Blurried Musings (a Kafkaesquí blog joint)
"If you can't annoy somebody, there is little point in writing."    Kingsley Amis
March 23, 2002
Notes on Being a Know-It-All

Again today someone thanked me for providing a tidbit of information about something or other of little consequence, to me in any case, and then suggested I must know everything. To put aside modesty for a moment, I admit I do tend to know a lot, at least on those subjects I actually do know something about. That, and often on topics of interest I may have browsed once in an encyclopedia. But someone who knows everything? Me? Perhaps. Notably, knowing everything automatically makes you a Know-it-all, a title I usually avoid due to the negative connotations it brings with it; but for the benefit of getting the point across here, it will do.

Being a Know-it-all is not without its appeal. It can gain respect from those who do not know it all, which for a Know-it-all is often the point. True, it can create enemies of those either envious or suspicious of your knowledge, but what doesn't nowadays? I think anyone can be a Know-it-all, given the right set of tools. Sadly, those need to be a part of you when you come into the world. It can also be quite hard to pull off being a Know-it-all, and more so if you're not one by nature. It requires constant effort -- you can't take a week off for a holiday.

Also, I am enough of a Know-it-all to know this: It's all a lie.

Being a Know-It-All does not mean knowing it all. Far from it. It's knowing how to provide information to others. How one responds -- especially when uncertain of the actual answer -- is more responsible in relaying you're a Know-it-all than the knowledge you've passed on will ever be. It also relies heavily on knowing how to get at information. Know-it-alls are adept at Dewey decimal and maneuvering through a documentation's index and traipsing through files. A Know-it-all on the Web knows search engines at least as well as the developers do. Ask a Know-it-all something on a topic of your choosing, just about any topic, and he or she can dig up enough data and phrase their reply in such a manner that you'll be in the dark to the fact they never heard of it previous to your question.

One often untouched feature of being a Know-it-all is how it can improve the lives of those who actually do know everything in their respective field of work or study. A Know-it-all, by way of needing the attention of others, enjoys stepping in to answer queries where an expert may have been required. In this way, Know-it-alls can act as a buffer for the real smart people, allowing them to avoid the constant annoyance of the world around them, get on with what their about, and pick and choose only those things they decide they want to be bothered by. They should try to make more use of Know-it-alls, and find ways to encourage them.

Finally, I believe one bad aspect of being a Know-it-all, other than the hours, are those times when you actually do know something. When you find a situation come upon you and it happens to be in an area you've spent a large percentage of your life on, you've now become the expert, and caught deciding whether to put on your Know-it-all persona, or the one that actually does know the subject matter at hand. That's quite a dilemma for a Know-it-all, I can tell you that.

March 22, 2002
Affirmations for Those with High Self-Esteem

  • I am better than everyone I meet, and they know it.

  • There is no way I could be better than I am now, as I am perfect.

  • I am only human, but I am one amazingly fantastic human.

  • I am the most valuable and important person around.

  • I could count my positive traits, but they are too numerous to count.

  • I am warm and loving to myself, since no one deserves it more.

  • I am envied and desired by friends and strangers alike.

  • Even mirrors wish they could be me for just a day.

  • I am my own authority, because who knows more than I do?

  • I am determined in all things, and nothing in Heaven or on Earth can stop me.

  • The world was meant just for me.

  • Damn, I'm good!

March 21, 2002
Psychic Spam

Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 13:28:12 -0800 (GMT)
From: Shandrakar <customerservice@astraldimensions.esp>
To: Kafka Esqui
Subject: {Re:} Please, No More!

Mr/Mrs/Miss Esqui,

In regards to the e-mail you will send us on Friday, March 22, let me attempt to reply to your comments and explain a little bit about our service.

> I don't know why you {I received through the ethereal plane
> an image of some action undertaken by someone unknown to you
> which seems in part to involve canned meat}
Please stop
> at once!

In our welcoming e-mail introducing the AstralDimensions Network and notifying you of our $39.95(USD) monthly fee (this does not include spirit medium hourly rates), we stated that our company does not send unsolicited e-mail. We follow a very strict adherence to all laws and general netiquette, and respect a person's right not to be bothered by so called spam.

