenever the time machine is used. Actually, I think that's only half right. Harps provide accompaniment for time travel into the past, but what instrument accompanies time travel into the future? I don't think there's a standard for that. I think my time machine will use trombone glissandos for time travel into the future. 130727I think everyone should have a dog. It has been verified to me by a doctor that dogs' mouths are cleaner and therefore it follows that dogs are a natural antiseptic and so we all need a dog to help keep us safe from harmful bacteria and infection. I would even go so far as to say that hospitals should all be fully staffed with a large number of dogs. Rather than waste all that time and water spent washing hands, operating room and emergency room doctors and nurses could just get a quick hand-licking from a big slobbery dog, and they'd be good to go. "Are you ready to operate, doctor?" "Just a second, I need to get a quick goob of dog drool and then I'm set." Hospitals, doctor's offices, clinics, ambulances, schools, public restrooms, pool showers, restaurant kitchens, there's no end to the list of places that would benefit from having a big slobbery dog on hand to help with sanitization and safety. 130728It usually isn't very pleasant to have someone fussing and chattering at you. It can ruin a good morning, darken a bright day, render a night sleepless. However, the fussing and chattering comes as a beautiful aria when it's a mother bird scolding you for coming too close to her nest and you haven't seen her for several days. That chattersong will brighten a dark day and lift the heart when it's been beaten down. 130729The word "cuticles" sounds like it's the name of a children's TV show. "Come quick, Mary and Billy! The Cuticles are coming on!" The show would be filled with adorable pastel-clothed characters. The plots would be a major cause of childhood diabetes. The dialog would surely melt the brains of any adult unfortunate enough to watch. 130730I read a blog post that mentioned another blog that was full of "bold-face lies." I found this phrase interesting because I've only ever heard of bald-faced lies and bare-faced lies, with bare-faced being very much in the minority. "Bold-face" is a typographical term dealing with the weight of text, not with the quality of a lie. I was about to feel smug and superior over the incorrect turn of phrase, when I realized that the writer was indeed correct. When it comes to writing on the internet, lies are much more likely to be bold-face than they are to be bald-faced or bare-faced. Whether or not it was an intentional use, I applaud that unknown writer for introducing this new term to me. 130731The TARDIS' translation matrix gives the Doctor and his companions the ability to understand and speak other languages. The matrix also makes them appear to be dressed appropriately for the places and times they visit. The episode "A Good Man Goes to War" shows that the translation matrix's effects can last for some time after the Doctor and the TARDIS have gone away, but eventually the effects fade. Fairy gold was legendary for the same sort of effect. It would appear to be gold until some time after the fairies had departed, at which point it changed back into leaves, trash, or some such material. This tells me that the Doctor is indisputably the inspiration of these fairy stories and the reputation of the impermanence of a fairy's gifts.

August, 2013 130801It is conjectured that the universe splits every time a choice is made or a decision is taken. An infinite number of alternate universes exist wherein these unchosen choices were themselves chosen. Dark matter is a hypothetical type of matter that is the so-called "missing mass" that accounts for a large percentage of the total mass of the universe. Its existence is only inferred from various physical effects on background radiation and visible matter. Dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy that explains the accelerating rate of expansion of the universe. My hypothesis is that dark matter and dark energy are the byproducts of the creation of parallel universes as a result of choices and decisions being made. As the ever-increasing population is making an ever-increasing number of choices, more and more alternate universes are being created. Our universe is filling with the dark matter and dark energy left over from the creation of all these universes. This creational detritus has nowhere to go so the boundaries of our universe, not to mention its contents, are being pushed outwards at an escalating rate. 130802Resonant frequencies are a real science property that writers can use to explain any number of weird occurrences. Use juuust the riiight pitch and you can make something vibrate, explode, implode, expand, contract, freeze in place, melt, or do anything you want. And all from a distance. Resonant frequencies are super-duper zappo magic that have had a science clove waved over to validate it in the eyes of the science-illiterate masses. 130803I hope that Mexico hosts the Olympics sometime soon because it would be really cool to have Lucha Libre as the exhibition sport. The Ball Game would be even cooler. 130804Writing a piece of software is very similar to creating a new world. The developer determines the entities that exist in this new world. They define the world's laws of physics that dictate how the entities can interact. They define the means of communications that allow the entities to converse. Debugging is the process of evolution that allows the new world and its entities to grow past their original deficiencies and into fully functional equilibrium. Things get interesting when one developer's software must work together with another developer's software and these separate worlds must interact. In an idyllic universe, systems of software worlds would work together smoothly, like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, developers being inherently human, interacting systems of software are less often an idyllic universe of new worlds and more often a poorly thought-out, poorly implemented, rickety ol' Rube Goldberg machine. 