Archive for April, 2007

Thought Experiment

Posted on April 20th, 2007 in Comedy, Metaphysics | No Comments »

If nothing else, a blog is a handy way to empty your mind of stuff that’s been pasted to the inside of your brain for some time. This is something that’s rattled around in my skull for years. A good example of what I get up to when I’m not doing anything else.

Imagine for the sake of argument that everyone has a built-in digital display over their heads. Assume it’s a part of nature that we evolved with, just like five fingers and two ears. The display measures the difference between physical time and the time in our heads. You know how you get impatient when you sit at a red light that seems to take forever to change? When it turns green, what do you do? Usually you then try to rush to catch up to where you think you should have been, had the light changed sooner. It’s this difference between where you are vs. where you think you should be that the display measures.

For most people the display would nearly always be lagging behind to some degree. It seems we’re always in a hurry, or always behind where we should be. As we run late, the display would provide proof of this. Some people, like obsessive-compulsives, would be manic to make sure their display was as close to ‘proper’ time as possible. A few would even be ahead of where they should be. Lucky bastards. Remember, I’m asking you to assume that this is a normal part of human physiology; it wouldn’t even bear much comment, unless someone was seriously ahead or behind.

Got that? If so, then the thought experiment itself is much simpler to describe:

What (if anything) would Frankenstein’s display read?

Jockey loves his Moggy dearly

Posted on April 19th, 2007 in Personal | No Comments »

I guess I really am getting old if I think that music today is deplorable. I stopped listening to the radio about three or four years ago, and don’t miss it. Most of what I listen to is from my collection (several hundred CDs) or music made by myself or people I know. I have several friends who have CDs that should be available world-wide, but don’t. Such is the nature of the biz. I’ll get to them another time, because they deserve some mention.

For now, I’m listening to much older music. I’ve grown to appreciate what would be considered “classical”, altho most of what I like really isn’t “classical”. It’s baroque, it’s medieval, it’s ancient, it’s Renaissance, it’s Elizabethan. I find it takes me back to those days, perhaps literally. If you believe in past lives, then it’s nothing new, just remembering a glint of sunlight on a lock of golden hair. If not, then it’s just good music; truly timeless.

At the moment I’m listening to one of my favourite discs –
On the Banks of Helicon: Early Music of Scotland by the Baltimore Consort. It’s a collection of songs and instrumentals, mostly from the mid-15th to mid-16th century (the newest song is from 1719). It would have been considered ‘folk’ music of its day, and you can hear echos of it in Appalachian music such as Bluegrass and the like (brought over to the hills by emigrated Scots in the 18th and 19th centuries). The title of this entry is one of the selections on the disc.

Listening to their music reminds me that once this was their world, when they were alive and experiencing it. Now it’s our world, and yet we can still hear the songs they sang. I get the same feeling when I look at old paintings or architecture. Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to cathedrals. I don’t go to any church, but I enjoy walking the naves and aisles that people long dead once trod through. It’s an amazing thing to wonder if all these things will still be here in the 25th century, long after we’re gone, and it’s somebody else’s world. I really hope so.

Where have all the flowers gone?

Posted on April 16th, 2007 in Personal | No Comments »

I’m a 60’s child. I was born in the Sixties, grew up in the Sixties, I remember the first moon landing. The music of that era still resonates in my bones. You’d be hard pressed to find a non-Beatles song that best sums it up like Scott Mackenzie’s When You Go To San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair). Written, by the way, by the late great John Phillips of Mamas & the Papas fame.

Anyway, I was musing the other day about the people of my generation. What the hell happened to us? As we are now rapidly approaching the deep end of ‘middle age’, it seems we have somehow lost our way. Or perhaps never really got started. It seems that so many people I went to school with never really ‘became’ anything. We just grew up and started getting old. What about our dreams? We were going to do so much, and now we’re stuck with a moron in the White House, the world is labouring under the illusion of the ‘war on terror’, and most of us are content to watch American Idol. Huh?

