Saturday, June 23, 2012

On Emoticons

Emoticons are stupid. The argument for using emoticons is that one is unable to express tone without them. This is a strange argument because many of us use words for this exact purpose. Then, we simply combine the words into a specific order and add punctuation. No pictures required.

Is it clear what I have done above?

Ironically, if one simply learned how to use the building blocks of emoticons, namely punctuation marks, correctly, then there would be no need to rearrange them into simple shapes, winks and smiley faces.

I like to imagine the driving force behind the emoticon, the spark of genius who created it. And in order to do so, I recall a familiar memory from chemistry class. Remember the dangerous classmate who started out in high school chemistry class, but no one expected him to finish. Most people expected him to be removed at some point within the first month, once the teacher figured out that he was far too unpredictable to use the Bunsen burner? And remember the first Practical, where we had to build molecules, joining atoms and making chemical bonds from colour coded golf-balls with black sticks to represent the bonds? All of the years of scientific progress, this fascinating science that mathematical geniuses would have worked out over centuries, simplified in a wonderful model, but this is lost on the dangerous kid, who sits there and makes a cock-and-balls from the H2O compound. It as if information entering his brain has only one destination, whereby everything eventually is channelled towards penis, or a representation of his penis.

The penis hypothesis suggests that emoticons likely developed from this same classmate, whose talents for not being able to pay attention in Chemistry class were also applicable to English class. Mindlessly going through his phone one day, he realizes that there are symbols in there that cannot be explained: comas, hyphens, colons, semicolons. All of this grammar, meanwhile, is being explained by the teacher at the front of the room. And as the teacher has drawn the symbols up on the blackboard in chalk, the stupid kid looks up from his phone and neuro-molecular connections happen in his brain, unbeknownst to him of course. He looks from phone to blackboard to colon to hyphon when, boom. :- Colon combined with hyphen equals cock-and-balls.

Then he sends it to all of his friends, a cock-and-balls and a happy face emotion.
It is unlikely that the stupid kid is studying anything useful, like science. That kid, who is probably college age, is very likely now studying to become an English teacher. And, in a few years time, he will likely teach emoticons as legitimate punctuation.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On Happyness

I want happiness, but only enough for me. I certainly do not want to share it with anyone. I can’t afford to. It is mine, after all, and I got started late in life on it. So please keep your greedy mitts away and find your own.

I am saving my happiness for later. If I get a good thought, the urge to giggle or smile, I immediately stifle it and stuff it deep down in my body. The way I like to think of it is that I currently place much of my happiness into a high interest account, growing, away from others who might spoil it. I do not withdraw it, share it, or waste it on little coffees or puppies, because I am being responsible and saving all of my happiness for when I retire. And, when I do retire and have all of the happiness that I need, I will carefully distribute it in measured amounts amongst servants in Bali. Here, my happiness will go much further, relatively, and I will be able to afford protection from those who might ruin it.

I have given up laughter. Incidentally, playing, whistling and humming have also in been shelved. I surrendered hobbies, too. Go ahead, try to tickle me or tell me a joke. You will get nowhere. I have 14 people at work randomly tickling me throughout the day. Nothing. I save it all.

There is an argument that happiness can be found more economically in prostitutes and illicit street drugs. I am investigating these possibilities.

I have found several ways to grow my happiness. What are my secrets? I’m not telling you. Not the best ones at least. If I were to share with you the best wells from which I draw upon, you might try to go there yourself and deplete the rich source and purity of happiness. I will, however, share with you a few examples from further down the list.

Monkey Research: monkey-based research in the field of scientific inquiry is where a great deal of happiness can be found. “Twelve macaque monkey’s were the caged, tickled and destroyed to see if the happy centres in their brain had grown.” By focusing my attention on monkeys, monkey brains, and monkey happiness, my own happiness grows. In fact, I like to count every dead monkey as a little happy trophy. Try it yourself.

Shake it from children: Sometimes, around a child who is naturally happy, I have the urge to steal and bottle it. The happiness, not the child. This happiness is clearly wasted on the child. So, grabbing a jar, I figure, “Why not try to bottle the joy?” Shaking the joy from the happy child, I then take a jar and clasp wildly at the air, hoping to grab some molecule, some vibe, something invisible to the eye, but very present in the ether. Then, a few hours later, I open the jar and imagine myself drinking this elixir.

