Monthly Archives: July 2012

A “Unified Theory”

Albert Einstein spent most of his adult life and career as a mathematician and theoretical physicist attempting to make sense out of the universe.  He searched for a theory that would “unify” all that was known about matter and energy and make it possible for us to better understand the universe and, as a consequence, better understand ourselves and our place in it.  He sought the elusive connections between forces seen and unseen and marveled at how simply observing something changed it forever.  Unfortunately Einstein went to his grave without successfully uniting all the forces observed by physicists into a “Unified Theory”.

It was my intention to carry on that important work.  Not being a mathematician or a physicist I felt somewhat hampered in this endeavor.  It wasn’t until I realized that, perhaps, Einstein had been studying this problem from too narrow a perspective that I hit upon a new and unexplored window of observation that, in my humble opinion, permitted me to succeed where far more celebrated men have failed.  As the saying goes… “Some men strive for greatness while others have it thrust upon them.”  

Let me be clear.  I make no claim to having an intellect greater than Einstein.  My success is entirely attributable to the differences between us, not our similarities.  Einstein was interested in how the universe worked.  I, on the other hand, was interested in how people could call something Pizza when CLEARLY….. it wasn’t pizza.  THIS is Pizza!

From this simple observation my work began and the dream of a “Unified Theory of Pizza” was made reality.

While Einstein was flittering the years away wondering how something could be BOTH a particle AND a wave I turned my attention to far more curious questions.  How could someone from Chicago think that a pizza is over an inch thick?  How could someone from Pennsyltucky or West (by God) Virginia think pizza can have cheddar cheese on it?  How can ANYONE think pizza is obtainable from a “Hut”, or,  that the crust can be properly formed without being stretched upon the fists of a man with black hair, one continuous eyebrow and then thrown into the air before being placed and stretched upon a round pan?

The answers to my questions came to me, as they did to Einstein, Newton and so many others, in a dream.  In my dream I was reclining next to a beautiful lake enjoying a magnificent slice of classic New York pizza.  The crust was thin, the sauce was reminiscent of fresh picked tomatoes and the cheese was high grade mozzarella.  As I finished my first slice I became aware that 7 ducks had exited the lake and were making a bee line for my pie.  Quacking and honking they grabbed the seven remaining slices between their beaks and began dragging them toward the lake.  I was paralyzed, incapable of stopping them.  Then, I awoke.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell the reader that this most disturbing of dreams haunted my thoughts day and night.  I knew it had deep meaning, but, it wasn’t until I connected the geometry of the Pizza Pie with the heredity of the quacking and honking ducks that the proverbial “light” went off in my head.  I understood it!  I knew how and why different humans had entirely different definitions of what IS and what ISN’T Pizza.

It was the ducks that gave it away, I don’t mind telling you.  You see, when a baby duck hatches from its egg it imprints on the first moving object it sees.  It thinks… “Mama”.  Most of the time it is Mama, but, not all of the time.  It’s the same thing with Pizza.  The first time an adult hands you a triangular piece of bread-like substance with cheese and tomato sauce on it you take a bite.  They tell you… “It’s Pizza”.  From that point… From that first imprinting…. it is and will always remain your definition of what REAL Pizza has to be no matter HOW awful it is to those of us who know better.

This, “The Unified Theory of Pizza”, is the reason and the explanation for why there are so many sorry-assed Pizza chain restaurants, so many simply awful frozen pizzas, so many miserable excuses for pizza, and so many dumb bastards who keep them in business.   If you are unlucky enough to imprint on sorry-assed pizza you will never know any better and you will be, in part, at least one of the reasons there is sorry-assed pizza in the world.

Now you know.

What you probably didn’t know is that of all the different things there are to eat…. people dream of eating pizza more than any other food.  Here we see a prime example.



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EMPATHY (a few thoughts)

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another persons place.  Those who walk among us who are incapable, through neurological damage or deficit, of putting themselves in the place of another are usually referred to as sociopaths.  They are easy to detect, but, we refrain from any real effort to detect them because we, as a culture, believe that animal torturers and mass murderers (not to mention politicians) have the right to live freely and conduct their lives and business as they see fit right up to the time they are caught in the act of deeds that make us all exclaim… “That person isn’t human.”

