Monthly Archives: July 2011

How to Survive the Heat Dome

How to Survive the “Heat Dome”

 

104 degrees Fahrenheit in NY City yesterday sounds hellish. Not that I wouldn’t find New York City hellish at any time of year, but at 104F, surrounded by hot concrete, the powerful stench of concentrated humanity and ozone rich smog, and with 200,000,000 gallons of raw sewage pouring into the Hudson River, fouling all of the local beaches, the Big Apple must rival Mumbai or Calcutta for epic urban misery right now.

I’ve dealt with a few heat waves in my day, I once worked in an auto service garage in Houston, TX, spent a summer on the Black Rock City Dept. of Public Works preparing for Burning Man, and spent a couple weeks evading authorities in Death Valley. I know how to cope with heat. So, I offer these tips.

  1. Go to the produce aisle at your grocery store, pick out a fresh organic romaine lettuce, and pat yourself down with it, head to toe. If anyone asks you what you are doing, tell them that’s how your mom taught you to pick out lettuce. If anyone asks what’s wrong with it as you put it back on the shelf, tell them its all sweaty and smells like BO.
  2. Identify corpses at the morgue. Show up at your local morgue, tell them your mother was just too broken up to give much information, but she asked you to go identify the body. Hopefully you won’t really see anyone you recognize, but they always keep it nice and cool in there, so take your time about it.
  3. Put 5lb of dry ice in a canvas shopping bag and hang it around your neck. Now put on a parka and some mittens over it and go for a walk around town just to freak people out.
  4. Read the account of Scott’s fatal antarctic expedition (The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard). As you read the grisly account of this ill-fated mission, it will transport you to the most inhospitably cold place on earth. As members of the party freeze to death one by one, until, ultimately, they all succumb to the frigid temperatures, the relentless bitter wind and the vast featureless landscape, you’ll believe you are freezing to death yourself, as you die of heatstroke.
  5. Go Bowling, They always keep bowling alleys air-conditioned. They have plenty of seating and they serve beer. What more do you want from life?

  6. Have yourself cryogenically preserved until October. Since most people have realized that things are getting worse rather than better, the whole cryogenic suspended-animation industry has fallen on hard times. Who wants to go into deep freeze just to wake up in some cannibalistic, dystopian war zone of the future? So, lately they offer some short-term options, say 60 to 90 days. Let them put you on a shelf in a freezer, next to Timothy Leary’s head until Fall.

Hot Sex. That got your attention didn’t it, but what I mean is “hot weather sex”. During heat waves, no one wants to wear any more clothing that they absolutely have to. So, all of these naked people are bound to get you horny. Unfortunately, its too hot and sticky to have another hot sweaty body right next to yours. So try these suggestions.

  1. Oral sex with an ice cube in your mouth. Those round, gumdrop shaped ice cubes are best for this. Be careful not to choke. Make sure you have enough ice for both of you. Start by kissing the back of your partners neck. If you’re one of the millions of people without a sexual partner, try..
  2. A popsicle as a dildo. I’m sure this is quite messy, however you women have a safe, cheap solution to your high-temperature horniness. Just flag down the Good Humor man. Men on the other hand have no choice but to…
  3. Fuck a Salad Bar. Just climb in under the sneeze guard, and stick it in something cold, wet and squishy. Be prepared to get arrested.

Try out all of these heat-beating tips, and before you know it, it’ll start snowing again.


SoHum Suffers From Shortage of Homeless People

SoHum Suffers From Shortage of Homeless People

The most recent Point In Time survey of Humboldt County found only 4% of the county’s total homeless population, in the So Hum area. That’s an area comprising about a third of the total acreage, and home to about one fifth of the total population of Humboldt Co. While SoHumers take credit for powering the economic engine of Humboldt County, they remain under-served by the homeless population.

 

The homeless people surveyed cited open hostility from merchants, lack of infrastructure and “greedy dope yuppies who would happily spend millions on yet another concert venue, but can’t find the resources for a shelter, campground, or even a public restroom” as reasons for the shortage of homeless people in SoHum. Others point out that SoHum’s clandestine economy attracts shiftless criminals, bent on gaming the system, who don’t care about anyone but themselves. Not many homeless people fit that profile.

 

While the survey suggests no mitigating measures to correct this imbalance, recent trends suggest that as marijuana prices continue to fall, SoHum may generate enough new homelessness, locally, to fill the gap. That’s the SoHum spirit of self-reliant resourcefulness that turned these logged over hills into forests littered with waterline, fertilizer bags and chicken wire.


