Final Thoughts of the Night, 2020

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

January, 2020 200101Q: Where does a piper keep his testicles?
A: In his dudelsack.Grand-Uncle of Dumb Joke Week
200102Q: What southern boats do people complain about the most?
A: The kvetch, yawl.Grand-Uncle of Dumb Joke Week
200103The King of Laois was really Ireland's best dogcatcher.Grand-Uncle of Dumb Joke Week 200104Q: What do you call a large mammal that always thinks it's sick?
A: A hippochondriac.Grand-Uncle of Dumb Joke Week
200105The Atlantis economy is based on the exchange of cephalopod-based currency, which economists refer to as squid pro quo.Grand-Uncle of Dumb Joke Week 200106Braesy is a Scottish artist who is well known for creative and evocative street graffiti. Sometimes Braesy works with an English colleague to create art of biting political commentary, with a shading of unrequited love. Together, these artists go by the name Banksy and Braesy.Grand-Uncle of Dumb Joke Week 200107Q: In the Marvel Universe, what is a Dark Elf's favorite holiday?
A: Thanksgiving. It's a big time for families and friends, when everyone gets together with their Malekith and Malekin.Grand-Uncle of Dumb Joke Week
200108Chi-Rho-Square is a statistical method that assesses how good a Christian is by observing their behavior and comparing it to Christian beliefs. 200109If we happen to get married again, I'm going to insist on the wedding ceremony having a ring bear. 200110Even if he doesn't play fetch, the Curiosity Rover is a Good Boy. 200111I've been an X-Men fan since I was a child, so I grew up thinking that mutated genes were a positive thing. For this reason, I eat as much genetically modified food as I can. A radioactive spider's bite turned Peter Parker into Spiderman; maybe a genetically modified hamburger, with genetically modified cheese and genetically modified pickles, will turn me into Cowman.Comic-book Week 4 200112I still have questions about The Snap. Now I'm wondering about the Quantum Realm. Did Thanos wipe out half the life down at the quantum level? Did a whole slew of tardigrades get zapped? Did Janet Van Dyne have a small herd of pet tardigrades, and then suddenly a bunch of them disappeared? How would The Snap have affected the balance of life down at that level?Comic-book Week 4 200113While I'm at it... Hair, fingernails, and sloughed-off skin are said to be composed of "dead cells." This implies that other cells are live cells -- or life. What did Thanos consider a unit of life? Cells are units that compose larger systems (organs, muscles, etc.) Those larger systems compose even larger systems (digestive systems, respiratory systems.) Those even larger systems compose a body. Bodies compose even larger systems (communities, countries, species.) When he invoked The Snap, how far down did Thanos go to find a unit of life?Comic-book Week 4 200114There's a good reason why Superman is such a wonder. For us mere humans, we have a choice between either fight or flight. Superman, however, has both.Comic-book Week 4 200115Many superheroes are imbued with a particular trait from one animal or another, a trait that sets them apart from other animals. I have a feeling that animal superheroes imbued with human traits would have a thumb.Comic-book Week 4 200116Superheroes that fly love to do the "hero landing" and slam into the ground on one knee. That's why so many superheroes have knee replacements after a few years of heroing, not to mention the debilitating groin injuries.Comic-book Week 4 200117After eating dinner, Galactus likes to finish off with some desert.Comic-book Week 4 200118Picard had Riker as his 2nd, but who was the Picardy 3rd? 200119"Think about it." I hate that phrase. "Think about it." It's never meant at face value, but always comes with heavy baggage, with arrogance and condescension. It often means, "You clearly didn't understand the childishly simple thing I just said, so I'll dumb it down. For you. Maybe you'll understand it then." It also comes after the speaker realizes their previous statement was very unclear and needs explanation. That's pointing out their own deficiencies, while trying to make the listener feel like the deficiency was their own. Think about it. 200120I hate the word "Imma". The laziness it represents is commendable, but that level of laziness would be best reserved for more important things. Without that word, though, I couldn't have one of my favorite (intentional) Mondegreens.
"Whooooa, we're halfway there,
Whooooa, Imma eat a bear!"
200121The phrase "a thousand points of light" was popularized by Bush 1 as a way to describe the diverse volunteer organizations in America. In each forest, each city park, each suburban neighborhood, each squirrel is a thousand points of frenetic hyperactivity. 200122It's interesting that organ stops actually start things. 200123I tried watching that TV show, The Mandelbrotian. The plot kept getting more and more complex, seeming to approach chaos, but it never changed as I got deeper into it. 200124I have long assumed that I would die before Jo, so the Events of Last Year were stunning in many ways. My greatest fear in dying before Jo is in how I'll be replaced. There are lots of ways I know she'll easily find a better replacement. She'll have no problem finding a better provider. No problem finding a better cook. No problem finding a better musical partner, a better lover, a better groundskeeper, a better organizer. The thing I really worry about, my big fear, is that Jo might find someone who is funnier than me. 200125I thought I'd try to find a date for Saturday night, so I watched this dating show called Dateline. The interviewer is a zombie and they keep talking about murders. Forever more I'll be afraid to leave home for a date. 200126It always bothers me that spaceships don't seem to have door locks or ignition keys. I don't really care about the actual mechanism, but it seems there should be some sort of security to prevent just anyone from coming on board or driving away in the ship. 200127Saturn has a dense, visually impressive, ring system. Jupiter, Neptune, and Uranus each have a sparse, barely visible ring system. The nine planets, their moons, the asteroid belt, and all the other detritus in the solar system are the Sun's extremely sparse ring system. 200128The Twilight Zone pool-champion episode taught me that I should never pursue greatness, that mediocrity was far preferable. 200129The Norse used runes for writing and magic. They were most often engraved on stone, so good tools were required to carve them. Sometimes, for magical purposes scissors were used to carve them. The problem with using scissors this way was that the magic was just as likely to cut back at the magician as it was to affect the magician's target. It didn't take long for Norse magicians to teach their apprentices the dangers of runing with scissors. 200130I don't understand how Pepé Le Pew could so easily mistake painted cats for skunks, when skunks are so much more beautiful than cats. 200131Incoherent Late-Night Thought: Interstate roads are really simulations we forgot and left running.

February, 2020 200201There's a big mystery in marine biology as to why whales will beach themselves. Biologists need to apply Occam's Razor and stop overlooking the obvious solution. Whales beach themselves because they've just eaten and they aren't supposed to swim for an hour. If whales could tell time, they'd happily return to the sea after an hour on the beach. 200202Time will be interesting when we put a colony on another planet. Whether the new planet has longer days or years, shorter days or years, or whatever, the calendar will immediately be different between the colony and Earth. New days and months will have to be invented, new seasons, new festivals and celebrations, and nothing will be synchronized with Earth. Warranties, retirement age, drinking age, driving age -- so much will be affected. We'll have to invent a whole new way of looking at and thinking about time. 200203Hockey puts up protective barriers to keep the tiny puck from flying into the stands and injuring a spectator. Car racetracks put up nothing to stop cars and car parts from flying up into the stands and taking out a bunch of spectators. I think this says something about the esteem in which the sport organizers hold their fans. 200204I have a friend who seems to live in an ongoing stream-of-consciousness discussion. When he starts talking to a new person, the discussion stream picks up where it left off with the last person. You never know what has come before, you have to hope enough context will come forth that you can make sense of what's being discussed. There isn't much you can add to the conversation, since it's all going on orbiting around his head. This guy would be great to have for a dentist. There's no conversational requirements from the patient, other than that they have ears to listen to him. They can grunt acknowledgments, but they don't have to ask questions or contribute in any other way. That'd eliminate that awkward way dentists have of expecting you to hold up your end of the conversation when you have fingers and tools and sponges jammed in your mouth. 200205A groundhog's shadow isn't merely an absence of light. Groundhog shadows are interdimensional creatures that are able to see into the future, at least as far as weather is concerned. It all seems fun and innocuous, but I worry about their hidden motives and what else they may be doing besides that once-a-year prognostication. 200206A lot of people, myself included, put AM or PM on times where, contextually, it is completely irrelevant. Sure, let's have a work telecon at 11pm. Let's have dinner at 6am. 200207Trail mix and party mix are both delightful things, each a composite snack built of atoms of yum. Except that people invariably add horrible atoms of yuck to the mix. Most of the time, these composite snacks sit in their containers, just waiting for you to come munch on them. They wait, inert and quiescent. However, they develop a temporary form of sentience and agility when you are trying to skim out a handful of delight without getting any of the horrid bits. That's when those raisins or puffed rice kernels develop an unhealthy attraction to your hand, and you find that snack handful you just got is 62% composed of those pieces of primordial awful condensed into small nuggets of evil. 200208I brought about a cosmic convergence today. I finished a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jam. At the same time! 200209Hope and love are the flint and steel that strike a spark and bring light to the world. 200210When I was a kid, we jumped around on the furniture and pretended the floor was lava. These days, they call that game Parkour. 200211Breakdancing started when some kids tried to play outside right after a freezing rain. Their natural dexterity and style turned a time of low friction into a new form of art. 200212I've read a bunch of mystery novels where the murder weapon was a blunt instrument. It seems it'd be a really unlikely murder weapon, but the bluntest instrument I can think of is a kettle drum. 200213On the talent-show TV shows, you know the acts are doing something dangerous when they pull out the blindfolds. Anyone can juggle hammers, but if someone juggles hammers blindfolded then you can rest assured that those hammers are chain-driven, fanged, and scorpion-tailed. If I ever get on one of those shows, I'm sure it'll be for singing. I'll be sure to pull out a blindfold mid-song just to imply something dangerous is about to happen. 200214A heart is an upside-down butt you share with a smile. 200215Every time I see Azog the Defiler in the Hobbit movies, I think he looks like an angry beluga whale. 200216For a number of years, I've participated in a citizen-scientist program, helping to track population and migration data of a single species. This year, it's expanded beyond cyborgs to also track robots, androids, drones, and other artificial lifeforms. It's called the Great Backyard Borg Count. 200217Toyota has a car called a Solara. Every time I see the name I read it as the Toyota Sclera. That would be a really weird name for a car. 200218A well-known guru on decluttering wrote that you should have fewer than 50 books. I started decluttering today by getting rid of her book. 200219I have always had lots of trouble remembering which way latitude and longitude went. There just wasn't anything I found that was a decent reminder. I was listening to Jimmy Buffett one day and I gained enlightenment. 200220To a percussionist, the whole world is an instrument. 200221I have thought of a way to drive my brother-in-law crazy. I'm going to get a Rubik's Cube and have someone get it one move from being solved. Then I'll put it out and never let anyone touch it. 200222A friend posted that she'd visited the Desert Botanical Gardens in Arizona. Except I misread it as the Dessert Botanical Gardens. Now I reallyreallyreally want to go to the Dessert Botanical Gardens. 200223The health app on my phone counts the daily number of steps taken, the number of floors climbed, and the number of walking miles. It doesn't tell me the important data, things like the number of jokes told, the number of bars crawled, and the number of snide comments kept in my head -- and those statistics are arguably more important to my health than the others. 200224If a neutered dog licked one of those hallucinogenic frogs, what would he be trippin'? 200225Formaldehyde is used to preserve bodies for dignified, solemn funerals. For a quick, dump-'em-in-the-park funeral, you'd use informaldehyde. 200226There's an age-old philosophical question as to whether Life imitates Art or if Art imitates Life. Sure, they both imitate each other in small ways from time to time, but the real answer is that neither imitates the other. Art and Life both imitate Cable Access channel 71, which is a full-time display of wireless cameras strapped to the heads of dogs. 200227Humans have domesticated horses for riding for around 8,000 years. Before that happened, I wonder what the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse rode. Were they always riding horses? Was the fact that they were riding horses a major element of their overwhelming presence? Maybe they rode something other than horses. Before humans rode horses, maybe the Four Riders rode whatever humans happened to ride. Maybe the Four Horsemen were actually the Four Wolfmen of the Apocalypse or the Four Giraffemen of the Apocalypse or the Four Camelmen of the Apocalypse or the Four Piggybackmen of the Apocalypse. If the Four Riders came now, would they be the Four Bicyclemen of the Apocalypse or the Four Pickupmen of the Apocalypse or the Four Skateboardmen of the Apocalypse or the Four Segwaymen of the Apocalypse? 200228I'd love to see a version of "Call of the Wild" where Buck was played by Moon Moon. 200229I've seen a number of organists have to run back and forth between organ and pisno in order to cover all the music for a service. This entails taking off the organ shoes, putting on regular shoes, taking off the regular shoes, putting organ shoes back on, all in the tiny interstitial moments between having to play one instrument then the other. There really should be organ loafers that slip on and off quickly in order to facilitate these quick changes. If organ loafers wouldn't work, then maybe organ galoshes -- orgaloshes -- might work better.

