Monday, July 15, 2024

The Immortals

If Hank Williams had not died in his Cadillac at 29, if James Dean had not died in his Porsche at 24 or Clifford Brown in a different car at 25, if Johnny Ace hadn’t shot himself in the head also at 25, if Eddie Cochran had not died in a taxi wreck at 21, if Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper (16, 22, 28) hadn’t died in that plane crash in 1959, there’s a pretty good chance they’d all be dead by now anyway, or extremely old. That’s something to think about, but not for very long.

Monday, July 8, 2024

What I've been talking about

I’ve been talking about nearly nothing else since I recently heard about the Axial Twist Hypothesis, which posits that you and I and everything that has ever had a spine basically has its head on backwards. What this is is an attempt to explain why we’re internally asymmetrical, why our brains control opposite sides of our bodies, and also something called Yakovlevian torque. Admittedly, I just skimmed the part about zebrafish embryos and am somewhat unclear as to what evolutionary advantage the Axial Twist confers, but I acknowledge that its absence would make it extremely difficult to button one’s shirt.

Monday, July 1, 2024

Yard Waste

Maybe we use the word “hate” too often. The kid doesn’t hate broccoli, they just don’t like eating it. Nobody actually hates Kenny G. or Nickelback, they’re just staking out their cultural real estate. But I really hate leaf blowers, especially the internal combustion ones that produce more noise than a Top Fuel dragster in order to accomplish less useful work than a push broom. Those really loud blowers are usually operated by lawn care professionals hired by homeowners who could do the work themselves with a manual lawn mower and bamboo rake but they’re at the gym. For exercise.

Monday, June 24, 2024

not debatable

If two guys came to my house with competing estimates for putting on a new roof and one was a strapping young lad and the other a slightly feeble geezer, among the things upon which I would not base my decision would be a comparison of their ages since my assumption would be that the person with executive authority is most likely not actually going to climb onto the roof to handle directly the shingle-based aspects of the work at hand. Further, if my choice was instead between two elderly men, I would choose the more well-meaning of the two.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Adventures in Haberdashery

The local paper had a Gifts for Dad ad section and a plaid sport coat caught my attention first because it was hideous and second because they were asking $795.00 for it. And I’m like O My Gawd because the likeliest way somebody would buy that for their dad is if they were using his credit card which how about make him snort Tabasco then blow his nose in sandpaper. Seriously, this jacket could make a sportscaster upchuck. And for that price you could buy 100 jackets at the Salvation Army, not one of which would be half as ugly.

Monday, June 10, 2024

changeable hawk-eagle

The first thing you need to know about the changeable hawk-eagle is that there is such a bird. Beyond that, and I’m going to copy and paste here to mitigate somewhat the awesome burden of actually typing 100 words, “the life histories of raptors from tropical Asia are generally quite poorly-known, even in the case of easily observed raptors such as changeable hawk-eagles.” You may be thinking, “This isn’t starting off in a very promising manner,” but understand there is an extremely old dog behind my chair snoring and farting and also linear thinking has never been my strong suit.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Thumbs up for thumbs!

We win the biomass derby! There are about 8 billion humans, in global terms virtual clones of one another, currently living here. According to scientists, there is no evidence that there have ever been that many of any one species bigger than an ant alive at the same time. Just for comparison, they (smart people) estimate that the T. rex population probably averaged around 20,000 at a time for about a million and a half years for a total of 2.5 billion ever. To be fair, the T. rex had those tiny arms, so sophisticated tool-making would have been problematic.