Well, they weren’t fully human, in the sense most of us understand it, LONG before the rows of buried bodies show up in their basement.  We just don’t want to know it because we believe in that much debated attribute that all humans are supposedly endowed with called free will.  To detect a sociopath or a psychopath in Kindergarden throws a monkey wrench into the workings of how we define ourselves.  It would mean that we are not totally responsible for our actions.  It would diminish us in our own eyes and none of us are up for that.  Sitting a 5 year old down to a series of photographic slides while measuring his/her galvanic skin response just can’t be sanctioned.  Showing him/her a series of slides that are benign in nature with just a few pictures of someone cutting the tails off puppy dogs, or hurting another person, and noticing that he or she registers no change on the equipment would forever mark that child as “not fully human” and condemn them to a life of perpetual surveillance and scrutiny.  We much prefer to keep our claims to free will in tact and learn that “Little Jimmy” was fond of nailing cats to trees long before he embarked on a career of kidnapping children and torturing them to death.

But, there is a lot more to this empathy business than that.

Even those of us with a full compliment of the neurons that make up the place in our brains where empathy is said to reside, it seems, only apply it selectively and even that appears to be done subconsciously.  In point of fact hundreds of experiments have been conducted on people to measure the empathy they feel for other humans.  What we have learned is that we have no problem putting ourselves in the place of others PROVIDED we see them as agreeing with us and being, as it were, a member of our group.

Scientists have purposely put people together in task orientated, goal directed groups.  They have pitted them against other groups made up of other individuals with differing beliefs and goals.  They have set up experimental situations where one person asks a question of another and has the ability to direct a mild electric shock to the person answering the questions if their response is incorrect.  The level of shock (1 to 10… [10] being quite painful) is at the total discretion of the questioner.

Time and time again, without fail, scientists have observed that the questioners will deliver a more painful shock to people not of their group and a much milder shock to people that are.  Experiments like this have been repeated hundreds of times and always seem to demonstrate our inherent tribal nature when it comes to our dealings with other people.  We can, essentially, empathize with people who we perceive as “being and believing” as we do, but, subconsciously, we are simply not pre-wired to grant those we see as “different” the same level of humanness.  We may WANT to because we see ourselves as good and compassionate people, but, our neurology betrays us in little ways and, sometimes, in very big ways.

For reasons I feel no desire to explain I thought, in the light of this being an election year and the horrible things we all read about, or see in the news, it might be a good idea for us all to dwell upon the concept of empathy.  It might be wise to understand that those we perceive as different from ourselves also must see us as different.  We can expect them to subconsciously deal with us as humans do.  What I’m trying to say is…. It shouldn’t come as a shock.

(Any thoughts?)


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The Problem with EARTH

In my humble opinion there is a very good reason why Earth has never been contacted by any of the oodles of intelligent life forms that, statistically, must exist in the universe.  They are smarter than us and they know better.

On the Great Galactic Google Map Search there is a stern [WARNING] to any and all sentient spacefaring beings that reads something like this:

DO NOT GO THERE!  Although this planet contains a plethora of interesting life forms of astonishing variety it’s primary (and only sentient) form of life is [FULL OF SHIT] to the point that they not only pose a grave danger to other sentient beings, but, to themselves and all life forms unfortunate enough to come in contact with them.  [STAY THE FUCK AWAY]

Encyclopedia Galactica:  EARTH  (as of this writing Earth remains under Primary Interdict)

Due to an unfortunate glitch in normal evolutionary progression from lower to higher forms of intelligence the primary sentient inhabitants of Earth became stuck in what has been called a “Greed Based Feedback Loop”.  Rather than appreciating the wonders of our universe and acknowledging, as all truly sentient beings do, that life can never exist without death the inhabitants of Earth made use of a little known, or understood, technique known as Bullshit.  With this technique they convinced themselves that THEY were not only more important than any other form of life, but, were in possession of supernatural powers and insights denied to all other living things.  With the use of these “powers” they professed to each other that they could not only deny death, but, exist eternally in a cosmic fantasy land of their own minds construction.  This intellectual aberration did not only happen once, but, untold numbers of times, each example being different and exclusionary of all others.  Wholesale slaughter was the inevitable result punctuated by short periods of equilibrium in situations where one example of Bullshit proved capable of temporarily holding all the others at bay.  It is not that the inhabitants of the planet Earth failed to understand that they were made of the same chemicals as everything else, they just, due to their developmental flaw, refused to acknowledge that they were not magical and therefor superior to any and all other forms of life.  This makes them not only DANGEROUS to themselves, but, to all life forms that may come in contact with them.  (This is the reason The Galactic Council of Minds has saw fit to place Earth under a Grade #1 Primary Interdict.