March, 2020 200301At church, the choir recently sang Jester Hairston's excellent spiritual, "Elijah Rock". I really like this song and always look forward to singing it. However, it also has some unexpected imagery with it. The basses start out alone, setting the mood of rock-solid strength. The sopranos and altos then come in, smooth as silk and chocolate, calling Elijah's name in a sensuous, supple response to the basses' call. The opening part of the song makes me think of a movie theme for a suave, worldly private detective. 200302"Florida Man Opens Alligator Petting Zoo"
"Florida Man Delivers Valentines With Crossbow"
"Florida Man, Self-Appointed Florida Pope, Decrees Communion Sacraments Shall Be Cheerwine and Sweetbreads"
Florida Man has become a caricature of all the weird and oddball things people can think up (or, more likely, unthink up) to do. I bet Florida Man is actually a stealth campaign run by Florida's tourism department to try to lure people to visit the state with all these tales of bizarre and wonderful activities awaiting them.
200303When elected officials die in office, it's often the case that the spouse is put in place to fill the position for the remainder of the term. This is a weird way of getting a job, one that is likely to be putting an inexperienced person into a position of power. I'm not aware of other jobs that have that sort of thing. A dead engineer isn't replaced by her husband just because they were married. A dead restaurant waiter isn't replaced by his wife just because they were married. It seems that a mortally vacated political office should be filled based on experience or an election, not on wedding vows. 200304It seems like the VW Beetle should have six wheels. 200305When I had shoulder surgery, they really loaded me up with aesthetics. Now I can't lift my arm without noticing the beauty of the world around me. 200306I had a dream last night wherein I learned that Corgis, lightbulbs, and babies were all roughly the same intelligence level and temperament. This meant that if you know how to deal with one of these, you know how to deal with all three. 200307Traffic cones look like giant candy corns. Every time I get stuck in construction back-ups, I get a barely controllable urge to jump out of my car, grab a traffic cone, and take a big bite. 200308Pandemics affect chefs and forest gods more than anyone else. 200309Bird names sound like the names of superheros and supervillains. For example: Thrasher, Bee Eater, Kingfisher, Woodpecker, Black Vulture, Magpie, Cuckoo, Loon, Diver, Bufflehead, Horned Owl, Roadrunner, Longspur, Hooded Crow, Creeper, Lucifer Hummingbird, Killdeer.Bird Week 2 200310Doves are revolutionaries, always involved in a coo.Bird Week 2 200311I got email about extracting interesting parts of network traffic from the uninteresting parts, and one message got me thinking about birds. The email was talking about separating the wheatears from the chaffinches.Bird Week 2 200312Honing pigeons have the sharpest knives.Bird Week 2 200313During World War II, women stepped up (stepped out, really) and took factory and other jobs outside the home. When the war was over, they found that they liked working outside the home, and were good at it. This brought about a fundamental shift in society, a shift that continues very strong today. The recent Coronavirus epidemic has brought the possibility of a similar societal shift. More and more companies are telling their employees that to protect against the Coronavirus, the employees must stay out of the office and work from home. I predict a likely outcome of this will be to show workers, companies, and managers that people can work effectively from home, that centralized offices are not necessary. People will like working from home. Even after this Coronavirus problem has been solved, people will want to continue working from home. 200314I wonder if redheaded woodpeckers have souls.Bird Week 2 200315John's Law of Extrapolative Ornithology: If it looks like a duck and silhouettes like a duck, it's gotta be a female Greater Scaup of the subspecies that only lives on Lake Huron and Lake Erie.Bird Week 2 200316In times past, fairies would leave changlings for humans to raise. Cuckoos and Cowbirds both lay their eggs in other birds' nests, leaving them to be hatched and raised by the other birds. I think this similarity is not an accident. I think the fae of the Seelie Court evolved into Cuckoos, while the fae of the Unseelie Court evolved into Cowbirds.Bird Week 2 200317My favorite bird in Ireland has very strong ideas and feelings about things, and doesn't hesitate to make them known. It's the O'Piñion Jay.Bird Week 2 200318When an author goes into great detail explaining why a prison absolutely cannot be broken out of, you know know that a prison break will occur by the end of the chapter. 200319Gentle rumbles sound from the depths, calling the Bears of Dusk once more to the enfolding Caves of Autumn. The Tigers of the Sun wake from their winter slumbers. Their yawns swell the winds of Spring that breathe warmth anew to the land.Seasons of Bears and Tigers 200319Pen caps are chewtoys for humans. 200320Past Me: Look at this big bowl of spaghetti noodles! I'll put a bunch on my plate to have with sauce, but I'll also grab a yummy handful to eat cold while the plate is heating.
Current Me: Dagnabbit. There aren't enough spaghetti noodles to do anything useful with. Damn you, Past Me, I hate you so much.
200321It's said that more sharks have seen you than you have seen sharks. This implies that sharks have internet access and are addicted to the livestream version of Google Street View. 200322Laziness combined with a 90% empty fridge engenders faith in divine culinary manifestations.Food Week 18 200323Bread is soft and delicious. Stale bread is hard and crunchy and not nearly so delicious. Toast is hard and crunchy and somewhat burned and delicious. Apparently, the difference in physical qualities between toast and stale bread is that toast is somewhat burned. My toaster is having an identity crisis. It takes a piece of bread and gives you something that is toast on one side and stale bread on the other. I don't know why it doesn't do both sides the same, whether its toast or stale bread, but the toaster insists on only producing half toast, half stale bread. I think it would be better described as a toaster-staler. I don't really see that name as being particularly successful when it comes to advertising.Food Week 18 200324The best hot pepper for bringing order and balance to your life is the chi-potle pepper.Food Week 18 200325Mashed potatoes are just potato dip with pretensions.Food Week 18 200326Anchovy afishionados know everyone hates anchovies but they are always surprised when people exclaim in disgust and absolutely refuse to have fish on shared pizza.Food Week 18 200327Mrs. Butterworth's name implies that there must be a Mr. Butterworth. We never hear about him though. If her claim to fame is any indication of his own, then he must be a purveyor of barbecue sauce. I'm guessing then that Mrs. Butterworth is married to either Sweet Baby Ray or Stubbs.Food Week 18 200328No matter what color the carrots are, they're still carrots.Food Week 18 200329Handwashing is all the rage. 20 seconds minimum is the requirement. 20 seconds overall? 20 seconds for each and every part of the hand? Do germs and viruses have an internal clock that tells them that contact with soap kills them after 20 seconds? Or is it the hot water? The vigorous scrubbing? These guidelines on handwashing just don't cover all the needed information. 200331"Shelter in place" is a polite way of saying "Vector in place".

April, 2020 200401I have it on good authority that COVID-19 is heavier than air, so it tends to settle down at floor level. This raises the obvious and important question -- how much is COVID-19 subject to the 5 Second Rule? 200402Doctors and nurses are extremely worried about their cow-orkers getting infected; they really worry about staff infections. 200403With all the brushing and flossing for these aligners, my teeth and gums are in the best condition they've ever been in. They're in for a heck of a shock next year once I finish with these aligners and don't have to wear them any more. 200404There's been a lot of discussion about risk factors with this current novel coronavirus. Luckily for me, I only read non-fiction. 200405You could be absolutely innocent and pure as the driven snow, but if you're digging a hole while wearing a suit then something seriously suspicious is happening. If you're wearing a suit while digging a hole at night, then something's dead. 200406I wonder how many babies conceived in the next month or two will nine months later be named Corona. 200407We have a symbiotic relationship with the bacteria in our digestive system. We feed them and they help us digest food. Under the surface, it isn't quite so happy and supportive. If we stop feeding them, their response will be to start eating us. 200408As a kid, we always loved to hear the music from the ice cream truck as it drove down the street. The ice cream man! What wondrous treats awaited us! The joy and anticipation that kids get from the ice cream music should be available to adults. There should be booze trucks that drive around neighborhoods in the evening, playing joyful happy music to let the adults know that delight and happiness are on their way. 200409If I ever work on a killer android, I'm going to work hard to ensure it ends up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. 200410Sean Connery's "One ping only" line from "Hunt for Red October" is an aurally iconic line that's impossible to see and not have Connery's voice read it into your brain. The same goes for a few other lines, such as "Mr. Anderson", "nice chianti", "I can do this all day", and anything that rhymes with "Stella". While I was meaning the original actors for those lines, now I want to hear Sean Connery do them all. 200411I don't see how pet birds can trust their owners. Every day, the owners change their plumage -- color, style, consistency -- and act like nothing's different. How could their owners be so blasé about such a major change? They must be up to something! 200412If life was fair, we'd get a breakfast for every wake-up alarm we set. 200413The dentist said this first set of dental aligners were essentially "training wheels" for the rest of the aligner sets. I can't help but think that this is really just getting me trained for dentures. 200414The problem with comedians using gallows humor is that too often they just leave you hanging. 200415As we all know, 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything. However, we never stopped to ask what base it's in. 200416If people were given the choice between Free Will and Free Wifi, I bet more people would choose Free Wifi. 200417The social-distancing guidelines in Florida are that people need to keep a large alligator between themselves and everyone else. I am in awe of Florida people knowing that they've all got their own alligator they tote around wherever they go. Floridians are on another plane of existence from the boring one I live on. 200418Piling stuff on the organ bench is the equivalent of putting an instrument in its case. 200419There was once a renowned explorer who always carried his favorite dessert in his hat. It was a pith of cake.Blue-Haired Great-Aunt of Dumb Joke Week 200420I always wonder what mother issues were had by composers of a Stabat Mater.Blue-Haired Great-Aunt of Dumb Joke Week 200421When Noah built his boat, it was state of the ark.Blue-Haired Great-Aunt of Dumb Joke Week 200422Q: What is a reference librarian's favorite pain killer?
A: Ibidprofin.Blue-Haired Great-Aunt of Dumb Joke Week
200423Seismologists are always looking at the world for faults.Blue-Haired Great-Aunt of Dumb Joke Week 200424Cannibals lurked on the edges of things back in the Golden Age of Comedy, picking off a comedian here and a ventriloquist there. Modern cannibals missed out on the two most coveted dishes from the age of vaudeville: Curry Shemp and Curly Shrimp. 200425In the US health industry, patient privacy is protected by the HIPAA-cratic oath.Blue-Haired Great-Aunt of Dumb Joke Week 200426I've got a great solution to keep people in bars from being served more alcohol long after they're drunk. Bars should have a bunch of small lockboxes. Everyone who comes in has to lock up their car keys in one of these lockboxes. Some form of biometric check is required to lock the box, and a matching check opens the box. However, there must also be a test of the blood alcohol level. Once the keys are locked up, the lockbox won't open until the blood alcohol level passes and the biometric check ensures the owner's identity. The collateral effect is that non-drivers can't leave the bar while stinking drunk, which seems much more acceptable than drivers leaving the bar while stinking drunk. 200427The one important thing the hedgehog knows is how to use a search engine. 200428Ultimate terror in the Era of Zoom: Performing an act of "nasal maintenance" in the middle of a Zoom call and forgetting to ensure the camera is off.
Ultimate relief in the Era of Zoom: Panic-checking the camera after the "nasal maintenance" and finding that it is indeed turned off.
200429An ongoing joke during some of the recent Doctor Who episodes was the name of the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius. I never got the hang of pronouncing that name, nor of even remembering it. Fairly quickly, I was mentally translating that name into Corticosteroids and leaving it at that. 200430I'm going to write a play called "Waiting for Thoreau". It's going to feature a couple guys standing around waiting and complaining because Thoreau is late and they're having to wait for him. It turns out Thoreau is late because he took the road less travelled and got lost. So lost, in fact, that he ended up in a play where the two characters waiting for him really should have been waiting for Frost.

