March 16, 2002
The Help Desk Tarot
The Fax Machine
Long past its prime electronic device demonstrates a desire to hold onto old ways. Represents confinement; interruptions; testiness; confusion; distress; ink stains; paper shortages. Expectations outside ones duties are deigned by those still unable to figure out email. Reversed:
potential for time to accomplish ones assigned goals; chances are high for a timely escape (unless followed with the Hanged LAN card).
March 15, 2002
Fragments from the Memory Log, Entry Three
When I was a kid, I was indestructible.
Now that's not to say I'm some sort of titanium-skinned super being from another galaxy, or was blessed with such a superior level of good fortune as to avoid any injuries in my youth. I scraped myself up quite awful on a number of occasions, and have the lasting scars to prove it. You should see the one on my knee; what a beaut! What I meant was that as a young pup, I rarely -- if ever -- thought on the now bloody obvious
fact that going for a ball head first often leads to a concussion, or allowing one to be dragged down the road by your feet removes most of the skin off your arms and upper torso, or that jumping from the roof of the family garage is a pastime of dire consequences, at best.
I had been provided with full access to a textbook definition of danger
so I knew of it, but for me it was like the Chinese language, or European history, or Golf: something other people learned about. And for the most part I did follow The Rules
: chew your food thoroughly; look both ways before crossing the street; slow and careful when walking on ice, never put your tongue on an open electrical socket. But where the rule book appeared to get fuzzy, or when an important precept carelessly went unstated, I felt it to be an open invitation for lawlessness. (No one ever sat me down and emphatically insist I not "jump off buildings or any other high structure."
If someone had, who knows
how I might have turned out.)
I look back, and I recall how I'd shimmy up the sides of sheer stone walls with no more protective gear than a pair of shorts (on one occasion not even that!). Or I dwell on my habit of leaping between parked cars, never realizing one of them may have a driver in it preparing to pull away. Or I watch in horror with my mind's eye as I squat on a bicycle, zooming downhill through intersections, brake-less and oblivious to traffic. Afterwords, such remembrances leave me aghast and with a simple question: "What in hell was wrong with me?!"
Well, there was nothing wrong with me, and there was everything wrong. When in motion, I became something with few things on the brain other than finding the most interesting but hopefully still most direct
route from Point A to Point B -- unless something potentially life-threatening got in the way. Then I'd skuttle over it, or push through it, or bang up against it until it fell over. The opportunity to simply walk around never came up, as far as I was concerned.
Admittedly, that lack of opportunity occurs to me even in the present, from time to time. Only now, I grab my kneepads first.
March 14, 2002
- As useless as a broken ice tray not yet in the freezer.
- As distracting as those bouncy head things you see on desks... I mean the backs of cars.
- As funny as that joke I like. How does it go?
- As fast as an Olympic sprinter encircled by a wall of fire.
- As open as a door.
- As cheesy as aerosol spray cheese. (This one's on target if you think about it)
- As successful as a whore at a virgin convention.
- As unsuccessful as a whore at a virgin convention.
- As tall as a rhino on a pumpkin.
- As smart as a scientist of some kind or other type of smart person.
- As short as a penguin that's often out of the water.
- As stupid as it gets.
March 13, 2002
Brief Poetry Deconstructed, Briefly
Deceptive Archetypes and Death in "Roses are red"
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Sugar is sweet,
And so are you.
The erotic realism at the end of this well known work is overshadowed by the chromatic generalizations of the first two lines. The inherent declaration that (all) roses are red and violets blue rings rather false, certainly now that we understand, after significant research, this is not the case at all. Aware of this incongruous feature in the poem, we are forced to look closer at the flowers' descriptions, and at once can see the use of inacccurate universalities as a deliberate attempt by the author to draw the reader not to the sweetness of sugar and the alluded objective of attention (the "you" of the last line), but to the final completion of life, when such things will no longer be sweet.
Through this abstract twist the red of the rose, normally a symbol of love, becomes transformed to demonstrate an innate confusion over death and loss of a loved one. Also within this context, the blue of the violet shows not a faithful attachment, but instead the total disenfranchisement of the soul as it passes from the world in which the flowers, as well as all physical elements, reside. With these changes in our viewpoint on the poem's definitional structure, the previously assumed strongest focus in the poem now becomes its opposite: a souring towards crystalline condiments and sentimental love...
A Knowing Intricacy to the Self-Referential Couplet
I'm a poet,
and didn't know it.
