Category Archives: Uncategorized

In the face of adversity


For some reason, the Grammy’s appear to have been broadcast live from hell this year. Wait, every year?


I have no idea how to put this in words, lol.

I told the lady at the McDonald’s drive-in about it, and she seemed to get it, but then she laughed.

I want to tell you that two things meet, and they do meet, I swear, but it’s difficult to say so, because I have no idea what they are.

Here! Let me grab this lifeline. Once I had a nice discussion with someone else anonymous about whether we are doomed to repeat everything endlessly. Does life go around in circles, he said. Are we a snail on a football field, he said that too.

Ok, there’s a good example someone of talking about something you-don’t-know-what-the-heck-it-is that we can all learn from. What goes around in a circle? Nothing, right? It’s a figure of speech.

He meant that events repeat, and we imagine time is a line, so if events repeat, the line would be a circle, if you stopped pretending the line was time and instead pretended the line was a timeline.

Makes sense to me.

So I’ll just carefully introduce another dimension onto said timeline, right here. And . . . not know at all what that dimension is. Consternation.

Going back to the snail man for help, I desperately notice that he said we would be forced to repeat everything, which implies that the entirety of this timeline, or at least enough of it to make a decent circle, somehow has something to do with us.

I can do this! I see it now!

SOO imagine his circle arranged vertically, like a … a . . . vertical circle . . . like the SUN in the sky–oh wow that is almost criminally misleading. Pretend you didn’t read that . . . like the frame of a round mirror on the wall. That’s not misleading at all, right? Rather informative on a metaphorical level, even.

We are an ant, walking the frame.

Sometimes we are at the top, sometimes the bottom then. You already know that. I can leave that out.

Oh noo, I’m not going to make it! Again I am foiled by earthly geometry!

Ok, I need a shape that goes from the middle down to the bottom, and then immediately to the top– yes, sure I already know what this is but I’m still typing about it! hold on– and then starts sliding down to the middle again. You’ve got it, right? Now connect the two middle points where it starts and ends. What do you call one of those?

I’m sorry, the rest of this entry has been censored. I don’t even know by whom.

(And I had to change the title, the metaphysics joke was not that good.)

The end or something. Aren’t you glad you read to here?

The Bubble Leading the Bubble (Measures of Impatience)

How fast can you measure the temperature of the glass of a window on the other side of the house?
What if you have only a fixed amount of time to do so, and I pick the time?

Forget the budget.

If I gave you an hour, you probably be accurate to one decimal place?
If I have you a week, four or more?
If I gave you minute, could you get there to point one of those laser guns at it in time?
If I gave you two seconds, would you just guess from here? I think you’d have to.

Perhaps, just perhaps? we should stop measuring a high school’s ability to educate by counting how many of its students are immediately accepted into a four-year school? Or their SAT scores? Or one of my favorites, how many lightbulbs per student are in the building? How about we wait ten years and see how many of them are employed, and how gainfully, vs. how many are incarcerated, by the state or by debt, and base some funding on that?

And I meant the outside of the glass.

Impatient measurement plagues most American institutions. Measurement, remember, used to be much more difficult than it is any more; what is rushing now is what used to be our best effort. I feel the pain of the same people I’m challenging– funny how large self-reinforcing systems always find it difficult to fund introspection. Or not funny. So resources are always limited, but we can still lean towards taking more time when making determinations about “what problems there are”: not spending the time ourselves, but waiting, for the outcomes actually to happen. In our attitudes and interpretations at least, we can do this, and this is where change starts. Spend the money; get it right.

Shoutout to my father for complaining about our focus on “money in the hand.”


It’s finally time for youth across America to join together and start wearing, listening to, and adopting African stuff because it is cool.

The import system between here and there is so desiccated that real/good African music/culture is actually HARD FOR US TO FIND. How many things can you say THAT about? Even if the music wasn’t enough to make you fall on your knees and weep, the very exclusivity should be enough to get the teenyboppers mobbing. You’d better bet mom and dad don’t understand!

Modern young person, are you obsessed (whether you know it or not) with how ideas disperse and what’s trending? Well, did you know that African culture is our own, reflected in an ancient, foreign, incredibly good-willed mirror? Imagine classic MTV shown on a tin-can telephone made of fruit cocktail. Lots for the mind to do there. (It used to take approximately ten years for an idea to make it from here to there and come out in the pop media. I think it still takes several years.)

Modern young person, have you been primed by your upbringing to desperately seek validation from all available sources? Well, how often have you come across a cultural reference to yourself made by someone who dances a lot better than you ever will? Could there be more wholesome font of positive reinforcement?

Modern young person, if all this gets complicated for you at times, don’t worry, because all of African pop culture is about one simple thing: AFRICA IS THE FREAKING BOMB. That’s it. Always there. And all of it agrees on this–how appealing is that? Don’t ask why!

I remember when I was twelve–I hope this trend was broad enough that I’m not dating myself–everyone who was anyone in the lunch room had to have a tie-dyed shirt and know the lyrics to CCR songs for some reason. This is the bar a fad among this age group has to jump, is all I’m saying.

