I love words. I've always been a word guy. I'm really not tempted to fix a car or a computer for pleasure, but reading, writing, talking and listening,--that's what I do best. Over the last few months I've been keeping an eyes and ears open for new words and phrases that catch my attention. A couple blog posts ago I got a head start on this when I wrote about the "Full Amish." Let me dump a few more of my faves from the last year or so.
Selfie This is a fun word, that is a self-portrait usually taken with a hand held digital camera or phone. I guess other folks have found this word interesting because it has recently been selected as "Word of the Year" by the Oxford English dictionary, beating out a couple of my other favorites, schmeat and twerk.
Twerking feels kind of old hat now, but I don't remember seeing this last year. Twerking is defined as "a type of dancing in which the dancer, usually a woman, shakes her hips in an up-and-down bouncing motion, causing the dancer's buttocks to shake, 'wobble' and 'jiggle'." It's use seems to have exploded in popularity with the pop star Miley Cyrus. But, after doing a little "research" I found out that the term twerking has been around for at least 20 years. Check out this link if you're really interested.
Apodment has been springing up on billboards in Seattle lately. Essentially "microhousing" sort of like mini-studio apartments, or a small version of "buffet" apartments as they were often called when I lived in Denver. Apodments are usually about 150 to 300 sq. feet and often have only one kitchen shared between 6 or 8 units. I'm not sure that I would find the lack of privacy appealing, but I can understand the trend. Think of all the items that we used to have that we no longer need the space to accommodate: no more books (replaced by electronic readers), no more bulky stereos (replaced by I-pods, computers.) If you own a TV at all, it might be an ultra-thin set that hangs on the wall. Records? electronic storage. Basically, we live our lives on screens, large and small. Why do we need all that energy-hogging space? Less real stuff, more cyber stuff. Makes sense, especially in the transient life of the techno-elite, who may not wish to be weighed down by many material objects. Have laptop, will travel.
Freedom Fondle. I saw this phrase in a Facebook entry. It refers to the free grope that Homeland Security is now entitled to at airport security, compliments of post-9/11 paranoia. I still remember going through the airport right after the 9/11 attack and seeing an army dude wearing camouflage in the airport, standing at attention, brandishing a machine gun. My first thought: Why should I bother to bring a gun through security, when I could just tackle this guy? My second thought: I hope he didn't have a fight with his girlfriend this weekend. I don't know, maybe it was all for show, maybe the gun was unloaded and he was being watched from above.
Choprawoo. Coined by David Gorski who goes by the nom de blog "Orac" on his respectful Insolence blog it "honors" everybody's favorite quack guru, Deepak Chopra. Dr. Chopra has been spinning is home-spun pseudoprofound garbage for many years now. He's published at least 57 "self-help" books, so, if nothing else, you have to admire his productivity. I love this little site that strings together random fragments of Deepak Chopra's "wisdom," derived from his Twitter feed into pseudoquotes which seem indistinguishable from the real Chopra. Below is a mixture of real quotes and random fictional quotes from the fake quote generator. Can you tell which is which?"Experiential truth reflects the flow of self-knowledge" "Hidden meaning explores self-righteous timelessness"“You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.” "The universe influences unbridled opportunities"“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” "Every person is a God in embryo. Its only desire is to be born."Give up? The third and fifth and sixth quotes from above are real, the other three are random, not that it makes any difference. Chopra has been taken to task by several skeptics. Here's a good commentary, and here's a more polite one from Phil Plait. Everywhere it seems the purveyors of pseudoscience are being outed. The organization that produces TED talks has recently released a statement about the dangers of pseudoscience. As they describe it "The consequence of bad science and health hoaxes are not trivial." and they are right. People have died as a consequence of substituting quack medicine for real medicine. But, the quackmeisters spouting choprawoo are not taking this lying down, which leads me to my next topic. Militant Skepticism. I think Deepak has had his feelings hurt. On his blog and in a series of Huff Post articles he wrote "The Rise and Fall of Militant Skepticism." Yes, skepticism "has gotten itself into a pickle," it has become a "militant crusade." Maybe the term "militant skepticism" has been around longer than I'm aware, but this is the first I've heard of it. Essentially an impassioned screed against guerrilla skeptics and skeptic celebrities Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Chopra attacks Richard Dawkins (a "militant atheist") for his attack of the "God Hypothesis." Dawkins is taken to task by Chopra because has the temerity to insist on proof, or at least credible evidence, for the existence of god. But, "Dawkins offered no experiments to prove or disprove the existence of God." Well, no kidding, Dawkins failed to prove or disprove the existence of unicorns either. So what? Chopra goes on to attack Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris over-reliance on the "five senses," and "turning their backs on and scorning subjectivity." Basically, Chopra's argument is a long-winded "god of the gaps" argument, which, to summarize, we don't understand everything in the world, therefore god exists. Somehow skeptic's distrust in "subjective truth" gives Chopra license to peddle his own new-age religion. Intermingle quantum physics with consciousness-what do you get?-insta-wisdom! Buy yours today!
Ah, I see that this post is getting a bit long and I'm only about halfway through my word list. Let's call this part 1 and I'll try and cover a few more words and phrases in my next post. But before I go lessee if I can use all the words for today in one sentence. Deepak, you and your apodment-sized brain, can use your choprawoo-sputtering, lips to freedom fondle this militant skeptic's twerking behind while taking a selfie.
Hey, I did it.
I get a little exasperated when I so-often see religious dogmatists refer to evolutionary biologists as "Darwinists." I think it is just a canard to somehow conflate evolutionary theory into some kind of religious belief or ideology. Silly "scientific" creationists, your arguments aren't any more scientific than your "intelligent" design arguments are intelligent. This was a fairly obvious motif in the dog-awful film of yesteryear "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," (I can't argue with the veracity of the title.) which I only recommend watching if you want to see a sterling example of misguided religious propaganda. I haven't seen the film in years but I think their syllogism was something like:
1) Evolutionary biologists are Darwinists
2) Darwinists believe in social darwinism.
3) Nazis are social darwinists
4) Therefore evolutionary biologists are Nazis.
Yeah, pretty insulting. John Rennie, in his Scientific American article, "Ben Stein's Expelled: No Integrity Displayed," pretty well summed it up: "Ben Stein wants you to stop thinking of evolution as an actual science supported by verifiable facts and logical arguments and to start thinking of it as a dogmatic, atheistic ideology akin to Marxism."
I really don't get it. They don't call physicists Newtonists or Einsteinists, do they? Oh, and please, save me from semantic junk that evolution is "just" a theory. As has been often pointed out gravity is "just" a theory and we don't fall off the planet, and then there is germ theory; we still catch colds, right?
