Final Thoughts of the Night, 2017
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.
171215Childen see Christmas gifts under a tree -- any tree -- and they wonder if the gifts are for them. At some point, a child stops wondering if it's their gift. That is a sign of the advent of adulthood.
171214According to my Grand Plan, these issues weren't supposed to start for another 20 years.
171213During World War II, a German spy ring operated out of a public bathhouse in London. The workers in the bathhouse were arrested for aiding and abluting the enemy.
171212Everyone knows it's dangerous to run with scissors, but how fast can you move with scissors and still be safe? I think it's fairly safe to walk with scissors, but how about power-walking with scissors? What about trotting with scissors, or even cantering with scissors? Can you hop, skip, or jump with scissors? Can you dance with scissors? If so, what kind of dancing -- waltzing? foxtrotting? ballet? I really wish manufacturers would include complete instructions with their products.
171211Wild dogs: live outside in the weather, have to hunt their own food, pack-dominance fights, constantly on guard against predators.
Domesticated dogs: live inside out of the weather, provided food by their owners, submission to owners, occasionally grrr at the door, look at the closet door very intently for a few minutes, back and tummy scritches.
Who domesticated whom?
171210What with the possibility of drilling a new well, job uncertainties, ill pets, and various other financial issues, Jo said we've got to cut out frivolous purchases. There is a bright side to this, because it means the cake and cookies we bought yesterday do not fall in the classification of frivolous.
171209I'm singing the Uriel part in the trio section of Haydn's "The Heavens Are Telling". That part is sandwiched between Gabriel (soprano) and Raphael (bass). I can't escape it. Not only in real life but also in the parts I sing, am I the lost middle child.
171208Isaiah 11:1 mentions the "STEM of Jesse". I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I'm pretty sure it's talking about how Jewish folks have a natural tendency to excellence in highly technical fields.
171207Serious science has the scientific method at its heart. The scientific method, at its heart, has repeated testing and gathering of statistics. Repetition, unknown results, statistics. This shows that, basically, science is a form of applied gambling.
171206Zebras are nature's contour maps.
171205Our DVR decided to record a couple episodes of Seth Meyer's show. The listing gives it as "Late Night with Set". That sounds like it'd be much more interesting than any talk show I've ever seen.
171204Pernicious numbers, odious numbers, evil numbers, vampire numbers. Happy numbers, friendly numbers, fortunate numbers. These are all desperate attempts by the Mathematical Proletariat Front to trick people into thinking math is fun and socially acceptable.
171203The fist bump developed because people were getting carpal tunnel syndrome doing too many low-level high fives.
171202Tenors are sopranos that have been cursed with a Y chromosome.
171201Some months have great names -- August and January, for example, being named after Augustus Caesar and Janus. Some, however, have pretty pathetic names. September through December are pretty unimaginative. I get the feeling that the Month Committee had lost interest by the time September rolled around. "Okay, we've got four months left that need names." "Meh, let's just call them Seven, Eight, Nine, and Ten. Now, who's up for a drink?"
171130I have realized a secret of the universe -- the proper way to load a dishwasher. Everyone I've seen load a dishwasher always starts at the back and loads things forward. This is inefficient, and therefore counter to how the universe wants you to load a dishwasher. By loading from the back, you always have to pull the rack all the way out, in order to make sure you're really loading as far back as you can. By loading from the front to the back, you only have to pull the rack out as far as you need in order to get things in; you can easily see the next load point. So much time wasted over the years, pulling racks all the way out each and every time; so much time to save in future, only pulling racks as far as needed.
171129I wish the country could just declare the last twelve months a mulligan, and get a do-over.
171128New York City's inflated sense of self-importance may largely be attributed to the sense of inadequacy that resulted from being passed over to be the capitol city of the US.
171127A little over 2,000 years ago, consumers were faced with a difficult decision. Should they go with a tried-and-true product or should they get the new and improved version of the product? Imodium BC or Imodium AD?
171126I would love to see remakes of the Jurassic Park movies where the velociraptors and T. Rexes are replaced with giant squirrels.
171125It's a little-known fact that Martin Luther was a prodigious baker. In fact, he didn't post his 95 theses on the Wittenburg Door, as is widely thought. Rather, he baked 95 cakes and wrote one thesis in the frosting of each of those 95 Battenberg Cakes.
Food Week 8
171124All the best foods are dips: onion dip, crab dip, doro wat, meser wat. The list goes on and on. A food can reach the peak of its existence by converting itself into dip form. I have a feeling this will bode very well for me when I reach my toothless dotage.
Food Week 8
171123Some people assume that if they split your dessert with you, they're managing to get dessert with a smaller number of calories. They seem to think this is such a basic truth that they will steal part of your dessert by digging in without asking your permission. This assumption is fundamentally wrong. Horning in on someone else's dessert is so wrong that it gives one a huge negative karmic debt. Since karma and calories are so closely intertwined, this dessert theft ends up giving the dessert thief several times as many calories than if they had just had their own full dessert.
Food Week 8
171121There is something inherently sneaky, antisocial, and arrogant in sorting through the mixed nuts and pulling out only your favorite ones. It implies your desires and wishes take precedence over everyone else's. Mine are the cashews and pecans.
Food Week 8
171120I had a mind-blowing realization. Tacos are small, portable, taco salads. Then I thought about that sentence and realized that, actually, I'm an idiot.
Food Week 8
171119There was a memorable Vacation Bible School one year when I was a kid. The teachers decided that as a treat, they'd give us samples of some foods mentioned in the Bible. Among these delicacies were fresh figs. They were terrible. Buuh! How could anyone want to eat something as nasty as a fig? How could they have been named in the Bible as a valid food? Surely there must have been a mistake! A few years ago, I had a fig-related revelation. As Jesus had miraculously changed water into wine, He must also have rendered figs edible by changing figs into the more palatable, somewhat tasty fig newtons.
Food Week 8
171118Ice is a principal tool in teaching lessons of practical physics to children. Ice on the ground teaches important and painful lessons on the coefficient of friction. Displacement is taught by inserting ice into a glass of soda. The third law of motion -- for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction -- is demonstrated, in that if you throw an ice-slush ball at me, then you can be certain I'll hit you with an ice-slush ball.
171117It is said that the wages of sin are death. Clearly, the wages suck, but what are the hours and benefits like? Is the retirement plan any good? Is telecommuting possible? What's the overall compensation package like? The pay and benefits might be lousy, but I bet the job duties are to die for.
171116There are two types of dragons. There are those who throw all their treasure into one giant pile of disorganized treasure; and there are those who separate all their gold coins from their silver coins, separate their artifact weapons by type, maker, and size, crowns and jewelry separated by type and geographical origin. One type of dragon is slothful and lazy, the other type is persnickety and fussy. However, the claws are just as sharp and the flames just as hot, regardless of which dragon's lair you're sneaking into.
171115Trolls would be excellent dentists, except they think every problem can be solved with some bridgework.
171114I get lots of spam with a subject like, "I want to experiment with you in bed". Those messages always evoke interesting images. I imagine lab tables and lab equipment specifically for use by people in bed. I'm also wondering what sort of experimentation will be involved. Is it chemistry, with lots of weird and smelly chemicals? Is it physics, with inclined planes, wheels, and other basic machines? Is it optics, with lasers? Is it philosophy, with lots of thoughts and boxed cats? This idea of bedroom science sounds a bit daunting.
171113When I was a kid, I really liked the Simon & Garfunkel song "Mrs. Robinson". My friends laughed at me for this because they thought it meant that I was in love with Mrs. Robinson from "Lost in Space". While I wasn't in love with that Mrs. Robinson, I did think that's who the song was about, and I didn't really understand how the song related to the TV show.
171112I have received a Sign From The Universe. A sports-recap show was on and I saw a few clips from some football games. Featured prominently in some of these clips were three players: Harris, Lewis, and Peat. It was a Sign From The Universe, I tell ya. A Sign From The Universe.
171111Towards the beginning of the Sherlock Holmes story, Red-Headed League, Doyle wrote, "The stout gentleman half rose from his chair, and gave a bob of greeting". It sounds like the Victorian era was a really expensive place to live, if you had to give people a shilling every time you greeted them.
171110There is a special karma associated with loaning books, a book karma. If you loan people your books, your book karma increases. If you treat borrowed books well and return them in decent time, your book karma increases. If you treat borrowed books poorly, your book karma goes down. If you don't return borrowed books in decent time, your book karma goes down. The Karmic Librarian keeps track of each person's book karma, rewarding and punishing people according to their book karma.
171109When I was 14, all the boys were pulled aside in school for a really important lesson. We were taught that if you didn't want to do dishes, you just put water on them and leave them in the sink "to soak." This magic trick would get us out of doing the hard-to-clean dishes, and leave it for our wives. What us boys didn't understand was that at the same time, the girls were pulled aside and told about this sneaky trick the boys were being taught and would try pulling on the girls for decades to come.
171108Whenever I take selfies with people, I hand them my phone and have them take the picture. That way, my special sneaky camera app scans their fingerprint and I add it to my collection of cellphone credentials.
171107Occam's Razor is blunted by mystery novels.
171106A week after Martin Luther raised a hubbub with his hammer at the Wittenberg Door, his cousin Lex decided he wanted some of that sweet, sweet fame for himself. He got his hammer, he got his nails, and he took himself down to the dog kennel and then to the pub, where he nailed 35 feces to the Battenberg Pub door.
171105I've always thought that Mad Scientists were scientists that were crazy. Look at the things they want to do: destroy the world, blow up the moon, kill all the puppies, subjugate the cheerleaders and jocks. Who would want to do anything like that but a crazy person? How about a person who is so pissed off that they don't care about the consequences of their actions. Maybe Mad Scientists really aren't crazy-mad, but are instead angry-mad.
171104When I am at my tiredest, my most exhausted, and barely able to keep my eyes open even a single millimeter for just five more seconds, getting up to go to bed wakes me right up for another hour or two.
171103My microwave is trying to kill me. It wants me to eat food regardless of how close it is to being finished. I put some frozen meat in to cook for 15 minutes, When it was done, the microwave said, "FOOD IS READY". I put a raw pork chop in for 10 seconds; the microwave beeped and said, "FOOD IS READY". Why does my microwave hate me so?
171102In centuries past, hobs and brownies and fairies would quietly, secretly, help out around the home and shop. In the modern world, these anonymous assistants have left the home and have found widespread employment as stage crew in theaters.
171101Ancient flamingos and decrepit peg-leg pirates are on their last leg.
171031Halloween is the favorite holiday of logicians because they get to run around and yell "Boole!"
171030Guns don't kill people, people don't kill people, laws of physics kill people. Rather than outlawing guns or people, we should repeal the laws of physics.
171029Thor is no longer allowed to go to Scottish games, ever since that incident at the Hammer Toss.
171028At harp competitions, you sometimes hear a competitor say, "I'm playing the judge's arrangement of this tune." If I was a judge, I bet that half the time I would then be thinking, "Did I arrange that tune? When did I do that? I wonder what I did with that arrangement."
171027For a lot of simple, practical, every-day data, the metadata required to describe, or even just name, that data is much bigger than the data itself.
