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Since I Never Get the Last Word

Tuesday, August 2, 2005
Solar System Conspiracy

Every 584 days, our cousin Venus passes between us and the Sun. As Venus takes its turn around Sol, it rotates precisely five times. The result of this precision is that Venus displays the same face to us every time she approaches and passes. There doesn't seem to be a scientific explanation for this phenomenon. It may well be coincidence.

Or, there is a race of extraterrestials who moved tothe dark side ofVenus now that we have managed to send probes to the dark side of the moon.

Or, there is an order to the universe previously unsuspected,

Or, it's an IQ test. When we pass, we will be eligible for membership in the PanGalactic Smorgasbord.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-08-02 11:43:14

Monday, August 1, 2005
The Left Hand of Genius

Maurice Benziger, in his 1996 book, claims that Leonardo Da Vinci was left handed. One result of this, according to Benziger, is that his notes and papers are written right to left instead of the other way around. Benziger says that, if you can read Italian, all you must do is place the book in front of a mirror and you will have no trouble deciphering his words. Questions come to mind like corn popping:

(1) Should we hold a mirror to his paintings as well?

(2) Why didn’t Dan Brown use this fact as another evidence of conspiracy?

(3) Is the occurrence of dyslexia higher among the left-handed population?

(4) Is this even an example of dyslexia or is it another phenomenon altogether?

(5) Was LdV able to read normal text or did he need to hold a mirror up to it?

(6) If we are supposed to hold a mirror up to the paintings, then Mary was actually sitting on Jesus’ left side. So who was his right hand man again?

(7) Why didn’t the Inquisition investigate him for writing “in tongues”?

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-08-01 13:28:22

Sunday, July 31, 2005
The Ethical Morality of Golf or Something Like That

Playing a round of golf with a friend six months into retirement, he explains how his business is going and that they hit a small snag and could use some assistance. They want to respond to a business opportunity but they need someone to help write the proposal, a skill for which I have a small reputation. Since he is a friend and he let me win the match, I felt obligated to help so I agreed to work as a consultant on this given proposal. I pointed out to my friend that if he had called me on the telephone to ask, I would have replied with a no so resounding his ear drum would not recover.

Half way through this project, I visited my former partner to discuss the health of his youngest daughter who is recovering from an extremely serious illness. While we discussed his family and mine, one of his managers dropped into the office. This man is also a good friend. “Hey,” he said, “I hear you are helping so-in-so with a proposal. We have one we could use some help on, one you originally wrote before you retired. It’s being re-competed and we could really use some assistance with the Technical Volume.” My former partner grinned at me and opined that I must “be getting bored with nothing to do” even though he knew better. We’ve had dinner a half dozen times since I retired and Itold him if so-in-so had called me on the phone, I would have said “no.” Well, here I was, sitting in his office, and they weren’t calling me on the phone, and would I please help them out?

Ethical: having to do with ethics or morality; of or conforming to moral standards

Moral: relating to, dealing with, or capable of making the distinction between right and wrong in conduct

How do I say “no” to good friends and business associates even when I truly am not interested in writing proposals any more? Fortunately, the second proposal is supposed to be running in the same time frame as the first providing me an honorable way out. But, if the second slips – as these things are wont to do – how the hell do I say no without being a complete ass?

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-07-31 10:59:11

Thursday, July 28, 2005
Fast Drinks

Whilemany decry the advent of fast food, Idon't know that I've ever heard anyone rant over the availability of fast drinks. Well, some bartenders are slower than others, I admit, but tapping a can of beer or opening a bottle of Pinot Noir is pretty danged convenient these days, especially when you compare it to what they had to go through in the olden days. Suppose you and the boys wanted a good night of debauchery,; you know: drinking and wenching and telling lies about your accomplishments in both fields. You’d need a couple of jugs of mead, right? As there was no convenience store handy – it was just as bad for the women, you know, there was no convenience store to send you to buy the unmentionables – you’d have to make your own.

Start with a couple kilos of honey. You always have kilos of honey hanging about the place so that’s no problem. Gather up three score grams hops. <for those of you not horticulturalists: hops are a rough twining vine (Humulus lupulus) of the hemp family, having the female flowers borne in small cones covered with bladdery bracts – there, that clears that up. Nothing like bladdery bracts for flavor!>

To recap, we presently have on our table 2 kilos honey and 60 grams of bladdery bracts. Go peel three or four lemons.Keep the rinds and make lemonade with the rest. You’ll be wanting the lemonade in a moment. Find yourself a small cloth bag like the ones the finer shoe companies wrap their shoes in. Get a needle and thread. Lastly, go to the stream and gather up a gallon of water. Try to keep the slimy things out of your sample.

Sew the hops and the rinds in the bag. This will cause them to behave properly and not go running amok through the brew willy and nilly. Add your honey to the water and bring it to a boil over a good fire. Let it boil for a half hour or so. Carefully, now, remove the scum off the top of this concoction, <It’s best to use a ladle of some kind as using your fingers will cause a great deal of pain.>

Okay, scum removed, add the bag with its contents. Take the concoction away from the fire and allow it to cool. When cold, place in a flask, preferably stoneware, and stopper it tightly. There now, all done.

Except you must wait 8-9 months before drinking.

Now you understand why you needed to make the lemonade.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-07-28 08:43:19

Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Illusion - Chapter 2

Two days later on that same stretch of road, the heavy machinery is hard at work again. Doing? Removing the 2 foot drain pipes they just spent 8 weeks installing. At least, faced with the obvious, the local government took action to do something. So, all those nice new pipes are off for recycling somewhere and the road returns to the state it was before the massive project.

Score = Nature: 2; County Roads Department: 0.

Proving once again the old maxim: The best laid plans of mice and men get all screwed up.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-07-27 12:57:15

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