Monday, May 30, 2011

The Symptom

Here's bad news for those of you unlucky enough to live in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Tennessee -- states collectively known as the Stroke Belt. What may sound like something you'd order from the back of a gentlemen's magazine is actually a region where the odds of dying from a brain attack are significantly higher than the rest of the country. Now scientists say you are also more likely to suffer from cognitive decline, as measured by your willingness to live in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Tennessee.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Sex is nice and ice cream is delicious, but there's really no greater pleasure than feeling superior to another human being. So when a radio preacher tells us that the world is coming to an end, it's going to be a big occasion for smug fun. I mean, radio? Seriously? Get with it, Grandpa. Except, what if it's happened and the transition was subtle and difficult to detect? What if it's after the end of the world and this right now is what rapture feels like? What if we're in the presence of the Lord?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Space is the place

Did you ever feel like you really know a place from years of reading about it and looking at pictures and hearing stories, while at the same time there may some other location where you have actually physically been that's left less of an impression? Two places like that for me are Berlin vs. Madrid. Also outer space and Akron. So the shuttle program is winding down, and I'm thinking maybe the best way to the stars is via inorganic extensions of ourselves, as opposed to figuring out ways to get actual meat onto the surface of Mars, for instance.

Monday, May 9, 2011

It feels so good when I stop

I ran into yet another reference to Voluntary Human Extinction, folks who have chosen to forgo reproduction in order to save the planet. I have no argument with the goal, really, but their strategy is sadly flawed. They'll just end up prolonging the ordeal for everybody else, while reducing the population of people who want to reduce the population. If you want to hasten the extinction of the species, you should have as many kids as possible, and raise them all to be real estate developers who drive around in enormous SUVs buying up farmland to build tracts of McMansions.

Monday, May 2, 2011

No more in thrall

May Day, International Workers' Day, commemorates a time when governments could (occasionally) be shamed or coerced into siding with the citizenry against the predations of power, privilege, and capital. In some places, it also celebrates an early form of pole dancing. Oddly, people aboard a sinking ship don't holler "Mayday" into radios to celebrate spring one last glorious time; the word is a homophone for the French phrase meaning "help me." The Internet is just chock full of places where the simple appearance of the word "homophone" would be occasion for coarse jocularity, but this is not one of them.