Final Thoughts of the Night, 2018

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.

March, 2018 180319One of the many problems I had in my single disastrous season attempting to play Little League baseball was the concept of "chatter." Ignoring the way engaging in "chatter" makes one sound like an idiot, I was worried about the ethical consequences of "chatter." If I can coerce a batter to swing when they otherwise wouldn't have, isn't that an incident of bad sportsmanship? Shouldn't I let their natural baseball talents -- good or bad -- come through to let them succeed or fail on their own merits? And there's also the possibility of how it reflects on me. If my "chatter" coerces an opponent to swing at a pitch they otherwise wouldn't have swung at, and then they score a run, does that make me a party to my opponent's success and therefore a traitor to my own team? 180318When I start my car, for some reason the dashboard flashes all the warning lights. I think it does this in order to jolt the driver with adrenalin so they're suddenly awake, suddenly sober, before they start driving. Today I saw a brand new warning light, one I've never seen before. It showed an image of the steering wheel, immediately followed by an exclamation point. Both in bright, glowing red. What does this warning mean? Is the steering wheel about to fall off? Is the steering wheel not working properly? Why is this problem so common that it requires its very own warning light? 180317There is no such thing as "Taffeta"; the one true name of the fabric is "Taffeta, Darling". 180316As children, we ate popsicles -- which are frozen, flavored water. There's a bit of a bias against adults enjoying childish things such as popsicles, so as adults we drink tea -- which is hot, flavored water. It appears that the difference between children and adults is the temperature of our snacks. 180315Tinder is a modern-day example of Schrödinger's popular thought experiment. Rather than dealing with feline mortality, however, Tinder deals with mate selection. When a Tinder user expresses interest in a potential mate (by swiping right on them), that state of selection is presented to the potential mate to accept or reject. Until they do, the potential mate is in a state of having accepted and having rejected the original user all at the same time. No hammers, poisons, boxes, or cats are required. This version of Schrödinger's thought experiment is far superior to the original because it is much more applicable to most people and no cats get killed. Or left alive. 180314Pi Day's connection to numbers and math is only an incidental excuse. Bob and I invented Pi Day because of that one time that we tried to see how many pies we could eat before one of us couldn't eat any more. We'd just started the fourth pie when we simultaneously threw in our forks. The three factors -- a little over three pies, trying this on March 14th, and embarassment at our own gluttony -- caused us to name it Pi Day instead of Pie Day. 180313The Empire keeps building Death Stars, and rebels keep destroying Death Stars. Rather than keeping on going after individual Death Stars, or emperors, or evil jedi, we need to look at why the Empire keeps building Death Stars. Who is gaining by the Empire continually building new Death Stars? It's certainly not the average citizen, as the Death Stars will be used to oppress them. It isn't the Empire's military, as they have massive losses in personnel across the whole spectrum of professions whenever a Death Star is destroyed. The Empire's R&D organizations aren't really developing anything new, just building the same old things, and they're also losing people whenever a Death Star is destroyed. I think the real winners here are the rebels, since the Death Stars give them an undeniable reason to exist. I think it's clear that the rebels are driving imperial policy to continually build a new Death Star for every one the rebels destroy. The rebels are leaning heavily on the military construction contractors, who are leaning on the Empire, who then build a new Death Star. It's a vicious cycle, with the rebels greasing the wheels. 180312One person's Single Point of Failure is another person's Single Point of Control. 