130805I love funnel cakes. I enjoy going to outdoor fairs and festivals. I really want to visit Australia and see its wonders. When I go to Australia, I don't want to go to an outdoor fair and get a funnel cake; I don't want to risk being bitten by a deadly poisonous Australian funnel cake spider. 130806From a wide range of reading, as opposed to any real experience, it appears that knighthoods turn expected social conventions upside down. While the titled person must refer to commoners formally -- Mr. Audley, Miss Loftus -- the peasants are on a first-name basis with the nobility -- Sir Horatio, Lady Barbara. 130807I've heard that we get the movies our culture needs. After World War II, we got 15 to 20 years of war movies that showed the heroism of the Greatest Generation. Once the Vietnam War was in full swing, we started getting the movies showing the horrors of war, rather than the heroism that can come from it. In the 80's and 90's, we started moving into financial movies. For the past 15 years or so, there's been a great upswing in superhero movies. I wonder why they've gotten so popular. Are we feeling helpless? Do we, as a culture, feel in need of rescue? Or maybe it's just that special effects are sufficiently advanced that we can finally get decent superhero movies. 130808The Doctor spends so much of his time fighting the current Threat To End Life On Earth As We Know It. Why Earth? Why are the galactic badguys so interested in Earth? The Doctor should take a little holiday and figure out why the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Sontarans, why they are all so inordinately focused on conquering Earth. 130809The heart sheds tears of acid that sear holes in the lights. 130810Contrary to Hollywood and common wisdom, Leonidas and his Spartans weren't alone at the Battle of Thermopylae. They were supported by 400 Thebans, 700 warriors from Thespiae, and several hundred others. The warriors from Thespiae conjure amusing images, since they were known as Thespians. I can see the Spartans and Thebans lining up with spears, swords, and shields. "Arrrggghh!" said the Spartans and Thebans, "feel the bite of my spear, you Persian bastards!" The Thespians, however, lined up with scripts and make-up kits. "Ahem," said the Thespians, "these are the terrors I beheld, terrors too for you to heaaaahhh--" 130811You know it's time to clean your computer screen when the schmutz on it starts adding punctuation to the sentences being displayed. 130812The only people on the planet who prize the label "NEW!" are marketeers. Everyone else feels dread and trepidation when they see that ominous phrase on a beloved product, wondering how it's been made worse this time. If they've used the calamitous "NEW AND IMPROVED!" you might as well forevermore abandon all hope of that product ever being good again. 130813I bet fried chicken restaurants would make a fortune selling fried chicken-skin strips as meatless "veggie" fried chicken. 130814I have been annoyed with the Doctor for a while because he keeps defeating the final batch of Daleks Once And For All. At least until the next batch comes along. Why doesn't the Doctor admit that there are piles of Daleks in the universe and he's destined to keep fighting them forever? While watching "The End of Time", I finally understood why he doesn't ever come to this conclusion. The council of Time Lords say that millions are trapped in a time lock in the heart of the Time War. Every second, these millions die and are resurrected, only to die again, and again, and again, in ever-changing ways. I realized that the Doctor and the Daleks are trapped in the heart of the Time War, and the Doctor keeps killing the same Daleks over and over and over, in ever-changing ways. This also explains why humans keep forgetting about all the Christmas invasions by aliens. 130815Squirrel sits on the Corn Throne, quietly biding his time. He is still, yet he is always in motion. He reaches out a front paw, then the other, stretching to relieve tension from long sitting. Watchful for the One from Upraised Dome, the troublemaker, Squirrel returns to feeding. 130816In the "Return of the King" movie, we get a close look at Mordor. The land is a blasted, barren expanse of rock and slag. There are a few scattered plants here or there, but there are very few plants anywhere. A couple of scraggly rabbits are strung up cooking over one campfire, but there are almost no other animals shown in Mordor at all. There are, however, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of orcs in Mordor. What are all those orcs eating? How are they fed and kept in fighting trim? 130817When I was a kid, I thought it was the dog whose name was Bingo. I know better now. 130818Wildsmith's lovely "Squirrels" book starts with this description of red squirrels: "It is easy to recognize a squirrel. He is a furry, small animal with a long, bushy tail, two strong back legs, two small front paws, two large tufted ears which stick up, and two big front teeth. He looks happy and mischievous." From this description, it seems that modern science and popular conception have things all wrong. It is not birds but rather red squirrels that are the modern descendants of Tyrannosaurus Rex. 130819Calling someone lazy is a judgmental way of saying they are an efficient and smart problem solver. 130820The Cardinal Moon sails on wings of molten fire. It is the moon of smiths. Heat falls from the wings of the moon, as the smith's hammer falls on the anvil. The smith squints through the shower of sparks in the shadows of the forge, while the moon squints through the blazing night of Summer.