(But it was good, because it taught us about the Beatles.)

Just on the slim chance that there are those among you in search of fashionable new ideas, have you recently pointed your focus group binoculars at that so overlooked….err, entire continent? Maybe there might be a few there. Their very names, I promise you, will be the freshest things you’ve ever heard.

And if you make money, even a ludicrous amount, don’t even worry it*. I mean, send me some if you want. But who cares? Because of what else will you be doing. Let’s not even speak of it because we’re so excited.

For the rest of us, best bet is to head down to your local ethnic music store.**

TEKE! Ok, I admit it, I’m not that young anymore. Does anyone still say TEKE?



**Starter kit:

Additive Literature


Artifact 1: Once upon a time there was a girl who had a little dog named Toto.

The time was uncertain. The girl we don’t know much about. The dog was definitely named Toto.
I think maybe the girl was probably black.
Her dog represents the importance of being small and hairy.
For a girl to have her own dog was unusual, in those days. This girl was probably shunned and spurned because of it.

Artifact 2, discovered later: There were three grown women too, along with the girl. All of them were more powerful than she. Two were dark, but one was not. There were also some strange men here and there.

The two dark grown women represent Doubt and Disliking Dogs.
The not-dark grown woman we can identify with, when we’re not identifying with the girl.
The women were more powerful than the girl because the girl was born a vile sinner.
Hey, girls, women and strange men can all get along, you know, if they are nice to each other.

Artifact 3, found by a magic search engine hidden in a cave that has subsequently disappeared: ALL OF THEM WERE ROBOTS EVEN THE DOG


Artifact 4: The girl was lost and couldn’t find her home. One of the women and some of the strange men helped her find it, with the aid of a hot air balloon.

See Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. Not sure why.

Artifact 5: The girl teleported home on the power of her ruby slippers, which have also disappeared.

Were the ruby slippers robots?

couldn’t resist: follow the yellow-brick road to the truth

PS: sorry i’m late; i was resting.

Much For Who(m)

The challenge of the modern thinker is not what to say, but where to say it. We have at our disposal in infinite number of digital outlets; a rampantly increasing number of human hearers; every possible medium DIY.

We can cherry-pick the audience; cherry-pick our degree of control over the audience; target our ideas to 358 carefully selected individuals dispersed around the globe, or shout across the grocery store at the top of our lungs; nail a poster on a telephone pole or hide out on some exclusive online porch.

We can insist on sense, or on nonsense; soothe or anger, or ignore; we can pretend any part of the world doesn’t exist, with our messages, and who is to say that it does? Someone else.

Communication and sorting are not the same thing, but so much of communication is sorting that it is hard to tell the difference. Wellsprings we are, unflinchingly beautiful; our ideas rise up like oil through a many-armed golden lamp. Some evaporate, unnoticed; others we watch burn; some of these we call to someone’s attention. Our primary mechanism for achieving any goal is choosing which rivulet to ignite–the wellspring being unquestionable, constant–which flame to shield with our hand, or hands; and which eyes, with what knowledge behind them, to send it flickering in.



*I apologize for both the word “rivulet” and the word “ignite,” and apologize again for using them so close together.


BabyFischerLeapEinsteinFirst Product Representative Demonstrates “Conversation”

It’s the neatest. Little ones love love love it! Don’t worry, no no, don’t worry about writing any of it down. They will definitely learn the alphabet eventually: there is no doubt about it! No no no no! N-O! Haha! You sweeties! No worrying!

Little ones need control, don’t they, moms and dads? They have to have their little control. But it’s ok! We can handle it! By physically removing ourselves from them–easy! And then we can be with adults, right? Who also need control, ha ha ha! But it’s BIG control, isn’t it. BIG.       little!    little.        BIG.

Ok little darlings, here’s the idea. Let’s write it down, so we can practice our letters:


Very very good! Again? What do you think? Should we say it again? No? Ok, then. Are you sure? I really like it. I’ll just write it again, but we won’t say it this time:


Thank you; that was fun for me. So is talking like this! I love to talk like this, because it makes me feel so close to everybody. Look, I can hug you with my voice while my hands are free, as I will now demonstrate. Watch, my little listening snuffle pumpkins, and feel my voice-hug, as I wash dishes, clothes, laundry, a dog, this car, this carseat, these carseat attachments, eight peanut butter jars, and all these superfluous transition animations out of Jim-my-marketing-firm-partner’s PowerPoint presentations.

Huh, I can’t hug you with my voice while cleaning up Jim’s slides! Isn’t that funny? That’s ok though! Isn’t it, you silly little geese? Who’s a golden little cornmuffin? And who’s a silly goose? I can’t even tell! Whee! Forget Jim. I’ll just leave the Jim part out next time.

