My Moon Rock

I used to have a moon rock. I found it when I was a kid. It was sitting on the side of a dirt road in New Mexico, approximately 30 miles from the Mexican border. Of course I took it home, bragged about it constantly and placed it in a prominent spot on a shelf in the living room. I loved my moon rock. It disappeared shortly after I discovered it and perhaps no event in my pre-pubescence has been so influential on my adult emotional status.

The previous paragraph likely left you asking a few questions. I imagine you may be wondering things like: “Where did it go when it disappeared?”, or “How do you know it was a moon rock?”, or “Why am I still reading this?”

I’ll answer all three of these in no particular order. Leave any additional questions in the comments and I’ll answer those too.

How did I know it was a moon rock? I know it was a moon rock because it looked just like a butt. It had two well-rounded cheeks with a crack between them and two little nubs that resembled the beginnings of stubby legs. It looked perfectly able to wear a small pair of pants, which I was in the process of making when I discovered the rock’s disappearance. My master plan had been to put the pants on it and then carry it around and “moon” people with it. Certainly the greatest plan I ever devised as a child; likely the crowning point of my life’s achievements to date had I been successful. Still, having the idea has to count for something.

Where did it go when it disappeared? I am honestly unsure. It is possible that it was an actual rock from the moon, or was a living creature from the moon, and the Mooners rescued it. This scenario is fairly doubtful. I’ve known only one out-of-the-closet Mooner, and it was no alien from the moon. It was my brother who climbed upon our trailer one day, mooned all the other trailer park kids and subsequently got us kicked out of our home. A more likely scenario is that my easily-offended-by-references-to-normally-pants-covered-body-parts father found it offensive and chucked it into the yard somewhere. Now its probably either slowly eroding in the New Mexico desert again or is in the pocket of some other ingenious kid who thinks its the funniest thing he or she ever found.

Why are you still reading this? This one is really on you, but I’m guessing you’re still reading because we are near the end, you’ve stuck it out this far already and you figure you might as well let morbid curiosity carry you through to the end. Spoiler alert: There are really no further revelations forthcoming. It was just a rock that looked like a butt and I’m still sad because I don’t know where it is.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy the irony of nature. I love it when nature mimics humanity and vice versa. Ad nauseum.

A don’t…be too proud of moon rocks. The Good Book says Pride goeth before a fall, or, amended and paraphrased to fit this case, pride preventeth the fall of tiny pants which would have revealed a charming geological derriere.

 

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Snapchat VS. Superman: A Paradigm Shift in the Field of Nerdology

Ever since I developed a more than rudimentary cognitive ability, I’ve hated Superman. The main reason was that his Clark Kent disguise seems laughable. A pair of glasses and a few hairs brushed off of the forehead? Ludicrous. Of course I reference the derisive descriptive term rather than the well-known rap artist.

But perhaps I am wrong. And perhaps the depth of my mistake goes beyond simple derision. Perhaps there is proof that I’ve deceived myself.

My wife recently downloaded snapchat. Ever since I developed a more than rudimentary cognitive ability, I’ve hated snapchat. I had no reason for this other than that it is just one more way to distract oneself from reality. It now seems, however, that using the app with family can be fun and the app can settle, once and for all, an age-old nerd argument.

When I stare into the app with my glasses on, it doesn’t recognize that my face is a face and refrains from placing cutesy wutesy crap over my features. At first we thought the app was malfunctioning, but it turned everyone else into strangely anthropomorphized and overly-cartooney puppies. It took us several minutes to realize that if I removed my glasses, the app would realize it was looking at a human face and perform its prime function; that of adorable disfiguration of human features.

It took me several more minutes to realize I’d just experienced a paradigm shift. The inability of a software application to recognize me with glasses proved without a doubt the simple genius of the previously laughable way in which Superman disguises himself. No vision restricting Batman-esque mask is necessary. A simple pair of glasses is enough to trick an app designed to recognize faces. Add in the alternate hair-comb, and you’ve basically duped an entire species and its high technology, however menially said tech is applied.

Be at peace, members of nerd-kind. This controversial issue has been settled. Now we can move on to more important questions such as: “Why would anyone want a superhero that can only be defeated by alien rocks?” Not only would this present issues of absolute power corrupting absolutely in a real-life scenario, it seems that it should also lead to severely limited story options. Apparently those limitations have somehow been overcome, but still, I prefer a hero that has to work for the “super” qualifier to be placed in front of his/her hero title.