180311I'm going to create a new bearspray that hikers can use in bear-habitat wildernesses. Instead of being like normal pepper sprays that irritate bears, my new bearspray will smell like raw meat and bacon. Rather than spraying it in the bear's face when you see a bear, you spray it on someone you're hiking with. Then it won't matter who can run faster, you just have to run away from the person you sprayed. 180310There have been recent suggestions that teachers should carry guns to protect against school shootings. In addition to a multitude of reasons why that's a terrible idea, there's another that hasn't been discussed. Teaching is a high-stress, low-pay job. Do we really want to be arming highly stressed people that are underappreciated and aren't being paid what their jobs deserve? 180309It appears that Gelfling essence is the primary ingredient in Skekses viagra. 180309Dark Crystal would have been better with 25% more car chases. 180308Way back when phones were all attached to landlines, I bet you could have made a fortune if you'd sold a phone with an on/off switch. Phone makers really missed an opportunity when they never made phones with these switches. The primary reason that cell phones have become so popular is that they can be turned off. 180307I keep hearing commentators and late-night presenters saying, "These are unprecedented times" in regards to the current US executive branch. I don't think they have it quite right and should really be saying, "These are unpresidented times." 180306If I have learned anything from The Twilight Zone, it's that not many people in the future want decorations in their homes or offices. 180305It just isn't fair. Many spend the winter and spring working hard at dieting and exercising, getting to their optimal weight and fitness. They're looking good, they're healthy. They're ready with their summer body, ready for the beach. Then along comes Farmer Bob and carts these pigs off to the sausage factory to make a bunch of summer sausage. It just isn't fair. 180304The US Post Office has released figures showing that in 2016, postal workers were attacked by almost 7,000 dogs. If I were a mailman, I'd refuse to go to any neighborhood with that many dogs in it. 180303Occasionally, I'll hear a story of someone's experience with Mr. Rogers. Invariably, Mr. Rogers has done something amazing, uplifting, loving for that person, in a quiet, unassuming, and personal -- yet universal -- way. Fred Rogers was an incredible person, a light that shone for the world. We need so many more people like him. I wish I could grow up to be like him. However, someone like Mr. Rogers only comes around once a lifetime, if we're lucky. 180302People are inherently voyeuristic. This may be seen by observing people when they enter a room that has a computer. Their eyes are inexorably drawn to the screen, looking to see what's displayed. The "Trending" and "What's Popular" sidebars that many websites provide are letting people see what others are looking at. I want to start a new meta search engine, tentatively named Voogle, that supports these voyeuristic inclinations. Whenever someone submits a query to Voogle, they'll get the results from a real search engine that came from another Voogle user's query. Another user's query will return the results from the first user's query. Since people will eventually want to see the answer to their own query, that response will be provided in a separate window. Voogle will satisfy two basic human needs -- the need for information and the need to snoop on others. The VC money should start rolling in any minute now. 180301It was always hard to find the cultists. They knew enough to keep their heads (and tentacles) low as they tried to recruit more people to their cult. It would have been helpful to know where potential recruits were, but they were too hard to find on their own and we had to look for the actual cultists. That has changed now that the internet is widely used by the public. Now us "cultist remediators" use the internet to search both for cultists and for potential cultists. It usually comes down to one obsession shared by both. Potential cultists can be found by tracking their obsession. Cultists can be found by tracking their own tracking of the potential cultists' obsession, not to mention their own obsession with the potentials' obsession. Thanks to the internet, we may be able to stamp out followers of Cthulhu once and for all. And it all comes down to tracking orders of anchovy pizza.