Uh oh! My precious little son/daughter/hostage, who/that* I brought along with me has something to say. What is it, my miniscule mote of joy? You . . . you don’t want me to forget Jim? Really? Why . . . hold on, is that why you are now pouring your juice on my laptop? And getting ready to scream? Forgive me, sweetie, but that’s confusing to me. And don’t make Jim all sticky-wicky! I mean, that’s a laptop, not a Jim, dam-

Excuse me, I really don’t know why he/she/it always does this.

Ok! Listen, please honey drop! Stop sugar biscuit! I’ll admit it! FINE! Although Jim’s visual aid preferences run a gamut larger than my tastes allow, his approach targeting under-served markets impresses me with its sheer innovative power while delectably leading me to reconsider the conclusion that my career decisions were completely self-serving and devoid of positive ethical impact! Because he’s right, even in an economic and social climate that incentivizes the consumer to turn his or her back on disposable goods, there are still those in the lowest economic standings who need Kleenex but don’t know it yet. The moment we discovered that the R-factor of a standard box is higher than that of than any comparably priced insulation will remain indelibly etched in my memory until the heat-death of the universe, perhaps longer. And the square-foot pricing models speak for themselves!

Oh I am so sorry, my honey-pickles, forgot myself there for a second.

What? Wha-at?! You LIKED that, joy-mote? A lot? You liked that a lot? You like it when I talk grown-up somet . . . when I occasionally demonstrate adult speech? Well, that just makes perfect sense, doesn’t IT!?!?!?!

Ok! Thanks for coming. Show’s over. Joy-mote, half the time we’ll talk like you, half the time we’ll talk like me, from now on. I’m really sorry I didn’t understand how alarming it must have been for you to watch me speak so differently with adults than I speak with you SOONER. MUCH MUCH SOONER.


If you don’t have children in your life, this is still fun: when you meet one, pretend they are a Liberal Arts Studies professor from Rutgers, or MIT, and just drop the biggest, craziest-complicatediest idea you can on them. I call it “college-bombing” them, and I keep an arsenal on hand, for others people’s children especially, when they are misbehaving especially especially. They will adore you for this to the point of bezerking, and benefit from it for their entire lives. Appropriate for all ages.

And while you are at it, adults enjoy it too.




Why Fashion Runs to Extremes

The intrinsic value of an item is a combination of the expense of its physical creation (small) and the expense of its invention (large). This is a nice alternative to market demand, which seems to me lately just a measure of manipulation, but maybe I’m too cynical.

The expense of a box of Kleenex, for example, is part the ground-up trees, and part the intellectual property of the inventor of Kleenex, God bless him or her.

The fashion industry (I mean 5th Avenue) stands out as an economy that sells purely intellectual property. The cost of the production is insignificant compared to the price–anyway the clothes aren’t meant to be worn more than once. It is the idea of the designer that one buys (would buy), exclusively.

And so, not knowing what an excellent example they are for a lecture such as this, those who earn their living from fashion chase each other around, stab each other in the back, tackle each other in dressing rooms, send spies with great sunglasses around in taxi cabs, and glamorously rob, cheat, claw and steal for the best ideas however they can.

They have to be newest; they have to be correct; nothing else. Because their existence as an industry depends completely, passionately, expensively on other people wanting to be seen by still other people as having had the right idea. That is the market force. There is absolutely no reason to buy a second pair of $20,000 shoes otherwise.

Most industries, to some degree, have their own market of ideas, less visually appealing and dramatic, less essential, but still mimicking the fashionistas. This is ridiculous. My toothbrush need not reflect my personality; neither is it a work of art.

And re-inventing-for-obsolesence, the primary tool used by producers to navigate the idea market, is just psychological gauging.

You probably already know that the auto industry changes the shape of the cars on the market dramatically every 5-10 years, intentionally, colluding to make older cars look old in contrast. And you probably already know that most players in almost every other consumer industry do the same thing. There’s no other way for them to support the difference between the price we pay for things and the price it costs to produce and transport them. They extract that value from our minds.

(No, I will not consider for a moment that you really thought hair product technology was actually improving as we discovered new polymers originally intended to cure cancer or coat the space shuttle. But I agree that a razor with 7 blades at least makes some kind of sense.)

I met a young industrial designer who had some great ideas about what the next car should look like. I won’t tell you these ideas, because they are his. But my idea was that he design the Final Car, the last (type of) car anyone will ever buy, that they can simply buy another one of whenever the last one is worn out. I pleaded with him to do whatever he could to design the Final anything, actually.

Because what does an idea market do to the ideas? It runs with them until they become to ludicrous to support. Because it’s hard to come up with a something new and great over and over when you don’t need to; because when a new great idea isn’t available, the purveyor just makes the last idea more and calls that new. Millions of famous terrible ideas were arrived at for this reason.

When your pants are huge, you are embarassing. When your car is huge, you are hurting people. Greed in, greed out.

Guess what? People have good ideas when new ideas are needed. People have bad ideas when no ideas are needed.

Maybe we can start, as first-world people, to accept that as far as ‘things’ go, we are ok. The things we have are good enough. Because even if you don’t care about the design of things that other people buy, you have to care what the manipulation of your needs is doing to your psyche. People have nostalgia for retro candy bar wrappers, for chrissakes, and feel warm towards a jar of peanut butter or whatever, just because it hasn’t changed. Just because it’s not trying to trick them.

