Since I Never Get the Last Word
Monday, July 31, 2006
Dollars and No Sense
After managing a brilliant front nine, I regressed into myusual ineptitude and destroyed the back nine, mathematically and botanically speaking. The net result was a mediocre score and yet another defeat at the hands of my brother-in-law, who merely chuckled all the way home.
Offsetting that debacle, TLWSHLWM and I managed to contribute our fair share to the Yavapai relief effort. I read a statistic once that every visitor to Las Vegas manages to leave $80/day. Well, Prescott isn’t Las Vegas but we managed to assure the Yavapai Tribe that we were statistically normal.
Had a most interesting discussion with elder sister and TLWSHLWM about society. When I asked these two what they thought a brand new society required, my sister immediately answered “law and order.” What followed was a hilarious hour-and-a-half dinner conversation where the two of them built a functioning cave society based solely on their wills. As the only husband, my job was to sire children and invent fire and the wheel. They figured that would keep me busy and out of their hair.
I asked them what they would do with questioning, irreverent teenagers? They would have me banish them. “All by themselves?” I asked. The would-be matriarchs conceded that a girl or boy as appropriate should accompany them in their banishment. It had to be a volunteer, though; they were not in favor of arranged marriages.
Posted by Dan Bieger 2006-07-31 09:43:51
Friday, July 28, 2006
Hazardous Conditions Warning
Later today, we are off to central Arizona picking up the matriarch along the way to be joined by two other siblings tomorrow. Some of us will attack a well-known golf course so those of you in the vicinity should remove yourselves between the hours of 7:00 AMand noon. Either that or ensure your medical and life insurance are current.
Those of you holding stock in the local casinos should sell immediately. A younger sister is the world’s finest slots player and she has promised to teach TLWSHLWM and the matriarch her secrets. I, myself, will apply my infamous talent for Black Jack once I recover from the golf.
Oh, yes, certain Interstate Highways might well be avoided since I will be driving. HOO HAH!
Posted by Dan Bieger 2006-07-28 09:51:07
Thursday, July 27, 2006
SS&L Earns Rave Reviews
If all we know of Gaea came from the evening news, then how could we believe she is anything but bitch? Hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, droughts, and heat waves seem to be all she has to offer yet last night the Sonoran Light and Sound Company made their annual appearance here in our valley and the show was pure, unadulterated spectacle.
Our valley runs from the U.S./Mexico border north some 60km following a river that this time of year can be most charitably described as a trickle. Until nights like last night. The skies opened up and this morning the river runs three feet deep and almost 20 feet wide. Tomorrow, the trickle reclaims the river bed; this is mid-summer after all.
About 11:30PM last night, SL&S opened the show, filling the valley with the glory of their performance. Imagine the world cup finals, the stadium lights get dimmed for whatever reason but people keep snapping their flash cameras. No pattern, no rythymn, just thousands of cameras flashing. Intensify each of those flashes by one to three orders of magnitude. That’s the light show, a mono-color fireworks display that lasted from 11:30PM till 5:30Am varying only in flash count per second, from a dozen or more to two or three.
Our valley is probably 18km across. Imagine that narrow channel is a 50-lane bowling alley where a ceremonial drill team is lined up to roll their first ball down the alley. Someone gives the command, the person on the left begins her approach. With her first step, the guy next to her takes his first step at which point the next person takes their first step and so on down the line. Fifty bowlers of different technique, different strength, bowl in rapid sequence. They all bowl strikes so there are fifty explosions and fifty crashes of ten pins each rumbling through the alley. That’s SL&S’ sound show.
Laying in bed counting the time between flash and sound, a habit ingrained since the time in grammar school when I first learned the speed of sound, thirty seconds from the flash from the 2.75 km peak to the west, twenty five seconds from the 1.6 km peaks to the east punctuated now and then by the split second interval from a flash just too damned close for comfort. The flashes fill the valley, no point of origin preferred, seemingly no point of origin ignored.
