Monday, November 30, 2020

A History of Innovation. A Heritage of Excellence.

The golden age of the heroic lone inventor has passed. No more pioneers like James Spangler, who invented the “suction sweeper” which so impressed his cousin that she got her husband, William H. Hoover, to invest in it. No more John Logie Bairds cobbling together televisions out of tea chests and sealing wax. Now they’re just tweaking old ideas. Like for instance the first electric car, the Flocken Elektrowagen, came out in 1888. So okay, there is this one guy on YouTube who’s selling a lump of rubber to chew on to develop a stronger jawline, but that’s just sad.

Monday, November 23, 2020

I've no wish to bohr you, but

One of the nicest consequences of quantum uncertainly is that under currently accepted theory you most certainly can have your cake and eat it too. Which is great, because physics is not always your pal. Like Feynman diagrams, which as I understand it can be read in either direction, so cause becomes effect and vice versa. So maybe you’re drunk right now because of the hangover you had tomorrow. All of this complicates linear storytelling. Not that I’m bothered since I’m one of those rare people who can live without a narrative. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Another little jab

“Polio wasn’t so bad, I just loaded up on vitamin C and chicken soup and watched a lot of daytime TV for a couple days,” said absolutely nobody ever. Yet I just heard that something like 50 percent of Americans say they won’t get vaccinated against COVID-19. They’ve heard it causes autism or socialism or something. While there’s probably a wide range of opinions among anti-vaxxers, I know for sure they all have one thing in common: They’ve never had smallpox. But look. Maybe they’ll take the vaccine if we put it in Kool-Aid. They got no problem drinking that.

Monday, November 9, 2020

the possible

Suppose your personal political philosophy is slightly to Trotsky’s left. That’s fine. But let’s don’t forget that digging in your heels means you’re getting nowhere. Here’s a tortured analogy: We got a bunch of hungry guests at the table waiting for supper. And we have plenty of beans and rice, but I’m like, “These nice folks deserve a big ham or roast turkey.” And you go, “Yeah, they do, but what we got is beans and rice.” And then I say, “That’s not good enough.” See, theoretically I’m a visionary, but on the practical level I’m saying, “Let ‘em starve.”

Monday, November 2, 2020

The Eye of the Hurricane

The dogs on my block were loud, then quiet. Our ears popped, the rain started, the wind picked up and the lights went out. The storm came sideways and what could bend bent and what couldn’t broke. It was loud, then quiet. Everyone came outside to stand in the street and look at the sky. We agreed that this greenish orange purple light was like nothing we’d ever seen. I said, “So this is intermission,” and our neighbor laughed politely. Then I said, “How do we know when it’s over?” And she said, “I think they ring a little bell.”