171026Hashtags are the latest Death of Civilization. Writing is inherently ambiguous and open to interpretation. This ambiguity adds to the writing's depth, and allows for nuance and texture and reading clubs. Hashtags nail down context and remove the ambiguity so necessary to good writing. As hashtags become more and more pervasive, we will stop looking for depth and texture in writing, and we will become stupider and stupider. Intellectual civilization will fall as a result of the pernicious hashtag.
171025I'm considering mail-ordering a set of weights for strength-building during my surgery recovery. I'm wondering what's going to happen when the weights are delivered. I'm getting weights I can't lift in order to increase the amount of weight I can lift, so how will I get them into the house? I'm thinking maybe I'll have to leave them out in the driveway. Once I actually conquer a particular weight and can lift it without problem, I can then move it into the house. Of course, I won't need that particular weight any more and it can just go in storage at that point.
171024I've only ever seen Baywatch four times, and it's always been a failure and a success. It was a failure because each time, I only managed to watch the second episode of a two-parter. The same second episode of the same two-parter. And only the last half hour. Four times. That episode was memorable, though, because there was an alien squid monster in the ocean that was killing people. That alien squid monster made it a definite success, even though David Hasselhoff ended up killing it. I watched a few episodes of The Inhumans and found that Black Bolt was played by a guy who looks like David Hasselhoff, and he ended up on Hawaii. It seems that beaches and aliens are forevermore destined to be associated with David Hasselhoff.
171023It is a polite fiction of our society that human incompetence can be blamed on computer problems.
171022It's funny that when most people say "periodically", they really mean "aperiodically".Word Week 3
171021I want to know what a daisical is. I also want to know if that's the singular form of the word or the singular and plural form. I've mostly heard people say that someone "lacks a daisical", so that implies that it's singular. However, I occasionally hear someone say they "lack a daisical", which implies it's plural.Word Week 3
171020Thor had a different weapon before he got Mjöllnir the hammer. In those olden days, he used an enormous battle-axe. He was well-known for burying the axe in the chests of his enemies. This proclivity led to the development of the word thorax.Word Week 3
171019There are two words that have a basic difference that is kind of weird. As synonyms, they have a basic similarity as well. The words are "cinema" and "movies"; they both refer to the same thing, a movie theater. The weird difference is that "cinema" is singular and "movies" is plural. I don't know anyone who talks about going to the cinema; most often I hear people saying they're going to the movies. For me, I will always say that I'm going to the movies because I don't want to go to anything that rhymes with "enema".Word Week 3
171018I really hate typos; they smell of laziness and sloppiness. However, there's one kind of typo that I really enjoy. That's when a word with M's ends up with extra consecutive M's. Whenever I find those words, I mentally pronounce each M separately. Swim-m-m-ing, hum-m-m-ingbird, sum-m-er, cum-m-in, ham-m-m-m-er. Even better is when you get several of these in one sentence. Sum-m-m-er is icum-m-m-m-in in.Word Week 3
171017The dictionary says that "murrain" means a plague or an epidimic. The dictionary further says that this is considered an archaic or humorous term. I have trouble imagining why a language would need a humorous term for plagues.Word Week 3
171016In the dictionary's usage section for the word "irregardless", it says that the word "should be avoided by careful users of English." I find this quite amusing because, as Mark Twain said, English is a mongrel language and draws bits and pieces from hither and yon. There are no careful users of English; we all beat and bludgeon English into doing whatev the fuuuuh us'n Englards want.Word Week 3
171015When the alarm goes off, the longer I lay in bed, the probability I'll hit the snooze button increases monotonically.
171014I just said something that in retrospect is fairly astonishing. I was told that an acquaintance needs to have his hip replaced and I said, "I'm sorry to hear that." My response is astonishing because it is such a ho-hum, bland response. Medical incredibilities have become so commonplace that the announcement of the replacement of a hip was acknowledged by my matter-of-fact, mild expression of sympathy. In so many ways, this is an amazing world we live in.
171013That label on that old can of Prince Albert tobacco said that it was "Chimp Cut". Wow! That's amazing! They have chimps working in the tobacco factory! I would love to see a factory of chimps working diligently on cutting and processing tobacco, or manufacturing anything really. (Though I'd stay well away from the factory floor.) I had so many questions about this. How did they train the chimps to do this job? Are the chimps really more efficient than humans? Are there other apes employed in industry? Are there monkeys employed in any manufacturing industries? How much do chimps get paid? How many banana breaks do they get each day? Unfortunately, my excitement was dashed when I looked closer and saw it really said "Crimp Cut".
171012I recently found an old can of Prince Albert tobacco in our basement. I mentioned the can -- along with a reference to the ancient, trite, Prince-Albert-inna-can joke -- to a certain member of a previous generation. I was a bit insulted when they then proceeded to explain that ancient joke to me, as if I was so out-of-touch with humor that it was unfamiliar to me.
171011People talk about food that "sticks to the ribs" as being really good food. Having had a few adhesions that were literal "stick to the ribs" things, I've gotta say that Those People don't know what the hell they're talking about.
171010In the wake of the Las Vegas shootings, in the wake of every mass shooting, there's a subset of politicians and pundits who say that it's too early to talk about gun violence. They do, however, offer their thoughts and prayers for the victims and the victims' families. Since it never becomes time to talk about gun violence, it appears that their thoughts are that 59 murders and 489 injuries in Las Vegas are acceptable numbers, 26 murders in Sandy Hook are an acceptable number, 12 murders and 70 injuries in Aurora are acceptable numbers, 9 murders and 3 injuries in Charleston are acceptable numbers, 32 murders and 17 injuries at Virginia Tech are acceptable numbers, 13 murders and 21 injuries in Columbine are acceptable numbers. I can't imagine any sane person accepting those thoughts, much less having those thoughts. It also makes me wonder about the people who have such thoughts. Who exactly are these people praying to? They profess to be Christians, but do they really think the Christian God is happy with thoughts like that?
171009I know I am transitioning from middle age to old age because someone younger than me is calling me "young man."
171008As a kid my favorite color was grass green. As far as I know, that color could only be found in the massive, luxurious, 64-count box of Crayola crayons. That was a long time ago and I have no idea now what that shade was. It'd be nice to see it again, just to know what my favorite color used to be.
171007There's a unique boredom that goes with watching someone else drive the computer.
171006Gantt charts are one of the standard tools used in project management. As useful as they might be, I would have a couple basic issues using them. First off, Mrs. Gant was my 5th grade teacher and I'm not sure she was a particularly good teacher. Second, Gant was the villain from "Logan's World", and I would fear his charts were trying to kill me. I'm not seeing anything but negatives in using Gant charts.
171005I had an elementary school teacher who was quite impatient. If you weren't moving as fast as she wanted, in a nasty tone of voice she'd ask, "What are you waiting for, an engraved invitation?" It wasn't until high school graduation and prom season in 12th grade that I discovered an engraved invitation was not just a real thing, but a pretty respectable sort of invitation to receive.
171004Knock-knock jokes never work when told to introverts. The standard knock-knock/who's-there format mutates to:
(whispering) please go away, please go away.
171003Spam is having a bad effect on my vocabulary. When people annoy me, I've started to think of them as "fampersandck heads", "atsshats", and "fasteriskck faces".
171002When someone tells a question/answer joke, the response never involves any thought on the part of the jokee. The response is always, "What?"
171001Austria was an arch-duchy and not just merely a duchy because Austria was more playful than all the other duchies.
Grandfather of Dumb Joke Week
170930Q: Which of the Nine Realms invented "Wheel of Fortune"?
Grandfather of Dumb Joke Week
170929Firemen on steam engines had to be careful in the summer or they might succumb to heat stoke.
Grandfather of Dumb Joke Week
170928Q: What kind of drone instrument is the most painful to hear?
A: The Hurty-Gurdy
Grandfather of Dumb Joke Week
170927I went to see a modern production of "Hedda Gabler", but it was terrible, a real turkey.
Grandfather of Dumb Joke Week
170926Q: What's a cop's favorite type of tie?
A: A BOLO tie.
Grandfather of Dumb Joke Week
170625Did you hear about the masochistic sheep? It was a mutton for punishment.
Grandfather of Dumb Joke Week
170924I was a changeling baby. When I was three days old, the faeries came and took me away. They left behind a bundle of sticks. After a year and a day, the faeries brought me back. They said they couldn't stand me any longer and wanted to trade me back for their bundle of sticks.
170923The alimentary canal has two openings, and they have related uses and accoutrements. Consequently, toilet paper is the napkin for the butt.
170922Before getting married, especially before having kids, I was under the illusion that bathroom time was me time.
170921Jo buys eggs from a local egg farm, but I've never been there. The carton she recently got has a label on the side: SELL BY OCTO. The only thing that could possibly mean is that the egg shop uses octopuses to sell their eggs. That sounds pretty cool, and I'm wondering why Jo has never shared that the egg shop is staffed with octopuses.
170921September 21st is the start of Spaghetti Season.
170920I hear people talking about being so far behind that they never know how they'll catch up. I think it's time for those people to borrow a concept from the banking industry and declare temporal bankruptcy. Previous obligations would no longer be putting pressure on current time, thus relieving the stress and constraints that so negatively affect the temporally bankrupt. The temporally bankrupt would be able to start their clocks over from zero.
170919Everyone knows that Picard was a fanatic for Earl Grey tea, but not so Kirk. Kirk liked his tea the way he liked his Orion woman -- green and loose.
170918Some people consider time to be the fourth dimension. However, this isn't really true. The fourth dimension is the fourth wall between the three dimensions in which we live and the audience that's tuned in and watching us.
170917Ah, Fall, it's a lovely time of year! It's also the time when walking down the driveway you worry about getting bonked on the head by acorns. The acorns themselves are quite delightful. They seize control of your feet and compel you to kick them down the drive. The bouncing acorns mesmerize with the irregular, chaotic bounce paths they take, as we help scatter acorns hither and yon. We are the sowers; squirrels are the planters. We might not consume acorns ourselves, nor plant them to grow new trees, but oak trees have quietly induced us to participate in their lifecycle.
170916I have a new, reliable method of gauging how good or bad the weather is. It has undergone extensive testing (a whopping three test cases!) and it works well with all tests. I call this weather gauge Wayne's Heat Index of Misery. You take the temperature and the humidity as regular numbers and add them together. The higher the total, the more miserable it is. 90 degrees and 95% humidity gives you a WHIM of 185 -- pretty awful. 60 degrees and 25% humidity gives you a 85 WHIM -- pretty darn good. 80 degrees and 20% humidity gives a 100 WHIM -- fairly pleasant. I fully expect the weather world to adopt my WHIM any day now.
170915It's not a competition as long as I win.
170914After learning about the Butterfly Effect, as described in Chaos Theory, China has enlisted an army of butterflies and is ready to deploy them against their enemies in future meteorological engagements.
170913Whoever named the bone in the elbow really missed a great opportunity. It should have been called the elbowne. Also, hamstrings should have been called hamsters.
170912Hummingbirds are flower vampires.
170911I don't follow American Ninja Warrior, but I've seen bits and pieces. I must have only seen a minimal amount though, because I've only ever seen the acrobatic stuff. I've never seen the contestants fighting and killing each other. Also, with all the hype and lights, I'm not quite sure how ninja-esque they really are.