The challenge wonderfully taken in this poem is not in providing a depth of description through a brevity of words, but by stepping knowingly through multiple layers of self-reference, and displaying a deeper understanding, or knowledge, of the form.
One should know that the choice by the author to knowingly refer to himself leads to a knowledge of the poet's first nature, which is to rhyme (a poet may write unmetered, non-rhyming "modern" poetry, but that does not negate this knowledge). Yet the designation of what is known and not known within the poem does not focus on knowing one is a poet, but on not knowing
one is one. That is, the knowledge one was not a poet knowingly, whereas they unknowningly had been one all along. This knowing level of circular knowledge in a poem is not often surpassed. That it's found within a poem for which the original author is unknown makes it no less a poem one should not ignore.
Passing Rhyme: Poetry's Flatulence-Music Dualism
The magical fruit.
The more you eat,
The more you toot.
Whether well executed or not, the attempt at provoking a thematic parallel between that of wind instruments and breaking wind typically stands out in the genre of flatulential conceptualization in poetry and poetic prose. Most authors laboring with the release of intestinal gases as an elemental factor tend to steer clear of any such musical relationship, either through ignorance of it's potential resonance when successful, or fear of it's odorous complexity. This avoidance tends to stain such writing.
For example, the lack of any binding strength can be seen when Shakespeare, in A Comedy of Errors
, has Dromio of Ephesus say "A man may break a word with you, sir, and words are but wind: Ay, and break it in your face, so he break it not behind."
Also somewhat less emitting is the apochryphal lines attributed to Wordsworth: "Your smell apparent; I must say; It's in the air and drifts this way."
Sadly, there are few works which one can compare to Beans beans
for similar topic structure. Apparently, the true art between music and farts lie only with the ears that hear them, and the poet who cuts them.
March 12, 2002
It Takes a Telephone Solicitor
The weird thing about a community is that it's filled with people. Well, not that that's weird. I mean afterall, how exactly do you get to have a community without people
? You don't, really. In fact, it's impossible. So no, a community in and of itself is not weird because it has people. The weird part is the people who make up a community.
For example, take the serial killer
. He (or she) makes up part of your community, albeit a small part, now doesn't he? Sure he does. You may not want
a serial killer to be a part of your community, and when you discover he is, you no doubt do everything within your power to lock or bury him away with unrestrained gusto. But sadly, no matter the location he may end up, the serial killer is still a part of your community. Same goes for any repetitive criminal.
And what of the drunks and drug addicts? Are they a part of your community too? I know you tend to see them far off to the edge of your community, often at the roadside or sitting under a bridge. It's like having modern day trolls. Loud, bezonkered, human-shaped trolls with liquor bottles and hypodermic syringes. But they are your trolls
, and they are but pieces of your community's jigsaw puzzle.
So, how about certain types of amoral thieving pirates like those rich roustabouts at ENRON
. Do they have to be a part of your community as well? Must you find them listed in your community's telephone directory (that is, if they hadn't sprung for unlisted numbers)? The short answer: yes
. No matter how much you'd rather it be in the negative, the answer is and always will be yes.
So what can you do about it? How do you get these kinds of people out of your community? You can't. There's nothing you can do about it. Oh sure, you can try cajoling them to leave, provide some impetus to make them move to another community somewhere else. You may even choose to remove the problem in a very
complete and final way, but then you just become a part of the problem (see comment above on serial killers). But no matter what you try, there are always more waiting in the wings to replace them: more abusive cab drivers, more testy customer support operators, more obnoxious waiters, more streetcorner psychopaths, more advertising executives. They're standing in line for their turn. So honestly, you're stuck with them. So am I. So is everyone else. They are part of your community, a part of all communities everywhere. We just have to learn to live with them.
Then again, you could always move
March 11, 2002
A Brief Story Interlude (Mr. M and the Ants)
In the faraway land of Z, a once kindly sort of man who went by the name of Mr. M had gone mad, and so doing decided to take it upon himself to kill all the ants.
There was no reason the other citizens of Z could see doing something like this, as the ants of Z tended to keep to themselves -- avoiding their yards, not bothering them at picnics, things like that. However, the ants of Z did have one peculiar habit that eventually drove Mr. M to madness and thoughts of ant genocide: they screamed all the night long.
The screams of the ants in Z were piercing, horrid, sorrowful kinds of screams that would make dogs slink under their porches and the air chill ever slightly so that summer nights broke with a frosty dew on the ground. How dewy the grass would often be. How chilly the nights could get.
