Friday, February 27, 2009

Taboo Equilibrium

Years ago I reminded a friend, there are public establishments in NYC where one can engage in condom-less sex with total strangers. But if I walked in there with a lit cigar, I'd be in trouble. My rhetorical skills toolbox containing only a sledge hammer & feather duster, at the time I just let the comment stand as example of absurdity.

But there's not a thing exotic about backwards green comets merely because we never saw one before. Similarly, maybe there's nothing the least bit absurd about certain mass social behaviors.

When Madonna kissed Britney slap on the mouth in front of millions during the cesspool, I mean MTV awards, likely nary an eyebrow raised among the collective audience. Had the girls taken the stage wearing mink coats though, coulda been a riot maybe.

So stop laughing Dave and figure out why that makes perfect sense per as yet unwritten laws of human tribal behavior. OK, how about the number of taboos must remain nearly constant in a tribe, to maintain social equilibrium?

Rate of change for tech advancement, increase in collective knowledge of our physical world, nearly infinite. Rate of individual brain's ability to absorb change, very finite. That's one of the built-in contradictions in our existence as both herd and solitary animals. Whenever rate of change exceeds the absorption rate of a critical mass of individuals, there's gonna be bad trouble. Call it Nazism, KKK, or radical Islam, but it's just the graph working.

What if human tribes are somehow innately aware of that? What if unconscious bulwarks exist all over the place, trying to forestall stampedes? Perhaps the struggle to maintain a constant number to taboos is one such bulwark.

So if public sex is now Okie-Dokie, something must replace it as a taboo. After all, nobody wants to get AIDS and secondhand smoke at the same time. That's just icky! Similarly, within driving distance of me there is statistically likely a young woman who's had two abortions, but won't eat Tuna, since some Dolphins lose their lives in the Tuna catching process. Tens of millions are angry about the prohibition of gay marriage in the US. Probably the only thing that could enrage them more would be a mink coat.

Absurd as it seems to me, it's just a backwards green comet of human tribal behavior, going about its biz. The number of taboos must remain fairly constant.

Marie and Choices

Marie Osmond lost 45 lbs. with Nutri-System, and waytago girl! Sure, she could lose five more lbs. if she'd wash her face real good, but that's not mine to judge. We're all growing older, and each will have responses to the process.

Heck, we can't all be Paul Newman or Sophia Loren, and it's in our species to resist nature when we don't like what she's up to.

Some responses are very simple equations, like bald = hair club or more wrinkles = more makeup. Others are sublimely nuanced. I can't go to an airport without seeing at least one 60 yo man walking around in a Members Only jacket.

You remember the 80's Dave, right? "I wish that I had Jesse's girl" etc. Well somewhere in an airport right now is a guy wearing his way of staying connected with youth. He was maybe 35 when he bought that jacket, and he felt hip wearing it back then. No dummy, he knows its not in style anymore, but he doesn't want to be hip in 2009. He wants to touch 1985. Far from being pathetic, I think the behavior is endearing, and rather benign when one considers some other strategies.

I've seen middle aged women trying hard to dress exactly like their teenaged daughters, and what's worse, being "cool" parents. That's another way of resisting nature, but it's also a fast track to becoming a grandparent. In comparison, a Members Only jacket would be much better.

Some adults don't want to grow up period, but nobody enjoys all the aspects of growing older. Easy for us to see the futile attempts of others to resist nature. Hard for us to realize we're probably doing things every bit as ridiculous along the same lines. But there are good things about growing older, and some amazingly positive responses available. It's like an account though. Funds are there, but it takes a PIN to access. To make something really good out of growing older takes a deliberate plan, instead of reflexive thrashing around.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Backwards and Green

It's encouraging to see China shouldering its responsibility in solving this global crisis. By that of course I mean the missing comet deal. They aren't content with mumblings about "dark comets" and such as that. These people are finding the AWOL comets, tracking them down one by one. Here is a picture of Lulin. It was discovered by a Chinese teenager. Sources tell me (that would be the scary voices in my head) the name roughly translated means, "In your face you round eyed lazy clowns" or something like that.

Lulin is green because it bears components science never imagined a comet could contain. Also, while everything else in our solar system goes counter-clockwise, Lulin is going clockwise. This stubborn insistence on going opposite to all other things in the solar system is a brand new revelation to science as well.

Upon learning of the discovery, experts at the prestigious Institute for grandiose uninformed statements speculated there may be as many as 3000 backwards green comets out there somewhere, I mean like, you know?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Oh, Great!

This is a photograph of a dark comet. Sure some would say it's simply the night sky, but how could anyone be sure? That's just how those sneaky dark comets work. According to Scientists at the famous Institute of "Not a darned thing can be done about it, but we just wanted you to be scared," a dark comet is one that has lost its ice coating and so can't be detected with current technology. Not being an Astronomer, I would stupidly call that a great big space rock.

Further, the Scientists speculate there should be 3,000 comets in our Solar System, but only 25 have been found so far, and that means there may be more than a thousand sneaky dark comets just lurking out there... now wait a minute!

Couldn't it also mean our guys are really lousy at finding regular comets? My mom wouldn't put up with it. She'd say, "Well they didn't just grow legs and walk off did they?" She would then instruct the lazy Astronomers to get off their butts and find those other comets.

And just try to pawn off a picture of a space rock as a newly found "dark" comet with my mom? I wouldn't want to be around to see it, that's all I'm saying.

Still, it's reasonable there are dozens of big space rocks zipping around, and who knows, one day? Blammo, no more human race. That would at least solve the problems in the Middle East.

Monday, February 9, 2009

52 hours

It was killed before I was born. The giants of science got ahold of it, and a vaccine was discovered. Still, I've seen a few individuals the monster touched on its way out of American life. Polio was an intensely democratic disease, not caring about class or wealth. One summer in the waning days of World War II, while the monster was still strong, it visited rural North Carolina with a vengeance, and decided to stay a while.

Seemingly overnight, dozens of cases overwhelmed the nearest hospitals. It primarily hit children. Health care professionals in the city had to turn away infants, and look into their parents' eyes. That could be the end of the story, to place oneself in the shoes of a Physician who'd worked so hard, so long to save lives, standing on that waxed floor in North Carolina on a summer day, telling fearful parents there was no more room.

Polio is mostly thought as a disease that crippled the limbs, but there is much more to it than that. Sometimes it attacked the muscles controlling the lungs, and that meant death.

A strange thing happened in Hickory, North Carolina, around which most of the Polio outbreaks were centered.

The townspeople of Hickory galvanized. That is the only acceptable word for it. With aid from the March of Dimes, in 52 hours a fully functional hospital was up and running in Hickory.

Somehow they did it. 52 hours. A building was found and donated. Townspeople attacked it with bleach and mops. Beds were found. An iron lung was donated. Everyone pitched in and did what had to be done. 52 hours.

It was national news when it happened, but memories fade, other stories come along. We shouldn't let some things go though? History is a fight, where differing groups try to shape the future through what is told of the past. There will never be a time when it's acceptable to let go of the heritage of those 52 hours.