170910Pneumothorax is when you get too much air in your chest resulting in a collapsed lung. Nemothorax is when you get a clownfish or a submarine stuck in your chest.
170909If you aren't manspreading are you really mansplaining or are you just being a regular jerk?
170908In the physical therapy for my shoulder surgery, I have a set of exercises that use a stick to help move the arm. These exercises, according to the therapy sheets, are called the wand exercises. Whenever I see this term, I have visions of Hogwarts and duelling practice. I then cringe as my imaginary duelling partner yells, "Expelliarmus!" at me, and my injured shoulder explodes and my arm goes flying off.
170907It has baffled me for years why people are so easily taken in by cads and conmen. Logic has recently shown me the light. Due to their dishonourable behavior, these bounders are considered to be unsavoury characters. From food science, I know that savoury and sweet are opposite characteristics. If something is not savoury, then it must be sweet. Thus, cads and conmen must have sweet dispositions, which leads people to give them their trust.
170906I know that pig hearts are used for transplant organs. I expect other pig bits might be possibilities for transplants as well. I wonder how many pig pieces you have to be transplanted with before you are considered bacon.
170905I just watched an almost empty toilet-paper roll spontaneously unspool itself onto the floor. I didn't wonder how; obviously, it was caused by gravity. Then I started questioning my knee-jerk reaction to automatically accept the cause preached by science "experts." Why did I think something mystical and arcane like gravity would unspool a roll of toilet paper? Using the modern incarnation of Occam's Razor -- youtube -- I found a much more reasonable, easily understandable, and believable explanation. Whenever a toilet-paper roll appears to spontaneously unroll itself, you can rest assured that it actually was caused by an invisible cat.
170904A "spontaneous" gathering of pipers dressed traditionally in kilts gives new meaning to the term flash mob.
170903Great minds taste alike.
170902Binge-watching old seasons of Arrow, I'm wondering why everyone wants to destroy Starling City. It seems everyone wants to kill the city and its inhabitants. The entire city must have been built on the proverbial ancient indian burial ground.
170901Earthquakes are just the results of Mother Nature trying to repair her faults.
170831Forests look deeper, denser, more lush after it rains. This happens because the leaves and tree bark are wet and slippery, allowing your vision to slide well past its normal range.
170830Thinking about hyperbole, it's a strange kind of word. It's a noun, but it doesn't usually stand alone as a subject. If it isn't the object in the sentence, then it's used like "an instance of hyperbole". Hyperboles are boring when used conventionally; unusual use is what makes them interesting. "Three instances of hyperbole walked into a bar." Meh, happens every day. "Three hyperboles walked into a bar." Now that grabs your attention. Something interesting, something earth-shattering, is going to happen when three hyperboles walk into a bar.
170829Animal-documentary makers show they're serious journalists by showing their subjects being injured or dying.
170828Words We Need #5: These words should be well-defined and in widespread use: snackered, yelcome, backgrack, snaxophone, flobk, manifestering, dramastically, resplection, ribble, opportility
170827Competition-based TV shows (such as America's Gots Some Talents, The Bach'ing Life, the Olympics, Murrrikin Idlers) started off being about the talent or physical ability specific to each show. As time has passed, the heart-wrenching emotional journeys undertaken by each competitor have become more and more important. Before long, the talents, skills, and abilities will be irrelevant; the competitions will be based solely on whose story is the most compelling.
170826May your fortune be so good that you can grow lemon trees in your kitchen sink.
170825In the 1800s, the cigars smoked by western settlers were called conestogies.
170824Dark matter is a hypothetical type of matter distinct from ordinary matter. Dark matter has never been directly observed; however, its existence would explain a number of otherwise puzzling astronomical observations. Scientists have all sorts of complicated math and hypotheses about dark matter, but they're thinking too hard about it. So many mysteries are cleared up when you realize that dark matter is the sciency name for magic.
170823There is a strange symbiosis between bowls and apples. When uncut apples are placed in a bowl, the apples are incapable of going bad -- no matter how long they're kept in the bowl. The bowl benefits in that, no matter how plain or ugly the bowl actually is, it becomes an attractive piece of subordinate decoration -- but only as long as it contains a passel of apples. Bowls and apples are okay on their own, but really come into their true power when combined.
170822People who want to lie to you are fond of saying, "The numbers don't lie." That ignores the fact that there's an entire branch of mathematics designed to lie. It's called statistics.
170821Fruits and nuts are just rocks grown by trees.
170820It's hard to take seriously an "Excuse me" that follows a deep, soul-nourishing belch.
170819You can't control a wayward lemon when the ramblin's come upon it.
170818Middle Earth would have had a lot fewer kerfuffles if Sauron had been hugged more often as a child.
Literature Week 4
170817Tauriel might not have been in the book "The Hobbit", but she should have been.
Literature Week 4
170816When Victor Hugo was writing Les Misérables, he had cold coffee and raw eggs for breakfast. With that kind of a start to his day, it's no wonder Jean Valjean and Javert were such effervescent bundles of joy.
Literature Week 4
170815The introduction to the Poetic Edda I'm reading says that Vikings thought destiny was unchangable. The gods knew they'd die during Ragnarok. They didn't like it, but that's just the way things would be. Loki was pretty widely disliked by the gods. While it's true he did things to annoy or insult the gods, maybe the real reason the gods hated Loki was that he didn't believe that destiny was unchangeable and he actively tried to change his intended destiny.
Literature Week 4
170814At heart, Pride and Prejudice is really a book about retirement plans and accounting.
Literature Week 4
170813After the final Game of Thrones book, I suspect that Daenarys is going to live well into her 80's or 90's. When courtiers come to her with unwelcome advice and requests, even at that age she will preface her responses with, "I am only a young girl..."
Literature Week 4
170812Everyone knows Gryffindor was the house for heroes and Ravenclaw was the house for brainy, researchy nerds. With all the research Harry Potter and friends needed, especially when trying to find the horcruxes, I wonder why they never bothered to make friends with some Ravenclaws and get them to help with the required research. Things might have gone a bit easier in the long run.
Literature Week 4
170811DARPA scientists extended the work with sharks into developing specialized pig commandos. The Navy now has a highly trained elite unit comprised of super-intelligent pigs, called Squeal Team 6.
170810The countries of Europe and the US work together through NATO to protect against Russian military threats. Recent research in animal intelligence has allowed NATO to move past the previous crude efforts of mine-planting by dolphins. The latest work has resulted in an autonymous naval force. The seas are now protected by Shark NATO.
170809I miss the shifting of slumbering feet in the night.
170808With these metal surgical staples poking out of my shoulder, I'm pretending I'm a cyborg.
170807I have a suspicion that Humpty Dumpty was a victim of the king's culinary desires. I think that the king found Humpty much too tempting -- here was this giant egg; he had to be delicious! The king had someone coerce Humpty into climbing that wall and then push him off. Once Humpty's shell cracked, all the king's horses and all the king's men had no recourse but to cart Humpty's remains off to the royal kitchen, where he was used as the basis for cakes and omelets and egg salad and all manner of other egg-based dishes.
Food Week 7
170806Cake charts are the three-dimensional equivalent of pie charts.
Food Week 7
170805Q: What is a lawyer's favorite dessert?
A: A tort.
Food Week 7
170804Eating with your hands, as opposed to using utensils, is widely considered to be barbaric. I think it's the best way to eat, though, as it allows you to establish that critical personal connection with your food. Without that connection, you just have fuel. With that connection, you have sustenance.
Food Week 7
170803White wheat bread is like raisins in cookies or carob for chocolate. No matter what They say, it is not the same and is closer to an abomination than to real food.
Food Week 7
170802I deposited several bags of flour in a food bank. When I went back they handed me two loaves of bread and a cake.
Food Week 7
170801Cakes are usually rectangular or round. Square cakes are almost always one story; round cakes are almost always multistory. Why is this? Why is there this correlation between these shapes and levels? Why not other shapes? An oval or triangular cake would be cool. A multilevel rectangular cake would be nice. A single-story round cake would be... Well, it'd be a disappointment, but it could be done.
Food Week 7
170731If I'd had my druthers, getting a chest tube is definitely something I'd put on the post-bucket list.
170730Pressure-treated is another way of saying chemical-soaked.
170729If the work tools used by the Grim Reaper and the Devil are any indication, then afterlife workers must have hella great upper-body strength.
170728A dirty dish's "soak time" is an indeterminate length of time that depends on several non-concrete times. Soak time sits between my wife's Upper Limit of Tolerance of Sink Clutter and her Lower Limit of Seething Impatience, and these times require careful management. When her Upper Limit of Tolerance of Sink Clutter has been exceeded, there's a good chance she'll wash the dish herself and I won't have to. However, if the Lower Limit of Seething Impatience is reached, then rather than avoiding having to wash a dirty dish, I will instead be the object of the Ire of Jo -- ire which is well-deserved since I'd been acting like a lazy slugbutt.
170727Do I have imaginary friends or am I their imaginary friend?
170726It's been weird preparing for this shoulder surgery. With the mandatory six-week immobilization of my left arm, there are a bunch of things I won't be able to do for those six weeks, so I've been thinking of them as The Last Times. I just flossed my teeth For The Last Time. I just tied my shoes For The Last Time. I just played pipes For The Last Time. They sound much more ominous and final than they really are.
170725I have wondered if I am a funny musician or a musical comic, and I never quite figured it out. I was talking with one of my musical idols a few weeks ago and I think I got my answer to that question. He told me that I'm a "funny, funny man". That compliment thrilled me to no end, and was one of the best I've gotten in a while. This told me that I am almost certainly a musical comic.
170724Since the 1940's, time-travel speculation has been about going back and killing Hitler. Should it be done? When should it be done? Should it be his parents instead? I wonder who the default target would have been in the 1840's, or the 1440's, or the 1940's BC. More interestingly, I wonder who the default target of hypothetical time-travel assassination will be in another 50 or 100 years. Will Hitler still even make the list, or will he have been replaced by someone whose crimes were even more egregious?
170723Some Creationists say that dinosaurs didn't exist, and that "dinosaur bones" are really the bones of the giants mentioned in Genesis. Maybe there's something to that. Maybe they're right about dinosaur bones being giant bones, but wrong about dinosaurs never having existed. Maybe the giants mentioned in Genesis were really dinosaurs.
170722I want to go to some big touristy locations. Like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Eiffel Tower, or Stonehenge, or the Pencil in Washington, DC. Then I want to do the trite "holding up the building" poses, except that I don't want to have the big attraction in the background. Instead, I want to have open air, or a dumpster, or a generic apartment building behind me. I want to see how many people I can con into trying to pose with the same "landmark" I am.
170721Everyone should do things my way because my way is clearly the best -- the most efficient, the most elegant solutions. The best in many other ways, as well. The problem, however, with having everyone do things my way is that if it doesn't actually work then I'm the one that will be blamed.
170720Thanks to the eminent historian Sir Mix-A-Lot and his seminal treatise "Baby Got Back", we can unequivocally conclude that Martha Washington had a large rear end. ("Baby Got Back" provides logical proof that those who cannot tell lies are a subset of those who like big butts.)
170719The real reason Voldemort lost is that feckless, disrespectful way he held his wands.