Part of the reason I'm thinking about this is that I'm about 60 pages into what is shaping up to be a pretty good book: Brilliant Blunders, by Mario Livio. The thesis of the book is that many great scientists, including Darwin, Einstein, Pauling, and others "stumbled badly," and some of these errors were instrumental in advancing their respective fields. For example, in Darwin's case, according to Livio, he made the fundamental error of believing in "blended" inheritance. Darwin believed that if a population of white mice generated a mutant (a "sport" in the terminology of the day) black mouse, subsequent generations would gradually dilute the black pigment to the point where the population would revert to an all white population. The dilution of genetic blending would logically counter the idea of natural selection, which would allow expansion of a fixed attribute if the mutation results in a reproductive advantage. If only Darwin recognized, or was aware of, the discoveries of his contemporary Gregor Mendel he would have realized an elegant mechanism of inheritance (via what were later called genes) that would have neatly explained natural selection. All of this highlights the fact that scientific knowledge is provisional knowledge, that is, subject to change in light of a better understanding of the facts.
Let's end this post with some fun videos related to Charles Darwin, the greatest biologist who ever lived.
Okay, this particular topic has little to do with Art or Science--but how about a little personal history for a change? When I was a medium- to small-sized young'un my folks were still stuck in the meme that a misbehaving child should receive corporal punishment. Although my folks weren't really religious, I think this was probably a societal extension of the biblical "Spare the rod, spoil the child" B.S. If I recall correctly, somewhere around my tenth birthday, they stopped the spankings. I think they probably figured out that it really doesn't work. AFAIK, my little sister was never hit by my parents, and all three of us kids seemed to come out okay. I remember that they switched to a "timeout" system; in other words--go to your room, or no after school fun activities for some set period of time. I remember once I badly misbehaved (I think I basically destroyed my Grandmother's house) when I was about eleven or twelve. I was deprived of desserts for a whole month. Oh, the horror! In a retrospectively hilarious act of rebellion I shop-lifted no less than four ice cream sandwiches from the local drugstore during that month. Thank goodness I wasn't caught, or there would have been Hell-to-pay, and, really, I was basically an honest kid. I think the name of the drugstore was "Kiefer's." It was in Mt. Prospect IL. Let me just say that if Kiefer's (or their heirs) want to send me a bill (go ahead and add compound interest) I'll happily pay. I'm sorry.
But, that isn't what I'm writing about. Several years ago I visited my cousin, who had a young son. I learned later that, they had a new punishment, when their son misbehaved, he was NOT forced to go to his room. Of course not. In his bedroom he could watch TV and videos and play video games. What kind of punishment is that? His punishment? He was "unplugged." No video games. No TV. No cell phone. Major suckiness. But now, in this age of twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, in addition to video games TV and Email, being "unplugged" is an even more severe punishment. Kids today seem to be even more dependent on the social connectedness that is facilitated by technology. America's youth is more electronic (and fatter) than ever. I even heard a description of this new punishment of being disconnected. It is called "The Full Amish." My guess is that most kids would rather be whacked upside the head than subjected to this brutal treatment. So, my advice to teens and pre-teens. Behave yourself, or you too might be subjected to the FULL AMISH. Besides, Christmas is coming, and, although I have doubts about the existence of an omniscient god, I have little doubt about an omniscient Santa Claus.
DYT Blogger: So, Mr. Phrogg--
PPP: Oh, please, call me Phineas.
DYT Blogger: As you wish. Phineas, what is it like to share the big screen with stars like, George Cluney and Sandra Bullock?
PPP: Well, I have to say, that they are consummate professionals. It was a real honor. Both of them were so very easy to work with. They're like Michael Jordans of the film world. Not only are they fantastic, but they make everyone around them better too. I wish them the best of luck in their respective careers, and you can bet that they're on my short-list should an appropriate role be available for them in one of my future projects.
DYT Blogger: That's very gracious of you, Mr. Phro--er, I mean Phineas. Did it bother you at all that they seemed to get more screen-time than you?
PPP: Oh, not at all. I feel like they were a great lead-in to my scene, which was, of course, the climax.
DYT Blogger: ...and a captivating climax it was, I'll say.
PPP: Thank you.
DYT Blogger: Although, it did seem a rather small role for an artist of your stature...
PPP: There are no small roles, only small minds, sir.
DYT Blogger: Righto! So why, exactly, weren't you featured earlier in the film?
PPP: Simple: Logistics.
DYT Blogger: What do you mean?
PPP: They simply couldn't find a space suit of suitable proportions to fit me--although your point is well-taken--next time I think I'll instruct my agent to negotiate for a custom-made space suit.
DYT Blogger: Perhaps for a sequel?
PPP: If there is a sequel. My time is valuable, and--how shall I express it--my dance card is filling up. Perhaps though i might be able to squeeze in another cameo.
DYT Blogger: So tell me, or, let's say, tell the world, who have been some of your inspirations and mentors helping you to launch your illustrious career? Kermit the frog, perhaps?
PPP: Ahem, you're walking on thin ice there.
DYT Blogger: Thin ice?
PPP: That's a bit offensive, if you don't mind.
DYT Blogger: Oh, so sorry Mr. Phrogg, no offense intended.
PPP: Well, I'll just chalk it up to your ignorance. let me just say this, Kermit is, to frogs, what blackface is to African Americans--not funny. In fact, an insulting caricature.
DYT Blogger: Oh, I apologize again.
PPP: ...and let me add, that like most of Hollywood, I'm quite tolerant of, how shall I say this, "unusual" relationships. But I can't wrap myself around Kermit's obsession with--I can hardly say it--a pig. That "Miss Piggy" is not only not a frog, she isn't even an amphibian. Beastly! (PPP was breathless at this point.) Sorry. I need a moment to recover from the thought.
DYT Blogger: Perhaps we should change the subject.
PPP: Yes, let's do so. Let's get back to the original subject: Me, that is.
DYT Blogger: Perhaps you could share who some of your inspirations are?
PPP: Well, this is exactly about me, but I'll roll with it. Not exactly a model, but someone I admire is Peter Dinklage.
DYT Blogger: The dwarf actor in "Game of Thrones?"
PPP: Yes. Now there's and actor who goes against the grain. Before Peter it seemed that most dwarfs were portrayed as ridiculous. Remember "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?" Similar to him I seek to make the world treat both frogs and toads with the distinction and seriousness that is long overdue.
DYT Blogger: Of course.
PPP: Inexcusable stereotyping. But Dinklage broke that stereotype. On "Game of Thrones" he's clever, conniving, with extraordinary diplomatic intellectual guile, and quite the ladies man too.
DYT Blogger: That he is.
PPP: Of course he's not nearly as fecund as even the average frog, he is, after-all, a mammal. But anyway, I'm trying to separate from ridiculous frog-stereotyping in the same way. What Sidney Poitier is to racist black-face, Dinklage is to anti-dwafism, and I intend to be against anti-frogism. This, I hope, will be my cultural legacy. Now, I'm very sorry, but I have to wrap this up. My agent has arranged a meeting with Stephen Spielberg and I'm already ten minutes late.
DYT Blogger: Thank you sir.
PPP: My pleasure.
That, DYT Blog readers, is the transcript of the interview with Phineas P. Phrogg, who I am sure will be showing us great things, no matter what pond he winds up in.