May, 2020 200501Back in the 60's, I was the cook in a commune full of stand-up comics. There were some real adventures and lots of fun had there. I've written my autobiography of that time, and it'll be published soon. It'll be called "Soup to Nuts". 200502If you love someone plutonically, does that mean you're a necrophiliac? 200503With trouble from the past looming over the Federation, a heroic captain weaves through time back to the 19th century for a steampunk adventure, in Star Trek: Jacquard. 200504Marine psychologists test depressed sharks to see when they can return to the oceans. The primary testing method is to have the sharks look at the shape of blood spills in the water. The sharks can return to the ocean when they pass these Rohrshark tests. 200505In these Covid-19 days, handshaking is a problem due to the spread of virus. You've got the two hands, cozying up to each other, the viruses intermingling and friendly. Handshakes are like a nice cocktail party among friends. Friends that are trying to kill their host, but still friends. People have been replacing the handshake with the fistbump. In one way, this is better than the handshake because a lot less viruses are transferred. However, fistbumps are a real problem because the viruses that are transferred are the really bloodthirsty viruses. They're like pirates during a boarding action when the ships are in close. The viruses that transfer during a fistbump are screaming, they have matches burning in their beards, they're whaling away with weapons in all their hands, they're gnawing on their own hooks, they're drunk lunatics that are trying to wreak as much devastation as they possibly can. These viruses don't care where they end up, they're just wanting to chew on something. That's why six-foot social distancing is so important. Covid-19 viruses are vicious little bastards, but they can only leap three feet. Anything more than that is just too much trouble and they don't bother. 200506When Jo got out of Hopkins from heart surgery, they gave her a big red heart-shaped pillow. I wonder what kinds of pillows are given by their other departments. What kind of pillows do the brain-, reproductive-, or butt-health departments give patients? 200507When I was a kid, books and TV and movies taught me that the plants during dinosaur times were all ferns and trees with coconut-fronds. That got to be such a pervasive thing that for a while whenever I saw ferns I wondered if I'd fallen into a Land That Time Forgot pocket that had dinosaurs strolling around. 200508It is very encouraging that the Earth is recovering so quickly from pollution and junk, now that people aren't travelling as much or going out so much. Planetary resilience is a very good thing, and it's quite reassuring that things have cleaned up some just as a result of our absence. However, people should also be frightened by this resilience. With the quick recovery there's the subtle hint that humans can disappear fairly quickly and maybe the planet won't miss us too much. 200509It's funny how Jo and I had completely different reactions to part of the original Disney Jungle Book movie. Jo was influenced by the Pachyderm Patrol to have a life-long love of elephants. I, on the other hand, was influenced by the evil King Louie to have a life-long dislike of jazz. 200510They say you can't have your cake and eat it too. I have found that not to be true. Whenever I eat a whole cake, I carry it around with me for a month or two afterwards.Food Week 19 200511The rich often eat food that is one food stuffed inside another food. Meat stuffed into bread. Crab stuffed into fish. Duck stuffed wih oranges. Pheasant stuffed into a glass. This cuisine methodology is the rich subtly telling the world to get stuffed.Food Week 19 200512Quality fusion cuisine involves a meal having dishes from different cuisines served together. On different plates. Not mixing together. Not touching.Food Week 19 200513Fig newtons are a betrayal of cookies.Food Week 19 200514In China, they add red food coloring to their Maonnaise.Food Week 19 200515Icing is a multipurpose substance, elemental and multitasking in its essence. It is delicious and the entire point of cake. It is also a glue that holds together cake that is calving chunks like a glacier. It can provide a lovely decoration and artistry to a cake. Similarly, it can hide the poor visual execution of a cake and it can also cover up the poor gastronomic execution of a cake. Icing is delightful and practical, all at the same time.Food Week 19 200516My church had many covered-dish dinners when I was a kid. There was always a lot of good food, as well as a lot of mediocre food. The mediocre food helped me to learn how to combine unexpected things to turn mediocre into something good. For example, it was from a covered-dish that I learned how bacos could make a boring potato salad into a thing of beauty.Food Week 19 200517Chipmunks move so fast and in such small bursts, that watching them is like watching a streaming video over a congested network. 200518The best thing about plain cheese pizza is that there's rarely any cause to complain about the skimpiness of the toppings. 200519I am too apathetic to care about your apathy. 200520Winter has claws, Summer has fangs. 200521You can always tell when a cow is unhappy because of the moue on their face. 200522Grandma would have known right away it was a wolf if Red Riding Hood ever bothered to shave her legs. 200523Whenever I cut up plastic six-pack holders, I get grand visions that I'm a mighty eco-warrior environmentalist. 200524I try to be very careful online, and I have software set up to screen and block cookies that random websites try to push on me. If websites asked me if I'd accept chocolate chip cookies, I'd disable my blocker so fast, my keyboard would melt. 200525In olden days, people used candles all the time and therefore they loved wax. This led to additional uses for wax, and men indulged in moustache-waxing. These days, candles aren't used nearly as much, so moustache-waxing has gone out of favor. If you can trust the internet, which I do implicitly, then other substances are now so widely popular that they're the ideal things for the facially hirsute. I am now the chief ambassador for the new art of moustache-cheesing and beard-bacongreasing. 200526Having watched quite a few dinosaur movies, I've learned that T-Rexes walked with a distinctive gait. The body bent forward at the hip, with the head and long tail counterbalancing each other. The little forelegs were too useless to help with movement so the T-Rex would walk by swaying from leg to leg, rather than move the way animals with four functional legs would move. Over time, the T-Rex evolved into the Velociraptor. The overall size decreased, but the arms got longer and more useful. The Velociraptor also got smarter. They were still bipedal and couldn't use their forelegs for running, but they also had great claws on all their feet. These claws were very useful for eviscerating prey and opening door handles. Velociraptors also grew smarter and could easily outthink the T-Rex. With my extensive study of Eastern Grey Squirrels, I've found that the squirrels sit with their head and upper body leaning forward, their tail providing a counterbalance, and the forelegs are dexterous and long enough to assist with eating and many other tasks. Squirrels sit with the same pose as T-Rexes stood, but there's a significant difference in the way they run. This difference comes down to the squirrel's functional forelegs. Squirrels are also substantially smarter then dumb ol' T-Rex. Combining all these facts, the only reasonable conclusion is that the Eastern Grey Squirrel is the direct descendent of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Velociraptor, but squirrels traded the immense size for functional, useful forelegs and exceptional brains. Generalizing these conclusions, body size is in inverse proportion to brain size and the length of the appendages closest to the head. Increase one side of the equation, and the other side has no choice but to decrease. Unfortunately, this evolutionary path remains shrouded in mystery because the Velociraptor lived millions of years earlier than the T-Rex. 200527Knitting was invented to train replacements for the Fates. 200528People joke about food in one's beard as being a snack saved for later. That's sometimes true, but often not. No one seems to appreciate the kindness and selflessness involved when you tell them that you've actually saved it for them. 200529People talk about something really bad being an "unmitigated disaster." It seems that's an unnecessary redundancy, since disasters are pretty much all unmitigated. If they were mitigated, they wouldn't be disasters. 200530There's this really spiffy vinyl cover for refrigerator doors that looks like Han Solo in carbonite. It's made for over-and-under two-door refrigerators. So what it's showing is that you've got Han Solo, embedded in carbonite, standing up in your kitchen -- and you decided to cut him in half. 200631So often, May comes in with a roar and goes out with a fart.