170718We should replace money with monkeys. That way we'd be carrying spending monkeys, cash monkeys, and walking-around monkeys. A fool and his monkey would soon be parted. I could give you a run for your monkey, a license to print monkeys, or folding monkeys. You wouldn't do something for love or monkeys, and I wouldn't be made of monkeys. Going on a blind date, you'd be well advised to bring along some mad monkeys, but eventualy you could also marry someone for their monkeys. If you had monkeys to burn, you might buy a monkey pit. With monkeys, Monopoly might actually be fun. If you were rich, you'd be rolling in monkeys, you could throw monkeys around, but sometime you might have to put your monkeys where your mouth is. If you were really rich, you'd have more monkeys than God. Also, never forget that time is monkeys.
170717Growing up, math classes convinced me that life was going to be filled with word problems and cosines and irrational numbers and that life would be much harder than it actually is.
170716Back before barns were developed as separate, free-standing structures, barn owls were known as yurt owls. Before that, they were known as tent owls. Before tents, they were known as cave owls. They were much, much bigger in those days, and they had sloping foreheads, heavy brow ridges, and carried clubs.
170715Paraphrasing Isaac Newton, "If I have seen turnips, it is by standing on the shoulders of giant ants."
170714Since Kindles share highlighted passages among all readers of a book, I find it tempting to highlight random quotes, just to get people to wonder what's so special about a particular section.
170713Alcohol is considered an adult beverage because it has to be aged to be any good.
170712The only thing keeping me from starting a wildly successful career as a bluesman is deciding on my blues name. I've gotten it down to a choice of two. I want to be known as either Howling Squirrel or Squirmin' Turnip.
170711Q: What nuts are always drunk and angry?
Cousin of Dumb Joke Week
170710Q: Why do librarians always have large chests?
A: They spend all their time in the stacks.
Cousin of Dumb Joke Week
170709Q: What type of hardware always arrives at the work site later than anyone else?
A: The lag bolts.
Cousin of Dumb Joke Week
170708Q: What monkeys are best for propping up sagging doors?
Cousin of Dumb Joke Week
170707Did you hear about the castle that couldn't stop cussing? It had Turrets Syndrome.
Cousin of Dumb Joke Week
170706The firemen on a steam engine had all sorts of ways to shovel coal. The most popular methods were the breast stoke, the butterfly stoke, and the back stoke.
Cousin of Dumb Joke Week
170705Q: What is a mohel's favorite vegetable?
Cousin of Dumb Joke Week
170704NASA has had at least one active robot on Mars for the past 20 years, with no complaints or eviction notices. By squatter's rights, this means that Mars belongs to NASA.
170703I play the pipes to instill fear in the hearts of my enemies, in hopes that they'll run away so I won't have to.
170702It would be really cool to learn to play the didgeridoo. In addition to playing cool didg music, I'd have to learn circular breathing and that would allow me to blow endless raspberries.
170701I conflate the lyrics to "Swanee River" and "Home on the Range". Every time I hear the "Swanee River" tune, I want to sing the line, "Down where the old folks play."
170630Abraham Lincoln said, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." I dislike this for two reasons. First, following it is implicitly deceptive. You're trying to fool people into believing something false about yourself, rather than admitting to a lack of knowledge or thinking. Second, it can be a whole lot of fun to act the fool and say goofy things.
170629A TV channel is a unique location in the electromagnetic spectrum, distinct and discrete from other channels. By its nature, a TV channel is always moving ahead linearly. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle states that it is impossible to accurately determine the direction and speed of a particle and its location at any particular moment. Combining these apparently disparate concepts, it becomes clear that Batman's true superpower is to do the impossible by violating Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. This is shown by his catch-phrase "Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel."
Comic-book Week 3
170628Would having a Superman help or hurt the inherent daring of humanity? If he's always available to rescue people from derring-do-gone-bad, then people might be spurred to do more and more dangerous things. However, the opposite might happen. If Superman is always available to rescue the daredevils, the risk-takers might decide there's no point in attempting dangerous stunts and just stop trying.
Comic-book Week 3
170627Superman is essentially invulnerable on Earth. He can't be hurt; he's impervious to bullets, bombs, knives. He doesn't feel pain, either. If his nerves aren't transmitting the pain sensation to his brain then the nerves undoubtedly aren't transmitting other such stimuli. That would mean that surely he isn't able to taste anything either. Imagine how awkward his masking this must be. "Lois, this is a delicious crab imperial you made." "Clark, that's car wax you're eating. What's wrong with you?"
Comic-book Week 3
170626If the power beams Cyclops shoots from his eyes could blast open tanks and buildings, why didn't they destroy the glasses on his face? At the least, they should have been blown off his face.
Comic-book Week 3
170625I wonder what will happen when Bruce Banner develops hypertension.
Comic-book Week 3
170624When Neil Gaiman is working on a graphic novel, he should have it lettered with Comic Sans.
Comic-book Week 3
170623Before they took a positive-thinking class, Batman and Robin were known as the Dynamic Don't-o.
Comic-book Week 3
170622Here's an interesting thought experiment. If one of the states disappeared -- California split off and sank into the sea, aliens came and slurped up the entirety of New Mexico, Montana disappeared into a massive subterranean volcano -- how would the government be affected? How long would it take the senators and congressmen to be shunted out of Congress? If the president or vice president was a resident of the vanished state, would they be removed from office? How quickly would Congress' seat allocations be recalculated? Or even whether the majority party would shift.
170621As the Balrog falls from the Bridge of Khazad-Dum, Gandalf is dangling over the precipice. He thinks he's safe and is trying to climb up to escape Moria. At the last second, the Balrog's whip snaps around Gandalf, and pulls him down into the depths. That feeling of inevitable doom you see in Gandalf's eyes is the same feeling you get when you plug your electronics back in after a thunderstorm has passed, and one final lightning strike fries your computer.
170620I want to open a bar that has a bunch of those mechanical bull-riding machines that Western bars have. However, my bar won't have those boring mechanical bulls that look like hunks of metal, or slightly less boring ones that look like legless bulls. My bar's mechanical bulls are going to be much spiffier than that. They'll look like T-Rexes and velociraptors and dragons and cobras and unicorns and great white sharks and other cool animals. Mid-ride, my mechanical critters will even breathe fire, whether or not it makes sense for that critter.
170619I have a great idea for a product for introverts. It's similar to the ankle monitors that must be worn by people on house arrest. However, it has a beep or signal that is controllable by the wearer's mobile. You strap it on before going out with people you can't avoid. If you don't want to go somewhere in particular, or you get tired of hanging out with certain people, or you're in an uncomfortable situation, then you just surreptitiously trigger the fake ankle monitor and you can get away from whatever unpleasantness you want to avoid.
170618I have stopped saying, "The pleasure is all mine" because it isn't nice to brag.
170617In "Wonder Woman", Diana was tremendously heroic -- she fought to protect the helpless and save people, she was fearless, she didn't hesitate to enter battle. Her courage and strength towered, and were worthy of admiration. However, the movie had another hero, one who was understated and easily overlooked. While Diana acted exactly as she had been trained, Etta (Steve Trevor's assistant) acted with remarkable bravery outside the realm of her normal world and experience. In order to protect her friends, Etta faced down a deadly enemy agent with a sword as her only weapon. With no training in fieldwork, let alone sword use, Etta put herself in grave danger in order to protect her people. This example of courage and bravery showed that Etta was exhibiting the very same ideals Diana embodied. Etta, too, should bear the title of Wonder Woman.
170616In the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie, the Guardians are able to save the day because they band together to control the Power Stone. It would have ripped apart any of them individually, and it was in the process of doing so when the Guardians started working together to control the stone. Except that that's not quite how it worked. It was ripping apart Peter Quill, Gamora, and Drax as they tried to contain the stone's power. It wasn't until Rocket joined them that the Power Stone was mastered and the others stopped being shredded. Rocket, a mere raccoon, is the true Guardian of the Galaxy, and it is questionable whether he needed the others to contain the full force of the Power Stone.
170615My favorite part of learning a new language is learning to subjugate verbs -- forcing them to do what I want them to do.
170614I have found that I have a hard time hearing Jo if she is speaking while I am also hearing water flowing (from a faucet, in a stream, in ocean waves). Jo's mellifluous voice blends so well with the beauty of the water music that the two become indistinguishable. I realized why this happens, and I should not be surprised. Since Jo is in reality a mermaid, it is only natural that the singing of the water matches and blends with her voice in such lovely harmonies.
170613When Life hands you lemons, you don't waste time making lemonade. You get worried and watch your back, wondering why the personification of a force of nature has selected you as the one to hand some random fruit.
170612There is a group of elements (such as gold, silver, iridium, and platinum) that are known as the Noble Metals. You'd never know it from their behavior, though. Unlike the Noble Gasses, the Noble Metals don't live up to their name, and are boorish and crass and pick their noses in public.
170611I grew up watching movies with Ray Harryhausen's excellent stop-motion effects. In addition to the cool effects, his movies taught me several important lessons. First off, after you die and your flesh evaporates, you turn into an animated skeleton. Second, someone's going to give your skeleton a sword and put you to work. Third, no matter how clumsy you were in real life, you're going to be an expert swords-skeleton.
170610Speech bubbles are the cartoon version of quotation marks.
170609I get a lot of spam, one subset of which is for the anti-ED drug Levitra. Every time I see that in the subject line, I think of the levitation spell from Harry Potter -- Wingardium Leviosa. I then mentally convert the spell to Wingardium Levitra, which must be a spell for levitating malfunctioning body parts.
170608James Comey and I testified before Congress today. The media were all over his testimony, but no one paid attention to mine. I guess there's a difference between appearing before Congress geographically and appearing before Congress chronologically.
170607Tufted Deer are the archetypal example of overlooking the obvious. Whoever named them looked at them and thought, "Hey, these deer have a tuft of hair on their head, I'll call them Tufted Deer." Any moderately observant person would look at them and say, "It's got fangs! Them are Vampire Deer!"
170606I feel sorry for Death. Since It is bound by the Celebrity Death Rule of Three, every time two celebrities die, people start trying to shoe-horn a third (usually minor) celebrity in as being the third member of the triad. Then people start fighting over who the third one actually is. "It can't be him, he's not as big a celebrity as she is." "You're nuts! Neither of them is as popular as this guy." Death ends up getting a bad rap and lots of cursing because one person's celebrity is another person's non-entity.
170605Thanks to the fossil record, we know that the Tyrannosaurus Rex was a huge, giant predator. Oddly enough, though, they had short stubby little arms. Their arms were so short that the T-Rexes couldn't even scratch their chins, let alone bring food to their mouths. Just to survive, the T-Rexes would have to grovel around with their faces splopped down on top of their food. Paleontologists have puzzled over the mystery of how a successful bipedal predator could really be successful with such short little arms. Paleontologists are clearly dopes and haven't been looking at the T-Rex from the proper perspective. The fossil record doesn't show long arms on the T-Rex because they didn't have arms at all. By looking at T-Rexes from the Lovecraftian perspective, paleontologists would have known that what they thought were T-Rex arms were actually the armature over which tentacles were attached to the T-Rex bodies. The tentacles, being only flesh and muscle, were not preserved in the fossil record. The T-Rex was even more terrifying than had been thought; along with all those big teeth and all those immense muscles, T-Rexes had long powerful tentacles. Thank the heavens for The Comet, because that's what saved the weak, puny humans from the teeth and tentacles of the terrible T-Rex.
