Monday, April 30, 2012


People used to die all the time from getting bled and cupped and purged by physicians attempting to cure ailments that might easily have resolved themselves. These doctors had theories about what was going on inside the human body that had nothing whatsoever to do with any observable outcomes, and they stuck to these beliefs even when their patients kept dying on them. When reality deviated from their theories, they declared reality to be in error. We don't so much do medicine that way these days, but governance is another story. Ideology makes smart people stupid and stupid people beasts.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Stealth Bummer

Somebody just told me that whole thing of Ninjas always running around in black is wrong. This guy says the idea came from Kabuki theater, when some clever director used a black-garbed stagehand to represent an incredibly stealthy and well-camouflaged assassin, because the audience was conditioned to ignore them. Which makes sense. The key to camouflage is to resemble the expected. That's probably why my crafty “old blind ragged beggar with a tin cup” rig isn't letting me sneak into the movies for free. And why really serious enemies of the Constitution wear charcoal grey suits and big cheerful smiles.

Monday, April 16, 2012

regarding ants

I was looking at some little ants. Really tiny, even for ants. If they got into the nest of some of those large carpenter ants, the big ants would be; “Dang- we got ants.” They were hustling around in a way that looked disconnected, but they were all actually going about the business of the colony. A school of minnows, on the other hand, look like they've perfectly coordinated every move, but really it's just a bunch of identical brains reacting to identical stimulus, without any cooperation or common goal. That's the difference between a mob and a community.

Monday, April 9, 2012


You'd think finding himself waking up in a fabulous beach house on a sunny Monday morning with nothing but 100 words of drivel and a phone call or two between him and a day of splendid inactivity a guy would be feel free as a bird, light as a feather, happy as a clam, but as always it seems dark thoughts find their way into even the brightest landscape which in this case are of (number one) the heretofore unknown dusky pygmy rattlesnake and secondly that I may end up reading the John Grisham paperback I see on a shelf.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Also an oxymoron: "Foreseeable future."

If more people understood the laws of thermodynamics, we would on the whole be harder to lie to. Listen. The universe is wound up like a big watchspring. We are basking in the waste emissions of a star as it burns itself out. A mill turns because water falls downhill. A bulb glows because a battery is discharging. Rich guys think they create wealth like a toddler thinks his nose creates crunchy snacks. All gain, all profit, is essentially extractive. “Sustainable growth” is an oxymoron; life is parasitic. But still. We can try not to be ugly about it.