February, 2018 180228A Palindrome is a word, phrase, or number that is spelled (digited) the same going frontwards or backwards. We need a name for words, phrases, and numbers that are exact mirror images frontwards and backwards. We should call them Cleesedromes. 180227As a teen, I was in a metal band. Thick guitar sounds, stacks and stacks of Marshalls, power-driven angry songs, black leather, long hair. We were typical angry young teenage metalheadbangers. We were called Døömpuppy. There were some whackadoodles who complained about our name, thinking we were advocating the doom of puppies, maybe even hurting puppies in our spare time. How could anyone even think we would want to hurt adorable little fluffballs? No, nothing like that. Døömpuppy was the puppy that would bring doom and black flaming destruction to the world. 180226The prose of crows is better than the books of rooks. 180225Olympics coverage has all these heartwarming stories of how the athletes have overcome adversity, beaten terrible odds, healed from awful injuries, and are now at the Olympics, competing with their sport's cream of the crop, hoping to win a medal. Or at least to do an admirable job in competition. These inspirational stories have gotten trite and banal. Tom Gotlieb, overcame a homeless childhood; Mary Calverson, came back from a broken hyoid bone; Jane Wickers, never rode a horse before last Tuesday and now she's in the steeplechase; Ned Ryerson, beaten up by a street thug days before the games started. Meh. All those are meh. I think it would be much more interesting if the athletes would adopt names and personas the way lucha libre wrestlers do. Here are some lucha libre wrestlers: Battle Kat, Arachnaman, Abyss, Lazer-Tron, Lord Humongous, Scorpio Sky, Wrath. Now those are some people I want to watch in figure skating or speed skating or downhill skiing or hockey or synchronized swimming. 180224A lot of people have the personal goal of leaving things better than when they came. This is an admirable goal, and I respect people who have this ambition. To support and help folks in attaining this goal, my own goal is to leave things worse than before I got there. 180223Facebook needs a Like button that is really an "I'm clicking this for a friend, but I don't care about this so please just increase their Like count, make it look like I Like their thing, and don't ever show me the posts" button. 180222Olympics hockey should be revised to require a jump whenever the puck is shot for a goal. Not only would the players be required to perform a lutz, an axel, or a salchow, but the number of spins would act as a multiplier. Do a single lutz and a goal gets one point. Score on a triple salchow and you rack up three points. This common ground between hockey and figure skating would be in the spirit of the Olympics by bringing together different disciplines and helping athletes improve talents and skills. 180221People put things on their flags that are important to them. Wales and Bhutan both put a dragon on their flags. Albania put a double-headed eagle on its flag. The Cayman Islands put a lion and a turtle on theirs. A number of primarily Moslem countries use religious symbols on their flags. Mexico has a snake-killing eagle and some historical things representing human sacrifice. California has a bear and Wyoming has a buffalo. I can understand how people want those symbols on their flags, they all make a lot of sense. Then we come to Canada. Canada has the best flag of all. They've got a maple leaf with a red stripe on each side of it. On the surface this seems a bit weird, but it's actually really cool. The maple leaf is showing that maple trees are extremely important to Canada. Why would this be? you ask. I will answer you. Maple leafs grow on maple trees. Maple trees are the creators and dispensers of that amazing ambrosia, maple syrup and maple syrup is used on pancakes. The red stripes are symbolic of bacon. Canada's flag is a very friendly welcome to the world. It's saying, "Hey there, we're the land of pancakes and bacon. Come and visit, any time of day, we'll have breakfast together." Canada, it's a magical place. 180220Spelling checkers should always flag the word "pubic" and force the writer to validate that they really do want to use the pubic. 180215When Elon Musk launched his Tesla roadster into space, he said it was because he liked the idea of it orbiting for a billion years. As you'd expect, some astrophysicists have plotted the Tesla's path in space to check the timing. They've concluded that the car has a few million years, at best, before it crashes into the Earth, Venus, or the Sun. Elon and the astrophysicists (which sounds like a geek-science rock band) haven't taken human nature into account. Soon after the arrival of cheap, everyman space flight, someone is going to retrieve that Tesla and bring it home as a souvenir or put it up for auction. I give it 250 years from now, tops, before that Tesla is back on Earth. 180218To Bob, squirrels are always giving him that "come hither" tail twitch. To squirrels, they see Bob and silently scream, "AAAGH! It's Bob!" and give the terror-tail twitch to warn the other squirrels. 180217Britain's oldest complete skeleton is known as Cheddar Man, and is 10,000 years old. He has recently been found to have dark skin and blue eyes. At 10,000 years old, he can certainly said to be well-aged and he counts as an extra-sharp Cheddar. Even at 10,000 years, he still has a while before hitting his Asda best-by date. 180216Whenever a new superhero movie is announced, you know the merchandising is on its way. A big part of the merchandise is the superhero action figure. It'd be really cool if every movie had action figures of its characters. Mozart and Salieri from "Amadeus". Phil, Rita, and Ned Ryerson from "Groundhog Day". Nick and Nora from "The Thin Man". Anyone from "Cold Comfort Farm". I would spend all my money on action figures. 