Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cats in Space

Do you believe that in the far off future, cats will don pressure suits and traverse the great void of space? They will become brave explorers, piercing the haunting unknowns of the universe. And with their catnip powered spacecraft, they will combat the evil Mouse Insurgent, working to bring peace to the Interplanetary Cat Federation….

Am I the only one who thinks about these things?


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

To Bloggers Everywhere – You Might Be Giants

They wouldn’t understand a word we say, so we’ll scratch it all down into the clay, half believing there will sometime come a day, someone gives a damn, maybe when the concrete has crumbled to sand.

I love They Might Be Giants so I thought I might start out the New Year with their video “The Mesopotamians.” For all my fellow bloggers, I thought I would counter the depressing message in the song with a few words about the “Giants” mentioned in the lyrics.

Sargon - While only a baby, his high priestess mother placed him in a basket of rushes and cast him adrift in a river (sound familiar, this was way before Charlton Heston). Found and raised by a court gardener, he rose in the royal household to become king. He reigned from 2270 to 2215 BCE and is sometimes regarded as the first person in recorded history to create a multiethnic, centrally ruled empire. Sargon's vast empire is known to have extended from Elam to the Mediterranean Sea, including Mesopotamia, parts of modern-day Iran and Syria,

Hammurabi - 1792 to 1750 BCE, is known for the set of laws called Hammurabi's Code, one of the first written code of law in recorded history. These laws were written on a stone tablet standing over eight feet tall and were actually found by archeologists in 1901. They contain one of the earliest examples of the idea of presumption of innocence, and also suggest that the accused and accuser must have the opportunity to provide evidence. Because of his reputation as a lawgiver, Hammurabi's image is depicted on a marble bas-relief in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ashurbanipal - He established the Library of Ashurbanipal, the first systematically organized library in the ancient Middle East, which survives in part today at Nineveh. There have been over 30,000 clay tablets uncovered in the library including hymns and prayers, medical, mathematical, and astrological texts. Reigning Mesopotamia from 668 to 627 BCE, he was the last great king of the first real empire in recorded history. In his time, Ashurbanipal was known as the "King of the Universe."

Gilgamesh ruled around 2500 BC. He is the central character in the aptly named “Epic of Gilgamesh." The latter part of the epic focuses on Gilgamesh's reaction to his friend’s death, which takes him on a quest for immortality. Ultimately the poignant words addressed to Gilgamesh in the midst of his quest foreshadow the end result: "The life that you are seeking you will never find. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping."

I don’t think the guy talking to Gilgamesh was correct on this point. I think, if you scratch it all down into the clay (for those of us who give a damn) maybe you do get to live forever.   .

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Top Ten GENERIC News Stories for 2010, 2011, 2012…

1) Drunk (or high) celebrity had a meltdown this year outside his home (restaurant, nightclub, hotel room). Onlookers were shocked (not surprised) to hear the beloved movie (TV, reality show)star, screaming curses and tossing racial slurs (shoes) at his wife (girl friend, a male prostitute). Spokesperson for the celebrity said that the cause of the incident stemmed from problems the star was having with the dosage of his medication. The celebrity has checked into rehab and is in the processes of a complete lifestyle overhaul.

2) The country was riveted as boy (dog, miners) were successfully rescued from a well (mineshaft, hot air balloon). Rescuers toiled with shovels (skyhooks) around the clock, as time was quickly running out. Everyone cheered as the boy (dog, miners) was pulled up (lowered down) to safety. He (they) thanked God for being rescued.

3) Think-tank estimates that countless hours of productivity were lost this year as millions tuned in to watch the sporting event (trial) of the century. Many watched at the office or merely stayed home from work as the playoffs (jury selection) dragged on for days. The victory (verdict) turned out to be an unprecedented upset. Cities experienced two days of rioting afterwards.

4) Terrible natural disaster in Haiti, (the Philippines, New Orleans) causes world to rethink their emergency preparedness. This quickly passes as news cycle redirects our attention to newest movie (Ipod, celebrity meltdown).

5) As the war in Afghanistan (Iraqi, Vietnam, Korea) drags on president Obama (Nixon, Kennedy) vows to bring the troops home in about 18 months. Critics of the President say that time tables for withdrawal just emboldens our enemies, while supporters of the President say it is not soon enough.

6) Scientist announce a breakthrough in genetics (nanotechnology, super conductors) giving us new insights into how the universe (magnets) work. Although scientists caution that any practical application of this technology is still months (years, decades) away news media reports this new technology could eventually lead to a cancer cure (free energy, invisibility cloak).

7) The economy was one of the top stories of the year, as the recession (recovery) was slower (faster) than expected. As Liberals called for more spending in new industries, Conservatives called for lower taxes and increased military spending, as the only way to speed the recovery (slow the overheated economy, fight tooth decay).

8) Something horrible happened in the Middle East. Many people died.

9) The nation split down party lines as newest controversy involving immigration (gay rights, daylight savings time). Conservatives balked at the new ideas, which they consider to be blatantly anti- family (Christian, free market, hunting,). Liberals failed to clearly present their side of the issue, but struggled to do so anyway, forgetting that ten years from now the Conservatives will whole hardily accept the new idea as one of the foundations of American values.

10) New technological gadget will revolutionize the way we communicate (watch TV, sleep, make toast). The new device, introduced by Apple (Apple, Apple) changes the way humans receive (process, store, trade, fold) information (bread). The first people to buy the computer (phone, wrist breakfast maker) say the device works perfectly but needed to have a built in camera, which apple says will definitely be included in the next version’s design.