170604Here's a new term for you: Big Shart - A person who thinks they are yugely more important than they actually are.
170603Many people in the UK have the perception that only the nobility go hunting. Interestingly, the reverse is true in the US where many people have the perception that the lower classes are the ones who hunt.
170602People think that fidget spinners are a new fad. Truth is, they've been around for thousands of years. The current fidget spinners are just the latest incarnation of the original fidget spinner, which was used as a hunting tool by the indigenous people in Australia. The original fidget spinners were boomerangs.
170601I've heard gym described as institutionalized torture. (Gym in public school, that is.) I pretty much agree with that and I mostly hated gym. However, there was a single wonderful day in elementary school when gym was amazing. On that single magical day of gym, it was a rain day and we stayed in the cafeteria and played some games with a parachute. I have no idea what the games were, just that this one time, gym was fun. It gave me hope for the future, hope which was perpetually disappointed, since we never saw that parachute ever again.
170531For some reason, whenever I see pelicans peacefully flying over the ocean, I always think of them turning into vicious dinosaurs and coming back to eat me.
170530Every culture throughout history has had some form of zombie myth. The ubiquity of this myth can't be an accident. I think that far from being an unusual occurance, zombies are the norm -- when a person dies, they slowly change from being a corpse to being a zombie. This means that humans, like water, are three-state beings: living human, dead corpse, undead zombie. In these days of planetary overpopulation, I think the reason we are not overrun with zombies is that our modern embalming processes prevent the zombie state from taking hold of a corpse.
170529Jonah and Moses had lots of excuses why they didn't do things they were supposed to do. This means there is Biblical precedent for my own justifications and avoidance of responsibility.
170528I woke up in the middle of the night with the phrase "Catsmaid of Denial" running through my head. Exactly that phrase -- spelling, lack of punctuation, capitalization just like that. There was no context, just the phrase. After getting back to sleep, that phrase kept running through my dreams and thoughts, until I woke up with it still there. I have no idea what it means, but I find it compelling. Catsmaid of Denial
170527It's been over 30 years since Labyrinth was released. Even after all this time, whenever I hear the words "thunder" or "lightning", I always sing "Thunder and Lightning" to myself.
170526I've heard the Scots complain about midges, and rightfully so since midges are quite a bitey nuisance. I have not heard the English complain about them though. During midge season, I think that midges must therefore define the true border between Scotland and England. If you are suffering from midges you're in Scotland; if midges aren't a concern then you're in England.
170525While fishing one day, I mistakenly thought I saw a whale but it was just a fluke.
170524We have progressed through the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, various other Ages, and now we're in the Information Age. These ages are all important, and as a Computer Scientist, I'm quite happy for the Information Age. However, I think that this self-anointed age is not the one for which we'll be remembered by history. I think we will be remembered as living in the start of the Geneva Age -- the time when the Geneva Conventions governed how war is fought and how civilians are treated by armies. This is just as radically different from what came before as iron was from stone. Even though I had nothing to do with the dawn of the Geneva Age, it is a legacy I am honored to be part of, and an Age which I hope carries forward forever.
170623In the old days, there was great satisfaction to be had in slamming a phone back in its cradle. It really expressed the frustration and anger that sometimes arose during phone calls. You just can't get that same sense of satisfaction and release with cell phones when you poke a button to hang up. Cell phones need to have an alternate hang-up button that sends out the sound of the phone whacking into the cradle just before the call is disconnected. There would still be the missing sense of satisfaction, but you would get the point across to the person you're talking to. Maybe instead of an alternate button, the phone needs to sense when you've thrown it into a pillow or the wall, and then use the harsh hang-up sound.
170622As the saying goes, a tiger doesn't lose sleep over the opinion of sheep. However, tigers put high value on the opinions of river otters and wrens, and will travel far to consult with them.
170621I grew up watching Warner Bros. cartoons. Bugs Bunny was one of my early heroes. From these cartoons, I learned desert physics, Whitehall farces, sarcasm, timing, and many other highly important life lessons. One thing I thought was really cool in those cartoons was Acme Corp. You want a giant kite, they've got one. You want an anvil -- heck, you want 20 anvils -- and they've got 'em. It seemed like you could order anything and everything you might possibly want from Acme, and it'd be delivered to you very quickly. The truck would pull up, the box would magically appear beside it, and the truck would roar off. It was almost as if the truck had no driver, it was a drone truck. I think that Acme Corp. was the cartoon world's equivalent of (and probably inspiration for) the real world's Amazon.
170620The word for burial is "interment", not "internment". Interment is for corpses; internment is for zombies.
170519They say Revenge is a dish best served cold. On the other hand, Hope is a dish that warms the insides, and comes in a wide array of flavors and spices, enough to serve the palates of all.
170518My local fire department held a bull roast, but it was a failure. No matter how good the jokes were the bull just chewed his cud and didn't even crack a smile.
170517Whenever I play an outdoor festival in cold weather I rub my hands together so much that I feel like a mad scientist.
170516Papa Bear and Mama Bear from "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" were inventors. Their big invention was the two-person, two-sided inflatable mattress. Each had their side of the mattress inflated to different levels, which is why Papa Bear's bed was too hard and Mama Bear's bed was too soft. The Bears lived a simple life in the forest, and had little money for extravagances because they never made money on their invention. The Bears did not understand how to bring their brilliant invention to market. And also because they were bears.
170515Our world is the claw-machine game for extra-dimensional creatures. Our lost car keys and missing socks are the prizes these E-D creatures are picking up with the claw.
170514When the morning alarm goes off, I invariably hit the snooze button several times before blearily dragging myself out of bed. I'm not sure I need the snooze alarm; I think I always know when I want to actually get up, and I set my alarm for several snooze cycles earlier. This has two largely psychological, yet very important, purposes. In times of feeling like life is spinning into chaos, this pre-setting of my alarm allows me a small modicum of control. At least, the sense of being in control. In addition, it lets me feel like I am shaking my fist at the universe, drawing power by defying Chronos and his ever-tightening grasp around my throat.
170613If you've gotta get out of bed in the morning, it helps to be greeted by squirrels and catbirds and other friendly critters.
170512Dentists are trying to put one over on us. Most people have three meals a day, but dentists only tell us to brush twice a day. There are two reasons for this I can see, and both are related to dentist job security. First, maybe it really doesn't matter if we brush after every meal, dentists just want us to think we should -- or else we risk dental doom. Second, if we're only brushing after two of three meals then we're leaving our teeth vulnerable to cavities after one of our meals. Either way we're keeping dentists in work.
170511It's really cool that whistles are their own capo. Instrument and capo, all wrapped up in one tidy, indivisible package.
170510Many mythologies have a concept of Norns, or Fates. These Norns determine the course of being, or fate, of people and the world. The Norns are often three women that represent the fundamentals of Past, Present, and Future. Also lurking in the background of reality are the Nouns. The Nouns weave their linguistic cloth, determining the fate of languages, and are three women representing the primal fundamentals of Person, Place, and Thing.
170509Loanwords are common in many languages -- for example, English adopted "twig" and "whisky" from Gaelic; Spanish adopted "cacao" and "guacamole" from Nahuatl. I have read that English and Gaelic have a number of loanwords from Old Norse. This has me worried. The Norse were not known for their genial and forgiving nature. It's been many hundreds of years since the Norse were around. I'm quite concerned that they're fed up with waiting for us to return the words they loaned us. I worry that the Old Norse are coming back for their loanwords, and when they get here they're going to be pissed.
170508My cousin is a geologist. For his birthday this year, I'm going to give him a bag of mica and graphite. That way I can give him a sack of schist, 'cause I'm such a gneiss guy.
170507When it comes to housing, if something seems too good to be true, there's an axe murderer hiding in the basement.
170506Every once in a while I think that maybe I should try pot, just to see what all the fuss is about. Then I see pot-smoking on TV or a movie and even if it isn't intended as a negative representation, it reminds me that I probably don't really want to try it.
170505The more of a rush you're in to get through a door, the more likely your brain is to convert "PULL" to "PUSH" and "PUSH" to "PULL". And this is only compounded if the monsters are after you.
170504Pockets are the opposable thumbs of clothing.
170503The best part of any talk show is when a zookeeper brings on some animals. The hosts invariably act like idiots, but the animals are always very, very cool. It'd be really cool if there was a zoo with mythological animals, and the keeper brought those animals to talk shows. A gryphon and a qilin here, a unicorn and a garuda there. These shows would be really amazing.
170502I got a tattoo that looks like a big fluffy dustball, but everyone tells me it looks stupid. I might have misunderstood something when I heard that tribble tattoos were all the rage.
170501When I was a kid and we went somewhere, my brothers always called shotgun, but I couldn't resist calling crossbow, or arquebus, or mangonel. I never got to sit up front.
170430Sometimes I see a flock of birds take off and a single bird flies off in a different direction. I always wonder what that one bird is up to.
170429Some people are eye candy, which is something I'll never be. I'm happy being mind candy.
170428Monty Python should do a musical wherein King Arthur helps develop the nascent government of the United States. They could call it Spamilton.
170427Q: What is a noisy dove's favorite kind of trousers?
Niece of Dumb Joke Week
170426A dipthong is what you wear so you aren't technically breaking any anti-skinnydipping laws.
Niece of Dumb Joke Week
170425I told a riddle to a cut-down tree, but it didn't get it. It was stumped.
Niece of Dumb Joke Week
170424Q: Why aren't there many professional ghosts?
A: Because when you're dead it's very hard to eeeeek! out a living.
Niece of Dumb Joke Week
170423A shampoo for religious people is now on the market. The directions say, "Lather, Rinse, Repent."
Niece of Dumb Joke Week
170422Q: Why is Tchotchke the Butcher always so tired?
A: Because he's knick-knackered.
(This joke came to me when I was asleep; which is why it's so dumb.)
Niece of Dumb Joke Week
170421Q: What's the gloomiest hat?
A: The somberero.
Niece of Dumb Joke Week
170420I have a great idea for a TV sitcom. It would be called Channel Surfers and would be about a nice, normal, nuclear family that got lost when they went on a road trip. However, they wouldn't get lost in a rural area or a big city they were visiting. Rather, they would take a wrong turn and get lost travelling from one TV show to another. One week the family might be involved in a murder mystery on "Law and Order", the next week the family would be competing in "America's Got Talent", the following week the family would be trying to escape with their lives from the White Walkers on "Game of Thrones" or "Duck Dynasty". Ultimately, each episode would be the family trying to get home, and trying to survive the latest migration into another show.
170419Any sufficiently advanced demo is indistinguishable from theater. (With apologies to Arthur C. Clarke)
170418If the White House has locks on the front doors, I wonder if the presidents are given keys. I wonder who else has keys. It must be really weird to know that a bunch of non-family people have keys to your house, especially if you don't yourself.
170417Cologne is the French word for "perfume we sell to men."
170416As a piper, it vexes me that the FAA wants to control my use of drones.
170415Our pillows are an excellent science demonstration. They start off the night nicely arranged, side by side, the edges gently touching. Come morning, the pillows are in chaos, strewn higgledy-piggledy about. One pillow is always lifted up, soaring high above the other and forming a mountain range of softness. The other is trying to crawl below the first, as if seeking to escape the morning light. The pillows provide a wonderful model of plate tectonics.