Repeat the above process with a wild squirrel: Squirrels are naturally happy, and one can be held in each hand to double the return on your investment. Contrary to popular belief, their tails do have muscle, allowing them to double back on you and bite you upon the wrist. For this reason, only one squirrel per hand, and grasp it firmly around the waist when shaking.

Lastly, consider using your thumbs more often. Really thumb elaborately around people, sometimes in eccentric fashions. Point at things with your thumb, or insist on picking up pieces of paper with your thumbs only. Repeat the process, but try painting your thumbs up like little people. If you find this successful, try tattoos. I tattooed figurines onto my thumbs years ago, and it has provided untold measures of happiness. My fingers are next. I look forward to when my hands get to dance, tangle and wrestle with one another. Countless stories of their amazing adventures are about to unfold. Happy bank, get ready to expand. I for one plan to make quite the deposit with this little scheme.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Notable Problems in the Metric System

by Matt Bulman

Admittedly, Metric has covered some things well. I’ll give you the metric units for length, mass, time...but what about shoe size? The Metre, Kilogram and Second were innovative, no doubt, however, a consistent unit for shoe measurement we clearly lack.

Might I suggest the “Ped” or the “Pod”, and its definition should render shoe measurements as both precise and accurate. Shoe technicians should be heard to yell, “4 pods high, 6 pods long, 2 pods deep.” Or, perhaps, “2 pods double deep...we’ve got a fatty,” for the obese.

The original base unit for pod is derived from the length of the big toe of Nike Founder Bill Bowerman. This toe, the original pod, will be placed in the Parisian International Museum of Weights and Measures, next to the Kilogram.

Another strength of the Metric system is practicality in the field of science. It kicks the pants off of the Imperial system of weights and measures for precision and accuracy, especially when considering its simplicity to work with quantity using a base of 10. But here is a conundrum: How much better is the Metric system than the Imperial System? 10 Metres? 10 Kilograms? 10 Seconds?

No, the Metric system has once again failed us completely.

Here we must return to a much more primitive system of weights and measures to draw comparison. In fact, we must invoke the work of an American pragmatist, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, in order to find a unit to describe comparative, quantitative “amounts of better” between systems of weights and measures. My extensive research has uncovered the unit,” Ish”, which, when applied to the formula of:

Quantity of betterness = (Number x Ish)x Better/1

will answer any debate stirred up from what Metric lacks.

And, applying Dr. Franklin’s formula of Quantity of Betterness (which, incidentally was originally used during the invention of the bifocal) we can clearly demonstrate that the Metric System is 4ish times better than the Imperial system; Not coincidentally, the International System of weights and measures is only 2ish times better than the Metric System, which is consistent with Newton’s Third Law of diminishing returns in improvements to Future Measures.

The “ish” has applications outside of the realm of comparison (known to scientists as the field of betterness). Though we are lacking a mathematical unification model, it is likely that ish is somehow related to time, as in the oft heard question, “What time will the orgy start?"

Answer, “11ish.”

What about, Magic or how much you hate someone? Could you have 10 metres more magic than your evil wizard nemesis, or have 10 kilograms of hate or love for someone? Unlikely. Clearly, the metric system, if not all of science, has yet again failed us.

In conclusion, the “pod” and the “ish” are two useful units of measure which modern day society can harldly go without. Several areas of magic, hatred,love and betterness lack standardization, as does footwear sizing. While this proposal raises more questions than answers, both the” ish” and the “pod” are put forward as useful solutions. I propose that the next meeting of International Bureau of Weights and Measures consider these matters, and their implications, in the name of science. We will finally answer, in number, how much better we are than our neighbours, and we be able to poke fun at their massive, ugly feet in a much more precise and accurate fashion.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Human Statues

By Matt Bulman

If I created a piece of art, it would be in the post-ordinary school, and it would include several painted “Human Statues”.

Blue Man: The first human statue is a man posing on a crowded street, dressed all in blue, with a blue hat, blue coat, and blue suit, blue briefcase, standing still on a blue box. He looks sad.

Yellow Man: The second human statue is a yellow man, looking somewhat more drug-addled, wild eyed, and shifty. He is dressed in yellow, with a yellow hat, yellow T-shirt, yellow jeans that are torn and yellow boots that look very worn. He also has a yellow squeegee, and stands on a yellow box that he props up two metres in front of the blue man. You do not trust the yellow man, but you give him money just the same.

Yellow man has a second trick. When the car traffic comes to a stop, he hops off of his yellow box and offers to squeegee the cars in front of him, and then returns to his yellow box to perch when traffic begins to flow.
Green man: Here we have a human statue who is asleep in a corner behind the first two. He sleeps there peacefully, with a sign that reads: Real human statue of drug addict.

