Saturday, March 26, 2011

True Objective & Hitting Switches

In life happiness is a false objective. The most important ingredient of life is desire which is not an objective.
~ Ergun Çoruh (a.k.a., @ProudElephant)
I won't labor you with the time-space wormhole minutiae that enabled me to drive my hybrid-powered automobile accompanied by Madame Curie (1867–1934) riding shotgun at the butt-end of a 21st century winter.

Rolling downhill in Eco-Mode, I explained to Madame Marie that some automobiles are fitted with hydraulic modifications so they can be made to bounce, on demand, several feet off the pavement by toggling a switch -- much like a jolt of applied voltage might inspire a bucking mule. I told her that this pastime is colloquially known as "hittin' switches".

Marie was amused by the absurd theater of bouncing automobiles wondering, tongue-in-cheek, if perhaps there was an underlying practical basis, like using the bouncing automobile as a weapon to catch prey, or to fend off an enemy.

Descending from the clouds towards Lucky's 13 Pub, she also questioned the utility of the EV switch in my hybrid automobile when I gleefully switched to electric propulsion once the speed limit dropped to 25 mph on the memorial artery of historic Mendota.

Her arm in my elbow, we crossed the threshold into Lucky's 13. She smiled wistfully when she asked,
"What element would you be be on the periodic table?"
I thought of the transition metals, then blurted mercury. She knowingly acknowledged my choice as if she had anticipated it, but I thought I detected a wisp of sadness in her acknowledgement.

I had been feeling mercurial - somewhat flighty and erratic having discovered the subtleties of ferreting time-space wormholes. I have had brief periods of melancholy centered about the passage of time - time that extended beyond many lifetimes.

I was sure she would say she was uranium, but I regret not asking her. She might have felt more akin to inert gases, despite the celebrity status two uranium minerals, pitchblende and torbernite, had brought into her life.

There are infinite time-space wormholes, so I doubt I'll have the pleasure of Madame Marie's company again.

Much as I try, it's nigh impossible to melt and mold a nugget that embodies my philosophy.

Yet I am as sure as a relativist can be that existential concerns are the singular thread worth traveling. Other concerns seem like hitting switches - creating a sort of mental turbulence that make you bounce up and down.

Suffice it to say, time does extend beyond many lifetimes. There's nothing we can do about being finite. About the best we can hope for is to carry the torch of humanity a few clicks before an eternal dirt nap. And now that I know inquisitive humans can tap into wormholes, there is a pinhole of light in the finality of death.

One can take infinitesimally small comfort in the prospect of a visit from the future. A visit from someone curious enough about our hopes and aspirations; someone willing to take the time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Time Travel Wednesday, 6-Toed Tomcats

My hybrid automobile gets miserly gas mileage in Eco-Mode, but Wormhole-Mode rips the ass out of my wallet.
The bottom line is that time travel is allowed by the laws of physics
~Brian Greene, Professor, Columbia University
Mariel Hemingway direct messaged me on Twitter. She read my time-travel blog post about my charming lunch with Colonel Josiah Snelling where I gained a prospective into 19th century westward expansion.

Mariel wondered if I could fire up my hybrid to drive her back to Papa Hemingway's Key West crib circa 1950 so that she might interact with the original 6-toed tomcat the sea captain purportedly gave to her grandfather. Turns out Mariel owns a descendant of the mutant polydactyl that lives with her in Malibu.

I had to put it to her delicately, in a series of 140 character Tweets, that there's no such thing as time travel. The salient Tweet was this --
Traversable wormholes can be reasoned theoretically, but are impractical to carry out.
No response from her yet.

Put another way, all this delusional time travel nonsense is predicated on my wife letting me drive the Delorean. The Prius will put us in the poor house if used for time travel.

Worried silly that I might have miffed the literary gods by misleading one of their lovely progeny with a fictional account of time travel, I sent Mariel a poem about Papa's Key West place called Six-Toed Tomcats, plus a recipe for the Hemingway Daiquiri - which she probably already has.

Six-Toed Tomcats

Every senile house frau and post-war
Pensioner from Piscataway to Yonkers
Retired here June of the same year
Seconds after every alligator swamp
Was back-filled with jetty dredge

Bootleg booze and sunset cruises
Smuggled from Cuba during prohibition
People in shorts dropped from the sky
Like Papa Hemingway's six-toed tomcat
Chucked in the pool from a motel balcony

Marine architects and salvage wreckers
Fishing trophy marlin and schools of skipjack
Fathoms from home-port lagoon cesspools
And predictable stops at Outback Steakhouse
Key West to munch on kookaburra wings

Hemingway Daiquiri
  1. Juice of an eighth of a grapefruit and a lime
  2. Add a dash of maraschino liqueur
  3. Drop in a shot and half of light rum
  4. Shake with ice and strain
  5. Serve straight up in a cocktail glass
  6. And remember, the Delorean has no cup holders!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Siphonaptera & the Sublimities of Mahler

I had spent a career warming increasingly less comfortable chairs in increasingly smaller spaces for decreasingly smaller increases in pay. It was finally my time to engage in something meaningful before my eternal dirt nap.
Spouse:Why don't you take a community ed class in oils or learn to fly fish?
Painting a vase of silk flowers or joining arthritic men jerking their rods by the Kinnickinnick River? I dunno, dear. 
I opted for a matchbox full of trained circus fleas. The quarter page ad in Bug Club Magazine claimed they were trained. That should have taught me not to believe the dumb shit I find in the children's magazine rack at Miserly Clips.

Turns out, not only were the fleas in no shape to attempt death-defying trapeze artistry, but half of them were banging 7-nano-gram rocks like they'd just triple-flipped off Charlie Sheen's shiatzu.

So I did the only thing I could do. I spent the next two semesters in a metalsmithing class so I could fashion a flea-sized-symphony's worth of brass horns. Next, I suppose I'll endeavor to fabricate the stringed instruments.

But I've got to work small. Microscope small. Japanese scientists could teach me a thing or two about single-polymer chains and atomic force microscopy seeing that they're reportedly able to reel in beefy rotifers on marginally convincing protozoan imitators. Do these nano-fishermen catch and release?
Those tiny brass horns are the flea's knees. But how are you gonna to teach those misfits the sublimities of Mahler?
Um, if the little critters finish up the substance abuse program at Hazelden come summer, I'll ship them off to Boston. Tanglewood has a music camp for gifted siphonaptera.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Time Travel Wednesday, CoJo

Yesterday was Time Travel Wednesday. I met Colonel Josiah Snelling (1782–1828) for lunch at Buon Giorno pasta bar. The Colonel enjoyed sausage & sun-dried tomatoes atop bow-tie pasta. CoJo intimated that the heavy limestone blocks used to fortify the frontier fort bearing his name, did little to belie America's intent on westward expansion.

We ate in the forgotten town of Mendota near the confluence of the Minnesota River and Mississippi River. Few autograph seekers recognized the crusty old Colonel, so we followed our pasta dishes with a desert of cream-stuffed cannolis.

Knowing CoJo lived in comfort inside the fort walls, I observed that my cannoli was roughly the dimensions of an enlisted man's bunk.