170414It's impossible to count to infinity because it keeps going on. The real trick is knowing that zero doesn't change value. You need to start at infinity and count down to zero.
170413"Good things happen to good people." I really hate that pronouncement. That implies two things, both offensive: Bad things happen to bad people, and bad things don't happen to good people. These imply things that would make life difficult to live. It requires that God (or Fate, or the Universe, or something) is watching our every move and keeping score and actively rewarding or punishing us, all with a scoring system we can't comprehend. Trying to analyze everything for its goodness or badness would crush us, both in terms of lost time and in moral weight. Things happen. Things happen to good people; things happen to bad people. Things happen.
170412The hawk soars high above the wind, diving and climbing on a whim. The flying squirrel glides gently between trees, avoiding the notice of nightly hunters. Whether reaching to the heights or skimming through a forest, each flies as suits their needs and revels in their flight.
170411People are inherently drawn to bridges. It doesn't matter whether it's a natural bridge or a man-made bridge, we are captivated by them. We want to cross a bridge to see where it leads. We want to cross a bridge to see what is on the other side. We want to cross a bridge to see who is on the other side. We are also compelled to stop in the middle of the bridge to look over the side, to see the wonders the bridge is taking us over. These competing, complementary compulsions are integral parts of our inherent humanity.
170410Dishwashers are engines of Eris. Much strife results in households as people fight, both passively and aggressively, over exactly how the dishwasher should be loaded. The strife and discord can lead to arguments, hostility, and animosity. In addition, dishwashers themselves shift around dishes on their own, so that even a nice, tidy loading job can become disordered and chaotic once the door shuts. Useful as they are, dishwashers must be treated with respect and detachment, lest they get their sudsy hooks of chaos embedded in your soul. (As a side note, "Engines of Eris" would make a great book title.)
170409I've found that a mic drop doesn't have quite the same impact if instead of a mic you use a TV remote.
170408It's a well-known truth that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. It isn't a definite, but it seems fair to assume that the right hand is also oblivious to its sinister companion. I wonder how far throughout the body this lack of knowledge extends. If the left hand feeds you a few cookies, can the right hand feed you a few more without incurring any additional weight gain? If you use your right hand to drink three beers, will subsequent beers drunk with the left hand make you twice as drunk or will the drunkenness tally start fresh? If your right hand gets stamped at a bar, will your left hand need to be carded and stamped separately?
170407It's funny how cutlery has come to represent both poshness and uncertainty. It's common knowledge among the hoi polloi that the rich and powerful have far more types of tableware than the common folk. Consequently, the common folk are at a loss as to what utensil to use if they were ever to dine with the upper crust. So, if you want to discombobulate someone, invite them to dinner and give them more forks, spoons, and knives than they really need. Leave them to make the first move and then choose differently yourself; they'll be unnerved and you can bend them to your will.
170406A lot of action movies feature highway fights, with people fighting on top of 18-wheelers and shooting between cars, all while driving at high speed down the highway. Invariably, the non-fight traffic continues on as normal, not bothering to clear a huge, combat-free zone around the fighting. In the past, there were almost certainly casualties from stray bullets and people trying to avoid the careening cars, trucks, and motorcycles. These days, the casualty count would be much, much worse. A huge number of people would be keeping pace with the combatants, trying to film the fight on their cellphones. The collateral damage from bystanders filming highway fights would be enormous.
170405TV has had an interesting effect on me. I was in the basement and found a round, lightweight, metal serving tray. I picked it up and had an almost overwhelming urge to whack someone on the head with it. It wasn't that I was particularly upset at anyone, but TV has taught me that metal serving trays are good for carrying things and whacking people, and I didn't have anything to carry.
170404There's an advertising trend where companies -- particularly drug and insurance companies -- have high-quality animated mascots in their adverts. I have a theory that there's a direct relationship between the quality of a company's animated mascot and how much the company is overcharging for their products.
170403I've decided I've got to live a life of danger, peril, and excitement. I've decided to throw out the five-second rule and instead use the 20-second rule.
170402You gotta have a map. Nothing of importance was ever done without a map. Nothing.
170401There's no such thing as a dumb Thought, just dumb Thinkers.
170331There are plenty of times my mouth needs a warning label. In particular, the warning label should read "Do not operate while under the influence of anything".
170330Some knives are good for cutting, some knives are good for poking, and some knives are good for spreading.
170329Mason jars were developed as a very safe way to store food. Originally, they could only be opened if you knew the secret handshake. Since only Masons knew the handshake, Masons didn't have to worry about anyone taking their food.
170328I always enjoyed reading the Greek myths. The stories are exciting, and the heroes always wonderfully heroic. Whenever a hero saves the damsel and kills the monster, there's a sublime feeling; when the monster kills the hero, the sense of doom is palpable. In other words, the Greek myths give the thrill of victory and Theogony of defeat.
170327Birders aren't supposed to use bird calls to attract birds. However, hunters can and do use bird calls and lures when hunting. This hardly seems fair since birders just want to see the birds, while hunters want to kill the birds.
170326I've only seen the first season, but I'm starting to suspect that Outlander isn't quite the same as Highlander.
170325I've seen a lot of sales recently that are advertised as BOGO sales -- Buy One, Get One. That doesn't seem to be much of a sale to me; I've always just called that shopping.
170324I've been thinking about the GIF vs. JIF debate. I think that, ultimately, it's a pointless argument -- people will use what they want. For me, though, I've decided that if I want a sandwich I'll use JIF and if I want a digital picture I'll use GIF.
170323I've been in quite a few restaurants that have a sign up in the bathroom that says, "Employees Must Wash Hands". Despite this unequivocal mandate, none of the employees in any of these restaurants has been willing, much less available, to wash my hands for me.
170322The secret of time travel was discovered between 2098-2112. Due to the nature of time travel, several impeccably documented competing claims have been made as to the real inventor. The monetary value, not to mention the research value, will keep lawyers in business for years to come. Historical research has been the reason for many trips to the past, with every country and region having their own local preferred destinations. However, none have been of such wide, universal interest as trips to the Mesozoic Era -- the time of the dinosaurs. Time travel was very expensive, so scientists required lots of external funding for their work. Much of this monetary burden was offset by the time-travel companies themselves, who funded research trips with tourism. Dino-trips, as expensive as they were, provided a huge revenue stream. Nothing provided quite the influx of money as did hunting trips. Even a bayou gator-hunter would save the thousands and thousands of dollars to make a trip to bag a spinosaurus, a deinonychus, or a troodon -- or, if one were incredibly lucky -- a Rex. Specialized restaurants sprung up that only served dino-meat. A small, but noticeable, dent was made in the dinosaur numbers. As time passed, time-travel technology improved and costs decreased. It was discovered that dino-organs and dino-meat were much, much healthier than beef, poultry, pork, fish, or any other meats available in the current times. Grocery stores started importing dinosaur meat and parts, as dinosaur became food for not just the rich. Eventually, harvesting dinosaurs and transport of dinosaur products far outweighed the other uses of time travel. Certainly, historical research and tourism to other parts of history existed, but nothing like that done for the dinosaur trade. Many theories have been advanced for why dinosaurs went extinct. Massive meteor strikes were long the leading candidate, though that proved to be as wrong as all the others. Dinosaurs went extinct due to predation from the future.
170321We just recently got a set of "meat claws" to use in the job of shredding meat. I keep telling Jo that I want her to throw things to me while I use the meat claws to grab the things in mid-flight. She keeps refusing, supposedly because she doesn't want me to destroy boxes of tea, or books, or shoes. She also refuses to throw raw meat at me and let me grab it mid-flight, she says because she doesn't want blood or grease being scattered around the room. I have a feeling her refusal isn't so much a matter of practicality and non-destruction, as it is that she knows I'm likely to rip my arms open with the meat claws.
170320Despite decades of DEA propaganda, cilantro is the true devil's weed.
Food Week 6
170319Beach fudge shops rarely have good fudge. It isn't bad fudge, but it is pretty easy to make fudge that's better than beach fudge shop fudge. Despite this, I am enamored of the idea of a shop specializing in fudge, let alone a town with a whole bunch of shops specializing in fudge. This means that I'm happy to support this idea and buy beach fudge shop fudge even though the fudge isn't fantastic.
Food Week 6
170318Hummus is really just a chickpea smoothie.
Food Week 6
170317Salads with a meal (as opposed to salads as a meal) are kind of weird things. You've got your main dish, you've got one or two side veggies, you might have some bread. Wait! That's not enough food! Here's a plate full of MORE VEGGIES! Not only that, but we won't cook those veggies and we'll slather them with flavored liquid fat!
Food Week 6
170316In "Fellowship of the Ring", Pippin talks about Second Breakfast. There are days that I think about that comment and my feelings are, "Just two? Amateur."
Food Week 6
170315Meat is animal muscle. Barbeque is made from meat. Pork barbeque is made from pork meat. Pulled pork barbeque is barbeque made from a pulled muscle. Pulled pork barbeque is therefore made from a pulled ham-string.
Food Week 6
170314Pie is another word for fruit sandwich.
Food Week 6
170313For some odd reason, pie and cake are the only two desserts that are used to humiliate people. You never see anyone get cookies in the face, you never see someone smash a bowl of ice cream in another's face, pranksters never whack a handful of pudding or jello into someone's face. It's always a pie in the face or cake smashed in the face. Pies-in-the-face are often used at fundraisers, or at company picnics to take the boss down a peg. But not cake. There is something special about cake. The only time you see cake-in-the-face is at wedding receptions. A bride and a groom, two people who have publicly declared their love and their intention to spend their lives together, will lovingly smash food in each other's face. They don't use pie, they don't use crab puffs, they don't use steamed shrimp habanero tartlets, they don't use Swedish buffalo balls, they don't use quinoa anything. They use cake. Everyone thinks it's fine and good for the bride and groom to start their married life by humiliating each other with cake. Cake has a special, metaphysical property that mitigates the humiliation and makes everything okay.
Cake Week 1
170312For me, a cake pan is an indicator of relative generosity. There's a direct correlation between how much cake is in the cake pan and the personal feelings of generosity. The fuller the cake pan is, the more generous I feel in sharing my cake. As more and more of the cake gets eaten and the cake pan gets more and more empty, I get more and more stingy with sharing my cake. The cake is like a giant, tasty bar graph.
Cake Week 1
170311Many wedding cakes are something of a disappointment. They look fantastic, and great skill goes into decorating them. Unfortunately, all too often they don't taste very good. The icing might be almost tasteless, or it may be overpoweringly sweet. There might be too much icing, or too little. The cake itself is too often dry and unappealing. The icing roses are usually hard and difficult to eat. Sometimes, fruit is added to a wedding cake, and fruit is for pies; it just doesn't belong on cake. A disappointing collection of these potential problems are beautifully swirled together into a grand, celebratory cake that is lovely to look at, but the beauty masks problems at the core. Cynics will say that this is a great analogy for many marriages. I am happy to say that this is completely wrong for our marriage. Ours is still as lovely and delicious as our scrummy chocolate wedding cake was, lo those many years ago.