The Worst Idea of the Decade

Lady to man: You need to quit doing things that don’t need to be done!
Man to lady: No I don’t! Don’t you dare say dat!
Lady to man:
Man to lady:
Lady to man: You are making a ton of dough doing this pointless shit, aren’t you?
Man to lady: No, no, I’m saving the world.
Lady to man: From nothing, you twit.
Man to lady, menacing: You call this nothing?
Lady to man: That’s you, you idiot! You can’t save the world from yourself!

Man: I had to stop you, you were doing it wrong.
Lady: What?
Man: You’re not ready yet.
Lady: Could that maybe be because you’ve been stopping me?

Man: I give you challenge–can you not be infuriated by me? This is very important.
Lady: What? Of course I’m not infuriated.
Man: No, that is wrong. I am trying to infuriate you on purpose. So you won’t be. And that is important.
Lady: Please see above and start over. Repeat until you understand.


Never, ever let anyone insult you and tell you that it’s for your own good; this is the definition of psychological abuse, something that used to be rare outside of cults, but now can be considered a “parenting style.” Consider when it was that anyone last said to you, “Yes, but I really think you can do better.”

I knew a single mom of three girls who called them b****es, whenever they were b****y, and was proud to do so, because she wanted to be real with them, which she was. While this idea has a lot of appeal, not the least of which was this mom’s relationship with and definition the word b*****, and her devotion to said word inspired my admiration, this idea never sat well with me.


and cleverness wins



A Cautionary Tale

Once there was a man who told too many cautionary tales. He couldn’t help it, really. Life had made him too aware of what could go wrong in almost any situation.

This man died, eventually, with many gray hairs on his head. At his funeral, noone knew what to say about him, except that he seemed vaguely worried about something.

The end.


PS: Try yodeling. Out loud.



Life of Perpetual Bliss FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about your Life of Perpetual Bliss, along with their answers.


Q: What’s so great about joy, anyway?

A: Life has many goals. Most of them are means to an end. We do A so we can do B, so we can have C, so we can feel D. Joy is the end goal of every sequence such as this. It’s the goal of every goal. And there’s no goal beyond it!


Q: Why doesn’t everyone know that about joy?

A: The word joy has a bad reputation. People have been talking about joy forever, but in the context of a lot of things we don’t agree with. Over the years, many people decided joy was not for them.


Q: What are some joy do’s and don’ts?

A: Do: Enjoy it! Do: Share it. Don’t: Talk about it.


Q: What kind of shoes should I wear in my Life of Perpetual Bliss?

A: The biggest, heaviest boots you can walk in.


Q: What is joy, exactly? I have so much of it!

A: Joy is a chemical in your brain.


Q: What if my joy starts to flag?

A: Sit down and have a cup of coffee. Then figure out what you are doing wrong.


Q: Can I really feel like this all the time?

A: Yes!


clear and bright and bored

not carrying a weight that doesn’t need to be carried

looking and seeing

it makes us happy too


we are in the right place

not much is happening

there is nothing we need to do

nothing we I want right now


there are things around me but nothing special

just the usual things that should be there

the usual sounds


not everything is ok

somethings are not

that’s normal


Where did all my time go?

We all are tasked with many different kinds of work, not all of which we are paid for. Likewise we have many different resources, only one of which is money.

We live in a state of obligation, either self-created or illusory: self-importance demands we act as if we are needed, somewhere, at almost all times. Truly, others demand our time often, often enough that mental closure leads us to believe this is always the case.

With perspective and attention, however, we can unflinchingly see how little we are needed; against this backdrop those obligations we do have become clear, distinct, and joyful. We learn that in between them we are free to let the world bump us around as it will. We have a word for this feeling: we call it “vacation.”

And in those in-between times, almost all of the things that usually bother us cease to; the people around us find us a delight. The feeling is mutual. And over time we seek ways to expand these times. I try to group all my obligations together and fulfill them in one dutiful chunk.

It’s not to shirk, or disconnect, but to soak more thoroughly in that type of time, when we are practically unoffendable, and to solidify the thoughts of its perspective. There is, in responsibility–especially when it is rushed–a special brilliance, but no inspiration. Fulfilling obligations requires thinking more akin to that of physical combat than that of prayer; those of us who seek to be inventive on command must learn to shift our thinking away from such as that. I think brain scans would back me up on this.

Freedom, then, is the key to accomplishment, and fear the only thing that robs us of our time. Negotiating this freedom within the groups we are a part of is scary, because self-importance wasn’t wrong: we do matter to many of those around us largely because of the jobs we perform for them. With calm heads, however, we see that personal relationships that cannot persist without obligation are not very personal at all, and that those who are important to us benefit more from our best selves than our labors.

