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Cosmic Quote(s) #35: President’s Day

“Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”–Ronald Reagan

“May God save the country, for it is evident the people will not.”–Millard Fillmore

Note: in order to get the quote number 42 in time for Towel Day, there may be a slight increase in the frequency of these quote posts.

It’s hard to believe Ronald Reagan actually said something I agree with.

It’s hard to believe Millard Fillmore actually said anything.

At any rate, if you want to know the true spirit of President’s Day, visit your local Target or Best Buy.   And if you happen to be a banker, postal worker, teacher or government employee, enjoy your day off.    Also, check out one of my favorite blogs,  BLAHS winner Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub.

The spirit of President's Day:  last chance to clear out the Christmas overstock

The spirit of President’s Day

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Cosmic Quote #23: Happy Birthday MC

“I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but I almost always wind up where I need to be.”-Douglas Adams

“There still is no cure for the common birthday.”–John Glenn

The Millennium Conjectures™ turns one today.  On May 23, 2012 my life was in turmoil.   My father had just passed away,  one of my best friends was in the process of being diagnosed with an incurable cancer and I was feeling more than a bit burned out.  Was this the cure?  Life still has its vicissitudes, but I am certainly doing a lot better than a year ago.   This blog has helped, and it has survived.   To paraphrase Douglas Adams, it hasn’t always gone where I thought it would go, but it has always gone where I needed it to be.  Amazingly,  I have amassed a decent sized audience and have received no death threats or arrest warrants.   And as there is no truism greater than the John Glenn quote above, I will relentlessly keep going where I need to be, as long as I am still breathing.   Below is the first post from one year ago today.  Where has it taken me?  Where has it taken you?

Signature        @MarkSackler

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May 23, 2012:  What is This?

These are my musings, both ridiculous and sublime.  I would have made “Ridiculous and Sublime” the primary title of this blog, but I am vain.  I want some semblance of uniqueness and there are many other bloggers using this theme.   But I will explain both title and subtitle before proceeding.

So what are Millennium Conjectures?  I’ll explain that in a bit as well.  But first, I present a word about the overall content and nature of my posts.  And why I, and my posts, are both ridiculous and sublime.

This is not a personal journal.  Who would be interested in reading my personal journal online?  I wouldn’t even be interested.  No, these are musings, observations and conjectures from a journalistic standpoint, a way of looking at things you might find interesting or funny.  You might also find some silly and trivial.  I do have some past background in both broadcast and print journalism, but that is not my professional livelihood these days; I do this for the satisfaction and outlet.

So—I’ll get back to the subtitle.

Let’s face it: I am both ridiculous and sublime.  To start with, the two most famous people whose birthday I share (October 2) are Mohandas Gandhi and Groucho Marx.

Gandhi

What could be more sublime and ridiculous than those two?  And to boot, the most famous thing, arguably, that happened on the very day of my birth (Oct 2, 1950), was the appearance of the very first syndicated Peanuts cartoon.  Good ‘ol Charlie Brown was born the same day as me.  He is most certainly a perfect blending of the two qualities we are talking about.  Wishy-washy? Maybe. But that is only because he is so torn by these conflicting aspects of the universe that surrounds him.  Yes, the silly and profound seem both to be bound into my DNA.

Content herein will then consist of both the trivial/silly (WheresGeorge.com, history of CT license plates, Pearls Before Swine) and the profound (Quantum Physics, Cosmology, Existentialism, Opera and the philosophy of science).  There will also be topics that engender a bit of both characteristics; baseball, for example, and especially baseball statistics.  Yes, Baseball is a game, but as George Will so astutely observed, “if baseball is just a game, then the Grand Canyon is just a hole in the ground.”   This will happen solely because my cluttered mind embraces all of these endeavors, and for some strange reason, I think that somewhere out there one or two people might be interested in my insights.

So, back to the Millenium Conjectures.  My posts will be marked as either Ridiculous or Sublime or Ridiculous AND Sublime.  The lion’s share of the Sublime category—indeed of all the content– will be a series I call The Millenium Conjectures.  These will deal with my views and speculations on the nature of reality, the universe and  scientific philosophy.  Everything else will be a time-out to blow off steam. But lest my head explode, let alone yours, this is enough for now.

Text in this post ©2012 Mark Sackler

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The BLAHS #4–Geek of the Year

“Beware of geeks bearing formulas.”–Warren Buffett

 A view of technology in my youth.

A view of technology in my youth.

I know what you’re thinking.   Why don’t I give the Geek of the Year BLAHS to myself?   Short answer:  I almost won an award like that in my youth, but lost out to the guy in the picture above.   It was no fair really;  I look far cooler in a leopard skin toga than he does.  Anyway, I am only half geek.  In my ancient past I was both a sportscaster and a classical music radio announcer.  How is that for a cognitive dissonance?