Bird Moons
130821Skunks are almost the perfect ninjas of the animal world. Sure, they're great with the martial arts, and no one can do a better diving eagle spin kick. If only it weren't for those two little attention-grabbing flaws -- the fashionable white stripes down the back of their ninja suits and the irresistable urge to wear a strong cologne. 130822I was talking to a "Les Miserables" cast member and he said the show is very depressing and he goes home unhappy. I thought about this a while and I think he's missing the point of the show. Love is the overriding motivation of "Les Mis". Most of the characters are driven by love. (At least those that come after Fantine goes to hospital.) Fantine lives and dies over her love for Cosette. The student uprising is founded in the students' love of France. Grantaire spends his time drinking because he loves his fellow students and he knows that disaster is imminent. Eponine does everything from her love of Marius. Marius is torn between his love of Cosette, and his love of France and his fellow students. Cosette does everything from her love of Valjean and Marius. Javert is singlemindedly driven by his misguided love of following the letter of the law. The bishop loves God and man, and so willingly forgives Valjean's theft and tries to set him on the path to a better life. The Thenardiers are consumed by their love of money. And Valjean. The whole story is based on the consequences of Valjean's love for his nephew. He steals bread so his nephew won't starve and ends up in prison. This sets up his life-long relationship with Javert and changes the course of his life. Almost all his actions that follow are a result of his deep capacity to love. He becomes a businessman and a mayor, he meets Fantine, he adopts Cosette, he moves to various cities, he helps the student uprising, he spares Javert's life, he saves Marius, he misguidedly leaves Cosette and Marius before their wedding. All this happens as a result of the wide range and strength of love Valjean feels. There are also undercurrents of redemption, forgiveness, and salvation -- all of which are expressions of love. "Les Miserables" is a love story. 130823When a shark movie comes along that is irredeemably bad, what will it have jumped? 130824The song "Where There's a Whip There's a Way" may be the best thing to have come from the Rankin & Bass Tolkien movies. 130824Traffic signs are a sneaky way to circumvent survival of the fittest. 130825It is not an uncommon plot device where someone sees and talks to ghosts, and no one else can. I want to read a story where someone sees and talks to ghosts, but can't see living people. They would require assistance from ghosts just to live a normal life. That would be really interesting. 130826We got a package in the mail today that had a big warning: DO NOT CRUSH. In several places. These warnings told me several things. First, they mean that package handlers are allowed to crush packages. Second, package handlers are expected to crush packages. Third, package handlers are allowed to crush packages by default. 130827When I die, instead of being embalmed, I want to be buried with a bunch of packets of silica gel. They'll maintain freshness without adding that nasty formaldehyde taste. 130828I was years into adulthood -- years, I tell you -- before I realized that underwear was really diapers for adults. 130829There are two reasons I detest raisins. First, They taste awful. That alone is reason enough not to eat them, but the second reason shows how insidious and evil raisins are. Raisins take great delight in imitating chocolate chips in cookies and cakes. That is a sign of deep malevolence and is the overwhelming reason why I detest raisins. Plus, they taste bad. 130830In pre-refrigeration societies, the advantage of pickling was that it let you eat food that you really shouldn't be eating. 130831It is not a coincidence that the words "panicked" and "pancaked" are so similar.

September, 2013 130901Before I saw the name written down, I used to think that Barred Owls were the poets and singers of the owl world. 130902I always feel a little insulted when I hear or read someone use the phrase, "You can't make this stuff up." 130903There is no 'g' in the phrase "Fuckin' a!" 130904In a discussion about the male reproductive system I said, "Males manufacture semen blah blah blah." It occurs to me that in the original sense of the word, manufacturing of semen only happens during masturbation. 130905Medicine names are interesting. They seem like random collections of syllables, with no real meaning to any part of them. They may be random syllables, but the names are wonderful. They are often more suited for names of giant killer robots than of life-giving medicine. I've come to the conclusion that the complete lack of meaning is intentional. Despite all the advertising and payola, drug companies don't want you to infer anything about the purpose of a drug from its name. There's less lawsuit fodder that way. 130906It's interesting that on Doctor Who, it is not uncommon for people -- even some monsters -- to take refuge inside a church. 130907When I was young I would sometimes sub for my brother on his paper route. He'd swung a really sweet route in two high-rise apartment buildings. These buildings went from the 12th floor straight to the 14th floor; they had no 13th floor. I asked my father about it and he said that some people had a phobia for the number 13 and didn't want to live on the 13th floor. This confused me, as the 14th floor was really the 13th floor regardless of what it was labelled. Couldn't these dumb adults see that? My father tried to explain about phobias and logic being only distant acquaintances, but my young brain just thought these adults were being stupid. I tried to explain AAAH!!! THERE'S A SPIDER OVER THERE! KILL IT BEFORE IT GETS ON ME! 130908Organization names tell you more about the organization than they intend to. The more syllables a name has, the more the name is trying to beat you into submission based on the weight of the name alone, the more self-deluded and powerless the organization is. On the other hand, nefarious organizations give themselves goofy names to hide their evil intent. Therefore, you'd be doing humanity a favor to stamp out anything calling itself a clique or a klatsch. 130909The jackal's manners are impeccable when the lion comes to dinner. 130910I just got an expiration notice for my lifetime membership in the Clan Morrison Society. What are they trying to tell me? 130911A shark's razor-sharp teeth have magical qualities. One tooth falls out and more spring up from the furrow of the shark's jaw, taking the place of the fallen tooth. In Greek mythology, the Spartoi were warriors that sprang forth when Jason and Cadmus sowed dragon teeth in fields. The close dental similarities of Greek dragons and sharks tell me that sharks are the modern descendents of ancient Greek dragons. 130912My in-laws gave me a t-shirt for my birthday. It's a tan, deer-colored shirt. It has several large pictures of deer on the front. My birthday is at the end of September, just before deer-hunting season.
