Strangely calming.

Cloud chambers have come a long way since 1911.  A co-worker was viewing this.  The action starts around the 1:40 mark.

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The Deal.

I see the Obama/Iranian mullahs deal went through.  Don’t know any details, and can’t sacrifice my hard-won zazen with any kind of de-ignorantization process.

So this time, I just hopped over to the Jerusalem Post.  Knowing no specifics of the deal, I assumed that the Post would not be happy.

The Post is not happy.

Its final form is roundly opposed in Israel— by the government, by its opposition, and by the public at large.

Not unexpected.  But this means Israel’s foes should all be happy.  Right?  Like the Saudis.

…the Saudi official…feared it would instead allow Iran “to wreak havoc in the region”.

“We have learned as Iran’s neighbors in the last 40 years that goodwill only led us to harvest sour grapes,” he said.

Er…apparently things are…complicated?  Meaning I’m losing interest.  Anyway, it’s not like the mullahs have the resources to-

The end of sanctions is worth hundreds of billions to Iran.

Whoa.  That ain’t chump change.

Y’know, if I had hundreds of billions of income pouring in, I think I’d become a thermonuclear power and amass a few hundred megatons of detonation capacity.  It’d be irresponsible not to.

A co-worker here at Argonne just had a hilarious idea:  Iran should use that new wealth to pay off Greece’s debt.  Just to mess with everyone’s head.  Funny as that would be, I think they’re going to build nuclear detonation devices as quickly as possible.

Because they love the Orion Drive so much.


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Worked on that G.K. Chesterton essay, only to switch it to a back-burner.   But his observations remain jaw-droppingly prescient and very worth your while.  We’ll return someday, hopefully.

Meanwhile I am hoping…praying…to resume writing, and more seriously than ever before.   There are three big projects in mind.  In reverse order of (current) importance:

#3:  An e-book.  Title?



Long-suffering visitors will remember “atomic anecdotes” from the Fukushima days.  Possibly even the legendary-but-true R.B.o.C. himself.

There are many more such tidbits from my run-down but quite roomy memory palace.  “Anecdotes” could be a fun and sometimes hilarious work.  But to be truly memorable it needs numerous light-hearted illustrations.  Like a heavily-sedated, highly radioactive baboon.  In a diaper.

Obviously such images are crystal-clear in the mind’s eye; the trick is transmitting them down the nervous system, out of the hand, and onto the page.  IE, I’m a terrible artist.


(I did mention “heavily-sedated”, right?  Because when that job was assigned my thought wasn’t “Oh no!  Radioactive baboon!”  It was, “Baboon on crack?!”)

Next!  Project #2:  full-length movie script.  Title?

 The Mark of Cain.

Can’t share the story twist here, as it’s easily filchable.  Stolenable?  Confiscationish!

Anyway, not only is it a grade-A “high-concept”, it’s perfect to torture the protagonist, a Christian (or is he?) attorney.  Which makes this an attempt to merge a C.S. Lewis classic with a big-budget Hollywood thriller.

I believe the word for that is “ambitious”?  (Not a term ever applied to me before.)  Thus the creative muscles need lots of work prior to tackling this.

And so, #1.  It is…believe it or not…a stand-up comedy routine.  I’ve not done stand-up for 16 or 17 years, so much more than writing discipline must be regained.  Health, appearance, voice, timing, presence, etc. etc.   Ugh.  Stand-up is probably the most difficult Performance Art of all.

(And it’s certainly the scariest.)

But that’s where I am.  Until yesterday I’d forgotten how important it was to me, 18 years ago, to discover if God has a sense of humor.   (SPOILER ALERT: He does.)

So that’s it.  I’ll go ahead and assume your forgiveness for not providing the usual pedantic, high-falutin’ essay.  On, literally, What’s Wrong With the World.

Oh wait!  I didn’t share Project #1’s title.  Let’s just drop a hint and let you guess.  And since the hint is one of the two sexiest songs ever recorded…you’re welcome.

All the best guys!

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What’s Wronger With the World

G.K. Chesterton’s What’s Wrong With the World (pub. 1910) is epic, astounding, and hardly ever wrong.

This morning I started Part III: Feminism, or, The Mistake about Woman. Chesterton does the ol’ “compare and contrast” with regards to Female Suffrage: “should women be allowed to vote?”

G.K. in 1910 A.D. doesn’t venture an opinion; though (SPOILER) he obviously doesn’t think it will make people happier. But the thought of women voters is trifling to him, compared to other modern horrors.

Mr. Chesterton explores new ideas as a cartographer does a river. And Chesterton has a definite preference: he turns upstream. He wants to–he must–discover sources. And so he shrugs at suffrage–a single point in the river–and rather concentrates on everyone’s journey up to that point. His interest is in the nature and origin of the travelers.

He also ignores downstream of the point. He doesn’t opine on how the voyage would change if women did get the vote.