Not everyone fell through the cracks – I have a very good friend who became an accountant. While not the most glamorous job title, he works for a very large and well-known company. They pay him pretty @#$% well, and he’s constantly traveling around to look at client’s books. Said clients will wine and dine him, and he makes a pretty comfortable living. But he’s an exception. Too many others just twiddle away their time. Me too, I guess. Another fellow I know has lived on both coasts pursuing an acting career. Except for a few shots as “guy leaning on bar in background” on some tv shows, he seems to spend most of his time partying (and lying about his age). A girl I used to date is living alone now that her daughter is in college. She looks like a Grandmother. I saw a recent picture and didn’t recognize her. Another is singing with a tired looking band in a bar in Georgia.

Maybe this happens to every generation – they come out ready to rock the world, and in the end just whimper away to eke out an existence until death mercifully claims them. Maybe I’m indignant because it’s finally happening to us. Maybe I’m frustrated because I recall all those idyllic summer days and know we’re getting a bit short on those. Maybe I should have been an accountant.

Lennon Right Again!

Posted on April 12th, 2007 in Comedy | No Comments »

A senior scientist with the Ministry of Thought revealed today that the world as we know it does not exist, as prophesied by John Lennon forty years ago. Dr. Ian Lize announced that “Basically John Lennon was correct, as the lyric of the Beatles’ song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ said: Nothing is real.”

Dr. Lize outlined the results of a five-year research project by the Ministry, which discovered that everything we see, hear, experience or otherwise believe to be external stimuli is in fact, illusionary. “Imagine our surprise when we found that despite all human experience to the contrary, it’s all unreal. We’ve double-checked our research and there can be no doubt – it’s all a sham!”

“The implications are tremendous. Religion, love, weather, our daily lives, the whole of existence is basically not there at all. We’re still working on what, if anything, really is there instead, but so far we’ve got many more questions than answers.”

At the press conference, Dr. Lize was asked if this also extended to such mundane things as breakfast, stubbed toes, and the conference itself. “Yes; as far as we can tell, you did not have breakfast, you have never stubbed your toe, if you even have toes, and even this press conference does not exist.”

An official at Downing Street said that the Prime Minister is saddened to find that there is no reality. The cabinet is expected to send an envoy to the United Nations next month to discuss what this may mean to ongoing concerns world-wide. International leaders from around the globe expressed everything from shock to disbelief when they were briefed earlier in the week, ahead of today’s general announcement.

The Ministry is expected to release a website later in the week where the whole of the research results will be available. In keeping with the amazing findings of the group, the website will also not exist.

Starting out

Posted on April 12th, 2007 in Personal | 1 Comment »

Have you ever noticed how something looks authentic just because you read it on the web? For example, if I say:

Recent studies have shown that while hair and fingernails on corpses do not actually continue to grow, they do seem to grimace if you shout in their ear loud enough.

That seemed pretty true, right?


I read today about the death of writer Kurt Vonnegut at age 84. A pretty fair run, but even tho I only read one of his books, I always liked old Kurt. Perhaps it was because he looked like a writer. He was pretty famous for a (then) living author, and he didn’t just come across as any old Joe Blow. He seemed a pretty interesting character. So I’m sorry to see him go.


In a related topic, I sort of met George Plimpton once. I know, you’re saying, “Who’s George Plimpton?”. Oddly enough, I always thought he was somewhat well-known, which shows what I know. If you did know who he was, good for you. You’re one of the smarter people reading this.

Anyway, I was working in retail at a catalog showroom back in the mid-80’s. Mr. Plimpton walks in, and buys a pair of binoculars. My boss (who knew who he was), actually spoke to him, while I looked on in amazement, like you always do when you’re in the presence of someone who’s famous for anything. Somehow I ended up with the little order form where he printed out his name. I’ve still got it somewhere. The reason it comes to mind now is because of course, Plimpton has also passed away (altho it was some years ago). It’s a little sad when I tell people how I (almost) met George Plimpton, and they look at me blankly and say, “Who?”.

In these Warholian days of “celebs” and “idols”, people who were known for genuine achivements seem a rarity.