I admit it. I’m a Facebook addict. I love chatting and arguing with my friends. So, in the spirit of the book "Sh*t My Dad Says" here's "Sh*t That I Say." Enjoy.
I bought tomatoes about ten days ago and they are still hard enough to break a window. This keeps up and I'm going to have them carbon dated to see how long ago they were actually grown.
Rant Mode on. Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, was instrumental in the abolition of slavery. Staunch segregationists, Lester Maddox and George Wallace were Democrats, and now the bigots lobby seems to be comfortably nestled in Republican Party, with such dubious champions as Jesse Helms, and more recently, Michele Bachman. When are we going to learn that racism and bigotry should never find safe-harbor in either party--or anywhere else, for that matter? Rant mode off.
There is a pending announcement regarding the solution to the federal debt issue. There will be a tax on cute cat videos posted on the internet. It is predicted that within six months that we will have a budgetary surplus.
All right just as I was getting used to people using the word "woah," today I saw the word "whoah." Where does this madness end!
10/11/13I run into this all the time. Yesterday I talked to someone who was railing about the government wasting all "our" money on foreign aid. He guessed that we spent 20% of our Federal budget on foreign aid. For the record I corrected him but was wrong about the total amount. I thought it was "much less" than 1%. I was wrong, it is apparently just over 1%.
I think there is a concept that many of my (mostly Liberal) FB friends completely miss. When you create publicity for [Fill in the name of your favorite wingnut commentator] and post a quote or a youtube video declaring something like "Look what this nutjob is saying now," you are actually doing them a favor. These sorts of critters thrive on not only love, but hate. Their currency is viewership. Ignore them. Do not propagate their views. You only help them to win. Take this quote from Howard Stern's film "Private Parts."
"Researcher: The average radio listener listens for eighteen minutes. The average Howard Stern fan listens for - are you ready for this? - an hour and twenty minutes.
Pig Vomit: How can that be?
Researcher: Answer most commonly given? "I want to see what he'll say next."
Pig Vomit: Okay, fine. But what about the people who hate Stern?
Researcher: Good point. The average Stern hater listens for two and a half hours a day.
Pig Vomit: But... if they hate him, why do they listen?
Researcher: Most common answer? "I want to see what he'll say next."
Based on the mixture of Emails in my Yahoo SPAM box, my penis is in dire need of enlargement, and yet, there is an astonishing number of women who are interested in me. What gives?
Well, I bought a pair of shoes from Zappos. They haven't arrived yet, but already I'm getting a barrage of shoe ads on FB. My mother resisted FB for years. (She has an account now but I don't think she uses it much.) She once told me "We don't have to worry about Big Brother covertly sneaking in to our lives--nowadays we invite him in."
Note to Universe: One of the most difficult tasks of leadership is choosing which decisions and directives should be made by vote, which should be made by committee, and which should be by an individual. In other words, democracy, republic or autocracy?
I'm in the middle of about four heated Facebook discussion threads and nobody has yet to bring up Hitler. Amazing.
Well I have yet again pissed away a day engaged in banal Facebook arguments.
I'm having a pleasant daydream that Obama shut down the Federal government only in congressional districts that are represented by Tea Party members.
The perfect Republican meal: carry-out Chick Fil-A, served with a side of Barilla Pasta, served on Hobby Lobby Neon Plastic Party Plates. Eat Hearty America.
Overheard today: Yeah, I did a lot of drugs in the 60s, but I never saw God. That's why I'm an atheist.
Great. Today I received an Email from Twitter asking "Do you know [name redacted of a deceased friend who died 7 months ago.]?" Do Twitter or FB accounts ever go away?
Okay, it took me years to get used to people writing "baited" when they meant "bated," and even longer when they wrote "woah" when they meant "whoa." But if you write "moar" instead of "more," I'm unfriending you. (Might be a relief to some :).)
Something I find interesting is that in an attempt to find more "authenticity" in their lives that people tune in court TV or "reality" television. Jerry Springer anyone?
I'm out of eggs and I'm out of chicken. Which should I buy first?
9/9/13I have a headache and modern medicine is failing me. Could someone please kill a chicken?
You know what would be really cool? It would be cool, if, in a hundred years from now, we looked back and believed that thinking we could really solve our international problems with war, looked as ridiculous as thinking that we could solve our labor problems with slavery.
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. And to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, under the Flying Spaghetti Monster, with liberty and justice for all. Ramen.
9/4/13 (referring to Burning Man)
Today when driving down 35th street in West Seattle I did a poll of people waiting for the bus. Eleven out of eighteen people were staring into their cell phones. Of the remaining seven only two were engaged in any direct human interaction. (A father was holding the hand of what I presumed was his young son while waiting for the bus.) This is why I hope they never make wi-fi and cell service easily accessible on the Playa. I don't want us to turn into smart phone zombies. Compared to real ones, electronic hugs suck. Keep it real. Burn on.
I need some advice. I need to test the integrity of my water containers that I plan to use at Burning Man next week and I’ve decided to apply pseudoscientific methodology in the analysis. At first I thought I’d just fill the containers to see if they leak—but then I decided to use highly-concentrated (10X) water to make sure that the containers can withstand the stress of the higher pressure. But then I changed my mind and thought I’d process the 10X water through a homeopathic regimen, which should bring it back to about 1X (or less)—that is, unless the molecular memory has weight (similar to the soul which, I'm told, weighs 21 grams) in which case I'll have to make adjustments. What puzzles me is whether homeopathic succussion actually adds weight to the water, or does it just alter its memory properties i.e. the conformation of the water molecules, and, thus, there is no additional mass. Anybody know?
On the value of a good copy editor: I guess it's all this thinking about skepticism that reminds me of a newspaper ad I saw a few years ago that advertised a baldness cure. The clinic offered "free consolation." After I recovered from laughing so hard that I was crying, I realized that they probably meant "free consultation," which made me laugh even harder. But, visualize this: "Awwww, poor baby, you're losing your hair? Lemme give you a hanky so you can feel better." I wonder if they ever corrected the ad.
8/9/13Just now I saw my neighbor getting into her car with her dog. So was very excited to find someone who is going to pierce her dog's anal glands for only five dollars. "Do you know how much they charge for that at the vet!" she exclaimed. Where does someone find a practitioner of this service? Craigslist? Doganalrupture.com? (Sounds like some kind of awful bestiality porn site.) Anyhow, I now have a new career trajectory. My spin is that I will do house calls. (Note to self: This job will never be outsourced to the Chinese.) As she was driving away I yelled "HAVE FUN!" She rolled down her window and replied "Oh, I will." I explained to her that I was talking to the dog...Only in America!
People who write "probly" when they mean "probably," should be beaten with a stick. Those who write "prolly," should be forced to listen to Vogon poetry for eternity.
I don't understand the mind of a person who, when confronted with a serving tray full of brownies, doesn't pick out the largest one. What is wrong with these people?
Some older guy in Starbucks thanked me a few minutes ago for using a letter-sized yellowpad to sketch out some thoughts. He found it reassuring to see someone actually using paper.