Jokes aside, let’s get down to the serious satire.  It’s time to give out another BLAHS (BLog Awards Handed out by Sackler).   A quick review of the rules is in order:

  1. Unlike the various chain-letters going around that masquerade as awards, this one is given out only one at a time–by me.
  2. The only thing the winner has to do to claim the award is endure the embarrassment.  Actually, they don’t even have to do that, as they are getting it either way.
  3. I give these out whenever I want to, to whomever I want to, for whatever reason I feel inclined to give them.  If you don’t like that, I’ll take my football and go home.
  4. The prize is a limited-edition T-shirt and matching refrigerator magnet complete with typographical errors that make them valuable collectors items.  (Don’t worry, when I run out I’ll order more.  As long as the number out there is not infinite it is still technically limited.)
  5. This award is in an appropriate-for-this-blog state of superposition on two counts.  The name BLAHS is both single and plural and the award itself is both serious and satirical at the same time.

You can see a complete history by clicking on “The BLAHS” link under “Categories” in the sidebar to the right.  The short list of previous winners is:

  • The Blog of Funny Names for being my favorite blog (other than mine).  They returned the honor–I am now one of their guest authors. (Is there such a thing as retro-active conflict of interest?)
  • Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub for having the funniest blog name among those I follow.
  • Essa on Everything for winning a reader poll in the category of Lady Blogger with an Attitude.

So, without further ado, let’s go on to the latest and greatest BLAHS–Geek of the Year!  May I have the envelope please?

The envelope?

Where is it?  Oh wait, I forgot. It’s not in an envelope;  it’s in an encrypted email.  Hey, considering that the Associated Press recently had their Twitter account hacked, you can’t be too careful.  Give me a nanosecond to gear up my quantum computer and decode it.  OK, here it is…[drum roll]…and the winner is:

Elke Stangl (a.k.a. Elkement) of Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything

Elke

Elke

Congratulations Elke. You have been named to this honor for any number of reasons. You might ask, what are those numbers (other than 42)?

Besides writing a blog that I follow, her fine geeky points are:

  • As mentioned in a previous post, a resume that reads like a character from The Big Bang Theory.
  • She is a founding member of the cult of search term poetry and spam poetry.  My search term haiku feature is a direct result of her challenge to me in this arena.
  • She is one of the most loyal followers of this blog.  Others may hold that habit against her; I applaud it and award it.
  • She appreciates Douglas Adams as much as I do.
  • Her most recent post of existential spam poetry puts her immediately in a class with Woody Allen and Albert Camus.

Let’s hear from Elke herself:

MS:  What are your favorite geeky things to do—other than spam poetry, of course?geek power

ES:  That’s a tough one. I hardly do anything non-geeky. I spend my whole life nearly hard-wired to my computer and hope for better man-machine interfaces (Stephen-Hawking-Borg-Google-Glass stuff). I indulge in putting the geekiness back into so-called business-y or scientific documents (in a very subtle way, so that only other members of the Geek Cult will notice), and I enjoy hunting bugs and evil networking packets (very much in the same way as Sandra Bullock in The Net – including living off pizza). I feel uncomfortable when directly exposed to sun light which resulted in a lack of vitamin D.

MS: So what got you started on search term & spam poetry?   Who or what is your muse?

ES:  I was sick last year, had just started my meteoric rise to fame as a virtual stand-up comedian on Facebook – and was desperately searching for something funny to post. My non-creative brain, impaired by fever, could just come up with recycled content – from WordPress Stats. So it started with search term poetry on my FB timeline – spam poetry was a logical step in my evolution as an artist. If I would be a more down-to-earth artist, I’d create art from pieces from the scrap yard.

My muse is a person called “Irgendwer” – this is German for “somebody”. His job title in one of my geeky universes is: Somebody Doing Anything Nobody Wants to Do. (My job title in that said universe is Subversive Non-Coordinator and Chief Desperate Dreamer, if you really need to know). He might be my significant other in quite a bunch of alternate universes.

MS: Kirk or Picard?  (Damn, it makes me feel uncomfortably geeky just to ask that—I don’t even like Star Trek)

ES: Picard of course, because he is a refined educated French (European) philosopher 🙂

MS: Any advice to aspiring geek bloggers?

ES:  I don’t care about advice on blogging – in particular avoid those Top Ten Most Important But Yet Extremely Trivial Things to Know about Blogging lists.

[That was a close one.  I thought she was going to say “avoid The Millennium Conjectures”]

MS: Who on “The Big Bang Theory” do you think you most take after?  (Assuming you watch if over there in Austria, otherwise you can pass on the question).

ES: I don’t have time to watch TV, I am following too many geeky blogs.

  [That comment alone is worthy of this award.]

