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Hitchhiker Galactic-Gems; I’m Better Than Yous (Jersey Form of ‘You’), and more…

Funny quote from ole Doug Adams, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

And a couple other funny ones:

“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”

― Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.”

― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time

“A learning experience is one of those
things that says, ‘You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that.”

― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

And, that is all*. For now.

*via/hat-tip to a one, Señor Juan Hodgey-manny, aka John Hodgeman


Whole Lotta Crow, Whole Lotta Awesome

Watched an excellent epi of PBS’ Nature</a series on crows last night. Here's the show's summary narrative of it, found on their site:

Although cultures around the world may regard the crow as a scavenger, bad omen, or simply a nuisance, this bad reputation might overshadow what could be regarded as the crow’s most striking characteristic – its intelligence. New research indicates that crows are among the brightest animals in the world. NATURE’s A Murder of Crows brings you these so-called feathered apes, as you have never seen them before. Buy the DVD. This film premiered October 24, 2010.

As I sit out back imitating a curved-bill thrasher perform his mating call, I’m beyond convinced that I’ve become a birder. I’m at least becoming less bothered by the term. Ambivalent birder, no más!

Anyway, the epi was incredible, esp for a budding birder as myself. A budding birder (?). What the shit, ‘mane*. Lol. Crows are incredible. Even though they have a relatively small sized brain, they’re the third most intelligent animal in the animal kingdom, along with humans and primates, for a few different reasons. They’re extremely adaptable, and when you find that trait in any organism from microbes to bees, you usually have a good chance at success. Adaptation is resilient. It perserveres. Crows have learned how to crack a nut, literally, by flying at just the right velocity and height from the ground and dropping it. They showed the crows doing it, and perfect. The nut cracks and they’re right behind it like a jet landing and scoop it up before anyone or thing else can snag it. And cars. The crows have actually figured out that the best time to do it is during a red light, hence sans cars.

And they’re very communicative. Creative researchers at the University of Washington (U-Dub!), in Seattle, devised a novel experiment that guaged a few different things that would aid understanding our black-feathered friends.

They wore masks, pretty gnarly, Halloween types, and walked around campus where they knew crows were located and observed their facial recognition. Not only did the crows recognize the masked men, but they then share whatever knowledge they deem fit with the rest of the surrounding family, friend, and flock. To add a wrinkle, the research team observed baby crows that were in the nest during the facial recognition experiment, to see if the parents actually communicated facial knowledge, etc., to such young, undeveloped crowlets(?), but developing nontheless. They did.

I haven’t got to a lot of other stuff in the episode, but maybe I’ll get a chance to give it some breath sooner rather than later.

Gotst to go.

*And yes I did use ‘mane’, the term that lil Wayne and team Ca$h Money popularized in the last decade, or so, straight outta Hollis Grove, New Orleans, LA. And if ya don’t know, now ya know. PBS and Ca$h Money are so about opposites attracting, right? Lol. How we do…

Degrees of Magnitude: Economic Growth and Deficits

Great piece (once again), from economic guru, and jedi btw, Robert Reich on Marketplace yesterday (5-2-12).

Essentially Reich jumos into the mangrove swampland of the economic context. With Europe continuing to struggle, as a direct and indirect result of our recession (reminds me, PBS’ Frontline finished a great 2 part movie/piece on the meltdown. superb), Reich muddles through economic strife and subsequent austerity measures to ease the fall. Europe’s collective identity, as the EU now, is much different than our society, and current situation. Within the EU, there are still national identities that are all their own in one respect, while also a small part of the group collective as the EU. So, for instance, we see Greece’s cooked books and bloated currency, and how it affects both the EU and the nation in their own way. The EU has to sacrifice and have put up a lot of money, I’m thinking 500 billion more or less, in order that the EU currency isn’t brought down in value from Greece massive debts. That weighs on the collective nations that have to chip in, notably Germany and France, while Spain, Italy, and Portugal swim upstream with there own pervasive economic issues (e.g., 25% Unemployment in Spain). Two nights ago, Frontline’s comprehensive documentary on the econonomic recession covered the differences between Europe and us, especually the milieu of the F9er salesmen/women. Essentially, the F9ers were instruments on foot that pushed a variety of incredibly uncouth, deceit-laden deals,. The piece highlighted how JPMorgan negotiated a restructuring of public bond interest-rates with the small countryside municipal town of Cassini, Italy, outside Rome. The city council members that met the financial reps had no idea what they were getting into, and the arbitrage was in full swing. For indtance, in Cassini, the council was told their 5% interest-rates would go down to 1%, which sounded good to them. What wasn’t communicated clearly, and purposefully, was that the deal rested on and derived it’s value from various other actors that, if defaulted, would default on the Cassini deal. I want to sink my teeth into the documentary and the economy in general more later, especially the coded language and subtlties in the world of credit default swaps (CDS’) and collateral derivative obligations (CDOs). And the brilliance of Financial Times Editor/Bureau Chief of New York City, Gillian Tett.