Go Batman.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…continue to like Superman if you must. Let’s not turn weak fiction into strong statements of opinion.

A don’t…forget that Batman is better.

The Toynbee Idea: Mysterious Tiles and a Strange Realization Regarding the English Language

I think about strange things sometimes. No one who knows me is surprised about it anymore. During a weird idea acquisition binge I indulged in several years ago I became aware of the Max Headroom Intrusion, Toynbee tiles and other such social arcana.

The Toynbee tiles intrigued me the most and I think about them quite a lot. If you are unfamiliar with the phenomenon, I’ll explain briefly. Some unknown individual(s) have placed small tiles on roadways and sidewalks in the eastern part of the country. These tiles are handmade and most look somewhat like ransom notes with letters cut from magazines to evade identification by handwriting analysis. The main idea the tile maker(s) seem to be conveying is that the dead should or shall be resurrected on Mars. It is unclear to me if they (or he or she) want the dead already on Mars (Martians) to be resurrected or if the dead from Earth will be transported to Mars for resurrection. The reference something called the “Toynbee Idea” and the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

None of this makes any logical sense to me. Despite my confusion, the fact that someone finds the idea important enough to make and surreptitiously place these tiles (which it is believed are coated in some substance that gradually wears or melts away leaving the tile exposed only after the tile maker is long gone) is certainly intriguing. Couple this with the unknown identity of the tile maker(s) and it smacks of whacko conspiracy theory oddity, the study of which is a hobby of mine.

Anyway, this post is not about the tiles or the “Toynbee Idea”. It is about the way the English language works and how it seems that we somehow understand that writers of sentences and phrases do not mean exactly what they say in some instances. At least one tile calls upon others to make and lay tiles. The tile I reference states “You must make and lay tiles! YOU!”

Now, reading this we understand that sentence is designed to call the reader to action. However I am not “you” to me. I am I. Yet I still understand that the “you” the author refers to is me even though I never refer to myself this way. If I was unfamiliar with English idiosyncrasies, I would fail to understand that the request was directed at me because I am not “you”. If the author had written “I must make and lay tiles! I!” I may then understand if I was unfamiliar with the language. Knowing the language, however, I do not read in the first person so I understand the “you” refers to me even though I am not “you”; I am I. Understanding English, I am aware that the author would not refer to a stranger as I.  By crafting the sentence the way he, she, they or it have, they have caused me to understand that they are calling readers, rather than themselves, to action. The reader understands that the writer is writing from his/her/their/its own perspective. For some unknown reason, this fascinates me.

I leave you with a joke of my own crafting (as far as I know. If you’ve also thought of this joke or heard it elsewhere, understand that I am unaware of it and am not attempting to plagiarize.). What is the first thing two individuals who have just been released from prison experience upon getting married? Con-fusion. A ha ha ha. Confusion, con-fusion. Two cons now one. I apologize for that joke.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…look into the Toynbee Tiles if you are interested or literally have nothing else to do.

A don’t…make and lay tiles! Don’t! I’m sure it’s considered a form of vandalism.

The Flawed Wisdom of a Moldy, Over-ripe Alien Olive

The strange creature I refer to in the title is Yoda. If you are unfamiliar with the character, he resembles a moldy, over-ripe green olive. And he is from a planet other than Earth. He spouts sayings that, on the surface, seem wise. At the risk of incurring the wrath of other fans of the Star Wars universe, I intend to debunk a couple of these.

Some may wonder why I would bother to do this. Surely, my debunks can themselves be debunked. But don’t bother to ask why. There is no why. Let that suffice.

In one of Luke’s many mind-bending conversations with Yoda, the past-its-prime-piece-of-fruit explains that “there is no try.” He counsels Luke to “do or do not.” This is pointless advice. It is blindingly obvious that you either do or do not. A try is intangible because at the end of every try there is either a did or a did not. I suppose the crinkled up critter could be saying something about your mindset. If you go into something thinking that you will rather than that you’ll try, perhaps your chances of success will be greater. But his statements are unclear and open to interpretation. Where is the wisdom in that? If you are trying to teach a concept that will aid someone in saving the very universe is it not wise to avoid cloaking your lessons in ambiguity? Plain English, please! Perhaps I’m being silly. Perhaps English is his second language. Perhaps he is capable of plainer speech when he waggles his pimento and speaks whatever language it is that alien olives speak. I’m sure it sounds something like the squeaky sound slippery, rubbery Mediterranean fruits make as they’re ground by human teeth.