180215The extreme instances of nationalism at the Olympics have bothered me for many years. It's seemed to violate the spirit of the Olympics, which should be focussed on sports excellence and not on country-based medal counts. I don't know where I got this idea; it seems contrary to how most others watch the games. This year seems different though. The joined Koreas at the opening ceremonies, the joined Korea hockey team, a number of athlete interactions, these make these games look like they're going to do a better job of meeting my idea of the Olympic ideal. 180214In the Information Age, we're generating enormous mounds of new information and preserving gigantic heaps of old information. My current work involves data about how the new and old information move around the internet. However, we're analyzing this information about information in order to create new information. This will be information about information about information. As hoards of this information grow, we'll eventually start looking into how it is stored and transferred, thus creating new information about information about information about information. I think I need a cookie. 180213Is a nap really effective if you wake yourself up with every buzzsaw snore you make? 180212Here are my suggestions for future Winter Olympic events: slopestyle paintball biathlon, airborne slopstyle competitive eating, cross-country curling, straightening, Olympic village freestyle loogie slalom, tedsled, snowboard halfhookah, musculature, synchronized freestyle skiing, and gangnam-style skiing. 180211In today's scripture (Mark 9:2-9), the version used had Peter say that he would build "three booths" on the mountaintop for Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. I hear the word booth and I think of Lucy's psychiatric-help booth. I'm wondering what sort of advice these three would give for a shekel. Maybe Jesus would give tips on household maintenance and carpentry, Moses would give advice on outdoor adventures, and Elijah would give help with barbeques. 180210I've always liked figure skating because it often incorporates good classical music as an integral part of the sport. That could work well with other sports, too. Hockey with Mozart's horn concertos. Football with Mendelssohn's oratorios. Basketball with Beethoven's symphonies. Golf with... just about anything. Many sports would be improved if the game sportscasters were replaced with classical music. 180209Y'know how there are these pedal-propelled trike kinds of things that look like fire engines and dump trucks? Someone should make one of those that looks like a Zamboni, they'd make a fortune. 180208Driving home, I spun out on the ice and came very close to being whacked by a snow plow. While spinning around, my life flashed before my eyes, and the soundtrack to my life was Freddie Mercury repeatedly singing, "AH-AAH!" 180207I took a stagecraft class in college. This was really cool because I learned all sorts of things about construction and building and rigging and painting and lighting. This was really bad because the focus was on putting something together that looked good and functional from a distance; but not how well things looked from a close-up vantage, things that were clearly temporary, did not look good, and were disconcerting in functionality. So now I'm anxious to help fix stuff around the house, but it's rather dangerous to let me anywhere near household maintenance. 180206I am too tech-spoiled. We were baiting the new live-trap mousetraps and I started wishing we'd looked for wifi-enabled mousetraps that would tell us when they'd been sprung. It doesn't occur to me to ask if such things exist; I just automatically assume that of course they exist. 180205I find it very confusing when people say, "Go big or go home." If I've got to "go big", then I kinda think I really want to be home, so it would be "Go home then go big." However, if I have to "go big", I might really want to mess up somewhere other than my home, so it would be "Leave home and go big." 180204Most people don't have a clue how to properly use a microphone. As long as our culture is so media obsessed, children should be taught basic mic~handling skills in elementary school. It's becoming a life-skill, a survival skill. 180203When it comes to percussion, I prefer Boron players; there's just something elemental about their music. 180202I love the two Jumanji movies. Whenever I see them, I can't help but think about what sort of psychopath would create that game. Torturing, maybe killing, children (and their families, as shown in the two cinematically documented examples) is horrible, especially when the children were just looking to play a game. Sure, they're just movies, but how could anyone want to make such a game? That requires a ghastly level of sadism. On my most recent viewing of Jumanji 2, I had a revelation. Jumanji isn't a method of torture disguised as a game (like Monopoly is.) Rather, it's a means of providing counselling and advice to at-risk teens and adults, allowing them to come to grips with the problems that are interfering with their lives. Jumanji is actually a participation-required, immersion tool for guidance counselors. 180201True names have a long pedigree in mythology, folklore, and fantasy literature. Knowing something's True Name is the only way to master or include it in magic. In some tales, true names are required for invoking magic. In Genesis, Adam is given the task of giving names to all the animals. Following the "true name" system of magic, Adam must therefore have been not only the first wizard, but a wizard of such strength that he was able to give true names.

