Astrology, The Drinking Game

GroundhogThere are only a few real holidays. Thanksgiving, Veterans and Memorial Days, Martin Luther King Day, Independence Day… and Groundhog Day. Did you ever see the movie Groundhog Day?  There was a great quote from it: “This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.”

I wonder if 1000 years from now, people will think that we actually used to use animals’ shadows to predict the weather. It’s like how in the same way, we now think 1000 years ago they actually believed that connecting the little white dots in the night sky gave predictions of one’s future events in their lives and their personalities. Yeah, I’m talking about astrology. In reality though in ancient China, “Astrology” was probably just the name of a drinking game. I can imagine the scene in my head now: Five to ten villagers are sitting around a fire at night, drinking their home made bathtub whiskey, telling stories and laughing. Then silence falls upon the group. A minute later, one points up at the dark sky and yells, “Hey, I see a goat!” And the rest of them yell, “Drink!!!”

campfire pointing to the sky

Posted in Our Society, Stories & Creative Writing

Sex, The First Time (and I don’t mean me)

Long long ago, far far back in time, sex didn’t exist yet. Living beings just grew and self-divided into two copies. But then at some point, two living creatures on Earth were the first to ever have sex. What inspired the first living beings on Earth to have sex? I know,cyanobacteria that’s a loaded question. Those first two beings weren’t human. They weren’t monkeys or dogs or birds or dinosaurs or spiders or fish or clams or plants or amoebae. They were bacteria. Scientists say bacteria invented sex 1.2 billion years ago. Invented sex. It was a way to exchange DNA and pass traits on which would make them more able to survive.

1.2 billion years is a long time. But think about this, life existed for another 2.5 billion years before that. 2.5 billion years that life was on Earth and none of it was having sex. I’m amazed that it took them 2.5 billion years to figure it out. Could you imagine doing Twinsthe same reproductive act for 2.5 billion years? Not to mention, it is an act which involved splitting yourself in half. A bunch of single-celled organisms floating around, self-reproducing by splitting themselves in half, for 2.5 billion years. That would suck. Especially since, as we know, doing it yourself is just not the same. I guess after 2.5 billion years, I would be frustrated enough to try something new too.

The instinctual desire for a DNA-swap must have been building for a long, long time…millions of years. And I bet, unknown to each bacterium, the other bacteria were also hoping someone would stick their DNA into them. For the sake of discussion, I am assuming it was a mutual decision. But how to do it? I wonder if there was any courting that happened too or did the two bacteria just bump into each other, throw caution to the wind and get down to it right then and there. In fact, maybe it wasn’t two at a time. Maybe after the word spread, bacteria had a mass orgy going 24/7. Oh, to be a bacterium.

But while sex and the mass orgy are great ideas, bacteria don’t have ideas. So I am wondering, what would possess a living being to create sex? When no one was having sex and it had never been done before, when it wasn’t even an idea, what would possess something to have to get inside another….to stick it into them? And bacteria didn’t just invent sex, they invented the mechanics, the “pilus.” And yes, it kind of works the same way as the human one. I guess man’s “pilus” is nature’s way of confirming the old adage: if something works, don’t fix it. If bacteria could talk, I would imagine one saying to the other, “Give me that big pilus of yours.” Maybe the 2.5 billion sexless years is how much time it took to figure out how to grow a pilus.

I can’t create a pilus. All I can do is use the one I was given. Granted, I use it well but it’s not like it’s in the media or women are talking about it. If I could create them, I would have 4 or 5. Wouldn’t that make for fun nights.

Do bacteria have orgasms?  I assumed a living being required a complex system of nerves to have an orgasm and that is what would have led to the invention of sex.  But bacteria don’t have complex nervous systems so maybe an orgasm was just an unexpected fringe benefit.  However I refuse to believe the invention of sex was purely was logical so something must feel good to a bacterium about sticking it to another bacterium.  Do bacteria feel?

