Wednesday, April 21 2004
I'm looking at the face of Melinda Gates and I'm seeing the shapes that billions of dollars have selected. I use the term "selected" because I imagine those collective billions behaving much like an enzyme looking for an obscure protein to ferry through a membrane. When you have a face like that - the horsey extreme of transexualesque supermodel - you have to count your lucky stars that the world's richest man thinks yours is the prettiest face on earth. Though he's probably a terrible bore with an insufferable God complex, who wouldn't want to be married to his bank account? I wonder how many times a week Melinda fantasizes about poisoning him.
The gradual cleanup and tidying of my laboratory continues. I've installed a new shelf above the door, and I intend to put things on this shelf that are expensive and fragile but that I don't want cluttering my life. Most such items are things I'd been keeping mixed in with the books on my bookshelf. From now on the rule is that only books go on the bookshelf.
An interesting side effect of this tidying and putting away of things is that I'm experiencing less distraction. The absence of clutter and the lack of so many projects crying out for attention (from their respective piles on the floor) has made it easier for me to focus on the few projects that are most urgent.
Good one there, John Kerry - and on so many levels! You've accomplished so much in this saga of your war records! First you float a story about your military record not being all that good. You get a windbag from back in the day to suggest your shrapnel injury "'twas nothing but a flesh wound." (Okay, maybe these two things just happened, in which case it's your response that is brilliant.) You held off on the release of your documents, just to build up the pressure and get the attention of the media (rather like speaking in a loud whisper to someone across the room at a crowded party). And then when it was released, it painted a picture of the George Bush we really want: a vicious killer (25 dead Vietnamese!) who dresses neatly and speaks well. This was the depiction the media painted, whether they wanted to or not. Even that asshole who said "'twas nothing but a fleshwound" had written highly of you. It was probably worth at least $40 million dollars in television commercials. Rock on, JFK, you really could kick Retard's ass.
For reasons unrelated to Iraq, George W. Bush really needs there to be chaos and mayhem in the Holy Land, otherwise the dad-burn Rapture will never come! The only people in this country who care about the Holy Land are those who either want Isræl to be able to do whatever it damn well pleases or who want it to go up in smoke. Both of these groups, despite very different intentions, are working towards the same goal: it all going up in smoke. In this country, the United State of America, the constituency for a stable, peaceful Isræl (regardless of who runs it) is politically insignificant. So, no matter how much a politician sides with the Apocalyptic fundamentalists hoping to speed the Rapture and (perhaps as a welcomed side effect) those few Jews who believe the Promised Land includes all of Mesopotamia, he can only benefit politically in this country. This makes it easy for an extremist pro-Isræl politician to lead his opponent around by the nose. By agreeing to Sharon's annexation of parts of the West Bank (an extremist action), Bush is acting as the politician doing the leading. And, predictably, Kerry (acting as follower) refuses to correct Bush for his dangerous encouragement of Sharon. He even tries to do him one better. In times like these one wishes for the development of A Great American Middle on this issue. Such a Middle is absent due to the strange circumstances of American culture. This means that our relations with Isræl must remain a stark choice between the furtherance of the Apocalypse and the tolerance of unchecked bully behavior.
Tonight I saw the Nova show about String Theory. The mathematics underlying the theory must be far more complex than e= mc2, because not a single formula was provided. In fact, very little was provided except for the talking heads of white people and swarms of vibrating donuts. At least when you see a show about General Relativity or the Uncertainty Principle you can expect to get a few interesting thought experiments featuring fast space ships and cats locked in boxes. Here, though, the best we got was a loaf of bread as a model of "the Bulk," with a slice being our three dimensional universe. (As a dramatic touch, tinted green and red galaxies swirled on these slices, making them look rotten with the kind of mold that emits light.)
String Theory is so lost in its equations and (what with its eleven dimension) so needlessly complicated that my eyes usually glaze over when I hear about it. Chances are good that if you ever hear anyone talking about String Theory, that person is putting on airs. He probably also believes in perpetual motion machines.
But for some reason this Nova show about String Theory got me to thinking about things that are bent into utterly new directions. Wouldn't it be great, for example, if someone solved a mathematical paradox after being tipped off by a chord change in early Molly Hatchet? Or what if a new method of data storage was discovered by someone who inadvertantly used salt instead of sugar in a cookie recipe?
This got me to thinking about cultures and how things within them can morph, stretch, distort, and slam together like continental plates. One of the interesting things about Jewishness is that it's been around long enough to serve as a culture with or without the faiths of its religion. (Indeed, there are plenty of proud Jewish Buddhists.) But this isn't the Jew's only repurposing of sociological furniture. Consider the history of their roles within the larger society. At one time they were a discrete people living in a discrete land with a discrete ethnicity. Then, over a series of dispersals, they came to live pretty much everywhere on Earth while somehow maintaining their cultural identity. But instead of playing all the roles in one geographic region, they came to play a limited number of roles in every geographic region. Admittedly, most of their limitations in the communities in which they settled were arbitrary impositions enforced by the often prejudiced and hateful non-Jews around them.
Jews aren't the only ethnic group that managed to spread globally while stubbornly maintaining its core culture. The Roma (Gypsies) and even, to some extent (but without ever losing control of their homeland), the Chinese, have done the same.
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