Because our vocations are many, the impact of most of them will always be unknown to us; utiliarianism though espoused is undone by our limited perspective. You are now perhaps most importantly the car waiting patiently as others turn left in front of you; you are now perhaps most importantly clocking in and clocking out; you are now perhaps most importantly considering nothing over a cup of tea, as no one else can; you are now perhaps most importantly demonstrating careful and respectful ways to free yourself from obligation. Loving ways even.

Or perhaps you are just typing up your conclusions for noone, pointlessly fearing they aren’t already known, tied in a knot over the idea that they will be lost with you.

PS: Updated Feb 7, 2016. You might notice that this daily blog skipped a post last night. Right?

(it’s what outside that counts)

a tangled pile of hair

contains at least as much information

as a printed copy of any short work of Shakespeare


philosophers of all stripes ask who am I? what am I? they reduce. some of them are upset.


i was going to define human being. i was afraid to do so; i felt i should not just give this away. apparently there are other animals who would get their feelings hurt. let me instead define identity, in a way that works for human beings, that answers the question “who am i?” for all of us.

to do so well requires i first explain functional definition. that’s fun in any case. functional definition is just a way to define something that doesn’t have a name. sure, you can use it to build sets like “all roads that lead to toronto,” but you can also just name sets. functional definitions are more interesting when you use them to define things that are nameless because we do not know what they are.

this way, functional definition allows arguments to happen (thought-arguments, not shouting-arguments) that otherwise would be impossible because there are no terms for the concepts required. “whatever it is that makes us think,” for example, could refer to a mechanism, and/or a stimulus, and/or some third thing-we-do-not-know-what-the-heck-it-is. yet we can name it this way. functional definitions are a powerful way to be correct when we do not know things.

a key attribute of functional definitions is that they are quite precise in terms of distinguishing one thing from another, because one can precisely define the things that the functional definition takes as arguments (input-arguments), for example what makes us think versus what makes you think versus what makes me think. they really are functions, as in math, applied to some things to form others, and they can be written down precisely and logicked-over, in ways that preserve identity and prove distinctness, etc. etc.

identity then, our identity, mine. i am exactly the the experiencer of everything that i have experienced. my material form you can swap out piece by piece without changing this (rather, adding to it); should my brain cease functioning, this will not change; neither will it if keanu reeves wakes me up to show me that i am a disembodied organ in a vat. further, my soul has no arguments against the idea. do you?


PS: the philosopher with the idea closest to this that i have found so far is baker, and she calls her idea “first-person perspective.” but i came up with this without her; it is born of my experience. as far as “first-person perspectives” go, i guess i don’t see why other animals shouldn’t have their too.




Driving Tips from the Cold War Era

Let me begin on the subway.


A man sits, his three children running amok, grabbing others’ bags, yelling, punching at each other. He makes no move to stop them or to apologize. A woman standing nearby calls out: “Your children!”

“Yes, I know,” he says. “Their mother just died. What am I going to do? I’m so sorry.”


Let me next remind you of trucks.


Trucks1: flash your headlights, or highbeams if your lights are already on, to let another know that they can safely move in front of you and that you promise to leave them enough space to do so, even should this require holding back oncoming traffic with your car.

Trucks2: flash your emergency lights just twice say thank you to someone who has let you go in front of them, especially if they flashed their headlights to pledge that they would safely help you do so.

Trucks3: roll down your window, extend your arm, and make an L-shape (or reversed L-shape, if you are on the passenger side for some reason), curl and pump up and down your fist, to hear the horn.


Next I’ll share my ideas for eliminating traffic.


Traffic is caused by people having too much choice. If you want an enormous group of people to move quickly through a limited amount of space, take away as many of their choices as possible.

For example in a merge lane, the cars should alternate, one from the left, one from the right, and so on. Every person who has to decide if it is their turn has also to decide what kind of person they feel like being that day, weighing the relative importance of their forward movement against that of everyone around them and this takes a lot of time, during which we could all be moving forward.


At this point I will approach hazards.


In most states, it is illegal to drive more than 20 miles an hour under the speed limit without your hazard lights flashing.

It most states, it is illegal to drive without your headlights on if it is raining.

When you see a police officer crouched with his radar gun pointed at traffic traveling the opposite direction from you, continue driving as if you did not notice him until you are out of his line of sight. Then flash your headlights as much as possible at oncoming traffic to warn them. This is also illegal.


Let me conclude with a few words about politely avoiding danger.


If you are to the left of a car that suddenly finds itself behind a third car traveling too slowly, you might both be at a loss as to what is best for moving forward. Should you accelerate so that the car to your right may move behind you? This can be dangerous. Should the car to your right dart out in front of you? This can also be dangerous. Avoid both by slowing down (yes, you, in the left lane, slow down), and pulling behind the car to your right. This will let him/her know that he can safely pass the car in the lane you just vacated, with you on his/her tail, and you will both be clear of the slowpoke with a minimum of time and danger.

