Several of us were talking, trying to imagine what might await humanity in years to come. Many of my peers were envisioning a bleak future. Wishing to introduce a note of optimism, I said, “I can foresee a time when we need no longer carry a compass, sextant and chronometer. Instead, a single tiny apparatus will replace these cumbersome implements. Who knows? It may also provide the benefits of a pocket abacus as well as the ability to transmit and receive messages without repairing to the Western Union office.” There followed a profound silence. I could tell they were impressed.
Monday, December 24, 2018
I’m sure some of the French showing up at our borders are very fine people but I am becoming alarmed about the bad elements coming over here to foment unrest and chaos. I’d been aware of the disruptive “yellow vest” demonstrations in and around Paris, but that’s a long way away and I was shocked when a truckload of these protesters showed up in my neighborhood and began literally to tear up the street. I rushed out onto my porch. “Hé toi,” I shouted, “Allez-vous en!” They just looked at me all snooty. I’ll have to work on my accent.
Monday, December 17, 2018
It’s a bit of a blow to the ego to learn that humans make up only about 0.01 percent of the planet’s biomass by dry weight. Compared to other mammals, we totally score though. We’re more than a third of total mammal mass while all wild mammals together are about four percent. The rest, about 60 percent, is mostly our cows and pigs. Remember, this is mass, not a headcount, and cows are big and squirrels are small. But still. There’s barely enough giraffes left to populate Dubuque, Iowa, which is a pleasant thought although the ceilings are pretty low.
Monday, December 10, 2018
When you’re restricted by a sacred code of personal honor to 100 words you want to be extra careful about which ones you use. Here’s a for-instance: Sometimes the words yet and still mean the same thing. Like, “He remains there yet.” “He remains there still.” Then, they can kind of be opposites. “Is he here yet?” means he has not arrived. “Is he here still?” means he has not departed. Furthermore, “He is sitting still” can mean he remains as yet or that he is motionless. I ponder these imponderables. So, sometimes the late Dave Maleckar misses a rant.