Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Death can kiss my ass

Ok, a warning, I'm feeling a bit morbid tonight for reasons I'll get to shortly. This post is apt to be a bit depressing. If you're in a good mood and want to stay that way, you may want to read this one later.

The brother of a very close friend of mine has cancer and will die very soon. Mike, my friend, is taking time off work to be with him and help out. In effect he is going to be spending the next month or two watching his brother die. I feel terrible for him of course but I don't have any reference point. Thankfully, I have never lost anyone with whom I was very close. So while I have no problem sympathising it is difficult for me to empathize, to have a real understanding of what he is about to go through. I am feeling guilty about this even though I realize that death is horrifying and almost no one is any good at dealing with it.

But then that got me to thinking: We (bloggers) are all involved, to varying degrees, in a veritable online community. We have our favorite blogs and bloggers. Often we come to regard these essentially anonymous people as our friends. So what if one of us dies? How do we find out? What's the protocol for the funeral? It's probably not necessary to attend a funeral in a far off place but do you send flowers? If you send flowers what name do you use?

Ok, enough of that. If any of you guys die I am counting on you having the decency to post about it afterwards.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ode to a pork chop

how much pork
could a pork chop
chop
if a pork chop
could chop
pork

Some people have suggested that this is derivative. I think they just don't like pork.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Wow

I promise not to do any more stuff about football. After this...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Brains



Following is a response to the Micheal's very cool post "strange bedfellows" at http://accordingtothemichael.blogspot.com/ It'll make more sense if you read his first.

It seems to me it would be useful, for this discussion, to separate the higher and lower brain functions. I think that the lower functions have indeed performed equivalently to computers. Our nervous system, immune system, breathing, heartrate are all tightly regulated. Adrenaline, serotonin, and other helpful substances are dumped into our systems when needed. All of these mechanisms developed over thousands of years of refining, updating and eliminating errors. The point being that the brain is a very sophisticated and capable computer.

It is the higher functions of the brain that cause all the problems you mentioned. Intuition, art, abstract thought, philosophy, adaptability and innovation. These are the things that we cannot build computers to do. These higher functions have allowed us to become the dominant species on the planet, build complex civilizations, and adapt to almost every environment we have encountered. They have also made us very dangerous to ourselves and others. They oftentimes cause us to think that we are smarter, or more capable, or luckier than those that have come before and that their fate will not be our fate. And while the lower brain functions are dedicated to ensuring our continued survival the higher functions have no such constraint. In fact, they can sometimes cause us to take actions contrary to our own best interest. This is true whether we apply it to people singly or collectively. So a nation is just as likely as an individual to act irrationally and ignore the lessons of history.

Until we can build computers that replicate the higher brain functions I don't think we have much to worry about. The computer that serves you drinks and tries to cut you off isn't doing so because it thinks it is a good idea. It's doing it because the programmer thought it would be a good idea. What we need to watch out for is the person who wishes to control some aspect of our lives and uses the computer as a tool to that end.

However...

If we do manage to build a computer with higher brain functions as messed up as ours, I think we've all seen enough movies and TV shows to know that we're screwed. So, since building such a computer is obviously not in our best interest it is precisely what we will try to do.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Let the games begin

Some of my earliest and most vivid memories from childhood are of going to Redskins games at RFK stadium with my Dad. I don't recall how he managed it, but every year he would obtain tickets to one of the games. The trip to the stadium took about 45 minutes from our home in southern Maryland. The stadium was located in the heart of a residential neighborhood in D.C. The locals would have signs out on their lawns offering parking for the game in their driveways. My Dad never went for these even though it would have been cheaper than the official parking areas. While winding our way through the traffic to the parking area, my excitement would begin to grow. There where so many other cars trying to get to the stadium. People on the streets streaming towards it. Everyone in such a good mood. It was amazing to see so many people moving together with one purpose.

After parking would be our turn to join the jostling masses headed into the game. My favorite part of the walk up to the stadium came when we all had to pass through a long tunnel under a road. As we got into the tunnel and it got darker the men would all call out "Moo, Mooooo" as if we were cattle being led down the tunnel to the killing rooms. At the time I didn't know why they were doing it but I loved it. Nobody explained why, everyone just knew. It was tradition.


At the stadium entrance is where the real exciting part started. There were just so many people, all going different directions, trying to find their seats. My Dad would make me hold onto the back of his belt and would lead me through the throng. I would pretend that he was my blocker and our program was the football. I held on to his belt so tightly during these times that the impression from it would stay on my hand for half an hour after we finally got to our seats.


Once in the seats the really impressive visuals would be apparent. The stadium is huge and completely filled with people. So many people that they are not recognizable, just color and movement and a wonderful excitement everywhere. Once in the seat you could get popcorn and soda in waxed paper cups with cellophane wrapped around the lip (I guess they hadn't come up with fitted plastic lids yet). There where hotdogs with steamed buns that would turn into rocks if you didn't eat them quick enough. You could eat peanuts and drop the shells right on the floor.


And finally the game would start. I didn't have any idea what was going on on the field but it didn't matter. The whole stadium would react as one. When the crowd got really worked up they would all start to stamp in unison and make the whole damned stadium sway. RFK is like that, itll move. It didn't matter who won. At least not to me, not until I was older. The only thing that mattered was the experience. These games instilled in me a love of football in general and of the Redskins in particular that is as strong today as it ever was when I was a little kid. I have been following the Redskins for 30 years and will continue to cheer for them as long as they or I exist. The roots are very deep.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hmmm



It ain't pink. It ain't a pachyderm. But it is a moosenut cracker.

Uh... moose nutcracker, I mean.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The saga of Petey and Bingo

I spotted these panhandlers working the streets in San Francisco back in '88. Bingo (right) and Petey (left) they were called.At least that's what they claimed, who really knows? Anyway, they had this very successful photography bit going. Things were good, diamond studded collars, gold plated chew toys, and as many bitches as they could sniff.

I hear that they had a falling out a few years latter over a flirty dachshund named Fifi. It seems that Fifi had been seeing Petey for a few months when he walked in on Bingo and Fifi in a, shall we say, compromising position. (Doggie style, of course, what else)? Anyway, Petey looses it and starts to get all up in Bingos face. He's like, "dude, what the hell"? So Bingo shoots him. (Bingo has problems with conflict resolution).

Fifi testifies that it was self defense and Bingo beats the rap. He tries to continue the street performances but can't handle the act alone. Fifi dumps him when he can no longer keep her in the manner to which she has become accustomed and takes up with a police dog that walks a beat in her neighborhood. He slaps her around a little, but he pays the bills. Plus, he's a german shepherd, what are you gonna do?

And Bingo? Well, Bingo kinda drifted away from the scene and I haven't heard any news in years. I hope he's well. Sure, he's a bloodthirsty bastard who'd shoot you as soon as look at you. But he looks so darned cute in that bandana and sunglasses, you just gotta love the heartless prick. So, Bingo, if you're out there: Who's a good boy? Lot's of belly rubs, ol' buddy.