Two Almost Physicists With Almost Something To Say

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Saturday Morning Breakfast Ramble

Do you Tweet? I do not Tweet. I phone. I blog. I face. I chat. I tube. I snap. I lick. I golf. I do have a Twitaccount, originally obtained so that I could unlock extra Angry Birds levels. I’m not really sure what I’m expected to do with it other than that. I keep it so that I can follow two things, or people, or whatever Twittererers are: TNG_S8, and wekriskross. That is essentially my universe, triple distilled, served in a chilled tumbler. Not a tumblr. That’s another thing I don’t have or understand.

Speaking of folks who fail at jumping on social media bandwagons, I enjoyed watching CNN’s version of the presidential debate. The opinion indicator taught me that undecided Colorado women voters really enjoy higher education, while men sometimes like it and sometimes hate it, but both sexes generally enjoy spoken words, or maybe just buttons. As long as we’re adding future tech to our heads-up displays, I strongly advocate remote sensing of both candidate’s vital signs. Next to that, animated waveforms and needle indicators that flicker wildly, like we’re in some kind of Science Room. Below that, real-time stock indicators soaring through record highs and lows in response to candidates’ reactions to being asked questions about things. In the lower right, a mini-map showing terrain we’ve already explored, and all of our own units in green, and other units in red. In the center can be a pop-up box that tells me when the dryer is finished. CNN should either do this or redirect effort into fixing global warming or curing cancer, but no more half-measures.

And speaking of half-measures, last night was that night that one sees Taken 2 for some reason. The name alone sets off warning bells. This is not Scream; I feel that the appropriate action for a movie which tries to take itself seriously is to come up with a title other than “Sequel.” And Liam Neeson does take things very seriously, though nothing moreso than getting a driver’s license. Whatever the fuck that has to do with anything, we shant know. Here are some thoughts and spoilers in list form.

  • Liam Neeson either won or lost all of the fights; it’s hard to tell since the cameraman seemed to also be brawling with some unseen assailant, or perhaps simply his or her own personal demons
  • Liam Neeson learns things by reading books, and, if you want, you can borrow them
  • In Istanbul, it is acceptable to run over any number of people while plowing through a bazaar
  • In Istanbul, it is acceptable to throw grenades anywhere you please. If you destroy a reservoir holding clean water for a building full of people, +5 points
  • In Istanbul, it is not acceptable to abuse taxi services
  • It is customary to enter the US embassy by way of driving through the cardboard guard shack. People may shoot at you. If your car is made of metal, you will be okay
  • If you have just entered the embassy after leaving half of its host country a smoldering ruin, that is fine, those things happen. Recent history has taught us that people in the Middle East have great respect for our embassies
  • The door is actually open for Taken 3. If there is no Kraken, Ryan will flip the fuck out

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At Least They Can’t Read This?

We need to talk about this Amish situation. Has anyone actually tried offering them a combustion engine free of charge, and seeing if they’ll just take it? Like, leave one under a tarp, turn around, close your eyes, see if it’s still there after five minutes, and if it’s not then just walk away without raising the point? Here’s why I ask: Because I just drove straight through the back of a horse-drawn buggy. Three times, actually, in three separate locations. I’m not sure why the Amish are a nocturnal people, and I’m not sure why they use such poor reflectors, although I imagine that one can only sew and churn so high a glossiness into a material. I blew right through them. Hat buckles sent asunder. Wooden shoes sailing through the air. Two thousand pounds (max) of bison meat strewn about the road. No, I don’t actually know anything about the Amish. Yes, I just cast them as Dutch Mayflower pilgrims in The Oregon Trail. I got as far as typing “amish wiki” into the Google bar and then decided, fuck it, I’m on vacation.

As long as we’re on the subject, here is the rest of the mosaic stereotype:

  • Yodeling
  • Master Chocolatiers
  • Hunting turkey with blunderbusses
  • Windmills, which turn water wheels, which turn other, smaller windmills
  • Constantly repelling Shawnee raiding parties
  • Owning Ikea
  • Pop culture representations include The Lollipop Guild, and at least one of the locations in The Bourne Identity


And here are some outstanding questions I’d like answered:

  • How was Hans Christian Andersen Amish when they aren’t allowed to read or whatever?
  • How did my 3G work so well during my entire trip through their [reservation? stronghold? protectorate?]
  • What is their take on Jeff Ireland as GM of the Dolphins? Do they squarely blame Tannehill for the team’s ridiculous performance against Houston, or is it an all-around shoddy offense?


Yes the Ohio trip is going great so far. I’m going to go lay down so that a train can wake me up in an hour, every hour, forever.

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The Miracle of Modern Dissatisfaction

I was on an aeroplane recently; certainly that distinguishes me somehow. I’ve been working on a theory for why people don’t like airports. To many this is apparent, and after putting such an obvious question, I have had people fix me with a pitying gaze and begin to speak a little slower for my benefit. You are jammed with a thousand other humans, standing or sitting around, guarding your possessions, paying unreasonable sums for food and drink after having to go through excessive security. I point out that this also describes a night club. The difference is that no one expects to get laid in an airport.

I sat down with Jeremy in a Fresh Air-style interview. I relate his story here, with minor embellishment. I envision it as would be portrayed by Zack Snyder; you may choose your own form of narration.

I got sneezed on, as that’s a staple of any air travel experience. I hate JFK. I was in a gate area about the size of this room [we are in a room which is not large enough to be a comfortable gate area]. On one side of the room there is the gate. On the other side of the room there is some restaurant or something. And the lines trail out from both of these, and they’re so long that they cross each other and block the entire room. Where the lines intersect, they are held together by people sneezing on each other constantly. There is this vapor, this fine mist, hanging in the air above them. And you hold your breath and put your arm out in Heismann pose and barrel through the snot fog but you’re still fucked in the end. Airborne is a placebo that tastes like old disgusting candy.

You have to get on those giant buses to get from one terminal to another because they couldn’t be bothered to plan things properly. You don’t even realize it’s a bus; you’re just following the herd. You and a bunch of other people pack into a room with no exit that reeks of gas, and you stay there because you’re an idiot with no sense of self-preservation. Then the whole room starts moving and you hold onto the railing that has snot all over it, narrowly dodging the largest planes in the world. By the time you get to the other side you’ve died from smog. The air is like being on Titan.

This all overlooks the positive aspects. The terminals are now a preserve habitat for the last few species of bookstore. You won’t be shot by anyone not wearing blue. If you don’t want a bag, just leave it somewhere conspicuous, and it will be disposed of in spectacular fashion. And, of course, you get to travel somewhere inaccessible by foot.