Cake Week 1
170310There's a small industry talking about how women are often unsatisfied with sex. Magazine articles, blog posts, afternoon TV, stand-up comedy -- a lot of time and space has been spent hammering home the point that women often are left disappointed with sex. This brings me to the subject of cake, of one cake in particular. If women are generally disappointed with sex, what are they saying when they make a cake called a Better-Than-Sex cake? Are they saying that the cake is fantastic, or just that it's better than a way to spend a mediocre 30 seconds? Better-Than-Sex cakes are usually gorgeous and look like they'd taste amazing, but they often end up not being very good. Not terrible, but not very good; certainly not living up to how they look. Maybe Better-Than-Sex cakes are intended to give men the same experience men give women with sex.
Cake Week 1
170309Ice-cream cakes bend reality. They are definitely not cakes, but they are cakes. Ice-cream cakes are made when you plop ice cream down and shape it so it looks like cake. It looks like cake. But it isn't really cake, it's still ice cream. However, people call it cake. This dichotomy is an indicator of the supranatural, concurrent multistate existence of ice cream as controlled by topographic elementalism. It is ice cream until it is gains a specific form, at which point it transmogrifies into cake and yet remains ice cream. It is a magical dessert.
Cake Week 1
170308I am a believer in the preservative powers of cake. When I use part of a tub of store-bought icing, I'm used to storing the unused portion in the fridge so it won't go bad. However, the frosted cake can sit out on the counter, unrefrigerated, for days. Why will the icing in the container go bad if left out, but the icing on the cake won't? The only difference is that one is in a plastic tub and the other has been applied to a cake. This must mean that the cake will preserve the frosting and keep it from going bad; therefore, cakes are natural preservatives.
Cake Week 1
170307Forget the knife and fork, pancakes are supposed to be eaten as dipping foods, accompanied by big pots of syrup.
Cake Week 1
170306Extensive research has shown that Gilligan and the Skipper are modern archetypes of the traditional Greek sailor. They are both mariners, and the Greeks have long been exceptional mariners. They got lost and were shipwrecked for years, and there's a well-known Greek tradition for being shipwrecked for a long time. They encountered many malevolent beings who were out to do them ill; again, there's a Greek tradition for malevolent beings striving to wallop mariners. Yes, it's clear that Gilligan and the Skipper are modern descendants of the ancient Greeks, and they truly are Minnowans.
170305The first thing I remember ever reading by myself was the article on toilets in the World Book Encyclopedia. I suspect this was a foreshadowing of my life.
170304The Aesir punished Loki by imprisoning him in a cave and placing a snake to drip corrosive venom onto him. Sigyn, Loki's wife, tried to protect him by catching the venom in a bowl so it wouldn't burn him. When the bowl was full, though, she would have to go away to empty the poison, leaving Loki to his torment. Her help was commendable, but very short-sighted. Why didn't Sigyn kill the snake? She should have beaten it with the bowl, maybe even cutting off its head if the rim of her bowl was sharp enough. Why didn't Sigyn handle the root of the problem, rather than the side effects?
170303Living people need enzymes to live. Zombies are always hunting for brains because they need engrams to "live."
170302In elementary school, I was a frequent patron of the school library. I was very familiar with the book collection and was always looking for another book to check out. In 6th grade, the librarian announced that it would be renamed from being a library to being a media center. In addition to books, they would now have a few other things -- records, tapes, and filmstrips, as I recall. This really offended me. It was a library, it was supposed to have books, not these other things. Even that young, I was an anal-retentive doof.
170301A little-known aspect of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona is a band festival. Every night, a different marching band stampedes through the streets of Pamplona, running and playing with wild abandon. This serves the critical function of scaring any stray bulls back to the bullpens. The bulls like to lurk in the shadows and bum spare change from the tourists, so this gets them safely off the streets. The bands tend to get lost and wander all night, but that isn't a big deal. They're the band, they're harmless. This nightly event is called the Running of the Bands.
170228February 30 is Frostgiant Day. That's the day that a Frost Giant emerges from his cave and if he doesn't see Thor's shadow, we'll have three more seasons of Fimbulwinter.
170227People are always complaining about Comcast, but I have little to whine about since we've usually gotten really good customer service from them. Take last night for example. I'd forgotten the Oscars were on, so I missed almost the whole thing. I switched them on just as the Best Picture nominees were being announced. There's the moment of suspense and then ta-da! La La Land wins Best Picture! Here's where Comcast's excellent customer service cuts in. They know we missed the whole rest of the awards, so they do Best Picture a second time and give us Moonlight as the new winner! Complain all you want, but I think it's cool of Comcast to give us this side-by-side win for the final award.
170226A-sharp. B-flat. C-natural. D-augmented. E-diminished. That's just the majors, not even taking into account the modes, such as A-Mixolydian, G-Minor, or D-Lydian. In addition to describing musical notes, this would be a fantastic system for bra sizes.
170225Someone complained that popular depictions of Santa show him leaving one house and going to another house miles away, and that it'd be more efficient for Santa to go to the house right next door. Purely in terms of travel, the complainer is correct. However, they clearly aren't taking into account physics and biological capacity. To rise into the air, travel to another house, and then descend for a gentle, easy landing Santa's sleigh requires a lot more distance than is typically found between houses. Calculating for reindeer speed and lift, air resistance from sleigh and antlers, and the natural bouyancy of concentrated jollity, Santa needs 1.25 miles from take-off to touch-down in order to safely, gently, quietly move his sleigh from one house to another. He does plan for efficient travel, but it is with the limitations of a reindeer-drawn sleigh. If Santa would modernize and trade in the reindeer for snowy owls or tundra squirrels, he could have much shorter hops, but those steeds have limitations of their own. Besides, Santa is a traditionalist and is content with his reindeer.
170224You can always tell when terrorists are part of the Dessert Liberation Front. They're the ones that wear baklavas to hide their identity.
170223Lately, I've been staying up really late and getting up really early. I'm usually okay, but several times recently I've started to phase out for a bit around 12:30am, right around the time I do a bit of email and web surfing. I've found my head bobbing around and being partially asleep while clicking buttons and scrolling around in a browser. I don't know what links I've clicked and what messages I've sent over the past couple weeks. I hope it's been nothing terribly embarassing, and there's been a slight bit of trepidation whenever the phone rings or the mail-lady shows up.
170222After years of watching squirrel behavior, I think it's clear that squirrels are the Minions of the animal world.
170221Early in my career, a computer-security greybeard told me he missed punchcards and the turn-around time required to program with them. I thought he was crazy. I used punchcards for a year and they were a nightmare. Once I moved to TTYs, I never wanted to go back. I loved screens and how fast my development got. I am clearly more productive with a screen than with punchcards. But... But I have come to appreciate the viewpoint of that greybeard. I see that time away from the keyboard is important as it lets me think about what I'm doing rather than just doing.
170220A friend posted something that started with the phrase, "My great love atm is..." I don't know what an ATM is to her, but I will always think of an ATM as an Automated Teller Machine -- in other words, a bank kiosk that dispenses money. Reading her sentence though blows my mind with how incredible it would be to have an ATM that dispensed love. So many people are in need of love, even just a little now and then, that it would do incredible things for the world if people could use a Love ATM. Insert your card in the Love ATM and then get filled with an overwhelming sense of love and acceptance. This would change the world.
170219The ancient Library of Alexandria was purportedly filled with all sorts of old books and writings. When the library was destroyed in a fire, these old books were lost forever. Scholars, historians, and classicists lament the knowledge and literature consumed by the fire. It occurs to me that we really don't know what was lost. We may have lost thousands of amazing, incredible books, but there's no way to know. While there were undoubtedly lost classics, I bet there was a lot of shlock. I bet the Library was filled with coloring books, fart jokebooks, and mad libs.
170218Lots of expectant parents talk about "taking Lamaze". It sounds like they're taking a drug, and they kinda resent it but they also feel like they need to. I bet a drug company would make a fortune if they could develop a pill version of the Lamaze classes. Just take three Lamaze pills a week for a month and you're set. No classes, no reading, no special breathing, nothing. Three pills every week, and you're good to go.
170217I need to remember that if I'm not waiting on a really important message, nothing good can result from reading email an hour before bed.
170216I think my dentist pumps ether into the waiting room. No matter what time of day, I get very sleepy as soon as I sit down in his waiting room. Maybe it keeps nervous patients complacent and cuts down on biting incidents.
170215I don't think I ever want to meet a woman named Miss King. Thanks to Pride and Prejudice I wouldn't be able to think of her as anything but Odious Miss King, and I fear I'd accidentally let that slip out.
170214Investigation of stone troll neurology in the Discworld books shows that trolls are actually pretty smart, as long as they are in a cold environment. Low temperatures allow troll brains to work at a much faster rate than normal. At higher temperatures, troll brains slow down and trolls have a much harder time thinking. An island used to be adjacent to the South Pole, and had the concomitant severe, cold climate. At some point, a portal between our world and Discworld was established on the island. Trolls were put on there to guard the portal and limit the movement between worlds. Over time, continental drift caused this island to move much farther north, closer to the equator. As the island travelled out of the cold and into a warm area, the trolls slowed down and eventually became immobile. Once immobile, the trolls started sinking into the soft ground, until only their heads were visible. We know these immobile guard trolls as the stone heads on Easter Island, and that's how the stone heads came to be there.
170213I used to try hard to not be late. I've realized just how hopeless that is, and now I strive to not be last.
170212I think my personal karma is tied strongly to email. (Not the inbox-zero nonsense; that ship sailed long ago.) I've got a mental weight I carry around that's related to how much email I owe other people. The more mail I owe people, the heavier the burden, the heavier the karmic debt I carry. With every owed message I send, that e-karmic burden lightens a little. I'd love to be able to walk around with an unburdened soul, no email owed to anyone, but that is something my heavy-laden self can only dream of.
170211If you don't have an aisle seat on an airline, you are likely to be trapped for the duration of your flight. The aisle-keeper on your row has great control over those they share the row with. Sometimes you get a merciful aisle-keeper, and they're quite happy to let you in or out as you need. Too often you get a flight tyrant, who only wants to sit in their seat and not get up until reaching the terminus. A common tactic is to pretend to sleep, with hopes that you won't try to wake them. To counter such flight tyrants, airliners need to have seats equipped with fake-turbulance generators. These generators would be controlled by people deeper in the row. A tyrannical aisle-keeper tries to keep you seat-bound, hitting a pocket of fake turbulance will wake them up enough for you to get out of your row.
170210Astronomical events are happening all the time -- day, night, winter, spring, summer, fall. However, it seems that the TV weathermen always get the most excited about the astronomical events that take place when it's freezing out.
170209We never get any critters coming the first night after it turns really cold or snows. Often they don't even come the second night. They usually start showing up again on the third night. I think that first night the critters are sitting in their cozy homes and thinking, "Dang, it's cold out. I had some scrummy food last night, so I'll just hang out here tonight." The second night, the critters are thinking, "Heck, it's still pretty cold out. I'm a bit peckish, but maybe it'll warm up tomorrow." That third night, though, the tummies are growling and the critters are ready for some chow. "Dagnabbit, it's still cold. Kinda hungry now, so I'd better get off my duff and get some food." That's when they show up for the bird seed.