June, 2020 200601Websites uses captchas, select-a-pix, and other tools to ensure they're talking with a person and not a robot. The websites themselves are robots, so it seems it'd be easier if they'd just check the rosters from the Robot Meetings. You know robots are smug and wouldn't hesitate to brag about the humans they're masquerading as. Robots probably even have scorecards and worldwide standings -- online, of course -- that could be checked. Life would be so much easier if website robots would handle things automatically for us. 200602I have trouble even believing that the website robots care whether or not another robot gets in. Maybe the website robots are the dorky, anal-retentive, bow-tie wearing snots that are willing to rat out the other robots. They're happiest when they force others to obey the rules, no matter how oiky the rules are. This does raise an unsettling question though. How can robots be anal-retentive? 200603Contrary to common wisdom, Nature does not abhor a vacuum. However, it prefers to leave it to the maid service to use. 200604Ogres follow a "No ogre left behind" ethos. It's a little different from the way most people think of it. If an ogre is alive but injured, then it'll be bandaged up and shlepped along. If it isn't alive, well. That ex-ogre won't be left behind, but it will likely make a trip to the stew pot along the way. 200605As a kid, I learned that you mustn't play with your bellybutton because it might come untied and your guts will spill out. This is really silly. After millennia of births, I'm sure doctors have developed foolproof knots that won't come untied just from a little navel fiddling. 200606Many years ago, back in my early days of software development, I spent time doing assembly-language programming. The assembly instructions were always arcane abbreviations that usually were an acronym of some sort. LR was Load Register; BC was Branch on Condition; STCM was Store Characters under Mask. My friends and I would sometimes invent new instructions for functionality we wish we had. The one I remember was the DWIM instruction, which would tell the computer to Do What I Mean instead of what I was telling it. Even after all these years, I still long for a DWIM-witted computer. 200607Dancers are, by definition, bones players. 200608Harpies were invented when an ancient Greek (probably Zeus) looked at some birds and said, "Yeah, they're cute in a homely sort of way, but they'd be really sexy if they had breasts." 200609One of the long-term, consistent problems of the presidency is the president's office. This problem goes back to the construction of the White House, when the builders followed their misreading of the blueprints instead of following what the blueprints actually said. If I were president I would fix this. One of my first acts as president would be to use redecoration and reconstruction to restore the intentions of the original architect. I would modify the office so that it could once more be known by its true name, the Owl Office. 200610I wonder why things are plugged in and unplugged, rather than inplugged or plugged out. 200611My mother is an excellent cook. She could make all sorts of things, almost of gourmet quality. Except soup. Her soups were terrible. She just never could make a decent pot of soup, even if she took it straight from a can. She knew her limitation, but that didn't stop her from trying with a dreadful batch of soup here, an awful pot of soup there. As a child, I did my best to not get in trouble because I knew if I did, it would lead to my mother washing my mouth out with soup. 200612I played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons in my youth, back in the dark ages. This was when Advanced D&D was the hot new thing. My friends and I had a vague idea that the setting behind the scenes was roughly medieval, roughly England. The way language was handled in AD&D makes me think this was not actually the case. The Players Handbook had rules for languages that the various races could speak. Elves could speak from nine to twelve languages and dwarves could speak seven languages. Even half-orcs could speak from three to five languages. All the different species could speak several languages, and they could all speak the language of humans. But humans themselves? Not a word was written about how many languages a human could learn, other than that they had a language. Given this lack of rules for humans and languages, I can only conclude that humans could speak their own language and nothing else. This leads me to believe that rather than medieval-ish England, Advanced D&D was really based in a medieval-ish USA that had knights, wizards, and fantasy critters. 200613One of my favorite things to do is curling with a good book, but it tends to drive librarians insane. 200614Whenever I hear the word pinniped, I always picture a walrus wearing an apron. (Aprons are pinafores...) 200615Alpacas have these vicious fighting teeth that are used to protect against predators, and by male alpacas to fight for mates. Alpacas will be particularly nasty when we are faced with the undead at the coming Zombie Alpacalypse. 200616In recent months, many people have quickly grown to love the benefits of Working =46rom Home, and will b wanting to continue with it long after the current crisis passes. However, there are some negative aspects to it as well. The major downside to Working =46rom Home is that you also Live At Work. 200617Graphs are just numbers in pretty colors and with the sharp edges sanded off. 200618Everyone knows how death works. When Death comes for you, you suddenly find yourself standing beside a body. A sudden shock strikes when you recognize that the body's face also happens to be your face. Happened to have been. Then you plead or rage at Death for a bit, depending on who you are. Who you were. Then you go off with Death... Somewhere. That's all well and good, and there's a fairly long precedent for that sequence of events. I wonder what happened way back long and long ago. What happened before there were mirrors, before people knew what they looked like? Death would appear and they'd suddenly be looking down at some dead body that happened to be wearing their clothes. Instead of identifying one's self with the face, perhaps identity was wrapped up entirely in one's wardrobe. Maybe fashion is a lingering identity link to the age before mirrors and should be held in deep esteem for its function in once allowing us to realize when we had died. 200619It's a little-known fact, difficult for the layman to understand, that no matter how good a movie's theme music, it rarely has anything to do with the plot of the movie. 200620Ah, Summer! All the signs of Summer -- warmth, heat, sunlight, and the smell of fresh-mown grass. Mmm, the smell of cut grass. I've heard that that smell is actually the olfactory screaming of the grass in pain as it's being butchered. If scent release is how plants announce their distress and pain, then tomato plants must be the most paranoid, the most hypersensitive plants around. Even a fleeting, nondestructive brush against a tomato leaf and the smell of tomato plants is released in the air. The delicious, fragrant, delightful, amazing scent of tomatoes... 200621It's long past time for herd immunity to come into effect against racism and sexism. 200622Our mail delivery has gotten pretty hit-and-miss lately. We get piles of mail that should have gone to others, and it makes me wonder how much of our mail gets misdelivered to other people. I've steamed over this for a while, but I have recently realized that this is a brilliant new method of sorting the mail. The mail carriers get a pile of mail and don't bother sorting it. They put a handful of letters in each box along their route. People get mail from their box, keep their own mail, and put everything else back in the box to be picked up the next day. The next day, the carrier picks up stuff from a box and puts it into the next box along their route. Eventually, all this misdirected mail will wind up in the proper mailbox, and all will be well. I'm sure this new method of sorting will streamline and expedite mail delivery. 200623I've heard lots of people say that wide-reaching educational curricula are unnecessary. They never use trigonometry. They don't need no goodish English grammar. Beowulf and Elizabeth Bennet are irrelevant to their lives. Only chemists care about how many moles or ferrets are in Avogadro's Number. It seems very shortsighted to me the way people turn their backs on knowledge. I am so glad I had to take a huge range of courses when I was in school. I use this stuff all the time. All these things feed into my humor and jokes, and I'd be pretty dang boring without this wide range of knowledge. 200624The wren gathers bits of gossip throughout the summer, tucking them beneath his feathers so they fluff up and keep him warm all winter. 200625Punctuation gives writing structure and form. Writing without punctuation has the illusion of freedom, but is really a step away from collapsing in chaos. Apunctuational writing is textual jazz. 200626In an effort to help my survivors, I've started writing down various anecdotes that can be used to write my eulogy. I call this my eul-log. 200627The funeral is over, the music has been played, the eulogy has been given. Now comes the hard part. 200628After several months of wearing a mask in public, I have a much deeper appreciation for women talking about not shaving during the winter. 200629When people write about going to a hair salon, I've found it's much more interesting to read it as hair salmon. 200630Pushing the glasses up the nose is the secret, stealthy way glasses-wearers have of giving glasses-free people the finger.

July, 2020 200701Hamlet is known to have had allergies because of that part of his famous soliloquy -- "Eyes, there's the rub."Literature Week 7 200702If you're reading an urban fantasy novel and the bad-ass, hard-as-nails characters start talking about shoe brands, it's time to throw the book away.Literature Week 7 200703From now on, I plan to read the word "robot" as "roo", and mentally replace the robots with kangaroos. This is making me eagerly anticipate reading "I, Roo", "Roos and Empire, and the Murder-Roo Diaries. The Terminator and Star Wars movies will also make for fun viewing.Literature Week 7 200704Calamari and sushi chefs gained great popularity in Ipswich shortly after a shadow rose just down the road over Innsmouth.Literature Week 7 200705The first version of "IT Chapter 2" was significantly different to what was eventually produced. The sequel was supposed to involve time travel, and mostly take place back during the Roman Empire. Pennywise was to be responsible for the deaths of Julius Caesar and the Roman Senate. The title was to have been "IT 2: Brute".Literature Week 7 200706The One Ring disowned Sauron because he kept using "Yellow Rose of Texas" as his ring tone.Literature Week 7 200707There wasn't really a Sauron or any rings of power. That whole journey of the Fellowship was a reality show for palantír subscribers. Strider was the Middle Earth incarnation of Bear Grylls, so you know what the hobbits were drinking in the wilderness.Literature Week 7 200708I've seen quite a few presentations dealing with malicious users -- hackers, spies, and script-kiddies. Many of these use a small image to represent these bad guys that is neutral (generic computer icon) to kind of dashing (Anonymous or masked person). Rather than give any amount of positive reinforcement, I think these Bad Guys should be represented by the standard poop emoji. 200709Back in the 90's, a sitcom made an interesting statement about ice, saying that it was "water, cold, and time". This works out to a physics equation: water + cold + time = ice. Mathematical juggling leads to several interesting calculations:
water = ice - cold - time
cold = ice - water - time
time = ice - water - cold
This shows that ice is a fundamental, yet mysterious, part of the universe, probably on a par with dark matter.
200710Several keys on my keyboard have become very inconsistent in whether or not they work. If I on't pay attntion then thos ltters are often dropp from what I typ. (That last sentence is the unfixed way it was typed.) It often seems that this keyboard must have been used to give Unix commands their original names. 200711If you want to know how much you use a particular finger, just put a bandaid on that fingertip. 200712With all this social isolation and quarantining, people are getting stir-crazy and looking for outdoors activities they can engage in and not be concerned about Covid-19. Here are several activities at low risk for Covid-19: kicking a bear in the nuts, shark wrestling, and hippo tickling. If you engage in those outdoor activities, you can be fairly sure you won't have to worry about Covid-19. 2007132020 has been a year of rolling disasters. Covid-19, murder hornets, blindingly stupid politicians, Australia's bush fires, hurricanes, tornados, to name a few. Lately, people have been saying -- with great relief -- that 2020 is half over. We are all eagerly awaiting the end of this year of disasturds, but I wonder why people think this is going to end just because 2021 arrives. Maybe 2020 was sent to soften us up for the next couple of years. 200714When I first heard about monkey-eating eagles, the whole concept sounded hilarious. It was so improbable that I couldn't help but laugh. Then I saw a picture of one. Those things are terrifying. Beautiful and impressive, but terrifying. Then I saw that PSA with the emotional Sarah MacLachlan song, where she sings about the critically endangered monkey-eating eagles and the abuse and torment of the monkeys, and now I'm just left confused about the whole monkey-eating eagle concept. Are they the Good Guys? Are they the Bad Guys? Maybe those monkeys are really the evil ones and the monkey-eating eagles are saving the world. Maybe the monkeys are benevolent humanitarians. Monkey-eating eagles are still terrifying and beautiful, no question there, but they're definitely confusing. 200715I have developed a superpower. It's not a good superpower. It isn't a useful superpower, like super-strength or teleportation. It isn't a cool superpower, like talking to animals or shapeshifting. My superpower is inconvenient and gets in the way. My superpower is to wake up a minute before my alarm goes off. 200716Guy Davis is Superman to me. In classic Superman lore, Superman only had to put on a pair of glasses and people only saw Clark Kent. The glasses, especially when paired with a hat, were great camouflage for hiding Superman. I've known Guy Davis for about 20 years now, seeing him every summer or two at Common Ground. At the start of classes in 2019, I was waiting for instructor orientation to start. I saw a dashing guy sitting a little ways away, someone I didn't recognize. I assumed he was a new teacher that year, so I decided to be friendly and welcome him to Common Ground. When I did, he smiled and said, "Hi, I'm Guy." He took off his hat and wham! There he was! Guy Davis! I had just welcomed Guy Davis as a new teacher to Common Ground. Guy, of course, was gracious and forgiving and amused by it. I can't say how much of an idiot I felt like. I think his hat really confused my poor brain. I feel a sense of kinship with all those who don't see past Clark Kent's glasses to see Superman. To me, Guy Davis is Superman. 200717In "Romancing the Stone", Jack Colton was heroic and pretty. He was a great hero for the movie. At least, he was until you think a bit about the character. It's usually overlooked that Jack Colton was a smuggler that trafficked in endangered species. 200718In Middle Earth, a small kingdom of dwarves ran the Grey Havens, the port from which the elves sailed to Aman. These were the Harbour Dwarves, and they provided the skills and labor required to build, outfit, and load the ships for the elves. The dwarves who loaded the ships were known as the stevedwarves. Nandina was the harbourmaster who oversaw all operations at the harbour, and responsibility for everything related to the harbour fell to him. He was the Harbour Dwarf Nandina. 200719It's odd that so many of the people who say they never owned slaves and therefore have no slavery guilt are the same people who hold today's Jews responsible for Jesus' death. 200720Occasionally, after giving blood I'll be given a gift card to Amazon as an expression of appreciation. Even though these are good for anything, it seems that I should use them for vampire books. 200721Recitative is opera's version of rap. 200722The Jurassic Park movies have convinced the world that velociraptors were incredible predators -- six-foot long, scimitar-clawed, cunning, highly intelligent, pack-hunting, lizards of death. In reality, velociraptors were much smaller, about the size of a large chicken or a turkey. I think it would be great to have a movie where a bunch of turkeys escaped from Glow-Bob's Turkey Farm, the one just down the road from the nookyooler power plant. These turkeys would be mutants -- scimitar-clawed, cunning, highly intelligent, pack-hunting, turkeys of death. Still the size of an average turkey, just because it'd be so funny to see packs of mutant turkeys on the prowl, hunting down their hereditary enemies, the Thanksgiving diner. 200723Balaam's story in Numbers 22 shows that sometimes you should pay attention when someone is speaking out of their ass. 200724I saw a sign today that said, "MONSTER YARD SALE!" I'm not sure if the people are selling a bunch of monsters or if monsters are selling the monster paraphernalia they no longer need. The first would be really convenient -- it's always nice to pick up a spare werewolf or mummy to keep on hand. The second might be interesting because you'd see what stuff monsters want to get rid of. I haven't seen signs for this, but I'd like to go to a MAD SCIENTIST YARD SALE. There's no telling what cool equipment and spare parts a mad scientist is dumping. 200725As darkness falls, the Night Starling slowly unfurls her wings across the sky. The stars peek out from her feathers, tiny lanterns unshuttered to guide us in the night. 200726If you never aged and it seemed you would live forever, it seems there would be a couple paths you might take. There would be the urge to learn as many skills and develop as many talents and abilities as possible. There would also be the urge to not waste the time doing anything like that; since you'll live forever why not just blow off everything for the next couple decades? I wonder which urge would be stronger. 200727Common wisdom says that you should clean your dryer's lint trap to keep the lint from catching fire and burning the house down. That is a concern, but it's a very minor concern. The real concern with lint traps is that the "lint" is actually the ghosts of the clothes that have been washed. If you don't clean out the lint trap frequently, then the captured ghosts will hit a critical mass and you'll be headed for a disaster of biblical proportions. 200728I saw a meme whose text was "Can I buy a vowel?" I have no idea why, but I read it as "Can I buy a werewolf?" Forget all these dumb trivia- and athletic-based game shows, I want to see a game show where monsters and werewolves feature prominently. 200729I have a cooking-based fear. I fear that when I'm putting anything in the oven or taking anything out of the oven, the oven door will snap shut on my hands. Even if the door is firmly held open and can't close unexpectedly, I still fear it might happen. It doesn't help that ovens look like big muppety faces with big huge mouths just beckoning me to put in my hands and other things. 200730My ambition is to grow my beard long enough that I can braid it and use it as a tie. 200731I want to remake "Young Frankenstein" but have it take place in Russia and have the characters be well-known Russians. For instance, the monster will be played by a strongman named Vladimir. The highlight of the new movie will be when Dr. Frankenshtein and the monster perform their big song and dance, "Putin on the Ritz".