January, 2018 180101When we got pregnant, we tried to have a "Gender Reveal" party, but everyone kept telling me to put my pants back on.Grandson of Dumb Joke Week 180102Q: What is an owl's favorite dessert?
A: A hoot fudge sundae.Grandson of Dumb Joke Week
180103During dog church services, the plate is passed during the arffertory.Grandson of Dumb Joke Week 180104Q: What is a vampire's favorite fruit?
A: Blood oranges.Grandson of Dumb Joke Week
1801051100 years ago, the Vikings tried to colonize North America. It didn't quite work out, but they did make their mark on an area in the Central Atlantic region. It was known as Norse Carolina.Grandson of Dumb Joke Week 180106I was wanting some positive blood oranges, but all they had were AB-negatives.Grandson of Dumb Joke Week 180107Q: What is a cat's favorite part of Carmina Burana?
A: O For Tuna!Grandson of Dumb Joke Week
180108I keep hearing that when pets die, they cross the Rainbow Bridge into a blissful afterlife. The road to Asgard, and thus Valhalla, passes over Bifrost the Rainbow Bridge. This indicates that Odin has changed strategy. Instead of getting warriors to fight for him in the upcoming Ragnarok, Odin has decided to rely on the the loyalty, strength, and valor of pets to help him defeat Hel and her army. 180109Despite the old stereotype, Vikings did not wear horned helmets. Of course their helmets didn't have horns, that would be just silly. Who in their right mind would put horns on their war helmet? Viking helmets had antlers. 180110Through the power of language, the Doctor always wins. The Doctor's enemies always want to do things to him, but they never manage to succeed -- because they get confused by his name. If they're doing things to him, is it still Doctor Who or should it be Doctor Whom? Which takes precedence, the name or the grammar? By the time the enemies come to a conclusion, he's already won the game. 180111The Fifth Doctor said, "A man is the sum of his memories". I don't think that's really true. A person is the product of their memories, not the sum. For one thing, with imperfect memory storage and recall, our memories can affect each other. We might remember a particular event, but put it in the context (e.g., time, place, season, participants) of one or more unconnected memories -- thus creating a new memory from the combination of the old. In addition, our memories can be acted on by our imagination and create completely new thoughts and ways of thinking. All these new thoughts, created from and in conjunction with the old, are what makes a person. 180112Magnets are proof that God loves us and wants us to have fun. 180113Stephen Hawking recently predicted that humanity is dangerously close to the tipping point where species doom is inevitable. If that's true, then I might as well go on and have that third piece of chocolate cake. 180114Anyone with any sense knows that it's very dangerous to read or send texts while driving. I saw a billboard on this issue, with lots of text talking about this danger. It really makes me wonder about the people behind that PSA campaign. How could they not see that this was a different form of the same issue? Reading dense billboards is just as bad as texting for pulling focus and concentration away from the road, resulting in distracted driving. 180115Someone needs to invent an autonomous, mobile, hot~water bottle. You'd put it in bed at your feet and it would slowly crawl around under the covers searching out the cold spots. Once it had warmed up an area it would move onwards to another cold spot. It would keep this up all night, keeping the whole bed toasty warm. 180116One of the notable features of the Squirrel programming language is that it provides tail recursion. With a name like Squirrel, how could it not provide tail recursion? 180117The Rule of Punctuational Elegance states that consecutive punctuation must only be placed in groups that are prime numbers in length. 180118Whenever you have a big family meal, there is an inevitable shifting around of plates, bowls, and cups as everyone tries to get their setting adjusted to their liking. This shifting, prior to everything coming together into settled positions, is a good example of what scientists call "plate tectonics". 180119Trump is a cunning plan of the Republican Party to make us look back with fondness on the days of Bush 2. 180121There's a very common anxiety dream wherein the dreamer must take an exam for a class they've never attended. A cyberpunk trope involves people having a direct computer interface to their brains; learning or acquiring a new skill only requires inserting the appropriate chip and downloading its information. I wonder how the test anxiety dream will change if that cyberpunk trope becomes reality. Maybe the dreamer will need to fly a helicopter, but can't find the helicopter-pilot chip. Maybe the dreamer will need to give the toast at a wedding, but they have an LVC socket and can only find an LC1 toastmaster chip. No matter what it is, that anxiety dream will plague the world -- until someone creates a software patch to filter out anxiety dreams. 