[Example]   The latest information gathered from deep space observations of Earth indicate that their dominant culture is locked in a debate centering upon “who” their next leader should be.  Their current leaders flesh (carapace) is of a color found despicable and inferior by a large number of the inhabitants.  The Bullshit he comforts himself with is considered suspect and inefficient in providing the population with lies colorful enough to ease their existential agony.  His opponent offers the population a brand of Bullshit and supernatural falderal so outlandish as to capture the attention and admiration of many.  He is also of a highly admired color.  The essence of this opponents Bullshit revolves around his insistence that a mythical Being created the universe with the intent that members of their species who share his Bullshit should be the Lords and Masters of ALL and that, if they obey all the rules, they will not only live eternally, but be rejoined with their genetic relatives in what they term “A better place”.   Failure to accept and obey the above mentioned rules, he insists, will result in eternal agony enforced by the Primary Supreme Being who is claimed to reside on the planet KOLOB* designated as the Master Planet by all who accept this brand of Bullshit in lieu of rational thought that remains all but unknown on the planet Earth.  It is currently thought by many inhabitants of Earth that this candidate will be the next leader of its most powerful civilization of Bullshitters.  It is further anticipated by The Grand Galactic Council of Minds that the sentient life forms of Earth will, regardless of who or what leads them, rightfully Bullshit themselves out of existence in short order.

[Kolob]  A small planet on the outer edges of the Garthroid Cluster (coordinates: 376B733W81K632H) well known for the fine artisanal cheeses produced by its highly intelligent arachnid inhabitants.  (see: Glip-click-thong “The Insistent” and the Exalted Web-Keepers of Kolob)

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Happiness & Capitalism

Everyone knows that money doesn’t make you happy.  Our capitalist, advertisement soaked culture treats that common knowledge as if it were a lie.  The message is… “If I only had that I would be happy”.   The message isn’t true and we know it.  If we act as if we know it the wheels come off the Capitalist Cart.  We are culturally encouraged and powerfully motivated to treat what we know is true as if it were a lie and what we know is a lie as if it were the truth.  This is an activity more addictive than nicotine.  Is it any wonder that pharmaceutical sales of antidepressants are as enormous as they currently are.

Albert Einstein once said:  “Happiness never appeared to me as an absolute aim.  I am even inclined to compare such moral aims to the ambitions of a pig.”

So, what do you suppose, ARE the moral ambitions of a pig?  I would submit that they don’t have any “moral ambitions” AT ALL!  I would suggest that pigs are only concerned with more and more and more.  The “Good Life”, to a pig, is to inhabit, or, be part of a situation where this is possible.  Where “more and more” never ends.  Where moral responsibility is irrelevant.  Where greed, rather than being looked upon as a sin, is celebrated as some kind of a virtue.

So, is this us?  By “us”, of course, I don’t mean you or I, but our American Capitalist way of living.   [note: I mean you and I because we are ALL loyal and patriotic supporters of The American way of life]   We make up 5% of the earths population and consume 25% of its resources.  We spend 10 times as much on our military as any other country in the world does to insure that nobody messes with our resource acquisition.  In spite of the fact that anybody who has ever read history knows that no empire, or civilization, ever went belly up spending too much helping out its poor and unfortunate citizens and almost EVERY civilization that did go belly up did so because they spent too much making war… we again treat the truth is if it were a lie and the lie as if it were the truth.  OINK!

We claim to be a religious nation.  No religion I ever heard of and certainly no Christian theologian could ever claim Jesus would support a “preemptive war”.  War is a sin if murder is a sin.  OINK, OINK!

So, here is my question.  Is it even remotely possible for a Capitalist civilization, such as ours, to end up in anything OTHER than a complete disaster?  Are we all nothing more than the guy who jumped out the window on the 35th floor being overheard to say, as he passed the window on the 10th floor,…..“So far, so good.”  

There is an ancient Latin proverb:  “post coitum comne animal trist est”  (after intercourse every animal is sad)  It is meant to convey the feeling of deflation that results from the consummation of all forms of desire.

I take it to have a deeper, more contemporary meaning.  I think it is the reason SO MANY outrageously wealthy people desire to get into politics.  They GOT wealthy in the first place by fucking over everybody they could.  (that’s the “coitum” part)  Acquiring zillions of dollars didn’t make them happy.  (that’s the “deflation” part)  So, instead of discovering that they were mistaking a lie for the truth and the truth for a lie, they redouble their efforts!   (that’s the American part)


(your thoughts?)