August, 2020 200801It's got to be really hot for warm clothes fresh from the dryer not to feel like a real treat to put on. 200802The reason Trump is so afraid of TikTok is that, like the crocodile and Captain Hook, the name TikTok reminds him of his lurking, imminent ouster. 200803Using tools of wood and metal and plastic, you transmute grief and pain and fear into peace and acceptance and calm. You are truly an alchemist of the soul. 200804Spiders are like children; they should be not seen and not heard and not bitey. 200805A hand in position to play on a guitar's neck looks just like a sloth hanging from a tree branch. 200806In these days of Covid, interviews for late-night shows are being conducted in people's homes. It's interesting to see how people present themselves with the decorations and contents of their homes. As a result of these interviews, it appears that many, many people play guitar. If by some miracle, a late-night show decides I should be interviewed, I'm going to give a lot of thought to how my own room is decorated. I'm definitely going to have at least one instrument visible, maybe several. Not a guitar, of course, because everyone is doing guitars. I might get an electric bass or a tuba or a hurdy-gurdy. My bagpipe will definitely be in view, sitting inside a top hat with a spatula. 200807The way dogs and other animals pee on trees and other parts of the landscape isn't really just a means of marking their territory. It's really the way animals have of mapping the world. It's their GPS system. 200808When I hear about someone being murdered with a blunt instrument, I imagine they were whacked over the head with a big pot-pipe, and when it hit it went "BONG!" 200809I've read a number of SF books where humans have spread out into the solar system or the galaxy, and Earth has fought hard to maintain supremacy over the colonies. It has usually ended up with the colonies as virtual slaves to Earth, and those situations never end well. I would hope that humanity would learn from this fiction and handle future colonizations in a more rational, humane way, but I fear that's a futile hope. We haven't learned from our actual history, so why would we heed fiction? 200810Odin was ably assisted by Huginn and Munnin, who brought him information from all around the world. Chapter 59 of Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda implies that crow was another word for raven, for the Norse. It is very possible that Huginn and Munnin were actually hooded crows. 200811Epidemiologists, medical researchers, and historians estimate that more than 75 million people died from the Black Plague. Psychologists and sociologists know this number is wildly overestimated, and it's probably no more than five million people. The other many millions of deaths were a result of seven years of home-schooling and self-isolation and quarantining. 200812You'll know women are getting some measure of equality when these athletics-based game shows put the women's final competitions on after the men's finals. 200813There's no way on earth I'd want to be on a reality show. It's bad enough having a memory (mine or my wife's) of all the stupid things I say and do. Why would I want a camera following me around all day, making an actually recording of it? 200814Killer whales are masters of disguise. They all wear these cheery, happy, black-and-white penguin costumes so they can get up close to you. You're thinking, "Aaawwww, lookit these big ol' penguins! What cuties!" Then the killer whales open their mouths and show you that while penguins have bills, killer whales have big sharp teeth. 200815My career as a scientist isn't going very well. I do all this great research, write these groundbreaking papers, but none of my papers are accepted for publication. It may be because I always use the same line at the end of the conclusions section: "Based on a true story." 200816Part of the 23rd Psalm is, "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies." When I was a dumb kid, I thought this was saying God would give me all sorts of great food -- chocolate cake, pizza, spaghetti -- while all my enemies would only have liver and brussels sprouts. With a bit of wisdom (I hesitate to say maturity), I think it's more basic than that. Rather than taunting your enemies with your better food, I think it's more about being able to have a time of peace and respite despite those who surround you. 200817While Covid is an issue, I think I should wear dirty, stinky clothes when I go out in public. If other people maintain good social distancing, they won't notice the stinky clothes. If they don't do good social distancing, well, they get what they deserve. 200818Fear is what you feel before trauma kicks you in the nuts. 200819There's an old proverb that says something about within each of us are two wolves, and evil and good, and feeding one wolf, and starving a fever. I think instead of having two wolves inside me, I've got a squirrel running around on one side, Moon-moon running around on the other, and a Zen Master Cow who tries to keep them from coming together and exploding in a fountain of phrenetic stupid. 200820Here's an image to consider if you ever start thinking that a single letter isn't very important. Imagine a bunch of crows flying around over roadkill on a highway, raucously cawing, drizzling down a gentle rain of crowplops. Nothing too odd there. Now, imagine seeing a bunch of cows flying around over roadkill on a highway, placidly mooing, bombarding down a torrent of cowplops. That would be so strange that you're likely to wreck your car and die. You can see how important a single missing letter is. That's why the government must continue to fund the Post Office. 200821It often seems like social media was invented to be a self-help therapy tool. It shows you the least common denominator of society, and lets you feel better because as bad as you are, you aren't that bad. 200822Douglas Adams invented the Babel Fish for "Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy". That'd be a wonderful thing, and I'd definitely plop one in my ear. From when we were dating until now, I think Jo would have been ecstatic to get hold of a Greenwich Fish to shove in my ear. 200823The word "yea" is used in the Bible as sort of an affirmative, this-is-what-I'm-saying, sort of word. I'm used to hearing it in an inflectionless way, just a word to get past that doesn't mean much, a mild intensifier at best. I think I'm going to start reading it as a cheer. "YAAAY! Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death!" "YAAAY! He shall be blessed!" "YAAAY! Every man against his son!" "YAAAY! Certain women also of our company made us astonished!" It'll make scripture readings more interesting. 200824The Great Pyramid of Giza was built around 2580 BC. Woolly mammoths went extinct about 4000 years ago, which means that woolly mammoths were still alive when the Great Pyramid was built. I feel that if the secret chambers and writings hidden inside the Great Pyramid are ever discovered and made public, it will be shown that woolly mammoths were used to build the Great Pyramid. Further, it will be shown that the Great Pyramid was built to be a barn or health spa for woolly mammoths. 200825I can't wait for 2020 to be hindsight. 200826Most guys have several common types of pictures for their profiles on dating sites. These common types have even become rather clichéd, to the point where they're red flags for many women. These are things like the pic-with-puppy, the pic-inna-tanktop, the pic-with-slightly-uglier-friends. If I ever have to use a dating site, I know exactly the pictures that I'll post, and it won't be any of those. I'm going to have pic-with-spice-cabinet, pic-with-lotions-and-soap-onna-clean-bathroom-counter, pic-with-cleaning-supplies. Identifying that I know what these things are -- and presumably how to use them -- will have women swooning at my feet. 200827There should be an opera or a musical that takes place during an orchestra's rehearsal. The orchestra would be on stage for the show, rather than sequestered off in a pit or off to the side. The singers would be musicians in the orchestra, the director, the staff, all people associated with the orchestra. The plot could be something like auditioning a new director, a major scandal in the low strings, a love triangle in the percussion -- any number of plots and subplots could be found in the life of an orchestra. 200828The important lesson of the story of The Three Little Pigs is that wolves are air elementals. Not very powerful ones, but strong enough to handle 66% of pigs. 200829In my misty, murky past, 'round about 9th grade, I took a geometry class. One of the things we learned (for finger-quote-y values of "learned") was how to calculate the height of a tree or a ladder or a building based on the length of a shadow or a stick or some other goofy thing. It was all pretty useless and had no useful application any of us kids could imagine. Even our teacher was hard-pressed to tell us what we'd ever use it for. At long, long last, I now know what this strange little math nubbin can be used for. Seeing those non-sentient, non-mobile giant robots on that farm near Thurmont made me realize that this math trick can be used to figure out how tall a giant robot is. If only my math teacher had told us we could use this technique to calculate the height of giant robots and other monsters, I would remember this calculation to this day. Practical applications are so important for retaining difficult concepts. 200830Little good ever happens at the time roughly identified as the middle of the night. Monsters come out from under your bed in the middle of the night. Serial killers rev up their chainsaws in the middle of the night. Police deliver your drunk teenager to you in the middle of the night. We can't get rid of that time or the things that happen then, but we can give it a better, more appropriate name. Henceforth, the middle of the night shall be known as the midden of the night. 200831Time travel will never be a viable thing. When a time machine is invented, all the academic disciplines will insist that their questions are more important than anyone else's and therefore they should have precedence in all trips back in time. The arguments will become so acrimonious that the disciplines will engage in open, bloody warfare against each other. Before more than one or two trips can be made, some lunatic will destroy the time machine because if they can't go first, no one should be able to go at all.