MS:  Any other comments you would like to make are welcome.  (Sorry but “42” is taken)

ES: I am exhausted from all that existential stuff posted to my blog in the past days. I leave it at a quote of Douglas Adams and my discerning observation of artists being better than management consultants and sociologists in analyzing corporate culture:

Context: Part 5 of the Trilogy of Five, Ford Prefect enters the building of the publishers of the guide,

He always entered via the ventilation system rather than the main lobby because the main lobby was patrolled by robots whose job it was to quiz incoming employees about their expense accounts.  The company had been taken over by InfiniDim Enterprises…We spent millions on that name, because before it was under-structured, over-resourced, under-managed and over-inebriated.

Congratulations, Elke.  To claim your prize, please send me a self-addressed stamped steamer trunk.  Your award will arrive via return carrier pigeon as soon as I can train one to fly to wherever you are.

Signature@MarkSackler

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Time Out: The Douglas Adams Award

“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it, too?”–Douglas Adams

Don__t_Panic_Wallpaper_by_rogueXunited

There’s great news for all you blogging enthusiasts just clamoring to be nominated for one of the many chain letters–er, blog awards that are circulating around the net.  It’s the newly minted Douglas Adams Award and all you have to do, if nominated is:

  • Tell what six time seven equals.
  • Tell what the square root of 1764 is.
  • Tell what the cube root of 74,088 is.
  • Tell what the name of the Jackie Robinson biopic is.
  • Tell what number I am thinking of right now.**
  • Nominate 6 other bloggers for the award.
  • Repeat the above six steps seven times without nominating any given blogger more than once.

Got it?  Do all this and you are a winner.  By my calculations, after ten full iterations within the blogosphere, no fewer than 17 quadrillion of these accolades will have been distributed.  Everyone wins more times than they can possibly count; even your pet newt wins.  Who wants to be first?   In the meantime , I am plotting my next old fashioned BLAHS, which is bestowed upon one measly blogger at a time.  How 20th century lame is that?

Cheers,

@MarkSackler

(**Sorry. You’re wrong. I was thinking of 9 3/4)

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Time Out: End of the World Post(poned)

“In the beginning, the universe was created.  This made a lot of people very angry and was widely regarded as a bad move.”–Douglas Adams

end of the worldI’m kinda hoping this Mayan calendar thing is right as I haven’t paid my cable bill yet this month.  And I’d endure almost anything to make sure the Cowboys miss the playoffs.   On the other hand, I hate to think of all those unused frequent flyer miles I’d lose.  Either way, I’m holding off writing my next post until Saturday–just in case.

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Timeout: Google This! (or, The Color of Stupidity)

“If there are no stupid questions, what questions do stupid people ask?”–Scott Adams

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”– Benjamin Franklin

Ben on stupidity

Good ol’ Ben knew stupidity when he saw it.

Nothing enables stupid, silly, naive, ridiculous or downright ignorant questions like internet search engines.  Judging by some of the search queries by which my blog has been found, I’m guessing that some of these people were either drunk in a bar, or reading too many ridiculous blogs.  Courtesy of WordPress.com’s excellent blog stats page, here are some of the best examples,  along with my appropriately astute responses.  (NOTE:  These are all verbatim from the aforementioned WordPress stats summary.  Somebody out there actually found my blog using these search queries.)

Where would we be if we traveled 777 billion light years?  I have no idea, but I’d hate to have to pick up the tab for the cab ride home.

Sixteen times four equals what?   Probably 42, if you are Douglas Adams

Let me explain infinity, it is a measure of a human power, which actually not compatible, .  for ex infinity is sir Albert Einstein…   I just report them; I don’t explain them.  But if you have any clue as to what planet the person who wrote this query is from, please inform us all.

Mark Sackler DVM  After 30 plus years of marriage to a veterinarian, I have apparently been awarded an honorary degree.  I certainly deserve some sort of award–or at least sympathy.

Barbayaki  Say what??!!  (According to the stats, this query has found my blog FOUR times.  As Casey Stengel said,  “you could look it up.”)

Why they add 1 millennium in 21st?  OK.  I give up.  Why?

Funny pro-conservative bumper stickers     See my post on non-existence. 

Millennium Twain NASA   You left out rutabaga.

Funny names for mark  What? “Mark” is not funny enough by itself?

Molenium conjectures  Hey, moles can have ideas, too.

Is there still a lawyer for Einstein?  I’m not sure, but I think there is a lawyer for everything–even non-existence.

Please feel free to share your responses to any of these nut-case inquiries,  and be sure to check back in a couple of months.  There are bound to be more where these came from… 😉

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“Today must be Thursday.  I could never get the hang of Thursdays.”–Douglas Adams

Please Thursday, don’t muck up my weekend.

My creative pipeline is constipated;  it will probably require a massive mental enema to flush out the next significant post.  In the meantime I’m hitting the golf course this morning.  It’s a form of self-flagellation, I know, but it beats passing kidney stones.  Wish me luck.

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