180122In fairy tales, princes are forever being deceived and cursed by witches and enchanted creatures. I think if I was a prince I'd be so worried about every interaction and chance encounter, that I'd be paralyzed and unable to do anything. 180123Three blind men each touched a different part of an elephant. Those three blind men should have been charged with molesting the elephant. 180124I've heard people use the phrase "People have taste for shit". The way it's used, I think they really mean to say "People have shit for taste." The first means that people like shit, while the second means that people have terrible taste. It's a subtle difference, but it's important. 180125Nanobots have been envisioned as being microscopic robots that are capable of a wide array of things -- medical checks and screenings, surgical procedures, manufacturing, and food creation, to name a few. It is expected that they'll be able to work together to accomplish these tasks, even to the point of AI-levels of self-organization, cooperation, and adaptation. There has been discussion of the potential for them using their own selves to build various needed structures and objects. If nanobots will be capable of these various behaviors, how can we be sure that nanobots haven't already been created, and are now "living" in our world as mega-sized nanobot accretions, disguised in the shapes of birds, rodents, or other living creatures? 180126When I was a kid, TV stations would sign off for the night at a late hour. Whenever my friends and I would have a sleep-over. we'd always stay up until that one channel signed off with an inspiring video of Magee's poem "High Flight". Nowadays, it seems that TV stations stay on around the clock, showing re-runs and infomercials throughout the night. There is something lost with not having TV lapse into the grey wash of static. There was a small bit of peace in the grey static and white noise, a peace we no longer can touch. Also, I can't imagine being quite so terrified by poltergeists coming from a yogamatics infomercial, as I was when the poltergeists were talking to that little girl through the white noise that sat over the grey static. 180127The Law of Contagion, an element of sympathetic magic, holds that actions taken on blood, hair, and other bodily components will affect the person those things came from. That last part is important; the magic only affects the one the body bits came from. Sympathetic magic is really just a pre-technological form of genetic engineering. 180128When you put up your Christmas tree, and decorate the tree and house, you put on recordings of Christmas carols to set the mood. There's no such music for the other end of the season. There really needs to be a nice set of carols for playing and singing when you take down your Christmas tree and pack up the Christmas decorations. 180129"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" contains very subtle hints that prove that Santa's secret identity is the director of the NSA. "He's making a list... Gonna find out who's naughty or nice." "He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake. Fort Meade is the real North Pole, so be good or it's straight to Gitmo." 180130I'm getting really tired of people trying to ignore and subvert Science. People have been fighting against evolution and natural selection for well over one hundred years. The Tide Pod Challenge is the latest manifestation of natural selection. People fighting against the Tide Pod Challenge is the latest attack against natural selection, and attempts to stop the challenge are also strikes at the primacy of Science. 180131On TV and movies, a sword will make a nice schwing! sound when drawn from a scabbard, when lifted from a table, when just moving through empty air. My tea thermos makes the same schwing! sound when I lift it out of the cup holder in my car. That makes me feel manly and virile, whenever I take a nice refreshing sip of tea. 180320When doing the kitchen renovation, we spent so much time agonizing over a huge pile of decisions. Do we want this type countertop? Do we want that type flooring? Do we want to knock out the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, or just make it a half-height bar? It seemed like we were wasting an excessive amount of time, all for little effect. Having lived with the completed renovation for a year now, I can look back and say that I am so glad we agonized over all those decisions.

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 dopey.

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

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

More final thoughts are available here:

Copyright 2011-2018 by Wayne Morrison. All Rights Reserved.