As we, humans, grow up, we learn about sex, we hear about sex, we see things everywhere implying sex, and then we instinctually imitate. It’s just like how we learn to talk or how parents that smoke tend to have kids that smoke no matter how much they tell their kids not to smoke. Monkey see monkey do. Of course, with sex, there is sexual desire too. That desire has been programmed into us throughout all the previous humans and the previous living beings in our pili-and-conjugationfamily tree that were having and desiring sex for billions of years. But again, at some point there was that first being.

I keep wanting life to be easy, but it’s not. We all have to fight for our survival. Bacteria have to fight for survival too. Instead of that bacterium though fighting or consuming another bacterium, why did it want to fuck it? If it had a thought, I assume it would be like this….“Hey, this has never been done before, so I don’t know why I want to do this, but I am so going to create a thing to stick in this other being and inject my DNA into it. Sounds like fun!” It wasn’t a conscious thought though because they don’t have thoughts. It had to be some sort of instinct.

The sex drive of bacteria is not just a biological adaptation to exchange traits to make themselves stronger and more able to adapt to the environment,Man Begging a Woman but it’s also a way to repair their damaged DNA thanks to their naturally weak defenses to all sorts of toxins and threats in the environment. In essence, bacteria have sex to save their lives. Think about that reality ladies the next time a guy uses a line like it’s going to kill him if you don’t sleep with him. There may actually be a genetic predisposition in him to feel like that (although it’s in a slightly different way than the bacteria).

 

 

 

 

Posted in Science & Nature, Stories & Creative Writing

Battle of the Cheese States Erupts

Tensions over professed cheese quality that have been mounting between Wisconsin and Vermont, finally erupted in an all-out mass cheese brawl. What started years ago with jovial remarks between the states about their cheeses, took a bad turn during a football game between their two state schools. People were enjoying the game and cheering their teams, but then one of the Vermont fans threw a handful of cream cheese at a Wisconsin alum.  They responded by throwing a brick of cheddar and suddenly it was on.

A stadium wide cheese fight erupted. People were throwing Brie, Swiss, Munster, Gouda and even those UVMfieldcontainers of gooey nacho cheese. Wisconsin’s stadium groundskeeper and facilities manager, Tim Schneeburg said, “This place is a mess and its going to be a long time until we can clean it up.” University officials said they may have to cancel next week’s game. NCAA officials went on record stating they would never again schedule the two schools to meet.

WisconsinFans

Last month, in response to the latest remarks by Vermont’s governor Peter Shumlin, on how his state’s cheese is more natural, Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker, responded, “The only reason they say that is because their cheese stinks more…and the pungent smell isn’t coming from aging, its coming from the cow dung that they don’t clean out of their factories!”

WisVermGovs

Vermont’s Governor replied, “A barbaric remark from a disgusting man. Besides, they are insulting our cheese? Theirs comes from badger milk. And there is no way there cheese is better than ours… after all, it’s a state law in Vermont that for at least five minutes per day, dairy manufacturers have to pet each cow.”

These exchanges continued and hostilities increased between the states until one day, Vermont police pulled over a caravan driving into the state of heated trucks filled with old cheese from Texas. The cheese containers had labels that read “Real Vermont Cheese Stinks” and interrogation of the drivers revealed they had planned Checkpointon putting this cheese on grocery store shelves across Vermont.
Wisconsin then posted check points at their borders and on the very first day arrested a spy attempting to smuggle in fermentation mix that would have made the Wisconsin cheese taste like cough medicine.

A month later, the advertising company that prints Vermont cheese ads was hacked and ads went out all over the state showing people vomiting from their cheese. About the same time, the FBI raided a house in Wisconsin with a printing press that was making unauthorized copies of “Wisconsin Cheese” stickers which the employees were planning to attach to cans of spray Cheez Whiz all over the state.

ObamaBrown

After the football incident, the White House released a statement that President Obama is dispatching negotiators to help calm the situation. “We must have law and order surrounding the production of this important resource in our nation. Hostility must cease immediately. Besides, Illinois has the best cheese.” With that, protesters from Wisconsin and Vermont began rallying outside the White House to defend their State’s honor.

California Governor Jerry Brown today put in his two cents stating, “I agree that hostilities must cease and I’m also glad California isn’t involved in this. Besides, we have the best cheese. Let’s be honest, if you were a cow, would you rather live in sunny California or landlocked on boring endless fields of Wisconsin or Vermont? We treat our cows like family.”