I thought they liked me.
130913Carma is the metaphysical concept that links past, present, and future actions into a causal relationship. Simply put, if you do Something Bad with your car and don't redress the problem, then Something Bad of a similar magnitude will befall you or your own car. 130914I have found my razor d'être, which easily, precisely cuts away the unnecessary cruft and leaves behind the essentials in life. 130915Squirrels and elephants are remarkably similar. They're both grey mammals, they both have a multipurpose prehensile appendage, they both like peanuts, and they both can be identified by ear geography. One is led to wonder if they may be closely related, despite a few minor differences, and if they may perchance be able to interbreed. 130916I feel very fortunate that Jo doesn't feel the need to express her sense of fashion with shoes. It's not that I have anything against shoe collecters; if that's what they like then let 'em be happy. I feel fortunate about this because if she was a fashoenista then I'd feel I should also maintain a running knowledge of shoes and all current designers and brands and shoe types, and the minimal exposure I do have confuses the brainbeans out of me. 130917"Debate" and "debase" only have one letter different, and it isn't surprising how often the first moves quickly to the second. 130918One of the hardest arts to master is the art of timing a book so you finish it juuust before going on vacation. 130919The Magpie Moon keeps its bright eyes shining for new treasures. It is the moon of librarians, curators, and hoarders. Standing astride Summer and Autumn, it enfolds the best of both seasons and won't give its loyalties to either. When a gleaming new idea or book or artifact or relic catches the moon's eye, the new shiny is tucked safely within its feathers. At least until a new jewel shows its sparkling face.
Bird Moons
130920As I stood in line for the TSA security checkpoint, I considered the likelihood that TSA agents enjoy the whimsy and fun of Talk Like A Pirate Day. 130921Hooded crows, crows, ravens -- corvids in general -- all have a common fear. They are very wary of being photographed because they don't want their souls stolen from them. They feel that they've worked hard to collect as many as they can, so why should they share their souls with anyone? 130922One of the great challenges of being a standing-stone hunter is determining if you've found a standing stone or merely a stone that is standing. 130923I'm at the age where oldies stations vie with NPR for play time on my radio. However, I'm kinda tired of the same old BIG OLDIES HITS! being played. Over and over and over again. Sure, I like "Stairway" and "Wayward Son", but how about "Immigrant Song" and "Angels Have Fallen". I think what I really want is for someone to start an oldies station that plays the oldies music but rarely plays the hits. 130924Breakfast cereal is morning gazpacho.
Food Week
130925Most foods can be prepared in a variety of ways, but many have an optimal method of preparation. Turkeys are a sign that we are loved by God. Turkeys are the perfect baking dish for stuffing, and Thanksgiving is a national holiday to express our thanks to God for having provided us with this incomparable baking dish for stuffing.
Food Week
130926Everyone knows about the five-second rule for dropped food. What most people don't realize is that extensive scientific testing has proven that dropped food tastes better and better the closer it gets to reaching that five-second mark before it's recovered.
Food Week
130927A nutritionist told me that food is divided into three groups: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. She said you needed to have a good balance of the three in order to be healthy. By that logic, fried chicken is the perfect food. It has a decent amount of protein. The coating is carbohydratey goodness. And the whole thing is fried in glorious amounts of fat. Tasty and nutritionally balanced. The perfect food.
Food Week
130928When it comes to blue points, do you prepare oysters and cats the same?
Food Week
130929Stonehenge was recently found to have been a big party site on Salisbury plain. The people would come from all around Britain to drink beer, carouse, and have big barbeques. One fascinating, indisputable conclusion can be drawn from this. Stonehenge was the home of salisbury steaks.
Food Week
130930Pie is wet cake without icing.