September, 2020 200901The police have these really cool spike strips they use to stop speeding cars. They roll out the spike strips in front of fugitive cars and the spikes pop the tires and make the cars stop. Those spike strips seem like an invention straight from the Acme catalog, one which Wile E. Coyote surely tried to use -- and got wrapped up in himself. 200902Every time the full moon rolls around, I am disappointed to find that once again a whole month has gone by without me being savagely attacked and turned into a werewolf. 200903The clich&ecute;d "Let me slip into something more comfortable" always seemed a little unfair to me. After both people on a date get spiffied up in nice (probably uncomfortable) clothes, they go to the woman's home for a little further conversation. The man got a cup of coffee and to keep on his hard shoes and overly tight tie; the woman got to put on a comfortable pair of sweatpants, maybe a football jersey, and a nice pair of slippers. Sure it seems like the woman gets the better end of the deal, and in this case she does, but given all the discomfort and inconvenience of women's fashion this comfort imbalance isn't something men should complain about at all. 200904Cthulhu was the only Great Old One named after a bodily function. (sneeze) 200905Giraffes are really handy to take on jungle hikes. You send them ahead of you on the path and their nice long necks clear out the spiderwebs strung along the way. You'll need to bring along a small herd of giraffes, so you can swap them out periodically. The web build-up on the giraffe necks can get pretty dense. If you only have one giraffe on a jungle hike, then 500 yards along the giraffe looks like a giant ball of yarn with legs. Then, you might as well have just brought a rhino and a kitten, for all the good it'll do you. 200906Here's a million-dollar idea. Sell piñatas that look like Covid-19 viruses. They're cheery and happy looking, people would get to take out their anger and aggression against the virus on the piñata, and once they've beaten the hell out of it they'd get a bunch of candy. Plus, you'd make piles of money on it. It's a win-win-win-win idea. 200907Most orchestra instruments are visually beautiful. The strings are lovely wood and have gorgeous shapes and rich glowing colors. The brass are twisty tubes, all intricate brass and valves and slides. The percussion are cool whackadoodles that everyone wants to bang on. This visual beauty doesn't really translate to excitement and interest with modern audiences. To regain popularity in the current world, orchestral musicians should decorate their instruments. Flying V violas, English horns that can shoot fire, tubas with flaming skulls painted on, sunbursts and starscapes painted on string basses, computer-controlled LEDs woven on trombone slides, conductor batons that are really mini-light sabres. These sorts of visuals attractions will pull in modern audiences. 200908The Jacks in fairy tales are lucky and, despite many trials and dangers, always end up with good things happening to them. However, when Jack went up the hill with Jill, he got seriously injured and Jill ended up fine. This tells me that in a fairy tale it's good to be a Jack, but far better to be a Jill. 200909I was thinking that with all these disasters caused by gender-reveal parties, perhaps there should be a requirement to name the child after the disaster caused. Then I realized how unfair it would be to punish the innocent children for the idiocy of their parents. 200910There's a nice, romantic notion of taking a hike through a forest and having someone along playing music for the hike. Whistle, flute, harp -- a minstrel will provide some nice music while you walk. Isn't it lovely? Blecch. I think it sounds horrible. Wildlife would be scared away. Conversation would be discouraged. Quiet would be discouraged. I'd be pretty unhappy if a hiking companion pulled out an instrument to play while we were hiking along. 200911Unimpeachable sources, from Greek myth to TV shows, indicate that the clothes you die in are what you'll wear for eternity. This is a very good argument for ensuring you always dress comfortably. 200912For many centuries, there have been tales of houses haunted by tortured, raging souls of the dead. Making noises, rattling around, banging, growling, bumping. There's a lot of noise with house haunts. I have discovered that haunts aren't really noisy tortured, raging souls of the dead. Throughout centuries of "hauntings", the house haunts have really just been complaining icemakers in old refrigerators. 200913People who discriminate against deceptive liars are speciousist. 200915After his men had a barbecue with the cows belonging to the sun god Helios, Zeus blasted Odysseus' ship to pieces and killed all the men. Odysseus then attached the ship's mast to the keel and sailed to Calypso's island. This means that the cunning Odysseus invented sailboarding.Odyssey Week 200916Homer really missed the boat on what must have been an incredible story. King Alcinous and Queen Arete of Phaeacia named their daughter Nausicca, which means "Burner of Ships." That is such an evocative name. Why did they name her Burner of Ships? Was she fated to live up to her name? Whose ships will she burn? Why will she burn those ships? Nausicaa must have had a fascinating story, but it is lost to us.Odyssey Week 200917Whenever I read about tripods in The Odyssey, I imagine the Martians are invading ancient Greece.Odyssey Week 200918Odysseus tells the Phaeacians the story of his travels. He starts by telling them how big a liar he is. After he finishes, the Phaeacians give him great piles of expensive gifts, then call an uber ship to take him home. It seems either the Phaeacians weren't paying attention at the beginning or they wanted to reward a good story, even if it was all lies.Odyssey Week 200919In The Odyssey, there seems to be two attitudes on food and drink. It seems that anyone who eats and drinks responsibly, things go okay for them. When someone overindulges in either food or drink, then bad things happen to them. It seems that The Odyssey is a morality tale on why it's a bad idea to overindulge.Odyssey Week 200920The Phaeacian sailors had great faith, given the story Odysseus had just told them. "Here's how I got several ships full of my sailors killed by some cannibal giants. Here's how I got a bunch of my sailors killed by a Cyclops. Here's how I got a bunch of my sailors turned into pigs by a witch, but I did get them turned back by shtupping the witch. (One of my sailors died there when he got drunk and fell off the witch's house, but I don't take credit for that one.) Here's how I got some of my sailors killed by a sea monster. Here's how all the rest of my sailors died when they put a bunch of holy cows on the barby." The Phaeacians said, "Wow! What a fascinating and exciting time! Here's a bunch of expensive gifts and treasures! We'll loan you one of our ships and a bunch of our sailors to take you home." Weren't they paying attention? Sailors don't have good luck when sailing with Odysseus. 200921With a good concertina player, every note either sucks or blows. With a bad concertina player, every note sucks and blows.Red-Haired Great-Aunt of Dumb Joke Week 200922Cannibals don't like to eat raw magicians for fear of getting trickinosis.Red-Haired Great-Aunt of Dumb Joke Week 200923Q: Why did snakes prefer the old melodramas?
A: They always like to hissssss at the villains.Red-Haired Great-Aunt of Dumb Joke Week
200924Q: What is a chronic complainer's favorite condiment?
A: Kvetch-upRed-Haired Great-Aunt of Dumb Joke Week
200925Award-winning mathemeticians are outstanding in their Fields.Red-Haired Great-Aunt of Dumb Joke Week 200926Everyone knows haggis doesn't go with Swedes. Haggis does, however, go with Danes and Norwegians.Red-Haired Great-Aunt of Dumb Joke Week 200927Q: How did Jesus like His eggs?
A: With the yolks over easy.Red-Haired Great-Aunt of Dumb Joke Week
200928I'm a big fan of planking, albeit in a modified form. When I plank, I lie on my back. On my couch or in my bed. Ah, planking... zzzzzzzz 200929One does not say, "Huh." and then simply walk away. One says, "Huh.", waits for their target to say, "What?", and then one provides an explanation for why, "Huh." was said. After the explanation is given, then -- and only then -- may one walk away. 200930There are all sorts of odd pieces of cutlery, but one of the strangest is the weird grapefruit spoon. It's pointed, it's serrated, it's sharp, and it has a small bowl. I suppose it's useful for flensing a grapefruit of its nasty innards, but the grapefruit spoon is best used for subtly encouraging one's brother to stop kicking one's legs under the table.

October, 2020 201001Silvered mirrors lose their silver over time. I bet that magic mirrors live in fear of this happening, since once the silvered backing is gone the mirror is just a piece of glass and who ever heard of a magic piec of glass? 201002Never play croquet with Thor. He's a sore loser, and he's worse than you'd expect at a game that heavily features mallets. 201003Parrots are a primary cause of hair loss in men. I know this because we've had parrots for 30 years and over that time, my hair loss has become more and more extensive. 201004In a discussion this morning, I joked that my spiritual gift is humor. In retrospect, I wonder if this is actually correct. Perhaps I have a great sense of humor (if indeed that is true) in order to bring peace, joy, and solace to the souls of others. I try to avoid being hurtful with humor, but perhaps I had better be more careful with how I use humor to make sure I'm not misusing it. 201005One of the big symptoms for Covid-19 is the loss of the sense of smell. This seems like an excellent opportunity for the cheese industry. They should be out there, promoting their stinky cheeses as an initial, home-based means of checking to see if you've caught Covid. If you can smell the stinky cheese, you're probably all right. If you can't smell the stinky cheese, you'd better get to a hospital! 201006Several days ago, I found we have a spider living in our basement. Actually, it isn't a spider. It isn't a Spider. It is a SPIDER.
This monster belongs in Mirkwood. Its leg-span is easily as wide as the basement door. It's enormous. (Jo assures me it is "only" as large as her hand.)
Ever since seeing this beast, the first thing I do when I get to the bottom of the basement stairs is look over and make sure that Thing is still in place beside the door. It's always been right beside the doorjamb, maybe a little higher, maybe a little lower.