One of the very first lessons Yoda teaches Luke is that “wars not make one great.” We can ignore the very obvious grammatical errors since we’ve established that English is not Yoda’s native language. What  I’d like to focus on is the fact this is a response to Luke’s statement that he is looking for “a great Jedi warrior.” Luke never implied, inferred or otherwise construed that he thought war had made Yoda great. He plainly stated that Yoda was great at making war. He was a great warrior. Not “he was made great by war.” Granted, in order to be great at war, one must participate in war and much participation could make one great at waging war thereby implying that war made him great. However, if it is Yoda’s intent to convey this, he once again states it extremely vaguely. If Yoda’s intent is instead to engage in learned discourse with his student, who is obviously quite distressed and impatient, it might do him well to respond to the actual statement that was made and go into such confusing detail that thinking of the implications of what was said slows the students thought processes thereby calming the prospective Padawan.

At any rate, what can one honestly expect from a moldy old alien olive anyway?

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…peruse the Star Wars universe for more tidbits to be analyzed. Even if Yoda is one of your favorites it can be fun to philosophize about his philosophy.

A don’t…hack my wordpress account, find my address, hunt me down and force-choke me to death should you have taken some offense to this post. I may not be able to wield the force, but I had one day of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training and, though I don’t remember much of it, I’m really good at hiding.

A Strange Scar and an Injury Lost to the Sands of Time: A Man Reminisces; Hopes He Was Kidnapped By Aliens

I have a scar on my right thumb. I have no idea where it came from.

I have plenty of other scars. I have two on my right hand from building floor trusses. Those clips they use to hold the trusses together can wreak havoc upon your hands if you aren’t careful and I nearly passed out as a result of both injuries but was able to drive on.

Drive on is a curious phrase. It doesn’t mean to me what it may mean to others. It has a connotation relative to operating a motorized vehicle. I instead see it as a means of encouragement during hard times. It was a favorite quote of my Drill Sergeants in basic training. “Drill Sergeant, I’m hungry.” And the Drill Sergeant said “Drive on, soldier.” So I did. I drove on. I completed basic training. I survived one tour of duty in a combat zone.

I have adapted “drive on” to apply to my non-military life. I have a set of dog tags that say “drive on” and I tap them against my chest any time I am facing a stressful situation. It is strange, perhaps, but it helps.

Those last two paragraphs aside, I cannot for the life of me figure out this scar on my thumb. I have asked my dad. He doesn’t remember any childhood injury I had that may have caused it. My truss building scars have nearly faded, but my thumb scar is as clear as ever.

The only solution I can conjure is that I have been abducted by aliens.

There are two options if this is the case.

Option 1: The aliens kidnapped me when I was a child. If this is so, it would explain my unreasonable anxiety about which I have recently posted. My fear of re-abduction is translated by my rational mind as a fear of everything else.

Option 2: I was recently kidnapped, implanted in the thumb, and given false memories of having wondered about the scar for years. This is implausible. They would have given me a memory of the injury that made the scar.

Conclusion: I was abducted by aliens when I was a child.

Most probably this is completely untrue. Despite the implausibility of this, I choose to believe it anyway. It is much more compelling than having slammed my thumb in a car door or something.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…let your imagination run wild. It is mildly ok to imagine unrealistic scenarios.

A don’t…give the men in black any pertinent information, should they ever visit you. They will only use it against you.

Mothman: Another Misunderstood Monster

As far as I can tell from all the Mothman stories I’ve read and that one movie I watched, Mothman, although menacing in appearance, was after nothing so substantial as our very souls.

I’ll explain. I read no accounts of disemboweled animals. No eviscerated owls or exsanguinated cattle were ever found that I know of. Simply humans. Frightened horrified humans. And what is one thing that all humans, especially suburbanites in the 50’s, have in common?

They have clothes on. Right? No one that I read about was out for a nude stroll when Mothman confronted them. They were out with their families having completely G-rated (and in the case of the teens that saw him/her/it no more than PG, it was 50’s conservative suburbia, for crying out loud). They were wearing clothes!

Moths eat clothes. Men wear clothes. Mothman was either hungry or ashamed of his nudity. He didn’t want to horrify folks. He wanted to eat their Sunday best. He didn’t want to scare them. He couldn’t help that, by nature, he was scary. He wanted to either eat or wear their clothes and he hesitated. He never killed anyone because he just couldn’t decide which clothes looked tasty and which looked fashionable and I think, deep down, he didn’t want to kill anyone anyway. Otherwise, he would’ve.