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The Graduate (revisited)

You probably shouldn’t read this if you are one of those people who get a little thrill of pride when you hear one of our political candidates say things like “America’s best years are in front of us”.

“Children are our future”, the saying goes and my wife and I were given a glimpse of what that future looks like a few days ago in the check-out line at Wal-Mart.   The Gods of consumerism were smiling down upon us and, for once, we had picked a check-out line that moved at a smart pace.  The young lady doing the scanning and bagging was polite, talkative and pleasant in every imaginable way.  She engaged her customers in small talk, smiled and wished them a “great day” before cheerfully moving on to the next.  Then, it was our turn.

One of the items my wife had on the conveyer belt was a pair of little pink slippers (made in China) she was purchasing for our granddaughter, to go with a new robe she had just finished making for her.  The check-out girl remarked on how cute they were and asked who they were for.  My wife told her that they were part of a birthday present for our granddaughter who was, along with her parents, preparing to move to The Netherlands in less than a month.  [Here is where it all went bad]

With a smile and a cute laugh the check-out girl, who had just graduated from our local High School, said to my wife… “You are probably going to laugh at me, but, I don’t know where that is.”  

Neither one of us laughed.  Laughter was, in fact, the farthest thing from our mind.  Not knowing quite how to reply to this open admission of geographical ineptitude my wife said the first thing that came to her mind.  ..”It’s in Europe”

“Oh” the pleasant young woman replied… and with a laugh continued, “I don’t know where that is either”

Feeling like I had just been hit in the gut I wandered over to the Eyeglass Department as the conversation turned to how her boyfriend wanted to go to school to be a welder and how she couldn’t wait to have a baby.  There was a sign proclaiming [TWO for ONE] in the Eyeglass Department.  It seems that for $199 I could have my eyeballs examined and receive two pairs of glasses that were manufactured in China.  A quick calculation, and my mind was looking for just about anything to take it away from the scene at the check-out counter, (a buck for the frames and pennies for the lenses), clearly indicated that I was in the wrong business.

On the ride back home we discussed what had happened at the check-out.  We asked each other, in so many words, HOW something like this could happen.  We remembered to each other how we were made to do reports on other countries and draw maps with mountain ranges and rivers and natural resources, cities, ports.  We recalled the empty maps that we were required to “fill in” to prove our mastery of the planet we inhabit and that, as best we can remember, this all happened before we even got close to High School.

The question begging to be asked hung in the air.  “What else doesn’t she know?”  What other bits of knowledge we all take for granted is missing from the heads of High School graduates today and what, if anything, has it been replaced with other than high self esteem?

In our little town, on the eastern flank of The Blue Ridge Mountains, 18 teachers were just cut from next years employment at the High School due to “lack of funding”.  Art, remedial reading and music took the biggest hits.  The starting salary for new teachers is $32,ooo a year.  How new teachers are expected to pay off college loans is anyone’s guess.  It isn’t surprising that the turnover rate is staggering.  Morale is astonishingly low.

On the bright side… we have electrical power again!  We were one of the almost 3 million left without electrical power after the “Derecho” blew through eleven days ago. Intense Storms Called a “Derecho” Slam 700 Miles of the US  We consider ourselves lucky.  Thousands of our neighbors are still without.  Trees crushed more than a handful of homes on our main street and utility trucks from far away and exotic locations such as Canada have been spotted.  Wind gusts of 93 mph were recorded locally.  The storm, or, Derecho, was something, I confess, I had never experienced before.  One full hour of outrageous winds, lightning and not one drop of rain.  I was tempted to think “Global Warming” and “Climate Change”, but, a quick perusal of FOX News informed me that was all bunk and that Liberals, plotting to destroy our way of life, could be counted upon to use this weather event to further their evil ends.

I learned recently that 80% of the births last year in Richmond, our states proud capital, were to single mothers.  I also learned that 80% of the households in America neither purchased a book, or read a book last year.  Those depressing facts combined with our conversation at the check-out line at Wal-Mart have left me 80% sure that America is fucked.  I don’t really know “how” things are in The Netherlands, but, I’m betting most of the High School graduates fucking KNOW where America is!  Did you know that you can purchase marijuana there in stores that exist only for that purpose?

Do you remember those public service adds…  “This is your brain on drugs”?  

It’s beginning to sound better and better to me every day.

What are your thoughts?


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