Friday, January 14, 2005

The Lament of Astrophysical Insignificance

I used to bemoan my cosmic insignificance.
What effect did I have on the planets, the nebulae,
on the vastness of space, on the nature of being?
What distant gods had even heard my name?
Where was my place in the fate of galaxies?

I felt small.

Somehow, over time,
my lament has become more specific.
I don't wonder at the fate of the stars, or of
moons, or of comets or even of
interplanetary driftrock.

Let alone their fate--I don't even matter to their orbits!
I am astrophysically insignificant.

Insead of small, I now feel massless.
So I worked it out.
I affect the moon's trajectory in its 27th decimal place.
In meters. Well, meters per second.
All day. Every day. As long as I'm around.
So I wrote to the guys at NASA.
They refuse to update their trajectory theories.
Something about significant digits
and the precision of their instruments.
I asked if my math was right, at least.
They laughed. "Does it matter?"
It matters to me.
Though not, I suppose, to the moon.

Make love, not war.

This is just the stupidest article ever. Among ideas for non-lethal chemical weapons rejected by the Pentagon is a "sex bomb" that

...would make enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to each other. Provoking widespread homosexual behaviour among troops would cause a "distasteful but completely non-lethal" blow to morale, the proposal says.

I struggle to find something to say. Now I struggle, wondering why I even dignified the article by posting it here. I guess I'm amused that some think-tank wacko was self-conscious enough about his "sex bomb" idea to qualify the description with the word "distasteful". Wouldn't want to lose status among his other confidently heterosexual think-tank friends.

Monday, January 3, 2005

Truer words were never said.

Every once in a while, one utters a phrase which one can be reasonably sure has never been uttered before, by any human, ever. This weekend I came to say

Never buy Dr. Peppy from a hooker in a diaper.

It made complete sense in context. You just have to know the following things about Emma, who is just over 2 years old.

  • She likes to walk around with a pad of paper and a pen, asking people what they'd like to order. She does this in imitation of waiters and waitresses that she's seen in restraurants.

  • She usually asks about drinks, including "Coke" and "Dr. Pepper", which the other day she mispronounced as "Dr. Peppy."

  • For Christmas she got some sparkly plastic high-heeled shoes, which she loves. They make her look like a hooker, but I don't say so in her presence, since she absorbs and repeats everything we say.

  • As a two year old, she is legally obligated to remove clothing at random times of day, so it's not unusual to see her walking around with, say, just a shirt and a diaper.

  • A two year old wearing high-heels and a diaper is a disturbing sight indeed.

Anyway, all of these things occured at once, leading to the truism "Never buy Dr. Peppy from a hooker in a diaper."

See? Makes sense.