The actions of yellow man really upset blue man. Blue man changes from sad to angry. The second time yellow man returns to perch blue man jumps off of his blue box. He breaks his character, and assaults yellow man on the head with his blue brief case. Yellow man parries with his squeegee. They fight and crash and smash each other, and fall into traffic, landing on the windshield and hood of a car. Paint comes off of the colour men, all over the windshield, which yellow man tries to squeegee while simultaneously taking a punch. Jimmy, a little boy eating an ice cream cone, starts to cry.

At this point in time, passers-by give green man their loose change out of despair. They choose green man because of his honesty and integrity. They think to themselves, “At least green man doesn’t upset little Jimmy and his ice cream cone.”
But what the crowd does not realise is that it's all an act, and the colour human statue men are in cahoots with one another. They are in a Gang, called the Gang of 3, and later on that afternoon they will split up their takings in a dark alleyway.

But what the Gang of 3 fail to realise is that they have stepped on the turf of another set of street performers, another gang, who also dress in colour: Red man and White man. They are a stoplight gang, who imitate the characters on stop lights, making strange beeps and using body language to tell you when to walk or to stop. And the stoplight gang say things like, “We don’t take kindly to strangers.”

So, while the human statues, a.k.a.Gang of 3, are splitting up their takings in the dark alleyway, we observe the stoplight gang at the end of the alleyway, and they cut off the colour human statue gang at the pass.

“There they are: Get ‘em,” the Red man and White Man shout.
A chase ensues. Red Man and White Man carry paint guns, and they start shooting. The Gang of 3 make a run for it.

And the only reason the human statues colour gang gets away is because at the stop lights, the stoplight gang gets confused and, out of habit, go into character, each imitating the picture of the man at the stop light, emitting little beeps and blurts that sound like the noises that come from traffic lights designed for blind people.
The human statues, or Gang of 3, laugh and high five each other. Later, they go off to try to score some Chrystal Meth, but none of the drug dealers will sell to them because they think it looks too conspicuous to sell drugs to the men dressed like colourful human statues.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

H20, Yo!

Two advertising agents walk into a very dry and boring board room, attempting to sell a bottled water commercial to executives: Real stiff, dry accounting type guys. The product is called “H2O yo” and is targeted at urban youth. The two advertising agents begin to act out the product after setting the scene as such:
“ Imagine a modern day, urban street corner, where crack-rock, crystal meth, heroin are all being slung...that means sold... at a premium. The question I hear you ask yourself is: What are these guys drinking with their drugs? The answer goes something like this...(The advertising agents get into character and begin to act out the commercial).”
1: Hey Dawg, what you drinking? Ice tea, cocacola, gatoraid, purple stuff?
2: Naw, Cuz. It’s a new thing, yo.
1: New thing?
2: Yeah. H2O, yo.
1: For real for real?
2: Yeah. This shorty had some and turned me on to it.
1: Sounds all high and mighty to me.
2: Naw, son. It’s just Two Hydrogen with one Oxygen. A little chemistry for the soul.
1: Awe, look at you dropping science!!
2: That’s right son. It’s responsible for both hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties, and is somewhat charged as a molecule.
1: Oh, no he didn’t.... Oh, snap. My man is a chemistry professa yo.
2: It’s what creates those hydrogen bonds, yo! (HANDS IN THE AIR)
1: DAYEMMMM! (Covering mouth, leaning backward) Say it again.
2: It’s those Hydrogen Bonds, Yo! (Hands Higher in the air, building in excitement.)
1: What do I need H20 for, yo?
2: You kidding me, cuz? Osmosis.
1: Oz, smoke dis?
2: (getting serious) Osmosis. It’s one of the principles for life! Probably the most important one.
1: (happy and playful) My man is totally dropping science like gravity drops titties. Thanks for schooling me yo! Give me some rock and some H20, yo!
2: Naw, son. Ain't no thang. It’s a pleasure doing business with you.
And scene...(turning to face account executives)

One account executive starts to clap slowly and stand, but the other executives don’t join in. “Sit down Smith,” says an old executive.

Another executive says, “It’s good. I’ll have you that. But it lacks...a certain. Will urban youth get it?”

Old executive who told Smith to sit down says, “I don’t like that they use the word titties.”

Another executive says, “My question is this: will the black kids get it?"

Number one advertising agent interrupts, offended, “Black kids? Black kids? Who said ANYTHING about race?”

