Monday, December 11, 2017

Guest Rant: Yehudi Menuhin

“This wasteful governing by fear, by contempt for the basic dignities of life, this steady asphyxiation of a dependent people, should be the very last means to be adopted by those who themselves know too well the awful significance, the unforgettable suffering of such an existence. It is unworthy of my great people… who have striven to abide by a code of moral rectitude for some 5,000 years, who can create and achieve a society for themselves such as we see around us but can yet deny the sharing of its great qualities and benefits to those dwelling amongst them.”

Monday, December 4, 2017

Check your Eloi privilege

Time travel stories are cool, but they’re not really science fiction; they’re pure fantasy. As I like to say, if we were going to have time machines ever we’d have had them always. We get our little tastes of it, though. Like every time you wake up you’ve travelled another day into the future. And what is dying but moving your entire life into the past? All that without a clumsy machine and the problems of finding a recharging socket in the Pleistocene. And even if you invented a time machine, someone would get to the patent office before you.

Monday, November 27, 2017

jockies or boxers

For most guys, the guy things you enjoy are the ones you learned from your father. If your dad took you fishing, you like fishing. Same for hunting, bowling, or ambitious and ultimately destructive appliance repair. Also football; I really couldn’t care less about it which is how I emulate my primary male role model. Nowadays more and more folks are unfollowing the NFL, their reasons split along ideological lines. On the left it’s the brain injuries while on the right it’s the whole anthem thing. Tell me why you hate football and I will tell you how you vote.

Monday, November 20, 2017


I’m amazed at how many otherwise well-informed people don’t know their own cephalic index. This is the ratio between the length of your cranium and its width. Under about 75 is considered “long-headed” (dolichocephalic), from 75 to around is 83 “medium-headed” (mesocephalic), and over that you’re “short-headed” (brachycephalic). I believe we should identify fiercely with those who share our cephalic index, forming clubs united around this meaningless skull number. We could have picnics! We could make up insults! (“Shorthead” is already pretty good.) We’ve tried unifying our species, and failed. I say let us divide anew along mind-bogglingly irrational borders.

Monday, November 13, 2017

go 'round again

Here’s something I noticed. If you walk around one block, the distance covered is four blocks. If you walk around two blocks, the distance is six blocks. Now, go around four blocks. That’s an eight block walk. Okay, how about three? Well, the distance around a three block enclosure, whether a long rectangle or an el shape, is also eight blocks. I have checked and rechecked this, with an actual dog. I probably shouldn’t let this bother me. I should probably use my brain for having interesting ideas that benefit all humankind. But we’ve tried that, and it doesn’t help.

Monday, November 6, 2017

a horse splashes

Did you know there was a 1931 version of The Maltese Falcon, ten years before the one with Humphrey Bogart? Me neither. So apparently, you can do remakes as long as they’re so good they turn the original into a footnote. Like Jerry Lewis was funnier than Ish Kabibble. And Johnny Weissmuller was better than Elmo Lincoln, even though the latter’s name conjures up delightful images of a cute Muppet delivering the Gettysburg Address. They keep trying to remake King Kong, though, and it just can’t work. It’s always too literal, like when somebody tries to tell you their dream.

Monday, October 30, 2017

I admit, I'm astounded.

Why assume that any decline in literacy is a cultural disaster? Most people were just reading crap. Here’s a heaping dollop of pulp fiction, Astounding Stories of Super-Science, September 1930:  “Now Sarka could see plainly the dome of his laboratory, and from the depths of him welled up that strange glow which Earthlings recognize as the joy of returning home, than which there is none, save for the love of a woman, greater.” I’d like to dig this writer up and sock him in the nose. Every word in that sentence, even the tiniest preposition, is screaming “let me die.”