I've been employed part-time as a tutor at a local Community College. Today a fellow tutor told me the following quote: Tutee: "I'm a kinesthetic learner" Tutor: "So, how are you going to solve your math problem? With interpretive dance?"
Just for the record, I refuse to date a woman who doesn't know the meaning of the word "curmudgeon." 'Nuff said.
Today at Alki Beach I saw somebody walk by with a very ornate water pipe that looked to be about two feet high. My, how the laws have changed.
About a month ago on Alki Beach, my cousin Michael Mick Fox and I saw a bird fly by carrying something big and dark. It was being dive-bombed by a seagull and a crow. After it passed us and started flying away it made a wide turn and started heading back--the seagull and crow in hot pursuit. It flew right by us and now I could identify it. It was a peregrine falcon--carrying a pigeon. It continued off into the distance with the crow cawing and the seagull screaming. How a relatively small bird like a peregrine could maintain that clip with such a heavy object in its talons amazes me. I am proud to say that I've seen osprey (numerous), great blue herons (a few)bald eagles, (occasionally), river otters (occasionally), sea lions and orcas (occasionally) and now a peregrine falcon--all within city limits. There is no place I'd rather be than Seattle in the summertime.
A couple days ago I was walking around Green Lake when someone passed me while engaged in conversation. His sentence started "Back in the day..." I didn't catch the rest. I think he was in his early 20s. For the record, you are not allowed to use the phrase "Back in the day" until you are at least forty. "Nuff said.
Rant mode on (third time in two weeks, yikes I'm turning crankier than H.L. Menken). I almost never eat at McDonald's. In fact, I rarely eat in restaurants at all anymore. I can cook and brown bag it and still be happy. It had been a very long time--until yesterday. For some reason I got it in my head that I might want to go back and try the Golden Arches after all these years. I had a powerful hankerin' for a burger and fries. I expected it to not be great, but I was in a hurry, and it's cheap right? I stopped at the Madison Street Micky D's in First Hill and ordered a deal package of a Big Mac, medium fries and a drink and stood there with a five dollar bill in my hand. The clerk cheerily rang it up and said $7.50 Wha?? Seven fifty? Really? Okay, I handed him a ten and grabbed the change. I thought that McD's was supposed to be cheap? After I ate it, which took maybe ten minutes, I remembered why I never go there anymore. It was awful. I mean, not even "meh." I know I'm one of these Neanderthal-types who thinks a nickel candy bar should still cast a nickel--when it actually costs a buck, but come'on! For the record, it should either be expensive or awful, but not both. I thought I deserved a "break" today--not to get broken. I can't figure it--they must be filling the corporate coffers, or enriching the stockholders, or pissing it all on ads telling me that their meals are all about "Value" or "Happy," or whatever, cause you can bet that the help ain't gettin' rich. Anyhow, I recommend local Seattleites go to the Pepperdock Cafe at Alki Beach. For about the same price you can get a REAL good cheeseburger, excellent fries with a few onion rings. Far superior to the crap I had yesterday. And the view at Alki is magnificent. Outside Seattle, go to Subway. It's gotta be better. I have to say that it astonishes me that there is at least four McD's in West Seattle alone. How do they stay in business? Now, you watch the FB bots and spies will probably ask if I want to "like" the McD FB page. Good luck with that. Rant mode off.
Just wanted to say that just because my name is SCOT, and although I support the decision, I had nothing to do with the SCOTUS victory. Felt a need to clear that up.
Rant mode on (again). File this under animals unclear on the concept. My cat, Alex, adopted me about ten years ago. He has always been an indoor/outdoor cat. He conveniently begs to get in through the door in the winter, but in the summer, I leave the window open so he can enter and leave at his convenience. This is convenient for him because he gets fed by nearly every every household in the neighborhood. (This cat has more chicks taking care of him than Hugh Heffner.) Anyhow, I have a new housemate who moved in with his cat and we were much relieved that our cats get along. (This has been a problem in the past when I had a housemate with a psycho-cat, but that's another story). So, my housemate's cat, Santos, has ALWAYS been strictly an indoor cat and Alex has been corrupting Santos--teaching him to go out. So here comes the "lack of clarity." I have TWICE caught Santos coming into the house, using the litter box, and promptly going back outside. Look dude, get a clue! Rant mode off. P.S. No, there will be no video.
Rant mode on. I keep hearing from people, usually when I'm leaving, the phrase "Have a good one." What exactly does that mean? A good day? A good cheeseburger? A good orgasm? (Check that--is there such a thing as a bad orgasm? I think not.) My usual response is "You have two good ones." This usually engenders a puzzled look and an occasional smile. The next woman who wishes me a "good" one, I'm going to leer at her and say "I wish you multiple good ones--and I'm here to help (evil grin)." I'll probably get slapped, but some things are worth getting slapped for. Rant mode off.
Please no spoilers because I haven't seen the current season, but the way that people are talking about the carnage on Game of Thrones it's starting to resemble Downton Abbey.
My biggest problem right now is choosing between all the wonderful activities in Seattle which all seem to be going on at the same time. Not a bad problem to have. Definitely a First World problem. Yay Seattle Summer!
Disney Star Wars spoiler alert: "Luke, I had my DNA tested, and I am NOT your father. Damn!"
Boy, I sure am glad the sun finally went away here in Seattle. It was out so many days in a row that, catch this, my skin was turning BROWN! Weird. I think they call that tanging, or tinning, or something like that. RUSTING! That must be it. Yeah, I'm sure of it. Oh well, back to normal.
I think, in addition to the FB "likes" they need a "dislikes" and a "don't give a damns."
I want everyone to know that I just saw a very convincing, astute, clever, political posting on Facebook that I completely agree with--and I have RESISTED the temptation to share it. You're welcome.
I was going to put something very clever on FB, but I forgot what it was. Darn!
Overheard yesterday: "That guy is so rich that when he writes a check the banks bounce."
Thousands, perhaps millions, of Seattlites are desperately trying to find the sunglasses that they misplaced at the end of summer last year--that is, late July.
The innernet has been fracking with me all day. Could someone PLEASE clean out the pipes?
I find it spooky when Facebook tells me that I have 20 or 30 mutual friends with someone, and I have no idea who he or she is. Are they stalking me or avoiding me?
I'm starting a new business. Since I go to the gym about six days a week, I have decided that I can exercise for YOU too! Just send me ten dollars an I'll be your personal trainer. And when I say "personal" I mean I'll actually do the exercise FOR YOU! You can sit home and nurse your remote control and eat pizza secure in the knowledge that someone is working out for you. Group rates available.
I propose the following drinking game. Take a pool on how many air-time minutes after an attractive woman appears on "Game of Thrones" before she appears naked--or at least topless. Whoever makes the best guess drinks two beers. Everyone else only one. Everyone wins!
Every frickin' day I feel a need to brush my teeth. Curse you mother for your childhood brainwashing.