So…how does Chesterton’s thinking hold up at this point in the river, 105 years later, and after a century of women voters? Has Female Suffrage made people happier?

I’d intended to jump right in, but rusty writer is rusty. More precisely, rusty editor is rusty. And the author being parsed is the G.K. himself. So I’d better rest up.

But feel free to jump on in to WWWtWPI, comment below, and steal my thunder.

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As a Christian, I’m under strict orders to always be charitable.  That command is the single toughest one…just like all the others*.

But today I’m ready.  I’m set.  Imma love everybody!

                                      ME:  Hit me with your best shot, LORD!

                                      LORD:  Paul Krugman.

                                      ME:  GAAAAAAAAH!

I mean, come on! (NOTE—clicking on the link gives traffic to the NYTimes.  If you don’t want to sully your pixels, Krugman’s title can suffice:

Greece’s Economy Is a Lesson for Republicans

A Lesson for Republicans.  Profligate borrowing, systemic corruption, ubiquitous tax evasion, demonizing all opposition…see where you led us, Grand Old Party?

(Close eyes, mutter mantra:  “charitable, be charitable, only charitable…”)

                  Paul Krugman is utterly batcrap insane!!**

(Open eyes)

Nailed it!

Yep.  Nailed it.  It’s the only possible explanation while being both dove-gentle and serpent-wise.  (The alternate, no-less-wise-but-slightly-less-gentle judgement:  Paul Krugman is the avatar of O’Brien.)

The phrase “beyond parody” gets a real workout these days, but be real:  nothing is beyond parody.  Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is a parody.  Within it O’Brien, with a perfectly straight face, espouses ideas like “War is Peace”.  O’Brien takes exact opposites, proclaims them identical, and brooks no disagreement.

How do you get “beyond” that?  Exceed complete negation or reversal?  It’s like making a 181-degree turn.  You can’t go beyond parody…but by equaling it you do destroy it.  As Paul Krugman has just destroyed the parody of 1984.

(Oops.  I just claimed the novel is a parody.  You could call me a liar, but it wasn’t intentional; I just hadn’t thought it through.)

So no, we can’t parody the Krugster, but can’t we still have fun with the big fuzzy lovable whacko?  I’m not up on all this newfangled twitting and tweeting and taghashing, but…wouldn’t this make a good taghash?  I tried




But no; it’s the #KrugLife for me.

Venezuelan Economy Demands Return of Hayek’s Nobel.

Fall of the USSR Rebuts the New Testament.

Destruction of Twin Towers Stimulates Economy

Wait, we can tighten that last one up a little.  Let’s see…:

War is Peace.

Nailed it.

*(This seems contradictory, but it’s not; being perfectly Christ-like in any one thing takes care of all the others.  Naturally, your host always trys to figure out which would be easiest for him…explaining why he’s bad at all of them.)
**Need more emphasis? kindly obliges.
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Not quite back in a groove.

Wdydfae had a comment held up for the past three days, because I’m still not back in the habit of checking the blog.  Apologies.

And I’m about to post an actual…er, essay?  Let’s be generous and call it an essay.  NOTE:  I have NO intention of resuming sociopolitical blogging.  But total absurdity is tough to pass up.  #KrugLife.

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How many senses can human beings possess? I’m up to nine point five (and counting).

It is generally agreed that there are five human senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. This number is grossly inadequate to explain the sensorium,  but remains generally accepted because…generally…people are credulous sheep.

About three years ago I described personally witnessing a feat that can’t be adequately explained by the five accepted senses.

What I saw, dowsing, is likely a form of electromagnetic field detection. This is quite developed and extensively documented in numerous non-human creatures. Most homo sapiens have woefully underdeveloped “EM antennae”. But some, like the worker I witnessed or our very own commenter Billy, can do startling things.

So, what of other senses? The sense of balance, or equilibrioception is obviously just as real as any of the Big Five.  That plus “dowsing” (whatever dowsing actually is) brings our total to seven.

These seven are all “real time” perceptions. That is, they sense the environment and communicate their stimuli to the mind (whatever that is) as instantaneously as physics and biology allow.

To these seven (and counting) I would add three more. Don’t you have a definite sense of the past, the thing we call memory? It’s imperfect, sometimes even misleading…but that is true of the other senses.

And if there is a sense of the past, then what of the future? This is the murky one, with which I need help. Until this very minute I called it imagination, but imagination is obviously too broad a description.  Anticipation?  Whatever it is, it seems much stronger in humans than in any other creature.

If you reject this one, it’s perfectly understandable.  You might even say I anticipated that response…which is why it’s rated as “point five” of a sense, rather than an entire one.

However, there is no such doubt about the last sense. It not only exists beyond any doubt, it is ubiquitous among us. You probably can’t dowse water to save your life, you can be blind or deaf, you might even have total amnesia.  But if you lack this final sense, you are not a human being.

It is the sense of right and wrong. The word for it is conscience.

(If you have any ideas about further human perceptions, please share.  That would be sensational.)

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