If you find yourself on a single-lane road with a car obviously in a hurry behind you, pull over as soon as you can, SMILE BIG, and wave as he/she goes by. We all have places to be sometimes, and varying levels of urgency. The goal of driving is for all of us to get where we need to when we need to. It is a common goal. This means sometimes you will be the one passing, but more often you will be the one slowing down, allowing others to pass.

Noone understands you.

Noone understands you.


I’m so sorry. I guess this hurts. But that’s just the way it is. For you. Like you are trapped in a dark room all by yourself. I imagine it’s very painful. I understand…err, I can sortof see how…I mean, I suppose, that’s what I do, I suppose you wish very much to be understood. I assume? I can and will suppose this for you. Since you cannot be understood.

Supposing it, I wish someone did understand you. Too bad noone does.

Not one single person understands you at all!

Oh no, telling you this like this might make you upset. Are you upset now? I really don’t know, because you are impossible to understand. But if so, that’s terrible.

I’ll try telling you some other things to cheer you up!

1) Death is certain.
2) I can’t speak for anyone else, but it’s unlikely that I will hurt you on purpose.
3) Most foods are not poisonous as far as we know.

4) Prunes.

Did any of those cheer you up? Wow, it is completely impossible to tell!


Let’s pretend you said something. Then I would say, “Wow, I totally understood that!”

But I can’t understand you. Is that confusing? For you? How would I know?

Here, pretend you are a baby. Go ahead. How’s that? That’s fun, right? I wish I could tell.


Anyway, now you are a baby. And you see me. What am I?


See, that’s how babies are. Now, when you were a baby, you were supposed to learn that other people are different from you, not in an embrace-multi-colored-individuals way, but in a you-are-not-me-and-vice-versa kind of way.

But then you grew up and forget this. You had so much stinking experience that sometimes you accidentally correctly predicted how people would behave.* You thought you came to believe slowly that you could guess what people think. I’m guessing. Or even what they will think, in advance! like a little meteorologist. With our armsfulls of data collected from everyone else. We believe this probably by the time we are ten.

Noone can guess where a drop of water on noone’s windshield is headed. But you think you can guess what another person thinks. (I’m guessing.)



Just think for a moment–if I were you, I’d take a good long one– about what a human mind is. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. So big. So complicated. Like a rich humming carbonara sauce made of supernovas. Deliciously fascinating and huge.


You have no chance. I’m sure of it.


Now let’s look at a sample interaction, as proof. Can you guess what I would think?

You: Gee, that pasta looks great.

Me: ———




You: Gee, that pasta looks great.
Me: It is! Would you like some?

No! Wrong wrong wrong! You can intend an understanding for me, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get any! My understanding is all mine. None for you! I get to decide what I think about what you said, and I will do so on a tangent on purpose because I don’t like your guesses! And for fun. Like this:

You: Gee, that pasta looks great.
Me: Yes. Do you often like to look at pasta?


This makes me stronger, because I have the option to play along, but don’t have to take it. Lasagna.


Ok. In my last attempt to cheer you up, I will now tell you again that I understand all of the things that you say. To me. Additionally, I understand that you have not said, to me, all the things that you have not said to me.

And that is all you are going to get. From anyone!

I wonder if that helped any. It’s so hard to tell.




PS: it’s seed-starting time for those people who do those kinds of things.

PPS: I have a lot more to say about this. This is the crux of the matter. For me. As far as I know. At this time. So consider yourself warned, because I can’t. At least not in a well-supported way.

*Not me, I don’t do that. And anyway, this is actually less of an accident than it is them being polite.

What is a body?

What is a body, or a sofa?

What is health, or quickness?

What does it need, that I can take away?

What do you?


Who departs, or hides?

Who touches, and how?

Where does a smile come from, or finish?

What’s inside that counts?

Does anyone know a synonym for ‘plant’?

The preacher, the new age healer, and those who smoke too much weed are strangely united in the psychotic belief that their thinking can have an effect on objective reality. They are as it happens correct, but as it also happens all too frequently with far out ideas, they stopped thinking this through short of making sense.

There are many parallels between a brain and a plant: both rooted in one spot, mute, controlled by the chemicals they are full of, liquidly signalling to themselves. The alchemy of the brain, which commutes its thoughts into objective reality, is the same as the alchemy of the plant–namely, photosynthesis.

Exposed to an idea, the brain absorbs it, uses it to carry out a series of tiny structural and chemical changes within itself, and grows.

Of course the physical body can affect objective reality in a variety of ways, but it seems best to distinguish between these two kinds of changes.

Why Bad Things Happen

The world is complex and governed by certain rules, like physical law, and perhaps other laws we do not yet understand, having not yet sufficiently studied and proven them.

If there is a powerful agent controlling the world, it would make sense for it to choose to obey these laws of the world, in the world, because in the long run this is better.

Perhaps these laws could be otherwise; perhaps the set we have was lit upon by such an agent after much trial and error; whether it is the best I certainly could not say. However to alter it would mean to alter us, irrevocably–at a minimum knowledge of such a different world would necessarily be outside of our experience.