Number two interrupts, “Wow. Wow. All I have to say is wow.”

Number one adds, “Are you suggesting Black kids don’t know chemistry? What, can’t black kids relate to hydrogen bonds? I’ll have you know many of my friends are black, and they drop hydrogen bonds all the time.”

Number two, still angry, “All the time.”

Number one, beginning to pack up, “Fine. If your company wants to be branded as racist, say no to this commercial. That’s your racist problem. “

The big boss interrupts: “No one will be going anywhere. And no one calls me a racist...not after all the money I paid on our fair-work campaign about equal rights in the work place. You guys just sold some H2O, yo!”

Thursday, June 14, 2012

When I Dance

When I dance, you better watch out. For I am a force of nature, though not a creative one; I am terror on the dance floor. And though you will recognize me, like a star, I am no pop star, I am not Micheal Jackson; but rather I am akin to a celestial star, where if you get too close to me, your face, arms and chest could melt right off of your skeleton, and you would be sucked into the gravity of my star-belly, bursting in flames.
When I dance, you better hope I am caged, like a tiger or a monkey who is really angry because you keep poking him with a long stick. For my dance is one of genuine, monkey-prodded anger. It should remain pent up, and shared only by accident, like an undercover segment on the news.
Sometimes I dance only with a leash around my neck and tied to a pole. God help us if ever I am unleashed in a public space from that pole. God help everyone if this ever happens. For I will dance my dance of monkey rage, and at this point, protective measures should be taken, not just by me, but by participants around me. Helmets are of particular importance. Set up a perimeter. Firearms will be useless. Do not use them on me, for they only feed the fury. Just let me dance it out, and know that it shall pass.
“Dance, monkey! Dance!” I hear them say. At this point, I know I am vicious. I am at the height of my powers. This is the eye of the storm. I will often times just stand there, present but motionless, and absorb the chants.
“Dance, Monkey! Dance!” they say. And some hipster will scream, “Corrupt the speakers that boom,” and then the second half of the storm begins, my arms and legs flail in permutations hitherto captured only by cartoons. But my dance is a raging monkey cartoon brought to life. And set on fire. This mesmerising abhorrence and curiosity is somehow glorious to watch. Although equally disgusted and intrigued, you find that you cannot turn away. And while I encourage you to look, do not stare, and certainly do not make eye contact. You could get sucked in. Before long, you, too, could be dancing.
And your dance is dangerous, but for a different reason. Your dance is dangerous because you are a bad dancer. You will probably salsa, or cabbage patch, or attempt to do the robot. Please do not dance, for the sake of the children. Stick to tennis, or ice skating, or other activities for white people. Leave the dance to those who have already lost their soul to the Devil of the Dance. All I am saying is this: that when I dance, you better watch out.

Friday, June 1, 2012

On Chickens

On Chickens

By Matt Bulman

I overheard a conversation recently in a cafe, where a man said, “I don’t eat chicken in restaurants, because I’m not sure if they serve happy chicken, or sad chicken.”

I comprehend what the man was saying: the foods we eat today are part of moral choice, and he wants to be part of “The Good”.

But what he is also saying is that if there is a caged-chicken out there, suffering, completely miserable and being pecked at by the other chickens in crowded conditions, then let it live. Let it suffer, and let all the sad chickens suffer.

However, if there is a chicken out there on a farm, just flying around free and happy, kill it. Kill it and serve it to me on a plate. Because a happy chicken is a tasty chicken. And good people eat happy chickens. Delicious.

And you see this moral relativism in advertising by the chicken corporations, the big chicken conglomerates, chicken magnates. Those who deal in the trade of chickens and chicken products, which sometimes becomes chicken-like products. They now advertise: Hormone Free, grain fed, cage free chickens.

Or, put another way, “Our company is proud to say, we no longer torture chickens. We learned that lesson the hard way. We’re not feeding chicklets the remains of their dead parents, nor are we experimenting with untested science to see whether we can force chickens to grow faster in a cages that are too small for them. We even had one experiment go horribly wrong where the chickens were grown through razor edged cages that pre-filletted them. HA HA...Not any more. We are taking a stance. Chicken torture is no longer acceptable.”

“And today, we also only support cage making companies that come free from any chickens, or chicken products. Simply put, cages should not come with chickens in them. I for one am happy to pay a little more for a cage that is built with the morally right ideas in mind. So if you’re in need of a cage, the chicken-free cage company is the company of choice.”