And more on degrees of growth, deficits, their proportionality (compared to the overall econ), and the relationship b/t the sizes/rates of growth/contraction and surplus/deficits.

John Forte, ‘Pushkin’ the Boundaries Real Good

Musician John Forté has created an interesting collection of ideas, songs, and concerts in Russia into a film, “The Russian Winter” which played at the Tribeca Film Festival this past weekend. The film chronicles Forte and his band touring in Russia while connecting the history of the Russian Empire and Peter the Great’s godson, ‘Hannibal.’ Forte read a book about Hannibal, a black moor, strangely given to Peter the Great as a godson. The godson, known as’Hannibal’ (cre-e-e-py) eventually became one of ole Pete’s most impirtant military advisors. Hannibal’s great-grandson turns out to be the famous Russian novelist (of the many), Alexandre Pushkin. Forte connects those dots after reading a book about Hannibal, and finds a certintn connection with Hannibal and Pushkin by their racial commonality. It culminates in Forté penning a tune using/remixing of sort with the Salt-n-Pepa cla-a-ssic hit, Push-it. Lol. Listen to it here.

If the name John Forte sounds familiar, it’s for a reason. Forte is a Grammy Award winning writer, for his work with one of my fav groups my senior year of high school, The Fugees, in 1996. Dated myself. Don’t care. Or I’d edit it our right nizzz’ow. In a bad twist of fate, in 2001, Forte was caught with two suitcases of cocaine in A New Jersey airport, was convicted, and sent to prison for 14 years. The music and film industries, led notably by Carly Simon, clammored for Forté’s release, and in 2008 George W. Bush commuted his sentence on his way out of the White House.

Learned about this from PRI’s The World.

John Forté’s homepage

‘The Russian Winter’ at The Tribeca Film Festival

Salt-n-Pepa, “Push-it”

PRI’s The World

Free to …

Got to believe in yourself before you believe in anything else, before you do anything else, etc. So true. Can’t allow yourself not to, and it disturbs — I think that’s the right word — me when I see people who don’t believe in themselves.

What got me thinking of this — well, I actually was just thinking about all the things I want to do, and how great it is that I have the opportunity to live this life. We peeps in developed countries are so lucky, and we really take it for granted. I won’t get into the litany and plethora of demographic stats and indicators, and the subsequent qualitative differences between the haves and the have-nots of our earth, but, we’re so lucky. Half the world doesn’t even have access to fucking water. Three-and-a-half BILLION people. Who ‘live’ on less than a single dollar a day.

Love Me Some Nickname — Fighters, People, Things, etc.

I love me some nicknames. MMA/Mixed-martial arts got me thinking about this originally, fighter nicknames have a rich history all their own. Boxing, as the main form of fighting in the States*, has been the largest, most salient context for fighting sports/arts. But, with the exponential growth of MMA in the last decade, or so, it’s garnered my attention much more during that same time frame. I’ll get into the context/paradigm more soon, e.g., as per the variety of f-squared (form and function) that the potential of nicknames can go, and the diversity of themes therein. You can go metaphor physically, absstract, funny, intimidating (intentionality does not always equate to effect/effectiveness, eh, über-original, imitative, etc., and also touch on how the nickname creates it’s meaning (through the fighter’s appearance, culture, personality, performances, mstyle of fighting, etc., AND/OR thru fan influence, via social media/twiter/fb/net, etc.).

I’m not just a fan of fight nicknames, I don’t discriminate. The only thing I discriminate for/against is not discriminating, aha. And a lot of times, personal nicknames, e.g., thru** family, friends, etc., are much more insightful, full of meaning, as they soeak/give breath to family/friend love, culture, identity, race/ethnicity, history, etc.

More soon…

*Refers to the United States of America
**For all you grammarian-spelling-punctuation inspectors, I understand ‘through’ is the correct spelling of ‘thru’, but in an effort to save tims/space, I chose ‘thru’. Now that I’ve written way more by explaining this, I’ve defeated the purpose of my original intent, yet all for clarity and understanding. So there.

If Plants Could Talk…

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