Because there are these rules, one event impacts another, which impacts another, which impacts another still; the effect, as we measure it, of events in what we can think of as a chain like this can vary drastically from link to link, depending on the length of time between them, and likely other factors as well.

But this is a perilous contemplation: on one side beset by fatalism; on the other by paralytic awe of the consequences of our actions; furthermore limited and confused by the notion of causality, itself quite flawed.

Resolution can be found by carefully separating cause from intent, and consequence from corollary. The fire does not burn because I lit the match: it simply burns afterwards; lighting the match was an event I intended, while the burning of the flame was not.

And so we could choose to say that there is no causality, only an on-flowing world of happenings, parceled to enable us to act. This act of choosing, however, represents a change in such a world, attributable exclusively to our choice, whatever its constraints and inputs. Therefore I choose to say there is no cause but choice.


(Lady that I first met tonight, I am so sorry for your loss.)

A Sane Response to Poverty


What are we going to do about the poor, my friends ask each other constantly? What are we going to do about the city? What are we going to do about the crime? Let’s get serious and do something.

I don’t know, I guess they’re right. We should be doing more to stop murder. We were going to form our own police force and go clean up the streets, but House was on. And I meant to commandeer a few hundred hotels to house the homeless last weekend, but I was scrapbooking, and you know how time-consuming that is. I did hire a squad of goons trained in social work to force every kid in my zip code to go to school and pay attention, but now we’re all busy painting a mural on the side of my house. I’m sorry! It’s a great mural! And we’re using that paint with less fumes?

Really, I’m sorry. I should do more…

Wait—–I’m not the government!

It is insane, I hope you can see, to think that any bunch of 20-year-olds, no matter how committed, no matter how intelligent, is going to do anything to stop crime. It’s insane to think that any bunch of nun-types–even with the full power of a global religious network behind them, not to mention Jesus– is going to do anything to end poverty.

So why do we keep trying? It’s like trying to hammer in a nail with a leaf. I guess it looks neat?

But, meanwhile . . . maybe we should *look* for a hammer?

Charity would work much better, or does work much better, when we don’t give people things unless they ask for them. It is reasonable to expect people to ask you for something, if they want you to give it to them. You don’t have to guess. Humanity’s number one skill? Knowing what it needs. Poor people’s number one skill? Usually, justifying why you have money that they don’t. Number one justification?* Because you were born lucky, and they weren’t.

Is that true?

Is it?

Are people poor just because they are unlucky?

Then shouldn’t the United Way be handing out rabbits’ feet?

A sane response to poverty is to help people, when they ask for help, if you want to. When we do things we don’t want to do, that we are not obligated to do, we’re not actually helping anyone. It may look like we help, but actually we slow down progress by clinging to old problems instead of letting them resolve. Maximum efficiency dictates that each person use his/her talents in the way only he/she can; it is the things you want to do that will bring about the goals fastest. (Side note: any task taken on out of guilt is guaranteed to exhaust you.)

No wonder all these people are getting on your nerves! Leave them alone!

A sane response to poverty is to stop feeling guilty that you are not President. You are not qualified to fix these problems. Please find and elect people who are.

If you want to help poor people directly, this is what has been shown to always work: find a child, expose them to a stable, successful adult at least once a week, and don’t treat them like they are poor. Those nails will hammer themselves.**

All you have to do is hang out and let them watch you.

Talk a lot about yourself. Tell them all about your job and your money and how fun college was. Don’t try to solve their problems.

Maybe try to make them do their homework.

charity: the good intentions of many people warped into a double-edged sword, slicing away at the capabilities of both our government and the people it should be helping; human kindness tragically taken advantage of; coincidentally, also my friend’s babymomma’s first name.

If we do it, they won’t have to.
Let’s make them, instead.

Thanks for reading! Shoutout to my favorite spambot for the violent metaphors.

*Man that show Family Feud is racist. Someone needs to fix that!

**Bunch of children asking for your help, if you need help finding one.


The Corporate-owned Commons

Just because a business establishment is owned by a huge, faceless corporation doesn’t mean its physical space is any less inviting than one which is not; doesn’t mean it isn’t run by people just as nice; doesn’t mean it is to be avoided.

If one considers the distribution of publicly accessible indoor space in the United States, I believe one finds the majority of it is corporate-owned. There are only so many transportation centers, limited by security; only so many churches, with limited hours; and only so many smaller business establishments, limited in number and size by government policies that reinforce economies of scale, and of course economies of scale themselves. The number of public club- or meetinghouses (are there still such things?) is probably not significant enough to appear on a graph.

And so if we are to see each other, for sufficient time to speak at all with those unfamiliar with our viewpoints, a corporate-owned business establishment is where we are most likely to do it. And as it currently is, our consumer choices partition us into strange, isolated networks within the same geographic region–those who only go to the independent coffeeshop, the farmers market and the library versus those in the Starbucks, the Wal-mart, and the mega-church. Never the two shall meet, except perhaps in the street.

