Monday, October 27, 2014

Lives of the Philosophers, Pt. 3


Reading Marshall McLuhan's ideas this late in the game, they can seem banal because they so accurately describe the way we live today. Like watching a D. W. Griffith movie and trying to get your head around a time when a close-up was a big deal. Two things to remember about him: First off, Canadian. Like Howie Mandel and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. The second thing is he predicted the Internet and coined the term Global Village, which you should think about when you worry about online privacy because one thing about living in a village is everybody knows everybody else's business.

Monday, October 20, 2014

2 names good. 3 names better.


First off: There's not a thing wrong with Stevie Ray Vaughn or Kenny Wayne Shepherd, fine fine superfine pickers who've made scads of good music and who, for very different reasons, wouldn't care at all about my opinions even if they knew about them, which they don't. I wanted that straight right out front there. What rankles me and raises my hackles is when cats cite them as major influences and as some sort of wellspring of originality which sorry but they just ain't. To believe they are is like stepping in a bucket and thinking you found the ocean.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Radiogenic argon-40 in every breath


Apparently, they are putting something called GMO in our food, which I had previously heard was a miracle arthritis cure they didn't want us to know about. They've also started putting gluten into bread and cake and cookies, where it could be eaten by children. Also, do you realize that today's apple contains over twice as much fructose as glucose? I also heard they killed this one guy because he invented a simple attachment for your carburetor that would turn tap water into gasoline. I'm not sure who they are, but I'll say this for them: They stay incredibly busy.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Not that there's anything wrong with that.


I hate it when somebody says something clever and you go ha ha that's clever and they admit it's a quote from TV, sort of implying that you're kind of square for not knowing the reference. And you feel dopey for always making up your own funny things to say, which is old fashioned, like baking bread or wearing homemade socks. Statistically, every season brings us closer to total Quip Convergence, when the fact that the number of possible funny sentences in English is finite will make it mathematically impossible to make a joke that is not a Simpsons quote.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Me too.

Here's what can happen: You find you know nothing about Brunei. You look it up; it's actually called “The Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace.” It is the only sovereign state located entirely on Borneo, of which it occupies about one percent. You find you know nothing about Borneo. Look it up. Third largest island in the world. 140 million year old rainforest rapidly being converted to plywood, threatening the habitats of many cool species, including the proboscis monkey. Look it up. Paydirt. You get the following exquisite construction: “Monkeys tend to sleep near rivers, if they are nearby.”

Monday, September 22, 2014

Presto


You know how you'll be reading and without quite knowing what's happened to you you'll be giggling all by yourself or worse in a public conveyance? Or crying? That's how good writing works. You don't go, “My, but that's well written.” It just sneaks up on you disguised as normal words. So what's terrible about a bad book from a good writer is it lets you in on all the tricks. It ruins everything. It's like a magic show. If you start off thinking “This is a guy with pigeons in his pockets,” the whole thing is kind of pathetic.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Actually pretty ranty for a change.

The big tech news is that Apple is including a free U2 album when you buy a new iPhone. For the youngsters. Like if Harman Kardon had offered teenaged me a Lawrence Welk tape with my new 8-track player. See, they’re staying relevant. Maybe they should throw in a Teddy Ruxpin. With this inspired marketing linkage, Apple cements its position as the hep technology brand of choice among middle-aged cube rats and soccer moms. Meanwhile, the Browns played the Saints yesterday. As a native Clevelander living in New Orleans, I was really torn about which team to be apathetic about.