Word Power, Zeugma

Word Power

Building Your Vocabulary One Word at a Time

Zeugma

zeug ma (‘zug ma)n, a literary device, a word used in both the literal and figurative sense in the same sentence. For instance, three weeks ago, I gave you the word “perionychium”, the tissue adjacent to, and at the root of all fingernails. Following the definition, I made the following statement. “Now you also have a word for it at your fingertips.” Literally, you have perionychia on all of your fingertips, hopefully. Now that the word perionychium is part of your vocabulary, you have it, figuratively, at your fingertips. So, in that sentence, “fingertips” is a zeugma.


Poem, We’re Goin’ Bowling

Introduction:

Even ultra-violent video games like Grand Theft Auto do not satisfy the visceral human need for violence as well as that all American family pastime, Bowling. The physical exertion of heaving a heavy object at a bunch of pear shaped white things in bow ties, and the crack of thunder when you hit them just right makes bowling the ideal diversion for the rabble. Bowling’s popularity continues to decline in favor of video games, but the rise in serial killings like Columbine or Virginia Tech indicate to me that video games lack sufficient physicality to subdue the masses.

We’re Goin’ Bowling

We’re goin’ bowling, that’s what we’re gonna do

Put on your polyester shirt and your bowling shoe

You get us a lane, and I’ll go get some beer

Call up all our friends and tell them that we’re here

Go and pick a ball and aim it at the pins

Give it a good heave, try not to hit your shins

If it makes it down the alley without going in the gutter

Then all of us will cheer, if not, then you’ll just mutter

Sub-audible curses at the warpage of the floor

Then go and take a seat and pour yourself one more

Can you think of a better way that we can have some fun

Without a suped-up racing car, some whiskey and a gun?


New College Courses HSU should Offer

New College Courses HSU Should Offer

Since Humboldt State University has dropped its nursing program, perhaps the only program HSU offers in which students can confidently expect to find good paying jobs after graduation, they really should offer these courses to better prepare the rest of HSU’s students for the challenges of the real world:

 

Espresso Machine Operation and Maintenance All liberal arts students should know at least the basics of how to use and maintain the tools of the trade.

 

Educational Economic Strategy Default or defer? How to handle your student loans. You got to know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em. Know when to take the installment plan and know when to change your name and move to another state.

 

Consumer Choice Adviser Training Course analyzes the economic and ecological impacts of the difference between paper or plastic shopping bags, as well as advice on when to shut up about it, when you ask: “Paper or plastic?” a question you will ask many times in your career.

 

Techonomics Understanding why Mark Zuckerburg made 10 billion from Facebook, and Rupert Murdoch lost 500 million on myspace, even though no one pays a cent for either service, but more importantly, why you will mostly spend money online rather than make it.

 

Immediate Architecture Learn to construct a comfortable livable space from a refrigerator box or a few yards of plastic sheeting. This is architecture to serve your immediate needs. At least something in your college education should.

ROTCPTSD Sure, joining the military gave you the money for college, but PTSD sure makes it hard to study, doesn’t it? Taking this class about a dozen times just might help the world start to make sense again.

 

Cannabis Cultivation This class should be part of the core curriculum for all majors since, regardless of major, most HSU student eventually find jobs in this field.

 

Exotic Dance While the few remaining ballet troupes in the U.S. struggle to sell enough tickets to survive, thousands of exotic dance clubs in every state in the union offer well paying jobs to qualified exotic dancers.

 

Inter-generational Conflict Management This course will give you the tools you need to get along with your parents well enough that you can tolerate living under the same roof until they croak.

 

With the addition of these few courses, HSU could dramatically improve the chances of survival and prosperity in the real world, for their remaining students.


On The Money, Cultural Bankruptcy

On The Money

Financial Advice for the Working Class

Cultural Bankruptcy

We hear talk about financial bankruptcy all the time. Whether its people losing their homes in the

foreclosure epidemic, California’s debt crisis or the current wrangling over raising the national debt ceiling, everyone it seems lives on borrowed money these days, and no one looks to have any prospects of ever paying it off. Every year we work harder, make less, and get further in debt while a handful of people grow ever more obscenely rich.

Increasingly, we live in a world of robber barons and serfs. How ironic that the crowning achievement of the secular, democratic and scientific revolution, born of “The Enlightenment” in Renaissance times, is to deliver us into a new, global “Dark Age”. Frankly, our present situation makes the Medieval Dark Ages seem pretty bright to me.

The average American works way more than the average medieval peasant, just to get by. Medieval peasants also had more flexibility in their workday. With no time-card to punch, lots of holidays and little direct supervision, medieval peasants enjoyed significantly more freedom in their daily schedules than modern Americans.

Medieval peasants never submitted to drug testing, and often, more often than not, drank on the job. Compared to American workers, medieval peasants were unruly slackers. I think we could learn a thing or two from medieval peasants about how to improve our quality of life, and from my present perspective, I take a pretty dim view of this whole “enlightenment” thing.