As my colleague Chantira no doubt explained to you in that message, we received a transmission from a relative of yours, one who has passed on to a higher level of being, in which we were told you had an interest in the services we offer. This is the reason we originally contacted you.

> First of all, my mother has not been "translated to the next
> dimension of existence", nor {My connection to the cosmos at
> this point weakened, but I sensed a break in your aura}

It is possible we incorrectly interpreted the transmission as coming from your mother, and for that I apologize. But I assure you the sender is related to you in some way. Is it possible we sensed your father's presence? If not, are you close to someone who died recently, and has a name starting with the letter B or D? It may even begin with M or R.

> If you {again, my link to the cosmic stream faded, and I could
> not receive your message in depth, however I was able to pick up
> your decision to pay by Visa}

I'm sorry for the confusion, and hope we can provide continuing assistance to you for all your psychic needs. As the premiere ESP (Extrasensory Service Provider) in the US and parts of Canada, we predict your time with us will be a long and satisfying one.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please take a quiet moment and think hard about them, so we may respond in a timely fashion.

Psychic Customer Service Associate
AstralDimensions Network

You can now project to us on the Web!

March 20, 2002
Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Clue

I'm a full fledged hunter-gatherer when it comes to maps. I may have picked up this particular collector's virus from my ex-wife, who is such a fan of the mapping arts the first objects up in any room she inhabits for more than fourteen minutes are several nicely framed cartographic drawings. But wherever it originates from I have the bug, as can quickly be demonstrated by opening any random drawer or box in my apartment. They're everywhere. But most of them have Arrow or Rand McNally or AAA stamped on them.

I'm not sure why modern day road maps are what sway my attention. There's a great deal more collectibility -- so I assume more worth -- in historical maps. And think on the beauty one can find (if one has been bitten by the map bug) in the various methods used to project landscapes and world geometry. It can be breathtaking at times. But no, it's the straight grid work of cities and swerving ribbons of the US highway system for me. You can show me a map of Scotland demonstrating the wonderous expanse of hill-ish highlands and I'll oh and ah, but pass one under my eyes that lays out the Scottish road system and my wallet pops open of its own accord. To me, a map without a legend entry for tourist centers is not a map worth having.

Now this may have something to do with a well buried and unrequited wanderlust in me. I'm not at all sure -- I avoid analyzing it too closely for fear it'll lead to worse things being forced to the surface, and I can't afford that much couch time. But there is one problem I have with my collecting illness: what is it with map makers these days?

Look at a street map for any good sized city and find a street location on it. Any location, as long as it's not one you can already point to. The first step (if one knows what they're doing) is to skim over the index: 96 columns in 6pt type, and figure out what the grid marker for the street is. You know: G4, C18, ZZ139. Then one moves to the actual map portion of the map. But look at that grid layout! In a city that doesn't provide everyone with a straight and responsible East-West weaving over North-South street design, it's often more of a search for the Grail then finding a street. Not a task to be doing while driving at high speeds, for sure. I guess the same goes for the Grail.

I just now picked up a map of a neighboring town (there's a pile of them next to my desk), and within one square of its index grid are over 80 streets. I know because I counted them! The little gray scratches swim and fragment and meander into each other, never caring how I'm trying to figure out their names. One road breaks with its moniker and slips into another as it steps over the county line -- but it's not something you'd ever know looking at the map; not until it's well into downtown Confusingville.

I realize much of the blame goes to how the roads were laid down in the first place. Certainly the science of road building was quite weak in this area, once upon a time. So map makers are not the only bad guys in this. Still, the folks who made the roads are long dead and buried (hopefully under 10 inches of gravel and asphalt). I can't complain at them. The map makers, on the other hand...

But honestly, who the hell cares? The real problem for me is, I'm running out of room for all these maps. And that's pretty much where this road ends for me.


March 19, 2002
(There was no Musing for Monday, March 18. Thank the capriciousness of the gods, and the Blogger site crapping out in the hours I tried to post. To make up for it, just read this entry twice.)