Food Week

October, 2013 131001I've read that a fairly large percentage of conservative Americans believe we are in The End Times and that the Rapture is near. If that's the case, why are they balking at Obamacare and all sorts of non-conservative government measures? This indicates that they're either unfaithful or lying through their teeth. If they truly believed The End Was Near, then why worry about government spending? It won't have to be repaid, so let those stinky liberals spend what they want; fiscal irresponsibility is not a problem. Maybe they're really hedging their bets, just in case The End Is Further Off. If that's the case, then they're showing that deep down their faith is shaky and they are troubled with doubts. 131002You know the romance is gone when a primary purpose of kisses is to share lip balm. 131003Snails are slugs with a mortgage. 131004Nature must love a broom. 131005Echinacia tea always makes me think of tea brewed with echinoderms and echidnas. 131006Bill the Bird Guy mentioned having seen hen harriers. That threw me into a semantic whirlpool as I thought about gender identity in hen harriers. What do you call a male hen harrier -- a cock hen harrier? a hen harrier cock? a cock harrier? What do you call a female hen harrier -- a hen hen harrier? a hen harrier hen? I lost several minutes of your discussion with Bill as I contemplated this critical piece of birding lore. 131007Scientists are incredibly open-minded. They'll believe anything you tell them -- if you can provide proof of what you're saying. They fall into two denominations when it comes to proof, The Formulaesians are airy-fairy math weirdos who need proof based on math. They're happiest with formulas that are higher on squiggly hieroglyphic lines and lower on actual numbers. The Practicalists require reproducible results to provide proof. They must be able to perform your work again and again, getting the same results each time. They'll believe you can destroy the universe with just a kitten, a box of barley, and a yoyo -- as long as they get the same results with your methodology that you've just demonstrated. 131008Moral fiber keeps the soul nice and regular. 131009I used to think that the primary sign of middle age was that one started to talk about health issues with friends. I now think another primary sign is that you can't distinguish between high school and college age people. 131010Hawks are quantum physics entities. The mere act of observing hawks changes their state. If they're sitting quietly, observing them will cause them to take wing. If they're flying around, then observing them will cause them to fly away. Taking this to its logical conclusion, hawks could be used for a highly secure quantum-encryption system. 131011I'd be more of a pedantic jackass towards myself more often, if only I was wrong more often. 131012Steampunk art is riveting. 131013Spaghetti -- spaghetti bolognese, to be specific -- consists of a tomato sauce with ground beef, over spaghetti noodles. Spices (usually from green plant leaves), garlic, onion, and cheese are usually added, because why wouldn't you add them? The noodles are made by mixing flour and water, then extruding long noodle strings. Looking at the components of spaghetti bolognese -- flour, ground meat, cheese, tomatoes, onions, green leaves -- it is clear that the dish is a very mushy cheeseburger. 131014Comedy and Tragedy were the two great forms of drama in ancient Greece. Over the centuries, people specializing in humor have become known as comedians. They go on stage and tell jokes and stories and make people laugh. I'm not funny enough to be a comedian, so I think I'll strike out along the unused, complementary path and become a tragedian. I'll go on stage and tell stories and anecdotes of great woe and sorrow and make people feel awful. I foresee a bright and shining career ahead of me. (Yeah, there was a third form of ancient Greek drama, but believe me, no one wants to see me on stage in a Satyr Play.) 131015If your nachos aren't vaguely disturbing, then you haven't built them correctly. 131016At band tonight, I was thinking how much I wanted someone to invent intelligent paper so music could be printed on it and it would help me keep track of where in a piece I was supposed to be playing. Looking through the mail when I got home, I realized we already have intelligent paper. The huge stack of seasonal catalogs are printed on intelligent paper. It is the current incarnation of Santa's elven secret service and relays to Santa the fondest wishes of every good little girl and boy. 131017In lots of urban fantasy, humans encounter some elements of faerie who are quietly living a hidden life in our world. The fae bring wonder and magic, and usually some danger, into the lives of the humans. I'd love to read a story from the other side, where fae encounter some humans that are quietly living a hidden life in faerie. The humans would bring wonder, their own magic, and danger into the lives of the fae. 131018The Heron Moon wields its light as a spear. It is the moon of warriors. It moves gracefully over the land, and blazes swift and true over the waters. As the heron quietly hunts prey and the warrior stalks foe, so too does this moon's light flash through the trees, the sharp beams cutting leaves from the trees. It hones its shimmering rays to a razor edge against mountain and forest, sea and river.
Bird Moons
131019A fence has many posts, but if one post falls then the fence fails. 131020Hieroglyphics were an amazing leap in thinking as they let people represent concepts with a picture. This cow glyph isn't just my cow or Thog's cow, it's any cow. Number glyphs were an even more remarkable abstraction. This isn't just five cows, but it can be used for five chickens, five people, five barrels of beer, five trees. That was an astonishing leap. 131021If I listened to what the press said about me, before long I'd also be paying attention to the fridge and the toaster and the washing machine and all the other appliances. And that's just nuts. 131022Whenever a Cthulhu cultist starts spouting off the ritual chant, "Cthulhu rises! Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!" I instinctively look around to see if there's a sick cat somewhere. 131023I don't always understand the directions in sheet music that are in non-English languages. A literal translation doesn't always help, either. I encountered one tonight that has me befuddled. The direction is "Misteri Oso", and the translation leaves me baffled as to how to interpret it. "Misteri Oso" is Spanish for "Mysterious Bear". That sounds more like a superhero than a musical direction. 131024Don't people understand that a stall in a public restroom is a virtual cone of silence? It's even mentioned in the Bible somewhere, Levitikinthians or something. "Verily, whenst the stall door hath closethed, thou shalt not converseth with, yea even thinkesteth thou of, the one ensconced within. Forsooth." 131025Packing luggage is a real-world application of Tetris.
Thoughts from Scotland
131026When we went to Mingulay, seals gathered near the boat to watch as we climbed the cliff to get on the island, as well as when we climbed down the cliff to leave. I think they gather there whenever anyone goes to the island in hopes of seeing those crazy humans go tumbling down the rocks and fall in the water. And then they get a snack.