This is what I mean by “cultural bankruptcy”. Our culture has failed catastrophically. It has failed socially, economically, environmentally, philosophically and spiritually. We all know this horse won’t carry us any further. We can stand here and flog the dead horse, or we can move on. When the life of a medieval peasant looks better than your real future, I say its time to move on.

I don’t mean to diminish the plight of medieval peasants. All of that drought, famine, plague and the Spanish Inquisition must have sucked., but the enlightenment gave us genocide, slavery, sweatshops, mechanized warfare, more genocide and nuclear weapons. Let’s not diminish our own plight, just because its veiled in happy advertizing, and we’re used to it. We deserve better, and our current culture just doesn’t deliver. Its time to cut our losses.

Original painting by Joe Coleman

Wouldn’t you trade global climate change and ecosystem collapse for a good old fashioned famine and drought? If your crops failed, at least there were still fish in the sea. As we harvest the last deep water Peruvian sea bass, while we BP the Fukushima out of the oceans, we face a bleaker future than any peasant could imagine. If you want to know who had it worse than medieval peasants, look to the inhabitants of Easter Island. Now think about a global Easter Island scenario. Yeah, compared to that, I’ll take a little famine and drought any day. Would you choose bubonic plague over cancer? Anthrax over AIDS? I’ll call that a toss up.

Not that we can just go back to the middle ages, or would even want to, just that the foundational principals of our modern culture, that seemed to hold so much promise 500 yrs ago, have crapped the bed on us. Our bold plan to take charge of our destiny through secular democratic government, scientific investigation and technological innovation and a free market, has only exacerbated, not solved the problems we faced as medieval peasants.

Lets look at what’s become of these “Great Ideas” of our culture, starting with…

…Democracy. I’m so sick of democracy, and this idea that we should all just get along. I don’t want to “get along” with everybody, and I’m sure not going along with your stupid idea about how we can all work together. If we weren’t all so damned eager to work together, even on the most insane ideas, we wouldn’t have nuclear weapons or foreign wars. Next to all the ugly, violent and murderously evil things we’ve done as a nation, and all the millions of people who’ve perished, in our efforts to “spread democracy” around the world, don’t the Crusades seem quaint and charming by comparison?

 

So, lets stop using this word “we” to talk about all 300,000,000 of us who live South of Canada and North of Mexico, like we’re all on the same team. We’re not all on the same team. Forget about compromise. Forget about unity. Define your faction, and work for your own best interest.

I know you really didn’t believe in democracy any more, anyway, so lets slaughter the next sacred cow, science and technology. While we ridicule Christian fundamentalists for “living in the Dark Ages” because they believe the creation myth in the bible, we all “know” the universe exploded out of nothingness in an event called “the big bang.” We all “know” that E=MC2, but none of us can really fathom what it means.

Odd, isn’t it, that ancient agriculturalists gave us the garden of Eden, and research that lead to the first atomic bomb gave us “the big bang.” What we see has way more to do with how we see than it does with what there is. About 98% of what there is remains completely incomprehensible to us, so it makes no sense to draw philosophical conclusions from the 2% we do comprehend. That 2% allows us to predict enough physical events to put a man on the moon and build powerful computers you can hold in your fingertips, but just because that little gadget in your hand impresses you, that doesn’t mean you, or any other human knows how the universe works., or has any business fucking with it.

Capitalism, that’s easy. When the banks got bailed, capitalism failed. If you didn’t know that capitalism was a scam before the economy collapsed, you do now.

Finally, lets assassinate Reason itself. They could have never convinced you to go along with this whole wretched system if you weren’t so reasonable. We dialogue, discuss, argue and debate everything in this culture, not that it does any good. Once you’ve agreed to solve a problem rationally, through open dialogue, you’ve lost. A decent rhetorician can make a convincing case for any position, including the ridiculous notion that endless hours heated vitriolic debate would be preferable to a quick decisive duel.

I really don’t think that medieval times were so great, quite the contrary. I just think that if the “Enlightenment” has made life worse rather than better, we should probably ditch it. With the collapse of the middle-class and the growing income disparity between rich and poor, we should face the fact “The Enlightenment” really didn’t solve anything. In the ’70s, in the song, “Working Class Hero” John Lennon sang “you’re still fucking peasants as far as I see.” Today, we should be so lucky.


Word Power, Isochronal

Word Power

Building Your Vocabulary One Word at a Time

Isochronal

i soch ron al (i ‘sack rone al) adj. Uniform in time, recurring at regular intervals, of equal duration.

For instance:

If you wear the same pair of gloves at the same time each day, you can call them your isochronal isotoners.

If you exercise at the same time every day, you might do isochronal isometrics.

If you lock yourself in a room alone at the same time every day, you can call that isochronal isolation.

At the end of every exhausting day, you can look forward to an isochronal gin and isotonic.

 


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