California Cows

 

 

 

Posted in Stories & Creative Writing

Martian Wars

Water on MarsWater on Mars 2

Today, NASA announced that they found water on Mars.  The water is in a very salty mixture and actually flows under certain conditions (as you can see in the photos above).  Then NASA announced a mission in the future to send a spacecraft to Mars that will drill underground & analyze what they find.  I just hope the drill bit doesn’t come up with fur on it.

Maybe when the atmosphere on Mars blew away, the remaining water seeped into the soil, and even underground, and then the remaining life burrowed underground with it.  Thus now Mars is actually a planet of groundhogs, mice, bugs and mole-people living in vast subterraneous caverns.  So one “day” they are all just sitting down to a nice dinner of sautéed Martian cockroaches, talking about their adventures and minding their own business when our equipment drills into one of the mole people.  Suddenly their society of underground dwellers gets pissed off and finds a way to come to Earth to start an interplanetary war.

Remember the Ewoks from Star Wars? We all thought they were lame, and many of us wouldn’t care if we drilled into an Ewok, but maybe that’s whats underground on Mars…teddy-bear-like Martian mole people ready to rise up and attack.

Ewoks

 

Posted in Science & Nature, Stories & Creative Writing

Top 111 Movies

Top 111 Movies….with no pretense, just great films
– Listed alphabetically because the order depends on one’s mood
– The “The’s” are in the “The” section

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999)
Ace Ventura Pet Detective
Airheads
Airplane
Along Came Polly
American Beauty
Apollo 13
Amadeus
…And Justice for All
Arthur
Back to the Future
Belle Epoch
Being John Malkovich
Bull Durham
Bullitt
Caddyshack
Casino Royale (2006)
Casablanca
Contact
Cool Hand Luke
Dances with Wolves
Dead Poets Society
Doctor Zhivago
Dogma
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Elizabeth (1998)
Enchanted April
Erin Brockovich
Falling Down
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Forrest Gump
Gattaca
Good Will Hunting
Groundhog Day
Harvey
Heartbreakers (2001)
Hulk (2003)
I, Robot
It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
It’s a Wonderful Life
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Jerry Maguire
Kiss of the Dragon (2001)
Liar Liar
Lord of the Flies
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Mister Roberts (1955)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Moonstruck
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
Multiplicity
My Man Godfrey (1936)
Office Space
Platoon
Postcards from the Edge
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Rain Man
Rear Window
Roman Holiday
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Silverman
Schindler’s List
School of Rock
Shakespeare in Love
Shane (1953)
Soapdish
Spaceballs
Stalag 17
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Wars – Episode I
Star Wars – Episode II
Star Wars – Episode IV
Sunset Boulevard
The Apartment
The Bad News Bears
The Big Lebowski
The Birdcage
The Blues Brothers
The Bourne Identity
The Bourne Supremacy
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Cider House Rules
The Dark Knight
The Fifth Element
The Front Page (1974)
The Game
The Graduate
The Hunt for Red October
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Matrix
The Omen (1976)
The Princess Bride
The Rainmaker (1956)
The Right Stuff
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
The Shining (1980)
The Silence of the Lambs
The Sting
The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)
The Three Musketeers (1993)
The Truman Show
The Usual Suspects
Tin Cup
Titanic
Uncle Buck
When Harry Met Sally
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Young Frankenstein
Zero Effect

Posted in Uncategorized

Approaching Pluto

Pluto on July-8-2015 - Best pic so farOn July 8th, 2015 NASA released this photo taken of Pluto from the spacecraft named New Horizons on the previous day.  (As an update to this post, a sharper photo taken days later during the Pluto Flyby is posted below).  At this point, New Horizons is about 5 million miles from Pluto and will get there in 6 days…. so it’s moving at a good clip.  I never thought I would see this in my lifetime.  For that matter, I never thought I would see vehicles on Mars and the vacation photos they are sending back.  Its all incredible to me and I thank the people at NASA for this.