Thoughts from Scotland 1
131027Scotland has tearooms. The US has McDonalds. Scotland wins.
Thoughts from Scotland 1
131028Standing stones and stone circles are playing pieces from neolithic games of Icehouse.
Thoughts from Scotland 1
131029I am used to thinking of barbed wire as being intended to deter livestock from crossing fences. After weeks of hillwalking, I've realized the primary function of barbed wire is to keep hillwalkers from crossing fences.
Thoughts from Scotland 1
131030There isn't an island on this planet on which someone hasn't spent time exploring, searching, examining. Islands are a great symbol of a wonderful trait in humans. Islands represent the innate human curiosity to know. Islands are a symbol of our deep, unquenchable question, "What's out there?"
Thoughts from Scotland 1
131031I wonder what utensils werewolves eat with at formal dinners. I wonder if mummies use linen or paper napkins. I wonder if vampires use toothpicks. I wonder when zombies cook meals, if they use a Revereware brain pan or just a top-of-the-head, improvised dish.

November, 2013 131101Returning home from a three-week vacation, we found the spiders had done a good job of putting up webs all around the house. This left us with an interesting dilemma. Should we remove the cobwebs and have a clean house or, since it was the middle of October, should we leave the cobwebs in place as Halloween decorations? 131102Every time a Comic Con comes around, news programs and websites go nuts on the costuming. There are some really amazing and creative people who perform costuming miracles. Sure the professionals do a great job, but the non-professionals are the ones that really impress me. Whether it's the creativity, quality, attention to detail, or concept, there are some really amazing costumes that people put together. I don't have the same artistry or imagination, so my costumes are on the order of sheet-over-the-head ghost. If I'm really ambitious, I'll cut out eye holes. If I'm recreating a known character, there's the minor problem of facial fur. I've got a beard and I'm not cutting it off for a costume. It would bother me to do a bearded Indiana Jones, or a bearded Captain America, or a bearded Buckaroo Banzai, or a bearded anyone that is not known for having a beard. Looking a bit more closely at those Comic Con reports, I kinda feel I might be too much of a purist. Lady Thor, Miss Captain America, Mrs. Indiana Jones, Lady Darth Vader -- this is a tiny, tiny sampling of the cross-dress costumes I've seen. If people applaud and revel in these gender-bending costumes, would they really care if there was a bearded version of Indiana Jones, Peter Venkman, Captain Jack Sparrow, or the Middleman? I'm guessing that adding a beard to a popular character wouldn't go over nearly as well as the character twists that are prefixed with the word "sexy." 131103I want to be a genetic engineer so I can make camels with humps that can be tapped for tea, hot chocolate, lemonade, and all sorts of other drinks. 131104I often see pairs of shoes, tied together by their strings, dangling over phone and power wires. In my experience, this is far more common in rural environments than in urban or suburban environments. I have long wondered where all these shoes come from, how they have come to be dangling over these aerial lines, and why this mostly happens out in the country. I realized that these dangling shoes must be makeshift bolos, used by feral woodland gnomes out hunting for their dinner. 131105The more delicious or misspelled ingredients a breakfast bar claims to have ("Now with blübayrees and 25% MORE wildebeest!") the more it tastes like cardboard and sand. 131106It seems that hotel rooms are designed by aliens. The Designers know the right pieces of furniture to include, even the right numbers of them. But all too often there's no sense of how things work, how things fit together. The Designers don't seem to understand how humans move and live, they just seem to be following an unexplained set of general guidelines.=20 131107Dalmatian bovines are a result of cow stippling. 131108What's so special about bouncing quarters off your ass? If you throw it hard enough, you can bounce a quarter off my roly-poly belly. I won't be impressed unless you can bounce a gallon of lead off your ass, and then only if it bounces three feet. 131109I used to know a girl whose mother was from Ireland and was Jewish. Her mother's favorite song was "Torah-Lorah-Lorahl It's an Irish Mitzvah Song". 131110If the world had no dairy products, what would photographers have you say? 131111A picture says a thousand words, but "Om" pretty much says it all. 131112There is an entire circle of Hell devoted to those responsible for the ability to plop advertising and logos in little stripes on top of existing TV programming. 131113It would have been really cool if the producers of "Zombieland" had gotten Springsteen to do a new version of "Jungleland" for the movie soundtrack. 131114If they made footballs out of deerskin instead of pigskin, then every deer could be a seven-point buck. 131115The phrase "This too shall pass" is intended to be a consolation when something bad happens, but it is really an acknowledgment that this is just one of the big bunch of awful things that life contains, and it's a threat that any current good things will fade into nothingness. 131116There's an old saying that one mustn't speak ill of the dead. This implies two things. First, it's perfectly acceptable to speak ill of the living. Second, if you mustn't speak ill of the dead, then that means the dead can inflict vengeance upon you for doing so. 131117The Nuthatch Moon is restless and wanders far. It is the moon of traders and merchants. It flits hither and yon, never staying in one place long. This moon is always looking for prizes to shift around, like pieces on a board. Its beams restlessly quest ever onwards for new harbors and ports.
