Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced djclutch.
Today’s blong here:How Do We Stay
Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced djclutch.
Today’s blong here:How Do We Stay
I had so much fun at the turn of the millennium that I vowed, with the aid of bio-engineering and blood doping, to make it to 2100. (For a second, right at midnight, I thought that the entire power and technology grid had gone down, as forecasted, and prematurely yelled, “This is the greatest millennium ever!” As it happened, my father-in-law had cut the lights. Funny guy.)
In 2100, I’ll be 125. I believe 123 is the modern record. So, with advances in technology and cheating this is totally realistic.
Diana’s repeated attempts remind us to keep moving. To the end, there are new things to do and accomplish. Change your diet. Take a class. Move to a new country. Adopt a child. Become a pantomime. (Can you imagine waking every morning in a fake tug-of-war?)
I’m not even a third of my projected, albeit genetically modified, life expectancy. The fact that by 2100 I’ll only be legally 6% actual human (83% android, like Darth Vader, and 11% bovine), doesn’t mean I won’t be “alive” and expectant.
I love an opportunity to recycle my favorite blongs. So, here’s to Diana. Again.
Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.
Today’s retread blong here:Surf and Turf
Like a miniature Podcast Hadron Collider, my recently upgraded-to iPhone 5 nearly destroyed the known universe.
Without warning, my two most severe passions circled back on each other at speeds approaching that of light, when the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, this week, dedicated an entire podcast to the cinema career of Jodie Foster. Like two tiny neutrinos of cultural icon, my favorite sports analyst collided with the star of my indisputably favorite movie, when he declared Contact “unwatchable,” nearly tearing a small earbud shaped black hole in the ESPN Podcenter of space/time. (Actually, I believe he said that this masterpiece of movie story telling “put the ‘un’ in unwatchable,” if I remember correctly. At the time, my body was being stretched infinitely high by the extreme gravitational effects of the microscopic black hole, so I can’t be certain.)
Ask my wife. After years of reading him, I just whisper, in a delicate Boston brogue, “That’s Bill Simmons – That’s Bill Simmons – That’s Bill Simmons,” whenever he does NBA Countdown or appears on PTI or calls in to Colin Cowherd.
Ask my friends. How many times I’ve made them watch Contact. On Blu-Ray. And, repeat:
I guess you could say, “I’m a man of the cloth . . .
without the cloth.”
We all eventually disagree with someone we admire. But, to pursue with such august, over so long a time, such weirdly disparate enthusiasms, as Bill and Contact, and for them to so impossibly and ruthlessly meet on a sports podcast, is to feel as though you’ve reached a kind of event horizon of your interests. Like finding the end of the internet. Only, when you get there, you realize that at the intersection of all you love, your one passion thinks your other passion is a piece of crap.
I’ve been reading Jim Holt’s book, Why Does the World Exist?
I didn’t invite any, but my daughter naively answered the cover, “Because God made it.” I laughed at her and told her that she was not very smart.
Holt’s book is subtitled an “existential detective story,” which I think can be roughly translated, “Small moves, Ellie. Small moves.” (Yep. Contact quote. Won’t be the last.)
To various know-it-alls, scientific and philosophical, Holt asks, “Why is there something instead of nothing?” Which really is the most fundamental question one can ask, whether or not you are a person of faith. I suppose, on its face, it sounds irreligious or sacrilegious. But, it’s not.
For atheists and other variety of secular humanists, the question obviously focuses on what proceeded the singularity in the big bang. Nothing. Or Something. Did the dot of matter and energy at the dawn of time materialize from a real kind of nothingness or is there some alternative explanation of oscillating or infinite regression?
But, the question is true for any Divine belief, as well. How do you explain the existence of a Creator God? Either It came from nothing or always was.
Both theories are imponderable, of course. But, they are the only two possible explanations regardless of your conception of creation, religious or secular.
Since Einstein, the concepts in quantum physics have slowly increased in their philosophical influence over the culture of how we understand our origins and purposes. And, I generally love it. The New York Times Bestsellers List, every year, is guaranteed to have offerings of this kind. As Holt’s subtitle suggests, we love collecting the clues. And, the 13 particles (including Higgs Boson) of the Standard Model are like galactic breadcrumbs, through the universe, back home.