The desert is wet this morning; the humidity is much higher than normal, water stands in little pools here and there while the arroyos are rapidly draining and drying out. The show is almost over. But, the reviews are in and they are unanimous: “a magnificent display,” “Gaea at her best,” “ did herself proud.”
Posted by Dan Bieger 2006-07-27 09:57:01
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Today's New Conspiracy Theory
My favorite target gets to ignore again my slings and arrows of outrage. Here , from today’s History Channel.com’s information, is another example of precision history:
The first recorded railroad accident in U.S. history occurs when four people are thrown off a vacant car on the Granite Railway near Quincy, Massachusetts. The victims had been invited to view the process of transporting large and weighty loads of stone when a cable on a vacant car snapped on the return trip, throwing them off the train and over a 34-foot cliff. One man was killed and the others were seriously injured.
First, there are four people on a vacant car. If they are on the car, how can it be vacant? Okay, okay, that’s picky. Then, a cable on a vacant car snaps. Is that the same vacant car the four people were on or another vacant car they were not on?
I think we might have the grounds for a new conspiracy. On a train of supposedly vacant cars, a murder is committed. Our intrepid investigator must determine if the word “vacant’ had a different interpretation back in 1832. Perhaps, in those days, the word was more often used to express the idea of “having or showing emptiness of mind or lack of intelligence, interest, thought, etc. “ Then, the cars were packed with empty headed people but only four of them were thrown from the train. Why not the other 6,478?
Or perhaps, the investigator understands that reading such reports after the fact means you must put yourself into the mindset of the original reporter. Thatreporter knew that, once the four were thrown from the car, the car was then vacant. When he wrote his report, he described the situation he found.
Or perhaps, the ‘vacant’ cars were what the railroad reported as it was not in their best interest to admit their over ground railroad was part of the underground railroad and that they were transporting fugitive slaves. Slaves don’t count as people so the cars were vacant. The problem here is that this event supposedly occurred on the return trip. Yeah, sure! We know how truthful these big railroad companies were/are/will be.
Anyway, Dan Brown, I offer it to you with no strings attached.
Posted by Dan Bieger 2006-07-25 09:59:33
Monday, July 24, 2006
Y Chromosone, Why Not?
This is one of those little mysteries that makes life so much fun. Start with a headline like:
“The second sex seems destined gradually to fade away as its chromosome shrinks”
Then, read on to discover “Although most men are unaware of the peril, the Y chromosome has been shedding genes furiously over the course of evolutionary time, and it is now a fraction of the size of its partner, the X chromosome... The decay of the Y stems from the fact that it is forbidden to enjoy the principal advantage of sex, which is, of course, for each member of a pair of chromosomes to swap matching pieces of DNA with its partner.”
And the very next paragraph says: “Denied the benefits of recombining with the X, the Y recombines with itself.” [Is that another way of saying Brokeback Chromosones?]
And finally, discover that “In a new book called Y: The Descent of Men, Steve Jones, a professor of genetics at University College in London, says males, always a genetic "parasite", have devolved to become the "second sex".
For a person who has read Atwood , LeGuin and Tepper, these ideas comes as a bit of a shock but then maybe not. The Gate to Women’s Country could be a realization of the diminishing numbers of men; The Handmaid’s Tale simply didn’t go far enough – if Atwood had known, then not only would the disaster have affected women’s ovaries but the diminishing number of males would have made men even more precious; and the Left Hand of Darkness tackles the problem through better things for better living through engineering.
When you read the article, and this is the link, http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/07/09/1057430271984.html
then, you can arrive at the impression the author is somewhat gleeful at the prospect. I wonder if Ms Dowd has gotten around to reading Sarah Blaffer Hrdy’s The Woman Who Never Evolved. The picture is not all that rosy.
The good news for me is that men are going to be around for at least another 5m years. I’m not going to last that long so I won’t have to put up with the inanities certain to arise from their declining numbers. I suppose I should worry for my grandsons, though, shouldn’t I?
Posted by Dan Bieger 2006-07-24 09:19:44