Rant mode on. I'm sitting in Starbucks, minding my own business, and some woman has sat down near me wearing perfume. Now my eyes are watering, I'm coughing and gasping for breath. The problem is that I'm too "polite" to ask her to move. I feel like a wimp. Why should I have to move? I would rather that she lit up a cigarette, and, no, I'm not exaggerating. FOR THE RECORD: I WISH THE PERFUME INDUSTRY WOULD DIE! Ladies, if you want to attract my interest, don't wear perfume. And no, a little perfume is not okay. I hate a little perfume, a little, I hate a lot of perfume a lot. If you want to get my attention smear yourself with pizza grease. I mean it. Rant mode off.
If one more pundit uses the phrase "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," I'm going to vomit. Let's call it what it is: The use of torture to extract information from a prisoner.
Life is full of ironies. This morning I was driving to my health club and as I was passing through the traffic jams of Sunday church-goers to the Mars Hill and the "Our Lady of Guadalupe" Churches in West Seattle, what came on the radio? The Rolling Stones "Sympathy For the Devil." Thank you Mick Jagger for guiding me through this perilous journey.
Okay, another rant (Guess I'm full of them today.) Can someone give me ONE GOOD REASON why horse meat should be illegal when cow meat or pig meat is not? Don't tell me that horses are smarter than pigs--because I doubt it.
I feel like venting, so here goes. EVERYONE I know is in favor of discrimination whether they admit it or not. For example, if I applied for a job as a jockey, I would be discriminated against for my weight (and age for that matter). The battle is not against discrimination per se, but against UNFAIR discrimination.
Gosh, over the past few days I've received Emails from Katy Perry, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Madonna. It is SO NICE to be popular. I wonder why they were all in my spam box?
My definition of a skeptic is an open-minded person who believes evidence should precede belief.
I find it remarkable that, although I have only about 250 FB friends, four of them have a birthday today. Didn't all of you just have a birthday last year? Sheesh.
I'd be happy to be the Seahawks 12th man--as soon as they pay me as much as the 11th. Go advertisers! They always win.
Today's mini-play. (Inspired by true events.)
Biff: You think the malls are open today?
Bart: Sure they are. America runs on two types of fuel, fear and greed. Greed's kickin' in today for sure.
Bob: I like that. Fear and greed.
Biff: You believe that?
Bob: Well, I dunno if I believe it--but I like it.
Biff: Well, all my bills are paid and I ain't afraid of nobody. So, I don't give a shit.
Bart: Guess you're right. America runs on fear, greed and apathy.
Biff: Well, Bite me.
Bob: Happy New Year, guys.
Biff: Well, bite me again.
Well, now that the sun has finally arrived in Seattle, I notice that it's broken. Isn't it supposed to rise in the East? I think it's trying to circle around, avoiding us.
I resolve to abstain from eating okra this year. Too slimy. Unless it's pickled. I like pickled okra.
We've all heard the expression "There's a sucker born every minute." The longer I live the more I'm convinced that this is a ridiculously low estimate.
"I'm Dreaming of a Wet Christmas." by Bing Slogsby
Saw a billboard with a picture of a cat and a dog. The ad encouraged adoption with the tagline "Will never 'unfriend' you." Clearly, whoever came up with this campaign does not own a cat.
What's this stuff about a pack of lips? Am I going to be kissed by a bunch of beautiful women? How would that be the end of the world? Life is so confusing.
Now I get it. Ketchup is from tomato and catsup is from tomahto. No wonder they called the whole thing off.
Free sex for anyone who can make the sun come out in Seattle today! (Age, gender and--even species unimportant.)
The Republican Party has blamed Obama for the tropical storm Sandy. Romney is quoted as saying "If the President was better prepared this would never happen. There will be no storms during my administration." A spokesman for the Obama campaign declared that the storm is just a holdover from the Bush administration. "First Katrina, now this. We keep having to clean up after bankrupt Republican policies." Meanwhile Pat Robertson is quoted as saying "There is rampant homosexuality in both New Orleans AND New York City and God has taken notice. If people just turned to the Lord, these storms wouldn't happen."
A woman I know suggested that I read "Fifty Shades of Grey," because "every man should read this." Another woman I know says it's "crap." Now I have to read it. Am I risking derision and dubious looks if I read it in a coffee shop? Do I care? Nah! Full report later.
We used to write letters and journal entries. Then memos, emails and post-it notes. Then that became too long and we started facebooking, texting and now, we twitter. (I admit, I don't tweet and I'm not yet a twit. Sorry, twitterer has too many letters.) So, in deference to this trend, I am inventing a new ap--no, not an application and not an app--we really don't need that second p, do we? Anyhow, I propose the ap: twier. you can say whatever you want, no matter how profound, but you're limited to only three words.
I'm all in favor of therapy animals, and my cat needs one too. He wants a therapy mouse that can keep him entertained when he's feeling anxiety. Anyone know where I can get him one?
Well, usually I treat the plants in my yard with the "principal of natural selection," i.e. if they can't survive without my attention then they can just die. But the rhodies looked so forlorn and wilted that I decided to exercise a little "compassionate conservatism," and water them. Maybe they'll vote for me now and I can continue to live in my house.
It's always a good day when I write a good play.
Anybody beside me annoyed by the term "hate crime?" I mean, exactly what is a "love crime?" Aren't all violent crimes hate crimes?
Today I saw both an osprey and a great blue heron at Alki. I love Seattle.
Overheard in the gym yesterday: Wanna see who really loves you? Lock your dog and your wife in the trunk for a half hour. See who's happy to see you when you let them out.
7/16/12I'm wondering, has anyone seen Romney's birth certificate? I suspect he was actually born in Kenya. Don't ask me how I know. Furthermore, I heard a rumor that his full name is Mitt Hussein Romney. Anyone believe as I do that he might not actually be a Mormon, but a Muslim? Anyone? Not that I'm trying to spread around rumors or anything, I just ask questions, that's all...
Used to be, like 25 years ago, that when I went hiking every part of me, except one, would get completely relaxed. Now when I go hiking every part of me gets stiff, except the same one. I'm not getting older, I'm getting asynchronous.
Is anyone besides me a little annoyed at the description of the newly discovered Higgs-Boson Particle as the "God" particle? Yeah, its discovery is awesome, but it has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the hard working physicists that made it happen.
With all the celebrities coming out of the closet these days, I think it is time that I announced that I'm not gay. Sorry about that, but I can't help it, I was born straight. Some guys (and gals) have all the luck. Shit.
When I shaved my head people said, "Hey, you look good bald." Now that I've let it grow out again people say, "Hey you look good with hair." My conclusion: I look good, I can't help myself.
So why didn't they name the Apollo program to land on the Moon the "Luna" program? After all Apollo is the god of the Sun. Could have caused a tragic misdirection.
My definition of unhappiness is waking up in the morning, walking barefoot into my office and stepping on a dead rat that was gifted to me me by my kitty cat. On the plus side, it was a very considerate gift, and it was not still alive. Thanks Alex!
Imagine, a religion passionately devoted to finding truth, rather than inventing it.
Imagine, a church that seeks knowledge, rather than defending indefensible dogma.
Imagine, a country that promotes human progress, rather than vigorously defending the political dictums of the of the past.
