Road to Drunken Anachronisms

Before we had internet memes, we had sayings. Before sayings, we had proverbs. These were things like “a penny saved is a penny earned”, “two wrongs don’t make a right” or “the pen is mightier than the sword”.

The proverb I want to talk about is “a drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts”. Honestly, I don’t remember even 60% of the things I say when I’m drunk, so I can’t tell you if that’s true or not. However, more than once, I’ve been enjoying my coffee and watching Meet The Press on a Sunday morning, and my phone will start blowing up with Facebook alerts because Drunk-Me posted something inappropriate the night before. Reading what I posted is often embarrassing, but admittedly it usually makes me snicker. In those cases, the drunk man’s posts were a fair reflection of the inappropriate thoughts usually contained in my sober mind.

Several months back, I found a bunch of Gene Autry songs in my digital music library. Apparently Drunk-Me is much older than I am, but he’s pretty tech-wise for a man of his advancing years. He’s also not averse to a little digital piracy. Most recently, Drunk-Me bootlegged all 6 Bing Crosby & Bob Hope Road Movies, even Road to Hong Kong from 1962, which doesn’t even have Dorothy Lamour in it. I don’t remember if I was being thorough or if I’m just a jerk.

Drunk-Me is a tech-savvy octogenarian with a rude sense of humor, a completist’s attention to detail and a lax opinion of copyright law. That’s the sort of guy I’d like to have a beer with. In fact, I hope to never have a beer without him. In the road movie of my life, Drunk-Me is the Crosby to my Hope. Or is he the Hope to my Crosby? Are we both Hope? I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this level of introspection.

 

 

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Origin Stories

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“My God, this is boring! I sure wish cool things would happen to me.”
-A. Lincoln

You know what I hate? Origin stories. I love reading biographies, but do I really need five chapters of great grandparents through parents and their immigrant stories and high lights and low lights of their lives. If you’re not awesome enough to have someone write your biography, you might at least score a paragraph in the biography of your awesome descendant, No. You didn’t earn it. Get out my books!. Also, do I care about some lame story from Abraham Lincoln’s childhood? No, I do not. Here’s how every Lincoln biography should start. Abraham Lincoln was born. He got really tall. And BOOM it’s the 1850’s and stuff is happening.

The worst offenders by far are writers or screenwriters who are planning to create a series. The best series of books or movies are always the ones that were meant to be a single piece, but were so awesome, that the creator made sequels. I just finished listening to “Wicked” on Audible. It was clearly intended to be the first part in a series, as the whole book was back story. If you’re thinking of reading it, I’ll save you some time. The wicked witch of the west was born green, which is unusual. She’s misunderstood and also water makes her melt. If I’m the author of that story, I’ve now got 700 blank pages to fill with an interesting story.

The same goes for super heroes. Boy, does it ever! Everyone knows the back stories for Superman, Spiderman and Batman. There is absolutely no reason to to retell the origin story in each new comic line or movie. Are we to believe there is an audience member out there who doesn’t know Superman came from Krypton as a baby, and they find themselves at a Superman movie saying, “Wait minute. Why can this guy fly?” Really? Do directors of superhero movies just plan for a trilogy immediately, knowing they can basically plagiarize the whole first film?

The entire first hour of the last Spiderman movie and the the first one in the prior trilogy can be replaced with the following exchange:

Villain:  “Holy Crap. You can crawl up walls like a spider.”
Spiderman: “I was bit by a radioactive spider when I was in high school, and badda-bing, spider powers.” 

Then we spend the rest of the movie watching action happen.

Hulk SMASH

The movie that got this right was “The Incredible Hulk”, the one with Edward Norton. (My mind is now visualizing Art Carney as Ed Norton as the Hulk.) That movie starts with Bruce Banner in some third world country trying to deal with being the Hulk. When he hulks out in the first act, no one said, “Wait. What’s happening here?” Everyone said, “Yeah, Hulk Smash!!!”

And in the end, that’s what we all want. More smashin’ and less yappin’.

The Borax

I’m a nearly forty year old full time mathematician.
Facing the start of a mid-life “transition”
I can’t sleep at night, and can’t wake in the morning.
Everything that I do is mind numbingly boring.
I’m bored of my work and bored of my home.
I’m sick of people but hate being alone.
I’m bored of listening and bored of talking.
I’m tired of sitting and running and walking.
I’m bored of sobriety and bored of drinking.
I’m sick of emailing, texting, and syncing.
I’m bored of reviewing the social networks.
Election year’s filled them with whiners and jerks.

I’m bored of following and bored of leading.
I’m tired of the Internet, TV and reading.
I’m bored with the dogs and bored with the kitty.
I can’t stand the country, and I’m through with the city

I can’t write anymore. My mind is a fog.

I’m bored of this. I’m through with this blog.



