Monthly Archives: April 2009

Apr 30 “Now Then”

What a tangled web:

When plotlines criss-cross in time,

Causation is LOST.

From an article about time travel, on Wikipedia:

David Lewis’ analysis of compossibility and the implications of changing the past is meant to account for the possibilities of time travel […]  without creating logical paradoxes. Consider Lewis’ example of Tim. Tim hates his grandfather and would like nothing more than to kill him. The only problem for Tim is that his grandfather died years ago. Tim wants so badly to kill his grandfather himself that he constructs a time machine to travel back to 1955 when his grandfather was young and kill him then. Assuming that Tim can travel to a time when his grandfather is still alive, the question must then be raised; Can Tim kill his grandfather?

Consider the fact that Tim’s grandfather died in 1993 and not in 1955. This fact about Tim’s situation reveals that him killing his grandfather is not compossible with the current set of facts. […]  So what must happen to Tim as he takes aim? Lewis believes that his gun will jam, a bird will fly in the way, or Tim simply slips on a banana peel. Either way, there will be some logical force of the universe that will prevent Tim every time from killing his grandfather.

“His gun will jam” … This is a device we’ve seen on LOST before!

Actually, the gun jamming occurs a little bit after the events (from season 4) shown in the clip [clip not available]… but the point is what Tom says here, “You can’t kill yourself, the island won’t let you”.  And since the island itself seems to be acting as a giant, barely manageable time travel machine, the whole series begins to look like a primetime TV illustration of David Lewis’ compossibilty argument. Well, among other things.

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Apr 27 “Knock knock”

How many light bulbs

does it take to change… um, wait…

I may have that wrong…

click to view
YouTube video: “Is It A Good Idea To Microwave a Giant Mercury Light Bulb?

From Wikipedia:
A lightbulb joke is a joke that asks how many people of a certain group are needed to change a light bulb. Generally, the punch line answer highlights a stereotype of the target group. There are numerous versions of the lightbulb joke satirizing a wide range of cultures, beliefs and occupations.

The original formulation of the joke was used to insult the intelligence of the (often ethnically defined) target group:

Q. How many [members of the target group] does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Ten — one to hold the light bulb and nine to turn the ladder around.

Most variations follow this scheme:

Q. How many [insert target group here] does it take to change a light bulb?
A. N — one to replace the light bulb and N-1 to [behave in a fashion generally associated with a negative stereotype of that group].

Often the stereotypical behavior will involve elaborate decision-making processes, and/or Byzantine management and supervision of the bulb-changing. The actual bulb changer may be last in the list for extra punch, especially when following a long recital of various supporting roles, each employing more [members of the target group] than the previous one.

Although lightbulb jokes tend to be derogatory in tone, the people targeted by them may take pride in the stereotypes expressed and are often themselves the jokes’ originators.  Lightbulb jokes applied to subgroups can be used to ease tensions.

light bulb

Apr 26 “Meep Meep”

Wile E. Coyote

thought he would try cliff-diving,

but it left him flat.

Click for YouTube video:
Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote falls off cliff

From the description:

Adventures of the Road-Runner is an animated film, directed by Chuck Jones and co-directed by Maurice Noble and Tom Ray. It was the intended pilot for a TV series starring Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, but was never picked up. As a result, it was split into three further shorts. The first one was To Beep or Not to Beep (1963). The other two were assembled by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises in 1965 after they took over the Looney Tunes series.


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Apr 25 “Tinkletoes”

Tiny spring peepers,

Sometimes known as pinkletinks,

Tell me spring is here.

Click to view YouTube video:  “Spring Peepers

From Wikipedia:

A spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) is a small chorus frog widespread throughout the eastern USA and Canada.

The spring peeper is a small species, attaining an adult size between 0.75 inches (19 mm) and 1 inch (25 mm) long. They have a dark cross on their backs roughly in the shape of an “X” (thus the Latin name crucifer, meaning cross-bearer), though sometimes the marking may be indistinct. […] This frog has a vocal sac located by its throat, which expands and deflates like a balloon to create a short and distinct peeping sound. Only males have the ability to make this loud high-pitched noise, and they use it to attract mates.

On Martha’s Vineyard, peepers are commonly called “pinkletinks”; in New Brunswick, Canada, they are called “tinkletoes.”

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Apr 23 “Release the Hounds”

I would cry havoc

And let loose the dogs of war,

But there’d be trouble…

YouTube video: “Pink Floyd – Dogs of War (Live 1987)

This quote, “Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let loose the dogs of war” is often removed from its context. The quote is from “Julius Caesar”, Act III, scene i.

After the assassination of Caesar in the Senate, Anthony enters and confronts the conspirators.  He pretends to understand and forgive them (to save his own life and allow him to avenge his friend and mentor in the future).  When Anthony is left alone in the Senate with the murdered body of Caesar he breaks down with grief and rage and asks forgiveness from the bleeding body, vowing vengeance against the conspirators:

“O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,–
Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips,
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue–
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry  ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.”

“Genetic Memories: Run with the Hunt” by rgdaniel
Genetic Memories: Run with the Hunt