Monday, July 28, 2008

The Microbes of Amtor

Oh, cheer up. Yes, it's Monday. Yes, it's true that life has elements of sadness and disappointment. We are saddled with, not just self awareness, but endlessly recursive awareness of that awareness. Even if there was an alternative to dying, it would be living forever, which is hardly preferable. But meanwhile, know this: Two scientists from the Cardiff Center for Astrobiology, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and Doctor Janaki Wickramasinghe, believe that germs from Venus could be blown to Earth by solar winds. So while your funny blogger may be mopey and disconsolate, Welsh cosmologists are conspiring to give you the giggles.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The squeaky wheel gets the worm

Some people say “no-nonsense” as if it's something to be proud of-- like their no-nonsense attitude was somehow intrinsically superior to another person's more nonsense-friendly way of doing things. These are the folks who would rationalize every aspect of life. But look; rationality is a system invented by humans in an attempt to explain reality. When the real deviates from the rational, it's the system of thought that has failed. And when observed phenomena deviate from the predictions of your accepted orthodoxy, it's no use standing there slack-jawed saying, “This can't be happening.” That's simply nonsense.

Monday, July 14, 2008

But don't they look natural?

By the time something needs preservation, it's probably too late to really save it, because the niche that allowed it to evolve has gone away. Consider the panda and the koala. They live exclusively on bamboo and eucalyptus, respectively. Their habitats are threatened by burgeoning global demand for tiki torches and coughdrops. Then there's jazz music, which grew out of a social environment that no longer exists. So today you can't get it fresh. It comes preserved, which is like substituting pickles for cucumbers. It's the same with opera, theater, poetry -- all those forms collectively known as the Embalmed Arts.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Daytona was our Anzio

There's been a lot of loose talk about a “greatest generation” and I for one want no more of it. Sure, surviving the Great Depression and polio, winning World War II, and nurturing millions of whiney, self-absorbed boomers constitutes a pretty impressive legacy. But let's not go overboard in our adulation. Every generation has its row to hoe, and our forebears might have been hard-pressed to endure, as we have, the combined effects of Soupy Sales and Bonomo Turkish Taffy. Greatness is largely a matter of opportunity. It's just our tough luck we didn't get a World War.