170208Mooning is a performance art.
170207Have you noticed that you never see hawks and owls together? You can see hawks during the day and owls during the night, but you never see hawks at night or owls during the day. I have studied both types of birds and I finally discovered why hawks and owls are separated as they are. It's because they are related in an avian, non-lupine form of lycanthropy. During the day, hawks are just as you'd expect them to be -- hunting from on high. Once night falls, however, hawks transform into owls -- swooping in on silent wings out of the darkness.
170206Watching the Superbowl, I decided it'd be a bit depressing to be a placekicker. The over-time rules made it clear the NFL doesn't have much respect for placekickers. The NFL effectively says that placekickers are good enough to keep a team in the game during over-time, but not good enough to actually win the game.
170205All of "50 Shades of Grey" is a gag reel. A ball-gag reel.
170204Many of the technical books I've been reading lately have been for various computer languages and development frameworks. Usually, the basic concepts, constructs, and techniques are contained in the first half of the book. Details on elegant coding, advanced features and functionality, and esoteric concepts are put safely in the second half of the book. This might mean that the first half of these books contains the material that allows one to effectively use the languages and frameworks quickly, without getting into the more complex topics. All that other complex and difficult stuff can come later. Since the first half gets one up and going, I wonder how many people never get past that useful first half, never getting around to reading that mysterious second half.
170203You should always wear shoes and/or socks in the bathroom, even your own. You're going to be walking in gruck in there. It doesn't matter whose gruck it is, you're going to be walking in gruck. It's so much better to have that barrier between your feet and that gruck.
170202My trombone music says I need a cup mute. That sounds kind of gross, but I guess I can use one of those. I've just got to remember to wash it off first.
170201After four months without a kitchen and dining room, the renovations are at long last finished! Now to celebrate, let's go out to dinner.
170131From now on, my New Year's Resolutions are going to be for things that other people and the universe need to do for me. That way, when the resolutions remain unfulfilled, as inevitably happens, I won't be regretting my own actions; instead, I'll be disappointed in other people and the universe for failing me.
170130When Noah was building his ark, his neighbors thought he was having delugional dreams.
170129There's an old philosophical thought experiment: "If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it make a sound?" There's a related question no one ever discusses: If light shines on an object and no one is around to see the light that bounces off the object, is that object visible or is it actually invisible? In other words, are things invisible until there is a viewer present? A more interesting question is why there's the assumption that the lack of an observer results in silence, in invisibility, in nothingness. Maybe when a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, the tree actually makes the sound of the Hallelujah Chorus. Maybe when light shines on a tree and no one is around to see it, the tree strobes through all the colors of the rainbow. I'd like to think that the universe is more interesting than just defaulting to blandness.
170128"Music Man" implies that the Wells Fargo Wagon would show up in a town and distribute stray packages to people at random. People would look forward to the Wells Fargo Wagon showing up in the hope that something cool and not too bizarre would hop off the wagon and into their arms. This means the Wells Fargo Wagon must have been a random, season-independent Santa.
170127Trombone players tend to have a certain twist of mind. Most conductors only have to deal with a few trombonists. This year, the McDaniel Concert Band has had six trombonists, and I feel sorry for the conductor having that many all at once. There's one band that I think must send the director around the bend just contemplating rehearsals, let alone the actual practice sessions. This band is the the one described by Professor Harold Hill in the song "Seventy-Six Trombones".
170126A welcome mat at the door is an explicit welcome to any and all, an invitation to cross the threshold protecting a house. Is it any wonder that welcome mats were invented by vampires?
170125The butt of a joke only makes sense if the joke takes place in a bar.
170124I'm at a complete loss to understand something. How can conservatives now say it's un-American to merely think it might be nice for Trump to not do a great job after they've spent the last eight years actively obstructing and working against Obama and the country?
170123I've read a number of science-fiction stories that deal with the first starship travelling from Earth to another star. These are often generation ships, carrying colonists as well as explorers and scientists. In these stories, when that first ship arrives at its destination, it is often met by settlers from a ship that left later, but that had better and faster engines. The people from that first starship are welcomed, but they are out of their depth in terms of current technology, science, and culture. It seems that if that techno-overtaking can happen with the first ship, it could also happen with the advanced second ship, the more advanced third ship, the even more advanced fourth ship, and so on. In fact, it seems possible that if that journey was long enough, a super-advanced ship could be developed that was so fast that it would travel to that first interstellar destination and return to Earth before that first starship was launched.
170122National Security Letters, religion-based tracking databases, the Snooper's Charter, Stingray fake cell towers. At what point do we face facts and drop the word "free" from "free world"?
170121The high-pitched bitey, whiny sound the grinder makes when grinding down sharp metal grabs the ears with claws of steel. The noise is what I imagine it sounds like inside Trump's head.
170120Peaceful transition of power. No matter how contentious and nasty an election, when moving from one president to the next the US has always had a peaceful transition of power. There are a number of basic principles and ideals -- in the Constitution, the Declaration -- that I take pride in. The principles and ideals are representative of the country, but the country doesn't always live up to these principles and the country has greatly disappointed me when it falls short, far short, of the ideals. The peaceful transition of power, though, that's different. It isn't an ideal, it's a concrete thing. Throughout the country's history, the transition of power has always been peaceful and that's an amazing thing. Sure, there were the riots in DC this year, but the actual transition. Peaceful transition of power.
170119The fierceness of Scottish holy warriors has a long history. Whether highlanders, islanders, or lowlanders, they have been known as formidable fighters for time immemorial. That's why the call of "Release the Kirken!" struck fear in the hearts of the Greeks, and Tolkien had the Kirken attack the Fellowship at the corrie before the gates of Moria.
170118With all the contractor work we've had done, we've seen all sorts of specialized tools they've had. That cool wigglysaw that slices through wood like butter. That poundy thing they had to dig postholes. That hilarious studfinder that hangs on walls. All these spiffy tools bring to mind the always-popular Jack Nicholson quote, "Where does he get those wonderful toys?"
170117Great Product Idea #2: A yoyo that looks like a microphone. (The only problem is that to use this, you've got to have a huge number of mic-drop-worthy comments, all ready to go at a moment's notice.)
170116The Register said, "Astronomers now think they've worked out how these different [planetary] ring systems came into being and think the Great Bombardment is to blame. During this period, around four billion years ago, large numbers of Pluto-sized rocks from the Kuiper Belt encircling the Solar System fell towards the Sun and smashed into planets on their the way in. Many of the craters we see on the Moon are the result of this bombardment, for example. As for the gas giants, their gravitational forces were great enough to tear apart the passing objects." I wonder how the Great Bombardment actually happened. How did those Pluto-sized rocks decide to leave the Kuiper Belt and zoom into the inner Solar System. I think that back in the deep mists of time, the Frost Giants that live beyond the Kuiper Belt got bored, grabbed these Pluto-sized rocks and threw them at the inner system planets. (wikipedia: Late Heavy Bombardment)
170115A volcanic eruption is merely a planetary eruction.
170114We spend nine months connected to an umbilical, relying on it to keep us alive. It used to be that we'd then live the rest of our lives without an umbilical. Now, we have a few years umbilical free, then we're handed a cell phone and we live the rest of our lives attached to an umbilical once more.
170113I am scared. I ordered some running shorts from Amazon. When they arrived, I saw that they'd actually come from an Amazon Marketplace store, rather than Amazon itself. As I pulled the bag out of the box, I saw that the Marketplace store was actually a lingerie store. I couldn't see anything in the bag, except a tag on the... On the shorts? On the lingerie? What was really in that bag? The only thing I could see was a tag that said, in big letters, "PERFORMANCE". So, I'd somehow ended up with an article of PERFORMANCE clothing from a lingerie store. I am scared to actually take the clothes out of the bag to see what I received.
170112I wonder what cartoonists used to represent sudden ideas prior to the invention of the light bulb. Did people have oil lamps appear above their heads? Candles? Torches? Cave openings? If you go back far enough, I bet ideas in cartoons only took place at dawn.
170111It'd be really cool to be a night watchmen at a museum of antiquities. All the spiffy exhibits and artifacts to look at with no one getting in the way. At least until the weird stuff starts happening and Things start coming to life and the screaming starts. It's never fun once the screaming starts.
170110I've heard about this Friends With Benefits thing, but I don't really understand it. What are the benefits like? Do you get a 401k? Do you get vacation time? Do you get government holidays? Is the vacation a time when you don't have to act like a friend to your FWB friend? Can you act like a jerk to them, like just not agreeing to help them move? How competitive are these benefits?
170109The refrigerator is a giant, three-dimensional board game. You move pieces from one place to another on a shelf, and from one shelf to another. "Let's see, I'll move the ketchup over two spaces to the left and up one shelf. That lets me capture your skim milk." The problem is that no one seems to know the rules. It's never clear who all the players are, or even the game objective or winning conditions.
170109I'd hate to live in the Southern Hemisphere. The thought of spending our anniversary in the summer heat sounds really depressing.
170108Before the Internet Age, it was just called Piphany.
170107Peter Pan and Mary Poppins are beloved figures from English children's literature. Both characters can fly, and both are protective of those in their care. I'd really like to see Mary Poppins and Peter Pan "fly" in a a wire-based martial arts flying fight.
170106Sincerity escalation on social media is a terrible thing. "I'm sorry this bad thing happened." I can top that! "I'm really sorry this bad thing happened." Pbbbt, amateurs. "I am truly sorry this bad thing happened. I will help however I can in your times of troubles." It's like an arms race.
170105If Jesus had been born in Australia, donkeys and camels wouldn't have had their minor roles in the Christmas story. Instead, Mary and the Three Kings would have come to Bethlehem riding on kangaroos.
170104If Jesus had been born in Scotland, we'd be drinking Communion whisky.
170103The well-known version of the Christmas story came from Luke's gospel. The language and details of Luke's story sit deep in many people and it's how they know the story. I have a small fear about this. Luke was a doctor. The poor handwriting skills of doctors is legendary. I fear Luke's doctor-scrawl might have led to misreadings of what he actually wrote. Maybe the angels were proclaiming peace and good will to all; maybe they were speaking of basic human rights and were proclaiming peace and good meals for all. Maybe it was shepherds in the fields; maybe it was leopards. Maybe Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes; maybe He was wrapped in waddling clothes and He actually had a penguin onesie.
170102Every year, it seems one or two ornaments get lost on the tree. It also seems that the ornaments don't end up where you first put them on the tree. You put the little stained-glass angel up on the left and a week later it's down on the lower right. The small brass bells started along the bottom branches, but now they're ringing the crown. I set up a camera and found out what's going on. Once everyone has gone to bed, the ornaments climb down off the tree and they dance the night away. They don't always get back in the right place, and some of them get so tipsy on eggnog that they just can't climb the tree. Usually those ones end up beneath the couch. The ornaments are having such a joyful celebration, it's hard to get upset at them.
170101Christmas Day is the first day of Cocoa Season.
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 -- rather, not having said something dopey to her -- I decided
to ensure that one of the last things I say to her each night is something
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:
- final thoughts from 2011
- final thoughts from 2012
- final thoughts from 2013
- final thoughts from 2014
- final thoughts from 2015
- final thoughts from 2016
Copyright 2017 by Wayne Morrison. All Rights Reserved.