Any public space can easily be transformed into a forum for polite and casual conversation by one person with the nerve to approach that public space as if it were his/her home, or the home of a close friend; to treat his/her fellow patrons as fellow guests at a party, where the frozen yogurt toppings happen to be plentiful and/or the burritos happen to be made with hormone-free pork; or to imagine them as fellow bargain-hunters at a well-organized yard sale, with an enormous selection of wares made in China.

Even without speaking much or at all, an attitude of being at home and part of the whole group on the turf of an abstract corporate behemoth is an effective counter to many of the invisible mechanisms of control wielded by that behemoth to increase our spending and reliance upon it.

Why should the experience of watching a stranger make you a sub feel so very much different from watching a loved one do the same thing?

Why should the tone of our speech to that stranger be so very different from the tone we use with our friend next to us in line?

As it currently is, our daily economic transactions force the human beings involved into one of just a few rigid roles– I am the shopper; I am the cashier; I am the waiter; I am the one being served. These roles accreted, over less enlightened times, helped along by marketing executives. They preclude interaction among those not designated by the business to interact, and they preclude anyone acting outside of them, much to the detriment of everyone in the public space. In that space, we are no longer ourselves: we are the ones being served, or the ones waiting to be.

We are trained to ignore the fact that other human beings quite similar to ourselves are standing or sitting silently all around us, each with a life so rich with experience it is hard to contemplate. We are trained to ignore that some of them are performing various wonderful deeds for our benefit, thanklessly. Because money will be exchanged, no one is a person; everyone is a pawn; everyone who didn’t walk in the door together is alone.

So, it is in this case just as it is with the cellphone: without claiming any knowledge of a conspiracy to bring about the state of affairs we find our current communication in, let’s assume, for but a moment, that its creation was intentional. What would you then say were the motives of its creator?

Fight the man. By having a nice, long, leisurely conversation with someone you don’t know well, or at all, in line at Chick-fil-a; or in the aisle at Target; or around a few tables in Panera. Where you choose to spend your money is of course a different decision, with different factors.

PS: I forgot about bars! Sorry. I don’t drink.

Dear Lenta Marie,

Dear Lenta Marie,

Thank you for the card. We are very busy here with lots of parties and it rained all weekend. I hope your new job in Atlanta is fun. When we come visit this winter Daddy1 says we can go to Sea World again. We can go straight to the dolphins because I know they are your favorite.

I have all straight As again except for gym. That is stupid because I am the best at lacrosse. There are two mean girls in my gym class. There names are Marin and Paige. Everyone likes them except me. That is just fine.

The big news is that Daddys have a new Princess. I call her Lenta Heather even though she’s not my lenta. I told her my lenta wouldn’t mind. Daddy2 is making a lot of lists of things to get for her. I am supposed to be in charge of the clothes, because as you know clothes are my thing, but I didn’t make any lists yet, because I don’t know her personality yet and clothes have to match your personality. I told her that.

I can’t wait until she moves in to put her feet up, because she is very fun and I told her I would show her how to sew and she has a cat. She says she might not even want to move in until like the last week and Daddy2 said wait and see. We had a big party when she agreed and she is already pregnant. We had another party for that and then Saturday a party for my birthday. Did I tell you yet I am getting confirmed at church? We’re going to have another party for that next week and I will be the hostess and get to serve the cake. That’s a lot of parties! My dress is ok.

Anyway everyone hopes she has a girl except me. Nothing against Kara but if Michael had a brother we could play girls against boys basketball and we would probably win.

Did you get a dog yet?

I’m going to make you a picture as soon as I find the right app. It is good you are in Atlanta because if you were here these parties would probably wear you out! Daddy1 says you were very funny at your parties and danced a lot. I said that makes sense because you are always smiling and dancing, and he said yes, you are a very happy person and maybe I get that from you.

See you in November!!!! XOXOXOXOX

Your Baby, Corine

PS: Daddy2 is the bio dad! We are so proud of him!

Not Advice

Listen close, this is important. This is some seriously helpful stuff coming up here in a second. I mean it. Valuable.

Many of us are always trying to make people to do things, and we can’t. So give that up. Bingo! Now you are happy for the rest of your life. Bored.

What you want to do is change people’s minds.

Harder than you’d think. But also easier. See, that’s how minds work. Try making someone to do what your mind just did! Facile.

Ok, that is the first part. Here is the second. Two-parter.

When you see something in someone’s mind that you want to change, oh, does it hurt like the devil. How can ignorance like this exist, given our powerful brains and modern advancements, you burningly moan to yourself! Why, why–whywhwyhwyhwyhwywhy are we not yet better, you clamor? What, if anything, can I do to rid the world of this person’s terrible misconception, you plead? Bad.

Simple: pretend, obviously, that the ignorance is right. Pantomime it is true. The mind wisens right up on its own as soon as it sees you are pretending, without a word of direction from you! Imperative-free.

And noone gets their feelings hurt. Safe.

People like this so much they usually get excited to show you the rest of their ignorance. So run away then. Bye!



(I write the longer blog, celebrate my new digs.)

PS: lulz

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The medium

is the message. The means are the act.