May 30, 2004

Remember Sammy Jankis

We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I'm no different.

Here's the truth: People, even regular people, are never just any one person with one set of attributes. It's not that simple. We're all at the mercy of the limbic system, clouds of electricity drifting through the brain. Every man is broken into twenty-four-hour fractions, and then again within those twenty-four hours. It's a daily pantomime, one man yielding control to the next: a backstage crowded with old hacks clamoring for their turn in the spotlight. Every week, every day. The angry man hands the baton over to the sulking man, and in turn to the sex addict, the introvert, the conversationalist. Every man is a mob, a chain gang of idiots.

This is the tragedy of life. Because for a few minutes of every day, every man becomes a genius. Moments of clarity, insight, whatever you want to call them. The clouds part, the planets get in a neat little line, and everything becomes obvious. I should quit smoking, maybe, or here's how I could make a fast million, or such and such is the key to eternal happiness. That's the miserable truth. For a few moments, the secrets of the universe are opened to us. Life is a cheap parlor trick.

But then the genius, the savant, has to hand over the controls to the next guy down the pike, most likely the guy who just wants to eat potato chips, and insight and brilliance and salvation are all entrusted to a moron or a hedonist or a narcoleptic.

The only way out of this mess, of course, is to take steps to ensure that you control the idiots that you become. To take your chain gang, hand in hand, and lead them. The best way to do this is with a list.

Although members of other species trick one another, humans are the expert self-deceivers: as the best symbol users, the most inteligent species, and the only talkers, we are the only beings accomplished enough to fully fool ourselves.
— Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan

Now, where was I?

Posted by thom at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2004

Look What I Found!

Or more accurately, what everyone else found. Now where did my to do list get off to?

I rescued this photo from the lobby of my apartment, where some wayward tenant had left it. An hour later, my landlord — an enormous serb who, like many in our complex, doubles as a buddhist — saw the picture.

"This picture," he said, "reminds me of something you would see in my country."

"In this picture," I said, "I am the mule." My landlord laughed. I continued, "you will notice that the old man who holds the reins also carries a riding crop. The mule is the most stubborn of animals, and the old man has learned that if the reins fail to move the mule, he can always resort to the quirt." I looked at the picture some more. "But i can't figure out who the old man is."

The landlord looked at me, and with his typical serbian solemnity said, "You are both the mule and the old man."

Posted by thom at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2004

Neat and Linear

Oooo, shiny!

Update: Too bad I missed it...

Posted by thom at 12:18 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2004

The Honeymoon is just Beginning

I'm not sure if I believe this story. If I had to put money on it I'd bet it was some urban legand. If it is true, then I would say it is a great success story for abstinence-only sex education programs. Either way the story has a happy ending: two people discovering marriage is a lot more fun than they thought.

Update: BING! It's a hoax by a nose!

Posted by thom at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)

Seventy Naked Men

Tonight I went for coffee with my cousin Jennifer and some of her friends. Today is her 27th birthday today but she says she doesn't celebrate it because every year something bad happens on her birthday. This year the bad thing was someone broke into her car and took her cellphone and address book. Thinking it might cheer her up to know everyone has similar experiences I told her on my 30th birthday I got stood up on a date and the power company was working nearby and cut the power for the entire block so I was faced with spending the evening alone in my cold, dark apartment. Not a fun birthday but arguably not necessarily worse. Alan, who had been sitting quietly with his girlfriend Jasmine, chimed in: "I spent my last birthday with 70 naked men." Everyone nodded. The group silently agreed his was the best worst birthday story and no one was brave enough to ask for details.

Posted by thom at 01:29 AM | Comments (2)

May 12, 2004

How Great Thou Art

Today my neighbor was telling me how I could train a mockingbird to sing Bach. He said it would take a few weeks. Being the impatient Gen X'er I am, I turned to the internet to see if I could find a recording by someone who had two weeks to spare. I didn't find the recording, but I did find this beautiful story (you'll need to scroll down a little to find the story).

I also stumbled across a website full of inspirational stories when I looking for more information about wise King Canute.

Posted by thom at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2004

Viva la Fifi!

Apparently I missed the 2004 Kinetic Sculpture Race that took place back on May 1st. I guess it is sort of like Baltimore's answer to San Francisco's Bay to Breakers — except with less nudity. The two funniest named entries where the Cirque de Sore Legs and a tribute to Franz Kafka's The Metamorphisis named La Kafkaracha. Apparently La Kafkaracha had some difficulties in the aquatic section of the race. It is unfortunate that Kafka's story wasn't about a man who turns into a large waterbug. The most asthetically pleasing entry, in my opinion, was simply called Fifi. The story doesn't mention where Fifi placed in the race but I'm sure the sight of a 10 foot tall pink poodle inspired fear in the hearts of all who saw it.

(spotted on slashdot)

(Is anyone going to correct my (probably horribly incorrect) french?)

Posted by thom at 05:24 PM | Comments (1)