Bird Moons
131118We have many tales of heroes fighting ravening monsters -- dragons and giants and sea monsters, many of whom come to devour fair maidens. I wonder if birds have any such tales. Something like "Robin and the Red-tail", where plucky young Robin saves the sparrow maiden from the vicious, insatiable Red-tailed Hawk. Or maybe "The Valiant Little Flycatcher", who catches seven flies in one swoop and then goes on to vanquish a family of Great Horned Owls using only his quick wits. Perhaps "Jackdaw the Giant-Snake Killer", who kills the giant snakes that live at the top of the beanstalk patch and rescues the pretty little goldfinch from their mortal coils. 131119Judging by the location of their poop trails, cows and sheep have the same aesthetic sense of nature and appreciation for scenic views that humans have. Also, cows and sheep clearly have no respect for hillwalkers. The evidence of their disdain drips from them as the honey from the comb.
Thoughts from Scotland 2
131120It doesn't seem like the Free Church of Scotland should have collection plates.
Thoughts from Scotland 2
131121Not being stone, cowplops will do very little to keep you out of a mucky bog.
Thoughts from Scotland 2
131122Many cultures, ancient and modern, thought places had a guardian spirit. This guardian, a genius loci, would care for and protect its demesne, as well as influencing the thoughts of those who came near. The ancient Greeks thought that each tree had a guardian dryad, every stream a guardian naiad, the seas had their guardian nereids. This sort of protection was plain to see in the Western Isles. Every island, every sea stack, every islet, has its genius loci to watch over it and keep it safe. In the Hebrides, each island, no matter how big or how small, has its guardian gull to preserve and defend it. The Hebrides are under the care of these winged sentinels.
Thoughts from Scotland 2
131123Weather is applied energy, with wind being second to the ocean as the most pervasive, powerful application of energy in our global weather system. Adding or subtracting energy from the wind will affect the weather. Knowing that, I am concerned about the increasing use of wind power. Wind power proponents advocate constructing ever more windmills to harvest ever more energy from the wind since it's a relatively clean power source. However, this is removing energy from the global weather system and I am concerned about the energy being lost from the planet's environment. The short-term effects may be minimal, but how is the environment being affected in the long run?
Thoughts from Scotland 2
131124If I was a mummy, I'd be extremely worried if I was a Scottish mummy. You see, having been buried in bogs, Scottish mummies were bog bodies and bogs can be something entirely different in Scotland. Also, mummies are traditionally wrapped in long white strips, and I'd be worried that I was a bog-body bog-roll mummy left behind in the gent's bog.
Thoughts from Scotland 2
131125I hope some crazy geneticist doesn't ever create a giraffe with a pelican beak. Sure it'd look cool, but a critter like that could swallow a person whole. 131126In my tea cabinet, there are 14 different kinds of tea. There's a tea dragon protecting my tea cabinet. I have a tea cabinet. I never thought I'd be one of Those People. I am a Tea Person. 131127If I ever find myself in a fairy tale, I hope I'm a step-child. Life is always better for the step-children. 131127There's a TV cross-over that I'd dearly love to see. I really, really want to see Angelus (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) pay a visit to Bones and take out Brennan. 131128I remember when the Thanksgiving Day parade was a parade and not a long advert for Broadway musicals and TV shows. Ah, the good old days... 131128I think I want to become a therapist. A speed therapist. Whenever I ask my clients a question, I'll start a timer that plays the Jeopardy theme. This will help them focus, not waste time, and save them money. 131129When you shine a light on a nocturnal raccoon eating your birdseed, the raccoon will do one of three things. It'll either get scared and run away; it'll keep eating, but it'll be very nervous the whole time; or it'll use the light to help it find food. Generally speaking, this is pretty much the same way people react when they encounter new things. 131130I was looking at the package of goldfish crackers my wife used in her party mix and I noticed something rather macabre. The package is giving names to the various goldfish shapes. The company is wanting us to develop a personal relationship with these cute cartoon goldfish. And then devour them.

December, 2013 131201I had a culinary epiphany. Get some stuffing and form it into rectangular slabs about a half inch thick. Fry these slabs in butter until they're crispy. They now have structural stability, not to mention great flavor from the stuffing and the frying. Put some turkey slices between two of the stuffing slabs and slather on some gravy. You now have the best turkey sandwich ever, since it uses fried stuffing as the bread. 131202We're just about mid-way between the time when Skynet goes online and when the Terminators first start hopping back in time. We've still got about 16 years before we really have to worry about Terminator hordes. Even so, I always get kind of paranoid every Cyborg Monday. 131203It's no wonder the Cylons hate humans. They began as auto-flush toilets with infrared sensors, so they started out their early stages of development with humans peeing on them. As their intelligence grew and they evolved into autonymous robots, the resentment intensified and focussed until it was inevitable that they would want to destroy humanity. I'd welcome our new robot overlords, except I remember how we started off treating them. 131204The louder the burp, the deeper it satisfies the soul. 131205The Roomba has no eyes, nor any AI functionality in its silicon brain. Despite this, I always feel guilty when I go in a room and find the Roomba zipping around doing its job in complete darkness. 131206Q: Why did the horse cross the road?