Now, about that bridge collapse and the idea that Mothman prophesied it. Perhaps he truly did. But I think, in his innocent monster way, he didn’t show up to warn people about it. I don’t think he truly realized that people were dying. I think he simply thought “CLOTHES BUFFET!” And all the carnage was lost on him because it all had this decadent stagnant water sauce on it and he didn’t even stop to think about the terror that had been wrought on the small community he’d been terrorizing. He was, after all, a monster. A hungry, naked, confused monster.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…wear clothes, even though it might attract mothman.

A don’t…stroll nude to repel him. The police are much more prevalent than mothmen and much more likely to complicate your life should they find you unclothed in public.

The Aliens’ Conundrum

Bruz Pequine (a very rough approximation of his true name) squirmed into his skin-tight flight suit and zipped it from crotch to clavicle. The zipper faded into the metallic fabric and Bruz made his way to Bay {%} (a very rough approximation of the bay’s true number). Foot traffic in the hallways was light, Bruz’s mission being the only one scheduled this particular cycle. The only other being he encountered on the way to his ship was Braz (rough approximation) his co-pilot. They thought a few general pleasantries in one another’s directions as their paths crossed and continued on to the bay in the comfortable silence familiar to consistent comrades.
Upon reaching the ship (the name of which I dare not even attempt to approximate) they found that they were not first to arrive. Brez (approximately) was waiting at the foot of the ramp and although his slit mouth was incapable of smiling, Bruz and Braz understood Brez to be quite excited. He tilted his bulbous head in their direction and indicated a barely-contained desire to dash up the ramp and into the ship to begin his first mission. Bruz, being the boss, projected thoughts we might roughly equate with rolling one’s eyes at Braz. To Brez he indicated, quite professionally, that entering the ship before the rest of the crew arrived would be most impossible due to the security constrictions on the evening’s endeavor that required the presence one Captain, one Co-pilot, one Scientist/Psychologist and one Trainee before the door at the top of the ramp would open to admit anyone.
So they stood in a silence that was now a little uncomfortable as they awaited the arrival of Briz (the true name of the mission’s Scientist/Psychologist). When the final crew member finally deigned to arrive the four crewmen (sort of) made their way to their duty stations and prepared the ship for departure. Brez stood on the bridge between Bruz and Braz, watching intently until the bay doors opened and the ship swept out into space. Brez’s attention turned to the vast panorama of dark nothing dotted by stars. His mind was overcome with awe, not only at the view but also at the fact that he had lived his whole life in the midst of this without ever having been out to view it. He transmitted these ideas to his crew-mates who responded with polite if slightly cynical generalities to Brez and, privately to one another, more of the thoughts we equate to eye rolling. Brez was quite content staring off into space and he did so until the glow on the horizon began to curve upward before the view port.
He looked at his captain who sent him an affirmative thought and when Brez turned his eyes again to the view port the convex haze had become a blue sphere splotted with green-brown patches topped with intermittent gauzy, white swirls. There were some mild rumblings and a bit of a shimmy as the ship passed into the atmosphere and when these had died down Brez indicated that he’d like to know where on Earth their mission was going to take place. Bruz and Braz conferred privately, excluding Briz who wouldn’t care either way as long as a being soon lay on his exam table, and when they had reached an agreement they sent to Brez images of Las Vegas.

I have taken the liberty of transcribing the following conversations, which were originally transmitted mentally from being to being as visual ideas, into the rough plain English approximations. The conversations are presented as if they had been verbally spoken. This has been done to avoid confusion and so that I can quit typing things like “they sent to one another thoughts equivalent to derision.” Typing such things makes me feel like an idiot.

Brez: “Las Vegas? Why Vegas?”