The Name Shame

Bounce a few stones around any middle-class US class room and chances are, before being accosted by school security, you'll hit several Michaels, maybe a couple Davids, and for certain four or five Hannahs and Elizabeths. When it comes to the parents' duty of providing a name, a paucity of originality for this task in our time -- well actually, at any time -- saddens and makes me wonder: where are the Evangelias and the Gideons? The Torrences and Maureens? Glance through a history book and you come across names like Cotton and Constance. Almost exotic in their novelness today, though they themselves were once on popularity charts, no doubt.

And before I end up sounding too American (or too white), I'll point my finger wide and complain how all people of every creed and locale have a top ten list of their own with names fifty percent or more of the planet can locate themselves on. Mohammed, Camille, Hans, Chaniqua: I speak of you. This complaint about a dearth of original names is not just about being different, though it's primarily that, but because I wish we showed real creativity and a desire towards more interesting, fresh, and imaginative monikers for our offspring. The lack of this makes me dream of a world where we do exactly that.

Or maybe just a world where a better method of naming has been devised.

We are a society of cookie cutter citizens as it is. We don't need it reflected in how we sign the backs of our credit cards. So in regards to these concerns, I'm recommending to the world that starting as soon as it's feasible, children should no longer be named by their parents but through a computerized randomly generated selection process. Yes, something like this will be a huge undertaking. As yet I haven't worked out the details, and it's obvious such a plan will have some big issues to overcome before it can be successful. I don't claim to know them all nor how they'll be solved, but right off the top the most obvious to me are:

We need a lot more names.
Sure, you can find large tomes of baby names sitting in your local bookstore, but the actual number of unique ones out there doesn't match up to the sheer volume of people we'll have to assign them to if we want to do more than just level out the dispersal pattern. I'd prefer we not go to numbers for everyone, so this means we'll either need to make up completely new ones, or begin using ordinary words as proper names. If nobody has any objection to names like Pencil, Gravel, or Whack, then what direction to take is easy.

Someone needs to do the initial work.
I can hear the cries over misuse of government, but I believe there are ways we can manage it with little to no government control. Certainly at some point we'll need our political leaders to get this into place and running, but to start, I see an opportunity to use the model of the open source community. May appear unusual, but through a project like this we can create the systems and software necessary for maintaining and assigning names. Non-computer specialists will also be required for the task of gathering and organizing names within variables of language, region, religion, and others. The possibility a Muslim won't like the name Jesus has to be taken into account. And we'll need an auditing team to discard offensive and abusive names. Nobody likes being called Asshole, so we need to avoid this.

I know my idea is a lot to take in, and will certainly meet with a good deal of opposition. I myself wasn't all that hot about it at first, even coming to me after a night sorting through my address book. But consider this: with all the aggravation and stress of having a child involves, with all the things you have to think about as you prepare for your baby to come into the world, your burden can be lessened, if just a little, by having his or her name already picked out for you. If we do it right, you might even get a list to choose from.

We had our chance and to pick good names for our kids, and we blew it. Time to find a better way.

March 17, 2002
A Minute of Your Time

There are two kinds of people in the world:

The first kind will ramble on and on about any and all type or taste of opinion fodder, real or imagined, discussing at such length and in a fashion that can cause even the most tolerant of souls to begin weeping internally and desire to seek out the comfort of others who've been put through such a monstrous monological assault. These sorts of convo-terrorists clamour on in depth to their belief in astrology or a flat Earth theory or that auras represent a true power in the cosmos, though never quite certain how and where this cosmic power may actually emit from, or they bemoan with delight to the injured audience in their grasp as they lay out in excruciating detail the level of disgust they harbor for deforestation or global warming or world population levels or traffic cones, never once admitting to the possibility that their lack of education on the topic at hand, or that they hold no functional knowledge at all on the issue, makes them amongst the least likely to be consulted by anyone with even the smallest amount of interest in such things. And they'll drone on warmingly about their childhood or their lost car keys or their last meal, all the time with absolutely no doubt in their minds you hang on to each word with the attitude of an admiring lover. They hold sway over very little yet with only their mouths pull just about anyone kicking and screaming into their conversational world.

The second kind will not.


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