But, it dawned on me, what a weird perspective this is. To look at the manufacturing or components of our existence to draw conclusions about origin or purpose.
I mean, you would never presume to look at a sparkplug to guess about the purpose or design of a Ferrari.
Or to the electrode in the sparkplug.
Or to the copper-core of the electrode in the sparkplug.
Or to the atomic structure of the copper-core of the electrode in the sparkplug.
There is nothing about this “drilling down” that brings you closer to knowing or explaining the joy that the Italian sports car brings to sentient, testosterone fueled bipeds.
I mean a sparkplug tells you something about a Ferrari. It’s electrical. It’s a machine. But, the view at best is fairly myopic and provincial. The truth is wildly more spectacular.
Driving the Ferrari on the Autobahn? Everything you need to know.
So, why isn’t this generally true of humanity? Why doesn’t this personal and relational consciousness we experience, inclined towards morality albeit imperfectly so, tell us more about our origins and purpose than the randomized, inhuman, subatomic particles from which we exploded?
In the same way, driving a car to the store or work or graduation should tell you a good bit more about it’s actual purpose than reverse engineering one of its gaskets or spark plugs.
I won’t make a full defense of Contact, here. The last 30 minutes, however, are essentially flawless. They include (1) the most likely and realistically depicted extraterrestrial encounter ever depicted on screen (embedded above) and (2) one of the most poignant expressions of existential faith and experience (embedded below), since Chewy screamed when they slammed the Rebel Base blast doors shut on Han and Luke still trapped out in the perilous subzero landscape of Hoth.
In her earlier disbelief, Jodie Foster’s character, Dr. Arroway, at one point challenges the fully believable priest character, portrayed by Matthew McConaughy at the height of his smarm:
So what’s more likely? That an all-powerful, mysterious God created the Universe, and decided not to give any proof of his existence? Or, that He simply doesn’t exist at all, and that we created Him, so that we wouldn’t have to feel so small and alone?
I have been conditioned my whole life to believe the former. So, my take is not very objective. But, when you look at the Ferrari of our existence, in contrast to the gasket of our quantum origins, I would disagree that a mysterious and relational God has given us no proof of Its existence.
And, in our disagreement with Foster, Bill Simmons and I appear to, in fact, agree. Again.
Black hole averted.
Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Haralduz7.
Today’s blong here:Wrong End
I have three things to say about Alex Rodriguez.
1. He did this to himself. He isn’t very cool. He’s too rehearsed. He probably shouldn’t have chased big money contracts to Texas and then New York. He shouldn’t allow celebrity actresses to feed him popcorn from a bag, Constantine or, rather, middle school, style. He shouldn’t have done this. He shouldn’t have taken PEDs. He shouldn’t have lied about it. He shouldn’t have taken PEDs, again. He shouldn’t keep lying about it. He has no one to blame but himself.
2. Alex Rodriguez was my favorite player. Only a few months younger than me, I followed every rumor about him as I played out my own modest baseball career. That he hit over .700 in high school. That he was a tall, rangy shortstop, a mutant combination of Barry Larkin and Cal Ripken, Jr. It really doesn’t seem that long ago that I was still identifying him as the kind of athlete I would want my kids to be like. Polite. Diplomatic. Great. And, you will never hear me call A-Rod a fraud. God made him one of the best baseball players that ever lived. He’s probably the only PEDs abuser who was actually worse for having taken them. A-Rod was lithe not hulking. He hit to all fields not just with power. He was a shortstop. Not a third baseman. Where PEDs gave us a sort of exaggerated version of every other offender, in A-Rod’s abuse, I truly believe we got something less.
3. We will look back on this time with some embarrassment. I’ve said it before. We cannot expect to live in a world with clean sports. It’s not going to happen. Within 100 or 200 or 500 years our entire society will participate in genetic modification of some kind. Sports will not be immune from this phenomenon. The demonization of our athletes from this time period will be remembered as petty. You won’t be around to see it. But, it will. Now, that’s not to say that the athletes of this generation weren’t wrong to cheat and break the law. But, our sanctimony about it will eventually look small. Guaranteed.
I’m on vacation this week and may not be able to record anything new.
But, in light of the breaking news regarding A-Rod’s 211 game suspension for steroids, I thought it was fitting to reprise my lament for our “National Pastime’s” general decline.
Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.
Today’s retread blong here:(Not) Good Times
I normally stretch to remember the humanbeingness of serial killers, rapists, and sexual predators. The easiest take is to call them Monsters.
In just a few weeks’ time, we’ve seen the Ariel Castro plea and sentencing; heard additional allegations of another Ohio man holding three women; and, just the other day, learned news that a 15-year old was restrained in a box for hours at a time on a pot farm, in Northern California.
I assume it’s like autism or ADHD. Or planter fasciitis among athletes. Always been around but just now really diagnosing it. So it looks like a new problem, when it’s not.
If, in 2013, people can hide humans, unbeknownst to neighbors and family, for a decade, without discovery, then how often was this occurring let’s say 100 years ago, without equivalent law enforcement, abduction awareness, telecommunications, social media, and unrelenting news coverage?
100% more? 200%?
Or, maybe, it’s precisely for the privacy and busyness of modern life and the availability of technology and resources to carry out such horror in relative anonymity that the incidence of human hoarding is increased.
I ask myself:
Would I want my loved one victimized but left for dead or, eventually returned, but only after an unspeakable duration of imprisonment and irreversible physical and psychological torture?
That they would die.
But, the rate, now or historically, really doesn’t matter. The thought of just one. One woman. One child. One friend. Locked. Chained. Boxed?
I believe in a God that has specific, personal concern for people created. But, the very immediate cosmic inattention to our very bad behavior is a persistent and ruthless siege upon that belief. Eternity promises to make it all whole.
There really isn’t any other angle on these stories. Just their pain.
Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Dalama Jones.
Today’s blong here:The Box
That he was just recently indicted for bribery, corruption, and abuse of power?
How about that I already have a Princelings song ready to roll?
At some point it ceases to be cute that you have a rap about everything and becomes just sort of uncomfortable. “Oh, you have a Joan Rivers rhyme, huh? Yeah, well, we should never, ever talk again. And, I’d like for you stop referring to me as ‘Mom’ or ‘relative’ or ‘woman you know’ in public.”
I previously covered the questionable culture of power surrounding the Princelings here.
Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Sundance.
Today’s retread blong here:Crown Prince Party
Anthony Weiner is back in the news both as a Mayoral candidate in New York City and for new allegations concerning lewd text messaging with someone other than his wife. I covered briefly his prior transgressions here.
His mayoral candidacy is the second high profile political comeback of the year, after former Governor, Mark Sanford, won the congressional seat for the First District here in South Carolina.
This isn’t about infidelity or forgiveness or moralizing. It’s about not being dopey enough to just keep voting for a name we recognize. Our civic duty demands more.
So, please do yourself a favor and don’t vote for Weiner. Not because he’s unfaithful or a sex addict or the victim of one of the most self-fulfillingly prophetic names ever. But, just because surely there has to be somebody else.
Performed by ipoet. Music produced by 2bit.
Today’s previously posted song blog here:Hotdoggin'
If you’ve ever been to Boston you’ve probably been forced to walk, likely by a mom or wife, some portion of the “Freedom Trail” against your will. You have to wonder why one must abandon so much self determination to walk a trail named “freedom” but, anyway. The Freedom Trail is, of course, a walking tour of Boston’s historic sites, where I’m proud to say I had a pair of Stan Smith’s re-cobbled only a few years ago. I also had a bracelet smithed out of a soup spoon.
Liberty is a type of collusion. An agreement among everyone to respect the rule of law in service of freedom. It’s completely voluntary.
Collusions, however, are easily broken. In fact, there is extraordinarily high incentive to do so. Our susceptibility to violence, therefore, is evidence of how well and complete the collusion of our liberty is working. We’re easy pickings. When an assailant from within or without violates the contract — the agreement not to fall into anarchy — they exact from us a cost. A toll for being so free, so open, so liberated. Our martyrs, whether at a marathon or in an elementary school or on a skyscraper, are a kind of penance paid to democracy and inalienable rights. Like a soldier or revolutionary, when we are murdered exercising our freedoms, even ones as routine as a road race, it is literally a kind of patriotic act. Every mundane act of our lives is a declaration that we would be free in spite of the ongoing danger to do so.
They’ll run again next year. A marathon and a freedom trail.
Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by juiceboxjackson.
Today’s blong here:Pronation