Left Behind

I am forever fascinated when people don’t embrace new technology. I have friends and family who aren’t on Facebook because they aren’t on the internet and don’t even have a computer. WTF? There are two adults and a child in our house and we have ten internet access points (3 smart phones, 2 tablets, 2 PC’s, 1 Laptop, 1 PS3, and 1 Wii), and I’m about to add an eleventh (a Roku player). The reason, it seems, that so many people aren’t connected to the web isn’t money based, and it’s not because they’re old and don’t understand the technology. It’s because it’s just not a priority to them.

Newsflash! Technology should be a priority to you. It’s not just about Facebook. We don’t just use technology to stay connected, and to stay informed. This is how we advance our human civilization.

Google’s Autonomous Car
Google has developed a fleet of cars that drive themselves. They’ve clocked over 160,000 miles. The precision android driving of this technology will one day eliminate traffic by allowing us to have smaller lanes and leave smaller gaps between moving vehicles. There will never be an auto accident, a speeding ticket or a drunk driver.

I have an app on my phone (a devise that fits in my pocket and has more computing power than we took to the moon) that allows me to have a spoken conversation with someone who doesn’t speak English. I say something in English, and it speaks it in Spanish. The person speaks to me in Spanish, and the phone speaks it in English. I’ve almost eliminated the need for a wallet because there are apps for store cards and library cards, and coming soon a debit card app. And you want to know something? If I could get this technology off my phone, and implanted in my body, I’d be first in line to do it.

I can no longer conceive of a world in which I’m not constantly connected. I use the internet on the fly to find directions, movie times, restaurants, to settle arguments over trivia, to read, to watch movies, to listen to music, to work. Today we have all the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. We can’t be many years away from brain implants that give us the internet in our heads. Imagine all that information instantly available as a thought.

Cybernetic implants and prosthetics are already common place. Some day soon, every part of you will have the potential for an artificial replacement. Immortality can’t be far behind. I’ll tell you now, that as my human parts give out, I will harvest parts from the people who today don’t even have internet access. That will be their punishment for hiding from the forward march of civilization. Their parts will be harvested by the cyborgs. And when those parts give out, I will replace them with robot parts. Then finally, even the last remaining bits of the people who aren’t able to read this will get left behind.

Suck on that!

My Testimony

Religion. Here’s a topic guaranteed to piss off anyone. If you don’t believe me, take a minute to turn to the person on your right and say, “I’d like to talk to you about Jesus.” Believe me now?
I don’t consider myself to be a religious person. I go to church most Sundays, more for my family than myself. I believe in the organized church and all the good that can be done in a church community. Unfortunately, a lot of bad can also be done by church communities. It’s possible to convince a person to do almost anything if they can be made to believe they are doing it for religious reasons, and groups of people are more suggestable than individuals. It’s my opinion that religious faith is a delicate balance of hope, ignorance, and suppressed disbelief. As long as the latter makes up less than half of your faith triangle, you probably consider yourself a religious person. If a big enough piece of that pie is made up of ignorance, you could probably be incited to blow up yourself or your neighbor if the request was preceded with “God says”. If your triangle is made up only of hope and ignorance, you should probably let someone else hold your wallet.

As a child my religion was built solely on ignorance. I believed because I was told to. The same is true of a child’s belief in Santa Claus. As I matured, hope moved in. My hope was informed by my burgeoning fear of death. I hoped there was a heaven, and I hoped to go there if I died. As my experience grew, I began to find there were many religions that were different from my own, some even disagreed with the most fundamental things I believed in. Some have a hell and a devil to stand in contrast to their god and heaven, and some don’t. Some have a messiah and some don’t. Some don’t have a heaven at all, but instead believe in reincarnation. Some have no heaven and no reincarnation. Some religions once dominated the earth, and are now laughable and quaint. Some have many gods, and some just one. Some have demi-gods and some don’t. Which one is right?

Let’s check the evidence. Uh oh, there is no evidence. None at all. Well, there are a bunch of scientific studies showing that prayer has absolutely no impact on results. There are also a bunch of studies attempting and failing to prove the existence of the human soul. This is where disbelief was born, and immediately suppressed. As Christians, we are taught that the only unforgivable sin is to deny the Holy Spirit, and God knows what we’re thinking. So I had to work hard to suppress the doubt and the denial that would surely follow. Because if we doubt, and then deny we’ll go to Hell (assuming, of course that all the other stuff isn’t bullshit).

Once doubt met logic, the scales began to tip. As hope and ignorance fell away, the triangle of faith became a circle of reason. Now here I am with only my experience to trust and only myself to believe in. I have only myself to blame for my failures and no where existential to look for support in times of crisis. I am the master of my own destiny. And you know what? It’s pretty sweet. There is great relief in rising from the attitude of penitence. There is liberation in knowing the laws of man are sufficient, and that progress, both social and scientific, is a good thing. There is great motivation in knowing I have only one lifetime in which to accomplish and experience everything I desire to.
I am not writing this as a condemnation of anyone else’s faith. It is not an argument for atheism. This is just my testimony. As for who is right and who is wrong, only the dead have seen the ending.