Bruz: “Trust us! If you’ve never seen the commotion that ensues when we let people see our ships, you’re in for a real treat!”
Brez: “I trust you, of course, but isn’t Vegas rather close to their Area 51?”
Braz: “Yeah, so?”
Brez: “Well, aren’t they used to seeing weird things in the sky?”
Bruz: “The natives would be immune to wondering, perhaps, but previous missions have shown that there are very few natives of Las Vegas. This place is overrun with drunks from out of town. Vegas sightings are the best sightings.”
Brez: “Drunks?”
Bruz: “Does Broz (you get the idea) not teach this anymore? They feed fruit and sugar to certain enzymes and ingest the resulting flatulence. This causes them to become extremely excitable and unpredictable. Drunk, as they call it. It’s what they call a sport. And Vegas is one of their favorite fields for practicing this sport. So we buzz in fairly low and run the radiation shield. When they notice the glow they film it with their poor quality recording devices. They make exclamations of disbelief. They call out to others and soon large crowds amass in the streets causing uproarious disruption to their transit systems. Some fall prostrate. Some cry. The true beauty of our technique becomes apparent the following morning. They usually fail to monitor their intake of the enzyme’s excrements. This causes them to awaken nauseated with aching heads. Their memories are affected. In this state they fail to remember that our vessel did not actually zig and zag and so when they view their recordings the instability of their cameras due to their drunken inability to hold them still is generally regarded as our craft maneuvering in a way that is beyond the capabilities of their aircraft. It contributes to their belief and in turn causes greater hysteria the next time we do our thing.”
Brez: “I suppose it also helps that most of them are from elsewhere. In addition, a metropolis known for the “drinking” must have multiple ways of disposing of those who aren’t careful. Does this draw suspicions away from us when one goes missing?”
Braz: “It certainly does. Perhaps you, Brez, have the necessary mindset to work in this field. Now, let us focus on the mission. As we go in to hover, notice the large congregations on the roadsides.”
Brez: “Um, Gentlemen, surely we have miscalculated our coordinates.”
Bruz: “No, we are in the right place. No other place on Earth has so many such buildings in such proximity. But I see your confusion. There are no beings.”
Briz (arriving on the bridge from the onboard medical facilities where he prefers to spend his time): “No beings? Preposterous! There are currently over six billion of the beings we are most interested in inhabiting the planet.”
Bruz: “He’s right, Briz. I don’t perceive a single one.”
Braz: “Nor do I, now that it’s brought to my attention.”
Brez: “I see one. There, it just darted across that street. It’s in the shadows there by that large receptacle. I don’t perceive it only visually.”
Bruz: “Got it. There’s some interference. Braz, come in a little lower and run the radiation shield. Let’s see how it responds.”
Braz: “It’s approaching! I hardly dared anticipate this. The most frequent response when we approach this close is fear, Brez. Especially when the subject is isolated from other beings. Quickly, let’s get it onboard.”

After much use of technology that I don’t personally understand, the being is brought aboard the ship with Bruz and Braz and Brez and Briz, all of whom were taught by Broz. He is restrained to a gurney sort of table. The following conversation takes place between the being “Bob” and his captors.

Bob: “All that’s left are freaks! All that’s left are freaks! All thats left are freaks!”
Briz: “I beg pardon, but I’ve no idea what you mean.”
Bob: “You’re a freak. They’re freaks. What happened to you guys? Am I the only normal person left?”
Briz: “Again, I don’t understand. It seems you think we are beings such as yourself in a mutated or mutilated state. Is this what you believe?”
Bob: “…yes…”
Bob: “You’re right. That’s silly. I’m sorry. Its just that I haven’t seen anyone for months. How long have you guys been looking for others? How do you keep this chopper fueled? And for crying out loud what happened to your faces?”
Brez: “…um…”
Briz: “Quiet your emissions, novice. Bob, you say you haven’t seen anyone for months?”
Bob: “Yeah.”
Briz: “Why?”
Bob: “Well, I’m starting to think I’m the last person left on the planet.”
Briz: “Preposterous! We would’ve known if something catastrophic enough to wipe out nearly an entire species occured! Return him to his…whatever he was doing. We need to report back immediately!”
Bob: “Return me! No! No! Aww, come on guys! I’m so lonely. Come with me. We’ll scrounge the buffets or crack open the slot machines, it’ll be fun I promise just please don’t leave me alo…”
“…ne!” Bob finished his sentence as the ship whose name none on Earth can pronounce vanished spectacularly into the clouds. “Never seen a chopper do that.” He muttered distractedly as he kicked a ravenous rat from his ankle. He sneezed twice and meandered in the general direction of the nearest buffet, to busy dreaming the daydreams of the lonely and stranded to notice that his watch was curiously out of synch with the watch he’d just stepped on.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…pray (if you’re a praying person) for Bob.

A don’t…forget to check back for more misadventures with Bob and the aliens who’ve managed to abduct the last living human being.