We can only hope and dream. Sometimes your dreams come true.
Questions for today:
At the "Do it Yourself Dog Wash" do the dogs wash themselves?
If your wife or GF requests "something shiny" for her birthday is aluminum foil acceptable?
If a vegan couple has a baby is the child allowed to drink mother’s milk?
I've always wondered about these things.
One of the dangers of utilizing the internet as a recipe source is that today I very nearly tried to cook muffins at 180 degrees for 20 minutes. Something looked wrong, then I realized the recipe source is Australia where 180 degrees centigrade is 356 degrees Farenheit. Be careful out there people.
If a potential employer ever requests my Facebook password, I'm going to request that he share his first. After all, I want to be certain of the personal integrity of anyone I might want to work for--and I also want to be certain that he doesn't have any disreputable friends--or radical ideas. Who would want to work for someone who isn't entirely mainstream and squeaky clean? In fact, I just might request a film of his last sexual encounter. I wouldn't want to work for an employer who does anything "unusual" in the bedroom. Would you?
My yard is patient zero for neighborhood dandelion infection this spring. A weed by any other name.
I want to apologize to my mom for stealing so many Space Food Sticks from the cupboard when I was a kid. I feel deeply guilty.
Happy B'Earthday everyone!
Religion is like ice cream--so many different flavors! Some like vanilla, others like strawberry. Chocolate seems particularly favored, which doesn't make it inherently superior to butter pecan, only more popular.
Okay, here's my conundrum. I have a whiny cat who really, REALLY wants to go outside, and I would be happy to liberate him--I hate it when he uses the litter box almost as much as he hates using it. But, I need a fresh fecal sample to send away to test for GI tract parasites (No evidence, just precautionary). I already paid for the test and they gave me a jar to put it in. How do you explain to an animal that all he has to do is take a dump, and he will be free? How many human prisoners would be happy to comply with this small request in order to be sprung from the slammer? So, I have a request, I would like everyone to pray. PRAY RIGHT NOW that my cat poops and thus achieves feline liberation. I will let you know if it works. Thank you, Facebook Friends, for your cooperation.
Today I paid for about ten dollars worth of food with a twenty dollar bill. The cashier thought the bill was a hundred and tried to give 90 dollars in change. I told her of the mistake. It's not like I couldn't use the money. What kind of sick fuck am I? I need a beer.
In the great State of Washington, I don't have to pay sales tax on food, but not cat food! That I have to pay tax on. When I confronted my cat Alex with this he acted like he couldn't care less. Hmph! (Note: unless I open a can of tuna Alex acts like he never cares about anything.)
Seems that a lot of the right wingnuts feel that letting gay people have a right to marry somehow "redefines marriage." I'm tired of this argument. I capitulate. Perhaps gay marriage redefines marriage the same way that the abolition of slavery "redefined" human rights, and the same way that women's suffrage "redefined" voting rights. Is change always a bad thing?
If a corporation is a person, then a government is.....?
Maybe I'm just a curmudgeon, but I was eavesdropping on a couple of teenagers conversing the other day and if I was engaged in a drinking game based on the number of times they said the word "like," I would have died of alcoholic poisoning. "Like" is the new "ya-know."
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOO-, er, um ARE YOU READY FOR SOME ADVERTISING?!
I think the fear that people have of science stems from several sources 1) people fear change, 2) we fear what we don't understand, and 3) the very legitimate fear of the possible effects of our advanced technology on a background of less-developed moral advancement. What I mean by this is, for example, is the fact that we have the technology to make nuclear weapons but we may not have the wisdom to not use them. The myths of Prometheus, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and Frankenstein resonate today.
I think it's pathetic when someone posts something and the poster is the only person who "likes" it.
TSKTSKS--supposedly the longest word in the English language with no vowels. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I dunno.
All right, Facebook. Is it Whoa or Woah? Cool or kewl? I wait with baited breath.
What kind of logic goes through a cat's mind, to stand inside a litter box and shit outside of it!
Today's original poem:
I am a Sea Turtle
by Scot Bastian
Sea turtles don’t swim, they fly through the water with long, labored strokes.
Like the wing-beats of a great blue heron flying through the early morning fog.
The turtle may feel like he’s going in the direction of his choice, but he inevitably flows with the tide. Moving his head back-and-forth, scanning his path for morsels or novelty.
Often, I feel like a sea turtle.
I wonder if I am the true motive-force in my life, or if I am just a drifter in the tide of events passing through time.
by Scot Bastian
I wish America could be purple again.
One side wraps itself in red white and blue, the other, in green.
In the palette of America, where we are white and brown and black and yellow and red, why should everything be so black-and white?
Blue states. Red states.
Tea Party. Occupiers.
Black power. White power. Gray panther. Power to the people.
Myself, I wave a white flag. I surrender.
I can be green with envy and red with anger, blue with cold and yellow with fear. I can even be black with evil.
But in darkness do colors really matter?
And the future looks very dark.
We need a purple rainbow.
Today's poem (from yesteryear):
by Scot Bastian
Mary had a little lamb.
The doctors were surprised.
Then Mary had a little cow.
That one hurt, and how.
Next, Mary had a little hippopotamus,
though that seems preposterous.Finally, Poor Mary had her fill,
and she took a little pill.
Poem for the day:
by Scot Bastian
Do not judge the quality of an orange by its appearance.
A perfect, unblemished, orange is often a waxed, thick-skinned, husk,
surrounding a tasteless, pulpy, fibrous, center.
Give me a fully-ripe orange with thin skin and an occasional blemish.
Peel away the outside and take a nibble.
Slowly, separate the segments, savoring each one.
The juice—so sweet!—might make your hands sticky and dribble down your chin.
So fragrant. So delectable.
My advice: choose your fruit carefully—and live your life passionately.
The stars are so far away, but I can see them--Hopeful
I can see the stars, but they are so far away--Hopeless
The stars are the same. It all depends on how you look at them.
10/28/11I have a fantasy that Barack Obama joins the Wall Street Occupiers and gets arrested.
Today I intend to Occupy West Seattle. Specifically, the Alki Starbucks. My demands: Free refills and internet service. No umbrella or tent necessary, but if you want to bring me food, I won't complain. Protesting makes me hungry and I like chocolate.
The definition of irony is using the internet to research Henry David Thoreau.
Oooh Wakka, Do Wakka Day!
I see lots of comments celebrating the release of Amanda Knox, but I'm fascinated by the fact that there are about 15,000 murders per year in the United States alone, almost none of which receive any media coverage. Yet this one singular injustice attracts worldwide media attention. Gee, Scot writes sarcastically, I wonder if it has anything to do with her looks? Doesn't it seem obvious that this is a media-driven circus? Gotta fill that news cycle with a lurid soap opera to up the ratings. Maybe they should just create a new reality show "Blondes in Trouble."
I saw a sea lion at Alki Beach today. Add this to my list of reasons why I love Seattle.
Got the second opossum out too. Now I'm never going to sleep.