This morning, it was gone.Halloween 2020
201007Words We Need 6: These words should be well-defined and in widespread use: nopropos, iquid, dipthonk, bam!bulance, pastaccused, steinering, futterbat, whippersnackers, distrub, upchuckles 201008According to Gandalf, Sauron put a great part of his power into the One Ring. The inevitable conclusion is that the One Ring was Sauron's horcrux.Tolkien Week 1 201009The Council of Elrond in Rivendell took place on a porch outside. However, the environment of Rivendell was also described as very loud, thanks to the sound of the river. They'd have had to shout at each other to be heard over the river noise. This makes me wonder if the Fellowship really understood what they were getting themselves into.Tolkien Week 1 201010The odd bits of sculpture and architecture along the shores of the Anduin in Gondor, as depicted in the movie, remind me of the art created during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps. I am amused to think of a Gondorian CCC being dispatched to build roads and bridges and buildings. I'm sure that's how the Argonath, the Seat of Seeing, and the Seat of Hearing were all built, not to mention all those wrecked pieces scattered all over the landscape.Tolkien Week 1 201011"Stand By Me" is just a reworking of "Fellowship of the Ring", but with slightly fewer swords and orcs.Tolkien Week 1 201012It seems Tolkien wrote incessantly about trees and forests. Hardly a page goes by where he isn't writing about these mighty oaks here, those breezy willows there, some hardy walnuts yonder. However, almost all of Tolkien's forests are malevolent and seek to do evil things to people. Mirkwood has giant spiders, amnesia-inducing streams, and anti-social elves. Fangorn Forest has malevolent trees, hostile Ents, and Fangorn himself. The Old Forest in the Shire has evil-minded trees, the homicidal Old Man Willow, and barrow wights for neighbors. Sure there was Lothlórien, which was something of an arboreal earthly paradise, but that was off-limits to almost everyone and you're likely to be killed for entering it without permission. All this leads me to believe that Tolkien must have had really bad experiences in forests.Tolkien Week 1 201013Elrond mentions squirrels during the Council of Elrond. This gives me joy for two reasons. First off, it shows that Middle Earth has squirrels. It's got to be a good place if there are squirrels there. Second, Elrond, lord of Rivendell, son of Eärendil and Elwing, with all the deep concerns and worries he has, Elrond is familiar with squirrels.Tolkien Week 1 201014I wonder how it was decided that we'd go on vacation and buy knickknacks to put on our knickknack shelf, rather than going on vacation and buy paddywhacks to put on our paddywhack shelf. 201015When you're mixing your own supplements, it's important to remember there's a big difference between echinacea, echidnas, and echinoderms. 201016I really don't like to see spiders in the house. I know they're harmless, but every time I see a Daddy Longlegs, I get a flare-up from my daddy issues. 201017Ninjas should go legit and get jobs that take advantage of their skills of stealth and disguise. Ninjas should get jobs as process servers. 201018Whenever I hear about someone spending time in their man-cave, it sounds like they're going to start experimenting with their DIY home proctology kit. 201019If aardvarks are Earth Pigs, then clearly they must be elementals. Therefore, regular pigs must be some other sort of elemental as well. I think pigs are bound to be Fire Pigs, which is why bacon is sooo good. 201020Every year, there's a gathering of Mongols. They get together for a weekend and discuss such things as proper horsemanship, swords versus bows, yurt construction, and hordes versus armies. These gatherings are quite popular with the Mongols, and plans for this year's looks like it will be the best Genghis Con yet. 201021Music performance is a practical example of quantum-encrypted networking. 201022Someone found a sign saying a laundry room is closed, and lots of memes have made fun of it due to a typo. The sign says the laundry is closed for "satanizing." How do people know that's really a typo? Maybe that's exactly what's going on there. All I know is that I won't be the first to use it after it re-opens. 201023I got to try a sip of Kopi luwak, the poop coffee made from coffee beans excreted by palm civets. Unsurprisingly, not only does it taste as bad as it sounds, but it tastes just as bad as regular coffee. 201024A Bee is a pretty little insect whose vomit forms the basis of that delightful nectar, honey. Mead is a type of beer, one major ingredient of which is honey. Folk etymology tells me that there's an incontrovertible connection between Bees and Beer, (Bee-er -> Beer), and the connection undoubtedly has a Norse flavor. 201025The USDA food regulations allow a pound of peanut butter to contain up to 150 bug pieces. This tells me I should never buy a pound of peanut butter. 201026I have a new hobby. I take books and stories that have faeries and fairies, and replace all those references with references to furries. This gives such things as Edmund Spenser's "The Furry Queene"; Andrew Lang's rainbow of Furry books; and "Fur for the Oaks", the story of a war between the Seelie Court of Furries and the Unseelie Court of Furries. 201027There's a vampire that sucks the wax out of people's ears. He's called Count Cochlea.Halloween 2020 201028Traditional fairy-tale witches live in gingerbread houses in the woods. If you look closely at the construction, you'll see that those houses are constructed of layer upon layer of gingerbread men. The witch starts with an oven in the clearing where she wants her gingerbread house. Then she bakes batch after batch of gingerbread men. When they're done baking, she brings them to life and impels them to build the walls by attaching themselves together. She keeps baking gingerbread men until she has completely built the structure of her gingerbread house. If you look very closely and listen carefully, you can see the gingerbread men are still alive, and they are screaming. The walls have ears and eyes and noses and mouths and arms and legs, and oh! the things they have seen!Halloween 2020 201029Ghost crows are made of ecrowplasm.Halloween 2020 201030I have recently stopped a tradition I practiced for many years. Every Halloween, I would go to a nearby cemetery at midnight, accompanied by friends, a bottle of amontillado, and candles. We would have a nice quiet evening talking about the previous year, drink the wine, and maybe have some snacks. Right at midnight, I would read Poe's "The Raven." Last year, one of my friends thought it'd be amusing to also read some Greek curse tablets, as well as some of Lovecraft's darker works. The year we've had has shown what a bad idea that was, so we've decided last year was the last time for the Halloween cemetery reading and I won't be doing that again. Nevermore.Halloween 2020 201031At Halloween, Reese's should collaborate with the Peanuts people and do a specialty candy. It should be a big lump of chocolate-covered peanut butter and it should be called the Reese's Peanuts Butter Rock.Halloween 2020

November, 2020 201101Halloween is a grand celebration for monsters, where they gather all sorts of treats and snacks. Just as Boxing Day follows Christmas, for monsters Halloween is followed by Brisket Day. They get together to share the treats they harvested the night before, they have some drinks, eat snacks, and just have a relaxing time together after a long night of terrorizing the neighborhood. The only real problem is the ongoing tension where the werewolves want their brisket barbecued and the vampires want it raw.Halloween 2020 201102"Keep the Home Fires Burning" had a completely different meaning for the Huns and Visigoths than it did the the WW1-era British. 201103Many things degrade in quality as they get older. Knives get duller, engines wear down and get less efficient, plots get dumber as a TV series gets more and more seasons. It seems that the quality of such things starts off good; it's just that entropy sets in and the quality itself decreases. It seems this same thing is happening as a product line ages. A kitchen mixer starts off with high-quality parts; after it's been made for ten years, the motor isn't as strong, or the beaters start rusting after a few years. A new car model starts off with a long-lived engine and parts; eight years later, and a factory-fresh one has a poor transmission or the control panel is badly designed. Entropy has entered the design and manufacturing stages, and things are much worse than they used to be. 201104It is widely accepted among paleontologists and ornithologists that modern birds are descended from dinosaurs. There are almost no known direct connections between any species of dinosaur and any species of bird. One bird family, however, does have a specific connection. A direct link has been established from ducks directly leading back to dragons. Evidence of this is neatly, irrefutably, summed by the males being called drakes. 201105The inverse-square law and the square-cube law keep bugs and spiders from growing to enormous sizes. Once again, science and math save the day! 201106I eat beef, pork, venison, mutton -- the common herbivores. This makes me an herbivorivore. 201107One of the most difficult questions I have to answer happens as a result of these Final Thoughts. I use some obscure weird-ass bit of knowledge, and Jo asks, "How do you know that?" Either I read it somewhere or I made it up. If I'm lucky I'll be able to remember. 201108I've heard it said that the universe responds to the thoughts and energy that one is putting forth. If you put out positive energy, the universe will return positive to you; if you put out negative energy, that's what you get back. This is saying that the individual is responsible for what happens to them. I reject this way of thinking because it is just another means of victim blaming. It's saying it's your own fault when bad things happen to you. 201109If I were to start a heavy metal band, I would call it Rätätøskr. Clearly, it would be a Norwegian heavy metal band, but what kind? It sort of seems like it should be Norwegian Viking Metal, but... No. Seeing how squirrels live their lives, it's gotta be Norwegian Thrash Metal. 201110Whenever I see "Raiders of the Lost Ark", I strongly identify with Al Molina, at least before he turned evil. I'm not handsome, I'm not brave, I'm not dashing, but I am helpful. I'm not the hero, but I'm a good sidekick. If only I was the Monarch of the Sea, then I could emulate Sallah. 201111The various blood types arose as a result of selective breeding of humans, managed by werewolves and vampires. These undead used their dark and nefarious powers to get different strains of blood, to provide a variety tastes and flavors. At the height of the breeding program, there were several dozen blood types. Most of those were dropped, especially the fruity, sweet flavors of blood. The werewolves and vampires both decided that when it came to blood they couldn't abide sweet in something that should be savory. 201112In the Buffyverse, monsters take the night off on Halloween as it's considered crass and pathetic to actually be monstery on that night. Here's hoping 2020 feels the same about tomorrow's Friday the 13th. 201113The cow looks at the horse and wonders what it is to have hooves that gallop over the hills of the earth, mane streaming in the wind. The horse looks at the cow and wonders what it is to have thoughts that gallop over the hills of the heavens, thoughts streaming among the stars. Neither cow nor horse pays much heed to the goat, who climbs rock walls and leaps over labyrinths of the mind. 201114Whenever someone say they're wearing a crop top, I imagine they're wearing a shirt made of strategically placed lettuce leaves and corn husks. 201115There are certain areas in each library that are traps for librarians. This area will differ, depending on the libraries and librarians themselves, but many a librarian has found themselves trapped and unable to extract themselves from these mires. Experienced librarians are careful and always wary of the Librarian Tarpits. 201116Dinosaurs -- violent, bloodthirsty, sapthirsty, massive predators -- were prone to exploding into a rampage or a feeding frenzy at the drop of a fern. They are distant relatives of birds as well. Look at a vulture, an eagle, an emu, an ostrich, and you can easily see the connection. However, the relation isn't selective. Dinosaurs are the ancestors of all birds -- from harpy eagles to ravens to blue jays to doves to finches to hummingbirds. They are all related to those ancient, malevolent dinosaurs. Those violent, bloodthirsty, sapthirsty, rampaging instincts are still there; birds are just waiting for an excuse to go Mesozoic on your ass. 201117Forget the Take Your Child To Work Day -- kids don't appreciate it, except for the vending machines in the break room. The really useful thing that no one does would be Take Your Parent To Work Day. It'd show parents you've actually got a job and that you're being responsible. There's also a chance you might be able to explain your job to your parents, and maybe even show them what you do. Maybe. 201118According to my chocolate Advent calendar, it is now December 21st. December 21st, 2038. 201119The problem with movies being made of one's favorite books is that the movies inevitably botch the prounciation of some of the names. Even if the moviemakers consult with the author to get the names right, there are some names the moviemakers (and apparently the author) insist on getting wrong. I would be happy to offer my services to make sure movies get names right. 201120When one is being feted it is usually preferable that one is not also fetid. 201121Scales are artificial means of measuring things. It is merely a matter of politeness and commerce that we all agree on pounds, inches, and furlongs. Scales aren't immutably, irrevocably fixed and they can change. This may be seen, for example, in the rising pitch of A. There's one pair of related scales that really should be modified. The whole Fahrenheit/Celsius difference is nuts. The 0-to-100 scale of Celsius is a good idea, but it's too coarse a measure. The Fahrenheit range of 32-to-212 is much more useful, but it's lunacy in the starting and ending points. I'd be happy if Fahrenheit could do a subtle, graded shift to where freezing is 0, as in Celsius, but boiling is 200. Make Fahrenheit be exactly twice Celsius. Things would be roughly the same for us Fahrenheiters, but it'd be much simpler to calculate when we're forced into using Celsius. 201122Whenever you get ice cream, be sure to get nuts on it. Nuts are healthy and they convert the ice cream into health food.Food Week 20 201123In ancient Greece, pot-lucks at the temple never had much selection. Everyone always brought ambrosia.Food Week 20 201124I've had a pressure cooker for a long time now. Whenever I go to the store and get a bunch of groceries, my wife always feels under extreme pressure to cook everything before it all goes bad.Food Week 20 201125Mayonnaise is the king of condiments. It improves the taste of almost anything. It is known by the formal, full name Mayonnaise. It is also known by the informal, familiar form Mayo. It is never known by the back half of the word Nnaise. A condiment called Nnaise would make anything taste terrible.Food Week 20 201126"It's the greatest thing since sliced bread." This phrase is used to indicate how wonderful something is. However, this is a fairly recent meaning that isn't really related to the original. The original meaning was not about the desirability of tidy pieces of bread, but rather an indication of an important advance in technology. We had no way of putting a nice sharp edge on a knife, so knives were originally just dull, lumpy bars of thick metal. Cutting a slice of bread entailed bashing a bread loaf with a dull lump of knife until a piece of bread managed to be separated from the main loaf. No matter how thick and soft a loaf of bread started, by the second or third slice, the whole thing was flatbread. This was the unpleasant state of breaden affairs for millennia. An earth-shattering -- earth-slicing, rather -- discovery was made when Vigdis Thorsdottir discovered that using her father's hammer, she could put a nice sharp edge on a dull knife. This very quickly led to slicing a bread loaf without the accompanying bread mangling. So, "It's the greatest thing since sliced bread" is really a tribute to the brilliance and insight of Vigdis Thorsdottir for providing us with sliced bread, unmangled loaves, and the (now mis-named) thick-bodied pound cakes.Food Week 20 201127Cookies have no gender -- cookies are cookies are cookies, and they can be eaten any time of day. Actually, this counts for almost all food.Food Week 20 201128There is a pasta barrier that most people can't overcome. Most people love macaroni and cheese, and consider it a profound culinary invention. As simple as it is -- melted cheese cooked with macaroni -- that is an immutable set of ingredients for aficionados. I'm one of those weirdos who isn't wild about mac and cheese. The cheese is good, but the macaroni drags the whole dish down. You'd think that changing the type of pasta wouldn't be big deal; after all, pasta is pasta, right? This isn't the case, and a simple pasta exchange makes a huge difference. My pasta-and-cheese preference is superior to mac and cheese, but most people think that spaghetti and cheese is an abomination. If people could just overcome their pre-conceived pasta barrier, they'd realize how wonderful spag and cheese is.Food Week 20 201129If you want proof that vegeterianism isn't as healthy as They want you to think, remember that leaded gas is made from herbivorous dinosaurs and unleaded gas is made from carnivorous dinosaurs. 201130Many cultures have had calendars that included intercalary days. These were days that were separate and between the years -- not part of one year, not part of the next year. The way 2020 has been, I think we should call an end to 2020 and declare all of December to be a whole bunch of one-time intercalary days.