Pluto has a weird orbit but at present it is about 3 billion miles from Earth.  Any signal that NASA sends to the spacecraft (which travels at the speed of light) takes about 4.5 hours to get there and of course photos or information sent back takes the same time.  So for NASA to get results of instructions sent to New Horizons, it takes 9 hours.

Pluto orbit - from above and from the side (17° angle)

Pluto orbit – from above and from the side (17° angle)

I saw someone online state that we are the first people in Earth’s history to be able to see up-close images of all the planets in the solar system (yes, they are including Pluto as a planet since that was convention when we were born).  That fact though amazed me.  It made me think of what people being born today might think growing up.  To them, all this will be standard knowledge.  To me, people being on the moon was conventional knowledge and before that, many people thought none of this would ever be possible.  Future generations will of course look to explore further.  That is how technology and science move forward…new people.  What will they explore?  The Oort Cloud (if there is one)?  What must beings on other planets know about the universe?  Way more than us?  Do they explore space at all?  Can they explore space?  Do they have satellites already exploring other solar systems?  Could we be the most technologically advanced race in the universe?  I suppose its possible.  Who knows.

New Horizons is moving about 36,000 mph and so it travels about 864,000 miles per day…and it has taken 9.5 years to get to Pluto from Earth.  To go that fast and to conserve fuel, New Horizons had to be slung-shot around Jupiter using Jupiter’s gravity.  In doing that, it increased its speed by about 9,000 mph to about 51,000 mph.  You might notice that it has slowed down.  Why?  The gravitational pull from the Sun.Pluto Encounter

 

In addition to a couple of cameras, there are instruments on board measuring space dust, plasma and high-energy particles.  Pluto was discovered in February 1930 by an American named Clyde W. Tombaugh.  He noticed a small dot in a different place on two photographs of the stars that he took.  The photos are below.

New Horizons long range camera being installed

New Horizons long range camera being installed

New HorizonDust Counter

New Horizons – Dust Counter

New Horizons Plasma Analyzer

New Horizons Plasma Analyzer

 

 

 

New Horizons - Ralph - a color camera - Ralph was designed after a camera on the Pluto satellite named Alice. Get it?  The Honeymooners

New Horizons – Ralph – a color camera – Ralph was designed after a camera on the Pluto satellite named Alice.  Get it?  Like The Honeymooners

 

Pluto discovery plates

Pluto discovery plates

 

Pluto - high res - released 7-25-2015

Pluto – high res – released 7-25-2015

 

Posted in Our Society, Science & Nature

The Sport of Golf? A Few Suggested Tweaks

Robert Allenby of Australia hits out of the bunker on the 17th green during the third round of the Sony Open golf tournament at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii.I love how golfers pretend that they are athletes. Sure, they talk a good shtick about their frustrations and tribulations, but then they travel around the golf course in carts. When they get to their ball, which is resting on freshly cut grass in a plot of land designed to be relaxing, they have caddies carry their clubs over and even suggest which club to use. And if the ball goes in the water, they just get a new ball. This is a sport?

GolferAssuming the average par is 4, and one putt per hole, then they only swing their clubs 54 times per entire round (not including all the impressive, thoughtful and macho looking practice swings before actually hitting the ball). Please, tell me what is athletic about this game. It’s a game that old people play. Do golfers want to be athletic about it? How about they carry their own fucking clubs and jog the course. Maybe at the beginning of each hole, the golfers can fight it out to see who goes first. Of course, knowing them, they would make their caddies do the fighting.

hiking-trail-huashan-mountain-china-1Here is an idea: Someone should make a golf course in the Himalayas or the Sahara or a swamp. If the golfers are going to be pussies about the rest of the game, the least they could do is fight the elements. If the golfers can keep from falling down a ravine or avoid a 100 foot deep desert sand trap, then I might be interested in watching. If they can battle Antarctic winds or even find their ball in a snow drift, that would be something.  Maybe if they had to hack their ball out of a forest or battle alligators in a Louisiana swamp, I would have some respect for them. In the meantime, what else is on TV? Oh, Caddyshack!

Par 3 - Alligators

Sand Dune

Posted in Our Society, Stories & Creative Writing