I just finished chasing a young opossum all over my house. Little bastard. Finally got him outside. Believe it or not as I'm typing this I just saw another one run into my bedroom. Gonna be a long night.
Scot saw three bald eagles at Discovery Park today and is very proud that Seattle has bald eagles. Scot is also glowing in the memory of a spectacular free talk by Neil deGrasse Tyson last night at UW--this generation's Carl Sagan.
I'm bummed by the fact that I read the Sunday Seattle Times today --and it only took about twenty minutes. What a waste of trees. Print journalism is dead--put a fork in it. (typed on my computer, obviously.)
I'm delighted that today in Seattle it is partly sunny rather than partly cloudy like it was yesterday.
Burning Man! This will be my seventh consecutive year. Go there before you die or you'll regret it for your entire afterlife! Well, you would if you had an afterlife, but I doubt it. So, go there in your nowlife!
I am pleased to announce that my book "Do Ya Think? Science, Science Fiction, and Skepticism," which previously was only available as a Kindle E-Book,is now available as a paperback. The E-Book can still be purchased at this link
, and the new paperback (with a different cover) is available here
. If you want to get a flavor of the contents of the book, check this previous blog entry
, which features a video of "Missing the Boat," one of the short plays included in the book.
I love frogs. Okay, I've said it. Everyone should love frogs. Okay, you're thinking, he's crazy. Yep, crazy 'bout frogs.
When I was in college, I was employed in a work-study job as frog-feeder. Actually, I started as a salamander-feeder, but when the funding ran out I switched. Talk about transferable skills! Anyhow, in both jobs I had the highly-intellectual task of wiggling small slices of liver in front of amphibian mouths. The frogs were actually oriental fire belly toads (Bombina orientalis). Note: There really is no taxonomic distinction between toads and frogs; they're all anurans. If you want to compare the two, here and here are a couple links to get you started. The toad colony was the project of Mark Ellinger, the Southern Illinois University Zoology Department Embryology Professor. I loved frogs and toads long before I went to college, but my experience there enhanced my love of all things anuran. I really don't remember why Dr. Ellinger kept fire bellies rather than the much more common frog studied in developmental biology, the african clawed frog (Xenopus), but I'm glad he did, fire-bellies are a whole lot prettier.
Okay, here's a story for you. One of the fun things about fire belly toads is that you can induce them to breed by injecting a small amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) into the dorsal lymph sac. Biosupply companies, I was told, acquire HCG extracted from the urine of pregnant women. I guess there is enough similarity between human HCG and some frog molecular equivalent to allow a cross-species effect. By morning, after injecting both the male and female, they were mounting and laying eggs. Kewl. Then we could watch the embryonic development on a dissecting microscope. It was fascinating to watch the fissures form in the dividing embryo, the invagination of the cells, and the eventual development of the tadpole. I recall explaining this process to a couple of friends of mine. They seemed surprisingly interested in the HCG. "You can get this stuff?" one asked. "Well, yeah, we stock it in the lab," I responded. Then it struck me what he was getting at, "NO! You can't have any! And it wouldn't work on humans anyhow!" Sheesh. Some people. (Actually, HCG is used clinically as an ovulation inducer, but that's a far cry from expecting "results" from slipping it into someone's drink.)
By the by, let me digress here with a rant about the HCG diet program that some nefarious medicos are still using to swindle people out of their cash. The HCG diet was championed by Albert T. W. Simeons who published a book in 1954 entitled "Pounds and Inches." The rationale behind HCG and weight loss is that HCG signals the hypothalamus to move nutrition to the developing embryo. Thus, when it is injected, or sometimes administered orally, in conjunction with a 500 calorie a day diet, the recipient loses weight. Five humdred calories a day! Who wouldn't lose weight! There are even homeopathic concoctions of HCG. Which means that they take something that doesn't work--and dilute it until it isn't even there. Quack! Quack! Quack! ('scuse me, I would say I have a frog in my throat, but that would be an insult to frogs.) The FDA is onto these scammers. If you want more info, check here.
Okay, enough about that, back to frogs. It really is much more impressive in person, but I found a couple of time-lapse vids of frog development and one very amusing one about some "true facts." Enjoy.
Fire Belly Frogs. Awesomely beautiful (And they know it.)
This croc better be careful. He's about to have his lower jaw ripped off by this frog! From National Geographic
The CFI Summit is coming to Tacoma, Washington next month on October 24-27. A joint conference of the Center for Inquiry and its affiliate organizations, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. Many "members" (operatives?) in the highly secretive skeptical community in the Pacific Northwest are very interested in this conference. The (supposed)topic of the conference,
described in their very own literature, as a "Meeting of minds—a call to collaborative action...The time has come: humanists, skeptics, and other critical thinkers coming together to work together for a more rational world." Well, to this blogger, this seems like thinly-disguised propaganda highly reminiscent of the Bilderberg Group. One wonders about their secret, hidden, agenda. That is, what is their "real," plan? I present the following points of evidence for your consideration: 1) Why would this organization gather in the relatively obscure location of Tacoma WA, rather than a major population center like New York City or Chicago? (Note: They even avoided nearby Seattle. Perhaps to avoid associations with the disastrous WTO protests in 1999? Hmm.); 2) A number of the attendees are KNOWN to be government employees. 3) Many participants are well-known, educated-elites, supposed "scientists," possessing Ph.D.s or M.D.s 4) Several of the speakers are known to be atheists, or at least, have atheist leanings. 5) They are meeting (conspiring?) at the Hotel Murano which is described as having a "bold Euro décor themed to the region’s art-glass heritage." (italics added). "Euro décor," suggesting subconsciously a possible world-government agenda, and, cryptically, "art-glass heritage," creating a facade, a false-veneer, of openness. And finally; 6) Some, but not all, of the participants have pronounced liberal leanings. I ask you, isn't this evidence enough? What, exactly, are they hiding? Who are the principals (i.e.puppeteers), pulling the strings at the CFI Summit? A closer look identifies Bill Nye, a known corrupter of youth, using the folksy pseudonym "The Science Guy," who for several years now has been trying to wrest the hearts and minds of children from the teachings of their caring parents because, as he describes it, "We need them." See video here. I ask: Need them for what? What sort of behavioral-priming and indoctrination is going on. Preparation for admission to a secret science cult? One can only speculate. Perhaps his position as Executive Director of the Planetary Society is a clue. No, I'm not saying definitively that alien intelligence is involved--but it could be. Another leader in the organization is Harriet Hall, (AKA the "Skepdoc"), who, as a known retiree of the Air Force, undoubtedly provides a shadowy military intelligence-gathering presence at the meeting. Dr. Hall is well-known for her advocacy of so-called, "science-based" medicine in lieu of the much more popular alternative medicine. Yet another dark presence is Susan Gerbic, who, in conjunction with her army of "Guerrilla Skeptics," directs a sort of skeptical "truth squad," to propagandize the internet. Their primary target is Wikipedia, where these "Guerrillas" covertly introduce their version of "objective skeptical truth," in place of far-superior subjective truths.