December, 2020 201201Britain's SOE (Special Operations Executive) was a secret organization during WWII. It conducted various spying operations in occupied Europe. Some people perpetuate the mistaken idea that it was filled with aristocrats, when there were actually people from all social classes. I think it'd be great to have a novel that combines that real history with literature from that time period. I want a book of stories of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves as SOE agents. 201202In Covid times, Messiah sing-alongs will be sing-alones. 201203Aztec priests were heavily involved in pre-Columbian theater, a form of which descended through the centuries to become burlesque. This connection is most strongly seen by the way that Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent god, came to be represented by feather boas. That and the way Aztec priests and vaudeville performers would eat the beating hearts of their enemies and critics. 201204There are some great band names that people joke about, but I've never heard that anyone's actually used. There's the old standard Free Beer, of course, but there's also Hot Blondes, Good Weed, and Monkey Boxing. Another, which I've never heard anyone even consider, is Many More!. These are good names, but you've really got to be excellent to get away with using them. Otherwise, you'll be facing an angry inebriated crowd. 201205I like walking around backwards in the kitchen. I feel like a champion iceskater if I can move around without crashing into things and injuring anyone. 201206I just got vaccinated for Covid-15 and Covid-4, so I'm covered for Covid-19. 201207There's been lots and lots of writing and fiction discussing the exploration of exoplanets. This usually assumes, if not actually including, the exploitation of resources from those exoplanets. I've read a few novels that mention the oil industry on exoplanets. However, no one has discussed the obvious follow-on to that. If exoplanets have oil, then they at one time had dinosaurs. There's a universe of alien dinosaurs to discover! 201208As a kid, I only knew of vultures through Westerns. To my addled young brain, I thought vultures only lived out West. This was supported because I rarely saw them here on the East Coast. I was really surprised to learn just how ubiquitous vultures actually are. This leads me to the knowledge that either vultures live everywhere or that the East Coast is the eastern frontier of the Wild West.Bird Week 3 201209Birds that come to our bird feeders really should understand that there's a certain expected level of quid pro pose.Bird Week 3 201210There's a mass murder every time a bunch of crows go to church.Bird Week 3 201211Q: What is an owl's favorite tea?
A: OwlongBird Week 3
201212Crows and ravens keep a look-out for hawks, and harass the raptors when they come into corvid territory. They are a protection of sorts for themselves, as well as other birds. Corvids are the guardians and protectors of the bird world. Blue jays seem to want to get in on the crow-y action, but they aren't quite up to snuff. In a way, if crows are the guardians and protectors, blue jays are the mallcops.Bird Week 3 201213All birds look up to the majestically soaring eagle. Eagles are held in great esteem by all other birds, who secretly wish that they too could have been hatched into that noble fraternity. However, they are also realists and happily accept their position, since they know that not all birds are created eagle.Bird Week 3 201214Ornithologists have given bird feathers functional names; functional and very bland. There are primary feathers. There are secondary feathers. There are tertial feathers. Ooh, here's an exciting name! There are covert feathers. I bet the names birds have for their feathers are much more interesting than what we've given them. Rather than primaries, birds probably call them something like glory-lifters. Instead of secondaries or tertials, birds probably call them lightning-fringe and sultry snallywhumpers. Rather than coverts, well... Coverts is a cool name, so maybe birds use that as well.Bird Week 3 201215I remember when I was a kid the joy and anticipation once I'd learned the magic of "Calling Shotgun." I also remember that not once -- not once! -- after I called shotgun did my father ever hand me a shotgun. 201216Those lines on weather maps that have pointy blue pyramids and round red semicircles look like lines of teeth. You've got to pay attention to weather maps to see if the weather is going to bite you with its blue fangs or if it's going to grind you up with its red molars. 201217I misread the word "platoon" as "pantaloon", and I'm going to intentionally read it that way forever. "Lt. Knickers, take your pantaloon and attack the enemy in that valley." "Col. Culotte, all the pantaloons are being loaded into the troop carriers now." "The line is falling apart. Captain, get your men up there now! The battle is lost if your pantaloons can't keep the enemy out of those breeches!" This will change the way I read military fiction forever. 201218A minor Christmas miracle is the way that, no matter how you orient an ornament or twist the hook, the ornament always ends up pointing the wrong way. 201218Cats love to play Christmas Pachinko. They bat an ornament off the Christmas tree and watch it bounce off the branches and other ornaments on its way to the floor. They score points for the number of branches it hits and the number of other ornaments that get knocked off. The points don't really matter, though; they're cats and the points don't matter nearly as much as the chaos and destruction. 201219I've noticed that many people make a verbal sort of clicking noise when they're under pressure trying to think of something. I think people are subconsciously making the clicky noise to show other people the gears in their brains are turning and they really are thinking. 201220I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" for the first time in many years. I was struck by two subtle things. Apparently, jazz is the music favored by robber barons and rich oppressors, since the soundtrack shifts into jazz during George's introduction to Potterville. Also, it seems that gin was an acceptable drink of choice for high school kids. 201222I only played Candyland once when I was a kid. I had a fundamental disagreement with how the game viewed chocolate, and it made me not want to play it again. 201223A lot of cartoons and art picture Santa with penguins. This makes no logical sense, as Santa is at the North Pole, while penguins are at the South Pole. Those penguins should really have been puffins -- the logic makes sense that way. Then I started thinking about all that. Santa living at the North Pole. Elves helping Santa build toys. Packing the toys for the whole world into a single sleigh. Flying reindeer. Flying reindeer pulling that one extremely overstuffed sleigh. Santa travelling the whole world -- with reindeer -- in one night. None of that makes sense, yet we still believe in it. Santa can have as many penguins at the North Pole as he wants. 201224Santa can only eat on Christmas Eve, which is why he relies so heavily on the milk and cookies children leave out for him. He needs all those Christmas Eve snacks to stock up for the coming year. 201225Santa is often considered to be an elemental force. This is true in a way very few people understand. In reality, there is not just one Santa but many Santas. There is a Santa for each element. This is most widely seen in Santa Fe. This is the name of the Iron Santa, who is the warrior Santa. Santa Fe protected the whole Santa-industrial complex in the worst times of the Dark Ages. Some of the other Santas are:
Santa La(Lanthanum)the singing Santa
Santa He(Helium)the only Santa whose sex we know
Santa Ar(Argon)the pirate Santa
Santa Co(Cobalt)the business Santa, who keeps the Santa-industrial complex afloat
Santa Ho(Holmium)the Santa of hospitality
Santa Er(Erbium)the Santa who looks after shy and uncertain children
Santa Po(Polonium)the Santa of ravens and people who enjoy a good meat sandwich
Santa No(Nobelium)the Santa who denies unreasonable gift requests
Santa Sr(Strontium)oldest of the Santas
201226When I was a kid, I saw a TV movie about a woman who was forced off the road by a snowplow. She was driving on a highway in a rural area and her car couldn't be seen from the road. That changed my thinking and convinced me that it was a common occurance on rural highways for cars to be forced off the road into snowy ravines. 201227Ultimately, life is a series of round-trip journeys between the kitchen and the bathroom. The digressions and side trips along the way add a certain zest or extra flavor to the trip. 201228My therapist suggested that I take up a hobby, that it would be helpful. She suggested I start baking bread, because I'm so kneady. 201229Astronomy is best done during the winter. Being outside in freezing cold air, under a black sky sprinkled with stars, the astronomer is intimately, nut-shrinkingly aware of the coldness and bleakness of space. 201230Movies have taught me that proper sword fights must start with the swords being clanged together at least three times. Without those initial clangs, it's just barbaric stabbiness. 201231For a few years prior to adulthood, New Year's Eve celebrations were about partying until 2 or 3am, then making your way home to sleep for a day. Upon reaching adulthood, it seemed like New Year's Eve celebrations were about staying awake, kinda partying, until midnight, staying at the party another 30 minutes to prove you were still in the game, and then getting home before falling asleep. In my 50's now, I habitually stay up until 2am because that's the way my bodyclock has synched itself. In terms of staying up and going to bed, New Year's Eve is just another night.

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 2011-2020 by Wayne Morrison. All Rights Reserved.