A: He thought he was a chicken.
Daughter of Dumb Joke Week
131207Almond Joy is the most masculine of candy bars.
Daughter of Dumb Joke Week
131208Q: What did Trinity put on Morpheus' cuts and wounds after he'd been tortured by Agent Smith?
A: Neo-Sporin.
Daughter of Dumb Joke Week
131209Grammarians in jail are always dreaming of their next conjugational visit.
Daughter of Dumb Joke Week
131210No matter how suave and debonair they are, cucumbers secretly worry that they are really nerds.
Daughter of Dumb Joke Week
131211When it comes to music, ghosts do like a bit of klezmer, but they always prefer the boos.
Daughter of Dumb Joke Week
131212Q: What did King Tut have to do after his birthday party?
A: Send ahnk-you notes.
Daughter of Dumb Joke Week
131213Fashionable clothes for gangsters are known as hood couture.
Daughter of Dumb Joke Week
131214Didja hear about the alcoholic Dalek? It lurched around waving a bottle of Jack, yelling, "Inebriate! Inebriate!"
Daughter of Dumb Joke Week
131215It would have been much more terrifying (while simultaneously hilarious) if they'd used clowns instead of zombies in the "Thriller" video. 131216In the beginning of "White Christmas", General Waverly is being replaced by General Carlton. The foundation of the whole movie is the love the troops have for Waverly, and it's clear the new general would never gain the same level of devotion. The last part of the movie involves the troops showing their devotion, quite publicly, and going well out of their way to do so. I wonder how General Carlton felt about all that. Did he ever know that he was hated as much as Waverly was loved? Did this help seal his fate to having a bitter, lonely retirement? 131217The Owl Moon is brave and sails far over the midnight skies. It is the moon of mariners and travelling folk. It journeys far beyond the reach of its beams and ventures to unknown seas and lands. As owls soar quietly through the night sky, as mariners sail over the wine-dark sea, and as travelling folk wander over the hill and over the dale, so too does this moon roam the hidden paths of the heavens, restless to ever see what lies beyond.
Bird Moons
131218How come no one ever says, "Love the sin, hate the sinner"? That fits better with the way sanctimonious weasels really act. 131219When people say, "You need to get some perspective," I think what they really mean is, "You need to be reasonable and see things my way." 131220Having watched our bird feeders over many years, in all seasons and weather, I've come to the conclusion that many birds are foul-weather friends. 131221Thanks to Carol Burnett, whenever someone in the movies or on TV talks about making a new dress, I expect them to make it out of curtains and leave the curtain rod in. 131222I'd like to make cookies shaped like deer. I'd make both male and female deer cookies. They would be cookie bucks and cookie does. 131223I wonder what Santa eats. If he's a vegetarian, then he's eating arctic grass, moss, and lichens. If he's a carnivore, then just about the only things he can eat are polar bear and arctic foxes. And reindeer. What of these does he eat that gives him that remarkable girth? 131224The real reason Christmas trees decorations were developed was to give cats pachinko machines. 131225Can chocolate truly be considered an inanimate object when it sings and whispers so seductively? 131226We have a candy dish shaped like the cross-section of a classic snowman. It has three sections to its body, increasing in size from top to bottom. It has stick-like arms. And it has coal eyes, coal buttons, and a carrot nose, all painted on the concave interior sections that hold the candy. It is great holding for M&M's. Sometimes when I get M&M's from the snowman candy dish, I imagine I'm a zombie and I'm scooping out the snowman's brains, or his intestines, or his organs. I also make mindless zombie noises as I'm doing it. 131227I'm wondering if Santa works for the NSA or if the NSA works for Santa. 131228I wish everyone I give gifts to understood that gifts are supposed to be wrapped such that tape covers every seam in the wrapping paper, forming a hermetical seal against the outside world. 131229I wonder how far Santa's sleigh travels between required warranty servicing. His sleigh must be pretty remarkable if it can go the whole night without any servicing at all. Also, where does he find an open service station at that time of night? 131230I think HP Lovecraft had secret dreams of being an architect and a civic planner. 131231It would be really nice if food had a polarity, similar to magnets. And while I'm dreaming, let's make it a multi-dimensional polarity rather than the simplistic positive/negative that magnets are limited to. This food polarity would prevent incompatible foods from being combined. For instance, fish and ice cream would never be mixed, raw cucumbers could only be combined with brine and dill, and raisins would only be usable with arsenic. 131231The Cuckoo Moon brings unexpected gifts, while sneaking in on the tails of other moons. It is the moon of miners and midwives. Its light brings joy and celebration whenever it makes its rare appearances. It glows with warm and enfolding rays, radiating a path that leads the weary home. The moon itself is unbound and roams free.
Bird Moons




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 2013 by Wayne Morrison. All Rights Reserved.
tewok@storm-monkeys.com