Why then did the citizens of Z, all but Mr. M of course, not find the screams of the ants too much to take? Why did they not burn and poison and flood the ants out long ago? The answer is: all the citizens of Z, all the men, all the women, all the children, all but Mr. M, were as deaf as granite. Yes, there were
noises all around, but no one, no one but Mr. M, ever heard them.
How did they communicate, you may ask? The citizens of Z, including Mr. M, spoke with their hands, and asked questions with their hands, and bargained at the market with their hands, and cooed warmingly to their little babies with their hands.
So when Mr. M lost his mind from the screaming of the ants, he ran through the square of the capital of Z, his hands waving frantically about and with no meaning, except to the citizens of Z. Those who saw Mr. M found it funny and a bit confusing: funny because Mr. M had been complaining about the screaming of the ants for years and years, and confusing because -- being unable to hear -- they could not fathom why he went on about it.
So the night they found Mr. M pouring gasoline on the ant hills outside the capital, the citizens of Z calmly caught him by his arms, carefully took the gas can away, and as nicely as they could carried Mr. M to the Z Hospital for Mental Betterness.
And for many years until he died that is where Mr. M stayed. The citizens of Z, wanting to protect Mr. M from himself, kept him in a room with soft cushions on the walls and a lock on the door. And they often strapped him down when he went to bed, though they did this as gently as they could, because the nights were the worst for Mr. M; what with the screaming of the ants and all.
March 10, 2002
A Conversation With Orley
"Hey Orley, I need to talk to you about the new file server."
"No no, sorry Kaf, no time for talking about such things."
"Oh. Working on something new then?"
"Well, yes and no. An idea of mine I've been playing around with for quite some time. A big
"You have one of those two to three times a week. Not that they ever benefit us."
"Funny. But this is my biggest one. I don't get ideas any bigger than this."
"Mmm, sure. But this is not to get out, OK? I'd rather not have everyone bugging me about it, asking stupid questions."
"No problem. You have my word of honor."
"Good. Here it is: I'm attempting to prove the non-existence of the human soul."
"Not big enough for you?"
"It is. Just not a subject I'd have guessed you'd be wrapped up in. Certainly not during work hours. Nevertheless, exactly how do you intend to prove a negative?"
"That's not the point. The trick is in finding evidence that God actually exists."
"Er, I don't get you."
"You see, there is a general assumption, based only on faith, that God exists, and that we have a soul, right?"
"I'll give you that. Those are
"But that's the key: belief. Judeo-Christian orthodoxies accept God's existence on faith, and faith alone. If evidence to His existence was discovered, I'm sure all the various religions would love it, but..."
"Orley, what about other religions like all the Eastern faiths, which aren't tied to the same..."
"Not you and that Buddhist crap again..."
"No, that's not what I mean. Oh, all right! I'll let you ignore seven-tenth's of the world's population, for now."
"Thank you. As I was saying, they may love to have proof that God exists -- think of all the taunting atheists will be in for -- but it actually works against current religions."
"Really. How so?"
"Well duh! Religion is based on faith. It's the foundation of the system. With proof of God's being, there's no longer a need for faith. Nor religions, as we now know them. They'll be out of business."
"Don't think I agree with you there, but how does that fit in with your viewpoint on the lack of a soul."
"It doesn't really. I guess I got sidetracked. What will prove the lack of a soul is God Himself."
"Uh huh... no, again I don't see where you're going."
"The soul's existence is accepted through the same mechanism as God is: faith. But with a God grounded in fact, faith goes out the stained glass window. However, the soul can't
be proven with the same criteria I'll use to prove God exists, because there's no logic that ties God and the human soul together."
"A lack of logic seems to be everywhere."
"Again, funny. But with acceptance in God based on evidence not faith, how can one accept anything in relationship to Him, such as an afterlife, when it's connected to a belief? They can't. If He can be proven to exist, then the soul must be proven as well. And when you can't prove it, you must accept that it doesn't exist."
"Hmm, you're onto something Orley. Not something I'd chase after..."
"Sure, I told you it was big."
"So, how do you plan to prove God exists?"
"Yeah, that's... the major stumbling block in my idea so far. But I'm working on it."
"OK, then. I'll let you get back to that."
"Thanks Kaf. You know, there's nothing
like a big idea to help you get through the day!"
"I couldn't have said it better myself."