The speakers are listed at the CFI Summit website, which is almost certainly a front. (Who knows what hyperlinks can be accessed using top-secret passwords that only "certain select individuals" have been provided with.) Just a cursory view identifies a smorgasbord of evil. A sampling: Jim Alcock (Professor of Psychology), Greta Christina (admitted atheist), Elizabeth Cornwall (Initiator of the OUT campaign, suspected internationalist), Michael De Dora (representative to the United Nations) Eugenie C. Scott (Darwinist), Ophelia Benson (known feminist)...the sordid assemblage of propaganda purveyors goes on. This organization even has the hubris to have a "costume"party (clearly a means to provide cover for attendance by additional anonymous attendees) with entertainment provided by, (shockingly) the "Heathens." To see complete details see this link. But, be forewarned, there is no certainty in this blogger's mind that website visitors aren't being monitored. Go there at your own risk.
As you can tell, I have been carefully watching the activities of this organization. I ask your indulgence Do You Think? Blog fans, to look closely at the below photograph. What do you see?
Don't see it yet? Perhaps it is too subtle to the untrained eye. Let me remove some of what I'm sure is deliberately confusing print. Look carefully below.
Still having trouble? Look carefully at the shadowy dark "smudge" on the mountain, just to the lower left edge of the summit. Or, look at the below picture, which is an enlarged view.
Aha! Now you see it, don't you? Note the dark shadow. A clearly identifiable cryptid.
Look carefully at the enlarged, enhanced, photo on the left and compare it to the classic picture on the right. Yes, indeed, it is the icon of the Pacific Northwest: bigfoot. Although in the picture on the left he seems slightly ethereal, and perhaps a bit more obese, there is no mistaking what it REALLY is. Yes, this conference is an obvious cover operation for their thinly-disguised purpose. The surface agenda may be education, but the not-so-obvious agenda is to examine this irrefutable proof of the existence of bigfoot. THAT is the real reason why they (And just who is the REAL THEY behind the they one wonders.) have created this assemblage of so-called skeptics. And I will add that NOWHERE on the CFI Summit announcement can I find any indication that bigfoot will be a topic of discussion--as if any more proof was needed.
But, Do Ya Think? Blog fans, take heart, this intrepid blogger will be attending the conference. Attendance may be the wrong description. I will MONITOR their activities and will report any irregularities faithfully. The truth is out there, and I intend to find it.
The video below reminded me of a poem I studied in college. It was written in 1802, but is seems very applicable to today. The World Is Too Much With Us By William Wordsworth
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;-- Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
A few days ago I blogged about a couple of wonderful Burning Man projects. Burning Man is so full of wonders that I decided to highlight a couple more.
Peter Hudson and the crew of Hudzo Design have been big contributors to the Playa over the past few years. They create interactive, large-scale, three dimensional, stroboscopic zoetropes. Yikes, what is that? Here is a link to a nice interview with Peter Hudson where he defines a zoetrope as "a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures." In Peter's projects, instead of pictures, he uses rotating consecutive sculptures creating the illusion of continuous movement by flashing a stroboscope, giving the eerie appearance of a 3D film. All of the zoetropes from Hudzo that I have seen are run by collaborative human power, such as, by pulling ropes, pumping levers, or banging on drums, which particularly for Burners, is satisfying self-empowerment (We like to play, especially together.). If this description is a little unclear, check out the videos below and this should give you a better idea. Hudzo Design has brought several different zoetropes to Burning Man called "Deeper," "Tantalus," "Charon," "Sisyphish," and "Homouroboros." Most of his creations are inspired by mythology. It is fascinating to me that these creations can actually tell a tale albeit a very short (several second) "story."
Peter, is nothing if not ambitious, and he has announced a new project entitled "Eternal Return." Although the exact details of the project are secret, some clues can be found on his webpage, "The concept of the eternal return is touched upon in virtually all cultural and religious narratives. The concept can be found in Ancient Egyptian, Mayan and Aztec beliefs, in East Indian, and ancient Greek philosophy, as well as the 19th century deliberations of Friedrich Nietzsche. In Tibetan Buddhism, the concept is explored in Samsara, cyclic existence represented by the Bhavacakra symbol, the “wheel of life” depicted on the walls of temples and monasteries." Wow! I'm certainly excited to see how he can convey all of these concepts in one project. I'm also happy that this will be a departure from past, darker, themes: "Eternal Return will celebrate the joy and ecstasy of life, not just repeated, but begun anew." If you want more details, or at least clues, regarding Eternal Return, or, if you would like to help support this kind of art, check out this link.
So, from the bottom of my fluttering (defibrillating?), stroboscopic, heart, thank you Peter for sharing your gifts with us, and may you have many (maybe even "eternal") returns to Burning Man. Below are links to videos of "Homobouros," (the monkey zoetrope) (left) and, my personal favorite, "Charon," by day (center) and night (right).
Two other breath-taking displays at Burning Man were "Truth is Beauty," which is similar to the equally impressive "Bliss Dance" from three years ago. I'm certainly not alone in my selection of these works as a Burning Man favorites. I know that I'm going to be accused of hyperbole when I say that I believe that both "Bliss Dance" and "Truth is Beauty" are every bit as affecting as Michelangelo's sculpture of "David." Okay, I admit that I've only seen pictures of the "David" sculpture, so I might feel differently if I ever get to Italy, but time will tell if the modern works have the same enduring quality as the classical piece. Neither Truth is Beauty, nor Bliss Dance are constructed of marble, but, using smaller bronze models, the full-sized statues are constructed from steel rod and tubing, LED lights, and a skin of stainless steel mesh. One can't help but be impressed that "Truth is Beauty," which is 55 feet tall, was designed to stand on tip-toe and still withstood the windy, dusty desert environment. I didn't see it during the most severe wind storms on the Playa, but I saw nary a shimmer from the moderate winds that I observed. Very stable construction. The effect is stunning. Truth is Beauty and Bliss Dance were created by Marco Cochrane, as part of the "Bliss Project" They are the first two of three large sculptures using Deja Solis as a model. The third project, called "R-evolution" is planned. The stated intent of these creations is to, "be a catalyst for social change; to de-objectify women and inspire men and women to take action to end violence against women, thus allowing both women and men to live fully and thrive." The Bliss Project is sponsored by Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts organization. Donations are tax deductible. Please visit this link if you would like to support this project. Below, I have selected three videos that highlight these projects, none of which are really satisfying compared to the real thing. On the left is an interview with Cochrane where he talks a little bit about the technology. In the middle is an aerial video of Truth is Beauty from this year. On the right is a time lapse video of some of the color changes that Bliss Dance goes through. Gosh, as I look over the four projects that I've highlighted from Burning Man I feel like I'm really not doing justice to all of the other artists and participants. Here is a compilation of the "50 Coolest Burning Man Art Installations Ever," if you would like to check out some of the other projects. I have gone to Burning Man eight times and I feel very lucky. I know is has become almost cliche to say that the festival is a life-changing event, but it certainly has been for me. Thank you to my fellow Burners. Hope to see you on the Playa next year.